Less than a week to go …

The District Council elections are now looming after what feels like the longest build-up ever.

This time round the atmosphere has been far more frenetic. I’ve been out leafleting and chatting to anyone who wanted to chat, but the cynicism on the doorstep is almost palpable.

I’m being told that everyone’s had enough of politics. No-one’s going to vote because apparently it doesn’t make any difference. Millions turned out to vote on their nation’s future, only to have the result of their vote largely ignored. Yes … dare I mention the word … it’s Brexit. I believe that the Brexit effect is likely to impact on the local council elections (2 May), both here in Feniton ward and across the country, with people turning their backs on the ballot box.

IMG_0449-0Whatever you feel about Brexit, the candidates standing in the District Council elections are there because they want to do the very best for their communities. This is your opportunity to express your opinion … and it’s certain that if you don’t vote, nothing will change.

One kind supporter suggested that Claire Wright and I could resolve the Brexit negotiations on our own. Apart from banging heads together, I’m not sure how!

On my first day on the stump, I met a gentleman who asked me what I was doing. When I explained, he said he didn’t trust any of the councillors because they are all corrupt and had I seen the size of their cars at the Council HQ! I told him that I drive a 03 reg VW Polo … and he responded that my bank account must be bulging. I thought it was rather a depressing exchange!

I met a sweet dog when I was out last week. It was a Poodle Shih Tzu cross and her delightful owner said that the combined name was rather tricky for her. The dog barked at me as I opened the gate, barked at me as I walked down the drive and barked at me as I put my leaflet on the door mat, as the door was ajar. I turned and walked back to the gate, only to discover the dog at my heels, in silence because my leaflet was clamped between her jaws. She looked at me with great disgust and dropped the leaflet at my feet. I felt that if dogs could vote, this one shared the general disenchantment of the electorate and would not be turning up to the polling station!

bigpicElections are always a time of anticipation and change, but the bombshell which has landed at this 11th hour is that the excellent Tory councillor, Ian Thomas, Leader of East Devon District Council, has resigned the Party Whip and is now standing in the forthcoming election as an Independent. The Independent Group is delighted that he’s turned his back on party politics. Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives remain tight-lipped on the subject.

Don't forget to voteThe last full East Devon District Council meeting was on Wednesday evening and apart from a planning meeting next week (complete with 400 page agenda), it’s full steam ahead to the election on Thursday!

Numerous kind people have offered support throughout the election period as well as help on the day. I cannot begin to express how immensely grateful I am to them for their encouragement.

If you live in Feniton, your polling station is the Sports & Social Club in the village. If you live in Buckerell, you can vote at Doug’s Shed (Splatthayes) and if you live in Gittisham, your polling station is the Village Hall.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. on Thursday 2 May, so hopefully everyone will have ample time to have their say.

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Flood scheme update from EDDC

The following article has been sent by East Devon District Council to local media, as well as Feniton’s parish magazine to keep everyone informed of progress on Feniton’s long-awaited flood scheme.

Work to lay pipe for Phase 3 of Feniton flood alleviation scheme on track for October 2019

Phase 4 construction due to commence spring 2020

East Devon District Council is implementing a scheme to reduce the risk of flooding to over 70 homes in the village of Feniton, which involves a system of channels and culverts to divert flood water around the village and away from the homes at risk. The first two phases of the scheme, consisting of new channels and improvements downstream of the village are complete, with Phase 3 currently being progressed and Phase 4 due to be constructed in 2020.

Following approval by Network Rail of the outline design for the Phase 3 section of Feniton’s flood alleviation scheme, involving the connection of a pipe beneath the railway line in October 2019, East Devon has been working with Network Rail, who the council has appointed to complete the detailed design and approvals for that section of the works.

Network Rail completed the first stage of approvals for the detailed design in March 2019, with the remainder of the approvals on track to be completed in May this year. In parallel to this, East Devon is discussing with Network Rail the terms of the contract for the construction of the works, and in particular how the £4000 per minute liability for reopening the railway line is managed as the works cannot proceed without measures being in place to manage this risk to the council’s finances. This is a precaution in the event of the engineering works overrunning.

Network Rail is due to complete all of Phase 3’s design work in June 2019 in order that a contractor to construct the works can be appointed and the planned works completed during October 2019. East Devon will be working with local landowners to make sure access is in place with the relevant legal notice served for this period.

If all goes to plan, the council anticipates that the design work for
Phase 4 will be undertaken over the winter, with the actual construction of Phase 4 of the flood alleviation scheme taking place in spring 2020 when the weather is warmer (which means the work can be done more quickly with less disruption to local residents), with construction of the channels to intercept flood water upstream of the village, and construction of the remainder of the culvert to link the sections already completed.

John Golding, East Devon District Council Strategic Lead Housing, Health and Environment, said: “It’s great we’re now moving forwards on this important project, working constructively with Network Rail to ensure this key part of the scheme is in place without undue risk to the Council’s finances.”


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And they’re off …

Names of candidates for the East Devon District Council elections have now been made public on EDDC’s website (http://eastdevon.gov.uk/elections-and-registering-to-vote/election-documents/east-devon-district-council-elections-2-may-2019/) and canvassing is already underway.

Election day is 2 May 2019 when voters can cast their ballot in person at the polling station in their community. For the newly named ‘Feniton’ ward, the polling stations are in the sports and social club in Feniton, Doug’s shed in Buckerell and the village hall in Gittisham.

There are a couple of crucial dates:

  • If you are not on the electoral register, then you are precluded from voting. The last date for registration is 12 April (midnight) and this can be simply done on line here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. If you want to check if you are already registered to vote or you would like to register by completing a paper form, then you need to contact the East Devon Electoral Services Helpline on 01395 571529 or email electoralservices@eastdevon.gov.uk.
  • If you would prefer to vote using a postal vote, the deadline for applications is 5 pm on Monday 15 April. To request a postal voting application form, contact Electoral Services on 01395 571529 or email electoralservices@eastdevon.gov.uk. Postal votes will be sent out on April 18 (just before Easter).

If you have any difficulty with the above processes, please get in touch with me and I’d be more than happy to help.IMG_6012

In Feniton ward, you have a choice of three candidates, but only one vote. It’s a choice between me (Independent), the inevitable Conservative candidate (who lives in Offwell) and a Labour candidate (who lives in Payhembury).

I will be out in Gittisham, Buckerell and Feniton talking to people over the coming weeks and would love to hear your views.

I’m always happy to help with most issues … however, the Brexit negotiation, is sadly not something I can influence!

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