Local Tories show their true colours

Andrew Moulding and Steph Jones’s election leaflet issued in Axminster, seems designed to misinform.


A close look at the leaflet (above..click to enlarge) reveals some apparent misconceptions and economies with the truth:

Moulding/ Jones: Imply East Devon Alliance is centred in Sidmouth.
Incorrect: EDA Chair lives in Colyton; Vice-Chair in Feniton; vast majority of East Devon Alliance Independent candidates are from other parts of the District.

Moulding/Jones: Suggest Knowle is just adapted bedrooms and bathrooms.
Incorrect: Only the old part, which was once used as a hotel, then as flats.  No serious attempt has been made to market this individually to fund update of the newer building, which consists of purpose built offices in 1970-80s, with outside space for extension if required.

Moulding/Jones:  Move will save £6m over 20 years.
Figures are disputed ( posts on http://www.saveoursidmouth.com may explain why ‘Sidmouth’ is a painful subject for EDDC Deputy Leader, Cllr Moulding) – and some withheld documents concerning office relocation are still under legal review (Tribunal decision imminent: Information Commissioner and J. Woodward vs East Devon District Council).

Moulding/Jones: Why Honiton and Exmouth? “Because Honiton is more central, and Exmouth is the largest town.”
Then why did they previously support Skypark (which could not be less central) and selling the site in Honiton? In reality, a newbuild office at Honiton is just the fall-back plan, as the Honiton site couldn’t be sold for enough money to make a move to Skypark financially viable. And Exmouth has only now come into the equation, as space at the Town Hall has become available. The leaflet makes no mention of the issues of running a split site; nor of existing air pollution problems where the £7m newbuild HQ at Honiton would be sited (no such problem in Knowle parkland!), etc.,etc. 

Moulding/Jones; Why is Local Plan taking so long? “Because we want to get it right”
Or is it because EDDC are struggling, having got it so wrong in the past, and exasperating the Inspector, who rejected the previous one? (Remember the 53 ‘minor changes’ which the Inspector found to be ‘major’? SIN blogged the story: https://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/sum-thing-amiss/)

Moulding/ Jones: Why so much new housing in Axminster? “Because you wanted it!!”
Who are ‘you’? Does it embellish the town and help it to thrive? Or is it symptomatic of consequences when deciding where to build the massive number of new houses EDDC has chosen to opt for?

Moulding/Jones:  Do you have a plan for the future of Axminster. “Yes, we have a vision.”
Who are ‘we’, and has the vision, with no neighbourhood plan yet in place, been led by speculative development?

This leaflet, along with quotes from Hugo Swire in the local press yesterday (https://eastdevonwatch.org/2015/05/02/east-devon-alliance-responds-to-hugo-swire-misinformation/), show tired tactics which are looking rather stale. On May 7th, East Devon voters may well show they’ve had enough of them.

Meet the candidates, in the comfort of your own home!

Before you vote on 7th May, want to know who’d like to replace the current EDDC, and why?  On the http://www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk website, EDW sees that 14 candidates have already taken the brave step of presenting themselves on video.
On each candidates’ page, click on video intro, and scroll down to video just below candidate’s pic. Videos currently available for Paul Arnott (Chair..standing in Coly Valley Ward) ) Ben Ingham (Leader..standing in Woodbury & Lympstone) ), Cathy Gardner (Communications Director..standing in Sidmouth Town) ), Steve Horner (standing against P. Diviani in Yarty), Martin Shaw (Seaton), Megan Armstrong (Exmouth Halsdon), Rob Longhurst (Woodbury & Lympstone),Val Ranger Newton Poppleford), Mark Daugherty (Exmouth Brixington), Marianne Rixson (Sidmouth, Sidford), Les Cotton (Budleigh Salterton) , Dawn Manley (Sidford, Sidford), Matt Coppell (Ottery St Mary Rural), Robert Crick (Exmouth Littleham)….more coming soon (if they can be caught for a few minutes’ filming between leafleting, we’re told!)

