Does Your Vote Matter?

From a correspondent:

So . . . . . we have all been summoned to the Polling Stations, on Thursday 6th May, to once more register our preferences for who will represent our views and aspirations for the next four years?

Having been a diligent voter for over five decades, who can genuinely profess to having seen many local and national politicians come and go – the decision on whether to attend the electoral booth in our village hall to register a vote this year in 2021 is proving genuinely much more difficult than in the past!

Perhaps it’s because the Conservatives seem preoccupied with ‘chumocracy’ ensuring that they and their elite friends always have a place around a 22 feet extending mahogany board room table to ensure that none of them go hungry?

Perhaps it’s because Green Party representatives on East Devon’s Planning Committee over-valued the economic benefits of a scheme to the detriment of our environmental futures, by supporting the loss of green fields for housing, supporting pollution from substantial increased traffic and supporting impermeable car parking on green fields in flood plains?

Freedom Alliances and Monster Raving Loony Parties have never really instilled great confidence and the Labour Party seems a wasted, pointless vote in the predominantly rural South West!

At the last General Election, voting for the ‘truly’ Independent ‘Wright’ person who lived, worked and understood the local community seemed ideal, innovative – even revolutionary – but was ‘Jupperdised’ by a Tory candidate sent down from Westminster to capsize such thoughts of change for the shires!

Disappointingly, Alliances including Local Independents, Liberal Democrats and ‘Uncle Tom Cobley and All’ also recently failed to listen to over 200 members of the Clyst St Mary electorate – who they purport to represent – so there seems little point in trusting them with a vote again?

In theory, the entire outline Winslade Park Masterplan looked impressive, which, perhaps, resulted in (what appeared to be) a pre-determination of the approval decision before the Planning meeting, which was supported almost unanimously (with two ‘sitting on the fence’ abstentions) after recommendations by the Development Manager!

The approval centred on giving such substantial weight to the scheme’s economic proposals that other relevant planning policies in the Local and Neighbourhood Plans were ignored and negated with the housing being specifically included to support the economic growth proposals because, without the housing, the Developers deemed the entire scheme financially unviable!

However, for the record, local residents have recently noticed that the development seems to have significantly slowed and questions are now being asked as to whether the much-lauded employment and economic benefits have been postponed, delayed or shelved entirely, leaving only the promotion of lucrative housing in a village that has no local housing need?

In post-pandemic times, are we going to require such extensive employment/economic growth (with many now choosing to work from home), so perhaps the developers are experiencing leasing, financial or viability problems?

Who is answerable if these approved major economic growth proposals are shelved, leaving only the residential plans on green fields and multiple-storey blocks of apartments in a rural village – the politicians who naively supported a pipedream and not reality?

Do local government ombudsmen/women/persons or Secretary of State planning inspectorates have any teeth to right potential wrongs if a planning decision proves flawed in the future?

Whoever can truly represent the people and answer these questions satisfactorily is certain to get votes from this community?