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Council Leader and CEO want to cosy up on their own in Museum!

7 May

Now THIS is a new idea!

We can just see Councillor Diviani and CEO Mark Williams in Thelma Hulbert with everyone else at Skypark!

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,



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.

Comprehensive Freedom of Information request on Knowle relocation

25 Apr

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.

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?

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?