Friday, August 31, 2007

Can you GRASP this?

Since I made the posting below, it would appear that the 6th link to an article that appeared in the Gazette in 2005, has been taken off for some reason.Not to worry, I made sure that I printed all of the information off, as I envisaged that something like this may happen.So if the link dosent come back on, I'll get it scanned and added as soon as I can.

Here are six links to archive stories from the local press regarding the delivery of a pool in Redcar.







When you read through them, you can see not only how much contradiction there is,but you can also see just how much spin there has been and how many deliberate untruths have been told by the council and Persimmon, especially when you take into consideration the state of the scheme now and especially when you take into consideration that there has been NO 106 AGREEMENT SIGNED between this council and Persimmon tying Persimmon to providing anything in the way of leisure facilities.

There are so many contradictions and so much spin to cut through but here are just a few of the main ones.If you look at the archive from the Stockton and Darlington times from January 25 2003,link 2, you will see that it states that Persimmon would be committing themselves to help revitalise the boating lake,the Mungle Jungle,Childrens activity centre and the Redcar Bowl.

What absolute rubbish! With no 106 agreement in place, they have committed themselves to nothing! Whats more they have, and we have the leaked confidential cabinet documents to prove this, already stated that they are prepared to spend £60,000 on putting a CPO on the Mungle Jungle and flattening it and there has already been talk of flattening the bowl.The demolition of the bowl appears in council documents from 2004 where it states that there could be a time when the bowl and most importantly,the dance floor, would be demolished and there would be no substitute until a new one was built. So is flattening these things their idea of revitalising them?

Another absolute corker appears in the councils press release published in the Gazette in January 2005,link 6, just prior to their 'consultation exhibition' the following month. Apart from all the spin and descriptive language that they use to conjure up this 'warm and cosy', "everythings gonna be boom time in Redcar as a result of this development going ahead" image, see how they state that "The Coatham site gives the council the only chance to bring new housing into the town and use that to attract £22,000,000 of otherwise unaffordable leisure facilities into the town".

What an absolute lie and what absolute rubbish.Read that line slowly and then think of all the continuing building works on the ings.The building of houses on the big field on Kirkleatham lane opposite Hambleton Avenue,the apartments that are due to be built on the site of the old jet garage and at the end of the racecourse,the new houses built where the garage used to be at the end of Turner street and of course the apartments that were built back to front on the site of the old York Hotel.Not to mention the houses they want to build on the old college field.

Then read their claim that these houses are the only way to bring in £22,000,000 of funding to provide the leisure. When you read that, think about how they have now agreed to borrow £8,000,000 to provide the 'leisure' (pool/leisure centre) . The fact that they were prepared to Borrow £8,000,000 to provide the 'leisure' (just the pool/leisure centre and nothing else) is no coincidence. Because see how in the same press release from 2005, they state that the cost of building a pool based leisure facility including a 25m pool,seperate leisure pool,fitness suite and gym etc,was going to cost £7.5 million pounds! Just £500,000 less than what they committed themselves to borrowing.
When you also take into consideration that the only grant funding that they had been tentatively promised was £500,000 from Sport England, but that was by no means guaranteed,you dont have to have a degree in maths to see what is going on.

If they had actually got the £500,000 of grant funding from Sports England, then what's the betting they'd have only committed themselves to borrowing £7.5 million instead of £8,000,000? What we have to ask ourselves now is, why just a year later in 2006, did the cost of delivering the same leisure centre/pool leap massively,according to the glossy leaflet put out by Vera Moody,to a WHOPPING £14,000,000?

Thats obvious too. The cost rose massively because from last year, the new leisure centre/pool officially also comprised a new 5 GP surgery that was denied all knowledge of by the PCT,was not known about by the councillors and relevant committees within the council and was added to the Coatham Plans, according to the PCT, as a speculative move by Persimmon and an officer of the council who the PCT representative refused to name.

When you take into consideration that this council have always known that there was no funding in place for what they deemed to be the 'leisure element' of the scheme (leisure centre and pool) never mind NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER for all of the other things that they have taken great effort to describe to the public in detail but have never had any hope of delivering,then it just shows you how the public have been conned, and taken in, and lied to.

