EXCLUSIVE: Seaton Mayor resignation: business owner’s statement last night

This is the full statement by Mr Gary Miller (owner, The Hat micropub) as given to Seaton Town Council last night, along with a screenshot and transcript of the now deleted tweets to which he refers:

THE TWEETS:

Transcript:
Twitter @peterburrows 1 January 2019 11.38 am
Burrows tweet:
It seems that someone who was rude to me on Facebook gave the impression that he was the owner of @thehatseaton in #seaton I wish them well in their enterprise.

Comment on above Tweet
Matthew Lloyd @matthewlloyd 16 hr
replying to @peterburrows @thehatseaton
You might want to advise @seatonTIC to be more professional on here and keep personal squabbles on personal accounts. Doesn’t make Seaton seem very welcoming to tourists like myself.

THE STATEMENT BY MR MILLER LAST NIGHT:
(verbatim)

“Good evening. I am Gary Millar, the sole owner of The Hat Micropub in Queen Street. I am addressing the issue of Mr. Peter Burrows, the then Mayor and current Councillor on both a local and district level, attacking my livelihood and business.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Day, Mr. Burrows had a very public argument about fox hunting with a private individual on the Facebook page ‘Seaton Views’. This escalated to a robust exchange of views between the two protagonists. (Amusingly both share the same perspective on the matter). Mr. Burrows, who is surely used to the rough and tumble of political debate, took exception to being called a very naughty word. His inexplicable reaction was to use his title of Seaton Mayor to make a direct attack on me, accusing me of being disparaging to the mayor, and to tell thousands of subscribers to a Twitter page called @SeatonTIC, to avoid my business. On the face of it this was the official Seaton Tourist Information Centre page.

This is a grossly stupid response from any public official in any circumstances. You could not make it up.

It is not at all clear why Mr. Burrows chose The Hat as opposed to the many other local businesses that his detractor frequents. Surely, as a public official involved in my various applications, he would have known who I was?

I do not use social media for anything other than professional reasons. If social media users followed the guidelines given in the Hat including “No nasty opinions” and “Be respectful and remember there are other people around you”, the internet would be a kinder place.

Both @SeatonTIC and Seaton Views are ostensibly neutral and exist for the benefit of the people of and visitors to Seaton. However, they are administered by Mr. Burrows which gives him the control over their content. Reportedly, other supposedly impartial social media sites revolving around Seaton are also administered by him. Personally, it disturbs me that a public official has such a domination of information without a clear declaration of interest.

For example – Mr. Burrows selectively deleted his unsavoury exchange on Seaton Views and blocked his detractor from the site. Yet he also closed the @SeatonTIC page entirely, not at the request from the Council as reported, but unilaterally overnight on the 1st/2nd January after legal action was threatened against the then unknown poster. This had two effects – first; we are unable to see how many people viewed his tweet to assess the damage caused. Secondly; imagine the impression given to thousands of potential holidaymakers following what they would reasonably have considered the formal Seaton Tourist Information Twitter page – A strange tweet from the town Mayor attacking a local small business, followed by an unexplained blackout.

This cannot be good for either my business nor the image of the town as a whole. Surely, directing subscribers to the official Tourist Information Site would at least have been a productive step.

I would argue that these actions were not a selfless act by Mr. Burrows, or in the interests of myself or Seaton, but a means of covering tracks. A clear case of canting.

I have yet to receive a proper apology from Mr. Burrows. His statement of resignation last week did not make it clear that I was not the person who insulted him, then he justified his actions, and finally boorishly he ended with him giving himself a pat on the back for a job well done. Unfortunately, any apology at this time now sounds hollow.

Mr. Burrows was high profile in his role as Mayor and councillor on both local and district levels. As such I view both the local and district councils legally culpable for his actions, regardless of these being rogue or not. I expect both the local and district council to do their legal duty and mitigate any damage against me. This includes a full and open investigation of Mr. Burrows conduct in office, including on social media, and disciplinary or legal action wherever possible. This motion of no confidence, and the complaint to the East Devon Monitoring Officer is a positive response by the Seaton Town Council.

Despite undoubted damage to my business, the support of my regulars, and other public support helps me believe that moving to Seaton to open up a new and innovative business was the right decision. My sincere thanks to you all and I hope to continue to serve you real ales, ciders and other fine beverages in a friendly environment for many years to come.

There is however still much to do from both Councils to support the current small traders and promote the opening of new dynamic, interesting small shops in Seaton. Encouraging visitors to move to the traditional trading area, now called The Cultural Quarter, from the lower end of town is an urgent requirement to start. Regrettably, after a year of trading in Seaton and having contributed in various forums, I have yet to see any concrete or effective steps to this end by the Council. This is an opportunity for both the Council and traders to reset and have a fresh start.

