• Urgent invites issued to town councils for private meetings

    8th March 2012 | News | Claire
  • They are scheduled to take place next week.

    The invites are for meetings debated by the Local Plan Panel last week, which councillors agreed should be held in the public domain.

    Although the panel was overwhelmingly in favour of the meetings being held with the press and public present, by six votes to one, the decision was later overturned by EDDC’s chief executive, Mark Williams. 

    Mr Williams claimed that the panel’s decision was unconstitutional and meetings in the public domain would be ‘harmful to the ongoing effective working of the council.’

    The invites were sent to town councils yesterday inviting just four councillors from each council with the town clerk, to attend private meetings at the Knowle.

    Meetings are proposed to take place next week, with the outcome reported to the Local Plan Panel at the next meeting on 20 March.

    Ottery St Mary Town Council yesterday was divided about the way forward.  Email discussions saw myself, Roger Giles and two other councillors urging the town council to insist on a meeting at Ottery St Mary Town Council’s offices, to enable the whole council to take part – and members of the public able to observe.

    At Ottery St Mary Town Council’s full meeting on Monday, Mayor Glyn Dobson also expressed support for this approach, following my East Devon District Councillor’s report. 

    But yesterday opinion was split, with other councillors apparently happy to go along with the tightly controlled format set down by EDDC.  Three councillors put their names forward to attend the meeting at the Knowle.

    Following the objections from some of us I am unclear whether Ottery St Mary Town Council has agreed to send four councillors to the Knowle, or whether it was decided to argue for the democratic approach..