Monday, 20 May 2013
I have heard on the grapevine that Cllr Kelvyn Shantry has resigned the Conservative whip at Teignbridge council and will sit as an Independent. Kelvyn has been a vocal critic of the ruling Conservative groups plans to build thousands of houses on the countryside. The link below suggest this is true as it list him as an Independent.http://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=13978
Posted by KRA at 04:11
Friday, 17 May 2013
Today's Teignmouth Post front page, adds to my concern that parking enforcement is used for money raising by Conservative controlled Teignbridge District Council and Devon County Council. As John Ware reports in the Post "Dozens of parking tickets have been dished out illegally to motorists in Teignmouth. They were issued in two streets where there were no restrictions and now red-faced Teignbridge and county council officials have agreed to reimburse the drivers – if they can be traced."
Posted by KRA at 13:25
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Teignbridge District Council’s Annual meeting is 14th May , there are plans to change the council’s constitution. Most of the proposed changes won’t be controversial, however items that cause me concern are: Stopping planning committee members voting on items in their ward. Councillors are obligated to consider all the issues and come to a properly balanced decision. Stripping them of their vote is yet another assault on local democracy and further strains the link between councillors and their community. Reducing the size of the planning committee to 15. Whilst in the past I’ve supported a reduction in size of the committee, I can’t help thinking this is a ploy to remove the more independent-minded Conservative councillors. Reducing the quorum of the Executive from five to four — in effect this means just four councillors could make a key and expensive decision for the council. In essence, this is legislating for councillors to be absent, rather than giving the priority to their Executive duties (for which they receive a good level of payment through Special Responsibility Allowances). Scraping ‘shadow portfolio holders’ is an assault on the opposition. Teignbridge recognised ‘shadows’ so that the opposition could keep up to date with current council issues and, of course, if the administration changes the incoming councillors have a better understanding of council issues. The current Conservative administration had ‘shadows’ and no doubt benefitted from it when they began controlling the council in May 2011. Giving the Chairman discretion to disallow public questions – I can’t see any reason to not allow a question from a member of the public. The Council needs to be more open, not less, and complaining to the Ombudsman is long winded and the LGO is already under a high workload.
Posted by KRA at 13:57
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Proposed Pickethead Hill development was unanimously defeated at planning committee yesterday. I’ve asked about the reasons I gave for refusal. It was obvious that the planning committee would refuse; however there is always the danger that the applicant will appeal to the Planning Inspector. The reasons I proposed for refusal were, I believe robust enough to bare scrutiny at a planning appeal. Why didn’t I object on highway grounds? There were good highways reasons to refuse this application, but experience told me Planning Inspectors take a dim view of councillors second guessing the highway authority, and it can prejudice the case. Why didn’t I use the Eric Pickles letter to the Daily Telegraph? I’m sorry but it was simply a piece of political sophistry, telling people what the want to hear and in reality changing nothing. The current administration was elected on five points – number two being to build lots of houses – the Conservative leader of the council, has been quite candid about this fact in speeches and literature. This is a very inconvenient fact for some Conservative councillors, when faced with the consequences of their own policy. We don’t need our countryside concreted over to make a few people very rich; we do need homes for local families. I succeeded in getting the former Inverteign Infants School site s used for social housing – what is today Inverteign Heights. The county had wanted to dispose of it for private housing. We have brownfield sites around the town that could be used for housing for local families.
Posted by KRA at 00:38
Friday, 22 March 2013
What we are witnessing in planning is deeply disturbing. Despite all the rhetoric about localism, planning policy is being used to impose unnecessary greenfield developments. We urgently need to have real local control, minimising the loss of countryside. According to the Telegraph big property developers have been privately promised by Conservative Planning Minister Nick Boles MP, that planning laws will be relaxed yet again within weeks to allow them to begin a house-building boom. Nick Boles has called for building on open land and attacked ‘hysterical scaremongering of latter-day Luddites’ (ie people like me) who oppose it. Earlier, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that the Conservative Party has received millions of pounds in donations from big developers who stand to benefit from controversial planning changes.
Posted by KRA at 13:15
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Swathes of pristine countryside and vital green fields around Teignmouth and the Teign Estuary villages are in jeopardy, because of delays in the local plan - Plan Teignbridge. Our planning system must seem insane to the casual observer. ...A vineyard owner is refused permission to build a modest house just yards outside the village development boundary (known as the village envelope), yet big developers seem to be able to build just about anywhere they want- even areas designated as countryside by the public through consultation, alllbecause Plan Teignbridge has not been adopted. So why has the plan been delayed, giving developers carte blanche to build anywhere?
Posted by KRA at 07:08
Saturday, 2 March 2013
The Morrisons missing millions leaflet was published by Richard Younger Ross and myself because we believe teignmouth shoukd get its fair share of the Morrisons cash. The ruling Conservatives are rattled, at the eleventh-hour they changed the budget to include £2.5 million for the Carlton Theatre, I believe in the hope of deflecting attention. It is becoming even less clear what is going on, at the budget meeting we discovered that the £2.5million is in fact for the whole seafront not just the Carlton, and then over three years. Thursday night at the Courtney, it was quite clear even some Conservative councillors don't know what is going on. The Morrisons’ deal was done under the Liberal Democrat/Independent administration; I was involved with that process. Conservatives opportunistic opposition to Michael Fields could have de-railing the whole Morrison project with dire financial consequences. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats administration, we have the playing-fields we need, the contaminated land sorted out at no expense to council-tax payers and over £9million windfall. Clearly pressure from Teignmouth residents has forced Teignbridge Council into a last minute budget change. We should keep up the pressure, it’s clearly working!
Posted by KRA at 05:54