How poor old Glenn Preedy,chairman of GRASP must be feeling like a complete idiot after making the statement in that same 2005 press release that went, "I am a realist- I dont want to pay more Council Tax to build and maintain a pool and the only other way I can see for us to do that is through these plans.I havent heard any other suggestions as to how we can get the necessary money to pay for the pool- or any of the other leisure facilities in this proposal".

Mr Preedy should have listened to us when we were suggesting that the council simply borrowed the money to build a pool and forgot about the building the houses before making such vaccuous statements. Because at the end of the day, even though they denied it, the council, with no commitment from Persimmon to provide any leisure,with no support financially or otherwise to quote councillors Abbott and Fitzpatrick from any local government body, with no private interest or investment, with no funding whatsoever, are doing just that. BORROWING!

Look at the article that appeared in the Stockton and Darlington times from December 2003,the MP states herself that the council had written to her then and admitted then that they knew that there was going to be a "funding gap", "which would put the inclusion of a pool in doubt". Why has she not said anything about this since our campaign began and the whole issue has featured so much in the press?

They knew then, in 2003, that they wouldnt have the money to build a pool. And no mention of Persimmon building or 'delivering' one either. That was 9 months BEFORE our campaign began! Strange that the inclusion of a pool became a 'definite' part of phase one of the scheme just a few months AFTER our campaign began?

The only saving grace for poor old Mr Preedy is that with the council having such a massive black hole in their budget through the financial mismanagement of the Chief Executive and other officers, borrowing the money and raising council tax isnt an option just yet.Which is why the building of the 'leisure' (just the leisure centre and pool) has been moved back to phase two of the development not due to begin until June 2009...If ever.
Oh to live in a four star authority eh Mr Preedy. You'd have been better off speaking on behalf of our campaign instead of the council.Because we do GENUINELY want a pool in this town as you do, and took a REALISTIC approach to funding one.

The ironic thing is,that the council had always intended BORROWING the money to deliver the pool/leisure centre,but just never admitted it.The fact is that in 2004,the council had committed themselves to borrowing three million pounds to prop the scheme up.But that was when it looked like they were only going to deliver a pool.Infact look at the article from the Stockton and Darlington times from January 2003,you will see that the cost of this pool was estimated at £2.5 million.Once again the cost of what they wanted to provide was half a million pounds less than what they were going to borrow.Once again this was propbably incase the tentative offer of half a million pounds of funding from Sport England did not happen.

How Mr Glen Preedy must be regretting extolling the virtues of this scheme in 2005 on behalf of the council, now that the whole lot has been shown up for the sham that it is. He probably thought,like the council probably did, that the people of this town would be fobbed off by all the bullshit in the kind of press releases and statements that I have put links to above.Not so.

An ever growing number of people have stood up to question instead of just blindly going along with what they are told.An ever growing number of people can now see through press releases that contain many words but mean very little.They know when they see sentences and words in the middle of all the spin like, "HOPES to include a swimming pool", "The council AIMS to resurrect" "Its HOPED that live performances will feature" "the ASPIRATION for the Visitor centre", that nothing but nothing is guaranteed and that its all just spin to try and suck the public in.

The last thing I want to draw your attention to is a statement from a council press release from December 5th 2003.It states that after a 'consultation' in the Central Library the council/Persimmon had had over 100 responses.Persimmons' land manager Simon Usher said "we're pleased to have had so many views from the public". That just about sums it up for me. In using spin,these people tried to make out that over a hundred views from the public was a significant number,a force to be reckoned with, in a town of 40,000 because it suited them to do so.

Keep that in mind and then think why, when the council and Persimmon homes were making out that 100 views was so many, have they tried to rubbish a TEN THOUSAND SIGNATURE PETITION AGAINST THIS HOUSING SCHEME AND OVER TWO THOUSAND OBJECTIONS TO THE PLANNING APPLICATION,as so few? How can they now possibly say that the silent majority are in favour of their scheme when nearly 12,000 views have already been taken against it? Why is it that when it suits them 100 views are considered as 'many', but when it dosent, nearly TWELVE THOUSAND VIEWS are dismissed?

