• WHEN Paul Diviani was elected Leader of East Devon District Council he made the pledge that he and his administration would be “clean, green and seen”. Clean? I am not sure what he meant, it might have been a promise about rubbish collection, but the scandals that have beset him – particularly that of disgraced ex-councillor Graham Brown – have ensured that “clean” cannot apply to our council at this time.. He was simultaneously a builder, planning consultant, councillor in charge of drafting the Local Plan, and chairman of the dubious East Devon Business Forum (a group of [...]

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    East Devon District Councillors were told at a meeting with NEWDevon Clinical Commissioning Group doctors on 24 September at The Knowle, that a reason for East Devon community hospitals to lose all their in-patient beds was because some of the hospitals were “considered unsafe”. Cllr Roger Giles (Ottery Town – Independent) expressed concern at this comment, and asked which of the community hospitals in East Devon were considered unsafe. Dr Mike Slot said that he had mis-spoken. He said Axminster, Ottery and Seaton Hospitals were not unsafe at the moment, but at risk of becoming unsafe [...]

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    Plans to close more than half of Devon’s libraries have been shelved by the county council.The local authority had proposed cutting funding to 28 smaller libraries around the county to save £1.5m. After a consultation, it said it was considering a new approach involving a pilot of 10 communities working with professionals to run the service. The buildings and staff in those areas would become part of new trusts, separate from the council. Details of which communities will be part of the pilot scheme will be revealed on Wednesday. Previously a briefing paper from Devon County Council [...]

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    Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats. The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found. “If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. [...]

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    An email sent to the standards committee and copied to all councillors states: “You will recall that as a committee you have asked for a report on lobbying to be presented. “Unfortunately due to a number of factors, including the Monitoring Officer’s departure and other legal deadlines, it has not been possible to produce the report in time for the 7th and therefore, rather than delaying the item until January, it has been decided to postpone the meeting by a few weeks to allow this report to be prepared.” The meeting will now start at 10am on Tuesday 28 October. I will [...]

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    East Devon’s MP has stepped into fast-track the clearing of drains in Ottery town centre in a bid to reduce the risk of further flooding this winter. Following a meeting with mayor, Glyn Dobson, Hugo Swire spoke with highways officials at Devon County Council (DCC) to request that the blocked drains and gullies be cleaned as soon as possible. Mr Swire said:  “Although I am happy to help with this problem, I would have thought that Ottery’s county councillor would have sorted this by now. “Unfortunately, I felt compelled to intervene as no such progress has been [...]

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    THE chief executive of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (RD&E) has welcomed proposals to integrate all elements of health and social care. That’s despite the fact that the move could lead to bed closures in the longer term. The North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is £14m in debt, unveiled its plans on Wednesday, September 17. In East and Mid Devon Ottery St Mary, Axminster and Crediton are set to lose beds with Ottery also set to lose its Minor Injuries Unit, threatening the future of the hospital. Yet despite telling Devon County Council’s [...]

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    https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/govt-plans-capture-devon-beavers-may-be-unlawful-warns-friends-earth Dear Hugo I have read with interest and growing concern the press release published by Friends of the Earth today (link above) about our wild beavers living on the Otter. Friends of the Earth has pointed out that our beavers should be covered by EU laws that protect the animals - and so any capture may be unlawful. You will be aware of the huge support locally there is for the beavers living wild and free on the river.  I understand that the traps to capture the animals are[...]

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    https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/govt-plans-capture-devon-beavers-may-be-unlawful-warns-friends-earth Friends of the Earth has today (Thursday 25 September) called for an immediate halt to Government plans to capture wild beavers on the River Otter in Devon, warning that any such moves may be unlawful. In a letter sent to Environment Secretary Liz Truss, the environmental charity outlined its concerns regarding the legality of capturing the beavers, explaining that since Britain formed part of the natural range of beavers - and since there were already free living populations [...]

