Gizza job EDDC – or maybe relocate me to South Somerset .

On offer: 2 Planning Officer posts, 1 Enforcement Officer post, 1 Regeneration Officer, 1 Estates and Management Technical Officer.

Could this have anything to do with masses of development, little or no enforcement and new and novel ways of selling off the family silver to pay for Skypark?

Oh, and do we see the PERFECT new job for departing Economic Development Officer Nigel Harrison (ex Hon Sec of the controversial East Devon Business Forum)at our sister council – South Somerset DC, which shares our CEO Mark Williams:

“No District Councils in Ten Year’s Time”

An extraordinary revelation by Cllr Ken Potter at last night’s Newton Pop parish council meeting.

He said in his report that he attended a recent meeting of the Local Government Association to discuss the future of post offices.

The meeting was addressed by a minister who predicted that within ten years “there would not be a single free-standing district council left”.

Several astonished members of the public tried to ask why, then, was EDDC planning to spend many millions building a new HQ, but the Chair moved on to discuss Himalayan balsam in the Otter.

Cllr Bloxham savaged at last night’s lively Newton Pop parish meeting, after “icing on the cake” comment.

Newton Pop District Councillor Ken Potter must be regretting his invitation to the unfortunate Ray Bloxham to explain EDDC’s decision to reduce public speaking at council meetings.

Cllr Bloxham, architect of the controversial new restrictions, struck completely the wrong note. He blamed verbose public speeches for endless DMC meetings. He argued EDDC were much more generous than other councils in time allowed, and concluded that ,anyway, the chance for a few people to speak was “the icing on the cake” of a long planning process!

Several Newton Pop councillors and residents couldn’t wait to get their teeth into the speaker. They expressed angry distrust of the planning system. The impression given at DMC meetings was that many applications were “predetermined”, they said. Public comments were ignored. The management and chairing of planning meetings was abysmal. Councillors waffling and repeating each other were the real time-wasters.

Finally asked one resident, “What is the point of your coming here tonight when the decision has been taken already?”

Poor Ray could only stammer something about it only being an experiment for a year. Any gamblers at NP last night wouldn’t have put good money on it lasting that long.

That’s what buddies are for …

The Government introduced a system of “buddying” MPs with multinational companies:

David Heath of the Department of Agriculture is paired with food businesses Nestlé, Unilever, Mondeléz (formerly part of Kraft, and includes Cadbury) and Associated British Foods (owner of Primark and Kingsmill). Statoil is added to the oil companies already in touch with Vince Cable; foreign office minister Hugo Swire has been buddied with Procter and Gamble, and David Willetts with Cisco. The culture minister Ed Vaizey is paired with Telefonica (O2) and Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile), while Green adds engineering firm GKN to his list.

Here is a list of Proctor and Gamble brands:

Now, we all look forward to Mr Swire getting a lifetime supply of Fairy Liquid to clean out Ottery’s drains, though he might want to look at Aerial Stain Remover for the drains in Feniton, which are discharging effluent of a very different kind.
But if all fails, he can at least offer the residents of Feniton free samples of Pampers nappies in emergencies.

A life on the ocean wave? Not in Seaton! EDDC screws up another of its own planning applications!

EDDC suddenly sprang a planning application for an “artwork” in a very prominent position in Seaton – an area known as Fisherman’s Gap in the middle of the town’s seafront. It was accompanied by much trumpeting of its beauty, its form, its desirability! Several town councillors were not enamoured, saying thar the view itself already had beauty, form and desirability but that did not stop the town council from supporting EDDC’s planning application.

However, the Environment Agency slapped everyone’s wrists:

A letter, dated September 18th, to EDDC from the Environment Agency said: “We object to this proposal for the following reasons.

“The proposed sculptures are located on land that forms part of the Seaton Coastal Defence Scheme; a flood alleviation scheme that is operated and maintained by the Environment Agency.

