Here’s our role of dishonour; all the people who have willingly wrought disaster on Newton Abbot; their colleagues, friends and fellow accused. Please feel free to write to them and ask them if they sleep well at night.
Dairy Farmer Anthony Rew
Anthony Rew owns almost all the land that NA3 is about to ruin. Ahem... Rew-in. Apart from a bit of it that belongs to his cousin. Rumour had it that the cousin wouldn’t sell, and that gave everyone a straw of desperate hope. But now we hear that he has seen sense; the kind of sense that can only be imparted with a good sniff of a fat chequebook. The thing is, we get it. Dairy farming is boring and back-breaking and successive governments of all colours have conspired to make it as unprofitable and unpleasant as they can. We totally get that. Rew could have sold off a bit of his land for development, however, and had more than enough to live his life on a yacht drinking white Russians, or... probably something that doesn’t have milk in it. He didn’t have to bequeath the whole thing to Concrete Clemens and the C*nt of Monte Christophers, now did he? When they're not playing host to RSPCA inspectors, MR Rew's cow sheds play host to some of the district's best election paraphenalia.
Ex-Council Leader Jeremy Christophers
Rarely in the annals of local election lore does a council leader lose 80 per cent of his electorate in four years. Christophers, the driving force behind much of Newton Abbot's misery, somehow achieved this with his insane vanity projects and his oily personality. It was a record breaker even in the face of the nationwide Tory cull on May 2, 2019.
It’s thanks to Jeremy Christophers that Newton Abbot is still scheduled to turn into a Soviet housing project, and its his legacy that must be shredded. Christophers axed the position of Chief Executive, meaning that poor old Nicola Bulbeck needed a massive compensation payment. He told the press that he was saving the taxpayers money. He then conspired to hide the shocking extent of Bulbeck’s payoff (close to £300,000) from the taxpayer until it was discovered by the Sun newspaper in October 2017. Then, perhaps anxious that he was saving us too much money, he appointed his old mate Phil Shears to do almost exactly the same job for almost as much money as Bulbeck.
Jeremy Christophers can be spotted at weekends playing cricket with the bosses of certain massive house-building corporations, but that is almost certainly coincidental.
Not content with ruining the Teignbridge environment, Christophers has also ruined the Teignbridge band Muse for everyone with a heart and/or brain by wearing his Muse T-shirt in public. We don't know what Christophers will do next, but his CV is unlikely to dazzle Conservative Central Office.
Business Manager Strategic Place Simon Thornley
Simon Thornley's title makes as much sense as the shambles he's cobbling together, but he doesn't care. He is the driving force behind the local plan and the ludicrous housing numbers. He is now putting together the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan, which has almost nothing to do with Exeter and is all about building as many houses as possible in Teignbridge.
Thornley is a career bureaucrat; an unelected apparatchik and the drone our City Fathers send to planning ‘consultations’ at which the public are invited to come and stare in horror at the ruination and insanity of which Thornley is the gurning grand master.
Thornley stands around at these events as if actually awaiting congratulation (he recently won a prize for matchmaking rapacious developers with swivel-eyed town planners so he’s even more pleased with himself than usual at the moment). But trying to reason with Thornley, as the public have discovered, is a bit like trying to squeeze a fat pimple with a fairground claw
Managing Director Phil Shears
Here’s a joke for you: What’s the difference between Phil Shears and Jessica Shears? One is a shameless tart who’ll do anything for money; the other is a reality TV star. Well, we’d laugh it wasn’t all so tragic.
Phil is the dad of Love Island nightmare Jessica Shears. Can't see much family resemblance, but then DNA is a strange thing. Phil was given the job of Managing Director in January this year by Jeremy Christophers, who then publicly congratulated him on getting the job as if there had been some sort of contest. So what does the managing director actually do, for his £105,000 a year? Well, his first job was to hide how much Bulbeck had been paid off to the tabloids; telling a Sun reporter that showing transparency in public office would cause ‘undue distress’ to the woman whose boots he was now wearing, and that he therefore had no intention of telling the taxpayers how much of their money his office had spent. Classy!
