A Correspondent’s view of last night’s debate including the Statement from Chairman and Leader


“It was reassuring that the recommendation by the Strategic Planning Committee to Council to withdraw from the GESP was carried by 33 votes to 22 with one abstention at the Council’s Virtual meeting last night and it is hoped that Mid Devon District Council will follow this lead and also withdraw next week. 

EDDC’s live streaming on Youtube is welcome as it gives the public an insight into the world of local politics and an opportunity to listen to the characters and qualities of those who have been elected to represent the people of East Devon.

The Leader of the Council, Paul Arnott, grasps the importance of the public’s perception of ethical standards expected from those working and elected in the public sector and, surely, all would agree that the 7 Nolan principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership are an aim we should all try to aspire to in every walk of life.

For the ordinary residents of East Devon, GESP has seemed opaque (even secretive) and any public consultation would have been unlikely to show the public’s widespread views because lack of transparency has left people in the dark and precluded and consequently very few would have felt confident to make representations on GESP – leaving only local government officers, members, local business people, landowners and developers to represent their opinions, which may have proved somewhat biased.

Last night saw a chameleon-like speaker (who changes colours regularly) bleating incessantly, while others pontificated desperately trying to reverse the withdrawal from the GESP recommended by the new Strategic Planning Committee, by scaremongering and threatening Westminster intervention and unitary status, but the public perception is that they would all do well to re-read the 7 Nolan principles and endeavour to follow them as a first step to representing the people of East Devon.”

[Owl intends to publish more on the Chairman’s and Leader’s statement – working on the transcript]