Election hot topics on IEDA blogs.. and on the video intros

Confused about who to vote for, how many votes you have, or why all the talk about neighbourhood plans? This blog has brief, clear summaries: http://www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk/candidates/sidmouth/cathy-gardner/

EDW also recommends Cathy’s video intro; and the one by the iEDA candidate standing against Paul Diviani (in Yarty), Steve Horner.
Many of you will already have watched this straight-talking one, which we highlighted yesterday : http://www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk/candidates/coly-valley/paul-arnott/

Then there’s one by Megan Armstrong (Exmouth); and by Martin Shaw (Seaton)…… the list goes on, and is steadily increasing.

Election only one week away!

Meet the candidates on video!

Here’s a taster, from iEDA Chair Paul Arnott, on the theme of ‘EDDC and Tower Hamlets compared’: see Paul’s ‘video intro’ at http://www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk/candidates/coly-valley/paul-arnott/

P.S. Lots more video introductions now available for other candidates, on the same website. And more in the pipeline…

Another hustings packed to overflowing last night, this time in Sidmouth

The third in the series of hustings organised in Sidmouth (for District,Town and Parliamentary elections, respectively), admirably had all five of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) there to meet the public face to face.

Andrew Chapman (UKIP), Hugo Swire (Cons) , Stuart Mole Lib Dem), Claire Wright (Ind) and Steve Race (Labour) gave their views clearly and characteristically, from their various standpoints, showing that politicians are NOT all the same!

The evening began with an element of almost high comedy, as a phalanx of Tory supporters arrived half an hour early, having been informed in an e-mail from the party office of the wrong start time…rather conveniently enabling them to claim the front row seats.

There was not enough time to cover all the questions submitted, but topics were wide-ranging. They included Trident,and defence spending; decarbonising the energy sector; provision of mental health services; and housing figures in East Devon’s latest draft Local Plan.
The audience was clearly strongly divided, but for the most part listened attentively to the speakers.,although there were outbreaks of heckling when the Party lines were rolled out,  as when Hugo Swire (Con) said repeatedly that Labour + the SNP would make a chaotic combination in government; and UKIP’s Andrew Chapman insisted our housing shortage was caused by EU immigrants. There was also applause, as when Claire Wright declared, in her closing speech, that as an MP she would never belittle people who were poorer than herself.

At the end of the meeting, VgS Chair, Dave Bramley, praised the courage of the five PPCs, for being prepared to stand on their platform in front of the large audience (about 200 people), and answer questions in person. Regrettably, the bulk of the District Councillors representing Sidmouth, sitting in those front row seats last night, had not been so keen to do so themselves, having boycotted the previous two Sidmouth hustings as “too political”, we hear. Last night all that was required of them was to clap in unison, on cue.

EDW note: If the hustings in progress right now, at St Martins School, Cranbrook, is equally well-attended….is it a sign of the times?

Who exactly are the EDA Independents?

Well, quite a determined, well-qualified and varied team, judging from their VIDEO INTRODUCTIONS, (14 available now…and more in the pipeline) on the Candidates’ pages on http://www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk

Seems a dialogue with the East Devon public has started in earnest, at last!

That’s clearly the style of the  IEDA candidate for the Exe Valley, who’s set up a new twitter account: Erin Whitcroft@ExeValleyVoice

The monumental cock-up: Urgent instructions for people who received the wrong postal voting information

From a correspondent:

This is news hot from the East Devon election workers at the Knowle (today Sunday!).

They say they have had dozens of phone calls about the discrepancy between the “Instructions for voting by post” (i.e. vote ONCE only on Green ballot paper) and the Green ballot paper itself (where the instruction is to vote for the number of votes according to the number of seats).

The election worker at the Knowle is contacting all the people who left messages about the discrepancy in the instructions, to say the following action is being taken urgently:

1. A letter is being sent to all postal voters in the East Devon Constituency (NOT the Tiverton and Honiton or the Central Devon Constituencies).

2. The letter will explain that votes should be cast according to the instructions on the Green ballot paper, not according to the written “Instructions for voting by post”

3. If a person has already voted not in accordance with the instructions on the Green ballot paper, they should call Knowle and request a new ballot paper to be issued, which will be substituted for their vote already returned.”

