Improvements to be considered at Rotherham Council: change to committee system?

… “It has also been suggested that the governance of the authority could be improved – made more transparent and accountable – if it were changed to the committee system. Before taking any steps to implement such a change, I will be inviting the commissioners views as to what they see would be the most effective and efficient form of governance for the authority. I am also open to representations from the public.”

Parliamentary Communities and Local Government Select Committee slams unsustainable development

“FRIDAY 27 FEBRUARY – for immediate release

Clive Betts: Government must do more to protect communities against unsustainable development

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, has today criticised the complacency of the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, Operation of the National Planning Policy Framework:

“I am very disappointed by the Government’s response to my Committee’s recent report on the Operation of the National Planning Policy Framework.

“My Committee produced a report on the draft NPPF in 2011, which the then Minister, Greg Clark, accepted almost in full. This is in stark contrast to the Government’s latest response which rejects the vast majority of our
recommendations. Current Ministers have missed an opportunity to provide greater protection against unsustainable development in England and to ensure communities aren’t subject to unwanted housing development.

“Our report was firmly evidence-based and the culmination of a long, meticulous inquiry in which we heard from a wide range of witnesses, from parish councils to house builders, from wildlife groups to the property sector.

“We actually welcomed the NPPF as a step forward, but recommended some adjustments to ensure it addressed the growing number of concerns about unsustainable development. Sadly, the Government’s response shows it is burying its head in the sand about these important public concerns.

“Our report didn’t call for an overhaul of the NPPF but rather a series of changes aimed at ensuring it does the job it is intended to do. By refusing to countenance these changes, the Government risks damaging the good work that went into producing the NPPF and undermining the confidence of communities across the country in both the planning system and local decision making.”


Committee Membership is as follows: Mr Clive Betts (Chair, Lab), Bob Blackman (Con), Simon Danczuk (Lab), Mrs Mary Glindon (Lab), David Heyes (Lab), Mark Pawsey (Con), John Pugh, (Lib Dem), Alec Shelbrooke (Con), John Stevenson (Con) and Heather Wheeler (Con) and Chris Williamson (Lab).”

Oh dear, Mrs Kerridge – as EDDC “Tourism Champion” you haven’t done your homework!

In today’s Sidmouth Herald (see post below) Sheia Kerridge, who has been as silent about tourism as Hugo Swire has been about the Local Plan, promises that, now she has retired after 42 years, she can devote more time to her work as a councillor, particularly “a waterborne transport link along the Jurassic Coast”.

But see here – its already been discounted as too expensive and unfundable by your own town council’s tourism chief, Simon Pollentine as late as December 2014!

“Save the NHS” march in Sidmouth

“The protest in Market Place, which is being co-ordinated by the 38 Degrees group, will be one of hundreds of other similar events across the country.

Campaigners will be out from 11am and will be asking residents to sign a petition urging all candidates in May’s General Election to protect the NHS.”

Independents day, not just for Sid Valley. Watch this movement spread!!

Full text of the Sidmouth Herald report is here: and here:

And/ or/ click on the pics below to zoom in:





Independent, united challenge needed across the district

And it has already started! Sidmouth Herald front page story to follow!

…”The Constituency’s MP Hugo Swire appears to pay very little attention to local matters, preferring instead to concentrate on his Ministerial activities. It is rare to hear about Hugo intervening or commenting on local matters, something that a good proactive local MP ought to do. Is Hugo distracted by all of his Ministerial trips abroad?

Our District Council, as everyone knows, has an overwhelming Conservative majority. As everyone will also know the District Council has, particularly over the past 4 years or so, been beset with an apparent indifference by the Conservative majority group to the concerns and wishes of the electorate; those they were elected to serve. More and more the word “arrogance” is used when electors describe the Conservative Councillors attitude to them.”

Tribute to Broadclyst Councillor who fought for years against inappropriate development

The Full Council meeting at Knowle this week, opened with a warm tribute to District and County Councillor Derek Button, who died last month. Representing the people of Broadclyst, he was strongly opposed to the massive development nearby at Cranbrook. And many Councillors listening to the acknowledgements of Derek Button’s dedication to his electors’ concerns, will have recalled his courage in standing up against what he saw as irregular planning matters. He was one of the three Liberal Democrat members of the Development Management Committee (DMC) who temporarily resigned in protest over alleged procedural irregularities in the Waldron’s Farm case. The Ombudsman found no evidence of anything untoward, however, and the controversy lingers on. More info here:

And those following the Task and Finish Forum set up to do an “in-depth report” into EDDC’s relationship with the group then known as the East Devon Business Forum, would also remember Cllr Button’s part in trying to progress this so-called Business TAFF, which never pursued its original aim. See the voting recorded here:

As Council Leader Paul Diviani put it, in a tribute in the Midweek Herald (27 Jan 2015), Derek Button’s colleagues “will mourn the loss of a good man”.,d.d24

EDDC making a complete U-turn on housing figures before elections?

First they had to be concealed until after the election because they were “politically sensitive” and now news that they might be published within the next 10 days according to this blog:

What on earth is going on at the Fawlty Towers known as Knowle? How can they be ” politically sensitive” one week and not politically sensitive the next week? Is panic mode the default mode at EDDC these days with no-one knowing what is going on?

Is it a case that Mid-Devon jumped the gun on consultation – putting their new draft Local Plan out to consultation without the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)figures and saying they would be available to the public by the end of February? Mid Devon has relied on the same consultants’ reports that East Devon is relying on. How could they put a draft plan out for consultation without the figures? Surely you cannot consult on incomplete information?

So, EDDC do we get the figures AND the consultants reports behind them before the elections or after? If before, what was the justification for trying to conceal them until after?

And if we get only your figures and not the reports, why?

And how come you are “tweaking” the reports anyway if Mid Devon has already used the information?

What’s that smell?