Today, a letter by Sidmouth resident, Barry Curwen, published in today’s Sidmouth/Ottery Herald, calls for an inquiry by Hugo Swire MP, into EDBF’s influence over EDDC’s Local Plan.

The EDBF is chaired by Cllr Graham Brown, with former EDDC councillor and Ottery Town councillor, Roy Stuart, as its vice-chair. 

Cllr Brown represents the National Farmers Union on the business forum, and is the business champion at EDDC.  There are a number of EDDC councillors who regularly attend meetings, some of whom wear other ‘hats’. 

Cllr Brown runs a planning consultancy and a building firm.

And Cllr Brown chaired the Local Development Framework Panel during 2008/09.

The majority of the remainder of members appear to be landowners and developers, many of whom have submitted their land for major development in EDDC’s Local Plan.  The forum has an openly stated priority as planning issues.

EDDC contributes £5,250 towards EDBF’s running costs, including minuting of meetings, room hire and a contribution to its website – link here http://www.eastdevonbusinessforum.org.uk/

Minutes can be found at EDDC’s website here:  http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/east_devon_business_forum_minutes

I believe that the time has come for EDDC to distance itself from this group.

I have submitted a notice of motion to be debated at the full EDDC meeting on Wednesday 25 July. 

I expressed concerns in May, over the implications of the significant influence of this group to EDDC’s monitoring officer and deputy chief executive, Denise Lyon. 

My paper detailing my concerns was discussed at EDBF’s meeting last month and vice-chair Roy Stuart made a response to it.

These blogs can be viewed here:

https://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/east_devon_business_forum_and_its_influence_over_the_local_plan/

https://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/eddcs_response_to_my_paper_on_local_plan/

https://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/appendix_to_east_devon_business_forum_minutes_-_june_12/

Notice of Motion

“This council recognises the need for fair and independent representation from businesses in the district.

It also recognises that East Devon Business Forum has among its members, a high proportion of major landowners and developers.  This has prompted concern among members of the public and business community, that the forum is neither independent nor representative of business in East Devon.

In addition, council budgets have been slashed by 30 per cent and we are in a time of financial austerity.

For these reasons this council will now withdraw financial, officer and administrative support from East Devon Business Forum, with the aim of encouraging the evolution of an independent, representative, self-financing body, managed by a chairman, independent of this council.”

The full council meeting where this motion will be debated, starts at 6.30pm on Wednesday 25 July and members of the public are welcome to attend and make representations at the beginning of the meeting.  If you are concerned, I urge you to attend and/or speak.