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.”

Other News Stories

Devon and Cornwall residents are being polled on whether they would pay another £12 a year to ‘protect frontline policing’.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30

Volunteers working to improve Ottery Skate Park have been recognised for their hard work with a ‘community project of the month’ accolade.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30

Consider yourself lucky if you have managed to grab tickets to Sidmouth Youth Theatre’s upcoming production of 
Oliver!, as the show has virtually sold out.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:54

The officers were involved in a ‘pre-planned operation’ this afternoon.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:28

The council has teamed up with South West Ambulance and will invest £5,000 in the life saving equipment.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:57

A car propped up on bricks that was dumped in a Sidmouth’s Bowd layby weeks ago has now been trashed.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:37

Coleridge Memorial Trust is appealing for information after ‘thoughtless damage’ was caused to panels remembering Ottery’s ‘most famous son’.

Read more
Tue, 17:30

A familiar face to customers, residents and holidaymakers at Fields of Sidmouth has hung up her apron after 20 years’ service.

Read more
Tue, 17:21

More than 1,200 tonnes of rubbish was recycled in East Devon over Christmas and New Year - the equivalent of six blue whales.

Read more
Tue, 12:30

The leasehold of a Sidmouth coffee shop is now on the market.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°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

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications