But during my motion on deferring the decision to buy Skypark land, which was voted down by the conservative group, senior conservatives were trying to pretend that the big decision before the council was just a matter of a preferred option!

Cabinet councillors played it down, in an apparent attempt to mislead councillors, which I pointed out in my summing up speech.

And myself and Roger Giles had the usual flack from the Tories to daring to oppose their plans.  Cllr Giles had to demand a retraction from Cllr David Cox who claimed that Cllr Giles had not previously argued against the office relocation, which was completely untrue.

At the end of the agenda there was an item that appeared to be the decision on buying Skypark land. The item read “office accommodation – next steps.”  So we were awaiting this item for debate.

But the minutes for approval were listed as the previous item. And as a result the cabinet recommendations were nodded through and then the chairman closed the meeting, leaving several councillors and members of the public wondering why the last item hadn’t been debated.

I had left the room briefly after my motion and returned after the cabinet minutes had been voted through and was amazed that the meeting was closed as soon as the committee minutes were agreed.

I was informed afterwards that the cabinet minutes were introduced briefly and wrapped up extremely quickly, without any debate.

It is scarcely believable that one of the most significant decisions ever made by EDDC was taken in this manner.

The final decision on buying the land will be made in July.

Here’s an account of the meeting from an observer’s perspective, on Save Our Sidmouth – http://saveoursidmouth.com/2014/02/27/knowle-sale-and-skypark-spend-voted-through-under-veil-of-cabinet-minutes/

and here – http://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/eddc-stoops-to-new-low/