Be sceptical about pre-election rumours!

Ask yourself – who would start such “good news” rumours just before local elections!

“A pair of retail giants has quashed rumours of setting up shop in Sidmouth.

Both Marks and Spencers and Superdrug have ruled out any plans to set up a food hall or beauty store at this time.

With a number of buildings available for new businesses in the town, there has been talk that both companies may have had their eyes on coming to Sidmouth. …”

Former EDDC Tory leader writes to explain his defection – well, sort of … not quite!

Minimally enlightening, unfortunately. Hard to explain why you defected when you agree with everything your former party did/is doing/will do!

Sorry, for Owl he’s still “Not-quite Independent LiteTory”! And Owl is STILL waiting for him to explain which NATIONAL policies caused him to resign.

Come on, Mr Thomas – no whip now – you could speak your mind if you wanted to.

Or is it too close to 2 May to speak freely …

Post 2 May actions will speak louder than these vague words.



A correspondent explains why he won’t be voting Conservative on Thursday

Unless your readers live in a new house on an estate they will have little understanding of what happens today.

I moved onto a new estate which had a grassed open area. I was aware that there was some infrastructure to prevent flooding beneath it and knew that I would have to pay a share of the upkeep. I did not fully understand was that it was a public open space which was available for anyone’s use, not just the residents on the estate.

Maintenance charges have rocketed whilst quality of service has been poor. Any talk of with holding service charge payments is referred promptly to debt recovery. The whole system is unregulated and frankly, stinks.

I have dug deep to try to understand how a simple purchase of a freehold house is suddenly caught up in a land charge where I am compelled to pay for maintenance of land owned by someone else.

The root cause of the problem seems to have started with the council. In this case EDDC. As part of the planning condition for the estate the developer had to provide a public open space and a SUDS system to prevent flooding. In all probability it was an attempt by the council to stick their fingers up at the developers and force them to provide facilities for public benefit at no cost to the local authority.

The next stage was to make the developers responsible for the maintenance of the new open spaces. They could either do that themselves or pay a lump sum to the council to maintain it for the next 25years. Clearly the developers were unable to afford that so they passed the maintenance charges on to the residents within the title deeds for each house.

That was very unpopular and most developers, wanting to distance themselves from the problem, gave the piece of public land to a land management company. It seems that none of those companies are regulated and can charge what they like. If you don’t pay their bill they could apparently seize your house. All quite outrageous.

There has been lots of bad press about these land management companies and the matter discussed in Whitehall although the housing minister has taken little interest.

In East Devon our Conservative council has decided to stick their nose in the trough and has decided to offer to take over the public open spaces at Cranbrook and offer to carry out the maintenance of the public open spaces and charge F band houses £370 per annum and H band houses £512 per annum. Both of those figures are in addition to the normal council tax which is supposed to cover supply and maintenance of public open spaces !!

So lets look at this…. EDDC created the problem by insisting that the developer provide the public open spaces which the council had no intention of maintaining. When it all starts to go wrong EDDC offer to take the responsibility over but only by penalising the residents who live on those estates.

To make it clear those public open spaces are available for use by anyone. So maintenance of those public open spaces should be maintained at public expense. The costs must be paid out of council tax revenue.

This mess has been created by EDDC who enjoy a massive Conservative majority. Any proposals are just nodded through without opposition.

I have always voted Conservative in the past but things have got out of hand. Things must change. The public has a chance to voice their opinion in the local elections on 2nd May.

I know I won’t be for any Conservative Councillor and no, it’s got nothing to to with Brexit….”

Wondering why new houses are so badly built? Here’s a clue

“Cornwall councillors are set to be asked to support a call on the government to give back responsibility for building control to local councils in a bid to improve the quality of homes being built by developers.

Under the current system, developers can choose their own approved regulator to undertake building control and checks.

But Threemilestone Liberal Democrat councillor Dulcie Tudor said she was leading a bid to have this returned to local councils amid fears the current system was open to abuse because “any company or person… can choose who regulates them”.

“New Statesman” magazine tips Independents to give EDDC Tories a scare tomorrow …

Stephen Bush column in the current “New Statesman” political magazine talking about what to look out for in 2019 elections:

” … Ooh, there’s a lot going on here. The fun one is East Devon, where in the parliamentary seat Claire Wright, an independent, has a fighting chance of winning ahead of the Conservatives. The local battle is largely between Conservatives and independents, so keep an eye on that. …”

Swire thinks “the market” (private enterprise) can solve climate crisis

Well, he would wouldn’t he.

He says:

” … For us to solve this crisis, it is more realistic to make modern industry part of the equation.

“Of course Government intervention and raising awareness has a role to play but the vital component has to be human ingenuity fostered within markets regulated cleverly by the state.

“And it is only in healthy, entrepreneurial economies that inventions can be made – the electric vehicles, smart electricity grids, revolutionised batteries.

“Shell, for example, has spruced up its act and is now one of the biggest investors in renewable energy in the world, spending billions on solar research and development.

“We need to see other big corporations following suit and to meet UN targets by 2030 or 2050 the real change has to come from industry in China, India and USA. …”

Particularly interesting as he is in partnership with the VERY VERY controversial Lord Barker (see numerous EDW posts on him) in a (dormant) company – Eaglesham Investments Ltd – which used to describe itself as:

“developer of clean energy projects overseas, focussed on emerging economies”

but now describes itself as:

“Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified”

Yeah, the market will definitely sort it all out ….. for some people.

