In an open democracy (if only!) it is not unreasonable to expect a local authority to answer some simple questions. The following have been put to Devon County Council, but answers there have been none:
- Does the County Council intend to honour its obligations to maintain the public highway on the foreshore at Hallsands for the foreseeable future?
- If not:
- what nature of events would prompt abandonment?
- what processes would be followed in the course of such an abandonment?
- where would the public highway then end?
- Does the County Council resile from its responsibility for maintaining the sea defences that underpin the public highway?
- Why did it take six weeks or more for the County Council to fence off the dangerous craters in the said public highway?
By keeping silent about its intentions, or rather lack of them, for the road and sea defences when planning applications were made the County Council’s behaviour was tantamount to chicanery.
- If the County Council has it in mind to abandon either road or sea defences, then why did it not mention this when consulted in the planning process for the development of five new houses and conversion of two others, or, considering the impact of such abandonment on visitors, in the planning process for the café on the beach?
- Will the County Council give an undertaking that in future when consulted on planning applications and when the circumstances are similar to those at Hallsands, i.e. that the Council has it in mind to withdraw support, maintenance or services for vital infrastructure, the County Council will inform applicants accordingly?
It would be nice to get these answers in a civilised manner, but if necessary we will use the press and/or the Freedom of Information Act. Get a move on DCC. Do your bit to keep up the pretence that we live in an open democracy.