Come and stand!

I agree with Margaret Hutchesson (“No secrets please”, Opinion, January 31) that Ottery Town Council has behaved shamefully regarding press/public exclusion from debates and their secret meetings with developers.

A fact which I find a cause of great concern is the lack of democracy in Ottery – of 15 town councillors, only one has been elected. Apart from Cllr Giles, every one of these councillors was either “elected” unopposed or co-opted.

This can lead to a complete lack of awareness of the wishes of the public: why bother to consult or canvass opinion when you know you will waltz back on to the council at the next election time?

This can lead to councillors “excluding the public from attending or speaking at their debates”, forgetting that councillors should represent the public. In fact they are the public, not some special elevated beings.

I understand that chairmanship courses are offered by the Devon Association of Local Councils, although at the council meetings I have observed there is little evidence of this offer having being taken up by councillors.

The next town council elections are due to be held in May 2015 and I sincerely hope that more candidates will come forward – especially younger people and more women.

This way we can have proper elections and hold some of our town councillors to account.

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I realise that we, the electorate, have only ourselves to blame.

But if anyone, whatever their party political views, feels they would like to see changes, there is a very good website created by the Local Government Association, that can be found at Have a good look at this.

A Rhodes

Ottery St Mary