EDDC: it's out of control

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:29 10 June 2010

Since you first reported on Exmouth Residents Association s (ERA) resolution (Journal, January 22) asking East Devon District Council (EDDC) to abandon their plan to appeal against the High Court judgment, your letters page has shown an increasing number

Since you first reported on Exmouth Residents' Association's (ERA) resolution (Journal, January 22) asking East Devon District Council (EDDC) to abandon their plan to appeal against the High Court judgment, your letters page has shown an increasing number of people and organisations demanding that EDDC stop this action.If, in launching their request for a judicial review, EDDC's intention was to ensure their survival beyond the Boundary Committee's (BC) recommendations then their plans were botched. As Judge Cranston pointed out, the judicial review was "premature" - too early! As the judicial review should not have been lodged when it was, what is the point of wasting more money appealing against the judgment? Now EDDC will have overspent their budget before the correct time to request a judicial review arrives.However, the real importance of this whole issue is not so much whether a pointless appeal is undertaken or not. It is simply the tip of the iceberg, the canker at EDDC is for once glaringly obvious. An arrogant council that can do what it likes with impunity, foisting decisions on the people of Exmouth with scant regard for their views or feelings. Brushing aside opposition and ignoring unpalatable correspondence, knowing there is little we can do. This highlights problems not only with the leader of the council and the chief executive, but also with those members of the Executive Board who went along with the decision to appeal. While Cllr Geoff Chamberlain, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has spoken out against the appeal, Conservative councillors on the board have remained mute. Surely they also realise that EDDC should not be crusading on behalf of the whole of Devon.When Nigel Mansell recently won his appeal against EDDC's planning refusal, Cllr Jill Elson commented that, because no costs were awarded, it must have been a "close call". By the same token, councillors should be able to deduce from a High Court judgment in which 75% of the costs were awarded against EDDC that it was a hopelessly lost case and any appeal is likely to fail.Mr Francis Bennion, the leading authority on statutory interpretation, has reinforced this view that any appeal is unlikely to succeed. With all these factors in front of them, surely councillors should now be insisting that either the appeal is abandoned or EDDC issue a clear statement explaining why they believe their grounds for appeal are likely to succeed. Council tax payers who will foot the bill have a right to know why EDDC intend to spend their money in this way.There is no mandate for this action, it was ill-timed and has been a waste of our money. This is a situation for whistleblowers, the breaking of ranks even if this puts councillors' future seats on the Executive Board and their allowances at risk. What is being done is fundamentally wrong and councillors should be prepared to say so.In EDDC, we are faced with a council which is out of control, one which ignores its constituents in Exmouth. In my opinion, it has no mandate for the actions it is currently taking. Our councillors should reconsider their positions and put a stop to this appeal before further money is wasted.Geoff Morris,9 Trinfield Avenue, Exmouth

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