• I spent this morning, with members of my team, visiting residents in communities at Newcourt, Clyst Heath and Broadfields. Pic:  Talking to a very nice Mrs Taylor at Broadfields.

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    Hi Mark and Paul When I was reviewing the answers to the written questions at Wednesday’s full council meeting last evening, I realised that the judgement on key reports of the state of the Knowle that the Information Commissioner has ruled must be public, will be made two days after the decision on the office relocation. The move to schedule an extraordinary meeting to make a final decision on an unpopular office relocation, just a few days before purdah and the council elections - seems to me and many people to be profoundly undemocratic and quite wrong, as I outlined in my speech at full [...]

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    The council is battling the Information Commissioner’s disclosure ruling which insists that EDDC must release key reports on the state of the Knowle buildings. But EDDC has refused and last summer attended a tribunal in Exeter with its barristers, presided over by a judge. It is using a flimsy technicality to back up its case that reports should not be published. It is quite astonishing to me that in times of great financial hardship, that the Conservative leadership would waste taxpayers money on keeping reports from the public that the Information Commissioner has ruled that must be [...]

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    But in an answer both to mine and Cllr Susie Bond’s questions at the meeting, it was confirmed that the strategic housing market assessment (revised housing figures that we have all been waiting for, for almost one year) will be published in early March, with a report to the development management committee by the end of March, which will consider the new proposed housing numbers. The revisions to the local plan will then be submitted to the planning inspector who will then provide questions which EDDC will consult on. The consultation will start in mid April, continuing for one month. [...]

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    http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/letter-Hugo-Swire-Beware-voting-chaos-politics/story-26086041-detail/story.html

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    Claire Wright, the Independent fighting to be the next Member of Parliament for the East Devon constituency, is now regarded as the candidate most likely to unseat the current MP, Foreign Minister Hugo Swire. She is drawing ahead of the other three parties contesting the seat and the data implies that she is attracting support from many anxious to see a Conservative defeat.  Her odds, according to Ladbrokes, have changed from an initial 66/1 to 6/1, which are the best odds of any independent candidate in the UK. A spokesman for the company confirmed that “it is now definitely a two [...]

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    Much of the work was done by former Devon County Councillor, Roger Giles and West Hill Residents Association long before I came on the scene, but for whatever reason, mainly either a lack of funding or difficulty with coming to an agreement with the adjacent landowners about land purchase, it was unable to be progressed. Until this year!  It has been so important because of the speed that cars travel down West Hill Road, which is particularly dangerous at school pick up and drop off times.  Many parents have expressed concerns over the speed of traffic in this part of the village. [...]

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    Devon County Council proposes to include Straitgate Farm in its minerals plan and Aggregate Industries has spent around two years trying to overcome significant environmental difficulties, in order to get permission to quarry at Straitgate. To find out more, visit: West Hill British Legion on Monday 2 March, between 2pm and 6.30pm OR The Institute, Yonder Street, Ottery St Mary, on Tuesday 3 March, between 2pm and 8pm. Residents will be formally consulted once the planning application is submitted, so written comments can be sent then, which will be assessed by Devon County Council planning [...]

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    ......................................................................................... The Cabinet meeting scheduled for 18 March has been brought forward a week and will now be held on Wednesday 11 March 5.30 start (The agenda will include a report on the Office relocation) Cabinet members, Chairman of the Council and Chairman of O/S, please note that the Cabinet briefing will now be held before Council on 25 February (tomorrow) before Council. A joint meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Audit and Governance Committee will be held on Thursday 12 March at 5pm. This is an [...]

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    After a shaky start and the resignation of the chairman of the tree task forum within one hour back in December, Cllr Mike Howe now very ably, chairs the committee. Today we looked at enforcement, which I am hoping will be tightened, replacing trees lost to development with several to make up for the loss of an important tree, how the neighbourhood planning process can incorporate tree protection, prosecution and hedgerow protection legislation. We disagreed about the way to tackle developers felling unprotected trees. I was all for promoting a way forward that calls on government to protect [...]

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    If I became East Devon’s MP I would NOT take other paid work. I would dedicate myself 100 per cent to being a strong and hard-working constituency MP….. .... How many jobs does our current MP have?  And does he have the time to properly represent the people of East Devon?

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    The pub has been at risk ever since planning consent was given for dwellings on the very pretty garden of the pub a few years ago. Last year consent was given for a further two more dwellings and now the death knell has finally sounded, with a planning application submitted to demolish the pub and replace with a further three dwellings and a business unit, which the applicant says will be a wine bar. It has now been shut for some time. The applicant says in the design and access statement that “confidential” accounts from running the pub over the last three years have been [...]

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    Around 100 people turned out to hear Mr Swire’s views on their village being swamped with housing developments, which would grow the village by over 100 per cent, if approved, or allowed on appeal. Mr Swire was being asked many questions about the government’s position on a range of issues associated with development. The repeated mantra from Mr Swire, was that East Devon District Council was solely responsible for the planning mess East Devon is in, and that every community should draw up a neighbourhood plan. A lengthy, time-consuming and expensive process. I said that I had [...]

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    The motion had been recommended by cabinet for no further action because a group of government agencies in and around Exeter were collaborating on using hospital buildings. But I moved an amended to the cabinet recommendation asking the group (Integrated Care Exeter Group) to raise the issue at government level. Given that NHS Property Services, which is the organisation that seems to be rather gung ho about selling off hospitals which have had all their beds removed, would have the responsibility for deciding what happens to any such building, it made sense to refer the issue to central [...]

