Backlash to Longboat row

A CLAMPDOWN on the public speaking at district council planning meetings is on the cards after a Budleigh Salterton councillor was verbally abused last week and the session disrupted by heckles and jeers.

A CLAMPDOWN on the public speaking at district council planning meetings is on the cards after a Budleigh Salterton councillor was verbally abused last week and the session disrupted by heckles and jeers.

Councillor Paul Diviani, the Chairman of East Devon District Council's development management committee, told the Journal he wants future meetings to be 'dignified and democratic' - with outbursts from the public banned and the length of time they are allowed to speak tightly controlled.

However, he said people would still be allowed to speak at meetings, a right introduced a year ago when the new Vanguard planning system was introduced.

The move follows a lively planning meeting last week at the district council offices when Councillor Ray Franklin, recently diagnosed with a serious heart condition, was targeted because he supported proposals for the Longboat Cafe.


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A woman objector shouted she was 'glad he was ill', leaving him shaken, while other members of the public heckled and jeered councillors and officers during the debate.

They objected to the council's acceptance of the size and design of a new restaurant to replace the old seafront cafe.

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Councillor Diviani said: "Following the deplorable behaviour of some members of the public at last week's meeting, I am determined that future development management committee meetings should be dignified and democratic.

"I understand there is often a great deal of public interest in planning applications and it is our intention the public should continue to be able to speak at these meetings.

"However, their allotted time will be tightly managed and any subsequent interruptions during the meeting will not be permitted."

l See Longboat letters - pages 12 and 21.

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