• Question 1: Procedure Rule 9.2 to the Leader of the Council from Councillor Ben Ingham After the East Devon Local Plan was rejected by the Inspector, we were told to expect the SHMA during June. Then an EDDC officer would consider the implications, producing a new report in time to go to the DMC on 1st July. This deadline has been missed due to EDDC’s failure to complete the population model on time. What is the new deadline for the officer’s report? In the recent report to Audit & Governance, Members were told that if the housing figures are about right, the EDLP could go [...]

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    In what might be described as rather ironic timing, the move came just a day after East Devon District Council voted through proposals to dramatically restrict public speaking at planning committee meetings. Devon County Council’s public speaking rules will be relaxed to allow members of the public to ask and questions and make statements at joint budget scrutiny committee meetings and full council meetings. Instead of having to register almost a week in advance, new rules mean that they will now need to register 24 hours ahead. The new rules, although welcome, have not gone as far as I [...]

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    A baying mob ...

    23 Jul 2014 | News

    I won’t write a full post now, however, I will say that amid much loud jeering and unpleasantness by the tories, Cllr Ray Bloxham levelled a false allegation against me relating to this blog and that I was not given an opportunity to demand that he retract it, as the chief executive prevented the chairman from allowing me to speak. I will be contacting Cllr Bloxham to ask him to retract it. He does know what he said was untrue as there have been discussions at senior officer level about it. Public speaking restrictions voted through The main news of the evening is that the public [...]

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    1. Is the leader aware of the growing support, including among local MPs, for a cut in tourism VAT? 2. It was agreed that a task and finish forum would be set up to look at better protecting our trees, last October.  As yet there has been no progress. Can the portfolioholder for the environment please confirm when the first meeting will take place? 3.  Can the leader please explain why this council has appealed against an information commissioner’s ruling on publishing an important survey on the state of the Knowle buildings? 4. Please confirm the cost to EDDC, of the [...]

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    It was an excellent day with many many interested people and lots of offers of help.

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    The exhibition took place last Wednesday (16 July) at West Hill’s Royal British Legion. Charles Church, a branch of Persimmon, is submitting the planning application, on land adjacent to Ash Hill Road, off Higher Broad Oak Road. The developers are justifying their application on the basis of a lack of a required five year housing land supply and an out-of-date local plan. It is around one mile from the centre of the village. Photograph: Residents eyeing the plans for Persimmon’s proposed development off Ash Hill Road.

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    The friends of Ottery Library (FOOL) have been active in discussions with a number of local groups, including the Town Council, on how to save the library as Devon County Council intend to cut overall library expenditure by £1.5 million by 2017. Chairman James Goddard said: “We’ve had support from individuals and our discussions with schools, the Chamber of Commerce and others has been encouraging. Additionally, we have used social media to good effect.” Responses to the Devon County Council questionnaire had to be submitted by 17th July and we thank all those who participated. Our[...]

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    Ottery’s library is in a building around 100 years old, which is clearly unsuitable for its current use, as it is small without disabled access, although staff do their best for less mobile visitors. It has lacked investment over the years, perhaps because of its age.  Ottery St Mary Town Council owns the building and DCC pays rent. Ottery’s library is very popular, and although it has seen a reduction in visitor numbers in the past two to three years, this is in line with other libraries across the county when the hours were cut in the last administration. It provides an important [...]

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    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/16/battle-stop-capture-englands-first-wild-beavers?commentpage=1

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    The skies were a bit dark and cloudy but the afternoon sped by as I joined in the activities and chatted to residents.  There were flowers for sale, an excellent bookstall, hoopla, raffle and bric a brac. I spent AGES trying to work out what a range of antique tools were used for, scoring a not very impressive two out of 10.  I did successfully hoopla the chocolates I was aiming at. But they weren’t hooplad quite perfectly so I lost out! I also managed to unsuccessfully guess the number of sweets in a jar - and the weight of a tasty looking (and very heavy) cake. I declined [...]

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    A public consultation ends tomorrow, and if proposals are agreed, Ottery’s popular library will no longer be funded by the council. Instead, volunteers will be needed to run it. Several schools have urged parents to support the library, including West Hill Primary School. Here’s their flyer that was issued last week ................. HELP! Ottery St Mary Library needs us! Dear Parents As you may be aware, Devon County Council is at present consulting on what to do about the majority of its smaller libraries, in order to maintain services while reducing costs. Consequently, Ottery [...]

