Don't miss a story sign up to Midweek Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

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

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.


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


    Thursday, November 15, 2012

Other News Stories

2 minutes ago
Fancy dress bathers at last year's Christmas Day swim in Charmouth

Village landlords to provide some warming refreshment at Charmouth’s annual swim.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:30

The incident happened at 12.46pm on Friday, November 27.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30
Children from Upottery Pre-School gave Cllr Paul Diviani a thankyou card after the council paid for repair work to the roof. Ref mhh 4389-47-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Following months of problems as a result of its leaky roof, Upottery Pre-school’s committee secured a local grant of £2,000 from Devon County Council in September, through Cllr Paul Diviani.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:05

Pupils at an Axminster primary school have the chance to perform at Exeter Cathedral, if they get enough votes.

Read more
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Honiton St Pauls Church. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 5406-27-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to and click on myphotos24

The service, formerly known as the Tree of Light, will include a mixture of carols and readings.

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
The Seaton Friends Hospiscare @ Home Team

The Seaton Friends Hospiscare @ Home Team service means patients no longer need to travel to the Exeter hospice to receive treatment, instead the hospice goes to them.

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Students sleep rough at Honiton Community College.

The move was part of ‘The Big Sleep Out 2015’, fronted by homelessness charity Trinity.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
Graham Long in Upottery with his laptop. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 7459-42-13TI Graham Long To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on myphotos24

Graham Long, a parish councillor in Upottery, has warned that delays in securing a contract to install more fibre-optic cables could lead to businesses leaving rural areas - and problems for homeowners trying to sell their properties.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
Neil Messent.

Oil industry worker Neil Messent also admitted production of cannabis and possession of class C drugs and was jailed for a total of two years.

Read more
Thursday, November 26, 2015

The incident happened at Raymond’s Hill earlier today (Thursday), at 3.07pm.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

Find a job in Devon

Find planning applications