• .... Highways officers advised that speed cushions were necessary following the introduction of the missing link pavement on West Hill Road, which was completed about a year ago. I conducted a straw poll just about a year ago to gauge people’s views on whether they wanted speed calming and if so, whether the cushions proposed were acceptable.  Highways officers had recommended the small square cushions.  Out of around 50-60 people surveyed over about three hours, almost all were in favour of speed cushions specifically of this design, in order to slow the traffic, especially for [...]

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    Mr Swire claims in his letter that NHS Property Services do not have the power to sell Ottery Hospital, as the local NHS has indicated that it has ruled out shutting up and selling it. He might hope that this is the case but the reality is that if the local NHS cannot afford the rents - a huge problem in itself - they may be forced to allow NHS Property Services to sell. And as for refusing to speak to Jeremy Hunt on the issue of unacceptably high rents and the clear inability of a health trust to pay that rent, on an issue that is of huge concern to constituents across Ottery, Sidmouth, [...]

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    There is a massive and ongoing public concern about big businesses avoiding paying their fair share of tax and this motion - if all councils implemented it, would send a clear and unequivocal message that it is not morally right and nor should it be tolerated.  It would be really simple for officers to implement, with just an amendment to a questionnaire. It would also, I would have thought, be welcomed by the myriad of small businesses in Devon, who would be penalised heavily for not paying their fair share of tax - and who have to watch as their multi-national rivals, get away with [...]

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    Ottery Hospital’s League of Friends members Adrian Rutter and David Roberts were interviewed expressing serious concern about the government owned company charging local NHS organisations commercial rents after acquiring them - and the possibility of the buildings being sold off if the NHS cannot afford the rents. However, Hugo Swire seemed (after claiming such concerns were alarmist - I also wrote to him last week about this very issue) - to dismiss the idea, instead suggesting that it was up to the community to take out a lease on the buildings. This is unbelievable.  [...]

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    “Special thanks must go to the parents and the fire brigade for their support again with the clear up. We could not get the school back to working order without the help of the community.” Colin Butler, Executive Headteacher Tipton St. John Church of England Primary School site was flooded AGAIN on Saturday 26th March 2016, in the wake of storm Katie which brought heavy rain, floodwater inland and on the coast strong winds. The school grounds were inundated with water and mud from the surrounding farmland making them unsafe and therefore unusable by the children. It was a close call as the[...]

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    Currently, Devon County Council legally complies with government requirements on rooting out suppliers which have broken the law on evading tax.  The council also complies with government requirements on asking suppliers to disclose whether they have practiced aggressive tax avoidance on contracts worth over £5m. My motion, which is linked to the Fair Tax Mark campaign - see - http://www.fairtaxmark.net/who-we-are/ec/  - calls on the council to reduce the threshold for disclosing aggressive tax avoidance practices, down to contracts worth £164,000. There is a provision in [...]

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    I expect that you have heard about Ottery St Mary Hospital’s latest plight – that the building is set shortly to be acquired by NHS Property Services which has the ability to charge commercial rents to NHS organisations. You will be aware that NEW Devon CCG intends to set up a health hub once the remainder of the beds are removed later this year but the latest news means that if commercial rents are charged (very likely) it may be unaffordable to continue to use the building, after which NHS Property Services may well sell it off. I am sure you will be familiar with the financial position[...]

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