Sunday, September 30, 2007

Absolutely Pathetic...

Here is a response from Sheelagh Clarke, cabinet member for culture, tourism and leisure, to an email I sent GEORGE DUNNING, asking for an apology on behalf of the council for the Chief Executive double counting over £200,000. One word about the response. Pathetic.
Dear Chris,With reference to your demand for an apology over alleged wrong informationput out by our former Chief Executive - do I get an apology for the liesthat were printed on the Redcar net about what I said at the RedcarBusiness Association meeting?
Regards Sheelagh.

And my reply...

Dear Sheelagh,

Thankyou for your reply, although I dont know why you are answering an email that I sent George Dunning? I cannot believe that you accuse me of lying about your performance at the Redcar Business Association meeting? I have done no such thing. I reported your outburst on Redcar.Net Sheelagh. An outburst that was witnessed by at least three, well respected business people who attended that meeting. I understand how stressful your new found position must be, however I do not think that accusing me of lying about something that is obviously the truth is fair, especially as it can be backed up by people who have had businesses in Redcar for well over 40 years.

What I find more mystifying though is where is the link? I mean, how do you equate me or Rachel reporting about your hysterical behaviour at an RBA meeting, to our 'talented' to quote George, ex-Chief Executive, someone who George called for to be investigated twice whilst in opposition (do you remember that?) double counting over £200,000 and blaming our protest group for half a million pounds worth of public spending in a large article in the Evening Gazette, when it simply isnt the case? How on earth can you possibly equate the double counting of £200,000 worth of public money by our ex-chief executive to Rachel and I telling people on R.Net about your hysterical performance in front of members of the RBA? And by the way, it isn't 'alleged' as you are trying to make out, because as you know this double counting of £200,000 was in the briefing documents for last Tuesdays cabinet meeting of which I have a copy. Presumably by this latest outburst you also think a professional, talented, Chief Executive double counting figures to paint a false picture in the Local press is both acceptible and talented?

What a shame that our town hall seems to be run by arrogant, vain, unprofessional people who simply do not have the manners or the dignity to accept that an apology is owed. I'll tell you what Sheelagh, tell your less than corageous 'leader' to save his apology on behalf of a council,run by a man that he called for twice to be investigated. If he has to get someone else to answer his emails then he has just shown himself up for exactly what he is. But I'll tell you as I'd tell him, I'll make sure that this weak response from you to an email I sent him is well publicised in as big as way as I can.

Lets see if he puts it on his blog?

Here is a copy of a posting that Ive just put onto Chris Abbotts blogsite in answer to his untrue and misleading comments about our campaign.Lets see if he puts it on?

Mr Abbott, nasty campaign by a very small group of protestors? I think youre a bit deluded on a few counts dont you?
If you want to talk about nasty, why dont you have the courage to tell people how both you and cllr Dave Fitzpatrick started an untrue smear campaign that I was a member of the BNP,something that that I took you to the standards board for.
Why dont you tell people of the untrue letter issued by councilor Josie Crawford that made still, a year down the line, UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS, that she had been spat at by protestors and sent threatening emails by protestors?
Perhaps you could explain why, if she had been treat so terribly, did she not refer the matter to the police? After all, when you take into consideration that your colleague in shame Fitzpatrick, was represented for SIX MONTHS by Cleveland Police for nothing more than me putting two posts on my blog about him, something that the CPS threw out, it would be fair to say that if Cllr Crawford had been treat so terribly then she would have gone to the police? She didnt nor ever has.
If you want to talk about nasty, perhaps you can tell people about how our deliberately disingenuous, sharp practising, to quote two tribunals, ex-chief executive, telling the MP in a letter that I had used violence against Vera Moody which is completely untrue and which once again is completely unsubstantiated and which has once again failed to be brought to the attention of the police? You may want to tell people how your 'plant' at the Coatham planning meeting libdem candidate for the Zetland ward John Hannon,made sure he sat right next to me and threatened me with violence, something that was heard by tens of people sat around us at the planning meeting.
As for small protest? Try telling people about scores of meetings with between two hundred and four hundred and thirty people in attendance.Four marches with 200 to 300 people in attendance.You might want to mention a 10,000 signature petition against the housing scheme in Coatham or perhaps over 2000 objections against it. I think its important to tell people that in the General Election I came fourth with 2379 votes AS AN INDEPENDENT and that in the local elections where I stood against you in the ward youve held tight for 20 years, you had your majority slashed from over a thousand to just 379.
You may even want to tell people why there is no 106 agreement between this council and Persimmon homes which ties Persimmon to providing any leisure at all. You may even want to tell people that the council have always intended to borrow millions of pounds and raise their council tax, to provide a pool in Coatham and that having 359 houses blighting our coastline has nothing to do with providing money to build a pool, despite the spin that you have spun for over 3 years that the only way to have a pool is for Persimmon to build the houses.
Listen Chris, I know youre bitter about the facts being brought to the public of the Borough about this issue, but for heavens sake man, take a day off being a politician and try telling people the truth for a change.
Chris Mcglade.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Our meeting last night...

At a group meeting last night, some interesting things came out. First was that ENCIA, the company who were on site three years ago checking for unexploded mines around the areas where ZETICA were going to be testing for contaminants in the soil, were on site last week doing the same thing again. This time they were checking for what they called 'anomilies' (potential unexploded mines to you and me) around the areas where the tests for gas will be carried out. Once again, despite the councils and Persimmons spin and deceit, it is obvious that the area is still home to UNEXPLODED WW11 MINES, something that the council and Persimmon have tried every way that they can to play down, because as it states in their planning application, they have to clear the whole site of mines and doing this would be so costly the scheme would become unviable.

The second thing to come out was that the dancers who use the Coatham Bowl were told that the Bowl will be demolished in March next year and work will start on the 'leisure' in the first phase of the development along with 102 houses. This is funny, because in their "peoples pride and progress" magazine from just eight weeks ago, the council have already stated that the building of the leisure has been moved to phase two of the development? This coincides with the recent Gazette article that reported that the nursery behind the Bowl is closing next week and people saying that the building of a nursery had been moved back to phase two of the development. What are you supposed to believe?

The third thing that came to light at our meeting was information taken from a leaked letter from Ian Hopley to the Environment Agency, that showed that Persimmon haven't even done the required flood risk assesment for the site, let alone submit plans for an adequate sea defence. Submitting plans for an adequate sea defence was the absolute minimum requirement on the issue of flooding.
The council telling concerned dancers that everything is starting for definite in March next year when no plans for a sea defence have been submitted, no flood risk assesment been done and three court cases are looming over them regarding this housing scheme, is optimistic to say the least.
When you take into consideration that the council are now having to borrow millions and millions of pounds to pay the dinnerladies of Redcar and Cleveland and when they have a twelve million pound black hole in their budget that they have to fill, how on earth can they hope to borrow another TEN MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS to provide leisure in the Coatham Scheme as was reported in the cabinet briefing documents for last Tuesdays cabinet meeting, because they have attracted NO FUNDING WHATSOEVER? How much money do this council intend borrowing? How much do they intend to raise our council tax?

Optimistic is the wrong word to describe the councils plans for Coatham. I should have said, telling the dancers who use the Bowl that everything is going to begin next March. is just an impossibility.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Congratulations Dinner ladies of the borough!! You've made em' look like bigger hypocrites than they already were!

On tonights teletext. ITV page 337

Six North East Councils are being allowed to borrow from a £500m Government fund to settle equal pay claims among their staff.

They are: -
Middlesborough, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Stockton on Tees, Wear Valley and Redcar and Cleveland

Then I had a look and found this little lovely from the bold Abbott

I trust you will find this of interest

Chris Abbott

Thu 29th Jan 2004 02:32 PM first with the news: COUNCIL’S PRIDE AT FIRST FAIR DEAL FOR TOWN HALL WORKERS REDCAR and Cleveland Council has today (Thursday, January 29) become the first local authority in the North East to complete an amicable agreement with the unions to ensure hundreds of its lowest-paid workers will enjoy a better, fairer pay deal from April 1.

