• Campaign group urges residents to write to cllrs over public speaking restrictions

    5th April 2014 | News | Claire
  • If you are concerned by EDDC’s proposed changes to rules for public speaking, NOW is the time to let your representatives know, in writing.

    A decision will be made next Wednesday evening, 9th April, when the Full Council meets (6.30pm at Knowle).

    The letter copied below, which has been sent to the three Sidmouth town ward members, may be helpful as an example. EDA also understands that the author has also asked a councillor who did not agree with the new speaking rules plan outlined by Cllr Bloxham at a previous Development Management Committee meeting, to request a recorded vote.

    ‘Councillors,

    Next Wednesday’s EDDC Council meeting is to have put before it a proposal to impose severe limits on the rights of the residents of the district to express their views about crucial planning applications which affect them personally or the community in which they live.

    These are the residents who elected you to represent them and as ward members you will retain the right to speak on their behalf. But only they can speak with the detailed knowledge and passion about the potential effects of particular planning applications on them as individuals and on their neighbours.

    East Devon is experiencing a torrid time at the moment because of the lack of an approved Local Plan – a situation that will only be made worse by the LP Inspector’s rejection of the plan as presented – and this is not the time to be limiting, or making more difficult, public involvement in the planning process. The reason for the proposal is given as “to increase efficiency” at DMC meetings. What the process should be about is “increasing effectiveness” and that will not be achieved by limiting the rights of individuals to this extreme extent.

    In the interests of democracy can I ask you to request a recorded vote on this matter of great public concern?

    I look forward to seeing you represent this view on Wednesday evening on behalf of all Sidmouth Town ward residents and the town’s many visitors who would want us to defend it from inappropriate development.

    Peter Whitfield

    See details here – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/public_speaking_restriction_decision_to_be_made_next_wednesday_evening