Remember those aldermen

PUBLISHED: 14:52 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 10 June 2010

It s a funny thing about memories; they often keep coming back to the same thing. In my case, it s the first time the Journal reported the intention of East Devon District Council to allow a supermarket to be built on the Imperial Recreation Ground.

It's a funny thing about memories; they often keep coming back to the same thing. In my case, it's the first time the Journal reported the intention of East Devon District Council to allow a supermarket to be built on the Imperial Recreation Ground.

A fire lit up inside me and began to burn fiercely. I went to see my mother, an alderman, and asked her opinion of the proposal. "We must fight it, that's Exmouth's green lung," was the immediate response.

I was instructed to visit the two other aldermen, Freda Morgan and Jarvis Graves, to ask their opinions. They concurred with my mother and I went home to type up the first sheet of a petition which became, because folk used the phrase so often, Keep it Green.

Our three aldermen, absolutely delighted to come out of retirement to stand up for Exmothians one more time, spearheaded the campaign with great glee and I became its co-ordinator.

The first few months of that campaign were a steep learning curve. Folk truly believed that councillors and the EDDC would heed them. Instead, we were treated with near contempt.

Many was the time a group went to Knowl to observe our councillors in action and came home in tears. Still, at one stage our momentum was building so well one coun cillor was driven to enquire: "Just who do these aldermen think they are? Do they think they're somebody important?"

That was many years ago, and the aldermen have long passed on, but the spirit is still there.

EDDC retreats, affects disinterest and then WHAM, despoilation of the estuaryside is back on the agenda again. Again there are "benefits" and again there is secrecy.

Again the people of this town fill the Journal with letters of objection. Do you know I really believe EDDC thought we would all just quietly forget it and drift away, but, no, there are new voices joining us now and I can't tell you what a joy it is to hear them.

Our first campaign, Keep it Green, banked surplus funds once the battle was won because we just knew the monster would raise its ugly head again. It did, and the funds were used accordingly.

Someone once sent me a sketch of a huge eagle owl about to swoop on a mouse, which stands there defiantly making a 'V' sign at it. It was appropriate then, but it's even more so this time, with the size of the giant now doing its best to gobble us up.

The supermarket doesn't have to despoil our estuaryside - the London Hotel site is ideal. Stand your ground, friends, and ignore attempts to vilify you. Hold fast for Exmouth.

Ann Prior,

75 Egremont Road,

Exmouth

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