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Philip Evans


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OTTERY: Council to take action on communications policy

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

OTTERY St Mary Town Council is to take steps towards improving its communications with members of the public, following controversy surrounding its alleged lack of transparency. Councillors have agreed to set up a working group to investigate options for changing the council’s policy, following concerns raised by residents about meetings with developers being held in private. Councillor Martin Thurgood, who made the proposal, said the council needed to communicate in a more “professional” manner. Speaking at the annual town meeting on Monday, May 12th, he said: “Our communications to the public have to made in a more professional manner, and I propose we set up a small working party to consider how to move matters forward. “We all have responsibilities and the council should be more active in fulfilling those responsibilities. “We need to take a much more active way forward in dealing with media communications.” Councillor Thurgood also recommended that the council publicise the East Devon District Council Monitoring Officer’s report into the recent disagreement, which has led to confusion about its findings. Councillor Thurgood said it was “in the public interest” for the report to be made available and would help to clarify some of the “misunderstandings and misrepresentations” that may have arisen from the report. Mayor of Ottery Councillor Glyn Dobson recognised the need to communicate more effectively with the public and said the proposal was “certainly worthwhile”. Councillors unanimously voted in favour of creating the working group, which will include Councillor Dobson, Deputy Mayor Councillor Ian Holmes, and councillors Thurgood, Bailey and Talbot. Councillor Roger Giles also suggested the working group look into the possibility of recording future meetings.


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