• It took the British Veterinary Association to give us the truth. Essentially, MPs voted to omit an EU clause as part of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which means the STATE is responsible for animal welfare, not just the KEEPER of the animal, which is UK law. The vote led to a febrile week on social media, where East Devon’s MP, Hugo Swire and I exchanged several angry tweets, as he attempted to defend the indefensible. The impact of this vote seems obvious. It could mean that the government finds it easier to do deals with countries with poor animal welfare standards after we leave the European [...]

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    NHS Property Services will be invited to attend the next Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee in January. But my simple request prompted a debate lasting over half an hour, at Tuesday’s meeting (21 November). The lengthy and baffling discussion gave a poor impression of the committee in my view, with some Conservative councillors claiming confusion and dismissing the proposal several times as “premature.” It all started off with a presentation to the committee by Independent councillor, Martin Shaw, under the final work plan agenda item. Cllr Shaw rightly pointed out how many people[...]

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    A standards investigation into the behaviour of the committee chair followed. Mrs Shadbolt read out a paragraph from the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, led by Sir Robert Francis in 2013.  Many people had tragically died there as a result of poor care. The local council’s scrutiny committee was deemed to have failed in its duty to effectively scrutinise the local health trust and identify problems.  Mrs Shadbolt said it was the first time that non-executive members of a local authority were held to account because they were deemed to have failed in their [...]

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    According to official data held by Devon County Council highways department and published in the report to next week’s committee, there have been 23 slight injuries and three serious collisions, between January 2012 and 2016, although these figures are strongly contested by local people, who live near the road and have seen for themselves the many accidents. The proposal is for a review of the white line system on the road. As the Devon County Councillor for Otter Valley and Four Elms Hill I am very concerned at the many accidents that are happening here and welcome the proposal to alter[...]

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    It was attended by around 70 Otterton residents, who were largely exasperated and angry about the problems caused by the continually expanding caravan park. At the end of the meeting I outlined three key concerns that I had heard in the meeting, in order to seek assurances from the management team. They were on: • frequent use of retrospective planning applications • continual expansion (a huge increase in the number of lodges and caravans) • level of traffic and size of vehicles travelling to and from the park and funding potential mitigating road improvements But before I could get [...]

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    The fairground is ready and set up on the Millennium Green, the hedgehog friendly bonfire, also on the Millennium Green, has grown to immense proportions. Health and safety signs posting evacuation routes and urging people to take note of marshalls are now appearing all over the town. Coachloads of Exeter University students will be arriving on Saturday evening, and many other people will be visiting from other parts of Devon and across the country…. Community groups and pubs in the town are also gearing up for their own events. Many, such as the Samosa Lady, will be selling hot food [...]

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