In conclusion I would urge all councillors to support this motion of no confidence. What most surprises me is that Mr. Burrows has not recognised his position as being untenable and has not resigned already on his own volition.

Thank you for your time and attention.”

Blossom Hill holiday park near Honiton enters administration

“… As well as offering lodges to holidaymakers, the luxury sites – which boasted facilities such as indoor swimming pools and spas – were open to investors, who were promised “guaranteed returns”.

Lodges cost about £200,000 to buy but part-ownership schemes were available, which Ms Day said were “a bit like a time-share”. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46912555

Big rival for Seaton Jurassic Centre planned for Portland by Eden Project founder

“Plans for a £20m underground visitor attraction on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast are due to be submitted at the end of this year, project directors have said.

The proposals, supported by Cornwall’s Eden Project, bring together previously shelved plans for an observatory and dinosaur-themed park on Portland.

The new scheme will make use of a stone mine on the peninsula which is due to close at the end of the year.

Directors say it will create 130 jobs and attract 320,000 visitors a year. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-45394651

Exmouth: dunes to disappear to replenish beach sand 2020-2025?

Fascinating that one of EDDC’s “old guard” councillors, Ray Franklin, got it SO wrong!

“… Cllr Ray Franklin, the portfolio holder for environment at East Devon District Council back in 2004, said: “The dunes will recover – it’s the way of nature. Sand has been lost, but it’s likely that the next storm will come from a different direction and bring more sand with it.”

And implications for the water sports centre?

“… Exmouth Beach is expected to be depleted over time, with the 2015 Beach Management Plan anticipating that beach recharge (importing new sand onto the beach) may be required between 2020 – 2025. The Beach Management Plan recommends that consideration is given to recycling of the material comprising the dunes to reinforce the beach between the new lifeboat station and Orcombe Point. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/what-happened-exmouths-iconic-sand-1935782

“Fears seafront consultation internet portal could stop third of town having their say”

“Concerns have been raised that plans for an online portal for consultation on the vision for Exmouth seafront could leave 30 per cent of the town unable to have their say.

Hemingway Designs has been tasked with coming up with a vision for ‘phase three’ of the Exmouth seafront regeneration scheme and it was revealed at a town council meeting the seaside specialists will soon be launching an internet consultation website.

At the council’s August meeting, concerns were raised that if this was the only form of consultation, nearly a third of residents in Exmouth would be left unable to have their say.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has since said there will be hard copies available for those without access to computers.

Speaking at the meeting, cllr Lynne Elson said: “My concern is that the majority of comments will be through the online portal.

“More than 30 per cent of residents in Exmouth don’t have access to online and if they do as suggested by EDDC and ‘go to the library’ they will have to pay as they will exceed the time allowed.”

Cllr Tim Dumper added: “We do need other ways of consulting.

“In the past East Devon (district council) hasn’t always covered itself in glory when it comes to consultation. “This time things are going very well.

“I wouldn’t like to let those 30 per cent or so down. Particularly involving residents who feel very strongly about our seafront and I think it would be wrong not to involve them fully in any consultation.”

A spokeswoman for EDDC said: “Hemingway Design will shortly be launching their survey to hear people’s views and ideas for this piece of Devon’s seaside.

“It will be easy to complete as you can do it online through the portal that Hemingway Design is setting up.

“When the survey is launched if you need access to a computer then you will be able to use the ones that we have in Exmouth Town Hall reception for free or paper copies will, of course, be available.

“The survey is being finalised at the moment and will be available soon.

“There will be an announcement to that effect.”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/hemingway-designs-consultation-portal-plans-for-seafront-development-revealed-1-5653129

Neil Parish and his “coastal communities” blind spot

Long article by Somerset farmer and Tiverton and Honiton MP on the impact of Brexit on “coastal communities”.

Two-thirds of the article is about the impact of Brexit agriculture, one-third is about its impact on fishing.

https://www.devonlive.com/news/news-opinion/nowhere-impact-eu-membership-been-1865271

Anyone notice a glaring omission? TOURISM!

Does he have any idea of the effect of Brexit on tourism – one of East Devon’s biggest earners? Apparently not.

Oh, and by the way, as with nearly 100% of our railways and most of our utility companies, many British fishing boats are NOT British owned:

“Nearly half of the total English fishing quota is controlled by companies from overseas, according to an investigation into the extent of foreign dominance over UK waters. …”

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/half-of-english-fishing-quotas-controlled-by-overseas-firms-9836970.html

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