And those thousands of views were given without the public knowing the full facts! Let the council/Persimmon have the courage to tell the public of the town that theres going to be none of the leisure facilities, you know the ones they sold the dream on like the visitors centre and extreme sports centre and single screen cinema,and bowling alley and performance arts centre.
Let them tell the public in clear terms that Borrowing has always been an option to provide their idea of the 'leisure' (the leisure centre/pool) and that we dont have to have the houses to have the 'leisure'.Borrowing money was never dependant on building houses.
Let the council tell the public that theres no 106 agreement in place tying Persimmons to building any leisure even though theyve been saying that they are.
Let them know in clear terms on the front page of every paper that they cant deliver the leisure facilities that they have spun to people and that because of the huge defecit in their budget, they have had to move building the leisure centre/pool back to phase two of the development not due to start till at least June 2009!

Let them admit these things, along with the fact that six officers all directly linked to this 'wonderful scheme', including the chief executive and the project manager who features in those press releases,have all gone or are going BEFORE the scheme is even underway!!!

Let them have the courage to tell the truth.Until then we will do all that we can to take the truth and all of the facts to the public in order to stop this housing estate being built on OUR Coastline.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another document I found....

When I had finished reading the Vera Moody, anyone remember her? Glossy leaflet from last year, I Continued to look through some documents concerning this issue. I found an absolute peach!

It was a press release issued by the Labour group last year, shortly after our meeting in the Coatham Bowl, where over 430 people attended.

It is headed “BACK TO THE BOARD CALL OVER COATHAM PLANS”. The document is scanned on a topic on Redcar.Net called "the labour groups come off the fence" if you want to see it, as I do not have a scanner working at the moment, but I will quote what it says exactly for you.

“Labour members on Redcar and Cleveland Council say that, whilst they remain committed in principle to the regeneration of the Coatham area of Redcar, they believe that increasing uncertainty over the proposals backed by the current coalition administration on the authority ‘demand an URGENT NEED TO GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD’.

“That was the demand from councilor Sheelagh Clarke, spokesperson on culture, leisure and Tourism, and Labour leader Group leader George Dunning after a special group meeting with Redcar MP Vera Baird to discuss the latest position over the controversial Coatham Enclosure scheme”.

“Said Councillor Clarke “However much the coalition try and hide from reality, it is becoming increasingly clear that many of the things they have promised for this project are little more than hot air”.

“There have been attempts to dismiss the protests over the scheme as the actions of just a few hotheads, but that is difficult to justify with increasing numbers attending public meetings-well over 400 at the most recent last month-and a protest march planned in a few days’ time”.

“What makes people so concerned is that the scheme changes literally by the day with the trend clearly going in the direction of more housing and less of the leisure facilities which were seen as the key benefit of the project”.

“We now face the very real possibility that the promised leisure facility will never materialize, that the dance floor, so popular with local people, will vanish and that, far from improving the environment of the area, we will see the seascape blighted by a block of flats”.

“Added Councillor Dunning “it is absolutely clear that the coalition do not have a clue about what to do with the Coatham Issue. They have failed miserably in communicating with local people-hence the continuing public opposition-and the finances for the project seem in a state of chaos despite the fact that the administration has had the benefit of new borrowing rules”.

“Obviously times have changed since the Coatham vision was first launched under the previous Labour administration and, whilst remaining committed to the scheme in principle, we recognize that there is a need to review the current situation, to keep the public fully informed-something that the coalition has failed to do-and, if necessary, seek a public enquiry if that is what is required to resolve the morass now surrounding the project”..........

I knew that the Labour Group had released that press release and I remember it being in the paper, but what I had forgotten was just how strong the Labour group had been in their condemnation of the scheme. How they can make statements like that, obviously because like all the other parties they were frightened by over 430 people attending a public meeting against the scheme and so consequently they knew how much opposition there was to it in the town, BUT THEN GO BACK ON EVERYTHING THEY SAID IN THAT PRESS RELEASE SINCE THEY TOOK CONTROL OF THE COUNCIL, is just beyond me and it should be beyond anyone who values the truth.

They said that the scheme needed to go back to the drawing board, but have not once even attempted to do so.

They said that things that had been 'promised' were little more than hot air, but they have pressed ahead with the hot air scheme regardless.

