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EDDC about to award themselves yet another black mark? New obstacles to public speaking could be whipped through Full Council this Wednesday.

22 Jul

Listen to the fierce debate on the subject, over your cornflakes this Wednesday morning. This link has details

Warning! Full Council on 23 July is when changes to public speaking may be approved.

12 Jul

SOS website has the details

For your information,below is a record of the ‘Public Speaking’ Votes, at Full Council  9th April 2014

For OSC review i.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 the OSC review (i.e. FOR Gagging)  –22 votes

David Atkins C

Ray Bloxham C

Peter Bowden C

Geoff Chamberlain LD

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


From Bert: May you live in interesting times

18 May

Hello Mum, it’s Bert again,

Well, it’s been my first week as a “subversive” and what a week it has been! I’m sure no-one has cottoned on – they still think that I am “one of them” – or rather “one of theirs” as, of course, someone as low down the pecking order as I am, just a humble driver can’t be one of the important people. You know, sometimes, they just forget that I am even there. Isn’t that useful.

This week, the minds of the “great and good” in the back of the Bentley have been exercised about how they can make it hard for the opposition. Honestly, Mum, before I got this job I actually thought that councillors and officers worked together for the good of the community! How wrong could I have been! It seems that the party in power spends most of the time working out how to keep the others out .

You know that the government isn’t in Parliament at the moment because they have nothing to do? It seems the same here – they seem to have got into a position now where the public can’t speak at meetings unless they have filled in millions of forms and even then if they don’t get them in to the office in time they don’t get acted on, the developers are just hitting the area left, right and centre and mostly can’t be stopped (and if they are it is often because locals raise funds and get themselves fancy barristers and solicitors) so now the councillors have nothing to say or do except work out what pictures they want on their walls.  The ones in the Thelma Hulbert Gallery apparently aren’t good enough and the Royal Albert Museum won’t let them have any so they have gone to the National Gallery to see if they can do some sort of “partnership deal”).  Or they spend a lot of time fighting about what flower arrangements they want in the reception area that no-one visits – well, the developers do pass through it on their way to the Michelin-star restaurant, but no-one else does. Honestly, you should have heard a couple of our top people having a row about whether to put Calla lilies or Old English Roses on the front desk – they almost came to blows. It backfired though: turned out the Calla lilies made everyone sneeze and they dropped pollen on the priceless Persian rugs and mucked up the polished marble floow so it had to be the Old English Roses after all.

At the moment, the big issue is that it seems that the opposition councillors are being reported for all sorts of things and there are special hearings just about every day – I can barely keep up. The problem is that the hearings, things never seem to go quite to plan. Sometimes the people being prosecuted just don’t turn up and everyone is left twiddling their thumbs until they decide what to do next, sometimes it turns out that they haven’t done anything wrong at all and it seems to be the fault of their colleagues who HAVEN’T been reported. Sometimes, the councillors won’t apologise for what they have done or said because, they say, the councillors who are accusing them of things are doing worse things themselves but not getting reported. Sometimes, even when they are found guilty they then don’t get any punishment and it turns out that is because “we can’t punish them because they were speaking on behalf of the people”. I confess myself totally confused: it’s just as well they have nothing else to do.

Now, it seems that they are gunning for a group called “the East Devon Alliance” and saying that its their fault that they are in the mess they are in with the Local Plan. I looked them up and they’ve only been going about a year so I can’t understand how they could be blamed for stuff that has been happening for years and years. It just seems that, when in a hole they think the best strategy is to blame other people for it.

They are REALLY worried about how the European elections and the council elections in other areas are going next week. They never really had to worry much here before – people just kept ticking their box and they didn’t ever imagine they might lose. But now people are talking about voting for Independents and UKIP this time or not voting at all and they are seriously rattled. There aren’t any UKIP councillors (yet) but it looks like so many people are so upset with them that they would vote for just about anybody but them. And we have our own elections next year.

Who was it said “may you live in interesting times”? According to Wikipedia it could be a Chinese curse. It says “While purporting to be a blessing, this is in fact a curse. The expression is always used ironically, with the clear implication that ‘uninteresting times’, of peace and tranquillity, are more life-enhancing than interesting ones”. Hear, Hear – there is certainly no peace or tranquillity here at the moment.

Well, got to go – the weekly Developers Lunch is over (early today, it’s only 8.30 pm) and got to get one of them back to his Lear Jet over at the airport.

Oh,and please tell Daisy to stop opening my letters to you – she always was a nosey devil.

Your loving son


The Exeter Anvil and the West Dorset Axe

7 May

No, not two pubs: East Devon Alliance description of how East Devon is being expected to accommodate overspill from east and west of the county.

Add to that a CEO who has joint allegiance to East Devon and South Somerset and you have a perfect quart attempting to get itself squeezed into a pint pot!

The latest blow to democracy in East Devon – EDDC refuses to say which officers take which decisions

16 Apr

Can it get any worse? Now, they even refuse to accept rulings of the Information Commissioner.

DMC decision on Newton Poppleford planning application fell foul of regulations.