Other than that, we have no idea what Phil’s job entails. He's the Returning Officer, so we suppose ultimately responsible for the boundary fiasco of th eMay 2 election. Apart from that we have no idea. And don’t bother trying to find out via the Teignbridge.gov.uk website because, although it is supposed to give full disclosure of all the bureaucrats who work for us, and despite the fact that Phil ‘waited through 25 years of loyal service to get this top dog position’, neither he nor his position are even listed on the website. It’s very odd. It’s almost as if, but for the 105k hole in our pockets, Phil doesn’t exist.
Sadly, though, he does.
Ex-Deputy Leader Planning and Housing Humphrey Clemens
Because his mate Jeremy had handed him the housing bag, it was Humphrey who had to push through the appalling violation that is the Newton Abbot Local Plan. It’s good old Concrete Clemens who had to put pen to paper every time someone wrote to the local papers asking why insane maniacs were planning to destroy their town.
Humphrey denied three times (that we’ve counted) that the vast metropolis he tried bolting onto Newton Abbot will be peopled by outsiders ejected from council estates in Manchester and Birmingham. He never provided ANY plausible explanation of where these people WILL come from, except for the word ‘locally’. When pressured that there is NO evidence of 10,000 families ‘locally’ who are even in the market for a new-build house (Teignbridge only has about 41,000 families in it), Humphrey just repeats the word ‘locally’, like it’s magic and can make facts go away.
Humphrey lives in Dawlish which is getting about one new house to every thousand in Newton Abbot because Dawlish is special and Humphrey would like it to stay nice and quiet where his house is. Hopefully he's having a quiet retirement now after coming a distant fourth in the May 2 Election for Dawlish South West.
Ex-Chief Executive for Teignbridge and Torridge Nicola Bulbeck
Apparently Nicola Bulbeck didn’t do anything much, at least nothing that couldn’t be done just as well by the rest of the Executive. This is what Jeremy Christophers told us when he sent her on her way in June 2017 with a massive severance check and £320,000 of our money to spend. The size of Bulbeck’s salary, particularly after she gave herself a 12 per cent pay rise just before being sacked, had been a source of disquiet among Teignbridge residents for years. So we weren’t pissed off IN THE LEAST to discover that the payoff had been kept secret because revealing it ‘would hurt her feelings’. Awwww! If Nicola’s hurt feelings cost us £320K thank God nobody is upsetting her by, I dunno, trying to build a housing estate on top of her. How much would that cost us?
Ex College Ward Councillor Carol Bunday
Carol Bunday was the independent (or independAnt, if you use her spelling) councillor for College Ward before losing the spot to Lib Dem Mike Pilkington. Carol was also Mayor of Newton Abbot in 2001, a position it seems we give to minor local politicos when they’ve got nothing actually useful to do but still have just enough energy to wear a big chain and a mouldy hat. Anyway, of all the jobs Carol Bunday has ever had, in her whole life EVER, the most important one of all was to wake up on the morning of tMAy 6 2014, the day of the vote on whether the terrible Local Plan for Teignbridge should be adopted; eat breakfast, get dressed, brush her teeth, go to the Council Chambers and vote NO to the idea of pissing concrete death all over the boundaries of the Ward she had been elected to represent.
We expected big things of Carol: she was an independent, or independAnt, or something; whatever – the important thing is that she did not have to toe the party line on this. She could have saved us all and been a hero of a thousand years, feted in the halls of eternity and annointed in the Pantheon of Devon superheroes. But Carol Bunday did not turn up to vote.
Carol Bunday did not turn up to do the one useful thing her entire existence had been honed towards and the vote was tied. And then Conservative Chris Clarance used his prerogative as top swinging dick to make the casting vote, and our fates were sealed. So, just to be certain you understood: Carol Bunday stayed in bed. Or went to the hairdressers. Who knows. Who cares. Who wants to hear Carol Bunday’s accursed name ever again, except when Old Nick calls the register on the day that all crimes are collated? Not us.