“The proposed sculptures and interpretation pillar appear to be located in a manner that would: a) prevent the closure of the main flood gates that facilitate vehicular access through the sea wall, and, b) would restrict our access to the flood wall for necessary inspection, repair and maintenance purposes.

“It is also important that the applicant notes that any structures such as those proposed within seven metres of such coastal flood defences will require our Flood Defence consent under the terms of the Water Resources Act 1991.

“We will withhold our consent for any structures that would restrict our ability to safely access, operate, maintain and rebuild such a structure.”

An EDDC spokesperson said: “We are working with the Environment Agency to address their concerns about the exact location of the hot spot.

“Of course public safety with regards to flood defence is always our priority and we will therefore be considering how we can overcome any such concerns. We are committed to the hot spots as a way of extending the reach of Seaton Jurassic to the seafront and encouraging visitors to see for themselves our amazing beach and coastline.”

Full details of the proposal and how to comment are available on EDDC’s website at http://www.eastdevon. via the planning portal (planning ref 14/1897).

On whose side is the “Silent Majority”? What is “consultation”?

Some thought- provoking thoughts from an EDA member:

An argument often used by EDDC Councillors when they wish to ignore local opposition to an unpopular decision is to appeal to their instinctive knowledge of the real wishes of the “silent majority”.

Here is a cautionary tale of an attempt to turn a school in Sussex into an academy using just such an argument which appears to have backfired. The story appeared in the Independent last week written by columnist Mark Steel. Mark Steel’s style is to intersperse facts with wry comment – here are the facts extracted from the article:

“In March, the head…… announced his plan for the school to become an academy, subject to a “consultation”. Because the rules decree there must be a consultation……. A meeting was called in which parents, students and teachers expressed outright opposition, but the consultation went on, in the form of a series of presentations by the head and his executives. These included an “artist’s impression” of the gleaming structure – linked with magical walkways and smiley children – that the school would surely become once it was an academy.

On the other hand, we were told, if it remained as it was, that there would be “no money” for repairs, and we were shown a photo of a decaying art block. …….

Despite this, hundreds of our children wore badges in opposition to the plan, posters went up in countless windows, there was a march, and the teachers went on strike. Then the local council, sticking to the obsolete definition of “consultation”, arranged a ballot of parents. The head and his allies contacted parents personally to win their vote, but the result was 29 per cent for the academy and 71 per cent against, on a turnout of 40 per cent………..

Immediately those pushing for the academy responded by insisting the vote was irrelevant. A local Conservative councillor told me: “It counts for nothing, because if you add the Yes vote to those who didn’t vote that’s a majority for those in support”…………………………….

Still the school, backed by the Department for Education, marched on with its plans. ………..

But, amazingly, and who could have predicted this, their response made people even more furious. More strikes were planned, elections for vacant governor posts were won overwhelmingly by opponents of the academy, and on Monday this week it was announced that the plans had been dropped entirely, due to the scale of opposition.

Full text here:

Councillors desert sinking ship – or do they?

No problem with councillors changing allegiance IF they become REAL Independents. However, many Councillors who supposedly jump ship actually vote totally with their former party all the time once they are re-elected or new independents suddenly find they really always believe in everything the majority party believes in but didn’t realise until after they were elected.

This means that when Committees are formed that must have proportional representation (for example, an Overview and Scrutiny Committee) the Leader chooses the “Independents” who used to be in his party and they then form a majority that votes together. So, an “Independent” could chair an Overview and Scrutiny Committee (it has to be someone not from the majority party) when he or she is really a majority party sympathiser.

There is no suggestion that this is happening in Teignbridge but, if any party becomes toxic, it is a common occurence – it happens a lot in Wales for some reason!

We all know who the REAL independents are: the ones who started out that way!

