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Statement from former councillor Graham Brown

In a statement accompanying his resignation to East Devon District Council, Graham Brown maintained that he has not broken the law but had ‘misjudged the situation’. His statement read:

It is with great regret that I have decided today to step down and resign my position as an East Devon District Councillor due to the unbearable media pressure from the Daily Telegraph.

I wish to announce a full apology to my councillor colleagues across the whole political spectrum at East Devon and to the East Devon District Council officers for my disparaging remarks.

I would like to add that I stand by the fact that although I thoroughly misjudged the situation, I remain firm in the knowledge that I have not broken the law and will work to clear my name of any wrongdoing.”

– Graham Brown

Graham Brown resigns from East Devon District Council

An East Devon Councillor, suspended from the Conservative party after being secretly filmed apparently suggesting he can get controversial planning developments passed, has resigned.

Graham Brown has resigned his seat representing East Devon’s Feniton and Buckerell Ward with immediate effect following claims he made to undercover Daily Telegraph reporters. In his resignation statement he cited his reasons as 'unbearable media pressure'.

Earlier today East Devon District Council referred Mr Brown's comments to the police under the Bribery Act 2010 and its own policy on Fraud, Theft and Anti-Corruption, saying that the comments warranted independent examination by the police, who may choose to investigate further.

Although Graham Brown has not been a member of our planning committee his comments still raised serious issues and we have responded to them quickly, firmly and fairly.

Given our earlier referral of the issue to the police I do not wish to comment any further at this stage, other than to reassure the public that we will cooperate fully and openly if the police decide to investigate.

We continue to carefully assess the situation pending a response from the police, and any possible investigation under the Councillor Code of Conduct is on hold until we have that response.

– Mark Williams, Chief Executive of East Devon District Council

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Council boss says Police will decide if criminal investigation is called for

Earlier this week we promised to carefully assess comments made by Cllr Graham Brown to undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph and to respond on the powers the Council has to deal with possible breaches of the Councillor Code of Conduct.

Whilst Cllr Brown is not a member of the planning committee which decides on planning applications his claims of being able to influence the system have deeply troubled both the council and the public."

– Mark Williams, Chief Executive, East Devon District Council

Councillor suspended after secret filming

An East Devon Councillor has been suspended from the Conservative party after being secretly filmed apparently suggesting he can get controversial planning developments passed.

In the film, Graham Brown, who runs a planning consultancy, is heard to say "If I can't get planning, nobody will."

Mr Brown insists he always declares his business interests and takes no part in planning decisions. In this interview for ITV West Country he denies he has done anything wrong.

See the secret filming by the Daily Telegraph here

Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of the Conservative group on East Devon District Council said:

"I and other members feel that Cllr Brown has brought himself, the party and council in to disrepute with his comments, and even though his interest as a planning consultant has been declared this does not excuse the remarks he made."

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Committee turns down Knowle planning application

Controversial plans to redevelop Council offices in Sidmouth have been thrown out by planners.

East Devon District Council wanted to build fifty homes and a sixty-bed care home on the site of their current headquarters and move to Honiton.

It follows protests by local people who formed the 'Save our Sidmouth' campaign.

Councillors on the Development Management Committee turned down the application, which had been made by East Devon District Council officers.

In a three-hour meeting, six councillors voted against the application and three were in favour of it.

Today’s decision followed an in-depth debate which took in to account the many and varied issues associated with such a unique application. It certainly proves that nothing about this application was a foregone conclusion and the proper process was followed by the council.

Members reached a decision based on clear material planning considerations having listened to arguments for and against.

– Cllr Mark Williamson, Chairman of the Development Management Committee

National award for East Devon dementia service

Team leader Gaynor Appleby with centre users Credit: Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Two centres in East Devon have won a prestigious national award for their work helping people with dementia. The Rowan and Linden Centres in Ottery St Mary gained the Innovation and Best Practice Award from the Community Hospitals Association.

The Rowan Centre carries out assessments, with support for carers and relatives. The Linden Centre provides activities and respite care. Both get referrals from the Ottery, Honiton and Sidmouth areas. They are managed by Gaynor Appleby, team leader for the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

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