The Council gave final approval to a single status agreement for all staff at meetings in Eston Town Hall this morning (Thursday). It follows months of negotiations with the Town Hall unions, supported by ACAS. The Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, Councillor Glyn Nightingale said: “This is a proud and historic day for the Council and the most important outcome of any decision yet taken by the new Coalition administration. We are in the forefront of councils nationwide with this ground-breaking settlement.” John McCormack, Unison’s Redcar and Cleveland branch secretary and secretary of the Joint Trade Unions, said: “We are extremely pleased for the majority of our members and in the present financial climate we have struck the best deal possible.”

Pay increases will benefit 3,900 of the Council’s lower paid staff, mainly women, in posts including cooks, cleaners and home care staff. The rises are set to range from a few hundred pounds up to £5,000 - as much as 40 per cent up on the previous basic wage. The Council is also making written offers to 2,600 women and a small number of men of ex-gratia payments, some over £6,000, for “hurt feelings” over perceived sex discrimination and their patience for not making claims against the Council.

The detailed analysis of jobs has identified 1,600 posts where pay rates reduce, but, in agreement with the unions, staff affected – the majority are clerical grades - will be integrated in a three-year tapering pay protection scheme before moving to their new pay levels. Councillor Nightingale said: “Seven out of ten among our lower paid staff will benefit from higher pay. Dealing with the remainder is a delicate issue and we are committed to doing all we can to treat affected staff with sympathy and support during the adjustment process. “They will be given an opportunity to have their situation reviewed, gain extra skills to increase their job evaluation score and get financial advice from the Council.”

Mr McCormack said: “We are disappointed that the protection arrangements weren’t longer, but hopefully by the end of the three-year period, most of the problems will have been resolved.” The cost of paying the ground-breaking deal, which will now be used as a model for the region’s Town Hall employers, is £1.8m and will result in a 4.5 per cent increase on this year’s Council Tax bills, exactly £43.22 a year more on Band D – virtually the whole of the expected Council Tax rise. To pay the ex-gratia element of the deal will cost an additional £3.5million, which will be paid out of current funds which the Council had already set aside for that purpose.

Councillor Nightingale explained: “The Government have not helped us on this issue. They have forced us to pay this out of Council Tax and refused to allow the Council to use its borrowing powers. “But the single status issue had to be resolved to settle a long-standing injustice. We have grasped the nettle. The Council Tax will rise, but we are confident our agreement will stand up to the most rigorous scrutiny and show it represents value for money.” Staff will be given a detailed breakdown of the deal at a series of nine roadshows, hosted by the Council’s Chief Executive Colin Moore, starting next week.

The 140 workers who have lodged equal pay claims at an employment tribunal will not be excluded from the offer of ex-gratia payments in settlement of their claims. Councillor Nightingale added: “We have 140 people who have lodged claims with a tribunal. That is their right and they are entitled to do so. “They were promised exaggerated amounts of money for January 19, but ten days later nothing has materialised and it is unlikley to do so for some time yet. “Our staff have a choice – tax free cash now or an unknown amount of money, taxed with legal fees deducted at an unknown time in the future.”

Good On Ya Ladies!

I want to know why?

I want to know why, even though the council and their ex-Chief Executive were responsible for deliberately 'doubling up' the figures for the cost of Village green insurance and the erection of the fences around Coatham and then presenting those FALSE FIGURES to the public to make it look like The Friends Of Coatham Common were responsible for a sum that they in actual fact weren't, why the Leader of the council, Mr George Dunning still has not apologized on behalf of the council and printed the real truth about this.

I also want to know why two and a half weeks after they issued their press release and a week after work has begun, why nothing has been said in the press about the council testing for and monitoring the site for gas?

Or could the failure for this to make the papers have something to do with the fact that I contacted the Gazette straight away and gave a statement that the council would prefer to keep quiet? Namely that any testing and monitoring for gas should have been done years ago.
Not FIVE MONTHS AFTER the Coatham planning meeting!

It would make you scream with laughter if it wasn't so serious.In the press release cabinet member Mark Hannon reassures the public that everything is going to be safe when they start testing, yet the majority of the public are totally unaware of anything because it hasn't been in the papers, yet and work has been going on a week with UXO men on site to boot!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

From one broken promise to another...

Look at this link

Not only have the Labour group gone back on everything that they said in their election literature about Coatham, they are now going back on the election promises that they made to keep Finnegans Hall in Eston. It would appear that the real Labour policy is to say whatever they think people want to hear in order to get in, then just go back on it all and press ahead with what you really want.
The problem is that they assured all the dancers who go to the Coatham Bowl that their dancing will be safe because they could all go to Finnegans Hall. Now with Finnegans Hall going too, dancing is dead for the old and the young in Redcar and Cleveland. Now thats what I call a caring, listening council.

It makes you wonder, how did they ever become a four star authority,doesn't it?

Colin Moore has left the building...

On Monday 17th of September, we have it on good authority that Colin Moore was told to clear his desk and was walked off site, with his secretary apparently sobbing as he left saying “how could they do this to you?” Shortly after that, Moore put in a sick note for three months, taking him up to December. If you look at the bottom of my postings from the Friday of that week (the 21st), we had started to ask the question “has Elvis left the building?”
We have been waiting until the story of his departure ‘broke’, which indeed it has today on Redcar.Net with someone stating that they had heard Moore had put in a three month sick note, before we said anything.

I’ll tell you right here and now shall I? This council are all over the place. The in-house fighting and trouble is threatening all of those who have been desperately been trying to keep the truth from getting out.

The house of cards is about to fall.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why have the council employed this woman?

Please look at the link to the South Shields local paper. Think about George Dunnings glowing recomendation of our soon to be new Chief Executive and then read this. How on earth was this woman employed as our Chief executive let alone be described as having an excellent track record by the leader of our council, when it has already been revealed that she was investigated because she party to a cover up in South Tyneside regarding contaminants in a certain part of the area, when an audit report damned the department that she was in charge of, when she has no real experience to be even regarded as a chief executive and when now, as we can see, has deliberately witheld the truth about coming here, from the council that she is currently still with?

I understand that senior council officer from RCBC Simon Dale, was none to chuffed about her appointment.From all accounts he thought he was going to be appointed as El Supremo.

Click onto this link.

The real undemocratic face of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council...

Below is a posting that started a new Topic on Redcar.Net.This is absolutely shocking! This council are stopping members of the public from gaining access to Redcar.Net, a site where lots of facts and the truth about this councils behaviour has been coming to light. They don't want people seeing the truth about what they are doing. They don't want people to see the true facts about the Coatham scheme. Not only have the council stopped people gaining access to the site from computers in public places like libraries, they have also restricted employees from looking because RCBC computers have also been blocked. THIS IS THE TRUE FACE OF OUR COUNCIL. THEY ARE ACTING LIKE A COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP OR SOME KIND OF BANANA REGIME.This quite simply has to stop and the public have to know the truth NOW!

Here is the posting from Redcar.Net...

"The council considers the web site so "tasteless" that it won't let you access the site from its public library computers. I found this out while staying in Redcar last week, and attempted to log on to catch up on these forums. On previous visits, it hadn't been a problem, so this seems to be a new development. The librarian said it was nothing to do with them, it's the council's IT people who set the access limits. I find this quite shocking - that a council (or maybe its staff, unknown to the elected reps) can try to block public access to local discussion and all the rest of the stuff on these pages. Especially when councillors themselves actually contribute to the debate here! Whatever happened to freedom of expression? Do others feel as outraged as I do? Personally, I feel they must be called to account, and the decision maker should be identified - and, of course, access should be reinstated. But as a non-resident, I can't do much about it other than write to the Gazette, and I'm not sure that they'd be interested. Possibly a written public question at the council might force an answer? And/or a press release from a residents' group? What do you think?"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What will it take?

What will it take to have Colin Moore investigated in order to hopefully nail him for being responsible for so many at best, terrible blunders?

Looking at the cabinet documents for Tuesdays meeting again, I am dismayed to think that this man is just simply being allowed to get away with double counting over two hundred grand in order to try and blacken our campaign.

Allowed to get away with being responsible for a council that has a £12,000,000 hole in its budget.

Allowed to get away with a massive conflict of interests between him as chief executive of this council and his wife who was a non executive board member of the PCT regarding the Coatham scheme.

Allowed to get away with being in charge of a council who was found guilty of maladministration twice within a year.

Allowed to get away with being in charge of a council that has committed hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money being spent on the fees of the biggest builder in the country, without getting the same developer to sign a 106 agreement that ties them to providing leisure in the 'flagship' Coatham scheme.

