Who knows best? Public perhaps?

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

Hello, Devon County Council, anybody in there? I have always assumed Devon was part of the democratic nation of England but, after recent events, I am not so sure. In Exmouth, we have Rolle College about to be bulldozed, and, in Budleigh Salterton, the Lo

Hello, Devon County Council, anybody in there? I have always assumed Devon was part of the democratic nation of England but, after recent events, I am not so sure.

In Exmouth, we have Rolle College about to be bulldozed, and, in Budleigh Salterton, the Longboat Cafe. In the case of each site, the general public have expressed en-masse that they do not want either replaced. And, in both cases, the strong public sentiment has been over-ruled.

From Exmouth's point of view, the destruction and loss to housing of a wonderful education facility, which was only recently refurbished at a cost of £3 million, is incredibly short-sighted. What is Devon's largest town to do to educate all the post-16 year olds after the college has gone?

From Budleigh Salterton's point of view, destroying the Longboat will mean a unique piece of heritage, in keeping with the charm of the town, will be lost and, in its place, a post-modern building, totally out of touch with its surroundings.

So what is happening here? Exmouth Town Council wants Rolle College left as it is, because the members know what is best for Exmouth. Budleigh Town Council wants the Longboat Cafe left as it is, because its members also know what is best for their town. So, Devon County Council, why are you not listening? Two cases of 'you know better than the people' and even 'you know better than your own town councils'? Shame on you.

County councillors, planners, etc, the people of Devon welcome you to the democratic county of Devon. Enjoy your stay. But please remember, you are serving the people - not yourselves.

You will not always make popular decisions, and the people will forgive you for making those. But shortsighted, unbalanced, unreasoned, questionable decisions based on petty party politics or a lack of understanding, consideration or consultation will always be remembered.

Michael Greenland,

Exmouth (via email).

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