Around one quarter of candidates hopeful of a seat on East Devon District Council have put their names to a pledge, which prioritises the wishes of local residents.

Thirty candidates have so far signed up to the pledge, which relates in large part to protecting valuable countryside and representing constituents’ views.

The election hopefuls come from all over East Devon, from Axminster in the east, right across to Broadclyst in the far west of the district.

The pledge, thought to be the first of its kind – certainly in East Devon – if not far wider – originates from campaign group, Communities Before Developers, which opposes the massive and inappropriate development in East Devon, proposed by East Devon District Council.

The political make-up of the pledge candidates is as follows:

16   Liberal Democrats

7     Independents

5     Green Party candidates

1     UK Independence Party candidate

1     Labour Party candidate

No Conservative candidates have signed up to the list of seven principles.

Five are existing councillors with many years service on East Devon District Council.

The Candidate’s Pledge was put together at the request of residents who asked CBD for advice on which would-be councillors might properly represent their views.

Residents can look down the list and see for themselves who has signed up to a set of principles in their area, so it doesn’t matter anymore if people don’t know their candidates.

Residents can be confident that they know who they are voting for and what they stand for, regardless of the political label.

The Candidate’s Pledge:

v   I will oppose developments which compromise precious environmental resources including the Jurassic Coast, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and grade one farmland.  Or developments that have potential to damage tourism in East Devon.

v   I agree that development must be proportionate and appropriate to existing local communities and I will make every effort to ensure that this is so in my ward.

v   I agree that planning permission must be conditional on developers fully covering the costs of infrastructure and service provision associated with a development, and that 40% of housing provided should be affordable.

v   I will always prioritise the interests of existing residents over those who might move here if more houses were built.

v   I will listen to and act on my constituents’ concerns.

v   I will represent the views of my parish or town council at EDDC.

v   When a major development is proposed I will stage a consultation with existing local residents and give the greatest weight to their views.  If the application is approved I will do my utmost to ensure that my community is adequately compensated for any adverse effects.

The district council candidates who have signed up to the pledge are:

1. Douglas Hull – Axminster – Liberal Democrat

2. John Stevenson – Axminster – Liberal Democrat

3. Lewis Ragbourn – Beer and Branscombe – Liberal Democrat

4. Derek Button – Broadclyst – Liberal Democrat

5. Stephen Schlich – Broadclyst – Liberal Democrat

6. Marion Gammell – Clyst Valley – Liberal Democrat

7. Paul Arnott – Coly Valley – Independent

8. Sheila Smith – Coly Valley – Independent

9. Jeff Trail – Exmouth Brixington – Independent

10. Trevor Cope – Exmouth Brixington – Independent

11. Mark Hawkins – Exmouth Littleham – Independent

12. Paul Bennett – Exmouth Town – The Green Party

13. James Tomkins – Feniton and Buckerell – Liberal Democrat

14. Jonathan Underwood – Honiton St Michael’s – Liberal Democrat

15. Sharon Pavey – Honiton St Michael’s – The Green Party

16. Geoff Hucklebridge – Honiton St Michael’s – Liberal Democrat

17. Bill Foster – Honiton St Michael’s – Liberal Democrat

18. Roy Coombs – Honiton St Pauls – Liberal Democrat

19. Claire Wright – Ottery St Mary Rural – Independent

20. Roger Giles – Ottery St Mary Town – Independent

21. Peter Burrows – Seaton – Liberal Democrat

22. Stephen Williams – Seaton – Labour Party

23. Emily McIvor – Seaton – The Green Party

24. Dawn Squire – Seaton – Liberal Democrat

25. Mark Fisher – Seaton – Liberal Democrat

26. Sharon Howe – Sidmouth Rural – The Green Party

27. Lawrie Brownlee – Sidmouth Town – UK Independence Party

28. Elizabeth Anstis – Tale Vale – The Green Party

29. Rob Jordan – Trinity Ward – Liberal Democrat

30. Martin Gammell – Whimple – Liberal Democrat

Photograph:  Some of the pledge candidates gathered today at Hayne Lane, on the edge of Honiton to draw attention to the threat to countryside there. 

If plans in the Local Development Framework go ahead, Heathpark Industrial Estate will extend half a mile to the west next to 300 extra homes on open countryside.

For more information visitCommunities Before Developers