Allowed to get away with his disgraceful deliberatley untruthful behaviour at two employment tribunals.

Allowed to get away with being found guilty of sharp practise to the point of abusing certain council processes at one of those tribunals.

Allowed to get away with spending thousands of pounds of public money on appealing against tribunal decisions that have yet to see the council win one of them.

This man has sullied the reputation of our council. He, and a select band of officers have not told the truth, manufactured figures,smeared, intimidated and bullied and abused delegated powers by awarding themselves massive pay rises, extra paid holidays and in turn, increases in their pensions that an ever growing number are now enjoying the benefit of, whilst normal council employees have suffered pay cuts and redundancy.

I have tried as hard as I can, along with other dedicated people, to bring the public the real facts and the truth. Members of the council haven't wanted us to know these facts and the truth. Firstly, because they are afraid that the public start asking the question why did the old LibDem/Tory/East Cleveland independent coalition allow this behaviour to flourish, why did they do nothing to stop it and secondly, because they are afraid that the public start asking the question why are the new Labour/Independent council quite happy for these abuses to go uninvestigated and those responsible to simply slip away?

It is up to every last resident of this borough reading this site to contact their ward councillor demanding that this man is investigated, NOW!

We demand an apology from the council NOW!

How remarkable is it that our ex Chief Executive Colin Moore, double counted costs of over £200,000 spending on Village Green Insurance and fencing work, to make it look like the actual cost of these things was nearer half a million pounds, in order to try and turn public opinion against our campaign, on the basis that such a large sum of rate payers money was being spent needlessly because of our campaign.

These falsely maunfactured figures were presented to the cabinet earlier this year and as usual, the cabinet simply accepted what officers told them. Our campaign received bad press due to these false figures being presented to the public by an all too willing council.

For me, the maufacturing of figures by Colin Moores department, lead by this man who is supposed to be so professional that he does not make such massive 'mistakes' but has, explains why he will not be present at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting where these facts about over £200,000 being double counted, are on the agenda to be discussed. Looking at the above facts, how absolutely ridiculous was it of George Dunning to sing Colin Moores praises in his press release in June this year, where he thanked Colin Moore for all the good things he had done in his time here and in another of his farcical releases where he referred to Moore as talented.Is double counting over £200,000 to make it look like nearer half a million pounds, really a good thing for the council or a shining example of a 'talented' Chief Executive officer? Is this type of behaviour symptomatic of a four star authority'?

I hope that the council are as quick to issue an apology on Tuesday to our group, as they were to falsely accuse, and ensure that the news release and apology appear as prominently in the local press and on their website as the false accusations did.

By the way, I have been informed by a BIG person that a little rat has left the sinking ship three months before he was due to. Apparantly, because of more and more details of his behaviour coming to light. He must be "All shook up!"

The news about the Coatham housing scheme is spreading

Check out this link.

By the way, for all you council employees and public out there, HAS ELVIS LEFT THE BUILDING? ( Let's say no Moore! )

I wonder why the Labour group are in favour of one windfarm but not the other?

Lets all remind ourselves of the councils press release from last week regarding the wind farm. Lets remind ourselves of Labour leader George Dunnings statement that a wind farm a mile and a half out to sea, would be detrimental to the leisure facilities.

But hang on a minute, what this from 2002? Look at this press release. I can't believe it! Here is the same Labour led council, including the same George Dunning, giving their approval and consent to a wind farm being built on the Corus site at Redcar? Now why would the Labour group agree to one wind farm, about the same distance away, possibly closer, as the one that is planned out to sea, but not approve of the one that is out to sea? How can one wind farm be detrimental to leisure but not the other when they are both going to be roughly the same distance away?
Mmmmmmm, now lets all think for a minute? Ah got it!

It's as I said before in a posting that I made last week, George Dunning being against the wind farm a mile and a half out to sea, has got nothing to do with it being detrimental to the leisure because it isn't detrimental at all and if it was, then he would be against the one due to be built on the Corus site at Redcar surely? No, George Dunning being against the windfarm out to sea is about the view being spoilt for Persimmons' lovely, exclusive, luxury, sea front, apartments.

What I find sickening most about all of this is that the council are thinking about going to judicial review over the windfarm being built out at sea, the council are considering spending public money on opposing something just because it obviously happens to interfere with Persimmon Homes' plans. Why is this developer dictating to our council so much? Why is our council just happy to bend over backwards trying to please them all of the time?

When a developer is dictating to a council to this extent, then what is the point of having a council at all?

By the way, for all you council employees and public out there, HAS ELVIS LEFT THE BUILDING? ( Let's say no Moore! )

Delegated Power 427

I've been keeping this back for a while, but I felt that now was the time to let the public know. How many of you knew that under delegated power 427 of the councils constitution, officers of this council have the authority to carry out covert ( undercover) surveillance of absolutely anybody in this borough that they want to. This delegated power has been in place for about five years and it gives UNELECTED OFFICERS of this council the perfect right to monitor and watch the activities of anyone living in Redcar and Cleveland.

I just thought that you should know.

By the way, for all you council employees out there, ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING! ( Let's say no Moore! )

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Coatham, a catalogue of lies and deceit.

Below, are just eight examples of the lies, deceit and backtracking carried out by this council over Coatham. Look at them all. Let me tell Redcar and Cleveland Council right here and now, that all these facts, along with a lot more that have just come to light have been presented to bodies down in London. Even if you haven't the stomach to launch an investigation into the situation surrounding Coatham, we have and we will do all that we can to highlight just exactly what is going on in this borough.

1.2002, The Labour council issue a leisure brief for Coatham....2003 the council appoint the countries biggest housing developer as their preferred developer and accept plans that are for a coastal housing estate that goes against their own brief.

2.Since 2004, The council/Persimmon have constantly stated that Persimmon would be providing the leisure in the Coatham scheme....August 2007, A freedom of information request shows that there is no 106 agreement in place between the council and Persimmon and therefore Persimmon have no obligation to provide any leisure in the Coatham scheme at all.

3.Since 2003, the council have constantly maintained that the only way for the town to have a baths built in Redcar was to have the houses because the houses would attract outside funding to build a baths...September 2007, Council briefing documents show that the council want to borrow TEN MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS TO PROVIDE A NEW BATHS/LEISURE CENTRE, because not one penny of funding has been attracted from either the private or public sector.

4.In 2004, Councillor Vera Moody denied in the Gazette that there was any risk from UXO on the site after I had raised the issue in the press....

Spring/Summer 2006,people carrying out sound surveys and archaeological surveys and digs were warned in their riders about the prescence of UXO....

August 2006, our group made it public that the area was contaminated to over 2.5 times over the SGV and home to potentially hundreds of UXO.This information was taken directly from their own planning application....

September 2006 Councillor Vera Moody issues a glossy letter stating that there is no risk from contaminants or UXO and that we are scaremongering.

September 2006, material dug away from Coatham Common is taken to McAlpines yard in Grangetown after we had contacted the HSE, because the council were not following the safety procedures set down in the planning application for working in contaminated land.

The material was placed under a tarpaulin with a notice on it saying Contaminated land do not uncover.Councillor Mike Findley, Wayne Davies and myself, went to the yard and took photos of this. When council officer Brian Mcclean came to the site looking flustered he kept us in the office for 25 minutes and when he brought us outside he had had the tarpaulin and sign removed and tried to make out that there was nothing wrong with it.
When we showed him the photos we had taken, he became very defensive and ordered us off site. No results have ever been given to us regarding the tests that Mr Mcclean told us were being done on the material in Mcalpines yard. That same month the HSE's experts somehow deemed there to be no risk from contaminants and UXO even though Persimmons' own planning application stated that there was? And that clearing them would be so costly the scheme would become unviable.

October 2006, UXO men are on site whilst digging in the Northern boundary is being carried out by Mcalpines.

April 2007. Peter Jordan regional director of Persimmon homes admits to the planning committee that there are contaminants and UXO there and that they would sort the problem out.

September 2007, The council appoint a new chief executive from South Tyneside council who has already been investigated for covering up the presence of contaminants that are as the same in Coatham, in an area in South Tyneside, for 18 mths.

September 2007, the council appoint a contamination officer for the period of one year.

