Spotted at the Knowle.

31 Oct

Correspondents report  two interesting sightings at yesterday’s demo. at the Knowle .

Economic Development Manager, Nigel Harrison, was spotted leaving the offices at about 3.40p.m. – looking decidedly uncomfortable in the presence of photographers and reporters.

SIN-ners will remember that Mr Harrison was mentioned by “councillor for hire” Graham Brown in his famous sting interview in the Telegraph as the first contact to “kickstart”  planning permission for clients of the latter prepared to pay more than “peanuts”.

After his disastrous appearance in March at the first meeting of the TAFF enquiry into EDDC’s relations with East Devon Business Forum (whose chairman was G. Brown) Mr Harrison disappeared from the radar.

Rumours suggested that he had quietly retired. Obviously not. But he must have a lot of spare time  now following the demise of EDBF for which he did a sterling job as Honorary Secretary, for example defending Mr Brown against “unfair” allegations of “impropriety”.

Also noticed going into the confidential briefing for councillors was Cllr Tony Howard, representing Ottery Rural. In an amicable chat with protesters, he was at pains to reassure them that EDDC decision-making was transparent at all times.

Could this be same Tony Howard who, last year, commented to Aylesbeare Parish Council (see SIN 14 November 2012) that  Council Leader Paul Diviani was “paying the price” for being “too  open”? He thought Cllr Diviani’s predecessor was right to be economical with the transparency because, “Transparency has risks.”

On the same occasion Cllr Howard condemned the Sidmouth Mass March which assembled over 4000 people as a “distraction”for EDDC, “We want to govern the district but our concentration is going on Sidmouth and Exmouth.  It is taking time out from doing the job.”

So much for local democracy!

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4 Responses to “Spotted at the Knowle.”

  1. Media Mandy October 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    You only have to see how Hugo Swire and Neil Parish have resuscitated their flagging constituency visits via the local newspapers to know that Tory High Command has issued “be seen” orders! Unfortunately, some of them, whilst being seen, are also being heard talking rubbish for potential electors.

    As it gets nearer and nearer to an election there will be more of this and it will be ever more hypocritical and silly.

  2. Julia Banks October 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Unless you have ANY evidence that nigel Harrison and Graham Brown have done anything wrong you had better be VERY careful about what you imply. The law is very clear and you are getting close to breaking it.

    • sidmouthsid October 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

      In reply to Julia Banks.

      Nothing illegal needs to have been done for a serious and unacceptable conflict of interest to exist.

      It seems remarkable that a senior council officer –with a major role in planning- should have been allowed to play a central role in the organisation and lobbying activities of an organisation that represented a number of important landowners and developers.

      It is doubly regrettable that the strong impression was given in the Daily Telegraph interview that this officer was available to facilitate the private commercial interests of a councillor. (The interview’s archived in the introduction to the SIN blog, if you’d like to check what was said.)

      No wonder many people in East Devon feel that this affair has brought the Council into disrepute, and that there should have been a genuine enquiry into the relationship between EDDC and the East Devon Business Forum. The fact that the latter organisation is now defunct, may in itself speak volumes.

  3. Not A Developer October 31, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    According to newspapers, protesters sang the following:
    http://www.justsomelyrics.com/930839/billy-j-kramer-do-you-want-to-know-a-secret-lyrics.html

    love it!

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