Archive | February, 2014

Did councillors know what they were voting for on Wednesday?

28 Feb

We only ask because, of course, most of them were excluded from secret talks way above their level and (in theory) have never had full information about the move as we know that certain councillors have never been allowed to see the information.

So, we have two scenarios:

Yes, they did know – in which case we would seem to have a situation where confidential information was disclosed only to members of one party which would certainly be immoral and possibly illegal and certainly something that the Monitoring Officer would need to deal with

or

No, they didn’t know and voted blindly without knowing exactly what they were voting for.  In which case, why would they ALL vote that way – without being whipped?

Confusing and rather worrying.

Advertisement

Super rich and want to avoid Inheritance Tax? Buy a big farm

28 Feb

Under the heading “Soaring demand for farmland sees prices reach record levels in the South West, the piece ends with this paragraph:

[An upmarket estate agend] said there was strong demand from London buyers who wanted both the lifestyle and the security that came with the investment in land. And he revealed some buyers were also using the purchase of a farm as a way to secure an investment against inheritance tax with one family seeing a four-fold increase over 11-years in the value of the South Hams farm that they bought as a hedge against inheritance tax. But he said farm land prices were no longer so closely linked to farm incomes as was once the case, with land now seen as a good investment for its own sake.

Read more: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Soaring-demand-farmland-sees-prices-reach-record/story-20725775-detail/story.html#ixzz2ud5NupMD

It will be your vote …..

27 Feb

If you live in Sidmouth – well, if you read this blog you know that you have been sold for shag pile

If you live in Sidbury remember Sidford Fields

If you live in Seaton on Colyton, remember that it was LOCAL people who got the green wedge decision overturned – not EDDC

If you live in Axminster, remember why you do not have a bypass but you will have problems at Cloakham Lawns

If you live in Budleigh Salterton, remember that EDDC has ignored your wishes about where new development should go and has made its own choice of a Clinton Devon site

If you live in Newton Poppleford, well, just remember Clinton Devon Estates again and King Alfred’s Way

If you live in Feniton – remember that the lack of 5 year land supply which has led to your problems is the fault of EDDC and EDBF

If you live in Exmouth, remember that you wanted to keep Elizabeth Hall and your seafront is about to become a totally commercial enterprise

If you live in Ottery St Mary remember that your Independent councillors are routinely insulted by the majority party.

If you live in Honiton – enjoy your new Asda

If you live in Cranbrook – don’t worry – your day will come. when you are no longer their best friends

If you are in the smaller villages – Talaton, Gittisham and all the other small villages in East Devon – we pity you

And EVERYONE remember ALL this when you come to vote

Curious change of mind?

27 Feb

East Devon Alliance asks the question here: http://eastdevonalliance.org/2014/02/27/no-whipping-at-eddc-so-why-the-synchronised-change-of-mind/

Skypark: great parking for your plane

27 Feb

How long before our Leader replaces his car with a light aircraft?  So convenient:

Click to access SW%20-%20Skypark%20Exeter%20Fact%20Sheet%20S2013.pdf

There are more questions than answers …..

27 Feb

Well, lots of Tory smug faces last night.  And many unanswered questions.  And does anyone remember public consultation on this move?

Some questions (you will no doubt have your own)

How much are WE really paying for it

Are WE buying a tin shed or are we leasing it at Skypark?

If we are leasing it, how much are WE going to be paying for it.

Who is going to be responsible for the areas around the new HQ – will WE need an army of maintenance people or will owners of Skypark St Modwyn be footing the bill?

Will WE be able to get to Skypark by public transport?

How much will it cost to maintain annually – more or less than Knowle, how much more, how much less (tricky one this, because Knowle maintenance has been (some would say) deliberately cut back in the years of this Tory administration.

When will the secret documents that have been kept from us throughout this entire process be available to us?

…. part 2 when calmed down …..

If WE go by car will we be allowed to park?

What happens to those of us who cannot get to Skypark either by public transport or by car?

 

Mark Williams – a law unto himself?

27 Feb

Chief Executives are supposed to maintain strict impartiality when advising councillors. Not EDDC’s Mark Williams!

