Labour candidate blasts council

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

A PARLIMENTARY 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 town's 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 be more businesslike and make sure it gets the most from every penny of the public's money...

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"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.

"Proximity to Exeter cannot be the explanation. Honiton with a population of 11,000 people is 15 miles along the M4 from Exeter whereas Exmouth is 12 miles along 'A' roads from the city."

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

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: "We are holding meetings in district council areas and 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

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