• It was the subject of hopelessly crippled council finances debated at this morning’s Joint Budget Scrutiny committee that was the subject of ire. The council has now prepared its budget for 2015/16 and it isn’t pretty.  £50 million pounds must be slashed in the next financial year alone, which comes on top of tens of millions of pounds of cuts in the last few years. Just about all funding lines have been pared to the bone and beyond. Bus services (including at Ottery - blog coming soon) are set to be dramatically reduced, as are lollipop patrols. Highways budgets are eviscerated[...]

    Read more

    Last summer DEFRA hinted that it may want to cull the beavers and then indicated that they may be sent to a zoo. It also suggested that the beavers may be carrying a disease (the chance of this was remote and even more remote that humans could catch it). National online campaigns got underway fast and tens of thousands of people signed to protect the animals. I sent countless emails to DEFRA and to our MP, Hugo Swire, over the months, arguing for the animals to be allowed to stay.  I have carried out many media interviews on the benefits of them being here – and how much public support [...]

    Read more

    Ladbrokes now rate me at 10/1 - down from 12/1. Mr Swire’s odds have lengthened. The other parties odds remain static.

    Read more

    Here’s my manifesto - Here’s my manifesto - https://8c78c03a-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/realzorro1/CWrightJanFeb2015Leaflet.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7cqx3hGORmA_F_K7x7tir6y3SqzMpkRl9Q7Iy6E26GIU1kTizbQJGhFyEYTsja8AePlEmHf_FPS3tUC0Hd2IWOWux2e8NCSkxMZqX3utaP4oOS0PfTim6908Hxtazf0PAeqNZf6QSU9rpcBBawrKkbGalt1Ar-QjDr_WSr5NvEwUyuM4iqfKGsqlOgTKYNFXRslCWDF3zP_1VuFPVnV4daPaalCwYqWZXX9P2GeDmWFSXxOSVuw%3D&attredirects=0 See local blogger, The Real Zorro’s reaction here - http://realzorro1.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/claire-wright-launches-election.html

    Read more

    Thank you all so much for coming along this morning, it’s great to be here in sunny Exmouth. Lovely memories as a child playing on the beach and swimming year after year. I launch my manifesto pledges as we count down from 100 days to the General Election – so today is a significant date! I launched my parliamentary campaign seven months ago. I said then that I would spend six months listening to people’s views before drawing up my manifesto. That time has now come! Thanks to you, we have been able to leaflet the entire constituency! That’s 40,000 leaflets! And we are about to do [...]

    Read more

    Photograph:  Talking with Mark McGlade from Home Instead Senior Care.

    Read more

    But it still won’t be allowed to examine planning - the issue within the relationship that caused such controversy in 2012 and is still continuing to this day. East Devon Business Forum (now disbanded), with its large numbers of developer-landowner members, had a huge influence of the amount of employment land allocated in EDDC’s local plan.  And many of the members personally benefited from the relaxation in planning policy leading up to the local plan being prepared – a move driven by the forum.  Members of the forum had further industrial land allocations in the draft [...]

    Read more

    I made a proposal that the planning application to redevelop EDDC’s offices at Sidmouth after reading a number of paragraphs in last night’s report, which stated that the office relocation project finances were “at significant risk” until the potential bidder had secured planning consent for its plans. This would be because the council would have already spent a large sum of money on its new accommodation. This considerable and very worrying risk, was emphasised three times in the report in strong terms. It seemed to me that an impossible burden was being placed on the planning [...]

    Read more

    The views were expressed after I had asked for clarification on the basis for the emotive language used in the report on changing the set up for task and finish forums. The officer who was the author of the report said that she felt that members of the public watching the scrutiny function in those two task forums could have thought that the “credibility of the scrutiny function was undermined.” She said that she was “unhappy” that members had persisted in bringing in other factors which were “irrelevant” or “not constitutional.” The officer continued that she was “very [...]

    Read more

    It is proposed that the scope for TAFFs is discussed at the full overview and scrutiny committee meeting so that members do not use the forums to “pursue personal agendas.” Page 58 of today’s agenda states:“It is necessary for any TAFF member to understand the scope of the TAFF on which he/she sits and not to use it as a forum to hijack the the specific scope that has been set.” It goes on to say:  “The committee need to establish if the setting up of forums that result in members being able to pursue personal agendas are in fact damaging the reputation[...]

    Read more

    I should declare an interest I am a member of the NT and have been for many years. Excellent organisation, demonstrates a deep commitment to environmentalism. Octavia Hill was truly ahead of her time and we owe her a debt of gratitude. Trees subject very close to my heart but not an expert on trees. I just love them and want to protect them. It is in this context that I am speaking because as a councillor who deals with planning matters, one of my biggest frustrations, and also which makes me really angry, is when developers callously fell important (but unprotected) trees to make way for [...]

    Read more

    This is in effect, an official declaration of the company’s intention to lodge a planning application to quarry Straitgate. They have revealed that, at this stage, they are only able to dig out sand and gravel above the water table, which will only give them 1.2 million tonnes, which will only last four to five years. As this quantity is so diminished from their original plans, Aggregate Industries now intends to lodge a second application to extend permission for processing at Blackhill - despite all the environmental and sustainability constraints. It would appear that quarrying [...]

