Archive | April, 2014

What EDDC Tory Whip and Honiton councillor Phil Twiss thinks about Sidmouth

25 Apr

From comments he made on the blog of Councillor Claire Wright:

….. the clue is in the name i.e. East Devon District Council and not Sidmouth Town council. “400 high grade jobs” will not be lost to the District via a relocation of its HQ.

EDDC works on behalf of all residents of East Devon including and not exclusively for those in Sidmouth and you are aware of the reasons why Knowle is not fit for purpose and why we need to work in different ways to maximise efficient working practices and maintain frontline services.

Mr Thickett, Planning Inspector, finds more fault with EDDC

23 Apr

This time he can’t understand how they computed the Community Infrastructure Levy for Cranbrook and says he will not deal with CIL until the Local Plan is satisfactory.

So, nothing submitted has been accepted.

Link to the Inspector’s letter is given here:

Councillor Twiss … foot … mouth … communication problem …

23 Apr

Damien Mills puts it in a nutshell in his comment on Councillor Wright’s blog republished below:

Cllr Twiss would have us believe that Stuart Hughes wasn’t dumped from his EDDC posts because he spoke up for Sidmouth but because: ‘He has a very senior cabinet role at Devon County Council which is to all intents and purposes full time and as they go through very tough times he did not need the distraction of maintaining another senior role at EDDC in tandem with his DCC responsibilities.’

Is it any wonder no-one believes him when Cllr Hughes himself dismisses it as nonsense.

“Their excuse doesn’t wash with me – I’m doing less now than I was two years ago when I was appointed to the post,” said Cllr Hughes, who has once again been named Devon County Council’s cabinet member for highways and flooding, while ceasing to be the chairman of Sidmouth Town Council. “I think it’s because I’ve been outspoken. The way they’ve treated some of the people in Sidmouth who have asked legitimate questions has been spineless and arrogant and I feel no-one is listening to the people in the town.

That aside, if we humour Cllr Twiss for a minute and accept his claim that Cllr Hughes is too busy to maintain another senior role at East Devon, where, exactly, does that leave Paul Diviani who, aside from also being a high-ranking county councillor, is also chairman of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty group, chairman of the Making It Local Rural Development Plan Local Action Group, chairman of the Exeter & East Devon Rural Growth Point board and vice-chairman of the Local Government Association Rural Commission, as well as a member of the Conservative group’s police and crime panel?

Judged on the recent performance of the council over which he presides, dare I suggest it’s Cllr Diviani, rather than Cllr Hughes, who has too many ‘outside interests’ to perform his role effectively?!

What is good for the goose

22 Apr

Explanation from EDDC Conservative Party whip Phil Twiss as to why Stuart Hughes was removed from his senior post at EDDC shortly after disagreeing with the move of EDDC’s HQ from Sidmouth:

Stuart Hughes was not dumped from an EDDC post (or posts as written below) on grounds of ill health or because he spoke up for the interests of Sidmouth (which he continues to do very effectively). He has a very senior cabinet role at Devon County Council which is to all intents and purposes full time and as they go through very tough times he did not need the distraction of maintaining another senior role at EDDC in tandem with his DCC responsibilities.

Based on the above, surely EDDC Leader Paul Diviani should resign his Devon County Council seat?

Beach Management Plan delayed by three months

22 Apr

Read and digest: York council criticised for keeping documents about their Local Plan secret

21 Apr

Cranbrook … the … er … vision

21 Apr

“The Vision”

The vision for Cranbrook is to create a self-sufficient, low carbon new community in close proximity to skilled employment opportunities, encouraging people to use sustainable modes of transport and to reduce the need for them to travel between work and home by car.

But what about the people who have to use unsustainable transport to get to EDDC offices at Skypark.

Ah, of course, they resign because they can’t afford to keep travelling there by car or because they spend hours on public transport and are replaced by people from Exeter and Cranbrook.

And that’s what they call “sustainable”! Lucky Exeter and Cranbrook.

Though has anyone else noticed that Cranbrook is not ageing well – some areas already looking rather tired – and has dreadful parking problems, with even the small buses barely able to squeeze along narrow streets filled with cars parked on both sides?

Another letter from Skypark

20 Apr

Dear Mum,

Well, we’ve been at Skypark for a few weeks now and I have to say it has been a bit of a roller coaster!