Want to know how the government’s Education Department is doing?

Guardian satirist John Crace on today in Parliament:

“… At departmental questions, the education secretary appeared completely out of his depth. No real surprise as Damian Hinds has made a career out of being entirely forgettable. So anonymous that not even his reflection recognises him. A man who makes the prime minister look vaguely sentient. A man of untapped levitas who can barely be trusted to give anything more than the blandest of answers to any given question. A beta version of a beta cabinet minister.

Hinds got off to a good enough start as the first question was officially withdrawn. Tory Ben Bradley had clearly decided there was no point in asking what steps the department had taken to strengthen the teaching profession as the answer was so obviously none. Why would it? Far too much like hard work.

Thereafter, the education secretary failed to explain anything satisfactorily. Fewer children were learning languages as it was more important that foreigners learned English. The reason so many schools were badly funded was that they wouldn’t have anything to complain about if they had proper resources.

To his credit, though, Hinds has managed to mould his department in his own image. Every one of his ministerial team is almost as hopeless as him. Anne Milton appears to have given up almost entirely and devoted her life to taking large quantities of Quaaludes. Her speech is one long unintelligible drawl. “Dudes-I-want-to-congra-congratch-congatchulate-someone-for-doing-somethink-but-I-can’t-quite-remember-what,” she slurred. No one even pretended to understand.

Luckily for Hinds and his team it was left to higher education minister, Chris Skidmore, to do most of the heavy lifting both in departmental questions and the urgent question that followed. Labour’s Angela Rayner and other opposition MPs wanted to know the truth behind weekend cabinet leaks that the government was planning to end reciprocal funding arrangements for EU and UK university students from 2020/21.

Skidmore imagines himself to be a skilful operator from the dispatch box, but the reality is that he has drunk the same brain-deadening Kool-Aid as everyone else. English is at best his second language. Complete fuckwittery being the first.

“Going forward,” he said. Going forward it was regrettable that the leak had been leaked but going forward no decision had been made but going forward it would do no harm to sting EU students for as much cash as possible but going forward it would be discriminating against overseas students if we going forward didn’t discriminate against EU students as well but going forward it would be great if only rich UK students studied abroad as going forward Europe was a bad place for poor people and going forward we were going to make a success of Brexit.

It was all nonsense but it was still the best part of an hour before the Speaker put an end to Skidmore’s agony. He left the chamber with a look of triumph, too lacking in self-awareness to be chastened by his humiliation. In any case, on Tuesday it would be another minister’s turn to demonstrate that the government didn’t know what it was doing.”

To vote in European elections you must register by 7 May 2019

There are two main elections that are being held in East Devon next month. District, town and parish elections are on Thursday 2 May, and a European Parliamentary election is on Thursday 23 May.

Poll cards for the district, town and parish elections have now been sent out to registered voters in the district who are reminded to carefully check where their polling station is.

East Devon District Council is also preparing for the European Parliamentary election following the delay to Britain leaving the European Union. The election will take place unless Britain leaves the EU before.

These elections are conducted by the regional returning officer in Bournemouth with East Devon District Council producing poll cards and postal votes, and running the polling stations, and a local count which will take place on Sunday, 26 May.

The deadline to register to vote for the European elections is Tuesday 7 May and the quickest way to register is by using the government registration website – it takes just five minutes.

All you will need to complete the online process is your National Insurance number.

Please remember that you must re-register to vote if you have changed your address, your name or nationality. People only need to register once – they do not need to register separately for every election.

If you want to check if you are registered to vote or you would like to register by completing a paper form, then please contact the East Devon Electoral Services Helpline on 01395 571529 or email

If you’re a citizen of a European Union country (other than the UK, Republic of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus), you can either vote in European Parliamentary elections in the UK or in your home country. You cannot vote twice. To vote in the UK, you need to be registered to vote and complete a form stating that you wish to vote in the UK and not in your home country. You can download the EU citizen European Parliament voter registration form at the Your Vote Matters website.

After completing the form, you need to send it to East Devon District Council’s Electoral Services team at Blackdown House, Border Road, Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton, EX14 1EJ. It must be received by Tuesday 7 May.

East Devon voters wanting a postal vote for the European election must apply by 5pm on Wednesday, 8 May. To apply, please use the form available at the government postal voting application page.

If you wish to cancel or amend your existing postal vote, the team must be told about this in writing no later than 5pm on Wednesday, 8 May.

Applications to appoint a proxy must be received by the council’s Electoral Services team by 5pm on Wednesday, 15 May. Proxy voters will be required to attend your polling station to vote on your behalf. Application forms can be found on the Your Vote Matters proxy vote application page.”

Swire’s business pal refuses to say how much Russians pay him

Background here:

Be judged by the friends you seek …

“En+, the energy & aluminium company founded by controversial Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, has remained silent on how much it paid a peer to chair its board last year, drawing further scrutiny of his corporate ties.

Remuneration details of Greg Barker, who took a leave of absence from the House of Lords to become chairman of the Russian conglomerate, were expected to be revealed in the company’s annual report published on Monday but were not revealed in the document.

En+ declined to comment. .. “