Action was an insult to Seaton’s civic pride

PUBLISHED: 09:26 04 March 2010 | UPDATED: 01:00 16 June 2010

Not being a Seatonian, it would be foolish of me to comment on the Tesco situation there. Also I shall steer well clear of what Councillor Semple has said in the past and more recently.

Not being a Seatonian, it would be foolish of me to comment on the Tesco situation there.

Also I shall steer well clear of what Councillor Semple has said in the past and more recently.

However, Councillor Ray Franklin's stalinist decision to force the Mayor of Seaton to resign from the Regeneration Board is another matter, as it has wider implications for democracy and accountability throughout Devon.

Being a member of an unelected quango should not, and does not, proscribe one's actions, neither does it mandate one to take a particular view.

If anything, the reverse is the case. Mrs Semple sat on the Regeneration Board as Mayor, and if her letter was inappropriate, it is a matter for Seaton Town Council to deal with, if they so choose.

Mr Franklin's action is an insult to the civic pride of Seaton. If Mrs Semple wrote this letter as a private citizen, she was simply expressing her human rights under several clauses of the European Charter, and to penalise this could be illegal.

The bigger picture is that, if Devon County Council is given unitary status, boards like this will be created throughout the county, ostensibly to communicate between parish and town councils and County Hall. These will be unelected bodies, with questionable accountability and, if run like Seaton Regeneration Board, will stifle and emasculate local democracy.

Devon County Council has gone to Court to achieve this aim. Such action is, of course, expensive, which may be one of the reasons that the people of Seaton are now expected to pay to park on their own streets!. Now there's irony for you.

I should clarify that, whilst I am a member of Axminster Town Council, I am writing in my personal capacity, and that my business supplies several retailers in the Seaton area, and therefore a thriving private sector is in my interest.

Jerry Walden

38 Shand Park

Axminster


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