Will the head of the instigator of this cock-up have to roll? It belongs to CEO of East Devon District Council (and Returning Officer) Mark Williams, so who knows? He got off scot-free after his appearance before the Parliamentary Commission on Voter Engagement last December where he was heavily criticised and singled out in their report for failing to do enough to register missing voters, so maybe the Teflon coating will remain – especially if the “same olds” remain in power at EDDC.

What will now happen if some people who had followed the instructions on the WHITE (wrong) paper do not cast new votes on the GREEN (correct) paper and the seat can only be decided by a handful of votes fewer than the number of incorrect postal votes for that ward?

NB: seeking clarification as to why workers state remediation letters are going out only to the “East Devon Constituency” as East Devon District Council covers THREE Parliamentary constituencies – East Devon (currently Swire), Tiverton and Honiton (currently Parish) and Mid-Devon (currently Stride). It seems unlikely that wrong instructions went out only to the “East Devon constituency” when the district elections are not governed by Parliamentary Constituency boundaries but by Local Authority boundaries which are very different.

Now, if incorrect voting instructions are confined only to the East Devon Parliamentary Constituency, that would need some explaining as separate instructions would have been produced for different areas of East Devon!

Increased charges to sheltered accommodation: EDDC’s response to FOI

Remember this recent article in the Express &Echo?

Disabled tenant fears she may be evicted from home.’
A DISABLED East Devon District Council tenant fears that she and her elderly husband could face “eviction” from their home under the authority’s plans to charge its sheltered accommodation residents for its services.
Because Devon County Council has pulled half-a-million pounds of funding, East Devon’s sheltered housing tenants were informed in the autumn that they will be eligible to pay for the Home Safeguard alarm service and home visits made by Mobile Support Officers – which comes to about £10 a week.
The council has stressed that the charge will be phased in over the next three years and tenants on benefits will receive discounts and a means-tested hardship fund will be available.
The council said it would do “everything it possibly can” to assist residents to meet the new service charge, but that non-payment would be pursued through the courts.
Because the alarm service and support scheme are integral to the sheltered housing, a council spokesperson said residents who do not want both elements will be supported in finding alternative options, including accommodation.
But 71-year-old Kathy Moyle, a tenant in East Budleigh, says she is fearful about the impact of the new charge, but also that the prospect of having to move out if she does not want to pay for both the alarm and support visit elements, is akin to “eviction”.
“We’re being asked to pay for both the alarm and the warden support, and if we don’t want to pay we’ll be classified as not needing the support and could be evicted,” said Kathy. “They’re refusing us the right to say no.
“It will be a case that we choose between heating and food or this – £10 a week is a lot of money. This is no more than an Old Age Pensioner bedroom tax.”

Now more details on the same topic have emerged, from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by a member of East Devon Alliance: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/increased_charges_to_sheltered_a 

Seems EDA is beavering away on all sorts of election matters right now.  We especially recommend the video introductions on the candidates’ pages. http://www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk  ….or try them on Youtube . Type eastdevonalliance, then candidate’s name.

Real Zorro strikes again and he’s not happy!

Real Zorro obviously has very high standards.  As a public service he has been investigating the quality and availability of information that the two front- runners in East Devon’s elections are providing us with, including what is apparently now called  a “360 degree multi-media presence” which Real Zorro knows all about!

He finds Claire Wright’s presence (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and probably lots of other things) up-to-date, easy to access and informative.  

But, oh, he is SO disappointed both with Hugo Swire and East Devon Conservatives, where information is sadly lacking,  web pages are SO old and so out-of-date it is embarrassing (or should be) and the lack of “news” and “events” is particularly worrying.  

Seems like they don’t have many people who are able to work this interweb malarky and they don’t have much of a social life either ….!


When is a Tory not a Tory?

When standing for a town council, of course: http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1051007/sidmouth-north.pdf
Confusing for voters, though, when the very same Stuart Hughes (or a different one?) was the proposer for Tory PPC Hugo Swire. See  http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1050699/spn-nop-sps.pdf
EDW note: The second link, above, has a useful list of polling stations…which voters are sometimes unsure of.