Newton Poppleford: listen to the councillor who refuses to listen to the public! Tomorrow 8 pm

From our correspondent:

Councillor Potter has now asked Councillor Ray Bloxham to address the Parish Council this coming Monday 29th September on the issue of public speaking. This is what the agenda says:

“Cllr Ray Bloxham, Corporate Business Portfolio Holder will speak on public
speaking at meetings of EDDC, at the request of Cllr Potter. He will however arrive late, due to another meeting”.

Recall that Cllr Bloxham was the person who lead the vote to restrict public speaking at EDDC. During the EDDC debate he read out the full report of recommendations which councillors had already received in written format. After much debate in the meeting, with many councillors repeating themselves and agreeing and repeating the points of others, the Chair asked Councillor Bloxham to summarise his points. He proceeded to go over the entire report again, giving a perfect example of why DMC meetings are so long. He demonstrated perfectly that some councillors have no understanding of the term’summarise’ or indeed the phrase ‘I have nothing to add to the report you have already read’. However the majority of councillors then voted to heavily restrict the right of the public to speak to them for no more than 3 minutes each.

Quite why councillors Potter and Bloxham are so keen to discuss the matter now the vote has taken place I am not sure, but if you would like to ask them that question, come along to Monday nights Parish Council meeting in Newton Poppleford. 8.00 PM in the Village Hall.

Public speaking for the first 15 minutes but I will request standing orders
are suspended when Cllr Bloxham has addressed the meeting if there are
further questions.”

Spot the mug

A very unfortunate juxtaposition!



and perhaps on reflection this might not be the best way to illustrate just how you plan to fix  the drains in Ottery St Mary

hugo2: ”

As it puts us in mind of the old song “Right Said Fred”!

Bernard Cribbins:Right Said Fred Lyrics Lyrics – Lyric Wikia – song lyrics, music lyrics

“Right,” said Fred, “Both of us together
One each end and steady as we go.”
Tried to shift it, couldn’t even lift it
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and”Right,” said Fred, “Give a shout for Charlie.”
Up comes Charlie from the floor below.
After strainin’, heavin’ and complaing
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea.

And Charlie had a think, and he thought we ought to take off all the handles
And the things wot held the candles.
But it did no good, well I never thought it would

“All right,” said Fred, “Have to take the feet off
To get them feet off wouldn’t take a mo.”
Took its feet off, even took the seat off
Should have got us somewhere but no!
So Fred said, “Let’s have another cuppa tea.”
And we said, “right-o.”

“Right,” said Fred, “Have to take the door off
Need more space to shift the so-and-so.”
Had bad twinges taking off the hinges
And it got us nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

“Right,” said Fred, “Have to take the wall down,
That there wall is gonna have to go.”
Took the wall down, even with it all down
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea.

And Charlie had a think, and he said, “Look, Fred,
I get a sort of feelin’
If we remove the ceiling
With a rope or two we could drop the blighter through.”

“All right,” said Fred, climbing up a ladder
With his crowbar gave a mighty blow.
Was he in trouble, half a ton of rubble landed on the top of his dome.
So Charlie and me had another cuppa tea
And then we went home.

(I said to Charlie, “We’ll just have to leave it
Standing on the landing, that’s all
You see the trouble with Fred is, he’s too hasty
You’ll never get nowhere if you’re too hasty.”)

What is it about our local National Farmers Union?

You may recall that disgraced ex-councillor Brown represented the National Farmers Union (even though he now says he wasn’t a farmer) at the East Devon Business Forum. And now we read of yet another NFU senior official with planning connections in difficulty:

Audit Commission consultation on changes to the audit of local government

Something that has exercised the minds of several EDA members and especially when we see from current Audit and Governance Committee papers that EDDC “members” would rather have retained current external auditors because they get on well with them and our CEO would much prefer to have the same auditors in each of the districts he heads:

Our “transparent” council: a test

It seems such a straightforward request – but we know from past experience that our council is anything but transparent. Now here is an opportunity to begin putting its house (and disgraced ex-Councillor Brown’s) house in order.