UPDATE: 02.11.18 Carol Bunday has been made the 'portreeve' of Newton Abbot. If you're wondering what a portreeve is, it's a pig's colon stuffed with public money, dressed up like a dog's dinner and sat on a shelf for posterity. The town centre paving slabs are tripping up pensioners and the Decoy playground has had no swings for four months but hey, at least the town's got money for a f***ing portreeve.
PCL Planning Managing Director David Seaton
Apparently it's no good just selling your farmland to the Council for a massive profit: you need to sell it with plans drawn up. That's where the thoroughly unpleasant PCL Planning comes in.
PCL Planning has drawn up a plan for NA3 (Wolborough Barton, it calls it) that somehow forgot to include any doctors' surgeries, playgrounds or shops. Just house after house after house. They also forgot to put in the 500 metre 'dark corridor' that Natural England told them was necessary if the colony of protected greater horseshoe bats was to have any chance of survival, opting instead for a 50-metre gap and some brick walls to smash themselves into.
They have also been complicit in the absolute whitewash of a survey that was carried out on the area, with no hydrology reports and almost no mention of the unstable geology. Oops! Well, they only draw up 'plans'. It's not their fault if the houses are a disaster (like Hele Park).
When the Council attempted to redraw these plans, PCL (we guess it was Seaton, since he's in charge) sent this letter threatening legal action. David is VERY aware of the adverse publicity and has taken his entire staff off the PCL website, despite presumably paying someone to take moody black and white portraits of them all last year. If you look at his LinkedIn profile (before he deletes it) you'll see that David likes surfing. As well as destroying Sites of Special Scientific Interest and hiding from the public.
Ex-College Ward Councillor Ann Jones
When College Ward lost Carol Bunday (above) the people wondered: How will we ever find anyone as useless, lazy, self-serving and unresponsive as poor old Carol? Hallelujah! Along came Ann Jones. Ann was so useless they made her mayor for a while. In this town the job of mayor goes to the biggest sack of dog innards in the political corpus, the same way as the worst player on a football team generally gets told to be in goal. Or wear a monkey outfit.
Ann Jones served College, a ward doomed to vanish under concrete, where the Wolborough Residents' Association had for years been appealing for restraint and common sense. No less than 7000 of them raised objections. They wrote to Ann Jones over and over and over. She never gave them the courtesy of a reply. She never even mentioned NA3 although (actually, BECAUSE) she was on the council's planning committe. She is an absolute disgrace to local democracy.
Having queered her pitch in College, Ann tried standing for Bushell on May 2 and proposed candidates for Ukip. Thank all that's holy that she didn't get in.
Ann Jones once told Newton Says No that she would call the police because we said we'd stand people against her for council. She found this 'threatening'. We used to have a couple more paragraphs about Ann Jones on this page, but it seems needless to dwell on her now. She did enormous damage and now she's gone. Like a hurricane. A hurricane made of chow mein and dog farts.
She may still be a thing on the town council. We would check, but we just don't care enough. Bye Ann.
Ex-Chudleigh Ward Councillor Economy, Skills and Tourism Doug Laing
As a member of the Executive with the tourism portfolio, Laing insisted that the multiple thousands of new houses we apparently ‘need’ in Teignbridge be kept as far away as possible from the coasts and the moorland; something the Executive agreed upon. Despite a lot of local opposition, Laing toed the party line and supported plans to build 230 new houses in his own, once-small town of Chudleigh.
It’s sometimes helpful to judge a person, or a group of people, by the company they keep. Laing was a powerful member of Teignbridge’s Conservative inner circle before the evening of October 29 last year, when he calmly took a mallet out of a bag and smashed his wife repeatedly over the head with it. His Teignbridge colleagues have declined to speak out on Doug’s behalf, but that’s okay as the presiding Judge Graham Cottle pretty much gave the old boy a cuddle.