They said that attempts to dismiss protests to the scheme were difficult with over 400 people attending meetings, but that’s exactly what they are doing now. Infact they are now using the paper thin ‘silent majority’ argument, to try and dismiss the protests themselves. How can they one minute say we have to listen to the protestors because they aren’t such a small number after all, then the next minute say the protestors don’t matter because ‘we know’ the silent majority are in favour of the scheme when no adequate communication with the public has been carried out to see exactly what they think? Something else that they have condemned in their press release.

They admitted "the trend is going towards more housing, that the leisure is featuring less and less, that there is a very real danger that the promised leisure centre will not materialize" whilst they were in opposition, yet not once have they not warned people about these things since they took control of the council in May? Signs of the leisure centre and pool not materializing are actually showing now, with the revelations that Persimmon homes haven't signed any 106 agreement with the council tying them to providing any leisure, with no funding, with borrowing looking unlikely because of a £12,000,000 black hole in their budget, with the leisure centre and pool being moved back from phase one of the scheme where it has always been, to phase two of the scheme which isnt due to start until at least June 2009 as it was reported in a recent edition of the councils "people pride and passion magazine" and with George Dunning making a statement in a letter that was printed in the Gazette not long ago, where he clearly said that the providing of a pool would now be done through G.R.A.S.P (get Redcar a swimming pool) A talking shop that was set up before the Coatham Enclosure plans were up and running,to try and secure funding for a pool.They were unsuccesful.This was part of the councils justification for going with the Persimmon plan because as I have said before,they said that that was the only way we would get a pool as all other attempts to get one had failed!

George Dunning has accused the coalition of not communicating with the public and failing miserably in this task, yet when people have emailed him questioning this scheme since he became leader of the council in May this year, he’s boasted about the ‘consultation’ that the council has entered into in taking the details of this scheme out to the public? How dare he accuse the last coalition of failing miserably to communicate with the public, when the council that he was in charge of DID NOT INFORM, IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE ERRECTION OF SEVEN FOOT HIGH STEEL FENCES AROUND COATHAM COMMON THAT BARRICADED UNSUSPECTING MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC INTO THEIR HOMES!!!!!!!

He has called for a public enquiry if that is what is needed to resolve the morass surrounding the project, yet he, even though he had the authority to contact Government Office North East to tell them to call the scheme in because of the morass surrounding the scheme, DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, AS DIDN’T OUR MP, WHO HAD BEEN GIVEN 1000 CALLS FOR A PUBLIC ENQUIRY BY THE PUBLIC!

What is more astounding is that Labour councilors who sat on the Coatham Planning committee, knowing that their leader and another prominent member of their group had said all these things in this release, STILL voted in favour of the scheme and for some reason extolled the virtues of the scheme by saying how wonderful it was going to be. How could anyone vote in favour of something when the leader of their group and his sidekick had made those kinds of statements publicly? Infact how could George Dunning ABSTAIN from voting on that planning committee when he had spoken out against it in such a manner? How could he do anything other than vote against it after saying those things?

We cannot comprehend this two faced behaviour because as decent people of the borough we know the difference between right and wrong and the truth and lies.

How members of the Labour group must be red faced and reeling at the sight of such facts, when they know that the things that were said before the election, have not been adhered to by the same people that said them, after the election.

How they must be secretly dying with embarassment at the fact that their leader has called the Coatham planning meeting and decision tainted, but has done nothing to have it investigated.

How they must be shaking their heads in disbelief at the leader of their group calling for the chief executives investigation TWICE before the election when in opposition, but has done quite the opposite and not been able to praise the chief executive enough, now that he is leader of the council.

These facts are there. They show these people up for what they really are. Do you think that the people of Redcar and Cleveland deserve such hypocrisy and contempt being shown to them?

Just one big con.

Last night whilst trawling through some documents, I came across a couple of beauties! Firstly, was a Glossy “Fact or Myth” letter released last year by Vera Moody, anyone remember her? The very first ‘fact’ that she puts forward is that the council do have the funding for the leisure. She goes on to list what ‘funding’ is in place. Firstly, she says that the council have secured fourteen million pounds in funding! Two and a half million pounds more than what they need, she goes onto say that this has come from Sport England, the capital receipt from Persimmon and prudential borrowing.

