Tiverton and Honiton Tory selections for Devon County Council seats

“We have now completed the selection of our candidates to stand for the Conservative Party at the Devon County Council elections in May 2017. The candidates are as follows:-

Axminster, Iain Chubb
Seaton and Colyton, Helen Parr
Feniton and Honiton, Phil Twiss
Whimple and Newbridges, Paul Diviani
Tiverton East, Colin Slade
Tiverton West, Polly Colthorpe
Willand and Uffculme, Ray Radford,
Cullompton and Bradnich, John Berry”

Government reject former Cabinet MP’s FoI request for report he commissioned!

“As Energy Secretary, he was a target for journalists wielding the Freedom of Information Act.

Now, after being ousted from Parliament in the May 2015 general election, Sir Ed Davey has been forced to resort to using the transparency legislation himself – in an attempt to read a report he commissioned.

But, in a dark twist, civil servants, who just 18 months ago worked with him, have rejected his FOI request asking them to publish a study on the true costs of different electricity sources.

The former Lib Dem cabinet member has accused the Government of “an abuse of power” after it rejected his FOI request to publish the Frontier Economics study into the true costs of different electricity sources, which was submitted to ministers by the consultancy at the start of this year.

Responding to Sir Ed’s requests, the Government acknowledged a public interest in publishing the report but said it would do so “in due course” when it could provide “sufficient context”.

“The excuse for this delay is clearly self-serving nonsense,” Sir Ed said. “It’s an independent report that can stand alone without any spin from Conservative ministers.”…


Sidford employment land victim of “electioneering”

District council chiefs who voted to remove Sidford’s controversial 12-acre employment site from a strategic plan were in fact powerless to enforce the decision, a campaigner has been told.

Councillor Marianne Rixson last week questioned why – after the decision was made unanimously in March 2015 – officers were never instructed to submit a ‘flood of new evidence’ to put it into action. Despite the last-ditch vote to have it removed, a Government planning inspector later ruled the allocation must remain in East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Local Plan.

The answer to Cllr Rixson’s question, given at last Wednesday’s full EDDC meeting, confirmed the instruction was never given to remove the allocation from the plan – because a public inquiry was already under way.

Members heard that officer advice would have been to allow the planning inspector, who led the inquiry, to ‘reach his own conclusions’.

Last week’s meeting heard: “Members’ resolution to remove the allocation from the plan was, and could only ever have been, a suggestion to the inspector as, following its submission for examination, the council no longer had the power to make changes to it.

“There was, therefore, no opportunity to submit evidence to support this change, however, even if there had been, the evidence produced up to that point had supported its allocation and it is likely that any future evidence would have reached the same conclusion.”

Cllr Rixson, a long-time campaigner against the allocation who was elected last May, said the Conservative-majority council only took the vote because it felt threatened by her and her East Devon Alliance colleagues.

She said: “The final comment [above] confirms our suspicions that EDDC never changed its mind about the Sidford site being in the Local Plan.

“Voting to ‘remove it’ was purely an electioneering stunt just before the district council elections in 2015.”

An application to develop the employment site into a 9.3-acre business park was refused in September, although EDDC bosses said they remain committed to its development.

Cllr Rixson added: “The recent refusal of the application to develop the site exposed significant planning policies that should have been considered when the Local Plan was being drawn up.

“The outstanding question is why they did not come to the fore when they could have made an impact on the Local Plan?”