Decisions should be made openly

I was under the impression that we in this country were living in a democracy. This appears not always to be the case. I refer to the flats agreed on page five of the Journal dated April 16, concerning 14 Woodville Road, Exmouth.

I was under the impression that we in this country were living in a democracy. This appears not always to be the case. I refer to the "flats agreed" on page five of the Journal dated April 16, concerning 14 Woodville Road, Exmouth.There was recently a local demonstration of more than 50 near-neighbours protesting against the conversion of this family home into bed-sits (forget the fanciful "three flats" - the houses aren't that big).Exmouth Town Council objected and there were approximately 17 letters of objection from neighbours.There were several valid reasons for the objections, among them the fact that the sewerage system in this area is already overstretched; the fact that this is, and always has been, an area of family housing, close to schools and safe for children; and the fact that parking is a major problem with there being virtually no off-road parking available. There is also absolutely no pressing reason why an ideal starter home should be removed from a dwindling supply to add to Exmouth's glut of flats and bed-sits, following the closure of Rolle College.Why then, in view of the strength of feeling against this proposal, was a decision made behind closed doors? What exactly is it that needs to be hidden from those people who raised the objections? And why was any decision made not by those people elected to represent the population and put forward their views and concerns, but by non-elected council officials?This is not the way that democracy works. These decisions should be made after open debate and by people elected to make those decisions. Not in secret, by people who are not answerable to the electorate. That can only produce a system that is open to abuse.This proposal should be considered again, properly this time and, until then, the agreement to go ahead should be put aside.Mr Wilson,Woodville Road, Exmouth.


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