• Have you ever wondered how an Independent with just a few friends but lacking a party machine, finance and experienced professionals can win more than 13,000 votes in a General Election? If so, come to the new Ottery St Mary library on 16th March to hear Claire Wright discuss her campaign. As a member of the team, Philip Algar will offer a few thoughts and discuss the challenge of writing the book about the campaign, West Hill or Westminster? The meeting starts at 7.00 and tickets are free. Contact the library on 01404 813838 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)/*=[...]

    Read more

    The old library building at the Flexton next to the church has long been deemed to be not fit for purpose due to its size and more importantly lack of disabled access. The new building as a disabled access at the side, a seated children’s area and a sofa for teenagers to sit quietly and read. I visited on Friday evening and was really impressed with its new modern look and how light and airy it is. Just two years ago our library, along with many others was under threat of closure, despite its visitor numbers being one of the highest in the county. Happily, the service was able to be [...]

    Read more

    It was made clear at that time that the 15 beds were a temporary measure and would eventually move to the RD&E. It appears that our hospital has now lost its general medical beds, following a decision in July 2015. A hopelessly short-sighted decision in my view. However, it is a further blow to the hospital as the news comes as NHS Property Services takes over ownership of 12 community hospitals in Eastern Devon, including Ottery St Mary’s. The plans for a health hub at Ottery St Mary Hospital appear to have gone rather quiet, which worries me. I will be pursuing this issue in the [...]

    Read more

    - Sat 11 March, 11am - outside Colaton Raleigh village hall - Sat 18 March, 11am - The Green, Otterton - Sat 1 April, 10.30am - outside Harpford village hall - Sat 1 April, 11.30am - Newton Poppleford bus stop/village green Look forward to seeing you there!

    Read more

    Last night, Devon County Council leader, Cllr John Hart told the BBC he thought the government handling of the local government finance arrangements was a “shambles” because the council was legally forced to set its budget before even receiving the details of the latest round of funding from government. Then the funding news was received at 11pm on Monday night just 36 hours before MPs would be examining the information for debate and vote in parliament. John Hart although a conservative council leader, has the guts to stand up to his party seniors at Westminster and openly [...]

    Read more

    More services and backroom functions are being cut, including road maintenance, community composting payments, as well as funding for vulnerable children and adults services - see here for more - http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/fewer_devon_people_to_receive_social_care_as_23m_is_slashed_from_budgets Government ministers, who have forced councils, and as a consequence, citizens (mainly vulnerable ones and those on low incomes) across the country into austerity have this year allowed councils to increase tax to higher levels, to offset in a very small way the massive cuts they have [...]

    Read more

    Pickup points: 6.30 a.m. Sidmouth, seafront by Bedford Hotel 6.45 a.m. Sidford, bus stop opposite Green Close 7.00 a.m. Newton Poppleford, High Street bus stop stop by church. 7.15 a.m. Ottery St Mary church. 7.30 a.m. Honiton , Smileys cafe. Return journey: Depart London approx 5 pm, arriving home approx 10-10.30 pm. To reserve a seat, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)/*= 0)out += unescape(l[i].replace(/^\s\s*/, '&#'));while (--j >= 0)if (el[j].getAttribute('data-eeEncEmail_vHXvLfHVkr'))el[j].innerHTML = out;/*]]>*/ Early booking advisable. ALL WELCOME [...]

    Read more

    IIt’s a great shame that the government refused to fund a new build in Tipton St John, something that Devon County Council asked for around two years ago. The current school suffers from a constant flooding threat and has been inundated many times. I feel for both the children and teachers who have to carry out regular flood drills, in order for them to get to a safe area across the road at the other school site. I have twice arranged for the fire brigade to help clear up at the school after floods dumped mud all over the grounds and have been working with the school and the community on the[...]

    Read more

    1. The Scrutiny Committee records its deep regret that the NHS Property Services has declined its invitation to a meeting of the East Devon District Council Scrutiny Committee; 2. The Scrutiny Committee to write to the three local MPs representing East Devon, expressing its concern at the failure of NHS Property Services to agree to attend a meeting of the East Devon District Council Scrutiny Committee, and asks the MPs to raise the matter with the Secretary of State for Health, with a view to his ensuring proper openness and transparency in the work of NHS Property Services, and ensuring [...]

    Read more

    Despite Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner announcing a £24m investment in the region’s force last month, a key and deeply disappointing proposal is to reduce PCSOs from 340 to 190. The unexpected extra funding amid a sea of austerity and cuts has been created by an increase in council tax and drawing down cash that has been held in reserve by the force. Although police officer numbers will increase by around 100, the main focus is to be on fighting cyber crime, including child sexual exploitation and terrorism – both vitally important areas and it is absolutely right that [...]

    Read more

    Dear Alison I am writing to express my concern about the proposed loss of more than half of the 340 PCSOs across Devon and Cornwall. I appreciate that Devon and Cornwall Police is investing more money into the police by using reserves and raising council tax, however, I believe it is quite wrong and deeply misguided to cut the number of PCSOs. Newspaper reports indicate that large towns and cities will probably retain their PCSOs, but this leaves rural areas and smaller towns without this completely vital resource. In Ottery St Mary Maria Clapp has been the face of policing for more than a [...]

    Read more

    Dear Hugo I am writing to you about the dire position Devon County Council’s social care budget is in. This financial year, adult social care is £5m overspent. In reality of course, it is because social care is woefully underfunded following seven years of austerity that has seen the council’s overall budget slashed by more than half.  A completely unsustainable position. And of course your government colleagues intend to deliver yet more swingeing cuts in the years to come. You may be aware that in the next financial year, it is proposed that there will be fewer people receiving [...]

    Read more

    I was really impressed at the amount of work that they had put into their presentations and the level of knowledge they displayed about important international issues such climate change. Also how many of them recognised that if you wanted to run a new service or an improved service then it had to be paid for by taxation or some other means. Many of the students spoke up about putting more funding into the NHS and the value of mental wellbeing, especially in a learning environment. The importance of healthy eating and exercise featured several times, and the provision of first aid training in[...]

    Read more

    Around 100 year 11 students sat in groups at tables and councillors moved to a different table every three minutes. During each three minutes a series of quick fire questions were asked: Several of the tables wanted to know what I thought of Donald Trump and Brexit as well as triggering Article 50. Pretty much every table asked why I had become a councillor and what issues motivated me to become active. I was asked several times about my thoughts on votes at 16, which are of course very much in favour. It was a policy that featured in my general election campaign manifesto in 2015. Public [...]

    Read more