‘We live in turbulent times...’

Christmas message from Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council.

AT CHRISTMAS, as a New Year approaches, it’s wise to pause for a moment to reflect on how we intend to face a future filled with uncertainty.

We live in turbulent times. The global economy is in a state of flux, while closer to home there are massive issues in Europe and forecasts of a difficult year ahead for the UK.

What we do here in East Devon always happens against a background of the bigger national and international picture – but never more so than now, when everyone’s future prosperity is inter-linked with the financial affairs of others.

All the more reason, then, that we at EDDC should ensure that we have our house in order and that we do everything in our power to ensure that the economy of our distinctive district is in the same good shape as our lovely landscape.

That’s why we have drawn up a new Council Plan for the next four years, setting out our proposals for service delivery in the district in these tough times and ensuring our residents have best value for money. We don’t pretend to know all the answers - and that’s why in the spirit of transparency we are asking our residents to comment on the proposals set out in the document “Shaping Our Future”. You can find details of our ideas - and how to comment on them - on our website.

We’re also asking you to help us fine-tune the planning blueprint for East Devon - not just for now, but for the next 15 years. It’s vitally important to have a route-map agreed, our ultimate destination in sight, so that the winds of global recession may buffet us but will not blow us off course. Our Draft Local Plan, for your consideration, is part of that process. Again you will find details on our website.

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A vibrant East Devon economy, where commerce is thriving and growing and jobs are being created, is the best possible antidote to problems on a national or international scale. Our aim is to provide the right jobs in the right places so that our district prospers and its towns and villages flourish.

Our track record so far is pretty good. Despite the recession, there are many examples of improvements across East Devon that have come about through the ingenuity and hard work of EDDC’s Members and Staff and the resilience of our local businesses and communities.

Our holding position for 2012 is to ensure that when the UK sneezes, East Devon doesn’t catch a cold.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Paul Diviani