Friday, March 09, 2007

Coatham footpath court hearing 2

By the way,according to Mr Logan the cost of the scheme has risen to £93,000,000! YES NINETY THREE MILLION POUNDS.How can it be that when the cost of the scheme was only £55,000,000 we were going to get disneyland Redcar yet now its going to be £93,000,000 were only going to get brookside on our coastline with a baths? The more it costs the less we get?

I look at it this way,in life you get what you deserve.For three years despite taking no end of abuse from this council and from others,I along with a lot of other people have dedicated all of our time and energy to fighting to keep our coastline open because it is our greatest natural asset and would put our town,if developed properly,back on the map.We have fought to have leisure facilities in this town without the houses and we have fought to expose the truth about this scheme and subsequently,elements of this council.

All down the line the council have squirmed,twisted,wriggled,connived,bullied,smeared,lied and deceived in order to carry on the myth that we were going to be the beneficiaries of leisure facilities that were going to make us a "visitors destination of regional importance". They even tried to pass it off in a court of law on Wednesday. Had I not gone to court to object,then Council officer Mr Alan Logan's picture of the councils scheme for Coatham would have gone unchallenged...but unfortunately for the council,try as hard as they might to not let people know of their right to object in court and then threaten them with costs when they did, I did go.

Looking at it,I dont even think Mr Logan assumed that he would be questioned.I think he thought that he would just be called by the councils barrister to read his bulls**t statement about what Coatham was going to include and how it was going to revitalise Redcar and that was it.Unfortunately for him and the council,it wasnt. For the first time in three years,I was actually able to pin an officer of this council down and,because he was under oath,get him to tell the truth.When I questioned him and he told the truth,it was clear that when he had read his statement out that he had perjured himself,because the things that he had read out in that statement werent true,he knew it,and when he read them to the judge,not once did he correct himself or tell the judge what the real facts were now.

His council officer colleague Adrian Smith did the same.He told the judge that the council didnt tell the public in the notices advertising the stopping up of the paths because they just followed "their statutory duty". Their statutory duty extends to inviting objections to a small number of utility companies but not to the public apparantly. I told him that if the public werent told of their right to object then how were they supposed to know? "when a notice goes up he said,Mr Frankland puts his telephone number on the bottom of the notice so that people can phone him up and say they think its wrong"."Strange I said,I have a copy of another notice where people HAVE BEEN INVITED to object and theres no telephone number on it and I saw the notice advertising the stopping up of the paths in court and theres no number there? At this point even the councils barrister sprang to his feet and told Mr Smith that there wasnt to which he replied "Oh no there isnt I must have got it wrong".

The fact is that the council rested their case on useage of the paths.They know the paths are used and have been for best part of two hundred years.Go on Google Earth and you can see them all Criss crossing the common,well trodden and used.They didnt advertise that the public had a right toobject because they knew that if people did because they used the paths that would blow their 'nobody uses the paths' line.When we found out that we did have a right to object and twenty five or so people objected,they hand delivered a letter threatening all the costs to a member of the public, at six oclock, on a Friday night,two days before the non contested hearing that they expected to just sail through unopposed, and told him to distribute it to the other objectors.

Fortunately,it didnt intimidate him enough and he,along with another member of the public went to court on the 5th February and won the right for people to be heard.Unfortunately,because the threat of possibly having to pay thousands of pounds in costs hit home,and only four people submitted letters to the court and I was the only one to turn up on the day.George Lawrence QC,with all his vast knowledge of the law stated that there was little useage of the paths because if there was,where were all the people to say they used them.Its just absolutely disgraceful.

Especially when you consider that a Government inspector at the village green public inquiry deemed that there was sufficient evidence of use,but that was at a public inquiry where there was no threat of costs and over 130 people came forward to write letters and appear at the hearing. At that hearing,it was established that it HAD been used for recreational purposes,that it was OPEN SPACE,that the paths DID matter,but we lost on a technicality because in 2003 the council,anticipating at some stage a possible village green application,errected signs saying they gave us permission to use the land even though none was needed,and that beat us.Yesterday,we lost because of a lack of information being deliberately not given to us and threats when it was.

In both cases we were quite literally robbed by the councils sheer underhandedness.Both times they have just got through by the skin of their teeth.In both cases,we by rights should have won because everything was in our favour.But in both cases,situations were contrived to undermine our position of strength,both times all of our money was then used to pay a top barrister to legally enforce those contrived situations to beat the people who were paying him...the public.

There will be no doubt a big smile on Ian Hopleys face today.Yesterday,when it was all over,I gathered up my bundle of documents and I went over and shook everybodies hand,Ian Hopleys included,from the council.I left with my head held high.A reporter from the Gazette had a word with me and then I left.As I did,Ian Hopley and co. were all sat outside huddled round their £12,500 for 25 minute barrister gleefully going over their 'victory'.Ian looked at me and as I walked past I said "I'll be looking forward to a copy of the barristers opinion through the post" and I smiled.I knew then that infact they were the losers.

They are losers because they had won yesterday,like every other day, by default.They had won by being underhand,by using our money to employ a man who by rights should never have been used to simply stop up footpaths on a common in the North East.They had used a massive sledgehammer to crack in comparison,the tiniest of walnuts.And they had done this and have done it for three years with all the other shit things and smears that they have done because they know they have no entitlement to build on that land whether they own itor not. In order to seduce the people of Redcar to go along with their theft they have painted a false picture to them,one that theyve known from day one is not real or deliverable.

I have said it for nearly three years and, as I say, taken no end of abuse,but because for the first time in my life I refused to be bullied and I stood up in court and dared to have my say,THE TRUTH that the council have refused to admit all along is out in the public domain. That truth is that there is no major leisure development just a replacement of what we have already and a pool.In the case of the dance floor they want to replace,it will be substandard in comparison to the facility we have now because the facility we have now is in its own building, a building that we all know and love as one of the best live music venues around.The dance floor were going to get will be a sports floor sandwiched between a gym swimming pool and doctors.The most galling thing of all is that because the council areborrowing £8,000,000,we can have a pool and those facilities that we already have regenerating massively.There is absolutely no need to have one house built there at all.

I started this lengthy post by saying you get what you deserve.I have fought so hard to get the truth about this scheme out,and still because a lack of reporting it still isnt.The council and everyone who is in on this scandal with them, have their heads down now and are trying to reach that finishing line.I have done all I can to inform you and provide you with the truth and I am satisfied after the events of the last two days that I can do no more.I put all I had at risk because the council applied for me to pay all of their costs for everything,but thankfully the judge defended me against that.Its up to all of you now.The truth is there for you all.It is up to you now to act.We all love this town so we all have a responsibility to it and not just for us but for our kids who will take it over when we have gone.This is their town.

The council want to push this before planning on the 19th of this month or thereabouts.They are doing that because the officers who are pushing it for whatever reason, and going to the lengths that they are going to get it through,know that they will be 'reined in' if the political make up of our council changes on May 3rd.They know that this shoddy scheme will probably be taken back to the drawing board if that happens and anything they may have done wrong in order to push it through would then be looked at. You have the facts,I can do no more, now its up to you.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?