£33k East Devon flood-prevention cash cut

PUBLISHED: 17:12 25 February 2011

FLASHBACK: Ottery's Millennium Green under water in October 2008.

FLASHBACK: Ottery's Millennium Green under water in October 2008.

Archant

A DISTRICT councillor’s bid to stop £33,000 of flood prevention cash being axed, by introducing car parking charges at the authority’s Sidmouth headquarters, was rejected by the authority this week.

A DISTRICT councillor’s bid to stop £33,000 of flood prevention cash being axed, by introducing car parking charges at the authority’s Sidmouth headquarters, was rejected this week.

Members of East Devon District Council (EDDC) were asked to amend its budget as they rubber-stamped a swathe of cuts at their full meeting on Wednesday.

Roger Giles, who represents Ottery St Mary, proposed that flood prevention funds be reinstated in the council’s spending in the next financial year.

He said cash-strapped EDDC could recoup the amount, and more, by charging staff and others for use of its 200-space car park at Knowle.

Mr Giles labelled the reduction in flood-prevention funding as “unwise in the extreme” and said: “We are being forced to cut services we would wish to retain.

“The council has worked well with its partners in communities such as Ottery on both flood prevention and clear up. I’m concerned that reputation will be lost. I’m really worried communities will be more at risk.”

Flood prevention money and Knowle parking issues were dealt with as separate issues when members voted on them.

Mr Giles got flood cash support from Councillor Trevor Cope who said: “It’s about time we woke up and smelt the coffee. Prevention is better than cleaning up the mess afterwards.”

Councillor Graham Brown supported the suggestion not to ditch funds but wasn’t too concerned if the amount was cut. He said: “I have no worry about this council putting up money as and when we need it.”

EDDC leader, Councillor Sarah Randall Johnson, said Mr Giles was “missing the point” and added: “£30,000 in flooding terms is peanuts. It’s major funds you need to lever in. We will have funds to support communities should we wish to do so.”

The proposal to reinstate the £33,890 flood prevention money was defeated when the majority of councillors voted against the mooted amendment. Twelve were in favour.


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