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    Claire Wright, the Independent candidate for the East Devon constituency and a Devon County Councillor, has ridiculed the current MP, Hugo Swire, for his claim that the county’s spending power would rise. He claimed that it would increase by 0.6 per cent which was “a good deal for East Devon”.  In fact, Devon County Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor John Clatworthy, confirmed at yesterday’s county council budget meeting (19th February) that its budget has been CUT by central government by over 13 per cent.  Claire Wright said: “Earlier, I challenged Mr Swire to speak [...]

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    The piece will be broadcast on Youtube in mid March….

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    It was great, with about 40 people present and lots of interested questions after my speech. The next public meeting will be at Topsham on Tuesday 3 March, 7pm at Matthews Hall. This Saturday morning (21 February) I will be visiting Clyst St Mary, Clyst St George and Woodbury. Next Saturday morning (28 February) I will be campaigning in the Exeter part of the constituency. Photograph:  Addressing Exmouth residents at Franklin’s Bar and Restaurant, The Strand, last night.

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    It was a great morning and I will be campaigning in a different community each Saturday from now on. Tuesday 17 February, 7pm Public meeting - Franklins Bar and Restaurant, The Strand - Exmouth Next Saturday morning (21 February) Woodbury, Clyst St George and Clyst St Mary See a full list of election events - public meetings and Saturday events - on the top link of this blog - http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/dates_for_your_diary_and_useful_information . Photograph: Chatting with Lympstone residents today ....

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    The information that has been, or will shortly be, received by EDDC will finally give an indication on how many houses should be built in the district, providing an “objectively assessed need”, which takes into account births, deaths, occupancy and affordable housing requirements, among other things. It is regarded as a technical assessment, which does not take into account constraints such as flood zones and national designations such as areas of outstanding natural beauty, for example. So why is EDDC being so shy about releasing the information - and moving things forward as fast[...]

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    Claire Wright, the Devon County Councillor and Independent candidate running against the current MP, Hugo Swire at the General Election, challenged her opponent last week. She reminded him that his website claimed that he would “speak up and vote for the people of East Devon”. She invited him to speak up when the House of Commons decided on Council Budget cuts for the next financial year. The leader of the Conservative-led Devon County Council, which has secured savings of £128 million since 2009, had warned that further cuts of £50 million will have to be made in the next financial [...]

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    But I have been forced back to bed because I am feeling too weak and shaky to stand up for more than a few minutes, let alone address a roomful of people at a campaign meeting. I am so sorry, I was so looking forward to this evening - my first public meeting too. I am SO disappointed I can’t be there. Instead, thanks to the efforts of my totally brilliant campaign team, a video will be broadcast of my launch event at Exmouth a couple of weeks ago and any questions will be relayed onto me. There will be another meeting in Sidmouth in a few weeks - and a whole series more to come. Dates to[...]

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    It was the third recent meeting in Clyst St Mary to discuss unpopular planning applications. The parish council had objected to the previous applications at Winslade Park and Cats Copse. Developers want to grow the village by over 100 per cent, with planning applications submitted for some 400 houses. The cause for such a large turnout on a cold night was an outline planning application for 40 dwellings on land off Clyst Valley Road, which would involve the demolition of a house. Planning consultant Charlie Hopkins, who had worked with the community on the earlier applications, explained the [...]

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    My particular concerns are: BIRD STRIKE Exeter Airport has long been concerned about a proposed quarry at Straitgate, which would be 6k from Exeter Airport, 90 seconds flying time from the airport, and directly under the flight path at a point where planes are flying at a height 200 metres. A quarry inevitably creates a void which fills with water and attracts birds. Landing and take-off are the most dangerous aspects of flying. It would be totally unacceptable to create such a hazard in such a location. The number of passengers and flights using Exeter Airport is projected to increase [...]

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    Claire Wright, the Devon County Councillor and Independent candidate running against the current MP, Hugo Swire, at the General Election, has challenged her opponent. “On 10th February, the House of Commons will be deciding on Council Budget cuts for the next financial year. The leader of the Conservative-led Devon County Council, which has secured savings of £128 million since 2009, has warned that further cuts of £50 million will have to be made in the next financial year and another £34 million in the following year. “In the past, Mr Swire, you have voted for annual cuts without [...]

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    It currently runs six days a week, nine times a day. £50m must be cut from the 15/16 budget, as part of the £110m cuts by 2017. Unsurprisingly, the people I talked to were shocked and very worried about the news.  I spoke to around 20 people, all of whom were elderly and didn’t have their own transport. They go shopping every day or three to four times a week because they can’t carry very much. They also told me that they struggle with Ottery’s hills. One lady I spoke to was partially sighted and said it would “finish her off” if the service was axed. They all said they [...]

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    EDDC Leader of the Independents, Cllr Ben Ingham has teamed up with the Alliance and the group has registered with the Electoral Commission in order to provide a support network for dozens of hopeful district councillors. The aim is to end the oppressive rule of the Conservatives at East Devon District Council, to be replaced by a fresh, new and progressive set of councillors. This morning at the Thomas Whitty Centre at Axminster the atmosphere was excited and electric, as Alliance chairman, Paul Arnott and Ben Ingham outlined their plans for a new forward-thinking council. Here’s [...]

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnTmlv9yONU

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