September 2007,the council issue a press release stating that they are going to test for gas under the site.This comes five months after the planning application has been passed!

5.September 2006, Colin Moore states in the press that all the funding for the leisure in Coatham was in place...March 2007 after the council had withdrawn funding from TVR because they had had no support for the Coatham scheme from TVR, Councillors Chris Abbott and Dave Fitzpatrick state in the press that the council had had no support financially or in any other way for the scheme in Coatham from any local government body.

6.November 2006, the planning application was ammended and plans for a 5GP 'medical village' were added to it. It was going to form a part of the new leisure centre.This new 'medical village' would replace the Coatham surgery on Coatham Road.There had been no public consultation whatsoever? Councillors and relevant council committees knew nothing about it? And the strangest thing of all is that even the PCT, through a senior manager there called Stephen Childs, stated that they didnt know that plans for this medical village had been added to the planning application and nothing was definite? This line was held in November and December 2006.

In January 2007 at a public meeting, Mr Childs told the public present, that the addition of the plans for the medical village to the application had been a speculative move by Persimmon and an officer of the council, that he refused to name. This wasn't minuted.

February 2007, we uncovered documents that showed that Stephen Childs had been lying all along, because in July 2006, 3 months BEFORE the planning application was ammended in November, he submitted a report to the board of the PCT recommending that the Coatham surgery become part of the new development in Coatham.

March 2007, we uncovered information that showed that Colin Moores wife Veronica was on the board of the PCT and had attended the meeting in July where Stephen Childs submitted his report.Not only that, she had done the site visit of the Coatham surgery regarding this move to the Coatham scheme, with the CEO of the PCT, prior to that!

April 2007, after we made this information public, she resigned her position on the board of the PCT.

May 2007, after confronting Colin Moore about this massive conflict of interests at the count for the local elections, he informed us that his wife voted against the surgery being added to the plans.When we pointed out there were seven votes and that six were in favour and there was one abstention he made his excuses and left.

7. In 2006, George Dunning twice called for the investigation into the actions and behaviour of the Chief Executive Colin Moore.
In 2007, when Mr Moore announces his retirement George Dunning now praises the Chief Executive for his hard work for making us a four star authority and calls him talented in the press.
June 2007, it hits the front page of the Gazette George Dunning breaks the news the the council have a £12,000,000 black hole in its budget and the situation is really bad. Four days later Mr Dunning appears in the paper again stating that the situation isn't bad and that he is relieving the chief executive of his normal council duties to concentrate on plugging the £12,000,000 hole by selling off assets in the borough? Bacically he let the one who was responsible investigate himself. No investigation has ever been initiated.

8.April 2007, the EA state that a sea defence in Coatham has to be built before any houses can be built.
May 2007, the council deliberately do not add this condition to their planning consent preferring to add their own which was that the houses could be built at the same time as the sea defence.

By the way, for all you council employees and public out there, HAS ELVIS LEFT THE BUILDING? ( Let's say no Moore! )

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dinner ladies appear to have won equal pay.

I caught the end of a news bulletin on Radio Tees ( that's the old radio Cleveland) today, that said that Dinner ladies from Redcar and Cleveland Council had won their latest equal pay battle in court/tribunal.
It appears that the panel who were presiding, had difficulty in accepting the councils reasons for not accepting the dinner ladies case in the first place! This is another tribunal decision that the council have appealed and lost. This is another tribunal appeal that has seen thousands of pounds of public money spent on it when there was no need. This is another tribunal case that has left them looking like amateurs.
You could argue that the money spent on appealing against this case would be far less than the money that the council would have to pay the dinner ladies in the long run if they won? But there again, what ever happened to decency?
I remember the anonymous letter that I was sent from a dinner lady which I put onto this site that told of how miserably they had been treated by this council by having pay cuts and redundancy etc forced upon them, whilst the likes of Colin Moore and his cronies were awarding themselves huge pay rises above the rate of inflation, that hiked their pensions up massively, as well as awarding themselves extra paid days holiday! All of this was done under delegated powers that weren't even reported to the council until months after the decisions were made!

Well done ladies! If anyone deserves it you do. You feed the kids in this Borough week in week out. Top notch!

By the way, for all you council employees out there, HAS ELVIS LEFT THE BUILDING? ( Let's say no Moore! )

Yesterday I made a promise to the Administrator of Redcar.Net and this posting will fulfill that promise. After having removed most of the dissenting voices against the Coatham housing scheme from the site, yesterday he put the Coatham topic back onto the board. He then added a posting which attacked me personally and my 'leadership' of this campaign ( Usual stuff about me being in this campaign for my own publicity, having no strategy etc) and in so doing, he broke the terms and conditions of his own site. Things that he has barred me and other people off for, but hey, in the words of the song "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to".

For the first time ever I decided to phone him and attempt to set the record straight. Which I did. And he did too.The conversation throughout was amicable. He told me categorically that not only was he not a puppet of the council, he was against the houses being built in Coatham.

I was interested by his comments on the site later on though. He stated that the scheme had been delayed by two years already, that the site has huge problems, that such a grandiose scheme being dependent on borrowing looks hopelessly ambitious and that he would put even money on it being cancelled or postponed. He finished with a statement that I laughed at. He said " does the council have a back up plan incase this goes"

I laughed for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because it would seem that everyone, even the Administrator of Redcar.Net, a person who has been critical of me and this campaign throught, can now see that this housing scheme in Coatham is just one big dead duck in the water. But I also laughed for another reason.
I laughed because he criticises me by saying that this campaign has no strategy, that I have been in it only for self publicity,that I haven't been able to build alliances and that I've been useless as a campaigner and have been negative constantly, but then states that the housing scheme has been delayed by two years, the site has huge problems, a scheme being dependent on borrowing is hopelessly ambitious and that he would give even money on it being cancelled or postponed?

These things would suggest to me that our campaign has had a strategy. It would suggest to me that our strategy, which has always been to stop the building of those houses on our coastline and expose the truth about the underhanded way this council has behaved over Coatham and in turn, how it has behaved underhandedly all round, has worked. It would suggest to me that not just me, but scores of other people too, haven't been useless as campaigners. I told him that I believed telling the truth and exposing the truth was very a positive thing, not negative at all.

I started this campaign in August 2004. I have, over three years, been joined and supported by scores of people from all over Coatham, Redcar, the wider borough and even from other groups and organisations from around the country. I may have started this campaign but hundreds of people felt the same way and WE ARE THE FRIENDS OF COATHAM COMMON. We may not have a committee, committees are too easily divided, but we run everything past each other and we seek each others advice. We support each other both inside the campaign and out. We have attacked on every front possible in order to obtain the truth and stop this housing development, from involving the HSE, EA and Serious Fraud Office, to hand delivering leaflets in their thousands, petitioning, standing in elections and putting on exhibitions of fine art and photography, the likes of which has never been seen in this borough before.

WE have worked tirelessly and have gone way beyond what any any members of the public should have ever gone to, in order to research the truth and present that truth to the public. If people know that the site is contaminated and that there are UXO and Gas there it is because of our efforts not because the council offered the information willingly. If everyone knows that there is no funding for the leisure, that there is no agreement between Persimmon and the council for Persimmon to provide any leisure facilities, that what little leisure there may be was always going to be paid for by the council borrowing money then it is because of our efforts not because the council offered the information willingly. If everyone knows that the area is a high flood risk area and that there has to be a £14,000,000 sea defence built then thats because of us informing people not because the council has offered the information willingly.

If this housing estate being built on our coastline and on the last open space in Coatham now looks doomed, then it is because of the efforts of the Friends Of Coatham Common, not just Chris Mcglade and Im proud of OUR achievements. Had we not stood up to be heard, none of the real facts would have ever been known and this disastrous, botched and tainted scheme, to quote our MP and leader of the council, would have been well on the way to being finished.
We still have choices. We still have the choice to decide what is best for that area, so that the whole town and borough can benefit, not just Persimmon homes. This choice would have been lost long ago had we not dared to challenge and continued to challenge for three years, the powers that be.

