Who will get ditched councillor’s seat on “Queen’s Drive Exmouth Community Interest Company”?

Currently, directors are:

Ben [Correction: Sam] Hawkins – EDDC Independent Group councillor (Cranbrook)
Paul Millar – fired/resigned Independent Group councillor
Glen Woodcock – Grenadier
Grenadier Exmouth (whatever that means)


It will be REALLY interesting to see who gets the challice! In the gift of Leader Ingham? Depends as Tories and Independent group currently level pegging!

More revelations: EDDC Leader now says he sacked councillor BEFORE he resigned!

This omnishambles story gets more complucated by the minute!

“An Exmouth district councillor who quit the Independent party and attacked the district council’s senior management was sacked from Cabinet, an email has revealed.

In correspondence seen by the Journal, district council leader Ben Ingham said he had already removed Cllr Millar from his role as transformation portfolio holder with ‘immediate effect’ the day before his resignation was announced.

Cllr Millar sent an email to colleagues in which he directed criticism at East Devon District Council’s senior management team.

In an email exchange, Cllr Ingham said: “It was necessary to do this [remove Cllr Millar from post] for a number of reasons over a sustained period.”

Cllr Ingham said he was forced to sack Cllr Millar as he failed to take the ‘many chances’ given to him to ‘show respect to our officers and each other at all times’.

Cllr Ingham said: “This left me with no other choice.

“As a result he has chosen to leave our group.

“The Independent Group placed much faith and hope in Paul Millar.

“We consider it a great shame he was not able to work with us and our outstanding officers. We will adjust accordingly.”

Speaking today, Cllr Millar said: “I was trying to make a contribution but I don’t feel as though I was given any opportunity to do that.

“There have been a few occasions where I have clashed with senior officers.

“It is going to take me a while to learn the ropes. To become a new councillor and be put on the Cabinet, starting straight away while having a full time job, is always going to be a challenge.

“It would have been nice to meet the senior officers to be briefed on important decisions.

“I don’t feel as though I could make important decisions. I am going to carry on as a councillor and try and learn as much as I can and do the best job I think I can locally.”


Former “Independent Group” councillor expands on reasons for resignation

Just one thing missing from Councillor Ingham’s justification below – why did he choose a brand new councillor to be an important portfolio holder?

Answer: because he utterly refused to co-operate with other independent councillors – many of them experienced – because they belonged to the group he formerly led (East Devon Alliance), preferring to appoint Conservative councillors or ex-councillors (he had also been a Conservative!) from the “ancien regime”, which led this blog to call the group “TiggerTories”.

As you sow, so shall you reap.

“East Devon District Council is in political deadlock after the dramatic resignation of one of the ruling independent group’s councillors.

Former Independent Group councillor Paul Millar, who represents Exmouth Halsdon, resigned today, accusing the district council leadership team of keeping him in the dark on important policy issues.

The council is now deadlocked with 19 Independent councillors and 19 Conservative councillors.

Despite this the council’s leader, councillor Ben Ingham, has said that, ‘it is business as usual for East Devon’.

Nub News contacted Paul Millar and asked him to explain his reasons for resigning, he said: “My experience was that in my four months in the Cabinet I wasn’t asked what I thought about anything, I wasn’t briefed, given options with which to make informed decisions, and attempts to have any influence over my portfolio proved to be impossible.

“In my first week, an email was sent out to colleagues “on my behalf” without me having the opportunity to sign it off or influence its contents. This really upset me because it suggested to colleagues I had formed a particular view on a subject that I hadn’t.

“Being new to local government, I would have appreciated more support and, ultimately, I came to the sad conclusion that some in the Senior Management Team simply don’t trust Councillors to make the decisions the people elected us to make.

He added: “I do respect that others may view things in a different way, but I guess I just wanted to be honest and I’ve been humbled by the number of colleagues across parties who’ve agreed with my sentiments.”

Councillor Ben Ingham, leader of East Devon District Council, has responded to councillor Millar’s resignation stating, ‘it is business as usual for East Devon. He said: “It is very unfortunate when individuals resort to personal and unfounded comments. Such attacks do not help us advance understanding of the work carried out by East Devon District Council’s officers and councillors and their respective roles and responsibilities as detailed in the Council’s Constitution. Rather, they confuse, contribute to rumours and create more harm.

“However, I am confident that the council offered councillor Millar a high level of support and assistance to help him try to adjust to the demands of being a portfolio holder, and I thank him for his contribution. On behalf of the council I am very grateful for the work that councillor Millar has carried out since his election and appointment to the Cabinet and wish him well for the future. Looking forwards, though, it is business as usual for East Devon.”

Nub News was contacted by East Devon councillor and chairman of the East Devon Conservative Association, Bruce de Saram, he had this to say: “Clearly Paul Millar doesn’t yet fully grasp the difference between strategic and operational roles on a council, which I find puzzling, given his previous role as an advisor to a Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson; you might have thought he would understand something of the democratic process and the slow pace of it at times.

“There is huge democratic input and the officers at EDDC do an excellent job on behalf of all residents of East Devon in what is a very challenging work environment. It is hugely unfair and inappropriate to criticise them when they have no right of reply; councillor Millar needs to understand that ‘changing the world’ takes more than three months.”

However in conclusion Councillor de Saram sincerely wished Councillor Millar well and said he looks forward to seeing him at future meetings as a “genuine independent”.


“Exmouth councillor’s resignation from ‘sinking ship’ Independent group ‘inevitable’ says Conservative chairman”

Councillor Millar was councillor for “transformation” and was investigating the change to the committee system that Independent Group Leader Boris (whoops, sorry Ben) Ingham had been all in favour of – until he became council leader.

