Questions raised by proposal
PUBLISHED: 11:27 30 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:34 10 June 2010
Exmouth is getting embroiled in the Unitary Devon row that is being promulgated by East Devon District Council and Exeter City Council. Quite simply the two councils are vying for their own place in the Devon structure to be continued (EDDC version) or
Exmouth is getting embroiled in the Unitary Devon row that is being promulgated by East Devon District Council and Exeter City Council. Quite simply the two councils are vying for their own place in the Devon structure to be continued (EDDC version) or devolved from the Devon-wide structure (ECC version).What is at stake here is fundamental to the process of better government and more devolved functions to the population. On one hand, there are those who wish to retain the status quo who include district councillors who fear the loss of their spheres of influence. On the other hand there are those who wish to not only retain their existing status but to increase their powers. Taking Exeter City Council's view, we (Exmouth) would become a part of a larger council with responsibility for the whole of the present city and, in addition, the parishes of Exminster, Exton and Woodbury, Lympstone and Exmouth with some other small but not less important sections of East Devon. Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth would not be a part of this new council. Budleigh Salterton, with its close proximity to Exmouth, although fiercely independent, is almost irrevocably bound into the Exmouth catchment area.Historically, Exeter has never been enthusiastic about generating closer links with Exmouth. This has been very well illustrated by the city council's refusal to continue with its responsibilities as the harbour authority for the River Exe, whilst trying to hive this off on to other councils and communities on each side of the river. Only now, when their future is in doubt, are they willing to put up a very false front claiming that they always wished to work closely with the parishes and Exmouth in particular, so placing a marker for the setting up of such a new council.East Devon District Council has been extolling the political belief that EDDC is a model council and should be allowed to continue, rather than giving the relevant facts and leaving the population to make up their minds.There are many who are very confused about the whole thing.For my own view, I must say that I feel very strongly that the move to a single unitary Devon, excluding Torbay and Plymouth, is the most beneficial option to pursue. There are several questions in the proposal which need to be asked and which include the status and responsibilities of the 28 local boards that will be the local talking shops, and how they figure in the overall structure. Who, or what, involvement will the consultative groups have within this structure and are they to become unelected quangoes? Exeter, in the Devon-wide unitary scheme, will not have an elected council. This is quite wrong as we in Exmouth know. They should be "parished" and a new city council with the same responsibilities as a town council formed, as have the other towns in the county.The views and comments from other residents of Devon would be most welcome.Ron Roberts,10 Littlemead Lane,Exmouth.