Councillor defends EDDC public speaking


- Credit: Archant

A district representative has defended his council’s record on public speaking and accused his colleagues of ‘blatant scaremongering’.

East Devon councillor Ray Bloxham said the review of the matter was to redefine residents’ rights to ask questions and speak on matters at the beginning of normal council meetings.

A 15-minute period at the start of meetings allows members of the public to ask questions on any matter for up to three minutes.

But Cllr Bloxham said this has been confused with another rule which allows residents to speak on any item on the agenda, again for up to three minutes.

He said the council wishes to separate the two rights, leaving question time for questions and allowing speaking on agenda items as they are reached.

“These rights are two distinct and separate rights for the public to address our meetings,” Cllr Bloxham added. And in development management committee (DMC) meetings, he said East Devon District Council is actually looking at broadening the scope of public speaking.

Currently, members of the public can only speak on planning matters, but the council wants to allow speakers to comment on any agenda item.

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“What we want to explore is changing the constitution to allow public and councillors the ability to speak on all items of the DMC agenda,” said Cllr Bloxham.

“This issue is yet another example of blatant scaremongering for political gain by a small number of independent opposition members and it should form no part of local politics.”