A recent commentator on this blog wants to see Sidmouth leave EDDC.
This raises an interesting possibility.
There is a case for EDDC being broken up as it is already the largest District Council in Devon, and the fastest growing. Increasingly, our district council concentrates on its western side – the Science Park, Cranbrook – the LEP Growth Area – and aligns itself more and more with “Greater Exeter” with other communities feeling increasingly out on an ignored limb.
It would seem from anecdotal evidence that he vast majority of Sidmouth residents would vote to leave EDDC, especially when EDDC is cutting all its ties with the town and moving physically and increasingly representationally to Honiton/Exeter.
The interesting bit is whether other communities would wish to join with Sidmouth in a ‘breakaway’. Would Newton Poppleford, Otterton, Branscombe and Beer, Ottery, Budleigh, Colyton and Seaton be up for creating a new largely rural and coastal authority? And what to call it? Eastern East Devon? Jurassic Devon?
There would be no problem over viability. Some functions might still be shared. Others, such as street cleaning, could be devolved to town council level where it belongs.
There would be an obvious improvement in democratisation, and representation, and, crucially, a big improvement in the quality of councillors. There is also an interesting opportunity to create from the outset a non-party-political district responsible for its own planning. Far more people would stand for an authority when they had a much greater say in decisions affecting their own community; when they and they alone decided on such things as health care, education and environment without having to kowtow to “Greater Exeter”.
Jurassic Devon would have a population of about 50,000, which many would say would be close to the ideal.
Time to consider the break away?