Today’s edition of BBC 1’s Sunday Politics South West asked, “Is Localism a Myth?”
In recorded interviews, Independent Councillors, Claire Wright and Susie Bond, fresh from their stunning victories in the County, and District by- election, respectively, both agreed that it was.
They cited the fact that Government Inspectors had ruled against strong opposition by District and local councils and many residents, to plans for large numbers of houses at Ottery and Feniton. The judgement was made on the grounds that EDDC did not have a Local Plan in place and could not prove a five year land supply for housing.
Questioned about this on today’s television programme, Council Leader Paul Diviani said EDDC’s Local Plan had been delayed by consulting the public seven times! He said that he sympathised with local people who had development forced upon them by Government Inspectors. Whilst claiming that “Localism isn’t dead as such”, he admitted that what the interviewer called “the Tory flagship policy” of localism wasn’t working. The problem, he said, was at Westminster, not with local councils.
This last statement seems somewhat out of tune with Cllr Diviani’s boast not so long ago in the Sidmouth Herald (October 19th 2012), that Council and Coalition were in total agreement.
More comments on the broadcast, and a link to it, can be found at http://www.claire-wright.org