Explaining why he had only given Laing three years for what looked to most of us like attempted murder, and despite the fact Laing had wrapped the hammer in cellophane so he could destroy the evidence, he said “the offence was a one-off and completely out of character”, adding that Laing “had led a blameless and distinguished life”. Laying on another trowelful, he said that Laing “had not just a good character, but an impeccable character … so I’m going to discount significantly the sentence that might well be appropriate here.” So apart from the nugatory matter of SMASHING HIS WIFE AROUND THE HEAD OVER AND OVER AGAIN WITH A HAMMER AFTER PLANNING HOW TO GET AWAY WITH IT, Mr Laing is an impeccable chap. Well it’s good that we keep that perspective.
“Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”
Ex-Constituency Conservative Party Chairman Chris Clarance
Chris Clarance of Shaldon was the Constituency Conservative Party Chairman until May 4th 2017. If you are defeated by the exact meaning of council titlage you are not alone, but the important point is this: There was a vote taken on the Teignbridge Local Plan was taken upon Friday September 21st 2012 where Lib Dem Councillor Allan Connett and others attempted to get the number of new homes in Teignbridge capped at 10,000. The Conservatives in the chamber, aided by the connivance of supposed 'independents' such as Mike Haines, managed to draw the vote at 18 for and 18 against. It was Chris Clarance who pushed the vote through with his position as Constituency Chairman, to jeers of 'shame on you' from other councillors.
So is Chris pro-development generally? No, not if it happens to be in his own backyard. Clarance bitterly opposed a varaiance of Torquay Road in Shaldon which took the appallingly-planned road four metres closer to residents' homes. He lost his appeal, in which he had sided with residents who called it 'an affront to democracy'. He has repeatedly ignored available development land in Shaldon. Clarance has said that, when it comes to planning he 'opts on the side of refusal'. That is, unless it's a mega-project in Newton Abbot rather than a slight road adjustment where HE lives.
Clarance was one of few Tories to survive the May 2 elections, though his influence will now be severely reduced.
Member of Parliament for Newton Abbot Anne Marie Morris
An extraordinary number of people have made it clear to us that their voting Conservative in the last General Election should not be mistaken for an endorsement of Anne Marie Morris, who seems to be roundly loathed by the people she represents. Not that this bothers her unduly, because she literally never sees them. Morris has one of the worst records in Parliament for addressing constituents’ concerns, ranking 627 out of 641 MPs in the writetothem.com survey conducted in November 2016. She also has a poor record for saying anything in Parliament, but that may be a good thing judging from the, erm, spirited performance here. When she spoke on leaving the EU on July 9 she was told off for addressing the Prime Minister directly as ‘you’, which is against Parliamentary procedure. John Bercow reminded her that she had been an MP for eight years and ought to know the rules by now.
Anne Marie Morris will probably always be best known for saying that leaving Europe without a deal was the N-word in the woodpile, discussed on The Last Leg here. What makes it more funny – if that’s the right word – is that a year earlier she had ‘distanced’ herself from her agent and husband (being both the same person) for saying something arguably slightly LESS racist. Something about immigrants breeding too fast. OK, so about-the-same racist. Anyway Theresa May suspended the whip from Morris but returned it when she desperately needed Morris to gratefully vote, like a (re-)whipped monkey, for her Brexit plan. May still lost the vote.
Morris’s voting record is against all the things you’d expect of someone on the party’s right– same sex marriage, minimum wage, employment rights, inflation-tracked benefits – but peculiarly she wants all the painful taxes a Corbynist might go for, at least for the little people: she’d like us to pay extra swingeing taxes on petrol, alcohol and plane tickets. She has, however, supported generous tax let-offs for bankers and industrialists. In short, think of something that makes your life less of a pain: Anne doesn’t want you to have it.
As if she doesn’t make life painful enough for people, Anne writes a weekly column for the Herald / Devon Live that is so weapons-grade boring it has to be put on the page by a subeditor in an asbestos blindfold. It never has fewer than three pictures of her grinning at us in a variety of trouser suits. In this column she takes a strident view of general things and no view at all of actual, local things. For example in May 2018 she wrote a piece about how much she wanted new houses built, especially in the countryside (surely ‘on’ the countryside?), but weirdly she made no mention of the Lego-brick megalopolis springing up in her own constituency. We can only wonder why. Isn’t she proud of it?