Sidmouth Town Council: its
effectiveness as an advisor on planning issues.
- Sidmouth Town Council costs local taxpayers
over £150,000 each year. Its only important job is to advise on planning applications. It
has a valid (albeit minor) role organising publicity for local tourism but this is
becoming largely the preserve of the Internet.
- East Devon District Council often vote
against planning recommendations from Sidmouth Town Council despite many of the
councillors being common to both councils - and to both planning committees.
- East Devon District Council costs millions
of pounds each year. It routinely ignores breaches of planning rules - even where
enforcement notices have been issued. Attempted misuse of its powers under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act at the behest of a
few 'Britain in Bloom' councillors was one factor behind the
creation of this website.
- In March 2004 two planning applications
relating to the property "Village End" in Sidford were discussed at the Town
Council before local people were aware of what was being proposed. Town councillors failed
to make proper enquiries that would have unearthed salient facts. The District Councillors
for the area who will probably between them decide the outcome of the two applications are
all members of the Conservative party.
The following letter was published in the
Sidmouth Herald on 2 April 2004. The background is outlined in a letter
sent to East Devon District Council.
Local voice on planning
Further to the article in last week's
Herald about blue planning notices and the attitude of EDDC's planning department towards
Sidmouth Town Council, could I inform readers that the full text of my 'damning' letter of
15 March is on my website for all the world to see - and there it is staying.
I have yet to receive a reply from Kate Little at EDDC - maybe it will be so comprehensive
it will be worth the long wait.
Arguably, the only really important job that Town Councillors do is to act as an informed
local voice on planning matters. It is laughable to suggest that EDDC is an adequate
substitute, especially now there is only one committee serving all of East Devon.
Our Town Council costs us more than £100,000 each year and if its effectiveness is to be
so diminished by EDDC's attitudes then we might as well save ourselves some money.
Dr Stephen J Wozniak
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