Cllr Geoff Jung puts the record straight on the headlines implying EDDC cabinet resigned “en masse”

As a result of Monday’s Headlines:

“East Devon District Council leader Cllr Ben Ingham and Independent Group Cabinet resign”

One of the Cabinet members who had “resigned”, Geoff Jung, (previously the Environment Portfolio holder for the Environment) received a number of messages.

He wants, through Owl, to put the record straight.

One message he received read:

“I must write to express my dismay at the goings on at East Devon District Council.

I voted for you in the last election in the hope that you would represent the members of my community, however it seems that playing politics at the time of a national crisis is more important to you and your fellow councillors.

How could you even think of taking the actions you have, you are thinking of yourself, furthering your own aims and totally ignoring those you represent.

I really feel you should consider resigning from your position and give us the opportunity to vote for someone who would be more interested in representing the members of our community rather than themselves.”

The reply that Cllr Geoff Jung has sent reads:

“I am also totally dismayed at the goings-on at East Devon. Unfortunately, not all the information you have read in the Press is correct, nor is it of my making.

I stood as an Independent Councillor with Ben Ingham obtaining a resounding vote against the Conservative candidates. However, a few weeks ago the Leader of the Council, Ben Ingham when realising that his position as Leader was in jeopardy suggested that he would approach the Conservatives to invite them to nominate 3 candidates to be on the ruling “Cabinet” of 10 councillors. This unfortunately was a red line for me. I could not support this proposal, but at the same time I considered that leaving my work as Environment Portfolio holder and a Cabinet member at this time of an Emergency would not be appropriate either. Therefore it was agreed that I could resign as a member of his ‘Independent Group’  and continue in my Cabinet role, “for the time being”

In fact there was an article in the Press only last weekend that quoted Cllr Ingham saying he praised the hard work I had carried out for the Council over the last year, and it would be inappropriate to sack me at this time of an emergency.

On the day following the press article on Monday I received a disturbing Press Release from EDDC and Cllr Ben Ingham stating that he and his Cabinet had resigned on block. At no time did I resign, but I have now been told by the Returning Officer that Cllr Ingham terminated my position and that of 2 other Councillors  (which is his gift) and then resigned himself along with the remaining Cabinet on block!

There had been some previous resignations from the Independent Group over the last few months and a proposed vote of no confidence of the leader of the Independents by the Conservative Group in February and therefore a change of administration was expected. The recent move that I have made to the Democratic Group is exactly that. It allows me to retain my independent views, without a party whip. This is a coalition of 21 Independents, 2 Green, and 8 Liberal Councillors who are working to form an administration. We would have preferred a simple handing over at a council meeting, but Cllr Ingham’s decision on Monday, which shocked and appalled me, due to its timing, has left the Council without any administration at all.

We have now set a date for the Council to meet on the 28th May to consider a new Cabinet which is the earliest that the constitution allows.

I hope to continue as an Independent Councillor and provide the help and support to our residents as the exit from this emergency is going to be long and challenging! Whilst I appreciate how shocking this is for all those who voted for us, I can only assure you that I have constantly worked for the good of the community and this was not a “political promotion” on my behalf. I hope this explanation goes some way to alleviating your concerns.”


Breaking News: series of Extraordinary EDDC Meetings scheduled for 28 May

Owl has found a series of extraordinary EDDC meetings scheduled for Thursday 28 May 

Agenda for an Extraordinary Virtual meeting of the Council

Thursday, 28th May, 2020, 5.00 pm

Motion: to determine whether to hold a meeting to elect positions

‘Should the Council hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on 8th June 2020 at

6pm to elect the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council.’

Agenda for an Extraordinary Virtual meeting of the Council

Thursday, 28th May, 2020, 5.30pm

Motion: to elect a Leader and receive the Leader’s appointments

‘Following the resignation of Cllr Ben Ingham as the Leader that the Council elect

a new Leader for the remainder of the civic year and that Council receive the

Leader’s appointments of the Deputy Leader and the Cabinet and their Portfolios’.

 

Owl notices that an extraordinary meeting the previous day has been cancelled. The motion for that meeting read:

Motion – to determine whether to hold a meeting to elect positions
‘Should the Council hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on 4th June 2020 at
6pm to elect the positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Leader of the Council
and to receive the Leader’s appointments of the Deputy Leader and the Cabinet

This scramble to remain within the constitution is entirely the result of the indefensible action taken to cancel the Annual Meeting. Constitutionally this meeting must be held in May.

A remaining question: there are other appointments made at the annual meeting, particularly for committees – Owl doesn’t see this on either agenda.

Work to remove Alma Bridge, Simouth starts Wednesday 20 May

Work to remove the century-old Alma Bridge in Sidmouth is set to begin tomorrow (Wednesday, May 20).
East Devon Reporter eastdevonnews.co.uk

The historic structure, which dates back to the early 1900s, was damaged during severe flooding in 2012.

A replacement is being built 40 metres upstream along the River Sid – and is on course to be finished later this summer.

Once the old bridge is removed ‘over the next few weeks’, a new viewing area will be developed with an information panel to commemorate it.

Devon County Council (DCC) says construction of the new structure has now restarted with limited numbers of staff on-site to meet government social distancing guidance.

Work had been temporarily suspended due ‘difficulties in ordering materials from supply chains’.

A concrete bridge abutment is currently being built by contractor MacPlant Construction Ltd.

Fabrication of the steel bridge and east approach ramp has also been completed off-site.

Both sections are due to be delivered ‘in the next couple of weeks’, according to DCC.

Sidmouth representative Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highway management, said: “The original Alma bridge has unfortunately started to become a bit of an eyesore so, although it will be sad to see it removed, it does need to be done, and it will illustrate that we’re moving closer to having a replacement bridge in place.

“The schedule to develop the new bridge has unfortunately been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, but every effort will be made to complete the project this summer.”

DCC says the Environment Agency has confirmed tidal flood risk will not increase once the original Alma Bridge has been removed.

The old structure was closed last month over safety concerns sparked by recent rock falls at Pennington Point.