What is significant, now that we know that there is no 106 agreement in place between the council and Persimmon tying Persimmon to providing any leisure, is that in this list of secured funding for what she calls the “leisure element”, Persimmon aren’t down for providing any grant funding for the “leisure element” at all. Oh yes, they are giving a capital receipt of what we know to be the grossly under valued figure of £5,600,000, but when you take into consideration that in return for this money they will be getting 35 acres of OUR coastal land you can hardly consider it to be grant funding can you? I mean they are getting something back for the money, namely our coastline. The fact that they aren’t actually funding or providing any leisure in the scheme at all is even more significant when you take into consideration that since our campaign began the council and Persimmon have been telling the public of this borough that Persimmon were providing the leisure? They even said it at the Coatham Planning meeting. We have the minutes of the meeting. So now we have it, the councils and Persimmons’ idea of Persimmon providing leisure in the scheme, is Persimmon entering into a deal to buy our coastline!

Their play on words is amazing! They aren’t funding, or providing anything. They are buying our land, that’s it. Look at the rest of the list. Vera Moody mentions a grant from sport England, how much was that? Just half a million pounds and then she mentions PRUDENTIAL BORROWING. How much were they going to borrow? EIGHT MILLION POUNDS! The council were going to fund their “leisure element” of the scheme by borrowing money and raising our council tax, something that they said they could never do. How many times have you heard them say we need to have the houses to have the leisure? Well… the plain fact is that when Persimmon aren’t providing any funding and when providing leisure is based purely on borrowing money and raising council tax, WE DON’T. Be under no illusions. The money that Persimmon are buying the land for, would be spent on providing new roads, junctions, new classrooms etc. It was the eight million pounds and in effect, THE COUNCIL TAX PAYERS OF THIS BOROUGH, that was providing the pool and leisure centre, not Persimmon homes.

The Council and Persimmon have very cleverly, and very cynically, conned the public of this borough, by playing with words. The biggest con of all is their use of the term ‘leisure’. They build up this image in peoples minds of all these leisure amenities being built in Coatham, a visitor centre with performing arts space and interpretation centre and dance floor, an extreme sports village, a single screen cinema, a bowling alley, a pub. Yet when it all comes down to it, what the council have really meant when it has spoken of providing the leisure element, is an ordinary pool and leisure centre that you could find anywhere. They don’t tell you that all the other marvelous leisure elements of the scheme are dependant on private funding and private companies becoming involved and that they have absolutely no private money or interest ASWEL as no public money or interest, at all. They use the word ‘leisure’ after putting forward all the things listed above to the public, but in truth they have only been referring to one small part of it, the leisure centre and pool, that the public are paying for anyway because the money to provide it is being borrowed and we have to pay it back through our council tax.

It really is time for people to wake up to the way that they have been manipulated by a very clever and very uncaring money making machine like Persimmon homes, who have been aided every step of the way by our council.
The ironic thing is that with the council now having a twelve million pound black hole in its budget, even borrowing money to fund the new leisure centre and pool is a non starter, which is obviously why in their "people, pride and passion" magazine,they state that they have moved the building of "the leisure element" (just the pool and leisure centre) from phase one of the development where it has always been,back to phase two of the development which isnt supposed to begin construction until June 2009!

Don’t let them get away with it. The council, Persimmon, or the officers.Is it any wonder with facts like these now being proven, that six council officers all of whom have been directly involved with this mess, have either left are trying to get out or have been suspended.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I've just had a thought....

I've just had a thought.I'll tell you just how ridiculous Mr Dunnings statement in the Northern Echo is shall I? When the Lib/Dems, who have done our group absolutely no favours at all in the past, jump to our defence and state that we are not to blame for the work not being carried out on the boating lake and that our legal action has nothing to do with the work that is supposed to be being carried out,then you know that that is the truth because they would never defend us.

Another thing.The LibDems were part of the coalition that gave the go ahead to the boating lakes renovation and know that it isnt part of the Coatham scheme, so Mr Dunning,I think you'd better quit whilst youre behind, dont you?

Hey Mr Dunning, please be big enough to tell people the truth.

Please look at the Northern Echo Article above.I knew it wouldnt take long before the misleading leader of our council started trying to apportion blame for this disastrous scheme on the people who are against it, and who are doing most to ensure that the full facts and truth about it are known.The only thing is, he's so wrong with his 'facts',that once again he has left himself wide open and looking absolutely ridiculous.

