Wed Aug 20 - Chamber of Commerce accuses district council and backs unitary bid.

PUBLISHED: 15:15 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:30 10 June 2010

BUSINESS leaders have accused the district council of treating the tourist industry with utter contempt after last week s meeting where members voted for a 'super-council'.

BUSINESS leaders have accused the district council of treating the tourist industry with 'utter contempt'.

Chairman of the East Devon's Chamber of Commerce Paul Duriez made the comments after last week's meeting where members voted for a Devon-wide 'Super-Council'.

The chamber which represents 600 businesses also rejected the Exeter and Exmouth Unitary council option - because of fears it would dilute the Devon's economy by a quarter and cause serious economic problems.

Mr Duriez said: "The 'me myself I' approach that the people behind the Exeter bid seem to be taking is very short sighted and undermines the Community at large.

"We as a business community need to be aware of the impact that the discussions we make can have on the people we seek to serve.

"We as a business community also believe that East Devon would be better served under single Unitary Council rather than staying with the status quo.

"EDDC has done little to support and encourage local business and seems to treat the tourist industry with utter contempt.

"It is time for change, a combination of the bigger view, more local control and better spending power all seems to make much more sense."

But Councillor Peter Halse, EDDC's Portfolio Holder Economy, said that only 11 members of AEDCC were at the meeting, less than two per cent of the membership:

"This decision was taken by a very small group of people who are hardly representative of the entire business community in East Devon.

"We are surprised and disappointed at the Chamber's proposed response. They appear to have ignored all that the District Council already does in providing a clean and pleasant environment that makes East Devon such an attractive destination for year-round tourists."

He said that the Mr Duriez had 'forgotten' work to promote visitor centres in Exmouth and Seaton and recent awards to promote the hospitality and food industry.

He added: "Whilst I have some sympathy with their desire for more support, I don't believe that a countywide Unitary will have an improved focus on East Devon issues.

The demands from other areas like North Devon will siphon both resources and attention away from Devon's south coast.

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