Month: March 2019

Seaton’s rogue councillor is at it again on Facebook. I’m reporting him to the Liberal Democrats, because this self-appointed Town Censor certainly isn’t a liberal. Paddy Ashdown must be turning in his grave.

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Seaton EDDC and town councillor Peter Burrows (pictured in his Facebook logo with the late Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown) resigned as mayor in January after self-confessedly ‘bringing the town council into disrepute’ after abusing a ‘Tourist Information Centre’ Twitter account to pursue a personal grudge.

Now, in the very week in which East Devon’s Monitoring Officer has formally censured him on four counts, Burrows and his co-administrator, Tony Antoniou, have abused their positions as admins on a community Facebook group to remove me from the group, as I found when I tried to post details of the Stagecoach bus consultation to the group, to which I’ve belonged for years. No warning was given and neither has responded to requests for an explanation.

This example of arbitrary censorship raises two fingers to Town Council recommendations – in response to Burrows’ January actions and expected to be adopted in two weeks’ time – that councillors should ‘behave responsibly, considerately and professionally’ on social media and should NOT be Facebook admins.

It is laughable for Burrows to call himself a Liberal Democrat. This self-appointed Town Censor has no respect for the idea that a community Facebook group – the group in question is called Positive Development for Everyone in Seaton and was set up after a community meeting – should be open to a County Councillor to post important local information, and indeed for members to express views different from the admins’.

There is a long history of Burrows arbitrarily removing people and posts from different Facebook groups. I have considerable respect for the Liberal Democrats – their members on the County Council are fine councillors and I work with them closely – but Burrows is bringing his party into disrepute. I am reporting him to their regional organisation for his latest antics.

Stagecoach are consulting on bus routes in our area – an opportunity to improve links to RD&E as well as Beer-Exeter? Your opportunity to comment.

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Stagecoach are proposing to route the 9A via Beer – shouldn’t they also reroute it to stop at the RD&E?  Currently older and sick people using this route have to take a second bus to get to the hospital.

There are many buses going on its current route in Exeter via Heavitree so there would be no loss of service within the city.

Also a bus between 07.30 hrs and the next one at 10.00 hrs would be much appreciated for the same reason – getting to early appointments at RDE.

How top-down Government housing targets are distorting development in Devon – my first column in the new style ‘Devonshire’ magazine

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In my first bimonthly column for the new online-only Devonshire magazine, I take up the debate started by CPRE Devon’s excellent reports on Devon’s housing needs.

You’ll find the magazine here – my column, We Need To Talk About Devon, is on pages 94 and 95.

CPRE Devon director, Penny Mills, also writes on page 32.

Residents in two areas have been waiting years for road repairs, and at last – in the next fortnight – our pressure will pay off

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I hope I’m not tempting fate, but the road closures have been announced, and the two roads where residents have been waiting longest for promised repairs in the current financial year – between Northleigh Cross and Slade Farm and at Townsend Avenue in Seaton – should finally see their repairs completed in the next two weeks.

In Northleigh, a road in shocking condition has been sidelined for repair for years. I made it my first priority for this year’s Pothole Action funding (which I control) so although the contractor has left it until the last minute, the worst sections will at last be done.

At Townsend Avenue, a scheme that was left half-finished in 2016-17 (!), before I was elected, then – after I protested – promised for 2018-19, was dropped from this year’s programme without my being informed and – when I protested again – restored with a commitment to do it this month.

So in both cases, all’s well that ends well, we hope – but what a struggle for local residents, Northleigh Parish Council and me!

‘Your chance to choose your local councillors is almost here’: my first piece on Nub News, new online news site for East Devon

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As the chance to choose our district, town and parish councillors comes round on 2nd May, I’ve written this short piece on Nub News, a new online news service. It’s on their Honiton nub, but a Seaton nub is promised in the not-too-distant future.


Proposal to reduce speed limit on Seaton Down Hill and at junction with A3052 is overdue – let’s make it a step to a Slower, Safer Seaton

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Devon Highways are currently consulting on a proposal to extend the 40 mph zone on Harepath Hill past the junction with Seaton Down Hill, bringing the hill itself within the 40 zone. This should help to make the junction safer – at the moment drivers coming over Harepath Hill may see the end-of-limit sign and speed up (as I know to my cost having been involved in a bump there a few years ago) – and also mean that drivers will slow down before they come into the 30 limit entering Seaton.

The change is the result of persistent pressure by the Speedwatch team, led until recently by Paul Allan, supported by the Town Council and myself as County Councillor (who have combined to fund the traffic order), which has already produced the Vehicle Activated Sign and pedestrian refuge lower down Seaton Down Hill.

However these changes need to be backed up by a campaign for a Slower, Safer Seaton, to get people driving at speeds which are viewed as safe by pedestrians. I’m on a group at Devon County Council which is looking at the problem of traffic speeds and I hope to use their proposals to promotechange locally.

County Council leader rightly lashes out at Government’s miserable funding offer to SW – but Devon Tories’ failure to speak out over Brexit has allowed May to take them for granted.

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All credit to John Hart for his forthright comments on the insulting offer to the region. But it’s difficult not to say I told you so – I and other opposition councillors have been urging him to speak out for the last two years, but time and again – even last month – he and his Cabinet have (like Theresa May) put Tory party unity before the interests of Devon.

What John says now is right – but it is too little and too late, unless coupled with real pressure on Devon Tory MPs to stop the looming Brexit disaster.