SIDBURY EAST DEVON DC COUNCILLOR

This page has been included to enable the Sidmouth Rural EDDC Councillor to be in touch with those who they represent and to ensure that Sidbury residents are aware of happenings that may affect Sidbury, and what may be of interest that is happening in the Valley.

The Councillor for Sidmouth Rural on the East Devon District Council is:
Cllr. John Loudoun

Councillor Loudoun

Tel: 01395 597166
Email: johnloudoun4sidmouthrural@yahoo.com

24 July 2019 East Devon District Council - Full Council meet
July 21st 2019

The next meeting of Full Council of East Devon District Council is being held on Wednesday 24 July commencing at 6.00 pm at the District Council offices –Blackdown House, Border Road, Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton EX14 1EJ.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

This is the agenda for the meeting –
https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk/documents/g237/Agenda%20frontsheet%2024th-Jul-2019%2018.00%20Council.pdf?T=0

In addition, there is a very lengthy reports pack -
https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk/documents/g237/Public%20reports%20pack%2024th-Jul-2019%2018.00%20Council.pdf?T=10

John Loudoun


Sidford Business Park Planning Inquiry Day 3
July 18th 2019

Today saw the Inquiry come to a conclusion with much of the time spent by the Council and the appellants representatives giving their closing submissions to the inspector, along with arguments for and against why the appellants should be able to be awarded their full costs for the appeal from the Council.

Before that Councillor Marianne Rixson and I were involved with the other two parties in commenting upon the conditions that would be legally applied should the Inspector decide to support the appellants appeal. This is standard practice and doesn't mean that the Inspector has decided either way as yet. Marianne and I were able to argue for a number of restrictions should the Business Park be given the green light.

We have now made our arguments and we now await the Inspector's final decision which is promised by no later than at some point in September.

Thanks to everyone who came along at any point at the inquiry to show their support. It made a difference to us.

John Loudoun


Sidford Business Park Planning Inquiry Day 2
July 17th 2019

Started with a round table discussion in which as representatives of the NO Sidford Business Park Campaign we participated alongside the appellants representatives and the Council’s.

We discussed flooding, air quality, noise and vibration, heritage assets and EU sites. We participated as equal with the other two parties.

Then a number of us deemed to be “interested parties” gave our evidence and were cross examined by the appellants representative.

Those of us who spoke were myself, Councillor Marianne Rixson (EDDC), Councillor Jeff Turner (Sidmouth Town Councillor), Councillor Stuart Hughes (Devon County Councillor), Keith Hudson and Jackie Powell (both Sidford residents). Everyone did really well and our points were put across.

Then a range of “expert” witnesses gave their evidence and cross examined. Again we were able to get our questions of their evidence asked.

Tomorrow is the summing up and conclusion. Then the Inspector will again take a look at various local places that we all want him to see again.

We have done our best and hope it’s sufficient.

In the photo are the appellants representatives seen whilst 5 videos of traffic jams in Sidford and Sidbury were shown at our request.Traffic jams video

John Loudoun


Sidford Business Park Planning Inquiry is about to start
July 15th 2019

As a member of the NO Sidford Business Park Steering Group I will be attending the Planning Inquiry that opens tomorrow under the direction of a Planning Inspector. As the planning application to build the Business Park has been rejected by the planning authority, East Devon District Council, it will now be up the Inspector to make the final decision.

The Inquiry is scheduled to last up to three days and will hear evidence from the applicants, as well as the District and County Councils. On behalf of the Campaign I will be asking the Inspector to allow me to give evidence in opposition to the application.

The Sidmouth Herald will be blogging live from the Inquiry. Here’s their latest update ahead of the Inquiry opening – https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/all-you-need-to-know-about-sidford-business-park-application-1-6160900

John Loudoun


District Council Annual Meeting - new administration
May 28th 2019

My first Full Council meeting was its annual meeting on 22 May. It was held in the less than sumptuous splendour of the District Council’s new offices on Heathpark industrial estate on the edge of Honiton. It’s a new building which I don’t expect, as a public office to be paved in gold, but it does feel a bit old fashioned already.