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    OTTERY St Mary Town Council is writing to East Devon District Council to express concerns about the integrity of a former councillor’s application to lift a planning restriction which could knock an estimated £300,000 off the value of his farmhouse. Members of the town council’s planning committee met to discuss the application by former Feniton and Buckerell ward member Graham Brown and highlighted several inconsistencies and contradictions in Mr Brown’s evidence. As previously reported by the Echo, Mr Brown – a planning consultant who resigned from the district council last year [...]

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    Sidmouth resident, Jeremy Woodward has been informed that the published decision has been “delayed by a few weeks after 16 October,” to allow more time for evidence to be submitted by both sides. Last month, dozens of East Devon residents observed a court hearing with the Information Commissioner (ICO) battling it out against East Devon District Council, following the ICO’s ruling that EDDC should make public a series of reports about the state of the Knowle buildings. EDDC refused to release the information and appealed the ICO’s ruling, which culminated in a court [...]

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    A former Tory councillor wants to lift a planning restriction which knocks an estimated £300,000 off the value of his farmhouse because he is no longer working in agriculture. Graham Brown - a planning consultant who resigned from East Devon District Council (EDDC) last year after being caught on camera boasting to reporters posing as overseas investors - is attempting to lift a condition which restricts the use of Ware Farm to those employed in agriculture. The Conservative claims he has not been using the house, in Ottery St Mary, to conduct agriculture from - a condition of the original [...]

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    Motion 1 1.This council recognises the importance of properly funded democratically accountable health services. The council also recognises the importance of the availability of sufficient health services to meet the needs of additional housing provision. In order that sufficient health services are available, and that services can be increased where necessary, the council considers that health services should be a material consideration when councils determine planning applications. This council therefore agrees to ask the Local Government Association to request the Government to amend [...]

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    On Tuesday 7 October, at 7.30pm, at The Institute, Yonder Street. No need to book. See you there!

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    Dear Claire Thank you for your recent emails concerning the beavers on the river Otter. This situation continues to be of considerable interest to my constituents as you might imagine. I continue to be in regular touch with both DEFRA and the Devon Wildlife Trust following the meeting I arranged with the Minister, Lord de Mauley from whom I am still awaiting answers to the specific questions you raised in your email of 21st August. The present situation remains that the Devon Wildlife Trust are still in the process of applying for a licence to enable the beavers to return to the river Otter [...]

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    Disappearing comments

    20 Sep 2014 | News

    I had not received comments from the residents concerned and sometimes this does happen. For whatever reason a comment simply does not get through to me.  My best advice on this is to copy and paste your comment into the comment box from another document so if it doesn’t appear, you can try again.  I will only edit or delete comments if they are abusive, defamatory, or if I have good reason to believe that a malicious comment is posted under a false name..  Here’s the policy I drew up earlier this year - [...]

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    The NHS consultation plans were published on Wednesday without financial information to put the proposals into context. The North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) proposes to close all in-patient beds at two community hospitals in East Devon –Axminster and Ottery. And close the minor injuries unit at Ottery. At yesterday’s Devon County Council health and wellbeing scrutiny meeting yesterday, I made a proposal for a recommendation that information on the financial case be provided as part of the consultation process.  This was agreed. Royal Devon & [...]

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    Plans to close community hospital beds in Devon have come under scrutiny less than 24 hours after the announcement. The North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG), which is £14m in debt, unveiled its bed closure programme at its annual general meeting on Wednesday. Yesterday, Devon County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee criticised the proposals and called for financial information to be released by NHS officials. The meeting heard that Axminster, Crediton and Ottery St Mary are to close beds at a time when the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital [...]

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    He added that it was not a time for “whipping up excitement.” Mr Swire confirmed that he would be asking the North, East and West Devon’s clinical commissioning group for its methodology. Here’s the iplayer link to this morning’s programme. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004kfx1 Mr Swire is interviewed at about 8.10am and my full interview is played in the first half an hour. Other interviews with GPs, leagues of friends are featured throughout the programme. This afternoon, Devon County Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee will be [...]

