• Residents demand answers over inaccurate minutes

    11th October 2012 | News | Claire
  • The minutes of the last overview and scrutiny meeting on 27 September, which were published on EDDC’s website yesterday lunchtime, contain a resolution that appears to bear no relation to what was actually agreed at the meeting.

    At last night’s full council meeting, several members of the public demanded that the inaccuracy was investigated and put right as a matter of urgency. 

    Barry Curwen of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, said that the chamber wished to put on record a formal objection to the accuracy of the minutes.

    Two further speakers – Tony Green (co-author of a paper of concerns presented at the scrutiny meeting on 27 Sept) and Alan Durrant from Save Our Sidmouth, also raised concerns about the accuracy of the minutes.

    At the end of this agenda item – public speaking – I indicated I wished to speak.  The chief executive said that the allotted 15 minutes was up and I was not entitled to speak, but chairman, Cllr Peter Halse allowed me my say.

    I told the meeting that I supported the concerns of the members of the public who had spoken, that the resolution on page 20 bore no relation to what was agreed or to Cllr Graham Troman’s wishes relating to the scope of the task and finish forum.  I said that I would be taking the issue further.  No further debate was permitted over the minutes as they were not tabled or listed on the agenda.

    My notes, and other people’s notes, record Cllr Troman as requesting that the TaFF look into a range of issues, including:

    – relationship with EDDC
    – influence on planning and the local plan
    – membership and make-up

    This part of Cllr Troman’s speech does not feature at all in the minutes, despite them being quite a fulsome account of the meeting, recording most of the points made by members of the public.

    The very watered down resolution, as published in the overview and scrutiny minutes states:

    RESOLVED: that a Task and Finish Forum be set up to look at how the Council engages with business, including looking at how increased membership of the East Devon Business Forum could be encouraged, and make suggestion of topics for their agendas that would assist the Council in obtaining a comprehensive view of the needs of business.

    In a separate challenge, Sidmouth resident Jackie Green asked Cllr Mike Allen to justify his claim at the scrutiny meeting, that concerns about East Devon Business Forum were “innuendo and slur, without supporting facts.”

    The chairman, however, refused to ask Cllr Allen to respond to Mrs Green.

    The relevant set of minutes are below:


    The next overview and scrutiny meeting is on Thursday 25 October, starting at 6.30pm. 

    If you are at all concerned, please come and have your say, to ensure that the minutes are changed to accurately reflect the debate.