Exmouth left out' of Tory consultation

PUBLISHED: 15:27 29 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:23 10 June 2010

A PARLIAMENTARY hopeful has taken a swipe at county bosses after Exmouth was frozen out of a public consultation on Devon s future.

A PARLIAMENTARY hopeful has taken a swipe at county bosses after Exmouth was frozen out of a public consultation on Devon's future.

Labour's East Devon candidate Gareth Manson has slammed plans by the Tory county council to consult on their new county plan, announced earlier this month.

The meetings, in most of the county's major towns except Exmouth, will discuss the 'big issues' and help set the priorities for how the council should spend its £1.3 billion annual budget next year.

"I want to hear what people think and what is most important to them," said council leader John Hart.

"We believe that jobs, care of the elderly, opportunities for young people and protecting our environment are some of the top priorities.

"We want...to be more businesslike and make sure it gets the most from every penny of the public's money...

"But I want everyone to have the chance to have a say before we...set the budget...

"This will be to our 'contract' with the people of Devon...(on) which we expect to be judged."

But, despite meetings scheduled for Honiton, Tavistock, Barnstaple, Tiverton, Dartmouth, Newton Abbot and Exeter, surprisingly no meeting has been booked for the county's largest town, Exmouth.

Labour's parliamentary candidate for East Devon, Gareth Manson, said: "I simply can't understand why Exmouth, with a population of 33,000 people has been overlooked, while Dartmouth, with a population of only 5,500, is included.

Gareth has written to Cllr Hart asking him to explain why Exmouth has been omitted

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: "Honiton is the most central for all East Devon people to get to."

Those unable to attend one of the meetings are invited to give their views online at: devon.gov.uk/strategicplan.

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