Councillor accused of ‘torpedoing’ factory office plans

An artist

An artist's impression of what Ottery's former factory may look like once developed.

Archant

An Ottery councillor has been accused of ‘torpedoing’ plans to create employment for at the old factory by revealing sensitive commercial negotiations.

David Cox says the meddling of his fellow ward member for the town Roger Giles has resulted in a scheme to create offices in the former mill being scrapped.

But Cllr Giles has hit back, saying East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) plan to discuss an agreement behind closed doors was ‘wholly wrong’.

When the agenda for Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting was published, it contained a report on the former Ottermill Switchgear site in Part B, which is closed to the press and public.

Cllr Giles had asked for any discussions to be in the public domain, or be deferred until a planning application, which is expected imminently, had actually been submitted.

But Cllr Cox, who is chair of the council’s Asset Management committee, said his intervention has ‘scuppered the whole thing’.

Because of potential flood risk, planners will not allow domestic residences on the ground floor of the Town Mill.

Develop Paul Conway recently revealed plans to create 100 houses at the site, with the potential for office space, which Cllr Cox said the council was looking at purchasing on a long lease, and then sub-letting to local businesses.

But he said the opportunity was now lost, adding: “Until the thing was signed, sealed and delivered it had to be done in private, and by (Cllr Giles) sending emails about it I have had to pull it.

“It could provide employment in the town potentially, and help regenerate a bit of the town which is in dire need of it.

“It’s a great shame it’s been torpedoed on this way.”

Cllr Giles disagreed, saying EDDC would have acted ‘wholly undemocratically’ by taking the report and considering its recommendations before a planning application had been submitted.

“A planning application is coming in for probably the most important site in Ottery, and the council was going to agree what goes on there, even before it happens, and before any members of the public of the town council had the chance make a decision.

“I think that’s wholly wrong.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

11:00
Dame Hilary Mantel: 'As I work my way through the third book it often feels as exciting as the first day I started'

Speaking ahead of the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, of which she is president, the Wolf Hall author recalls the first time she visited the East Devon town as a teenager.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
Honiton Chamber of Commerce chairman Colin Wright.

Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce chairman Colin Wright says the move will bring more light to the town centre.

Read more
Fri, 13:40
Police are appealing for any information about Stephen Cogger who has been missing since last night (Wednesday)

Police are appealing for the public’s help to trace a 65-year-old man missing from Honiton.

Read more
Fri, 11:30
Artist Luke Jerram with THG staff.

International artist Luke Jerram is aiming to create a ‘garden of time’ at Thelma Hulbert Gallery.

Read more
Fri, 06:59
Lyme Regis Lifeboat

Crew carry out an extensive search of the area

Read more
Thu, 16:45
Devon Air Ambulance

The incident happened at 2.40pm today (Thursday).

Read more
Thu, 08:14
Seaton carnival queen Jenny Webber

Seaton teenager needs to raise £4,000 to fund her journey to the South Pacific

Read more
Wed, 15:02
Don and Jean Lee with their son Chris holding a photo of their wedding day 70 years ago. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

The Queen congratulates Don and Jean on 70 years of happy marriage

Read more
Wed, 11:00

The incident happened at 6.35pm at Hanger Farm, in Broadhembury, on Tuesday, August 25.

Read more
Wed, 10:48

After Great Britain’s record medal haul at the recent FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, where 14 medals (seven of them gold) were won by the GB squad across swimming and diving, this is your chance to take the plunge.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition today E-edition


Honiton's trusted business finder