We didn't want confrontation with the council. I started this campaign partly to help our ward councillor Josie Crawford who told me on Coatham Rd in June/July 2004, that she had cried in front of council officers because they would not listen to her pleas not to build in Coatham. But rather than try and represent the people who tried to help her, because like her, they didn't want the area to be covered in houses, she turned her back on us and has never once stood up in support of us. Instead she released a downright untrue 'newsletter', that claimed she had been spat at in the street by a protestor and received threatening emails, but a year down the line these claims are still unsubstantiated. Probably because they're nothing more than a tissue of lies.

We wrote to Colin Moore and asked for dialogue at the very beginning, Charlie Davis stated that "jaw jaw was better than war war", but he ignored us and the number of houses was increased! I had Councillors Abbott and Fitzpatrick deliberately start an untrue smear campaign that I was a member of the BNP in order to try and marginalise me and our group. We have been smeared and threatened and attacked as liars and scaremongerers and yet, still we have not caved in and still they have not stopped us from exposing their lies and deceit and hypocrisy over this issue. And all the things we have said, far from being hollow rhetoric lacking in substance, have been backed up with all the documents and all the facts and the truth.

Yesterday, I pointed all of these things out to the Administrator of Redcar.Net. I then asked him to come and join us. He said he didn't have the time. Exactly, not a lot of people do, most people these days don't. Most are apathetic and say "The council will just do what they want anyway". Well for once they haven't just done what they wanted because a large group of people who care about the truth and who care about democracy and who care about the place they live in have actually taken their caring thousands of steps further than just moaning about things or being apathetic and for over three years have stood up and been counted so that the people of Redcar and Cleveland can see the truth and can now make an INFORMED DECISION.

Its taken ordinary people, united by this issue and now united in friendship, a long time and a lot of effort and heartbreak to get to this point now and I think that we have ALL done just great!

And unlike all the councillors in Redcar And Cleveland Borough Council and all the senior fat cat officers who we pay, quite literally, hundreds of thousands of pounds to, to be open and transparent and to tell us the truth, the people who have supported this campaign and who have worked so hard to bring you the truth, have done it for absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Dunning?

Have a look at this link to the Gazettes story about the proposed windfarm.See how George Dunning says it will be detrimental to the leisure facilities. I had to laugh. Since when when were wind turbines ever detrimental to a leisure centre? I think when Georgie made that vacuous statement, he had four story Persimmons Luxury apartments, built on top of the beach, overlooking the sea where the turbines are going to be, in mind really. Don’t you?

Just which one is the truth?

When the scheme in Coatham first hit the publics awareness, the cost of it was supposed to be £55,000,000. Over the three years that this campaign has been going it has gone from £55,000,000 to £80,000,000 to £88,000,000 to £90,000,000 to £92,000,000 to, as was last reported just a couple of months ago in the Summer edition of the "Peoples, Pride and Progress" magazine, £95,000,000!

So how is it that now then, in briefing papers for next weeks cabinet meeting, the officers are telling the cabinet that the cost of the scheme is now back down to £80,000,000 just two months after they told the public it was a £95,000,000 scheme?

But the backtracking doesn’t stop there. In that Summer edition of the “Peoples, Pride and Passion” magazine, it clearly states that the building of the leisure was now part of the second phase of the development. This has been backed up by people who have children in the nursery behind the Coatham Bowl being told that it is closing and that it wouldn’t be replaced until the new one is built and that wouldn't be for a while because it is part of phase two of the scheme, ( see the posting about the nursery closing and the link to the Gazettes TS10 column ).
Yet in these cabinet briefing documents, the officers are telling the members that the leisure centre/pool is still in phase one?

It doesn’t stop there. In August last year, the council stated in the press that they were borrowing £8,000,000 to prop up the leisure side of the scheme. In May this year I saw confidential cabinet documents which not only showed how worried the council were about a second village green application being submitted now that the law has changed in our favour, they also showed that instead of the council borrowing £8,000,000 to prop the leisure side of the scheme up, they were now going to borrow £5,600,000 and add to it £2,400,000 from the sale of both the caravan sites in Redcar and Saltburn to the company that they were supposed to be facing in the high court in January this year over the councils refusal to renew their lease, Lido Leisure.

So, borrowing to help this scheme when we started this campaign in 2004 was planned at £3,000,000. Then in 2006 it rose to a whopping £8,000,000. Then this May it fell to £5,600,000 but in the cabinet briefing papers that I have a copy of for next weeks meeting, just two months after the figure fell, according to the officers, the borrowing has now risen to an enormous £10,400,000!!! And this comes just a couple of months after the council announced a £12,000,000 hole in its budget and that they were going to have to sell off assets to get the money back in! Most incredible of all is that in these briefing papers, it says they have over £9,000,000 of funding from English Partnerships. But this council have already stated in the press that they have had NO support financially or otherwise from any local government body!

If anyone from the council would like to tell the people of this town the truth it would be more than welcome. There are so many contradictions, untruths and conflicting figures, that I honestly don’t think that they have a clue what they are doing.

Are we just replacing one untruthful Chief Executive for another?

Please look at this link. It would appear that Amanda Skelton, ''our new Chief Executive with an excellent track record'', according to the councils press release last week, is being deliberately disingenuous ( deliberately not telling the truth ) to the council and people of South Tyneside. i'm beginning to understand why Mr Moore and co. liked her and gave her the job.

September 15, 2007
South Tyneside Council, bit of a mess!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's always good to tell people the facts.

We will not allow their hypocrisy to prevail.

I’d like to bring to your attention a quote taken directly from the election literature released by our MP Vera Baird, at the time of the local elections this year and a quote from a press release issued just after the Coatham planning meeting

“Sand and floods threaten a botched Coatham development. No cash for visitor centre; none for extreme sports, just hundreds of houses and Redcar Bowl demolished; we will take it back to being a leisure led scheme.”

"Added Redcar MP Vera Baird “The fact is the Coalition has forced through this planning decision when they know that the cash simply isn’t available for key elements such as the visitor centre and sports facilities and that means just hundreds of houses and Redcar Bowl demolished".

In these statement that she made in this election literature and press release, she condemns the old Lib/Dem/Tory/E.C Independent coalition for pushing ahead with a botched scheme, threatened by sand and floods, (surprising she dosen’t mention contaminants and uxo and now gas), that has no funding for the leisure that has been promised and that will see just hundreds of houses being built and our Bowl and Leisure centre, being demolished.She quite clearly says that the cash just simply isn't available for key elements such as the visitor centre and sports centre.

Yet funnily enough, the botched scheme that she condemns is being pushed ahead with by the LABOUR council, despite being botched and having no funding and despite being threatened by the sand and flooding over in Coatham. But what I find most hypocritical of all is that, she uses the demolition of the Coatham Bowl in both the election literature and press release, as something to try and outrage people into voting Labour, making out that the demolition of the Bowl is something that will only happen under the old coalition, when in reality, the Labour group had the same agenda as the old coalition all along, because they are now trying to demolish it next March!

It is absolutely disgraceful that they are trying to push the people of this town into a fate acomplis situation now. They know that this scheme is dead in the water, but rather than admit that and take it back to the beginning and start again, they are trying to knock down our last leisure amenity in the town, that will not be replaced for at least three years, in order to force people into accepting the Persimmon plan that she describes as botched and the Labour group leader described as tainted! They want to say “Well… now the Bowl and Leisure centre has gone, we’ll just have to go along with it regardless because we have no choice now”, and they are doing this because for whatever reason, they want those houses built as much as the last coalition and Colin Moore. I am telling these people right here and now, you can try and knock our Bowl down, you may succeed, but we will see our three court proceedings right through to the end and we will stop you legally from building those houses on our coastline. And then you will all be responsible for knocking down our last leisure amenity and one of the last visitor attractions when there is absolutely no need and you will have to answer the people of this town and borough in next years elections.

To the people of Redcar and Cleveland I will say this, I and our group, will make sure tha t we do all we can to save this amenity from demolition because there is absolutely no need to knock it down.The court cases we have going against Persimmon and this councils housing scheme in Coatham means that their housing scheme looks dead. They have no money for any leisure, Persimmon aren’t providing any leisure in this development, there are no plans to replace our Bowl and Leisure centre for at least three years, so why should we go without what we have got now because they are trying to force us into having the houses, that because of our court cases and the things that they have to do in order to just make the area safe to build on, look very unlikely to be built?

Monday, September 17, 2007 an outlet for free speech?

