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General Discussion

General Election Year - When Wrigley tells you he and the Lib Dems oppose the Tories DO NOT believe a word of it.


The Queen Street disaster in Newton Abbot rumbles on. District Council Leader Martin Wrigley (Dawlish NE) who is also leader of Teignbridge Liberal Democrats wants to become our next MP.  As Council Leader since May and Highways and Traffic Orders Committe (HATOC) Chair in his capacity as Devon County Councillor he has completely ignored the views of residents and traders in Newton Abbot in relation to the changes his Lib Dem run Council and their Tory partners want to push through.

This is despite declaring he wanted to lead an 'inclusive' Community Powered Council' that would listen to local people and would give them more say in decision making. That's was clearly spin and an attempt to distance himself from the toxic nature of his predecessor, Cllr Alan Connett's, failed administation which saw Lib Dem run TDC subjected to a Local Government Ombudsman's investigation for breaching an opposition Councillor's (SDA Cllr Richard Daws) human rights because he and his co-Cllrs dared flag deep concerns relating to planning and democratic process. Lib Dem run TDC appeared three times in the Private Eye's Rotten Borough section, which demonstrates how poorly run our Council actually is under the Lib Dems. Wrigley was an Executive member under Connett and cannot distance himself from the failings highlighted by the Ombudsman, Private Eye and opposition Councillor's last year, no matter how much he tries.


Come the General Election he and his party activists will distribute Lib Dem Focus leaflets telling us that they are the only alternative to the Tories. They will hope that the electorate are oblivious to the fact the Lib Dems relied on Tory support in the last Teignbridge District Council administration when they lost their narrow majority. They asssume voters outside of Dawlish do not care about Newton Abbot issues like Queen Street and will have no idea that their financially wasteful, undemocratic and inept decisions are supported by the local Conservatives under their Leader Cllr Phil Bullivant. There's really no difference between the two parties.


Below is an excerpt from Cllr Richard Daws, South Devon Alliance and Leader of the Opposition in Teignbridge District Council, describing the recent Devon County Council HATOC meeting chaired by Cllr Wrigley at Forde House on Friday 16th February. This followed the BBC Spotlight report on Monday 11th February where it is clear that Wrigley is fearful of the very people he claims to represent and when that happens he's already lost.


This is relevant to Dawlish as this man is currently a Councillor for Dawlish at 3 levels; Town, District and County, he wants to become our MP where he would continue to ignore those he claims to represent and pursue financially wasteful policies and projects that are not in the interests of Dawlish and other communities with Teignbridge and Newton Abbot Constituency.


Conservative Councillor Bullivant's actions show a desparate and shameful attempt to subvert the narrative. The Tories support the Lib Dems locally, simply because the Lib Dems under Wrigley facilitate Tory policy from Central government.

Bear this in mind when the General election takes place.


Queen Street Latest - Cllr Richard Daws, South Devon Alliance and Leader of the Opposition in Teignbridge District Council


It seems just three political leaders are choosing which hill to end their political careers on. They are determined to con-dem Newton Abbot by pushing through Queen Street, despite the evidence before their eyes of the damage this will inflict on the town. From the meeting, with a full public gallery, Jackie Hook admitted that they are proceeding with the scheme knowing that close to 80% of the businesses do not support the scheme and say this will put them out of business. Martin Wrigley said on the BBC that he accepts the consultation was poor but he just needs to spend the money. Whilst at the meeting, having mis-represented the scheme for two years, Cllr Phil Bullivant was busy mis-representing the opinions of national retailers by cherry picking comments from staff he had obtained by doorstepping junior employees.


After issuing the following statement, Sports Direct took the extraordinary step of telling Cllr Bullivant to desist from entering its store and talking to local staff. Their head office statement is requesting a pause in the scheme:

Sports Direct are concerned that they, alongside other employers in Newton Abbot, have not been consulted anywhere near sufficiently to establish the requirements of this proposal. The proposed plans will increase the cost of operation for us among other retailers in the area, at a time when inflationary pressures are already a huge challenge facing the industry. We believe the council should instead be more focused in engaging with local business' in how to improve the attractiveness of the town centre with effective measures that benefit their constituents, instead of what appears to be a substantial waste of Councillors energy and constituents resource in reviewing loading & delivery bays that support employment in the town.


Poundland have put out a similar statement: -

We’re joining with other Newton Abbot businesses to ask for a pause in the plans for the Queen Street pedestrianisation scheme to allow for consultation with all those, like us, that have serious concerns. If the scheme proceeds in its current form it will lead to a significant impact on our operations at the store.


FORTY SEVEN other businesses, including Austins, Jackson and the Post Office, were cited as strongly objecting to the scheme and read out in a roll of honour at which point SDA Cllrs and the public gallery stood as a mark of respect. In contrast Cllrs Wrigley, Hook and Bullivant were unable to present one company in favour, (other than Cllr Bullivant shamelessly mis-framed the opinions of local staff onto national retailers). The next steps are that Extraordinary General Meetings have been called at Newton Abbot Town Council and Teignbridge District Council. The Newton Abbot TC meeting is set for the 28th February in the evening and is open to the public. Queen Street has also been put on the agenda of the TDC Full Council Meeting on the 27th Feb in an attempt to avoid having to hold an Extraordinary meeting. The powers that be at TDC do not understand that this is going to be their local version of the Post Office scandal, and those responsible for ruining livelihoods and businesses, and hollowing out Newton Abbot will in time be brought to account for their actions of ignoring the findings of their own consultations.

It really doesn't have to be this way.


4 Agrees
22 Feb 2024 19:57

The problem is they are both as bad as each other just taking turns to be in power. Forget the greens and labour as they are a waste of space. Oh for more independents willing to take on the challanges.

1 Agree

@1263 Agreed they're all just establishment 'yes' men and 'yes' women, mainly men of a certain age bracket, class and dominated by their own egos.

I'm all for Independents, but not the likes of Independent Voices for Dawlish (at least the 2023 version) who were basically organized by two disaffected Lib Dems and offered nothing different to the Lib Dems and Tories.

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