Reactions to EDDC community complex comments

Honiton Town Council shocked by criticism of community complex plans by East Devon District Council.

HONITON Town Council says it will be seizing the opportunity to work with East Devon District Council over its community complex business plan -despite receiving negative comments about it at a cabinet meeting.

The cabinet resolved that the existing budget allocated for the construction of a new community complex be retained, but not increased to cover a �140,000 shortfall for groundworks.

Councillor Nick Cornwell told the town council’s October meeting, held last week, he was surprised at the level of criticism.

He said: “Many members were supportive, but I was personally surprised at the level of criticism made by a minority of the cabinet.

“The main thing to come out of the meeting was criticism of the business plan.”

He added: “The plan was scrutinised by legal and financial advisors and East Devon District Council has seen various versions. I am not aware that there was any significant issue.”

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The district council has offered to work with the town council on preparing a ‘robust and feasible’ business plan.

Councillor Peter Halse said: “The reason we had so many negative comments was that some of them (councillors) have guilty consciences over when they made what, I think, was the wrong decision and they want to go back and cover their backs.”

District Councillor Phil Twiss told the meeting that a concern for cabinet members was the relatively low amount of fund-raising done by the town and the community’s willingness to back the project.

Councillor Vivienne Ash said: “A lot of fund-raising has been done to keep the project going all this time. We had very generous donations.

“It doesn’t matter how many times we tell people these things, people don’t listen.

“It comes to the stage where it is very hurtful to keep hearing all the derogatory things about the project when you know all the effort that has gone into the business plan, which time and time again people don’t come up with specific reasons why.

“They just make comments and go away.

“If they really believed that, they could help us to make it even better.

“The cabinet meeting is a very positive step forward…”