Within half an hour of a new topic being started about the closure of the nursery and the demolition of the Coatham Bowl, guess what? It's been removed. The closure of a childrens nursery and the demolition of our last leisure amenity without anything replacing them for some years to come, obviously isn't an interesting local issue as far as the Administrator is concerned?

So much for freedom of speech.

Once again, what did I tell ya' ?

Have a look at the link below. See how it clearly states in the story taken from the Gazettes website that the Bowl will be demolished in March next year, as we told you a week or so ago. See how it clearly states that there will be no new nursery until phase two of the development as we have been telling you for a few months now, because the 'leisure' and the nursery have all been moved back to phase two of the scheme.

How can they justify knocking the Coatham Bowl down when there is going to be nothing to replace it with until the second phase of the development which isnt due to begin until at least June 2009 meaning that we will be without any leisure facility of any kind for over three years?

It's an absolute disgrace that Persimmon are forcing the councils hand to knock down our last leisure amenity in this town and a concert venue that the councils own consultants listed as one of the only three visitor attractions left in Redcar!

Theyre doing this as it says in the article in URGENCY. This is because they know we have three legal challenges against what they are doing. They know that they are well and truly up against it and so like with the fencing, Persimmon are trying to desperately trying to force the councils hand so that we have no option other than to go with their housing scheme that sees them have no obligation to provide any leisure and which will leave us with no leisure at all because the council dont have any funding to pay for any.

Also, look at this link. Once again, the council are just letting Persimmon do as they please in our town.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This is looking worse than we first thought...

As if being investigated for her part in covering up the prescence of contaminants wasn't bad enough, our new Chief executives current department at South Tyneside council has been well criticised in the Audit Commission report letter, August 2007. In this report letter, it states that there has been a lack of vision regarding the current/future regeneration plans amongst other things. If you dont believe me read the link from the Audit commissions report from about paragraph 90 onwards.

I cannot believe that with the things that have come to light in less than 18 hours about our new chief executive to be, and with the proof about the department she is running clearly being in a mess, that George Dunning, Colin Moore and others could deem this woman to be suitable for the post of Chief Executive and have an "excellent track record?" when clearly she isnt suitable and hasn't got an excellent track record?

Mind you, that having been said, George Dunning and co. have already done the same thing before. Nine or ten years ago when they employed Colin Moore.

You learn something everyday.

After finding the link below to the blog site in South Tyneside, I have managed to speak with the man who runs it. Speaking with him has been very informative. He told me that the £4,000,000 black hole that South Tyneside had in their budget, was more like £11,000,000, sounding more and more like us all the time!

He told me that the council had known about the contaminants and the levels of contaminants at the Trow Quarry site for a year and a half but had said absolutely nothing to anyone. This has to be deja vous? Because our council did the same. Only they had said nothing for far longer. Mind you, it would seem both authorities have tried to do their best to play down the levels of contamination and risk now that the public in both areas have been made aware of the facts.

On Amanda Skelton our Chief Executive to be, he told me that he was surprised that she had been given the job as a Chief Executive because she has no legal background which most Chief executives tend to have. He told me that she hasn't managed a large department and that her background is social services or environmental health etc. That's a great track record for being our chief executive eh? Never mind being investigated for her part in covering up the prescence of contaminants in an area of land that people use all the time.

He told me that up in South Tyneside, the council allowed houses to be built on top of an area that had gas beneath the surface and that gas is springing up all over in this area. He told me that they monitor the gas in the leisure centre because its coming through there.

This is when a penny sort of dropped. We were informed by a source at the leisure centre a couple of weeks ago, that people who are tendering for the job of demolishing the Coatham Bowl early next year, have already been round the Coatham Bowl and leisure centre. We were told by the same source, that they have been sent by Persimmon homes. Structurally the Coatham Bowl has to be sound.If it wasn't then people would not still be allowed to use it now.
Part of the testing for gas on the Coatham site that was announced on Tuesday, is being done around the Coatham Bowl and Leisure centre and Childrens nursery.

Could it be that the council/Persimmon are looking for a justifiable excuse to demolish the bowl/Leisure centre? Because as it stands now, they dont really have one especially when they have no money to replace it with anything and especially when anything it is replaced with, wont be being built until at least June 2009!

We have now opened lines of communication with the people in South Tyneside and are joining to together to ensure that the truth is known, as there are just too many coincidences between our council and the things that are going on here and the council in south Tyneside and the things that are going on there.

Dosen't it strike you as odd that an officer has been employed as our chief executive when she hasnt apparantly got the experience for the job, when at just 46, this is her fifth different council, when she has already been investigated for her part in a cover up and when she is coming from an authority where they are, and have been experiencing, exactly the same kind of deceit, underhandedness, bullying of normal employees, a multi million pound hole in their budget and officers all leaving en masse, as we are up here in Redcar and Cleveland?

It will be interesting to see what happens?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Is this just a coincidence?

The link below is to a BBC site. Is it just coincidence that on Tuesday this week the council announced that it was carrying out 'investigations' to locate and monitor gas beneath the Coatham Enclosure and then just today, they announce the arrival of a new Chief executive who just so happened to be involved in a controversy concerning the covering up of the truth about an area of land in South Tyneside where contaminants and gas were known to be, that just so happen to be the same as those that have been found in Coatham?

Now look at this link. See how the council in South Tyneside tried to hide the truth about the true state of the trow quarry site. This is what our soon new chief executive to be, was involved in.
This is what resulted in her having her responsibilities as executive director called into account by a scrutiny commissions investigation.Think of how our council has tried to hide and deny the truth about the land in Coatham with the issue of contaminants and land mines. Why was this person given the job as our Chief Executive when she has such a history? Why did the leader of our council George Dunning proclaim in the councils press release, that she has an "excellent track record" when she has been investigated for being party to covering up the truth about the contaminants and gas that are present at Trow Quarry?

See how employees there have been bullied by the authority because they have had the courage to speak out, is this not reminiscant of the Pauline Scanlon case where she too blew the whistle and then was treated terribly by this council and dismissed?

South Tyneside? It sounds just like us!

Have a look at this blog site from South Tyneside, who's link I have posted below. This is the authority that our new chief executive is coming from.
Can you believe she is jumping ship there, along with other senior officers who are all leaving in rapid succession, a so called 'four star' authority and coming here where senior officers are also jumping ship in numbers and leaving our 'four star' authority in rapid succession too, to be our new chief executive.
Not only that, can you believe that they have a MULTI MILLION POUND HOLE IN THEIR BUDGET AS WE DO! Go to this link and see for yourself. Click on the photograph and you will see this sentence about our new chief executive that Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council are 'delighted' to have according to their press release...

"Ms Skelton was also involved in the Trow Quarry controversy, where her responsibilities as executive director were called into account by a scrutiny commissions investigation".

You can understand now why Colin Moore was so eager to have a 'confidential discussion' as was advertised in the paper, with the candidates for his job. How can a person who has such a record be brought into our council so eagerly and so quickly from a council where officers are also leaving in their droves, a sign that all is not well and where they too, have a black hole of millions of pounds in their budget that no-one can account for, to be our chief executive?

You just couldn't make this up.

The cover up is nearly complete.

Approximately two and a half months since the stories hit the Gazette and in one case, the front page of the Evening Gazette, that the Chief Executive was leaving and then shortly after that there was a £12,000,000 black hole in the councils budget that wasn't going to be investigated in any way, shape or form,don't you think it's too much of a coincidence that this press release should appear on the councils website today so soon? It's absolutely disgraceful to think that the chief executive actually interviewed the applicants for the job in a series of confidential dicusions as was advertised, and so in effect, appointed his successor.

Council appoint new Chief ExecutivePublished: 14th Sep 2007 REDCAR & Cleveland Borough Council is today delighted to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Amanda Skelton, currently South Tyneside Council's Executive Director of Neighbourhood Services.Council Leader Councillor George Dunning said: "I am delighted to welcome Amanda to Redcar & Cleveland. Amanda has an excellent track record and I am sure she will be a credit not only to our Borough but to the Tees Valley and the North East area as a whole."Amanda, who will succeed Colin Moore, who is retiring from the role after completing eight years in the job in December, said: "I am delighted to be joining the team in Redcar & Cleveland."I am looking forward to working with people in the Borough to provide the kind of services they want to see and help them to build a happy, prosperous community."Amanda, 46, has been Executive Director at South Tyneside for five years, with responsibilities for a wide range of frontline services including adult social care, planning, transport and housing plus community and cultural services.She has helped South Tyneside move from a 'fair' authority to 'excellent', one of only ten nationwide to be classed as 'four star improving strongly'.Her career in local government has a housing and regeneration background, with vast experience in delivering frontline services. She has previously worked for City of Sunderland Council, Newcastle City Council and Salford Council before arriving in South Tyneside.Amanda, whose appointment will be formally ratified at a full Council meeting on Friday, September 21, is expected to start work in her new role in the New Year.

