EDDC leader contests town funding claims
PUBLISHED: 07:30 17 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:30 17 March 2014
THE leader of East Devon District Council (EDDC) has refuted as ‘absurd’ claims it discriminated against Ottery St Mary because of its two independent representatives.
Paul Diviani’s response relates to a view expressed at a town council meeting, reported in last week’s Herald, that involvement of Roger Giles or Claire Wright would be a ‘death knell’ for any funding bids to the authority.
He said: “Whilst it is fairly common for towns to consider that they do not receive a fair share of the cake when it comes to funding - it is disingenuous to suggest Ottery is suffering due to some form of spiteful vengeance on the part of the corporate leadership at district level.”
Councillor Diviani said independents are not the only opposition to the ruling party and added: “It is absurd to suggest that the council discriminates against a community because it has representatives of a different political persuasion from the ruling group.
“If that were the case, all-Tory Sidmouth would not be complaining, in some quarters at least, that the council’s proposed move away from Knowle is not in Sidmouth’s best interests.
“I am proud of the record of support that this Council has given to Ottery – both in years past and more recently.”
Mr Diviani pointed out that EDDC has led the partnership that delivered the Coleridge Bridge, and worked with the town council to spend ‘section 106’ development money.This resulted in a £15,000 outdoor gym at the Land of Canaan and around £15,000 went towards the Ottery’s skate park.
“Overall nearly £470,000 of section 106 receipts is being used to deliver sports projects for the parish - including Tipton, Alfington and West Hill. This has so far included sports projects, the new bridge, the town bell [public art], a new town clock and planters,” said Mr Diviani.
“We are working with the town council on delivering play area improvements in Ottery and Alfington and on spending the remaining receipts. There is currently around £45,000 for play capital projects and £17,000 has accrued for further sports projects.”
He said EDDC’s sports centre and all-weather pitch are maintained through its funding, adding: “In the pipeline are a number of capital projects at the sports centre which will run into several hundred thousands of pounds.”