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    At North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) AGM this afternoon, proposals to close all hospital beds at Ottery and Axminster in East Devon, were revealed…. with interesting timing as the Scots go to the polls tomorrow to vote on independence! The NHS also proposes to shut Sidmouth Hospital’s minor injuries unit. Budleigh Salterton residents have already seen their hospital beds shut. Other bed closures have been announced further elsewhere in Devon. Roger Giles and I attended the AGM this afternoon and I was interviewed by Sally Mountjoy of BBC [...]

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    At noon on Sunday 21st September a Climate Change Conversation is to take place on Sidmouth Esplanade. One of thousands of events run by hundreds of organisations (Oxfam, Christian Aid, Sidmouth Vision Group, etc.) from Bradninch to New York, London and around the world, the aim is to send a message to the 23rd September emergency climate summit of world leaders at the United Nations. “In Sidmouth we love ❤ island nations especially those who, unlike us, have no higher ground to retreat to,” said sea-level Sidmouth resident Robert Crick, 70. “At the eleventh hour (11 a.m. BST) [...]

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    “It’s a serious threat to British democracy from Brussels.” “Faceless EU bureaucrats threaten to impose laws without the consent of the British people.” Both these statements could succinctly, and accurately, describe the proposed transatlantic trade and investment partnership – TTIP – between the European Union and the United States. But David Cameron is not scuttling to Brussels to display his bulldog spirit as he vetoes an attack on our country’s sovereignty. Nor will you catch Ukip issuing chilling warnings about EU rule. On the contrary, the Ukip MEP Roger Helmer says: [...]

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    Photograph:  Chatting with Katy Brittain today, who helps run Daffy Down Dilly (yummy) sweet shop.

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    The news comes as the North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) prepares to reveal its plans for community hospital bed closures next Wednesday (17 September). Hundreds of residents in the East Devon constituency have completed my questionnaire, which will form the basis of my manifesto, on which I will run for Parliament on next year. I asked which services they would choose to protect from budget cuts and around 80 per cent selected health services. During my canvassing sessions, local residents are telling me that they fear for the future of our community [...]

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    A disgraced former councillor is seeking a ‘certificate of lawfulness’ for his Ottery St Mary farm house - after breaching a planning condition for more than a decade. Graham Brown, who is also a past chairman of the controversial East Devon Business Forum, is applying on the basis he has not been using the house to conduct agriculture from – a condition of the original planning permission. In March last year, former Feniton and Buckerell councillor Mr Brown resigned his seat after he was caught on camera boasting that he could secure planning permission as part of his [...]

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    PUBLIC MEETINGS Seaton—Tuesday 23 September 2014 Seaton Town Hall, Fore Street, Seaton EX12 2LD 6.00pm-8.00pm * * * Honiton—Wednesday 15 October 2014 Mackarness Hall, High Street, Honiton EX14 1PG 6.00pm-8.00pm * * * Axminster—Tuesday 21 October 2014 Axminster Guildhall, West Street, Axminster EX13 5NX 5.00pm-7.00pm * * * Ottery St Mary—Thursday 6 November 2014 Ottery St Mary Football Club, Butts Road, Ottery St Mary EX11 1EL 6.00pm-8.00pm * * Sidmouth—Tuesday 11 November 2014 Stowford Community Centre, Chambers Close, Sidmouth EX10 9YL 6.00pm-8.00pm If you would like to find out [...]

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    A Devon County Council officer advises me: “Since the map was prepared (last year), the Government has launched a new licensing round for oil and gas, and the pink area equates to the area being offered for licensing. “The map shows areas of Blue Lias within East Devon, which is a shale resource that has potential for shale gas elsewhere in southern England. “However, in East Devon this is unlikely to occur at the depth required (at least 1500 metres) for shale gas to either form or be capable of extraction.” “It does not follow that all of these areas will have [...]

