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Tar barrels on fire: The 400-year-old Devon tradition is back

Thousands turned up to the Bonfire Night event. Credit: ITV West Country

Thousands of people turned up to watch what is probably one of the West Country's most curious traditions.

Barrels soaked in tar were set alight and carried through the East Devon town of Ottery St Mary on the shoulders of some of its residents - a Bonfire Night practice that dates back to the 17th century.

Council abandons controversial auction of Devon beach huts

Credit: ITV West Country

Controversial proposals to auction off beach huts in East Devon to the highest bidder have been abandoned.

The district council says it dropped the idea after consulting with the public, although it still plans to raise charges next year.

The plans caused anger among tenants, many of whom have renting the huts for generations.


Fancy hosting a Rugby World Cup team? East Devon hotel up for sale

An East Devon hotel that will play host to a couple of teams during the Rugby World Cup is on the market.

Woodbury Park Hotel near Exeter has been put up for sale with a guide price of around £12 million. It was previously owned by motor racing champion Nigel Mansell and the complex is still home to his World of Racing museum.

The Woodbury Park Hotel near Exeter Credit: ITV News

Investigation into water tank crash in Devon

The elderly woman was airlifted to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital with severe leg wounds Credit: PA

An investigation is underway into a crash in East Devon in which two elderly pedestrians were crushed by a water bowser.

It came loose from a tractor on the A375 at Sidbury, north of Sidmouth yesterday morning. The tank crashed into the man and woman, leaving them with severe leg injuries. They were taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for treatment.

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

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
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