Wednesday, 16 May 2018

East Devon and democracy: "if you stymie local decision-making, then people are just not going to bother getting involved"

The East Devon Alliance will be holding a conference in ten days time, looking at how our local democratic system should be functioning:
Futures Forum: Independents' Day > EDA 'Time for a change' conference > Saturday 26th May

The EDA started up largely in response to notions that things were not functioning as they should:
Futures Forum: East Devon Alliance
Futures Forum: Transparency and process in East Devon... a summary

One particular area has been the lack of transparency and accountability over the District Council's relocation project:
Futures Forum: Skypark and “authoritarian high modernism”
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: FOI request goes to tribunal
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: openness and transparency

Another has been its relationship with business lobbyists:
Futures Forum: The East Devon Business Forum and the Overview & Scrutiny Committee: meeting Thursday 11th September: questions to be asked
Futures Forum: Development and transparency at East Devon: "The longer this matter is kept quiet the more we think there is to hide."
Futures Forum: Ex-Cllr Graham Brown, the East Devon Business Forum and the District Council's CEO's pre-emptive strike against the Business TAFF
Futures Forum: Local Enterprise Partnerships >>> "accountability and value for money" >>> Submission to National Audit Office by East Devon Alliance

Then there is 'process':
Futures Forum: District Council: vote on restricting public speaking......... further reports
Futures Forum: "Democracy in East Devon is every bit as bad as it is in places like Tower Hamlets."
Futures Forum: The Freedom of Information Act and East Devon >>> Deep State East Devon?

And this leads to 'reputational damage':
Futures Forum: Bringing official bodies into 'disrepute': the dangers of censoring what politicians don't want to hear in East Devon

All of which is causing a 'growing revolt':
Futures Forum: "Claims for 'localism' are a fiction from a Tom Sharpe novel" - Growing disquiet across the West Country
Futures Forum: The rise and rise of independent candidates
Futures Forum: The East Devon Alliance... and beyond politics
Futures Forum: We need to talk about Devon

One of the biggest issues has been over 'development' - and the desire for communities to have a say in what their home turf should look like:
Futures Forum: "An overwhelming majority of people want a bigger say over the development of their communities, and the benefits of successful localism would be huge: the planning process could be used to tackle wider societal challenges such as ageing, economic growth and environmental degradation, as well as engage communities about the issues that really matter to them."

The trouble is that if you stymie local decision-making, then people are just not going to bother getting involved: 


16 MAY 2018

Gobsmacking! Villages such as Feniton and Beer manage to have a quorate Neighbourhood Plan group, so have smaller towns such as Budleigh but Honiton can’t manage it:


Some really serious questions need to be asked and answered here otherwise Honiton will be descended on by vulture developers for years.

Didn’t Councillor Twiss intimate that he is Honiton’s problem solver …?

Unbelievable! “Creation of Honiton’s Neighbourhood Plan could be shelved until 2020” | East Devon Watch  

Creation of Honiton’s Neighbourhood Plan could be shelved until 2020

15 May 2018 Callum Lawton

The creation of a blueprint which maps out future development in Honiton could be put ‘on hold’ until 2020.

Town councillors were asked to consider a recommendation to shelve the document at a meeting last night because its current steering group is ‘inquorate’ - meaning it is not made up of enough members.

A report submitted to the council by deputy clerk Heloise Marlow said: “A steering group made up of about nine to ten members with one-third councillors and two-thirds community members is essential.

“In view of the lack of past and current interest from the community of Honiton, the officers recommendation is that a neighbourhood plan cannot currently be delivered. As such the recommendation would be to put the process on hold for a period of two years.”

Creation of Honiton’s Neighbourhood Plan could be shelved until 2020 | Honiton, Axminster and Seaton news - Midweek Herald 

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