Seaton mayor Sandra Semple asked to quit resort's regeneration board

SEATON mayor Sandra Semple is no longer a member of the resort s powerful regeneration board after she was asked to quit.

SEATON mayor Sandra Semple is no longer a member of the resort's powerful regeneration board after she was asked to quit.

Regeneration Programme Board chairman, and East Devon District councillor, Ray Franklin demanded cllr Semple stand down on Wesdnesday, February 17.

The move came after she wrote to the chairman and directors of Tesco plc, questioning the reasoning behind their substantial investment in the town.

Cllr Semple said: "Councillors Halse and Franklin objected both to my sending the letter and to the tone of its questions, and felt that it showed that I did not have the right attitude to be on the regeneration board and demanded my resignation."

She said she wrote an email to Sir Terry Leahy and his board of directors as an individual, asking questions about regeneration in the town.

She asked for the message to be forwarded to [Tesco] board members.

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The message later reached the regeneration board.

She said: "I will not be told by EDDC what I can and cannot do on behalf of Seaton and nor will I be told by them what I can and cannot do as a private individual.

"I was elected as a Seaton councillor to stand up to such people - that is what I have done and will always do."

But cllr Franklin, chairman of the board, said he took the action because he felt she was undermining their work.

In a statement he said: "Her letter devalues Seaton by suggesting that it might not be worth such an investment, and by implication invites the Tesco Directors to withdraw their support for the regeneration projects.

"This is a totally unacceptable position for a member of the Board to take, as it undermines the very work the Board is trying to deliver.

"A member of a board - or of a council - cannot argue that they are making comments such as this as a private individual. To the world outside, they are one and the same person."

He highlighted that the board was an independent body, and not a subsidiary of EDDC.

Cllr Semple, along with town clerk David Mears, represented Seaton Town council, as a partner local authority.

He added: ""It is expected that all members of the Board express their opinions openly at meetings of the Board, but it's important that they abide by and support the board's decisions and objectives, maintaining a positive attitude.