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    Sidmouth resident, Jeremy Woodward requested under the Freedom of Information Act, a copy of the Knowle buildings survey but the request was rejected. Mr Woodward then referred the request to the Information Commissioner, who ordered the council to release the report, but EDDC has appealed the ruling. Mr Woodward told the Pulman’s View From Series this week: “The Information Commissioner wants EDDC to make public the report on the state of the Knowle buildings - becuase they say it was produced by external, independent consultants. But EDDC has insisted it was an internal matter to[...]

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    Following enquiries from residents I enquired about the situation from Devon County Council officers who got in touch with BT who confirmed that work to deliver broadband improvements to 10 cabinets requires “significant infrastructure build” ... which need “road closures that have been hard to programme in.” Engineers confirm that once the infrastructure has been built then the cabinets can all be upgraded. Work will take place around September time providing that engineers don’t find any further problems. High speed broadband was set to come to the Ottery area [...]

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    At the EDDC audit and governance meeting last month (26 June), a councillor can be heard on its audio recording, enquiring about the status of the investigation as he understands that Mr Brown went to see the police with his solicitor and was informed that the investigation had concluded. He adds that several other councillors were also reporting this. A senior EDDC officer replies that the council believed that the investigation was still live. But the councillor is insistent that he has heard differently and asks the officer for clarification, appearing to refer to next year’s council [...]

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    Government plans to capture a family of beavers roaming wild in Devon could take months, the Western Morning News understands. Officials at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have conceded the animals will be extremely difficult to round up, meaning they are to enjoy an extending period of freedom. Beavers, once native to the UK, were hunted to extinction here 500 years ago as they were prized for their fur, meat and scent glands. The three rodents were filmed together earlier this year – a sighting wildlife experts suggested was “highly significant” as it[...]

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    https://susiebond.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/further-delay-in-determining-application-for-300-homes-on-edge-of-honiton/

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    According to last Friday’s Guardian, Mr Swire sold a jar of honey made by his own bees for the princely sum. Other highlights from the party in Fulham, which was attended by hedge fund billionnaires and the JMH property company, included invites for bids for a game of tennis with the prime minister and Boris Johnson. Someone reportedly paid £160,000 for this privilege. A bottle of champagne signed by Mrs Thatcher sold for £45,000. Donors bought tables for up to £12,000 each. A “fanstastic eight-gun pheasant shoot” at Tusmore, the Oxfordshire estate of the Syrian born [...]

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    I had asked for an agenda item at the April procedures committee meeting, after February’s full council budget meeting, where a group of young people from across Devon had been refused to address the council. Since then, two scrutiny committee meetings have hit the headlines, due to its chairman not allowing members of the public to address the committee.  This caused considerable anger among councillors and members of the public. I argued at full council in June, that the current rules were restrictive and were preventing members of the public from getting involved with important [...]

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    Last December, a major row broke out at a town council meeting over the publication on this blog, of information that the council would meet privately with Persimmon. Cllr Roger Giles was the main focus for the unpleasantness. This evening, mayor, Cllr Glyn Dobson said that two Ottery town councillors had contacted the monitoring officer requesting that her report not be published. The monitoring officer supported the two councillors and confirmed that she agreed with their position. All other town councillors had given their consent for the full report to be made public. West Hill resident, [...]

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    See Cllr Susie Bond’s blog to find out why….. http://susiebond.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/for-the-third-time-of-asking-land-west-of-hayne-lane/ To read what happened when the application was approved last month, see this post - http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/300_houses_between_gittisham_and_honiton_approved

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    Concern was raised when East Devon councillors received a paper and invite to a private meeting taking place this week (Thursday 10 July), which will consider ways of making the best of use of council meetings. Prepared by conservative cabinet member, Cllr Ray Bloxham, the paper lists a number of matters for consideration, which, if adopted by full council, would mean restrictions for opposition councillors. These include: 1. Referring policy discussions by committees, to full council for a general steer at an early stage. 2. Supplementary questions being abolished, with member questions at [...]

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    The chairman, James Goddard, told a meeting of friends, held in the library on 1st July, “we know that times are hard for many local organisations but we believe that our efficient and valuable library deserves to survive and to continue serving the people of Ottery and district. We shall be doing all we can to help achieve this. Please complete the survey forms in the library and let us have your views on our library and how we can save it. Everyone is welcome to attend our next meeting, in the library, at 7.00 pm on 5th August.” Devon County Council are intending to cut library [...]