“Councillor Bruce de Saram said ‘others are likely to follow’ after Cllr Paul Miilar sensationally resigned from the Independent group, effectively cancelling out its majority at district council.

In an email seen by the Journal, Cllr Millar criticised senior management at East Devon District Council (EDDC) for not consulting him on policy decisions.

Cllr De Saram said that criticism of senior management is ‘hugely unfair and inappropriate’ when they have no right of reply.

When approached by the Journal, Cllr Millar said his comments were based on his own personal experience of the few months he was on the district council cabinet.

Cllr De Saram said: “Councillor Paul Millar is the first senior member of the administration to jump ship before it sinks, whilst blaming others for his decision with others likely to follow.

“Clearly Paul Millar doesn’t yet fully grasp the difference between strategic and operational roles on a council, which I find puzzling, given his previous role as an advisor to a Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson.

“You might have thought he would understand something of the democratic process and the slow pace of it at times.

“There is huge democratic input and the officers at EDDC do an excellent job on behalf of all residents of East Devon in what is a very challenging work environment.

“Councillor Millar needs to understand that ‘changing the world’ takes more than three months.”

Cllr De Saram went on to say he looks forward to seeing Cllr Millar at future meetings as a ‘genuine independent’.

Cllr Millar’s resignation now means the council is deadlocked at 19 Independents and Conservative members apiece.

The Conservative members are set to hold a meeting next week where they will discuss the party’s next move.

Cllr Andrew Moulding, leader of the Conservatives at EDDC, said: “It is too early to say what we will do.

“This could be the start of more people moving away from the Independent group.”


Cranbrook highest anti-social behaviour area in July 2019

“… Police crime statistics have revealed Exeter’s most anti-social neighbourhood.

The area with the most incidents of anti-social behaviour was ‘on or near’ Bluehayes Lane on the outskirts of Cranbrook. The data, provided by police.uk, says there were nine offences of that type in the month of July.

On top of that there were two more reports of criminal damage and arson, one of public disorder, and two vehicle crimes.

The ASB figure, which could include noisy neighbours, rowdiness, littering and graffiti, is higher than traditional trouble hotspots in the city centre of Exeter.

The crime map does not give exact locations of where incidents happened and instead refers to incidents ‘on or near’ a point on the map. That might explain why Bluehayes Lane, a seemingly quiet, rural, single-lane street which has yet to be developed as part of the wider Cranbrook scheme, is named and shamed while most of the other streets in Cranbrook appear crime-free.

The new town to the east of Exeter has been trying to shake off its reputation for low-level crime. Some residents have complained about older teenagers hanging around shops in the evening because they have little else to do. But most say the area is safe and welcoming. …”


Another think-tank says too many houses being planned

“Unaffordable property prices are down to Britain’s “broken housing market”, to use Sajid Javid’s words as housing secretary in 2017. The chancellor was referring to the undersupply of new homes, and he was not alone in his analysis. Most people accept that Britain is failing to build enough, including the Bank of England.

“The underlying dynamic reflects a chronic shortage of housing supply, which the Bank can’t tackle directly,” Mark Carney, the governor, said in 2014 and has repeated in various formats since. “We are not able to build a single house.”

Yet it turns out we’ve been wrong. Skyrocketing prices, which have risen 60 per cent above inflation since 2000, have more to do with the Bank than the builders. That’s the Bank’s own finding, published on its Bank Underground blog, where it posts research that officials believe is worth airing. The analysis, using housing data for England and Wales, could not have been clearer. “We find that the rise in real house prices since 2000 can be explained almost entirely by lower interest rates,” the authors write. “Increasing scarcity of housing has played a negligible role.”

To make their argument, they disaggregate housing into its two components: the asset, namely the property; and the service, by which they mean having a roof over your head. If the problem was supply, with more people wanting a place than there are homes to accommodate them, the cost of the service ought to have risen. But rents, a proxy for housing services, have increased roughly in line with inflation, the Bank found. That “does imply that housing hasn’t got significantly scarcer over the past two decades”.

But what about the “chronic shortage”? Ian Mulheirn, chief economist of Renewing the Centre at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, says there isn’t one. Official figures show that since 1996 English housing stock has grown by 168,000 per year, while household numbers have increased by 147,000. We have a surplus of 1.1 million homes now, he estimates. Amended figures suggest that England needs only 160,000 homes a year, not the 250,000 in Mr Javid’s 2017 white paper.

What that means, as both the Bank and Mr Mulheirn state, is that the explosion in house prices has been driven by falling interest rates. To many, that may seem obvious. Low rates mean that borrowers can afford more debt— and what they can afford banks will lend. More money means higher prices and, hey presto, a boom. But not a bubble, even though house prices are now eight times average incomes, compared with 4.5 times in the 1990s. Mortgages are as affordable today as they have always been because money is so cheap. In the 1990s the rate on a five-year fixed mortgage was 8 per cent above inflation. Today the margin is 2 per cent.

The Bank cannot be blamed for this price escalator effect. The cause has been near-zero rates and quantitative easing globally, which have pushed borrowing costs down everywhere, as well as fierce competition in the British mortgage market. Nor can it claim innocence. Its own analysis shows that central bank policies are driving up house prices, as it knew in 2014 when, on tightening the mortgage rules, it said that low rates pose “risks to housing markets”.

Rather than economic, the consequences have been social: pushing homes out of reach for those without rich parents, causing home ownership levels to tumble and leaving new borrowers with frightening levels of debt. Dame Colette Bowe, an incoming member of the Bank’s financial policy committee, calls housing “a social issue” and has questioned whether the commitee is getting its approach wrong. The Bank’s new analysis may be a good place for her to start.

Source: Times economic editor