Appeal decision raises concerns

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 10 June 2010

Open Letter to Diccon Pearce, corporate director, East Devon District Council I am writing to you in your capacity as Section 151 monitoring officer of East Devon District Council concerning the decision of East Devon District Council (EDDC), reported i

Open Letter to Diccon Pearce, corporate director, East Devon District Council I am writing to you in your capacity as Section 151 monitoring officer of East Devon District Council concerning the decision of East Devon District Council (EDDC), reported in the Exmouth Journal, January 22, to appeal the High Court decision concerning the Boundary Committee's unitary proposals. I am seeking information and clarification on the following questions:Firstly, how can it be in council taxpayers' interests to proceed with this appeal when, according to the Journal, a local resident, who is one of Britain's foremost authorities on statutory interpretation, is of the opinion that an appeal would have little chance of succeeding? Secondly, how can EDDC justify the continuing use of council taxpayers' money on this matter, given their current financial situation? I understand that EDDC has a forecast deficit of £1.8m for the next financial year. The decision to appeal will add to the amount already spent by EDDC on its legal challenge. Thirdly, I fail to see how this decision conforms to the criteria of 'best value' for council taxpayers. Especially at a time when the council taxpayers of East Devon are facing uncertainty in employment and a substantial reduction in their savings income, it is surely even more incumbent on the council to be cautious in its decisions to make sure that its spending is prudent and exercised with due diligence so that service levels can be maintained?Fourthly the Journal article suggested that the decision was taken by the EDDC executive board. Given the points I have made above, will that decision be subject to debate by the full council?Finally, from the information available, it does not seem to me that the decision to appeal made by the executive board of EDDC does conform to fiscal prudence.I should be grateful for your comments on these questions and I am copying this letter to the Devon County Section 151 Monitoring Officer, the Audit Commission and Hugo Swire MP, as I consider that it raises issues that might be of concern to them.J D Budden (Ms),The Brambles,Cranford Avenue, Exmouth.

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