• Dear Mr Osorio I was dismayed to read the news this morning about your decision to close 200 branches of Lloyds Bank with a loss of 3000 jobs. I realise that this must have been a horribly difficult decision to make as it will cause much hardship for your staff and for the communities where branches are closed. I felt I must write straightaway however, to implore you not to shut our Lloyds branch here in Ottery St Mary. Ottery’s branch is the only bank now left in the town, which has a population (including nearby villages) of around 10,000.  Hundreds of new houses are given planning [...]

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    Those of us worried about the dramatic decline in insects have been trying to work out a way forward that encourages biodiversity while simultaneously beautifying our communities with stunning arrays of wildflowers during the summer months. Since the 1930s around 97 per cent of wildflower meadows have been lost and the decline of bees in particular is alarming – thought to be due to a combination of climate change, habitat loss and pesticide use. According to the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, there has been a “severe decline” in the diversity of wild bees in the [...]

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    I have attended most of the confidential meetings over the past two years as Colin Butler, headteacher, Richard Power from the diocese and the governors desperately tried to come up with a solution to the repeated risk of (and actual) flooding, which has caused challenging conditions for staff and children, especially in 2008 when the school was badly flooded and has to be evacuated for several months. Just this year alone has already seen two flood clear up operations, in which the community (and I) pitched in to help clear up, along with the fire brigade. At one point in 2014, I thought it [...]

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    The announcement of May’s premiership on Monday came hours after the sensational resignation of Andrea Leadsom, following her unwise remarks to a Times journalist on motherhood.  Labour’s Angela Eagle, whose own leadership bid press conference also took place on Monday was somewhat eclipsed by the conservative party’s fast paced events. Yes we are still in the bizarre post Brexit world of political drama, where there seems to be a new major news story at least twice a day. While the right has now appeared to get its act together after what looked like a total schism just two weeks[...]

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    Alan White from NHS Property Services attended the briefing along with Martin Sheldon from Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG). Mr White told councillors that the private company, which is wholly owned by the secretary of state for health, will sign the contract to take over the 12 community hospitals, including Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth, Seaton, Axminster and Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, on 1 October. In May, around 200 people gathered to protest against the company taking over Ottery St Mary Hospital and charging rents at market value, despite [...]

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