Colyton proudly announces itself as “the most rebellious town in Devon” for its part in supporting the Duke of Monmouth against James the Second.
Is it now time for another rebellion?
EDDC is the largest District Council in Devon with a population of about 140,000. It is growing rapidly. All this is happening against the backdrop of relocating EDDC’s headquarters and possible mergers amongst councils, in particular the creation of Greater Exeter.
Does everyone in East Devon want to be part of this process of rapid population growth and incorporation into the Exeter conurbation?
Residents of Exmouth, Honiton and Cranbrook may well look towards Exeter and work in the city, but our more rural and coastal communities increasingly see crowded and congested Exeter as something of which they do not wish to be a part. They tend to look towards the slower population growth and protection of the environment that can be found across the border in Dorset.
Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer, Colyton and Seaton, and perhaps Ottery, seem to see themselves more as operating in an economy linked primarily to tourism and agriculture. They have no wish or requirement to be absorbed into the Exeter behemoth. Cleaner and greener.
These communities also have little representation in the hierarchy at Knowle, (or even acknowledged by Greater Exeter) where the leadership is dominated by councillors from Exmouth, Honiton and Axminster.
In such circumstances, and with relocation offering a timely opportunity, is it not time to seriously consider splitting the District Council and introducing a healthy dose of localism?
We already see many functions and services involving cross-authority cooperation. Such sharing of services could and should continue were coastal East Devon to secede. But those coastal communities would have far greater control over their own affairs.
Is it time for Eastern East Devon, or perhaps “Jurassic Devon”, to secede from EDDC and withdraw from the Greater Exeter project?
And maybe join with Dorset’s idea of a Jurassic National Park?
All it takes is a few rebellious people to get it started!