The cover up is nearly complete.This is a bad day for democracy

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

UXO People back on the site.

Today, just a day after the council placed its press release on their website informing people that tests were going to be carried out to locate and monitor gas beneath the land in Coatham, UXO men have been seen on the beach, Majuba Rd car park, common and surrounding area. This must be in preparation for the tests or investigations that are about to take place. It makes me sick to the stomach that certain people within the council and Persimmon did all they could to deny the existence of landmines in that area AFTER we had made it public that they were there last August. It makes me sick to the stomach that these people put out glossy leaflets saying that we were scaremongering and lying and this and that and yet here they are, once again, with UXO men on site as these tests are about to take place.

If there was no threat,if we had been scaremongering, if we had been lying, then why are the UXO men in attendance?

God forbid anyone is hurt as these tests begin. Shame on them all for trying to divert the publics attention from the truth in the first place.

"I've got no strings to hold me up"

Three weeks ago the administrator of tried to provoke me for no apparant reason on the site and called me a liar. I did not rise to it. However on the same day, even though I did not rise to his provocation, he still barred me off the site because he told me that I had called three councillors hypocrites. I thought this was funny as the comments I had made had been on the board for some time and the Administrator had taken no action then whatsoever? So why the sudden need for retrospective action? What I think is interesting to note here is that I was barred off the site the day AFTER we revealed that there is no 106 agreement in place between the council and Persimmon tying Persimmon to providing any leisure in the Coatham scheme at all.

Last week without warning, he removed from,the main Coatham Enclosure topic which was packed with information about this subject.He has also removed other topics about Coatham and topics that havr talked about the reasons why he had removed them. He has apparantly taken off other members of the board who have questioned his move and has also removed peoples postings. When I asked him why he had removed it he told me that is was and I quote "full of tedious, negative shit". Strange? I always thought that we had freedom of speech in this country? Or in this case are we only allowed to talk about the issues that this man deems positive enough to talk about?

Coatham is now a taboo subject on, with even the moderator of the site last night stating, and I quote
"I thought about risking the wrath of admin in starting a new Coatham thread ( Smiley face inserted) but this fits here anyway".
The moderator was posting a link to the the councils press release that showed that they were now going to start doing site investigations in Coatham for the prescence of gas.

Now forgive me for being a tad suspicious here but dont you think thats its a bit odd that 1.three weeks ago one of the main opponents of the Coatham Scheme is barred off for no real reason the day after we reveal that no 106 agreement exists between the council and Persimmon.

2.last week the main, information packed, topic on about Coatham should be removed for no other reason than the administrator thought it was full of "tedious negative shit" and since then people havent been allowed to discuss it without feeling like if they do they will incur his wrath.

3.And now this week, only yesterday, the council put out a press release stating that they are now testing the area for the prescence of gas beneath the site, something that is massive because it should have been done years ago BEFORE any planning application was submitted let alone passed and people have no forum to discuss it, because the Administrator has forbidden even the mention of the subject, for no other reason than he dosen't like it because he thinks it's tedious and negative?

I'd say that somebody in the council is pulling his strings in order to stifle people even talking about this latest massive development, wouldnt you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In TOTAL Disarray!

Hey! Have a look at this press release issued by the council today. What an absolute mess! Strange that Persimmon should be doing 'site investigations' into locating and monitoring gases under the land in Coatham? These investigations or 'tests' should have been done three years ago along with the tests that showed that there were contaminants like Aresenic and Cyanide, in some cases at surface level 2.5 times over the safe limit.

These tests should have been done three years ago along with the tests that were done that showed that there were potentially hundreds of unexploded WW11 land mines present below the ground in the Coatham Enclosure.

These tests for gases should have been done and the results added to the planning application, long BEFORE the planning application was even submitted and more importantly, BEFORE the planning application was GRANTED PLANNING PERMISSION in April this year.

The results of any investigations into the prescence of any gas should have been part of the planning application, along with the results from the bore tests that showed that contaminants and UXO were present so that the planning committee could consider them. It's even more strange that they are only doing these tests now when you consider that they were supposed to be issuing contracts for the work next month and that work is supposed to be starting on the first phase of the development in just 3 months time!

What is going to happen if the results from these tests show that there are poisenous or dangerous gases under the land in Coatham? Are the council and their preferred developer and partner Persimmon, just going to simply drop the whole scheme?
Perhaps they already know that there is a strong possibility that with the contaminants and UXO that are present, harmful gases exist beneath the land, which is why no tests were done for the prescence of gas and no results added to the planning application BEFORE it was submitted last July/August. If tests or investigations for gas had been done and harmful gas was known to be there, then the already massively flawed scheme, would surely have had to have been denied planning permission by the planning committee. Doing things retrospectively as they are doing now, means that they dont have to worry about this because planning permission has already been granted. Why have they suddenly deemed it necessary to locate and monitor gas beneath the site now?

We have already been approached by a man who informed us that the land which is now Majuba Rd car park, was at one time the site of a tip where toxic materials and waste were dumped. This man has already stated this publicly at the MP's public meeting in October 2005. Is it any coincidence that this is part of the area that Persimmon want to test for the prescence of gas?

Could I also bring to your attention that in council/cabinet minutes from the 27th August this year, they refer to the appointment of a "CONTAMINATED LAND OFFICER" (TEMPORARY) for one year with a salary of approximately £37,000!!! Now this came as a shock to me in one way but not in another. Because last year when we exposed the prescence of UXO and contaminants in the land in the Coatham Enclosure, the council told me that a contaminated land officer was going to be appointed then. It would appear that this has only just happened two weeks ago.
But the thing that dosen't surprise me is that they have appointed one. Because these lying, uncaring bastards have known since 2004 that the land was contaminated and that it was home to potentially hundreds of UXO, BUT SAID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING UNTIL WE MADE IT PUBLIC. If we hadn't made it public would they have said anything at all? In the appointment of this officer, the council are admitting that they know they have a massive problem with contaminants and UXO and now perhaps gas too!

And lets not play things down, it is now an absolutely massive problem. Because although the council and Persimmon at the time tried to deny the prescence of these things and say that we were scaremongering and lying, even though we had taken the information straight from their own planning application, the fact is that they ADMITTED that these things were there in the ground in the Coatham Enclosure at the planning meeting and they said that they would deal with them.

How can they successfully deal with them when in doing so, when in clearing the whole area of mines alone, would be so costly as it clearly states in their own application, that the scheme would become unviable?
And this isn't even taking into consideration the removal of 2ft 6" of contaminated soil from the ENTIRE site and the clean capping of the entire site with 2ft 6" of clean top soil, something else stated in their own application! A measure that Gary Cutter from the Environment agency has already told me would be insufficient because the contaminants would come back up through the soil in time and contaminate the gardens of the houses built on top of it!

So now, on top of contaminants over the SGV and UXO, they are facing the prospect of gas being present under the land in Coatham. When the clearing of mines and the clean capping of the site would be so costly that the scheme would become unviable, then how will they deal with poisenous or dangerous gas if it is there? How much further cost would that add to this already floundering scheme? How is it possible to deal with these things when doing so makes the scheme a non starter?

Yesterday film maker Craig Hornby and I went over to the site where the new houses are being built on Kirkleatham Lane/Hambleton Avenue. We spoke with residents there who have not been listened to and who have been ignored by this council and who told us on film that their community and their quality of life had been destroyed by the council allowing Persimmon to build on the field opposite their homes. Whilst we were talking, a JCB type of vehicle emerged from the site/new housing estate with a large number of scaffold poles about twelve feet in length and held about fifteen feet in the air and turned down Hambleton Avenue towards Low Farm Drive at speed.Children were playing on the pavements and peoples cars were parked at the road side. The people we were speaking to complained to the driver and then to a very angry and abusive foreman (all caught on film) about the that this type of flagrant disregard for public safety and for their property.