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    A report from the county solicitor recommends that the committee (which I am a member of) considers various options, including one from me relating to “an open forum” style facility for the public to speak at all meetings of the council, cabinet and scrutiny committees - on any matter on the agenda for each meeting without notice, for up to three minutes each, within a maximum time of 15 minutes. To view the full paper and other options see the agenda here - http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/councildemocracy/decision_making/cma/cma_document.htm?cmadoc=agenda_prc_20140707.html [...]

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    Many questionnaires were completed and I received some welcome offers of help. I spoke to Ocean (pictured), who is concerned about environmental issues. Sidmouth resident, and talented poem and song-writer, Robert Crick, kindly helped me this morning.  He even managed to restrain his natural desire to burst into song loudly, even though it would have been quite fun if he had! Photograph: With Ocean and Robert Crick.

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    Of course, the most special thing was the fact that Fingle Woods is an almost incomparably beautiful place. The focal point is a clear fast flowing river, peppered with large granite rocks. Either side of the river is a steep valley, absolutely full of mature trees - oaks, beeches and other species in all their leafy summer glory. I have fun memories of when I was growing up, trudging along the footpath next to the river, scrambling over the rocks, with my sister and parents and then taking the steep climb up to the Hunters’s footpath, with its magnificent views across the valley, past the [...]

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    Devon County Council has formally rejected an application by Knowle Residents’ Association (KRA) to make East Devon District Council’s site at Knowle into a Town and Village Green (TVG).  This paves the way for EDDC to fulfil its commitment to market the site for development and get a price that will help to pay the cost of moving to a modern HQ building. In his report, the inspector commissioned by Devon County recommended rejection of the KRA’s application. This was based not only on the particulars of the Knowle application but also the relevance of a recent Supreme Court [...]

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    The discussions concerned Straitgate, Rockbeare, Marshbroadmoor, Venn Ottery and Blackhill quarries.  The area is being looked at as a whole, as restoration would make up an important part of any agreement. AI is still aiming to submit a planning application later this year, subject to persuading the Environment Agency and other statutory bodies that its proposals are acceptable. However, with a smaller recoverable resource, AI and its Swiss paymasters will no doubt need to assess the financial viability of any scheme. Devon County Council has informed us that AI’s final campaign at[...]

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    Cutting back on hospital services in England - before community services are geared up to provide care - is a “recipe for disaster”, MPs say. The Health Select Committee said the NHS faced “one of its greatest challenges” dealing with patients with long-term conditions, such as diabetes. They account for 70% of health spending but only 30% of patients. The NHS has tried to ensure more care is done in the community, but the MPs questioned the wisdom of this strategy. The cross-party group said these patients would still need specialist hospital care. The MPs acknowledged[...]

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    I received an email today from a member of his staff, confirming that he is to meet with Lord De Mauley, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science, next week to discuss the issue. Mr Paterson has not yet replied to Mr Swire about my initial concerns about capturing the animals. I am informed that a reply is expected imminently however. A letter from Lord De Mauley to the Angling Trust - link below - reveals that the Scottish beaver trial will finish next year and Scottish ministers have already decided to introduce the beaver there…. so why is our [...]

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    Will be back again next week! Photograph:  With Jackie Hayward completing my questionnaire, who runs “Franklin’s” restaurant in the Strand, with her husband.  Link here to the online version - https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/eastdevonpriorities The responses to the questionnaire, as well as my conversations with people from across the constituency, will help inform my manifesto.

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    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/defra-leave-the-beavers-on-the-river-otter-alone-do-not-cull-remove-or-disturb-them-in-any-way?recruiter=45883756&utm_campaign=twitter_link_action_box&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition

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    On the agenda is: - A response to Devon County Council’s consultation on withdrawing funding to Ottery’s library - A report on in-patient services at Ottery St Mary Hospital, which is at risk of losing some, if not all of its beds - Considering the future of youth services in the town - To decide whether to press ahead with a neighbourhood plan for West Hill - To decide on any actions from a report from EDDC’s monitoring officer, following the unpleasant behaviour towards Cllr Roger Giles at Ottery Town Council’s meeting in December 2013 - To decide who will sit on a [...]

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