Chief exec rubbishes protestors claims

PUBLISHED: 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

Pensioner Eva Hodge’s passion for cross-stitch will feature in wedding ceremonies held at Hospiscare.

Read more
06:30

A competition has been launched to inspire people to provide habitats for bees.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:22

Money will be used to fund workshops on financial planning, IT and nutrition

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

There were 35 recorded crimes in Axminster in February, compared with 17 in the same month last year.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

A meeting of the Seaton branch of the Devon Senior Voice has been called for next week to discuss urgent issues about the organisation’s future operations.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:40

Plans are afoot that could bring thousands of walkers a year to Sidmouth and communities across the cider-producing South West.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

Brian Salisbury, 79, has received a scooter from the Joe Gilson Mobility Scheme.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

A road sign and traffic cone were left on the route from Barnstaple to Exeter overnight on Tuesday

Read more
Yesterday, 07:49

Organisers of Sidmouth’s annual Swimathon have thanked participants for going the extra length for a trio of causes.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

Adventurous Axminster ladies attended a workshop on naked flower arranging at Combe St Nicholas Village Hall, near Chard.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

Place a family notice

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Find a job in Devon



Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

FFind planning applications