Tough decisions for the residents of Feniton Ward

5 July 2021: Updated in Comments below the post.

Residents of Feniton Ward in Gittisham, Buckerell and Feniton will go to the polls on 8 July to elect their new District Councillor. Names of those standing for election have been made public and it’s a straight race between the main political parties: Labour, Conservatives and LibDems. Sadly no true Independent candidates, despite my best efforts!

These are my first impressions of the three candidates, listed in alphabetical order for fear of favour. All the information below has been found through a Google search, Twitter and Facebook. I will update this post as and when more information is made available up to polling day.

There are some very serious questions to be asked of all three candidates and I’m sure as the candidates knock on the doors of the ward, the residents will be prepared to ask the difficult questions and the candidates will be prepared to answer them.

Linda Baden, Labour. A Google search of this Feniton resident resulted in absolutely nothing, bar a directorship in L A Baden Ltd, which provides educational support services. No-one I’ve spoken to thus far has received a leaflet, so no enlightenment there. To the best of my knowledge, the Labour candidate has never stood for election to any of the ward’s three parish councils, nor attended any of the Parish Council meetings. I hope she is not a ‘paper candidate’, as Feniton Ward deserves so much more!

Alasdair Bruce, Conservative. First out of the blocks on the day candidates were announced, the Conservative candidate has been seen in the ward and has distributed his leaflet widely. He is the only candidate (to my knowledge) with experience as a District Councillor having held a Cabinet role at Thanet District Council between 2007 and 2015 ( He is also chairman of the East Devon Beekeepers Association and writes for the Exmouth Journal (

Todd Olive, LibDem. A Google search of the LibDem candidate resulted in far more information. He came second in the Whimple & Rockbeare byelection in May this year ( He is Company Secretary for Osprey Developments Ltd (, scroll down for relevant information). Osprey Developments appears to be a very active local development firm with rebuilding of the former care home, Applemead, in the centre of Whimple (the former Whiteways HQ) as a recent project. He is also director of Build Consultants Ltd (, scroll down for relevant information where Todd is described as one of the company’s two project managers).

The threat of mass development has been a curse on Feniton ward, and those with long memories will recall how my predecessor, Graham Brown, compromised the role of District Councillor with being tied to developers. It is surely important to keep the two roles at arms’ length to avoid any possibility of a conflict of interest?

But there’s more. Todd Olive has just finished his degree at Warwick University, but on 26 April 2021, he tweeted (@onlytheolive) that he has taken up the offer of studying for a Masters starting in Warwick in September. This is a one-year, full-time ‘taught postgraduate’ course which will require him to be in Warwick for most of the academic year. Serious questions need to be raised with him on the doorstep to make sure that, should he be elected, he can fulfil the role appropriately.

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So long … farewell …

It’s time to go!

It has been a true privilege to serve the people of Feniton, Buckerell and Gittisham over the last 8 years, but now the time has come to hang up my Council badge and bid farewell to the residents of my ward.

We sold our house during the first lockdown in 2020 and moved up to Berkshire to be closer to family and friends, but because of Covid restrictions, no elections could be held, so I stayed on working for my ward from afar. This worked extremely well as no face-to-face meetings were permitted anyway and all Council meetings, at both District and Parish level, were held via Zoom.

Sadly, after May 7, this was no longer allowed under the previous Covid emergency legislation, despite great optimism over the success of Zoom meetings and the vastly increased numbers of people (both members of the public and councillors) attending the meetings remotely.

Therefore, with a sad heart, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to step aside.

A byelection will now be called and will probably take place in the next couple of months (hopefully in June). I’m sure everyone will afford the new district councillor for Feniton ward the same welcome afforded me.

Have you considered standing for election?

Being a District Councillor brings with it quite a time commitment if you are to fulfil the role as required. There are some who do the bare minimum and others who work tremendously hard … quietly and without making a fuss. Could you be one of those?

If you’ve ever felt you wanted to represent your community in a non-political way, I would be delighted to support you as long as you stand as a true Independent. By ‘Independent’, I mean anyone who is not a member of a political party, because I’m of the firm conviction that there is no room for politics at District Council level. There is work to be done and politics just ‘gets in the way’ … much better to sit round a table and agree on how best to serve those who pay their Council Tax, without constant carping at other political parties!

As a true Independent, you sit on committees, join in the debate, consider views of others and then make up your own mind, without worrying about your political masters and how they might treat you if you vote in what they perceive is the wrong way. Nobody will judge you on your voting record and no-one has the right to do so!

This is a link to the East Devon District Council page which gives information to those thinking of standing for election: Please feel free to contact me for more information, or indeed if this is of interest to you.

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Local Plan Review consultation is now open for comment!

Below is a press release explaining the rationale behind the Local Plan Review currently under way and how you can have your say in formulating the revised Local Plan.

East Devon District Council’s new Local Plan will outline how the district addresses the climate change emergency, how many new homes should be built and where, how and where new jobs should be created, how we should support our town centres and how we protect our built heritage and natural environment.

The Local Plan is the key document used in making decisions in East Devon.

Everyone who lives, works and spends time in the district has been asked to share their views about the future of the district as part of the East Devon’s Local Plan Consultation which is now live.

The consultation also seeks views on the quality of new developments and how this could be improved by changing how development is delivered in the district. This could include encouraging a wider range of types of housing to be delivered by supporting self-builders and small local developers.

The consultation can be viewed on-line at: and comments can be made through an online form.

The feedback we receive to this initial consultation will be used to help inform and refine our thinking as the local plan is progressed.

We have set ourselves a challenging but exciting programme to produce the local plan.

In just over a years’ time we hope to have a draft plan with lots more detail in it that we will invite comment on, then in late 2023 and into 2024 we will move to a final version of the plan informed by the comments we receive that will then be subject to an examination in public by a Government appointed planning inspector.

Alongside the local plan consultation we are also offering the opportunity, through a ‘call for sites’, for people to identify land areas that they think would be suitable for development.

We will look at the sites submitted and will choose from them a list of those that we think should feature in the local plan as future land for development.

As part of future consultation there will be the opportunity for people to comment on favoured site choices.

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