This letter published in last week’s Sidmouth Herald, sums up the situation as many in SOS see it:
Many of your readers will have been following the sorry saga that is the Knowle relocation project.
What makes it particularly sorry is how very few Councillors have wanted to challenge the political leadership at EDDC in its blind determination to forge ahead regardless.
And most of this lack of challenge seems to be because of party loyalty.
Yes, we can be grateful for the political independence of the EDDC’s planning committee – when, two years ago, they really probed and finally rejected the last planning application for Knowle.
And yet, whilst it is commendable to see such impartiality at work in the planning committee, it has been pretty disheartening to see how the other parts of the District Council have been wracked by partisan politics over the years.
There has been the general failure to scrutinise from the so-called Scrutiny Committee. At its last meeting, it seemed more than happy to rubber-stamp the latest report commissioned by – and so determined by – the EDDC political leadership.
And at last week’s meeting of the full Council, there was the expected general collapse of will from our Councillors who were content to wave through the sale of Knowle – again at the behest of the political leadership.
Some Sidmouth Councillors did indeed speak out and vote against this decision to sell. But it must not be forgotten that at last December’s full Council meeting, all of our Sidmouth Councillors voted against the proposal to postpone the sale until after the elections.
And all because loyalty to party seems to come first.
Jeremy Woodward, Sidmouth’