Not quite, Mr Diviani, not quite …..

3 Feb

Leader of EDDC, Paul Diviani, has responded to a newspaper article from Ben Bradshaw reported in SIN earlier and to be found here

where Mr Bradshaw took EDDC to task for the “development free-for-all” which is currently taking place in East Devon.

Some of Mr Diviani’s comments require some further input.  He writes:

I was disappointed but not unduly surprised by a former minister’s [Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw’s] latest attempt to interfere with the planning system.

This of course contrasts with EDDC’s attempt to interfere with the planning system by means of its relationship with the East Devon Business Forum.

I would have thought after his many years in a power vacuum, he would be fully aware of his government’s abject failure to provide a sound economy and enough homes for our people. Fortunately, we now have a coalition government which is man enough to tackle the mess they left.

Er, sorry, this was a failure that was caused by almost of all the governments of the past 20 or 30 years or so, starting with the selling off of council housing under Mrs Thatcher (who could never be said to be “man enough” to be anything, “man enough” being perhaps just a little sexist).

We have three local authorities in Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge who are resolute in setting aside their political differences to come together with an united vision.

Not strictly true.  The National Planning Policy Framework forces local authorities to have a “duty to co-operate” with each other – they are doing this because they HAVE to, not because they want to – their Local Plans will not be accepted if they cannot show that they have at least discussed cross-border issues, though they do NOT have to agree on them.  Also, East Devon is facing questions from the adjacent local authority of West Dorset where the Planning Inspector for their local plan is asking some very pertinent questions about just how much co-operation there has been between East Devon and West Dorset.  Not to mention that Teignbridge’s Local Plan was held up because of problems getting housing numbers from Torquay … and so it goes on. 

We want our region to be recognised for what it is – one of the most dynamic and progressive in Britain with an excellent university leading a revolution in the knowledge industry, working with the world class Met Office who are world leaders in the green agenda and the understanding of climate change.

Did anyone notice any reference in the paragraph above to East Devon’s major economic driver: tourism?

To help them disseminate their knowledge, we have provided a science park and quality office accommodation at Sky Park.

Well, to be fair it wasn’t exactly put there to disseminate their knowledge – the companies themselves do that – it was put there to get income and business rates for East Devon.  Oh, and no mention of the enormous Sainsbury site now lying derelict.  What exactly was that put there for?  Oh yes, an “inter-modal rail interchange”.  Hmm.

On a wider partnership front, we have three district councils, a county council and government agencies who are prepared to cooperate and not let a tide of indifference wash over them with an apathy so redolent of what was wrong with Great Britain (and indeed, a newly re-energising England).

(see above on the duty to co-operate).  We will gloss over those government agencies that are not quite living up to this example such as the Department for Communities and Local Government which wants to interfere in how rubbish is collected  and the Environment Agency!  Cherry-picking a few vague links is not exactly “re-energising Britain”!

We are proud of our space, we are at one with our environment and we dearly want to deliver the prosperity, sense of achievement and contentment our people so richly deserve.

“At one with our environment” what a wonderful phrase when we are concreting over great swathes of it for expensive housing on greenfield and AONB sites.  Tell that to the residents of Feniton!

Naughty, naughty!


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