Last night, asked to give procedural advice on Cllr Claire Wright’s motion to pause the relocation juggernaut pending an independent survey of the Knowle offices, he opined that Claire’s motion was “rubbish”.

He had already insisted on inserting a phrase into her motion that only “some councillors” on the Scrutiny Committee were concerned about relocation plans. This was disingenuous:  eight councillors on the watchdog had voted for a delay, with four abstentions.

Mr Williams has form when it comes to biased interference in controversial political issues.

SIN-ners will remember his blatant obstruction of the work of the committee investigating the council’s links with the East Devon Business Forum lobby group.

And at the last full Council Meeting in December he stopped the Council Chair from answering a question about the Tory Whip’s insulting comments on independent councillors. In so doing, the CEO revealed that a confidential complaint about Cllr Twiss had been made, and he identified the complainant.

Mr Williams is a lawyer –Has he read the Code for Council Employees?

EDDC stoops to new low

27 Feb

Democracy plummeted at East Devon District Council last night,  at a full council meeting crowded with the public. The main business was to consider the budget, including expenses incurred by Cabinet’s decision to relocate the District’s HQ to Skypark ( a vast new  business site outside Exeter).

In public questions, a  series of local residents questioned the incomprehensible choice of a site on the edge of the District, with serious problems of accessibility for most residents, and the rocketing cost of the project in a time of desperate austerity.

None of their questions was answered. As usual it was left to a few Independents and Lib Dems to represent the public interest.

Cllr Claire Wright reminded the councillors that the watchdog Scrutiny Committee on January 30 had recommended that the project  be put on hold pending an independent survey of the existing council offices. She proposed a motion that the council should accept this.

This provoked a clearly co-ordinated outbreak of personal abuse on Cllr Wright from the Tories led by Deputy Leader Andrew Moulding. Incredibly, Scrutiny Committee member Mike Allen who had previously described the leadership’s “lemming” style of financial management, now changed his tune. Obsequiously, he towed the party line, with his own disrespectful jibes towards Claire.

Council Leader  Diviani added his usual economies with the truth, claiming that Skypark was a vibrant new business pole, only recently marketed.

The wonders of modern technology enabled his rosy claim  to be scotched almost immediately with an ipad email showing that the agents had been marketing it since 2010, with only two takers  so far, an EON Energy Centre (2012) and an Ambulance Operations Centre (2014).

The vote on the motion surprised no one. Nor did the fact that a named recorded vote was refused.

The Minority Independents and Lib Dems for, and serried ranks of Tory Majority sheep against –with the honourable exception of Sidmouth Cllr Graham Troman.

With that challenge out of the way and, before most people realised, Cabinet minutes were nodded through which means that land at Skypark can be bought and the the Knowle can be marketed –all without serious debate.

More comment at http://saveoursidmouth.com/2014/02/27/knowle-sale-and-skypark-spend-voted-through-under-veil-of-cabinet-minutes/

RIP Knowle, RIP Sidmouth, RIP Democracy in East Devon

26 Feb

Agreed by the most duplicitous method imaginable.  And shafted by our own councillors.

More tomorrow.

Local Government Association says councils must build more houses

26 Feb

Responding to the release of the latest house building statistics today, Cllr Mike Jones, Chairman of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board, said:

“Today’s figures show recovery in the house building market over the last 12 months, reflecting increased confidence. The Government has said that we need to build 232,000 homes per year to keep up with household growth and is of the view that the planning system is to blame for not delivering the number of houses we need.

“There are half a million homes with planning permission in the system. Our research shows that regardless of changes to the planning system, the private sector only builds a long run average of 130,000 homes a year. We will only achieve the consistent level of house building the government aspires to if councils are allowed to build significantly more.

“We are urging the Chancellor to completely lift the centrally controlled housing borrowing cap in next month’s Budget and allow councils to invest under normal, responsible borrowing guidelines. This would enable councils to quickly scale up their investment in new homes.”

– See more at: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/5948005/NEWS#sthash.xMPZHyHC.dpuf