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

Diviani praises chairman accused of gagging public

Councillor Paul Diviani

Councillor Paul Diviani

Archant

The leader of the district council has waded into the controversy over a meeting on housing numbers where the public were not allowed to speak by praising the chairman of the committee.

Paul Diviani sent an internal email calling Councillor Mark Williamson ‘masterly, restrained and a credit to the council’ for the way he handled last week’s Development Management Committee.

More than 150 members of the public had turned to speak out against a proposed policy change which would allow thousands more houses to be built in East Devon.

They protested against increased countryside development outside Knowle beforehand, but once they were inside the chamber Cllr Williamson said they were not allowed to speak.

He said the report delivered to the committee about sorting out a five-year land supply, a list of housing sites for development, was for councillors only and not public debate.

This led to a furious chorus of heckles and claims East Devon District Council (EDDC) was stifling debate and gagging residents on this highly important issue.

But Cllr Diviani, who was at last Tuesday’s meeting, took a different view.

Writing to committee chairman the EDDC leader said: “May I just say that the quality of debate yesterday was excellent and you followed a logical path in your deliberations.”

He even compared the meeting to new a new television show about council planning departments, adding: “Perhaps if the BBC had covered your meeting, they might raise the standards of ‘The Planners’!”

On the complaints from people over the lack of debate or public speaking Cllr Diviani said there was ‘obvious (if sad) politicking over the housing numbers’.

“There will be criticism over ‘democratic deficit’ in terms of the rules of debate, but that is sadly, what we have come to expect,” he added.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

11:50

A scriptwriter known for his work on House of Cards and Pride and Prejudice spoke about his life’s work to nearly 100 people in Sidmouth.

Read more

Project leaders sitting on a wealth of information from 1,863 Sidmouth homes have fast-tracked an interim report on Port Royal to feed into a consultation.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:50

Weeds and overgrown grass at a ‘gateway to Sidmouth’ have prompted calls for action before the arrival of Britain in Bloom judges.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:34

Drivers are being warned to be careful in Sidmouth after today’s downpour which has caused flooding in the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:20

Powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in Sidmouth town centre have been introduced.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:44

Youngsters learning to save lives at sea got their first hands-on experience with state-of-the-art first aid training kit on Saturday.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:29

A diary giving a woman’s perspective on 19th century life in the Sid Valley has been reprinted by popular demand.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:44

Ottery’s ‘committed and dedicated’ PCSO will walk her last patrol next month after nearly 15 years of service to the town.

Read more
Thu, 18:44

A former Sidmouth College pupil has snapped up a blink and you will miss role in a Hollywood blockbuster.

Read more
Thu, 15:52

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Sidmouth to watch a Mardi Gras-style procession for a bartender extraordinaire who lived up to his ‘Mad Dog’ moniker.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 12°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