Chief exec rubbishes protestors claims

13:11 15 November 2012

EDDC Chief Executive Mark Williams, appearing to remove the pink ribbon attached to trees at Knowle by protestors ahead of Saturday's mass rally in Sidmouth.

EDDC Chief Executive Mark Williams, appearing to remove the pink ribbon attached to trees at Knowle by protestors ahead of Saturday's mass rally in Sidmouth.

Archant

THE chief executive of East Devon District Council (EDDC) courted controversy when he rubbished the belief that 4,000 people attended a mass protest in Sidmouth – saying only a quarter of that number actually turned out.

‘Saddened’ campaigners have accused Mark Williams of attempting to “diminish” the voice of opposition when he told colleagues that only 900 people marched on Knowle on Saturday.

Mr Williams also angered Save Our Sidmouth (SOS) by taking down pink ribbons placed at Knowle ahead of the protest to mark trees, gardens and parkland under-threat from a proposed redevelopment.

Mr Williams told EDDC staff in an e-mail: “Although the protesters reported that some 3,800 people attended, our own estimate based on the numbers at the start and the numbers who made it to the Knowle is that about 900 people turned up.”

SOS chairman Richard Thurlow said: “We find it sad that EDDC is trying to play down the march by denigrating the numbers.

“We had an independent person there who counted well over 3,800 - you only have to look at the videos of the Esplanade to see, but some people may not have gone on to the Knowle.

“We strongly refute that it was 900.”

Ed Harrison, who helped marshal the walk, said: “I think it’s a deliberate attempt from someone who wrote to the MP saying SOS is a ‘small minority’ of people – it’s so far from the truth.”

Michael Temple wasn’t surprised by the reaction and said: “It’s another attempt to diminish the opposition”

Mr Temple spotted Mr Williams taking down ribbons he’d put up.

“He said we were desecrating the park - I said we were the ones who value it,” added Mr Temple. An EDDC spokesman told the Herald Mr Williams’ view was a “personal estimate” based on “an anecdotal feedback”.

He added the council were not challenging the protesters’ figures and said: “His email to staff was to give his view on the day, and he included that information in good faith as to the number of people he felt were here.”

The spokesman confirmed Mr Williams removed the pink ribbons and said: “Mark felt it risked littering Knowle.

“Had we been approached beforehand with an explanation we would have happily worked with them to put up markings and ensure they were correct.”

1 comment

  • So thats how the EDDC roll ! They make decisions base on 'personal opinion' and 'anecdotal feedback'. We know that they rip-up expensive reports produced by expert consultants at taxpayers expense, preferring to refer to the un-elected East Devon Business Forum which tells Mark Williams what to do. He should be sacked.

    Report this comment

    stoneleigh

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 18:31

A storytelling for grown-ups workshop takes place tomorrow (Saturday, October 1) at Twyford House, Sidmouth.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:31

Members of the public invited to consultation taking place next week

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30

Ladies from across three counties got ‘tall and slender’ at a summer flower arranging workshop in Combe St Nicholas Village Hall.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:37

Fitting send off for popular motorcyclist Dennis Pilon with hundreds of two-wheeled mourners

Read more
Yesterday, 16:34

Police say they have identified a semi-naked woman who sparked anger and scorn after she was photographed in a gross act of indecency with one of Exmouth’s dinosaur trail models.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:08

A devastated widow has appeal to Herald readers in the hope she can be reunited with her lost wedding ring.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

Withycombe motorists face disruption due to water supply works for the second time this year after an upcoming road closure was announced by South West Water.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:08

Well known local DJ James Chapple says it would be ‘crazy’ if maternity services moved out of North Devon

Read more
Yesterday, 11:11

‘Loss of Kings Arms as a pub could safeguard building’

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

The first Exmouth Community Market (ECM) is tomorrow (Saturday, October 1), from 10am to 6pm, in The Strand.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Place a family notice

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Find a job in Devon



Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

FFind planning applications