Legal action would ber costly

PUBLISHED: 11:11 30 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:34 10 June 2010

In an apparent effort to hang on to power by any means available to them, and because the Boundary Committee has dared to suggest answers that exclude the status quo, I now gather that EDDC has is considering a legal challenge asking the Boundary Commissi

In an apparent effort to hang on to power by any means available to them, and because the Boundary Committee has dared to suggest answers that exclude the status quo, I now gather that EDDC has is considering a legal challenge asking the Boundary Commission to justify its right to make recommendations on the way that local government is organised in Devon.Should this challenge go all the way to the courts it will potentially cost tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds of council taxpayers' money on legal fees. This, then, is the council that can potentially find many thousands of pounds to pursue its own interests in staying in power whilst accusing Devon County Council of being hopelessly in debt (when they are not) but is perfectly happy to see that same council make a bid of £3 million to save Rolle College for Exmouth. Alas, it appears that it can find not one penny itself to help save Rolle - indeed, it couldn't even persuade any of its 43 Tory councillors to attend a key stakeholder meeting in December about this issue, even though it was attended by our MP and the leader of Devon County Council who lives in Barnstaple. Exmouth Town Council, in contrast, following a proposal by councillor Steve Wragg, offered £30,000 to help save the college facilities for the town.Perhaps EDDC is busy trying to attack the whole process to cover up their own poor record in meeting the needs and aspirations of their council taxpayers in places such as Exmouth? Examples are numerous such as ASDA/ASM being made preferred bidder behind closed doors and the introduction of Vanguard, a planning process that reduces the publicity on planning applications available to local citizens and calls the developer the customer. Now, I read in last week's Journal that after 30-odd years they are suddenly acknowledging Exmouth's importance and looking to locate staff here. Perhaps I am being too cynical in being suspicious of their timing and motives? Who knows, they may even have a change of heart and consider that saving Rolle could be the answer?With such a huge one party majority on EDDC, they can nod through any scheme they like and there is little if anything that the council tax-payers of Exmouth can do to stop it. This is no doubt why they are so desperate to hang on to the status quo because they know that anyone who really cares about local democracy in Exmouth might prefer a unitary authority with a stronger, local community board for Exmouth which included town and unitary councillors, which called on the expertise of local residents' groups, businesses and education professionals and which had the authority and motivation to make decisions solely for the benefit of the town. EDDC implores us to write to the Boundary Committee to give them our views. I shall be certainly be writing to them, pleading for any solution other than keeping EDDC. If you are interested in strengthening local democracy, I urge all you to do the same!Mike Hinds,The Brambles,Cranford Avenue,Exmouth.

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