He blames the friends of Coatham Common for the £600,000 worth of renovation works that were going to be carried out on the boating lake,not being carried out.He claims that it’s because we were threatening Judicial Review. What an absolute Silly Billy George is. In a council press release that was published on the 16th of March this year, it clearly states, and I quote,

“Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is starting work on restoring the boating lake to its former glory ,including the creation of a shingle beach to an island for wading birds.”

“The project, A SEPARATE BUT COMPLIMENTARY INITIATIVE to the proposed Coatham Links development, will install new seating ,new footpaths, a new perimeter wall, improved planting scheme, and night-time lighting.”

“ The designs for the work, which do not need planning permission, have been drawn up after consultations with Natural England, to ensure the value of the lake for birds can be maintained and enhanced.”

“The council’s cabinet member for Culture, tourism and leisure Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: We believe this scheme is another example of how we are bucking the national trend by improving our seaside resorts, rather than see them go further into decline.”

“The overall aim of this work is to improve the quality of the public realm areas surrounding the lake, to increase the use of the space and restore the area to its former glory as a public space.”

“Material at the edges of the lake and island will provide wading birds with the habitat they require, while the beach will add interest to the island and provide opportunities for wading birds.”

“Councillor Fitzpatrick added: we’re delighted with the scheme and the addition of lighting to the area will ensure night-time interest and safety within the area.”

“Council engineers are investigating the state of the boating lake’s footbridge,with a view to organizing repairs.”

The important thing to note in the council article, is that they clearly state that the PROJECT IS A SEPARATE BUT COMPLIMENTARY INITIATIVE TO THE COATHAM LINKS DEVELOPMENT, WHICH DID NOT NEED PLANNING PERMISSION!

Not only is George Dunning’s statement in the Northern Echo newspaper article blaming us for the work not being started completely inaccurate, it’s wholly UNTRUE! Because the renovation of the boating lake is a completely separate issue from the scheme in Coatham and our Judicial Review proceedings are about the Coatham scheme and the planning meeting and decision that George Dunning himself has gone on record as calling tainted.If they havent started work on this renovation of the boating lake then that is down to them not us.The carrying out work on the boating lake as you can see from the press release above,has nothing to do with the Coatham scheme and consequently nothing to do with our Judicial Review proceedings!

The press release above was published on March 16th.This was TWO WEEKS BEFORE the Coatham Planning meeting.The plans for the boating lake were not part of the planning application. Yet now, even though the boating lake renovation was separate from the Coatham scheme and even though it wasn’t even mentioned at the Coatham planning meeting, it has somehow, according to the councils “People, pride and passion” magazine now found it’s way into the first phase of the development along with 102 houses and the leisure centre and pool, which has always been a part of phase one of the development has, once again according to the same council magazine, been pushed back into the second phase of the development not due to start till at least June 2009!

It is obvious that because there has been no 106 agreement signed between the council and Persimmon tying Persimmon to providing ANY LEISURE, and because the council have no money to provide the leisure centre and pool because of a £12,000,000 black hole in their budget, they have moved it back to phase two of the scheme. If Persimmon had any obligation to provide the leisure centre and pool then surely it would still be in phase one of the scheme?

It is obvious that because of the financial mess that the council are in,they don’t have the £600,000 to renovate the boating lake either, but rather than be big enough to admit that, George Dunning takes the easy way out and blames the group of people that are fighting the hardest to ensure that all the facts and all the truths about this disastrous scheme are known, and who are trying to stop what is basically a housing estate being built on our coastline.

Shame on him and the misleading statements that he has spun, in order to put the blame onto somebody elses doorstep.

However,we intend to make sure that the public know the truth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Crown prosecution service make their decision.

In June I reported that I had been called into the police station to make a statement about the facts that I had put onto this blogsite regarding Cllr Dave Fitzpatrick and his chain swinging antics outside his pub some time ago.

The disgraceful thing about all of this, is that the police spent six months trying to fit an offence to me posting the facts on this blog, when no offence or crime,be it civil or criminal, had been committed! The other disgraceful thing about it is that they used massive amounts of public money and police time and resources in basically representing a councillor over a CIVIL MATTER. When you take into consideration that the police, despite Mr Fitzpatrick being caught on CCTV footage behaving this way, brought no charges against him and somehow 'lost' the complaint that had been made against Mr Fitzpatrick, you have to ask yourself why did they not take any action or press any charges or follow up the complaint that was made?