The Council chamber is several storeys high for a reason best known to the architect and its layout doesn’t make for an easy opportunity to see what’s going on. Unless that is you are sitting near the back of the chamber. And that’s where I am. In the back row of the elected Members. The good thing about this is that I can see what is going on around me. Except that is in the cramped rows behind me that the public can sit in.

I photographed how the meeting looked from my view point –
Council Meeting

I also photographed some of the members of the public as they took their seats behind me –
Council Meeting

As I’m sure everyone will by now know the new Leader and Deputy Leader are members of the largest group on the Council, the Independents. They now comprise of 20 Councillors. This is up from 15 on the night of the results of the election. They have increased their numbers by now including 3 Independents, known for a brief while as Cranbrook Voice, due to all three having been elected in that Ward.

The additional two in the Independent group are Ian Thomas, the previous Conservative Leader of the Council who gave up being a Conservative part-way through the election and Geoff Pook who was a Cabinet member in the previous Conservative administration.

Whilst highlighting the political group numbers, I should point out that I sit within the Independent East Devon Alliance group which has 11 Councillors, whilst the Liberal Democrats have 8 Councillors and the Green Party has 2. We all total 60 Councillors, meaning that to have a clear majority you need to be able to call upon 31 Councillors to win a vote, assuming we all are present.

It was interesting to see that the new Leader nominated a senior Conservative Councillor, Stuart Hughes, to be the Council Chairman and he also nominated Val Ranger, an Independent East Devon Alliance Councillor to be its Vice Chairman. Both were elected unopposed.

I find the terminology of Chairman etc to be very old-fashioned and not reflective of modern phraseology. I question how a woman can be, and should be referred to as a Chairman or Vice Chairman. I’m used to the use of the gender-neutral descriptor of Chair. This is the language of a modern inclusive society. I think that I shall be raising the issue of language within the Council at some point.

I have had a number of Councillors over recent years, and these have often been women, although not exclusively, tell me about how under previous Conservative administrations they have been belittled and verbally harassed by usually male Conservative Councillors.

I was pleased that the new Leader of the Council made it clear in his address to the Council that his administration would not tolerate that sort of behaviour going forward. In other words, we are all expected to treat each other, and the Council staff and Officers with respect, even when we fundamentally disagree with each other.

I’m glad the Leader said this, but am even sadder that he felt the need to say it. Another move towards making the Council a modern inclusive organisation.

The main Council Committee that I have been appointed to is its Overview Committee. I await its first meeting!

According to the Council’s Constitution the Overview Committee’s role is –

….to develop new and review existing policy (other than those falling within the remit of the Strategic Planning Committee) and evaluate its implementation. The committee shall also review service delivery options following consultation exercises and consider formative policy proposals.

Full details of the Committee and its terms of reference are set out in detail in Article 7 of this Constitution.

The Committee shall have the following powers:
(a) To assist Council and the Cabinet in the development of the budget and overall policy framework and to make proposals to the Cabinet for new or amended policies
(b) To receive reports (including any report from the Scrutiny Committee) on the effectiveness of policy implementation and to make further recommendations to Council and / or Cabinet as appropriate
(c) to make reports or recommendations to Council and/or any other Council committee or sub-committee or any joint committee or sub-committee on which the local authority is represented with respect to the discharge of any functions of the authority or on matters which affect the authority’s area or the inhabitants of that area
(d) To comment upon and make recommendations to the Cabinet on external reports and consultation papers
(e) Delegated budgetary powers in order to procure specialist information services designed to supplement resources ordinarily available to the Committees.

At present I continue to attend various training sessions to assist me to become an effective Councillor. In the mean time I am already having to deal with various planning applications that residents, and local businesses are pursuing.

I still also am continuing to work hard within the NO Sidford Business Park Campaign as it prepares for the Planning Inquiry in the middle of July. I’m sure that I will say more as time progresses.

John Loudoun