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Philip Evans


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HONITON: ‘Crucial’ year ahead

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Honiton faces a “crucial” year and it is vital that those “on the front line” make their voices heard, the town’s new Mayor has said. Councillor Peter Halse, who has served on the town, district and county authorities over a period of more than 30 years, was elected as Mayor at the annual town meeting last week, and has vowed to help Honiton “move forward” under his leadership. Councillor Halse was formally invested as Mayor at a special ceremony last night (Monday) but ahead of the meeting he told Pulman’s View he would be working to make sure Honiton’s voice is heard. And he hopes to make the most of his experience in local Government to liaise with councils and coordinate the efforts of the local community. He said: “The town council has a very important role to play in liaising with the very powerful organisations that affect the lives of everyone in the town – it is a crucial time for Honiton and we are crucial to that process. “I do not have all the answers but I have a unique advantage in being able to liaise with the people who do have the power to provide what Honiton needs. “We are at the coal face and are the first to be affected by changes - it is vital we make our voices heard.” A particular concern for the new mayor is that local people are able to have their say on planning matters. And Councillor Halse says the new 300-home housing development on the edge of the town, approved last month by district council planning chiefs, will trigger a need for more services to be provided. He said: “We do have a real problem with housing developments being allowed – decisions are being taken by people who do not know Honiton at all and it is absolutely vital that someone can coordinate that relationship. “The town is expanding all the time and all sorts of services will need to be provided. “Our role is clearly one of co-operation and making sure that people know what Honiton needs, and I will do my best to fulfil that role.” Councillor Halse first joined the town council in 1981 and has served on the district authority since 1983, with a 12-year spell on the county council in addition. The new mayor also praised the achievements of his predecessor Councillor David Foster and said the town had a “great future” in front of it. He added: “The town council has a small budget but has done a tremendous amount with it, and all credit must go to the previous mayor for the brilliant job he has done. “It is wonderful that we have now got the Beehive up and running. “It is the most thrilling thing we have done for several generations and I am proud to be the first mayor to take responsibility for it – Honiton now has a great future in front of it. “I do not want to see this town become a backwater – Honiton is the gateway to East Devon and I hope to see it move forward in my time as mayor.”

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