    Read more

    A TOP NHS official has promised to reveal the financial reasoning behind controversial proposals to get rid of some community hospital beds and Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) across East Devon, and look into alternative options. Councillors, GPs and volunteers met to discuss, and challenge proposals first announced in September by the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is £14m in debt. The CCG said its aim was to improve care in the community, increasing the number of healthcare professionals and therefore close hospital beds to fund this change. The [...]

    Read more

    More than 100 people crammed into the Clyst St George and Ebford Parish Hall. The meeting was chaired by Vaughan Rosser, chair of Ebford Residents Association, who started the meeting by informing everyone present that Hugo Swire had to leave dead on 7.30pm to enable him to catch a train back to London. Hugo Swire explained that he has no influence in planning matters unless there has been some wrongdoing.  But he did say that his job is to ensure that there is somewhere for children to go to school, and hospitals in which people are cared for. In justification for building some [...]

    Read more

    The revelation came at today’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee, where representatives from NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group were defending their decision to close all the beds at Torrington Hospital. Dr Wormesley made the comments after I asked some questions about the cost saving.  The figure reported in the papers was just under £250,000, but after I asked for clarification a couple of times on the cost saving, versus the spend on the provision of more services in the new bedless hospital, the committee received the information. The issue has rumbled on for about [...]

    Read more

    The matter, which will be discussed at Tuesday’s standards committee meeting, has been rumbling around for years, as I have been pursuing the issue with some alacrity, but there appears to have been some reluctance to agree to my suggestions of having an item on planning committee agendas for councillors to declare whether they have been lobbied on planning applications. I lodged a motion about a year ago, after I had no luck at getting the standards committee to address the issue previously. Here is the account of that motion, which caused much confusion among the Conservative group - [...]

    Read more

    I believe that the trial will provide an excellent opportunity to monitor a healthy community of beavers living in the wild, and to assess the consequences and impacts of a wild community of beavers on a river system. My understanding is that the animals’ activity will assist with improvements to water quality, biodiversity of flora and fauna, and is likely to reduce flood risk throughout the river catchment because of increased water storage. Such a study would allow scientific consideration of any benefits or disadvantages of a community of beavers existing in the wild. I note that the [...]

    Read more

    With local elections in East Devon taking place on 7 May (coinciding with the date for the General Election), Returning Officer Mark Williams will shortly be embarking on a mini tour of the district to explain the procedures for standing as candidates for towns, parishes or the district council. The events will be in Axminster, Cranbrook, Exmouth and Honiton. The roadshows are a repeat of an initiative Mark has undertaken every four years in the run-up to local elections to make people aware that they could play an active part in local democracy either representing their town or parish or [...]

    Read more

    As I see it, the NHS is one of the government’s core responsibilities, but senior Tories have previously gone on record indicating that they would be happy to see it privatised.  A system which works for the richest and abandons the poorest is not a system which an enlightened and civilised country should be aspiring towards. Instead of ploughing funding into a cash-strapped health service, the government instead spent BILLIONS of pounds on massive reorganisation - which Mr Cameron promised he wouldn’t do! Having spent the best part of 10 years working in the NHS I know just [...]

    Read more

    Including planning applications on their way in, the village is facing a development onslaught of well over 400 houses, which would swamp the primary school and local health services, say local people. 93 houses have already been approved on land adjacent to the village, which was the allocation for Clyst St Mary in East Devon District Council’s draft local plan. Sound familiar? Yes, like many other places Clyst St Mary is the latest community that seems to be attracting developers like moths to a candle flame.  Although it does seem to be under more pressure than any other [...]

    Read more

    BBC Spotlight ran a feature in its programme last night, on the strain that many schools are facing due to large amounts of house-building. The programme focused on the difficulties that a Cornwall primary school had. Both teachers and parents expressed concern. The figures for oversubscribed schools were:  Cornwall - 47, Plymouth - 38, Torbay - 4 and Devon - 50.  A statement from Devon County Council suggested that most people got their children into the school of their choice and problems were largely down to parents opting for more popular schools. Over-subscribed schools are [...]

    Read more

    It is proposed that 37 of the town’s beach huts “be absorbed into the Queen’s Drive redevelopment scheme.” This is controversial “Exmouth Splash” plans, that have been opposed by many people and will mean that several Exmouth seafront businesses lose their livelihoods, as the council moves to knock down long-standing and popular businesses, such as Exmouth Fun Park, and instead turn the area into car parks and unspecified attractions. Exmouth councillor, Eileen Wragg reacted angrily to the plans to demolish the beach huts, on this morning’s BBC Radio [...]

    Read more

    SAVE Clyst St Mary is a campaign started to object to large scale development in and around the village. It has been started by a group of local residents who want to protect the character of the village as they believe that substantial residential schemes, which would see the village grow by 120 per cent, will considerably alter the whole identity of the village. They also believe that the developments would have a detrimental effect on the local community by overloading the infrastructure (including an already heavily congested traffic system) causing potential increased flooding with the [...]

    Read more

    Here’s my article .... http://www.chatpolitics.org/why-run-as-an-independent/ And here’s the remarkable Oscar Pearson line-up of interviews - http://www.chatpolitics.org/interviews/ Enjoy!

    Read more

    The delivery weighed as much as a four-berth caravan and was the biggest order Sidmouth Print had ever received. Here’s Hugo’s assessment of his chances in May .... http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/game_on_for_may_election_1_3902106?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

    Read more