“Claim ‘too many decisions at EDDC made by officers’ “

Owl’s question: why is EDDC involved in running a theatre at all? Perhaps it’s because Leader Diviani has a soft spot for them as he worked in the entertainment industry in the 1970s and 1980s!

“A debate over pay-and-display parking charges at a Sidmouth venue spilled over into claims key parties were not consulted and that officers repeatedly go over councillors’ heads.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) scrutiny committee raised concerns the proposed regime – aimed at raising up to £30,000 a year for the Manor Pavilion – could deter users and be ‘counter-productive’.

Members were told they could not ‘call in’ the cabinet’s decision to approve the new charges, but they could make recommendations on the implementation.

Graham Liverton, an honorary alderman of the council, said: “I do appreciate the efforts you’ve gone to get this on the agenda, but I fear it won’t make a jot of difference.”

He chairs the Manor Pavilion steering committee, but said he had received a letter from an officer saying it is ‘no longer required’.

The meeting heard that, while members can still meet, it will no longer be administered by an EDDC officer.

Mr Liverton said: “In other words, because we disagreed with the decision [to introduce charges], we get the sack. I think that’s a great shame. The whole thing, from beginning to end, has been disgraceful.”

He said many key users had to learn of the proposals in the Herald, adding: “The communication from EDDC has been so abysmal – it’s beyond belief.”

Officers said Sidmouth’s ward members had been told about the proposals, but admitted the town council was not consulted.

Councillor Maddy Chapman raised concerns no vote was taken about the future of the steering committee, adding: “Too many decisions are being made in this council that aren’t going through the proper channels. 
“Any amount of money won’t be enough to put new chairs in that theatre. It’s not going to work.”

Cllr Cathy Gardner added: “This is another example of how the council seems to be acting in a heavy-handed way of ‘we know best’. There are ways to make this usable for people who actually use the Manor Pavilion.

“If it means people don’t use the car park, that’s counterproductive. I can’t see how much money it will raise – it could have a big negative impact.”

The income from the car park’s 21 spaces will be ring-fenced for investment in the theatre and arts centre.

Theatre manager Graham Whitlock said its 277 chairs ‘will not last’ another five years and a previous quote said they would cost £150 apiece to recondition.

EDDC also hopes to bring in an online ticketing system he said will cost £10,000 a year.

“By charging for the car park we can continue to develop for the future,” added Mr Whitlock.

Scrutiny committee members backed EDDC’s plan to extend the maximum parking time from three to four hours, and called for the charges to end at 6pm, not 8pm as proposed.

They also said consulting users, ward councillors and Sidmouth Town Council should be an important part of the process.


You have until Monday at 11.59 pm to register to vote

Anyone planning to vote in June’s general election who isn’t yet on the electoral roll has only until Monday 22 May to register.

You’re eligible to vote in the 8 June general election if:

You’re a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen aged 18 or over who is currently living in the UK.

You’re a British citizen aged 18 or over who’s been registered to vote in the UK in the past 15 years.

However, simply being eligible to vote doesn’t mean you’re actually able to you have to register by


11.59pm on

Monday 22 May 2017


otherwise you won’t be able to vote in the general election.

In addition to giving you a vote, registering boosts your chances of getting credit, as lenders can use the electoral roll to check out potential borrowers. See our Credit Scores guide for more on this and other tips on how to boost your score.

How to register

Check if you’re registered to vote by getting in touch with your local authority. Enter your postcode on Gov.uk to find your local electoral registration office and contact it directly.

If you were registered for last June’s Brexit referendum or are for the local elections on Thursday 4 May this year, AND you still live at the same address, you should already be registered to vote but if not, you need to register by Monday 22 May.

If you’re not on the electoral roll, visit Gov.uk to register to vote in England, Scotland and Wales. Registering online takes about five minutes.

Or you can download a form to register by post, which you’ll need to send to your local electoral registration office, but make sure it arrives by 22 May.