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    The view from the landscape impact statutory consultee, Natural England, was that the impact of the application would be damaging. The two AONB teams agreed. Relatively strong language was used, such as “a significant intrusion of the built area into the rural landscape west of Honiton….” and other similar phrases. I was shocked that Devon County Council’s request for section 106 funding (standard funding to make a development less damaging) was refused.  DCC education teams requested over £800,000 as the local (Honiton) primary schools were at capacity, shortly [...]

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    A plan to provide about 3.5m new homes in England by allowing up to 40 towns and cities to double in size and become garden cities has been unveiled. The scheme was announced as the winner of the £250,000 Wolfson Prize, the second biggest economic prize in the world after the Nobel Prize. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are keen to see more garden cities as a way of tackling the housing shortage and will study the blueprint closely. George Osborne, the Chancellor, has announced a garden city in Ebbsfleet, Kent, with an initial 15,000 homes. But Conservative ministers are wary of supporting [...]

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    It had for some time, been on the agenda for Devon County Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee meeting, of 18 September. But last week local health service managers confirmed that they were releasing detailed plans for community hospital bed losses and other changes, on 17 September, leaving 24 hours or less for the documentation to be read by the committee.  This was clearly an unacceptable situation. It has now been agreed that the issue will be considered by the health scrutiny committee on Monday 17 November, 2pm, at County Hall.  This will allow not just a [...]

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    CABINET WILL HEAR OF PROMISES KEPT AND FRESH CHALLENGES AHEAD Members of East Devon District Council will tomorrow (Wednesday) hear how well the authority is doing at delivering its promises and staying within budget, as well as the main aims it hopes to achieve in the coming year. The information comes in the form of an annual report for 2013-14, highlighting the council’s performance against the four priorities in the Council Plan 2012-16, and looking ahead to future aspirations. The report also records levels of satisfaction among residents as collected in a Viewpoint survey sent to a [...]

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    Cllr Roger Giles proposed that the council ask East Devon MP, Hugo Swire, to insist that DEFRA return the beavers to the river as soon as they have been tested for a disease DEFRA claims they might have. But most beaver experts are sceptical that they have the disease and instead fear it is a ruse to remove the animals from the river. Devon Wildlife Trust has been lobbying DEFRA for them to be allowed to remain on the river monitored carefully by the trust. Unfortunately, DEFRA seem only to want to listen to the Angling Trust, which has previously invited its members to shoot the animals on [...]

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    The application was approved earlier this summer by EDDC’s planning committee. But a threatened legal challenge by Gittisham Parish Council over a lack of a landscape appraisal among other issues, means that EDDC was forced to reconsider its position. The planning application is on land adjacent to an area of outstanding natural beauty. The land is a reserve site in the draft local plan. The justification for approval is a lack of a five year land supply and an out-of-date local plan. The recommendation by officers for Friday’s meeting remains approval. Here’s the [...]

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    Dear Hugo, I wonder if you have had chance to consider this proposal yet?  I am keen to get things moving because I believe that DEFRA intends to trap the beavers soon. Kind regards Claire From: Claire Wright [mailto:claire@claire-wright.org] Sent: 23 August 2014 09:56 To: ‘swireh@parliament.uk’ Subject: DEFRA officials meeting at Ottery about plans for the beavers Dear Hugo I have been asked by an Ottery resident, Tom Buckley, if I would organise a meeting in the town for DEFRA officials to come along to talk to local people about the government’s plans for the [...]

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    The December full council meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday 17 December, just a few days before Christmas. I don’t think it is fair that such a major decision is being made so close to Christmas, when officers, councillors and residents will be distracted by preparations. I have asked whether consideration can be given to delaying the meeting to early January, when everyone is more able to focus on the task in hand.

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