Lost faith in consultation

In the Journal last week, you reported on a Government poll that put East Devon District Council 168th out of 201 councils in terms of the public s faith in their consultation processes.

In the Journal last week, you reported on a Government poll that put East Devon District Council 168th out of 201 councils in terms of the public's faith in their consultation processes. Alas, it seems Devon County Council, once renowned for its commitment to listening to the electorate, has joined the same club.

I see a pattern here. Seaton residents' preference for Sainsbury over Tesco ignored; Budleigh's objections to the Longboat Caf� ignored; Asda on the estuary in Exmouth ignored, but fortunately shelved....for the time being. And over the Rolle College purchase, even our MP and Exmouth Town Council are ignored! Is it any wonder that people do not vote in local elections?

What has changed in the last few months to nullify the researched and budgeted decision of the previous Devon County Council administration? Could it simply be that the new leader's prejudices - The Journal reports that he refers to Rolle as 'a white elephant' - have overly influenced the decision?

By what right do four people sitting as a cabinet in County Hall, none of whom live or work in Exmouth, have the right to potentially blight the vocational and further education opportunities of young people of Exmouth for a generation?

Recent research by the Learning & Skills Council showed that the fall out from Exeter College was higher for those living in Exmouth because of all the travelling. We already know that the Exmouth/Exeter rail line is the busiest in Devon and that travel exacerbates global warming.

By removing the opportunity for young people to study for practical and educational skills in their own town, we potentially condemn them to join the ranks of the growing band of NEETS - Not in Employment, Education of Training.

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The playing fields have already been sold. This was a surprise to everyone, again including the town council. Could these two decisions be linked? Is this going to turn into a further manifestation of Vanguard planning system, where the developer is seen as the customer and the electorate are treated as a nuisance?

I now totally understand why Exeter wanted to be a unitary authority - it wanted some control over its own destiny. Alas for poor Exmouth, with only a town council that has the minimal powers of a parish council, which is now ignored by both EDDC and Devon, is about to be asset stripped again by people who have neither the interest nor vision to do anything better.

I shall be writing to John Hart, the new leader of Devon County Council, to express my concerns about this short-sighted decision and I urge everyone who cares about the future of our young people in Exmouth to do the same.

Mike Hinds,

The Brambles,

Cranford Avenue, Exmouth.