The questions are as follows:
From Roger Giles
1. At the EDDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 28 March the Chief Executive intimated that a number of EDDC leaving staff had been subjected to confidentiality clauses. Would the Council Leader state how many departing staff over the last three years were the subject of confidentiality clauses? Would he indicate who made the decision to implement a confidentiality clause, and with whom consultations about this took place? Would he indicate whether the Council Leader was involved in, or informed, of these arrangements at the time?
2. The Development Management Committee meeting agenda of the afternoon of 2 April 2013 contained two planning applications for Feniton: planning application 12/2626/MFUL for 32 dwellings at Acland Park, and planning application 12/2649/MOUT for 59 dwellings at Ottery Road.
At 11.35am on 2 April all Development Management Committee members were emailed a copy of an email from the Chief Executive to me about the Feniton Flood Defence scheme dated 28 March. The Chief Executive`s message said, inter alia, “the funding situation is far from certain” and “while we are far from entirely dependant on developer contributions to fund the flood relief measures in Feniton there is residual uncertainty over the actual costs and funding streams such that the proposed contribution from Acland Park would help to address the current uncertainties while the Ottery road scheme would help to deliver a better and more effective flood relief scheme then has currently been designed.”
Does the Council leader agree that Development Management Committee should make decisions on the merits of the case based on information which is in the public domain? Does the Council leader agree with me that the kind of behind-the-scenes lobbying that occurred on 2 April is wholly inappropriate, and has no place in a transparent and fair planning system?
3. According to the minutes of the East Devon Business Forum meeting of 8 May 2008, the then Council Leader, Sara Randall Johnson, asked the then Cllr Graham Brown to step down from the East Devon Business Forum over allegations of impropriety. Subsequently the then Cllr Graham Brown became Chairman of the EDDC Local Development Framework Panel. What criteria was used to consider then Cllr Graham Brown`s suitability to be the Chairman of the EDDC Local Development Framework Panel?
From Ben Ingham
4. In light of the general public’s disquiet regarding EDBF activities over the last two years and their concerns regarding land allocations for industrial development, can the Leader give me his categorical reassurance that there will be no cowardly repercussions directed at the Chairman of the EDBF TAFF or Overview and Scrutiny Committee who have displayed transparency and an honourable commitment to openness in serving the public’s best interests in recent months?
5. The former Cllr Graham Brown was known to run a building business and a planning consultancy. Does the Council leader accept that there is a fundamental and unacceptable conflict of interests when a councillor running a building business and a planning consultancy should chair the EDDC Local Development Framework Panel, which recommends how much development there should be in East Devon, and where it goes?
6. Does the Leader agree that the EDDC Feniton and Buckerell by-election is a decisive opportunity for the electorate to voice their support or disapproval of the Conservative Group at EDDC?
7. Does the Leader believe the Prime Minister’s and Chancellor’s NPPF strategy of creating an open season for land owners and developers after 27th March 2013 is environmentally and sustainable, a benefit to the parish of Feniton and something the Conservative Party can be truly proud of?
The full council meeting starts at 6.30pm on Wednesday 10 April and will be held at EDDC’s council offices, Knowle, Sidmouth.