Where was the objectivity?

Re: the Longboat cafe story, Budleigh Journal, August 27.

Re: the Longboat cafe story, Budleigh Journal, August 27.

When I read your reporting of the planning meeting in Sidmouth, I could not but come to the conclusion that the Journal had definitely abandoned its objective stance and supported - for whatever reason - the building of the proposed new restaurant.

I was at the meeting - and did not speak! I did not hear the much criticised remark against Cllr Franklin; nor did any of my friends, and we sat in different parts of the chamber. We only learned of it when reading the Journal.

I was spoken to by an acquaintance, who was not at the meeting. She derided, in the strongest terms, the people who were against the development: they were rowdy hooligans, against any sort of change, and not prepared to listen to anybody who was in favour of the development.

In fact, the latter didn't dare to voice their opinion for fear of being victimised and attacked. And on what did she base all this? On your reporting in the Journal.

The fact is that those who did attend the meeting are intelligent, thoughtful people, many of them professionals. We got angrier as the meeting proceeded because, while we were allowed to speak, our arguments were simply dismissed as irrelevant and we were presented as narrow-minded people, opposed to any change - as you know yourself but, evidently, chose not to report!

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I wonder how many of the people who, in your Journal, attacked Mrs Jones for her remark were at the meeting and actually heard it? You make a field day of it and are not content to report it in an eye-catching manner once; it has got to be reported again and Mr Franklin turned into a martyr! If he is so ill, shouldn't he resign his demanding job?

I wish him well for his operation and, subsequently, a more restful life.

It is a pity that we do not have the provision in this country that, in controversial planning matters which affect the whole community, people can express their opinion in a secret referendum. Why don't you organise such an investigation? Then we would truly know what the majority wants, and that would be truly democratic. I would be glad to accept then, whatever the verdict

Mrs B E Spurway,

Lion House,

10 Fore Street Hill,

Budleigh Salterton