Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Chief exec rubbishes protestors claims

PUBLISHED: 13:11 15 November 2012

EDDC Chief Executive Mark Williams, appearing to remove the pink ribbon attached to trees at Knowle by protestors ahead of Saturday's mass rally in Sidmouth.

EDDC Chief Executive Mark Williams, appearing to remove the pink ribbon attached to trees at Knowle by protestors ahead of Saturday's mass rally in Sidmouth.

Archant

THE chief executive of East Devon District Council (EDDC) courted controversy when he rubbished the belief that 4,000 people attended a mass protest in Sidmouth – saying only a quarter of that number actually turned out.

‘Saddened’ campaigners have accused Mark Williams of attempting to “diminish” the voice of opposition when he told colleagues that only 900 people marched on Knowle on Saturday.

Mr Williams also angered Save Our Sidmouth (SOS) by taking down pink ribbons placed at Knowle ahead of the protest to mark trees, gardens and parkland under-threat from a proposed redevelopment.

Mr Williams told EDDC staff in an e-mail: “Although the protesters reported that some 3,800 people attended, our own estimate based on the numbers at the start and the numbers who made it to the Knowle is that about 900 people turned up.”

SOS chairman Richard Thurlow said: “We find it sad that EDDC is trying to play down the march by denigrating the numbers.

“We had an independent person there who counted well over 3,800 - you only have to look at the videos of the Esplanade to see, but some people may not have gone on to the Knowle.

“We strongly refute that it was 900.”

Ed Harrison, who helped marshal the walk, said: “I think it’s a deliberate attempt from someone who wrote to the MP saying SOS is a ‘small minority’ of people – it’s so far from the truth.”

Michael Temple wasn’t surprised by the reaction and said: “It’s another attempt to diminish the opposition”

Mr Temple spotted Mr Williams taking down ribbons he’d put up.

“He said we were desecrating the park - I said we were the ones who value it,” added Mr Temple. An EDDC spokesman told the Herald Mr Williams’ view was a “personal estimate” based on “an anecdotal feedback”.

He added the council were not challenging the protesters’ figures and said: “His email to staff was to give his view on the day, and he included that information in good faith as to the number of people he felt were here.”

The spokesman confirmed Mr Williams removed the pink ribbons and said: “Mark felt it risked littering Knowle.

“Had we been approached beforehand with an explanation we would have happily worked with them to put up markings and ensure they were correct.”

1 comment

  • So thats how the EDDC roll ! They make decisions base on 'personal opinion' and 'anecdotal feedback'. We know that they rip-up expensive reports produced by expert consultants at taxpayers expense, preferring to refer to the un-elected East Devon Business Forum which tells Mark Williams what to do. He should be sacked.

    Report this comment

    stoneleigh

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 19:23

Young carers in Ottery are set to benefit from a £50,000 grant to help them gain cooking skills.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:43

Sidmouth Lifeboat, the sailing club and other major leaseholders are joining discussions on the future of Port Royal and whether its renewal is achievable.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:57

Local scout groups parade through Beer.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:19

An ex-professional footballer from Spain has been jailed for 11 years for abusing five boys while in Britain.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:57

The East Devon Beekeepers group has issued advice to residents ahead of swarming season.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:56

Armed police were called out to an address in Exmouth on Wednesday, April 26.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:12

Sidmouth Hospiscare has received a £2,500 boost from the town’s Rotary club.

Read more
Tue, 19:28

Police have reported ‘very low crime’ in Beer in 2016/17.

Read more
Tue, 16:30

Industrial buildings in Sidford that have not sold despite ‘continual marketing’ could be demolished and replaced with five houses if approval is granted.

Read more
Tue, 16:13

See our slideshow tribute to Exmouth’s vintage vehicle enthusiast - Reg Imray.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications