Tories of East Devon – You just don’t get it, do you?

Wednesday 3rd June

The motion to delay the Knowle Sale by 6 months was placed before Full Council by Cllr Cathy Gardner and Cllr Matt Booth.  They both presented very reasoned cases for the delay and were conciliatory in their approach.  They stressed Transparency to the residents of East Devon and in particular Sidmouth.  They did not oppose the move merely asked for more time to allow greater consultation to ensure that the Council made the right decision.

The reaction was set by Cllr Williamson who insisted that as the decision had already been validated by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (with a set of “independent” auditors) there was no need to delay – in fact he maintained that there was a need for greater speed.  Other speakers opposing the motion spoke of the need to move and how inappropriate the current building was.

Tories – you just don’t get it!  It is recognised that the current buildings are not fit for purpose AND SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE – but what that is and how due process is applied is the central issue in this motion.

Previous Committees and Councils sanctioned a move to Sky Park – not a mention of that! Then a sudden concept of two premises – why the change?

The appeal to the Freedom of Information request was scathing of the Council – no acceptance of that or any explanation of what was so important within the papers that they could not be released – I doubt most Tory members had even read (or been able to read) them.

Reference to election results and other “facts” but no concept of the Perception of the public – they rightly feel marginalised.

Tories – you seem to have forgotten that you serve your community – these assets are not yours – they are not even EDDC’s – they are owned by the Council Tax Payers of East Devon – you merely act as temporary custodians in the passage of time.  You MUST consult with your Community – you have failed to do this as on other occasions.  You were given the opportunity last night to make a fresh start with Openness and Transparency – you rejected that offer with your customary arrogance.

The motion was defeated by a recorded vote – this may come back to bite you!



9 thoughts on “Tories of East Devon – You just don’t get it, do you?


    I was posted this by a follower – horseshoe bats! I know some at EDDC have bats in the belfry!! – If they are horseshoe then can they knock it down

    “A judge at the High Court in Bristol has put back a decision on the future of rare bats in south Devon.

    Teignbridge Council has given the go-ahead for more than 200 houses to be built at Chudleigh, near a group of greater horseshoe bats.

    Devon Wildlife Trust has called for a judicial review in a bid to overturn the planning decision.

    Chudleigh’s population of greater horseshoe bats is one of the largest in the UK.

    There are an estimated 6,500 greater horseshoe bats in the UK and a third of these live at 11 roosts in Devon.

    A decision on whether to grant a judicial review is expected in the next two weeks.”



  2. So Mr Hull thinks that we in the east of the county do not care where they Council Offices are sited, he evidently does not speak to many people in the east of the county. We do care, it is that EDDC councillors do not bother to ask us.- On that matter or any other!
    The debate on Wednesday evening was a farce, the meeting was simply a formality for those against the motion; their decisions had been made before they even entered the chamber.


  3. Comments from a reader

    I’ve just been reading the EDDC Press Release, at >

    The Press Release by East Devon Distric Council about the proposed relocation from the Knowle to Sidmouth – “Cross party majority squashes Independent Group Councillors proposal to delay council relocation” – confirms a number of things. Not least that EDDC’s Press Office appears not to know the difference between ‘squash’ and ‘quash’ and when to use an apostrophe.
    Given the Council’s previous failures to release information on the proposed move, it was only proper that a number of councillors should request a debate on the subject. As Cllr Diviani knows full well, for the East Devon Alliance the Knowle move has never been the “main issue”. The main issue for EDA has always been to require that EDDC be open and accountable for its decisions. The triumphalist nature of this most recent press release serves yet again to reinforce the impression that the Council is more interested in self-justification than transparency.

    Owl’s comment:- Now that makes – strange – They just don’t get it!


    • I find the whole use of the word “squash” interesting in its own right.

      The council’s press department could have talked about “the motion being defeated” or other unemotional unbiased language, but instead they use an emotive, biased word “squashes” instead.

      To me at least, use of “squashes” suggests a emotional dislike of the independent councillors, and that their motion and demands for transparency and accountability were inappropriate etc. So I would contend that use of this word is a veiled attack on democracy.


  4. Conservative Councillor Hughes did not attend the public meeting to discuss the office relocation and Knowle sale that was held by Vision Group for Sidmouth before the May elections. Instead he sent in a statement saying he was against the Council office move to Honiton and the sale of the Knowle.

    However last night at the extraordinary Council meeting he voted AGAINST the motion to re-examine the possible options and IN FAVOUR of moving the Council offices to Honiton and selling the Knowle for housing.

    He obviously doesn’t believe in keeping his election promises once he has been elected.


  5. I have read the Tribunal Judgement and encourage you to read it for yourselves at Devon District Council EA.2014.0072 (05.05.2015).pdf

    And I have spoken – or at least attempted to speak – twice at EDDC’s council meetings about what this tribunal judgement actually says.

    The most serious part of the Tribunal’s judgement is, in my opinion at least, that they accused the council of submitting illegible versions of a document when legible versions were later proven to be available, and of being untruthful about existence of the legible version. Anyone might quite reasonably assume from this that the council created and submitted an illegible version from a legible one i.e. that it deliberately falsified evidence to mislead the tribunal.

    It is reasonable to assume that the council’s legal staff were involved in the submission of this evidence to the council, so it beggars belief that the Chief Executive would nominate the Chief Legal Officer (in his role of Monitoring Officer) to review this judgement and report back to the council.

    Being untruthful to a tribunal, and possible submission of false evidence, may well be criminal offences. So the proper course of action for this council and for the Chief Executive would seem to me to be to refer this to the police for them to undertake an independent investigation.

    Last night I tried to speak on this, to demand that this was referred to the police, but the Chairman of the council did not want to hear what I had to say and told me to shut up and sit down.


  6. The meeting yesterday evening demonstrated that the majority of EDDC councillors still regard the residents of East Devon with contempt. There is a non acceptance that they are in their positions to serve the public and that Knowle is not theirs, but belongs to the people of East Devon. Democracy flew out of the window a long time ago, there is no transparency. Many of the councillors who spoke against the motion had such weak arguments, they had simply made-up their minds beforehand that they were going to vote against the motion. If they had voted to delay the decision for six months then people would have some reassurance that the matter had been fully examined and hopefully in a more transparent manner.
    Did not the fact that so many people did not vote for them in the election tell them anything? They are incredibly smug and arrogant. Shame on them they are a disgrace.


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