Deputy Leader suspended for sending texts under different names

It wouldn’t happen here would it …. and if it did, would the Monitoring Officer report the offender to the Standards Committee if he were the Deputy Leader of the majority party?

Paul Shotton [Deputy Leader, Stoke council] contributed to debates on BBC Radio Stoke both supporting the council and criticising the opposition over a period of six months. Staff rumbled the councillor after he sent text messages from the same mobile number under names such as Alison, Jean and Dave. He also pretended to be from different areas of Stoke-on-Trent, including Fenton and Smallthorne.

Mr Shotton yesterday admitted sending the texts and will now face a council standards board hearing. He said: “I apologise fully for my actions. They were plain stupid. I will never do anything like this again.”

BBC Stoke presenter Tim Wedgwood warned listeners recently that DJs at the station can see the phone number of people texting the station. A BBC spokesman said: “Audience interaction is an important part of our programmes and we read out texts from listeners in good faith but we are reliant on the audience being up front and honest about who they are. “In this case, we became suspicious after recognising the phone number and then referred the issue to the council.”

The Labour party has now launched an investigation into the incident after suspending the councillor. A spokesman said: “The Labour party takes these matters very seriously. Councillor Paul Shotton has been suspended pending an investigation.”

Mr Shotton is cabinet member for economic development and a ward councillor for Fenton East. He recently fought off a challenge to his position as deputy leader from Janine Bridges, cabinet member for housing.

Mr Shotton was not at a meeting of the council’s cabinet held last night, but it was reported that Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Mohammed Pervez has taken on his cabinet responsibilities. Mr Pervez, said: “I was informed of the issue yesterday and immediately contacted the Labour party. The Labour party suspended councilor Shotton pending investigation.”

Gerry Clarke, the council’s deputy monitoring officer, said: “We have been alerted to allegations made against the deputy leader of the council. On the basis of information that has been provided, the council will initiate a standards board process to enable the facts of this case to be investigated.

“We understand an internal investigation is also being undertaken by the Labour Party, and it would therefore be inappropriate for the council to comment further until such investigations have been concluded.”


EDDC & Planning…a comparison with nearby authorities.

Changes to rules for public speaking is one of the most sensitive items on the agenda at the next EDDC Cabinet meeting (Weds 4th June, 5.30pm at Knowle).

Many questions from the public are to do with Planning. Why is this issue so acute here? How does East Devon compare with nearby areas?  Here’s what an EDA researcher found, in a study done earlier this year Public speaking analysis_EDDC


EDDC HQ for Seaton?

Why not?  New build on virgin site exactly like Skypark but with the added benefit of helping to regenerate the town.  On the far edge of the district, just like Skypark so just about as difficult for people to get to.  In an area that desperately needs jobs (probably more than Cranbrook does with its proximity to Exeter), next to a lovely big Tesco and with a great walk by the sea at lunchtime!

Do your job, click and collect, walk by the sea, go home – what could be easier.

But it isn’t next to Exeter or its airport …..  ah well.  Bring on the Zimmer frames.

Protest group formed in Seaton after site on regeneration site for hotel changed to McCarthy and Stone retirement flats

We have received the following message from Seaton:

 The Seaton Regeneration area (Tesco site) had a plot set aside for a hotel to replace tourist beds lost when the holiday camp was demolished but the developers of the site (Tesco and Bovis Homes) say they were unsuccessful in marketing the site for a hotel.

Now McCarthy and Stone has take an option for yet another block of retirement flats.  Seaton is already highly over-represented with elderly people and retirement blocks which are to the north (Jubilee Lodge), east (Haven Court) and south (Homebaye House) of the regeneration area and will nowtotally encircle the planned new Visitor Centre.

Recently Tesco won the right to delete all the affordable housing that had been planned for the site.  No affordable housing has been built for many years in Seaton.

A protest group has been set up to oppose the latest development and will have its first meeting at

The Hook and Parrot

on Seaton seafront at

7.30 p.m. on

Thursday 5 June 1014 at 7.30 pm

to which anyone who objects to this planning application is warmly welcome.


Public access to EDDC accounts

We are once again approaching that time of year when the public have the right to inspect the council accounts for 20 days, full details of which rights can be found at

Click to access Council-accounts-Know-your-rights-July-20132.pdf

This right is a powerful tool and gives exceptional public access to this material, so we are encouraging people, a few weeks beforehand, to seriously think about what accounts information might be useful and how they might use it to their best advantage.
Those who wish to examine any accounts should make their own arrangements, as EDA is not able to make enquiries for other individuals or campaign groups.
When making an enquiry, please try to be specific as possible with regard to the information you want to look at, as the staff need to find what you want, rather than give you a pile of papers to fish around in. The lady at EDDC is most helpful and giving early notice of what you might like to examine is strongly recommended- not least as it gives time for follow up requests before the statutory 20 day period is expired.

The start date is variable, so we will be keeping an eye on the public notices in the local press and as soon as we have confirmation of the dates, we will let you know.

No-one gets paid anything …

Just to reassure EDDC:  no-one gets paid anything for posts on the EDA website – see this attempt to stop a blogger in Whitby criticising his local council – they had him investigated by the Department of Work and Pensions but it backfired spectacularly on the council:

and no councillor or officer is involved it its ramblings!

Mr Pickles LOVES citizen bloggers and is doing his best to make life easier for us!

Voter dissatisfaction: direct action – what WE could do

Here a council must change from the tight-knit Cabinet only model (as EDDC has) where a Leader appoints his own Cabinet for a Committee model where committes make binding decisions and are made up in proportion to the parties voted in:

Some background to this is given here:

And here a town is petitioning to leave one local authority to join another:

and the background to this is here:

Seaton to West Dorset, Axminster to South Somerset, Cranbrook to Exeter City, Exmouth to Teignbridge, Budleigh Salterton to Kensington and Chelsea (sorry, got carried away there!) – interesting!

Progress of Local Plan: anyone know the difference between “could and should” and “can and will”?

It is almost an embarrassment to publish the latest correspondence between EDDC and the Local Plan Inspector, Mr Thickett.  The letter from EDDC with its “action plan” is so vague and indeterminate that it is simply a “wish list” (could and should) rather than an “action plan” (can and will).

You can almost hear the irritation in Mr Thickett’s reply.  However, he at least does try to set some sort of timetable (October/November) for the next stage of the process.

Interesting that the whole process will take us up to election time – so developer free-for-all will probably continue till then.

The correspondence:

Letter from EDDC:


The “action plan”


and Mr Thickett’s reply


All correspondence and details of information provided for the Local Plan is HERE

Knowle relocation news: Richard Cohen to reveal all at Cabinet meeting next Wednesday (4th June)

Well, maybe not quite all? This, and other highlights of the Cabinet agenda, are listed at