East Devon Alliance – action AND positivity !

As published in Express and Echo today) (rejected by Midweek Herald)

“Former Conservative District Councillor, Mrs Liverton has recently (in the local press) accused East Devon Alliance (EDA) Independent Councillors of “constant negativity” and lack of positive action.

• Was it (and is it) “negative” to campaign for greater transparency, democracy and accountability in local government as members of EDA and other Independents are constantly doing? This is clearly necessary and was done by other local groups supported by EDA during the EDDC office re-location affair when the District Council repeatedly withheld information from the public and was twice castigated by the Information Commissioner.

• Was it (and is it) “negative” to campaign against the closure of hospital beds (and local hospitals) across the district? Again, this was done and is being done by EDA councillors and other Independents at both district and county level and has been supported by many concerned members of the public.

• And is it now “negative” to campaign for more action against the huge rise in poverty and homelessness in this country as recently revealed by the United Nations Observer and as EDA Councillors Cathy Gardner and Marianne Rixson did at Full Council recently*?

• And is it “negative” to campaign, (as members and councillors of EDA are doing), for a National Park for “Wessex” to include the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) of East Devon which currently lacks proper protection against inappropriate development?

Thanks to you, the voters, EDA is a positive new force at EDDC. Meetings are open to the public. Come and see for yourself in 2019, at the new Honiton offices you are paying for (with a long-term loan).

* The attached photo shows how the EDA motion brought complete cross-party unity, unheard of in Mrs Liverton’s time, to the Full Council recently.

Mike Temple, Sidmouth”

Mahogany tables …..

Story moving to regional media – watch this space.

If any town or parish council or local charity WAS or WAS NOT contacted about this or any other item for sale, Owl would be VERY interested to hear details!

Allegedly sold to Councillor Philip Skinner when officers and councillors given first dibs at Knowle furniture surplus to requirements – 22 ft extending mahogany board room table (only bid):

Meanwhile on E-bay bay today:

Buy it now price
£12,000 mahogany board room table

Buy it now price
Modern plain wooden board room table, well-used 7 m

East Devon average house price more than £50,000 higher than average

“A first-time buyer in East Devon is expected to pay an average of £220,486 to make their first step on the property ladder as part of an overall price increase of 1.6 per cent.

East Devon has seen property values increase by 3.6 per cent over the last 12 months and data from the Office of National Statistics shows the average property price in the area was £286,528. This price is over £50,000 higher than the UK average.

According to data from Rightmove, the average house price in Sidmouth was £358,370 which is a nine per cent increase since 2015.

The area has a similar average price to Ottery St Mary at £351,814 but is more expensive than Branscombe.

In the UK, house prices have increased by 3.5 per cent in 2018 and the average property owner in East Devon has seen their house value jump by £53,000 in the last five years.”


EDDC “to start charging developers who build new homes to pay for waste containers”

“Developers will be charged for supplying new build properties with recycling and waste containers in East Devon.

Currently the council provides all new properties with the containers free of charge, but the cost of supplying them to between 750 and 900 new East Devon homes every year is escalating.

John Golding, Strategic Lead for Housing, Health & Environment, told councillors on Wednesday night that around £112,000 a year is spent by the council on supplying containers each year. …”


Millionaire’s academy schools “cheating”

“ne of the country’s top-performing chains of academy schools has been accused of “systemic cheating” during Ofsted inspections at a number of its primaries, a HuffPost UK investigation can reveal.

Concerned teachers and a governor have made serious allegations that the renowned Harris Federation, which runs 47 schools in and around London, is “gaming the system” during Ofsted inspections at more than one of its schools.

The academy trust, one of the largest in England, was set up by Conservative peer and ex-Carpetright mogul Lord Philip Harris, and has often been praised by government ministers as a shining example of the academy schools model.

But insiders at some Harris primary schools have told HuffPost UK the unrelenting drive for success from the academy trust has led to an endemic culture of “cheating and rule bending” during Ofsted.

Those concerned say the Harris Federation needs good or outstanding Ofsted ratings at all its schools in order to justify the bumper salaries of top staff. Its CEO Dan Moynihan was paid at least £420,000 in 2015-16.

One former Harris teacher, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told HuffPost UK: “Staff are parachuted in to protect the Ofsted grade.

“This is all about the veneer of excellence without substance to hold up the PR about all Harris schools being good or outstanding at Ofsted.”

A number of sources close to Harris schools have made specific allegations about highly experienced executive teachers from a central team being brought into schools on the eve of Ofsted inspections, allegedly in order to boost performance.

Critics say this type of support is not available to local authority schools and the issue is a critical one, as a good or outstanding Ofsted rating is a key factor when parents select schools for their children. …”