• 2016 has also been peppered with a remarkably high number of celebrity deaths. I was particularly sad about losing Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne and Prince. Oddly many of my friends, family and acquaintances appear to have had a difficult 2016, or at least a year of significant change. I have supported (and continue to help) several friends through tough times. And my own life has also changed. [...]

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    As you will be aware, Devon County Council and our schools across the area were looking forward to these proposals as they had been led to believe by local MPs that it would be good news for Devon – and that the new funding formula – would live up to its name … and be fairer! The county is virtually at the bottom of the league table for schools funding and local schools are talking of [...]

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    Otter Rotters, which covers Ottery, as well as many other villages across East Devon has operated a green waste door to door collection for many years, avoiding compost ending up at landfill – which is environmentally unfriendly, undesirable and expensive. Roger Croad, portfolioholder for environment admitted at the full council meeting in December that he was not aware that these plans could [...]

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    This is a very serious issue. Images of so-called physically ‘perfect women’ have never been MORE unattainable. Not only are photos airbrushed - women are made thinner, bigger-breasted, longer legged etc, but famous women more than ever are undergoing expensive cosmetic procedures to look ‘perfect.’ It used to be a standing joke for a woman to say: “Does my bum look [...]

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    I believe Tipton St John and Feniton schools are set to receive increases but am waiting for confirmation on this….

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    I feel absolutely furious for local headteachers and furious for local parents and children. King’s is an excellent school and it has been managing to keep above water in recent years despite funding pressures, caused by government initiatives, which schools have not been compensated for - see this blog post for details - [...]

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    Last week every Devon County Councillor received a letter from the Devon Association of Primary Headteachers and the Devon Association of Secondary Heads (DAPH and DASH). The message is depressingly familiar.  And simply cements my long held belief that this government is steadily dismantling public services and instead squandering that money in tax breaks for the wealthy, government [...]

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    There was a steady flow of interested (and probably concerned) people to see AI`s proposals for a sand and gravel quarry at Straitgate Farm to the west of Ottery. I have vigorously opposed this unecessary and damaging proposal in the past. I have had a number of concerns over issues such as increased flood risk in Ottery, Salston, Cadhay and Coombelake; threat to ancient woodland at Cadhay Bog; [...]

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    In answers to my written questions submitted for today’s full council meeting, portfolioholder, Cllr Roger Croad insisted that the rates of green waste recycling would not reduce, despite the Ottery area’s kerbside collection scheme being at risk of closure meaning that local people would have to travel to dispose of their garden waste. He said that in his view there would be no impact[...]

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    In my speech I outlined the edited highlights (or lowlights depending on how you view it) of the report: - Out of 8000 UK species assessed, 15 per cent of those are extinct or threatened with extinction - We are almost at the bottom of a table of 218 countries ranked for biodiversity - 189th - Butterflies have declined by two per cent - Farmland birds have declined by 10 per cent - There are just [...]

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    Motion one called for an “urgent and significant increase in the level of funding to the NHS.” Motion two demanded the that the Success Regime be suspended while issues relating to the independence of its chair are investigated and for fairer funding for Devon . Despite both motions being from opposition councillors – Independent, Frank Biederman (which I seconded) and Libdem, Brian [...]

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    But Devon County Council says it can no longer afford to pay £58 per tonne of green waste collected and instead plans to decrease the rate to £25 a tonne. Devon County Council’s press release doesn’t give the whole picture and the new plans don’t allow for the costs incurred from Otter Rotters’ kerbside collection arrangement, in addition to the costs of running the composting [...]

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