EDDC loses its appeal to keep Knowle relocation reports secret, with scathing commentary on Council’s behaviour!

The Judge’s report ends with this REMARKABLE paragraph:

‘ This Tribunal takes the unusual and unfortunate step of commenting on the conduct of the appeal itself.

We are unanimous in our view that this appeal has taken much longer than it should have done and the reason for this seems to be the failure on the part of the public authority, the appellant, to address itself with sufficient attention to the details of what information and documents it was sup- plying to the Commissioner and ultimately also to the Tribunal.

It was not until March 2015 that a fully legible copy of the disputed information was supplied and seemed to be complete. This is, in our collective experience, wholly exceptional and the time spent dealing with what we believe to be five different sets of disputed information is simply not a good use of the Tribunal’s time nor fair, in terms of delay, to the requester.

Correspondence on behalf of the Council, rather than ensuring the Tribunal was assisted in its function, was at times discourteous and unhelpful including the statement that we had the most legible copies possible. A statement, which was clearly inaccurate as subsequently, we have been provided with perfectly legible documents.

We believe this appeal could and should have been dealt with completely at the hearing in August 2014 and the decision promulgated six months ago had the Council discharged its responsibilities properly’.

A press release is due shortly, from Save our Sidmouth.

Famous Budleigh author Hilary Mantel is voting for Claire Wright

Famous Budleigh Salterton author Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall, Bring out the Bodies) is voting for Claire Wright!

Hilary Mantel

“I’ve missed most of the campaign because I’ve been abroad, but returned to an atmosphere of dead-eyed horse-trading. The electoral air is fetid, the major parties demeaning themselves; it would be funny if it weren’t so disgusting. I mean to vote for our independent candidate in East Devon, Claire Wright. She is an experienced local councillor who has covered the ground, knows what matters to people here, and talks in concrete terms rather than mouthing slogans.

East Devon is a safe Tory seat so in a sense it doesn’t matter what I do. But I hope that if enough people turn out for her, a decent, young, energetic candidate will be encouraged to keep striving. It’s a vote for the political process rather than a political party. Which is an act of faith, and seems the best one can do.”


Former Senior Lib Dem urges local Lib Dems to vote for Claire Wright

From the blog today of Mike Simpson, who stood against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the 2010 Parliamentary elections (our highlighting):

Five years ago I was the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate against Jeremy Hunt, the Tory Minister who then became Health Secretary, coming second but by a wide margin. I did not expect to overturn his large majority but I DID expect that the Liberal Democrats would keep their word on tuition fees and that in any coalition with the Tories they would secure a change in the electoral voting system. To say I was disappointed with what happened is an understatement. The election this week will demonstrate just how much damage has been done to the Party I believed in. The betrayal of students and of the electorate in general has left a very bitter taste for many of the 6.8 million people who voted for them. Current projections are that the number voting for the Lib Dems will reduce to below 4 million on Thursday.

I grew up in Sidmouth in East Devon and went to school in Ottery St Mary. I still have family living there and I love this beautiful corner of the West Country. I have been watching the election campaign there and have been very impressed with the campaign of one particular candidate who appears to be a strong antidote to the cynical and deceitful manipulations which have so badly corrupted British politics in the last few years. She is the Independent Claire Wright and she has an excellent chance of beating the sitting Tory MP in what has always been a true blue constituency. Even the Daily Telegraph think so!

Claire is a strong advocate for local community hospitals. She will fight for better support for carers including home based care and respite and for improvements to underfunded mental health services. Her support for small businesses includes a demand for fairer business rates for small traders.

Probably the biggest reason for her growing popularity is that she has a strong record of independent campaigning in favour of the local community at a time when the Tory-controlled East Devon District Council (EDDC) has ridden roughshod over the concerns of local people as exemplified by their  foolhardy plans to move their headquarters at vast expense. On her website Claire says she will:

  • Pressure EDDC to scrap its risky, wasteful and expensive relocation plans
  • Insist that EDDC listens to local people and carries out genuine consultation when change is proposed
  • Campaign to amend the National Planning Policy Framework, so it is less about economic growth and more about balanced communities
  • Listen to local people’s views on protection for the countryside and nature
  • Hold Conservative-led EDDC to account for its failure to achieve a Local Plan acceptable to a planning inspector
  • Campaign for new rules for developers to properly recompense communities for development

I admire and applaud Claire Wright’s independent spirit and community based campaigning and I am therefore urging all those who would normally vote Liberal Democrat or Labour to give your support to Claire on Thursday.