To register in Northern Ireland, visit the Your Vote Matters website to download the form and return it to your local area electoral office.

Postal and proxy votes

If you’re already registered to vote in person and you wish to switch to a postal vote or a proxy vote (where a voter nominates a trusted person to cast a vote on their behalf) in time for the general election, there are separate deadlines for changing your voting method.

To switch to a postal vote, you’ll need to register by 5pm on Tuesday 23 May. If you’re opting for a proxy vote, the deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 31 May.

If you’re in England, Scotland or Wales, you can change your voting preferences by downloading a postal vote or proxy vote form from Gov.uk. To do this in Northern Ireland, different forms are required.


Do Tories REALLY plan to build council houses for £2,600 each!

Comment on Guardian article:

Tory maths:
Manifesto says they will build 500,000 new houses.

According to Conservatives this cost will be covered by £1.3 billion in extra capital spending (read borrowing).

£1.3 billion spent on 500,000 houses means each house will be built for £2600.

Current waiting list for council housing, 1.25 million people.”

A song for our times

From a correspondent”

“Maggie May”

​The Tory slogan or cliché
​Is “Strong and Stable Mrs May”.
​“Strong”? Just on the weak, I’d say.
​“Why take disableds’ pay away?”
​Said Kathy*. May had nought to say.
​TV debate? Too “frit” to play.
​And what, last April*, did she say? –
​She argued not to “leave” but “stay”:
​Irish and Scots could break away;​
​The bankers could all go away;
​Trade deals? Could be worse, O.K?
​In single market? Costs to pay.

​On Brexit it is all hearsay:
​Why put your trust in Mrs May?
​Do YOU know what she’ll give away?
​Tories are split, in disarray.
​And what if she’d just “run away”
​ ​And Far Right/Daily Mail hold sway?

​What does her manifesto say?
​For social care you’ll have to pay;
​More cuts for schools are on the way;
​Retireds face a cut in pay*;
​Few immigrants? The figures say
​A record under Mrs May*.

​What will we get “post-Brexit day”?
​The NHS will fade away
​And if you’re ill you’ll have to pay*;
​More zero hours and more low pay;
​Meanwhile the richest will make hay;
​More cuts – for that’s the Tory way.
​Why WOULD YOU vote for Mrs May?

*Disabled Kathy in Abingdon recently wanted Mrs May not to cut disabled living allowance and care. (Kathy has £100 a month to live on.) * 25 April 2016
*No triple lock on state pensions
*A record 650,000 immigrants entered UK in May’s last year as Home Secretary.
*Boris Johnson wants us to pay for NHS treatment, Michael Gove to privatise it, Iain Duncan Smith to replace it with an insurance system – John Major said the NHS was as safe in their hands as a pet hamster would be with a hungry python.”

Osborne unwittingly reveals a coalition dirty secret on health and schools

George Osborne in the Evening Standard unwittingly revealing TRUE coalition policies in an article meant to diss Jeremy Corbyn:

“The Coalition government enacted a programme of austerity but claimed that key services such as the NHS and schools would be ‘ring-fenced’ — true in the strict sense that their budgets were not cut, but in practice they faced a prolonged freeze that meant they couldn’t do everything asked of them.”


No vote from Maldives for Swire – in spite of all his visits and questions in Parliament!

Heck, Swire can’t even vote for himself in East Devon as he doesn’t live in the constituency, preferring to syay well away on the other side of the M5!

The ability of Commonwealth citizens to vote in our elections means that changes to the membership of the Commonwealth have a knock-on impact on who can vote. (It also means that Mozambique and Rwandan citizens can vote here – surely the obscurest group with the franchise given that neither country was part of the British empire but they were admitted to the Commonwealth for political reasons.)

The latest change, following the news about The Gambia, is that Maldivians have now lost the vote. Their country left the Commonwealth last year under pressure over human rights, and the relevant legislative change has just come in.”