You have to ask yourselves why, when the police informed me and five other people in my house, that they knew hate mail that I had received had come from someone within the council, did they DO NOTHING AT ALL, infact they even found excuses to not investigate, lack of police resources, time, money etc. Why is it that members of the public are getting no investigation into real offences, but a councillor is getting the police spending six months of police time, resources and public money acting on his behalf over a civil issue?

On Friday I learned from my solicitor that the CPS are taking no action over this matter.Now that the CPS have returned the decision that there is no case to answer and that no charges are to be brought, serious questions have to be answered about this blatant bias and misuse of police resources,time and public money in representing a councillor in this way.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Surprise surprise...

We revealed only a few days ago that there has been no 106 agreement signed by the council and Persimmon tying Persimmon to providing any leisure facilities in Coatham.What I didnt know is that someone had already asked to see the Coatham development agreement to see what exactly had been agreed between the council and Persimmon under the freedom of information act.I have learned today that the council are refusing to show any details of the agreement not only because of 'commercial confidentiality' but because Persimmon have provided the council with information apparantly that they dont want making public.

No 106 agreement tying Persimmon to providing any leisure when they and the council have stated for the last three years, and at the planning meeting this April, that they were providing leisure? Now documents not being released because of things they dont want the public to see?

Theyre having a laugh surely?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

No 106 agreement whatever next? Part two

Yesterday morning,as soon as John Simms posted the FOI information regarding the issue of there being no 106 agreement existing between the council and Persimmon homes,I contacted someone who is an authority in this area. He came back to me late yesterday afternoon and the information that he supplied me with is staggering. In the council setting aside the 106 agreement/guideline and in them entering into a private agreement with the developer,they have left themselves open to a massive legal challenge.Any developer who deals with our council from now on, could now demand that 106 agreements/guidelines are set aside for them too so that they can enter into private agreements with the council as Persimmon have. I have been told that the council have broken the competition legislation which they are obliged to work with.This, and the setting aside of the 106 agreement/guideline I have just been told, is absolutely unheard of.Extraordinary was the exact word that was used to describe this. I have been told that this setting aside of the 106 agreement/guideline, could have only been authorised by someone at the very top and that they should be investigated immediately.

No 106 agreement...whatever next?

The council have stated from day one that Persimmon were going to provide the leisure centre and pool in return for the houses being built in Coatham.They even stated this at the Coatham Planning meeting in April this year.Yet they have known from day one that this wasnt the case.They have known all along that there were no private developers interested in signing up for the leisure facilities,they have known all along that there was no interest or support from any local government bodies, and I dare say that they have known all along that borrowing money was the only way that a baths was ever going to be built in our town.

The line thats been constantly fed to us that "we have to have the houses is the only way to get a baths" has been totally untrue.Yesterday,under the official secrets act,the information that we already had was confirmed, THAT THERE WAS NO 106 AGREEMENT EXISTING BETWEEN THE COUNCIL AND PERSIMMON HOMES. With no 106 agreement existing between them, Persimmon homes have never had and have no obligation to provide any leisure facilities in the Coatham scheme.Never mind the baths/leisure centre,has everybody forgot that the council have been touting a £14,000,000 visitor centre with iconic tower,an interpretation centre,a single screen cinema an extreme sports centre etc etc,blahdeeblahdeeblah.

It has all just been utter spin to get the people of this town and borough to blindly agree to our Coastline being covered in Persimmon homes,as Chris Abbott says in one his early posts on Redcar,net,"OVERLOOKING ONE OF THE BEST BEACHES IN THE COUNTRY!"

Thats what this has all been about.Houses and greed.It has never been about leisure despite all the councils attempts to make people think otherwise.They have never told the real truth that ultimately they were going to borrow the money to provide the baths because that would take away their carrot to dangle,because people would then say well...if were borrowing the money why have the houses?