The problems with being next to the airport runway have been a bit difficult. We have had to schedule our meetings very carefully so that we build in our tea breaks when the jets land. It wasn’t too difficult with the winter timetable but has become really challenging with the summer one. So, we’ve now changed our working hours to 10 pm to 6 am which has made things much easier. Though I gather that the officers have decamped back to the Knowle which has not yet been demolished so they can work in peace and quiet during the day.

I have also had a few problems working out of the hub locations, too. People don’t seem to want me to keep my 10 pm to 6 am shifts but the council met in emergency session and decided that they were the most efficient hours because their research, done by very clever and expensive consultants, showed that only one person turned up at the offices in over a month and no-one at the hubs so that shows how satisfied people are. It does mean I have had to buy special high-vis clothing and equipment for the council bike but I am sure it will be worth it, though I do get a bit bored in the village halls.

We are also having parking problems here (though not me, as I chain my bike to whichever “hot desk” I can find). Apparently, we won’t get tarmac until the development attracts more users which means that councillors and officers have had to park in deep mud. But they are very resourceful and have all awarded themselves top-of-the range Land Rovers, which solved the problem. Really we are so lucky to have them.

I have had no luck finding a house share in Cranbrook or Exeter yet as I haven’t seen anything I can afford to rent – certainly not the “affordable” ones! So, taking a leaf from our councillors book and doing some problem solving, I have bought myself a tent which I have put up near the office.

No sooner did I do this than lots of other people saw the benefit of it and joined me. Some are colleagues who can’t get buses to get here but some I have never seen before. They have put up signs saying “Occupy” which seems a bit daft to me as, of course, we are occupying the site. But they are even more resourceful than me and have started a “soup kitchen” which is really useful, though as they are vegans the soups can be a bit boring and we have to make a lot of use of the composting toilets they built. But we are a very friendly bunch.

We are however, having a bit of a problem with vagrants. Now that council meetings take place at 4 am and you have to register 6 months in advance to speak, so-called “local residents” have taken to camping out here themselves to make sure they get on the list of speakers. As only 5 of them are allowed to speak there have been some very unseemly squabbles between them. Why can’t they do what the developers do? Each day a driver comes down in a Rolls Royce, a man gets out and is met at the private entrance by the Leader’s valet who takes a list off a silver salver, bows to the man and takes the letter inside. I am sure I recognise the man in the Rolls Royce and used to see him around a lot at Knowle. Now why can’t residents just do that and leave our little camp site alone?

Well, must close now – it’s my turn to help to make the soup. Don’t tell anyone, but I am going to put in some fox meat in it from roadkill I found last night!

Your loving son, Bert

Who voted for and against gagging of the public at the recent Full Council meeting

20 Apr

Public Speaking Votes, at Full Council  9th April 2014

For OSC reviewi.e AGAINST gagging) – 26 votes
Susie Bond

Roger Boote C

Derek Button

Bob Buxton C

David Chapman C

Trevor Cope

Deborah Custance Baker C

Martin Gammell

Steve Gazzard

Roger Giles

Graham Godbeer C

Pat Graham

Peter Halse C

Mike Howe C

Stuart Hughes C

Douglas Hull

Ben Ingham

John Jeffery

Sheila Kerridge C

Jim Knight C

Philip Skinner C

Peter Sullivan C

Graham Troman C

Eileen Wragg

Steve Wragg

Claire Wright

Against (i,e. FOR Gagging)

David Atkins C

Ray Bloxham C

Peter Bowden C

Geoff Chamberlain

Iain Chubb C

David Cox C

Alan Dent C

Paul Diviani C

Christine Drew C

Jill Elson C

Steve Hall C

Stephanie Jones C

Andrew Moulding C

Frances Newth C

John O’Leary C

Helen Parr C

Ken Potter C

Pauline Stott C

Phil Twiss C

Mark Williamson C

Tim Wood C

Tom Wright C

One man’s “growth” is another man’s contraction

18 Apr

John Rowland has a sentence in his rant on the Letters page of this week’s Herald which will be of interest to Sidmothians:

The new build (EDDC HQ)for the western growth area of the district will provide much-needed business and employment for the young families as they set up new homes.

Translation: Skypark is a total unmitigated disaster. It has none of the job opportunities we boasted about and is now a white elephant, and Cranbrook will end up as a ghost town with high unemployment if we can’t find work for the people who move there. So we have no choice but to move our HQ there as an emergency to save face with our “Growth Point” and cover up our massive mistakes.

So, that’s it Sidmouth: sacrificed to the “Exeter sub-area” and hope no-one notices.