• At the meeting that took place on 20 September, my proposal for a review into the vast cuts the local NHS is making failed, partly because Cllr Randall Johnson insisted any such fact-finding should be carried out within the confines of a private meeting,  and partly because very disappointingly, no councillor would second my proposal. I have been asking for over half a year for information on what cuts the local NHS is making as part of the government’s plan to reduce the NHS £30bn shortfall by 2020. In Devon, this has translated into around £500m by 2020 and in Devon the NHS is [...]

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    Mr Smith described the car as “careering” through the car park, which it did, after playing a silly game of cat and mouse with me and 12 members of the public.  Several eye-witnesses will bear testimony to this, including a local resident, who was almost knocked over by it! Quite bizarre, unnecessary and baffling behaviour. The Department of Health and Social Care was apparently unaware of Mr Hancock’s visit, which was made at the request of Mr Swire’s office. As the Devon County Councillor for the area - and having worked hard to try and retain the beds and the building over [...]

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    Mr Hancock had been invited to the hospital by Mr Swire, who earlier this morning took him on a tour around Budleigh Salterton Hospital, which is now a health and wellbeing hub. I understand that the Department of Health was unaware of the visit and it was solely arranged through Mr Swire’s office. I was contacted by ITV late yesterday to be interviewed about the hospital, as the Devon County Councillor for the area, and because of my work in trying to help save hospital beds and buildings, in my role as a Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee Councillor. As I was [...]

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    The least worst option That the current dispersed traffic system is unfortunately, the least worst option. The advice of the senior highways officer was that a one way system could cause more problems than it solved, so would not be supported.  Deliveries at peak travel times The problems with deliveries arriving at local shops at peak hour were noted, with one delivery lorry staying for around 45 minutes on Jesu Street, causing cars to back up along Yonder Street and struggle to leave Batts Lane. I have since asked the local highways officer liaise with the business in question, about [...]

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    But voters clearly decided that Geoff was the right candidate and opted in large numbers for him. Huge thanks to everyone who supported us and worked so hard to help get Geoff elected. Congratulations to him and a huge well done to Cllr Roger Giles who masterminded the campaign as his election agent. Roger lives to retain his formidable reputation as an election campaigning machine! The results are: 1233 votes cast = 34.7% of 3553 Geoff Pratt - 715 Conservative - 421 LD - 51 Green - 24 Lab - 20 Pic:  With Geoff outside West Hill’s McColls.

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    EDDC’s Building Control is awaiting the outcome of a structural survey of the buildings. We walked the routes that drivers are taking to avoid Silver Street, including Yonder Street, Batts Lane, Brook Street and Chapel Street. This morning at 10am it was relatively quiet, although we impressed upon officers at other times Yonder Street is extremely busy, with cars backing up into the Square. The movements in and out of Batts Lane and Sandhill Street in particular are chaotic, with reversing and manoeuvring to avoid collisions. There are also reports of people driving up Cornhill the wrong [...]

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    He is concerned about the continual threat of mass development of the area and continues to work hard to retain Ottery St Mary Hospital, among many other issues. Pic:  With Geoff outside McColls in West Hill.

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    Today, scaffolders continued to erect struts that take up much of the entire first section of Silver Street and also access to Brook Street - the first section is also closed, from the bottom of Silver Street. Residents have taken to Ottery Matters Facebook page to vent their frustration at the arrangements with the traffic and buses, which have not been able to come into the town as they cannot turn around in the Square anymore The diversion is not really directing traffic in a particular direction and many people (including me) are getting home or through the town via the teeny tiny Batts [...]

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    Once protesters had arrived in the meeting it was immediately obvious that there had been a climbdown of sorts, with a new amendment tabled to the original proposal of slashing the income of the most experienced foster carers - and instead using it to fund new foster carers allowances. Under the original proposals, over 100 foster carers each stood to lose between £5,000 and £15,000 a year. That’s around 40 per cent of Devon County Council foster carers. A grossly unfair situation. Some foster carers are set to see gains in their income. Others will see no change in their income. That [...]

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    A Kizomba event takes place this Sunday in Exeter at Queen’s Court Hotel at 4pm (see details below) but there is a real risk that very few men turn up and we women end up either not dancing, or dancing kizomba with each other all night, which is far less fun. Sooo, Emma Farrant of Kizomba Beats South West - link here - https://www.facebook.com/KizombaBeats/?fb_dtsg_ag=AdyO7qEi1-xVfinC24MZ77LM1fSR6WU94Oukj9VsVDxi3g%3AAdxJ7PvlQpGVb0eEriR_A1SLsKAfeiOgel2t_CXWJX5V_g -  is asking that us girls each bring NEW men with us! You may be new to kizomba (totally beautiful dance) or you might [...]

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    In proposals coming before the Children’s Scrutiny Committee on Monday (17 September, 2.15pm) officers will say that despite investing an extra £1m into the foster care budget, unless they remove money in this way from the most experienced carers, they will not be able to recruit the new foster carers they need, without overspending. However, this is causing over 100 Devon County Council foster carers (40 per cent of the DCC total) huge anxiety and uncertainty, as they each stand to lose between £5000 and £15000 a year. A vast and unacceptable amount.  Many say they do not know how[...]

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    Responding to the cabinet recommendation to full council to “note that this is a matter for the NHS” I said that it was entirely appropriate and proper that the council should take a position on this, that the loss of beds in our community hospitals was one of the most controversial issues of recent times. Over 200 community hospital beds have been lost since 2012, to thousands of people protesting, either in person, in writing, or at demonstrations waving placards. Now NHS Property Services has ‘acquired’ 12 community hospitals in Eastern Devon and is charging around £3m a year, [...]

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    My motion was prompted by a campaign being run by the RSPB (and other environmental organisations) which are deeply concerned that the current vital environmental accountability on big business and our government, provided by EU legislation is likely to be written out of UK law, once the UK leaves the European Union. Instead ministers are proposing law is replaced by policy. And a 25 year environment plan which has no legal weight. If proposals go ahead, top lawyers have said that the British government and big business will be able to get away with polluting our air, seas and harming [...]

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    Hilary Nelson, chief executive of East Devon Citizen’s Advice Bureau was on hand to support people, with her colleague, Sheran at the meeting, which took place on Tuesday 21 August. Around a dozen people attended and listened to each other’s stories, which centred around difficulties with claiming a range of benefits, resulting in a great deal of stress. Residents came from the Ottery area and beyond. Difficulties reported included with working tax credit overpayments and the impact of being financially penalised so as to be unable to pay bills and rent. Others reported being told they [...]

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