They have stated that they were going to borrow to provide the leisure centre/pool.This is now unlikely with such a huge black hole in the budget.There is no 106 agreement tying the developer to provide anything in the way of leisure.So what was the council getting out of letting the countries biggest and richest builder, build houses on OUR coastline? It has constantly been argued that £5.6,000,000 for a 35 acre site of coastal headland is way below value,and besides the council were going to use that to implement the infrastructure for the development new roads,junctions,etc.So with no 106 agreement that ties Persimmon to providing anything other than houses,and no benefit of the capital receipt,just what exactly was the incentive for elements of this council going directly against their own leisure brief in 2002, to sign as their 'preferred developer' the countries biggest house builder who werent providing any leisure at all?

Why have they fallen over backwards,despite massive public outcry and opposition,despite having no funding for any of the leisure facilities,despite knowing that the version of things that they have been spoon feeding to the public is completely untrue,have they pressed on and on and on with this botched and tainted scheme? What is funniest about this is that in an early post on, Cllr Chris Abbott states that if there was a negative public reaction to the scheme, then Persimmon would be more or less be ousted and replaced,because he wanted the best scheme delivered possible.Well look at the opposition to the scheme and look at the councils response over the last three years? They have totally IGNORED thousands of people objecting.Why?

Why has this council, who are in a desperate financial state, committed PUBLIC MONEY to pay for half of the consultancy fees,ALL of the legal fees and even the errection of a seven foot high steel fence among other things,for the richest PRIVATE builder in the counctry with a six monthly profit of TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY ONE MILLION POUNDS to make more profit,when the council arent going to gain anything by the developer building on our coastline because theres no 106 agreement tying them to anything?

Why has there been so many lies and so much deceit?

Why has a tainted planning meeting and decision gone uninvestigated?

This whole episode is dragging our council and our borough further and further down into the mire.It is about time that a full,independent investigation was started immediately.Before one more officer of this council who has been connected with this sham is allowed to 'retire'.

Friday, August 03, 2007

From Court action to best mates?

At the back end of last year,the council stated that it was refusing to renew Lido Leisures lease for the Redcar caravan site.Lido leisure so their,I believe, managing director Ian Mitchell told me and other people,were going to take the council to the High Court because of this.People who support the campaign in Coatham,myself included,supplied Mr Mitchell with various bits of information to assist Lido Leisures efforts in taking the council to court over this issue.I spoke to him a few times about this as did other people.
The council admitted in the press that they were not going to renew the lease and stated that they were going to take over the running of both the Redcar site and the Saltburn site themselves.This was particularly strange as the council/Persimmon in their plans have the caravan site in Redcar down as being a car park?
Why should they want to state in the press that they were going to run these two caravan sites,when one of them was an integral part of their housing scheme?

However.the high court case that was supposed to happen in January of this year,never did.A short time after, it was revealed that the council had instead actually SOLD both the caravan sites in Saltburn and Redcar to Lido Leisure? When we asked how much they were sold for we were told by the council that they would not divulge that information.We were puzzled by the fact that one minute both sides were apparantly drawing up their battle lines in the high court and then the next, they were entering into talks to sell both caravan sites to Lido Leisure without making the details public.

This was the case until last week when a source came forward from the council and showed me council documents that showed that both the caravan sites had been sold to Lido Leisure for the sum of £2.4 million pounds. Both sites combined would total in size, probably two thirds of the size of the Coatham Enclosure site,perhaps a little more and the Coatham enclosure site is supposed to be being sold for £5.6 million?

There are a few things that need to be answered here.1st is, why were to coastal sites sold for such a low amount?
2nd is, how did things go from all out action in the high court because the council refused to renew the lease holders lease, to the council selling a site that is an integral part of this development,along with another site, to the leaseholder that they were denying the renewal of the lease to?
3rd is,why werent they put out to tender?
4th is,what has been done with the £2.4 million pounds generated from the sale of both sites? In the documents that I have seen,it states that the money generated from the sale of both caravan sites was going back into the Coatham scheme so that instead of borrowing £8,000,000 the council were only going to borrow £5.6 million.However,with the £12,000,000 black hole in the budget coming to light and therefore the borrowing to prop the scheme up looking unlikely,where is this money now going to, or already gone? As we all know, the council borrowing £8,000,000 was to help provide the leisure centre and baths because no funding has been attracted.Now that borrowing anything looks unlikely and now that the baths and leisure centre have been moved back to phase two of the scheme which isnt due to begin until June 2009,what has become of, or is going to become of, the £2.4 million?

I'd like to know.Would you?

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