Something rather odd happened at East Devon District Council’s full council meeting earlier this week.
With some Tory eyebrows shooting skywards, gutsy EDA Leader, Councillor Cathy Gardner asked the following question of EDDC’s Paul Diviani:
“I am sure you are aware, as I am,” she began, “that there is an ongoing Police Investigation into aspects of the Colyton section of the emerging Villages Plan. It may, therefore, be proven that undue influence has distorted the content of the plan. If that does turn out to be the case, do you agree that it is the responsibility of this Council to rectify the result of this influence – in order to ensure the residents of Colyton are not adversely affected and to do so before the plan goes to the (Planning) Inspector?”
What could she be referring to?! “Undue influence”? Surely not.
The two previous questions to Cllr Diviani had been vigorously taken by CEO Mark Williams. Williams didn’t seem to fancy answering this one, though. He sat impassively, even though Chairman Stuart Hughes leaned in to see if he wanted to contribute.
Cllr Diviani replied in somewhat woolly terms thus:
“Well, in terms of the Villages Plan that’s on its progress as it currently stands. I can’t see a reason why we should be inclined to second guess what an Inspector or other authority or otherwise is going to do and in that respect I will reserve judgement as to when we actually do take action.”
Tories shot glances at each other. Action? Against whom? And why? And what did he mean by “other authority”?
The Colyton Village Plan was the subject of a last minute amendment on 27th February 2017 when the Coly Valley’s two district councillors spoke about the disused Ceramtec factory. Of them, Cllr Godbeer was present last night.
Not available to comment was Vice Chairman Helen Parr (also a County candidate) who chose to attend Colyton’s Annual Parish Meeting instead.