Save Our Sidmouth

Cllr Claire Wright’s motion, calling for more transparency and democracy at EDDC, unanimously carried at tonight’s Full Council.


Ironically, this stunning accord came shortly after restrictions on public speaking at planning meetings had been approved, by 29 votes to 16, with 4 abstentions!

Four Sidmouth Councillors, were amongst the 16 objectors, who had supported the earlier motion (also by Independent Councillor Claire Wright) to defer consideration of any changes to public speaking rules for one year. They were Cllrs Hughes, Kerridge, Newth and Troman, though only one, namely Councillor Graham Troman, stood up to give his reasons, based on his own research that the average public speaking time at planning meetings over a 12-month period, was in fact a mere four and a half minutes.

The other local representatives, Cllrs Christine Drew, Peter Sullivan and Chris Wale, voted in favour of the restrictions. A recorded vote had been very narrowly approved, and has now been published on the EDDC website .

For more reports on the Full Council meeting, go to

N.B. CORRECTION, with apologies to Cllr Sheila Kerridge. SOS has been informed that Cllr Kerridge voted AGAINST immediate restrictions on public speaking at planning meetings, not for them, as originally stated in this post, which has now been edited accordingly.

4 thoughts on “Cllr Claire Wright’s motion, calling for more transparency and democracy at EDDC, unanimously carried at tonight’s Full Council.

  1. Please explain how you can “vote for democracy” when you’ve just voted to curb it?

  2. Representative democracy is founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy which isn’t.

    All modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and Switzerland is a direct democracy where people decide (e.g. vote on, form consensus on) policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then decide policy initiatives.

    If you don’t like it you could always up sticks from wherever in Nimbyland East Devon you live and move to Switzerland on a one way ticket, dignity intact!

    Alternatively you could put your X in whatever box you choose come election time and take part in the democratic process we have in the U.K. outside Nimbyland

  3. The difference is that elected REPRESENTATIVES are voted in to make decisions and the public has power to make their case but Councillors must by law weigh up what is the best decision for the whole community, not only the most vociferous.

    Clearly there are some few aspects of the Council’s work which must be kept private – personal employment issues and commercial contract negotiations are examples.

    The constant complaints by one or two councillors have been designed to enhance their political prospects and to try to bring the Council into disrepute. The reality is that in virtually all aspects of the Council’s work it is well appreciated and has high public acceptance, but you never hear this from the said Councillors.

    The battle over isolated issues make good publicity but poor logic when the said councillors all too often are absent from the earlier stages of very open discussions, but continue later to carp and complain about a lack of involvement which is entirely their own fault.

    The Local Plan meetings were open and the representations of all concerned were taken into account but those who steadfastly said “NO” did not bring forward sustainable alternatives.

    I have very good memories of many people from Sidmouth , Ottery , Seaton, Axminster, Honiton, Exmouth and Budleigh and surrounding parishes who put forward clear factual arguments which altered the decisions and challenged our thinking for the good. I have sat in many Planning meetings where good people put forward their case and the committee voted against original recommendations – as when we rejected plans for the Knole.

    We fought to maintain green spaces between towns and voted for a large Country Park around Cranbrook, and fought for feniton with the local people, and won

    I have frequently questioned why there is no alternative offered to the proposed Sidbury industrial site when data along the coast clearly shows demand for small business premises

    This continuing influence of public and town council speeches is very welcome in our Committees and is taken into account. Compare us with any other Public body and you will see how much we do to invite comment. but the number of speakers cannot lead to interminable meetings where final decisions are made on emotional grounds because we face legal responsibilities to work within legal constraints.

    Come and get involved rather than throw stones, we always need good Councillors and good officers and above all good wise and factual recommendations to do things better. What we don’t need is the same very few Councillors throwing mud for their own electoral advantage.

  4. Proud NIMBYS not BEGGERS

    The acronym NIMBY was popularised by Nicholas Ridley, Secretary of State for the Environment in the late 80s, who turned out to be one of the first. Nowadays the term is exploited by politicians and developers as a means of dismissing local people who object to contentious developments on green spaces.
    But what if groups like The National Trust, Civic Voice, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the recently formed Community Voice on Planning, who together represent the views of many millions of people across the country, object to the very same thing? Is the whole country now a “nimby” when so many are standing up for it?
    What about the BEGGERS (Build on Every Green Glade and Every Rural Space)?

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