Government rejects bid
Cross party shots have been fired over the blame for Teignbridge’s failure to secure levelling up funding.
Rob Kershaw, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk
Teignbridge District Council applied for £14.5 million of government cash last year to create a cycle route between Newton Abbot and Torquay, and build a rail bridge linking Kingskerswell and Wolborough.
During a levelling up discussion at an executive meeting on Monday [13 March], Cllr Gary Taylor (Liberal Democrat, Dawlish South) criticised members of the South Devon Alliance for not supporting the bid.
“Local consensus is that the South Devon cycleway had been a strong bid,” he said. “And there will have been general disappointment to not have been selected – except of course among South Devon Alliance members, who either did not support the bid or voted against it.”
Cllr Taylor added that the South Devon Alliance members were “content, it would seem, to disadvantage their own residents while preaching the gospel of climate change mitigation from behind the steering wheel.”
Cllr Liam Mullone (South Devon Alliance, College) was not at the meeting, but countered afterwards that the case for the bid was “not well argued’, and the Liberal Democrat party needs to take responsibility.
“It has nothing to do with the South Devon Alliance, which has four members and no power,” he added. “I realise it’s election time, but Cllr Taylor should stop trying to lay the blame for his catastrophic four years of planning failure on other people. The blame lies with him and his Lib Dem colleagues.”
Cllr Taylor’s fellow Lib Dem Cllr Martin Wrigley of Dawlish North East said the council needs to be “brutal” when deciding whether to bid for government funding given that only one in five bids in the second round of levelling up funding were successful.
Councillors unanimously vowed to continue supporting improvement projects in Teignbridge.