Extraordinary meeting to follow poll result

Honiton Town Council sets a date to discuss the results of last week’s town poll.

An extraordinary meeting has been called by Honiton Town Council to discuss the results of last week’s town poll.

The poll, which asked electors if they want the council to proceed any further with plans for a �2.1million community centre complex on land in Dowell Street, was held last Thursday and attracted a poor turnout.

The meeting is set to take place on Thursday, May 31, in the council chamber at 7pm.

During the poll, 680 (60.5 per cent) voted against proceeding any further with the community centre while 443 (34.4 per cent) voted in favour of its development.

One ballot paper was rejected.

The total turnout for the poll was 13.03 per cent.

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Town and district councillor Mike Allen said: “This is a material change, therefore we should allow for a reconsideration.

“I am calling on the town and district council to reconsider the position and enter into discussions with the school about a potential site in the middle of the town.”

He added: “If we are a quality town council we are supposed to be listening to our residents.

“There is no harm in having a discussion at all.”

The meeting heard that a loan for �975,000 from the Public Works Loan Board had been approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and will be delivered in two instalments.

The interest rate will be fixed at over four per cent.

The first instalment will be paid during the current financial year.

Councillor John Zarczynski said: “The town vote clearly shows a drop in opposition and an increase in support for the project - if you compare it to the poll two years ago.”

Councillor Sharon Pavey said: “We need to be seen as open and accountable by having a full and robust discussion on this subject.”

Concerns over voting procedures were raised by Councillor Roy Coombs who said the poll had highlighted issues which “need to be looked into for future elections”.

Long queues and confusion over which polling station people should attend were among the concerns.

The council heard these issues had been reported to the returning officer at East Devon District Council.