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.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 13:19
Mary King greeted with Herald in California

Olympic silver medallist Mary King was met with a familiar sight in the Californian heat on a recent trip to America - as she was greeted with a copy of the Sidmouth Herald.

Read more
Wed, 16:49
Jonathan Marshall

A celebrity falconer’s media career is in ruins after he forged an animal passport for his Golden Eagle so he could appear on the ITV Alan Titchmarsh show.

Read more
Wed, 13:18
Head teacher of Newton Poppleford Primary School, Stuart Vaughan. Ref shs 3049-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

The £2.5million rebuild of Newton Poppleford Primary School will be good for the pupils and the community as a whole, according to its headteacher.

Read more
Wed, 10:11
Money

Small-scale developers will no longer have to compensate communities for the extra pressure their new homes will place on schools and leisure facilities, under new rules announced by central government.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Photo Orders
Competitions
Subscriptions
Facebook
Family notices

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition
Devon�s trusted business finder