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No cobwebs on Claire!

30 May

2014-02-23 17.14.00

Congratulations to Independent County and District Cllr Claire Wright, who has announced that she will be standing for East Devon, against the Party machine,  at the Parliamentary elections just one year ahead, in May 2015. Her campaign begins next week. See SIN’s earlier post,


ASDA planning south expansion particularly in Devon and Cornwall

30 May

“Asda is planning to build 40 major superstores and well as a further 100 new supermarkets.The expansion plan will also include 150 forecourt shops. Two-thirds will be in the south east, London, Cornwall and Devon.”

Exeter, Honiton, maybe Exmouth, could fight it out with Morrisons in Sidmouth?  Will Asda replace Tesco as our council’s favourite supermarket chain!


Yet another “Don’t do as we do, do as we say, sorry – demand

19 May

“As I said at the Standards Hearing last July, there is one rule for one, and one rule for another. At the last Full Council meeting at The Knowle, the Leader told one Member that what he had said was rubbish. Another senior Member referred to the Leader as ‘spineless and arrogant’ last year, which made newspaper headlines. Not thought worthy of complaint by a Tory Whip, or just plain double standards?”

So said Lib Dem councillor Eileen Wragg after her second appearance before an EDDC Standards Committee. Since then, there has been a serious attempt to discredit Independent Councillor Roger Giles, and investigations brought against dissidents in Newton Poppleford (parish councillor Graham Salter) and in Axminster (Independent town councillor, Paul Hayward).

Isn’t it strange that only Tory councillors have thin skins (they are the ones who complain) and only non-Tory councillors are wrong (they are the inky ones being complained about).

Seems to me best to vote for robust minority councillors rather than over-sensitive ones.

Still, it’s more income for the local press as EDDC pays for its decisions to be publicised (with our money, of course).

EDDC tree walks – but not in Sidmouth! See the trees whilst you can – they may not be there much longer!

12 May
Countryside team start their annual tree walks
Walk to the trees…
East Devon District Council’s Countryside team will be starting their ever-popular annual series of Tree Walks on Monday 2 June at 6.30pm at Phear Park in Exmouth. The topic for this walk will be the management of trees in council-owned recreational areas.

On Monday 16 June the tree officers will lead a walk around Plymtree, focusing on the village trees and hedgerows.

The final walk will be on Monday 30 June at 6.30pm at East Budleigh, looking at local trees of interest and discussing the part they play in the community.

This is a great opportunity to find out all about the trees on your doorstep from our knowledgeable and informative tree officers. The walks are free, but booking is essential as places are limited – please call 01395 517557 or email


Hello, Mum, it’s Bert again, writing to you from Skypark

29 Apr

Well, actually, I’m NOT writing to you from Skypark today.  It seems that there are so many people that can’t get there (including me until I can find a place I can afford at Cranbrook) that those of us being sent out to the “hubs” just can’t seem to keep up with it.

We thought that changing our hours to 10 pm to 6 am (to avoid the aircraft noise from the runway next to our offices at Skypark) that would cut down the number of people wanting to see us in the local towns and villages.  That worked for a while (actually, the consultants said that it would work for ever but it seems they didn’t quite get the mark of these awful people in East Devon) and people got wise to us:  they started camping out on our hub doorsteps as early as six o’clock at night so they could be sure of seeing us when we arrived.

They really are awful, Mum – they published our days and times on some of their really dreadful “blogs” and suggested that people should make a party of it and arrive at the queues with sandwiches and drinks as early as possible.  They even brought their tablets and phones with them so that they could play music.  THEN people with guitars and things arrived and next thing they are all having these big parties whilst waiting.  They caught on and now it seems everyone wants to queue for the hub visits and join the parties and we are inundated with work.  Honestly, Mum, I don’t know how long I can take this.  When I took the job I was told that it was unlikely I would ever meet a member of the public and now it seems I have met most of the public in East Devon – and I don’t like it!

Luckily, for the sake of my sanity I got to spend a couple of days at Skypark recently for a training course on “How to deal with customers”.  At first, I thought it would be about the dreadful people I meet at the hubs but actually, it turns out they aren’t customers at all:  they are just trouble-makers who have to be kept quiet and we we were told it really doesn’t matter what you tell them – either they don’t believe it or it isn’t true anyway and so it doesn’t matter at all what we say to them.


I have just been on the Customer Service Training course – and, oh, how I enjoyed it!

Our customers are actually the developers – and what a lovely bunch they are!  They usually turn up in Bentleys or Rolls-Royces (I even saw a Lambourghini once – honestly!) and first of all they have lunch in the Michelin-star Executive Dining Room.  When they finish lunch (which can sometimes be as late as six o’clock because they have so much to talk about) they are always absolutely charming.  One of them even tipped me for opening the door for him!  And it was a really big tip!  He fell down as he got outside and mumbled something about “too much Chateau Lafitte” but I got him up and dusted him down and his cheauffeur got him into the back seat quite expertly where he fell asleep.  They must really work hard in the Executive suite.

We were given all sorts of useful information on the training course:  how to make sure that everything the developers want is at hand straight away – maps and consultation documents (we fill them in advance  – sometimes hundreds of them saying how happy people are to have the developers on their doorsteps – to make it quicker for them) and then the developers give us their drafts which we re-do with our logo on and then sign off as quickly as possible.  I have the very important job of putting up one notice of the development on a lamp-post and then taking it off the next day.  The trainer spent a lot of time with me on how to choose the right lamppost – right on the edge of the development, the darkest spot, and how to use really poor stickytape and thin string to keep it there just long enough for me to come back and pick it up.  It is a really responsible job and I do it to the best of my ability.

And I have saved the best bit till last – I have been told I am to be promoted:  Senior Customer Service Officer.  If it comes through I won’t be visiting any more of those terrible hubs!  My job will be make sure the wine cellar is always well stocked and to ensure a plentiful supply of lobster and caviare!  Now what do you think of that Mum.

I started off this letter feeling rather glum but now I am on a high.  Imagine how high I can rise here!  I might even get to serve the food in the Executive Dining Room one day!  Imagine it – your son Bert, serving the lobster and caviare to the most important people in the district.

Well, better go:  my next training course is silver service – can’t wait!


Your loving son,



Which councillor is too busy?

29 Apr

Recall the non-Whip Phil Twiss said Stuart Hughes had to be relieved of his EDDC chairmanships because he was “too busy” with his DCC work – comprehensively refuted by Councillor Hughes himself?

Below is EDDC’s Leader, Paul Diviani’s list of his responsibilities on his DCC web profile:

and here is the equivalent for Councillor Hughes:

Which one is too busy to do two important jobs at the same time?

Some fascinating Local Plan history

26 Apr

On the. East Devon Alliance  website

which seems to confirm that the project started badly and did not improve.