Council ‘conflict of interest’ fears allayed

Budleigh Salterton’s Deputy mayor Steve Hall has received assurances by district bosses about a potential conflict of interest at East Devon District Council.

Councillor Hall, who is also the chairman of the licensing committee at EDDC, expressed his concern that the head of economy and the head of planning might be merged into a single role.

The implication was that an officer charged with overseeing economic growth might be influenced when it came to administering planning policy, and one could be at the cost of another.

His concerns pre-empt the departure of Kate Little, the current and outgoing head of economy to North Devon District Council in July.

He said: “…for money saving reasons I understand EDDC are not replacing Kate Little.

“So I raised a very interesting question about a possible conflict of interest.

“I have been questioning the new appointments and was a little concerned that the new head of economy would be the also the head of planning

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“I was told that there have very competent staff in the economy department that can run things while Ed Freeman, the acting head of planning, will see his role enhanced a little.

“But I understand that the departments will be quite separate now.”