• Trees and hedges are currently being planted around AI’s proposed quarry boundaries on Straitgate Farm. Planting ahead of an application is standard practice. The boreholes on and around the site are continually being monitored. In January, groundwater levels had already risen significantly - up five metres in one borehole within the proposed area of excavation! The consultants have [...]

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    I am writing to you in connection with the consultation regarding Devon Youth Service and this letter is on behalf of the Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary Local Action Group who have agreed its contents. I am the Community Safety and Anti Social Behaviour Officer employed by East Devon District Council. I have been in this role for nearly 10 years during which time I have become very familiar with the[...]

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    My (apparently very confusing) motion was this: “Openness and transparency in the planning process is vital. This council therefore agrees to include an item on the agenda of all development management committee and planning inspections committee meetings, requiring members of those committees to declare if and who they have been lobbied by, about items on the agenda.” In my speech I explained[...]

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01r46tb

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    The question was: “The Pulman’s View From newspaper of 11 February reports the corporate business portfolio holder as saying that “a bus service currently passing Skypark will be diverted to serve stops within Skypark when it is completed.” Devon County Council is responsible for the bus service. Would the portfolio holder indicate when Devon County Council made this [...]

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    Office move takes another step forward. Further research into the viability of the council’s office relocation to SkyPark was given the go ahead by full council last night (26 February). Council officers will now enter a further evaluation and negotiation phase with the preferred option of SkyPark. A report outlining whether the council should commit funding to the new headquarters is expected [...]

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    But during my motion on deferring the decision to buy Skypark land, which was voted down by the conservative group, senior conservatives were trying to pretend that the big decision before the council was just a matter of a preferred option! Cabinet councillors played it down, in an apparent attempt to mislead councillors, which I pointed out in my summing up speech. And myself and Roger Giles had[...]

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    Here’s my speech (sorry if a bit abbreviated in places) ........... More tomorrow…. Important to clarify that the recommendation from OSC was UNANIMOUS. I was asked by chief executive to make alterations including to insert the words “some councillors” referring to independent survey proposal. Council has a major PR problem with its office relocation project. And if it was bad [...]

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    I will enquire about my other Devon County Council villages, such as Sidbury, Tipton St John, Gittisham, Buckerell and Alfington, although I have found that getting information on this project is like pulling teeth, as there is a confidentiality agreement and timescales for receiving superfast broadband, very frustratingly, appear to be off-limits. The speeds will be lower the further away from [...]

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    I went along to the public rights of way committee meeting this afternoon and spoke in support of the officer recommendation, on wildlife and precious countryside grounds. Fire Beacon Hill is precious and a haven for walkers and wildlife - it is a nature reserve after all. And one of very few places where the rare Dartford Warbler makes an appearance. It must be protected and I am very glad that [...]

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    Fortunately, it looks as though the bungling proposals may have been saved by Sarah Wollaston who has spoken out against them. Well done Dr Wollaston. Let’s hope he and his cabinet colleagues actually listen this time. Here’s the link (and story below) in today’s Western Morning News - [...]

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    ************************************ Dear Andrew Can you spare a few moments to let me know if you were among the many Conservative councillors who voted “en bloc” to deny the many young people, who attended the DCC meeting yesterday, the chance to address Council? I understand that Cllr Hughes ( chair ) declined to allow the suspension of standing orders to allow this group to speak [...]

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    Here’s the statement, released by UK Youth Parliament member, 16 year old George Downs, on behalf of the campaigners ........................ “When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.“ This is Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, [...]

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    The decision was issued this morning. As adjacent ward member representing the residents at Higher Metcombe, I accompanied the planning inspector, EDDC’s appeals officer and the applicant, on a site inspection last month. The appellant, Chris Down, comes in quite a bit of criticism from the planning inspector, for either failing to provide important information, or not backing up statements[...]

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