16 Apr

Continuing from our earlier post on the subject, the legal situation and background to the case, are described in this note:

Dear SIN

The latest news from Newton Poppleford is that the decision to grant planning permission for 40 houses plus a doctor’ surgery at King Alfred Way (13/0316/MOUT) has been quashed following an application for judicial review. EDDC consented to this judgement on two grounds:

1) having incorrectly applied the criteria for their Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) screening opinion.
2) having sought the doctors’ surgery as a planning obligation despite it failing to comply with the three CIL tests of necessity, proportion and relevance.

You may remember that the surgery initially formed part of the negotiated s.106 agreement submitted with the application. Once it was pointed out that this is not allowed by law, the applicant instead offered (during the DMC meeting) a unilateral undertaking, even though that is equally subject to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) tests – officers ought to have known that and advised councillors accordingly. Having been put on the spot somewhat, the council decided to accept the offer and granted permission subject to the provision of the surgery being demonstrated, thereby seeking the surgery and falling foul of the CIL regulations!

Of particular concern is that EDDC had to be pushed all the way to an application for judicial review, at considerable expense, before acknowledging their error. Prior to this stage, the issue of the legality of the decision had been the subject of emails to planning staff, a formal complaint to the council, and a solicitors’ letter outlining the case. There were many opportunities to review the process, both before and after the issuing of the decision notice. At every step, EDDC haughtily insisted they were entirely correct in making this decision – until their bluff was called and they were formally challenged through the courts. Disappointingly, this has resulted in a considerable waste of taxpayers’ money.

The application (unmodified) is now due to be redetermined at the DMC meeting on 8th May. Representatives of the community will be in attendance to ensure that on this occasion councillors are made fully aware that the surgery cannot lawfully be taken into account in making a decision.

Youth Parliament joins EDA at Exmouth Strand, on Easter Saturday

12 Apr

Click here for details:

EDDC “agrees” to look at business accommodation on sale of Heathpark

11 Apr

Shouldn’t this say: “forced” to look at business accommodation because those businesses at the East Devon Business Centre will face eviction uf the site is sold to Asda.

Still, at least one “business” will not need reaccomodating: the East Devon Business Forum used to meet there on a regular basis for free!  Officer in charge of the Centre: Nigel Harrison, Economic Development Officer and Hon Sec of EDBF.

Come to think of it:  where is he these days?  He used to comment on all the large planning applications (including those of EDBF members) but seems to have been totally silent recently.  Well, no doubt he will reappear at the EDBF Task and Finish meetings, soon to be re-started (pause for cynical laughter)

SIN commenter, Mark Eppels, seems to be wrong on a number of levels..

8 Apr

There are so many points, that SIN thinks they merit a post to themselves. We’d be happy to have Mr Eppels’  response, of course.

Let’s look at some facts. The RSS numbers were not reduced to accommodate the objections of those who wanted less housing. The RSS numbers were discarded because they were revoked by central government. Had Mark attended the Local Plan Inquiry he would know that the Inspector made it quite clear that the RSS numbers could not be used under any circumstances.

Actually,  the RSS numbers were generated in 2008 at the height of the economic boom. Those councils in 2009 and 2010 who were allowed to still use the RSS numbers, normally adjusted them to reflect the economic downturn. EDDC, unusually, refused to adjust their RSS figures before they were revoked anyway.

The allocation of 15000 that went before the Inspector therefore had nothing to do with the RSS, so Mark is wholly mistaken about the origin of the number. In fact, EDDC relied upon the Housing Study commissioned from Roger Tyms in 2011, which in turn relied in part upon ONS projections for East Devon. Tyms’ figures involved quite wide parameters, but their ‘headline’ projection for housing for the period 2011 to 2026 was 12,700. This did not take account of houses built in the period 2006-2011. EDDC, broadly speaking, followed the Tyms report, and did not appear to be influenced by ‘protestors’. Tyms was not precise, but their median recommendation for housing for the Plan period was below the 15,000 that was eventually submitted to the Inquiry.

As it happens, the Tyms figures were probably a little higher than the RSS numbers would have been if the RSS had emerged in 2011. The RSS had assumed economic growth of around 3% over the Plan period, whereas we actually saw a big drop in economic activity between 2008 and 2011. Adjusting the RSS figures to take account of that economic slowdown would have produced a housing allocation in the region of 14,000.

The Inspector rejected the housing allocation because by 2014 the Tyms report was already out of date, and because EDDC had almost randomly distributed the allocation around the District without conducting a sufficiently robust sustainability assessment to establish the most appropriate sites.

Mark is not correct in saying that the Inspector rejected the housing numbers because they were too low. Mr Thickett said no such thing. He rejected them because the evidence supplied by EDDC was out of date and poor in quality.

So it would seem that Mark didn’t attend any of the Local Plan Panel hearings, hasn’t read any of the reports, did not attend the Inquiry, and has not properly read the Inspector’s findings. He’s not a councillor, is he?

Employment Land figures and other parts of the Local Plan NOT passed

6 Apr

On rereading EDDC’s press releases, it appears that the Inspector has refused to look at the rest of the submitted Local Plan until the housing figures have been reworked and resubmitted, cross-border housing has been sorted and gypsy and traveller sites evidence reworked and resubmitted.  Only then will he consider other issues.