If Persimmon/Bellway are disregarding safety issues on a small scale like that, then how on earth are they going to do the things that they have to to just make Coatham safe enough to build on when doing so will make the scheme unviable? And this isn't even taking into consideration the fact they have to build a FOURTEEN MILLION POUND SEA DEFENCE!

I think you'll find, that they have no serious intentions of doing what they have to to make the land in Coatham safe at all.

P.S, What did we say last week about this council trying to use the Atonement 'premiere' to try and make out that everythings on the upward spiral in Redcar. Read their press release and see for yourselves.They're so predictable!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I've heard something similar before...

Below are links that I have posted relating to articles I came across in the Yorkshire Post and other publications about the infamous 'Donnygate' scandal.
Before you read them, think about all of the things that we have posted on this blog site about the actions and behaviour of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.Think about the planning meeting for Coatham this April. The planning meeting that was described by the now Labour leader of the council as ''tainted''. The meeting that the same man said would "come back to haunt the council and individuals in it". The planning meeting that saw members of the committee be 'canvassed' by an anonymous letter before it advising that "the members should pass it at all costs" and that saw the planning committee members treat to a lunch and drinks before it. A planning meeting that saw the developer and council officers state that the developer was going to provide leisure as part of the scheme, when in truth, there has been no 106 agreement signed between them that ties the developer to providing anything other than houses.
A planning committee meeting that saw officers presenting the report, not give the committee the full facts. A planning meeting that was pushed through at all costs during purdah, so breaking planning law, when there was 'seemingly' no need to because the council only had to wait another three weeks for the local elections to be finished. A planning meeting that since it was held has seen both the Chief Executive and the project manager for the scheme resign their positions.
A planning decision that saw planning consent be granted in May, after the council had gone directly against the Environment Agencies planning condition and added their own more lenient planning condition to the consent!
Think about how the Coatham scheme was never meant to be a housing scheme at all.How the brief they issued in 2002 stated it was to be a leisure development. Keep in mind that although the councils brief was a leisure brief and leisure developers answered that brief, the council ignored them and went with a housing developer that now wants to deliver a housing estate. Ask why the countries biggest housing developer answered a leisure brief and why the council wanted them so much when they have no obligation whatsoever to provide any leisure facilities?
Keep in mind that although the MP called the scheme botched before the local elections and that there was no money for any sports facilities that had been promised for three years, and the Labour leader had called the process tainted and had last year called for it to be taken back to the drawing board, no investigation has been called for, the scheme has not been halted or taken back to the drawing board. Infact according to the local press a few weeks ago, its now got cross party backing?

Think about these things. Then read the links below about one of the biggest council corruption cases ever recorded in this country. Does any of it sound familiar?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


THIS IS IT! The day of the ‘premiere’ of the Hollywood movie “Atonement”. I say premiere, but in reality, it had its official premiere in London last night which is always the case with any movie and its first regional showing/premiere in Hartlepool, just across the water from us, two weeks ago.

Whilst I am genuinely happy for the family who have the Regent Cinema, because I know how hard they have worked just to keep the cinema going without any help from the council, I am also a realist and I can see that this whole event isn’t as much about our council wanting to spend money on the Regent Cinema and the surrounding area because they genuinely care about them, as it is our council wanting to gloss over the huge cracks that are there, that we have to live with whether “Redcar goes to Hollywood” or not.

I saw about thirty council workers flattening and raking the beach and tidying all the rubbish up the other day, trying to make the area look as presentable as possible. We have seen long overdue money spent on the cinema so it looks like it should all the time. We have seen routes into the town cleaned and cleared of rubbish, railings painted, shelters cleaned. People are saying things like “Isn’t this great” and “we should be grateful for having these things done”. I have never heard such rubbish in all my life. Yes it is great,but Redcar is my home all of the time, not just for one day and I expect the same level of care and attention shown to this town 365 days a year, not just for one day so the council can try and disguise what a mess we have become.Why should we be grateful for our council keeping an area of our town clean and tidy and presentable? As residents of our town these things should be ours by right. For some people to even suggest that we should be grateful for having our town clean and presentable just shows you how much it has been neglected!

I think that this attention on our town is a good an extent. Because, who is it really good for? I'll tell you who shall I? Colin Moore and co. The very people who are responsible for a £12,000,000 hole in the councils budget. Responsible for the seaside shelters, that are now being thoroughly cleaned, being covered in human excrement and urine and filth, for so long. Responsible for piles of rotting, decaying rubbish lying for weeks outside of the back entrance of the Coatham Bowl. Responsible for filthy alleys. Responsible for the addition of plans to the Coatham scheme, of a single screen cinema that would have, if they had been successful, put the family who run the Regent Cinema out of business.

People who have controlled a council that has seen 28 businesses go under in a year in our town centre, that now has scores of boarded up shops right in the centre of the high street. The people that this will really be good for, are the ones who have allowed all of the above to happen to our town. Why should they now, after allowing our town to become decayed and Rotten and run down like it is, be allowed to bask in this false glory?

They will use this opportunity to perpetuate the myth that 'Redcar is going places', 'that we've turned the corner', 'that they are a four star authority'. They will use this ‘premiere’ to promote this false image in order to deflect the worlds attention from the truth above and that’s why it’s so 'fantastically great' for them. That’s why they’ve gone to all the trouble of raising and spending all that money on a cinema and a surrounding area that should have had this care and attention shown years ago. Does anyone honestly believe that if a Hollywood movie hadn’t come to Redcar, that the council would be spending thousands of pounds and making all this effort, on doing what they are now?

For me, it seems hollow and empty. An empty hollow victory for a council that is trying to put a shiny veneer on something that is decaying and rotten. It’s like they’re trying to put fresh, white gloss paint on windows that are rotten and have been neglected for years, to give an appearance that everything is strong and sound, and it just isn’t. It’s about time we had something in our town with a bit of substance behind it, with a bit more depth, not just a shiny exterior masking the massive problems that lie beneath. Its like they are desperately trying to 'tidy round the house' before Granny, with her eagle eye for detail, comes a calling. The house should always be in order not just when Granny calls. The Regent cinema, along with everything else in the town, should always be maintained and clean and up to scratch, ALL THE TIME.

It’s about time we stopped settling for the scraps that Colin Moore and co. keep throwing us and it’s about time that we started demanding what should be ours by right. We should all be pressing for our town and its facilities to be maintained and kept clean and looked after all the time, instead of just going along with it and then thinking that we are fortunate that the money is being spent on giving the cinema and surrounding area a facelift, because a second fiddle premiere is coming to town. Lets all jump for joy! What’s going to happen to it all when the Hollywood bandwagon rolls out after the 24 hour charade? That’s right, no more money for the Regent, no more attention to cleanliness and detail, back to the reality of what our town really has become.

What is most upsetting is that the people who are in control of our council, deem the arrival of a film director for one day, to be a good enough reason for cleaning up the area and getting it up to the state that it should be all the time.
Why is it that the council think that the arrival of one man, who doesn’t even live here and the arrival of a third fiddle ‘premiere’ (behind Venice, London, Hartlepool and everywhere else that it has already been shown), are good enough reasons to do the things that they should have done in this town years ago and should have continued to do in our town all the time, but the people who live in Redcar and work in Redcar and raise their children in Redcar and all the people who visit the town from all over the North of England, all the time, aren’t a good enough reason to have clean shelters, painted railings, raked beaches, and a cinema that doesn’t look like it’s on the verge of collapsing?

Because their actions show the absolute contempt that they have for people of this town and area, I cannot get wildly hysterical about this non-event and I certainly do not subscribe to the opinion that we should just accept their spin that we should be grateful that things are being done to tidy the area up, because the truth is THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO AND WHATS MORE, CONTINUED TO HAVE BEEN DONE ALL THE TIME.

Remember one important thing. The film company chose to film in Redcar because the area that they filmed in, the area that the council are now desperately trying to tidy up and give a facelift to, resembled the bombed out remains of Dunkirk.

Hip, Hip, Hooray!!! Lets all be glad that our town looks like a bombed out ruin! You can almost hear the councils spin, can’t you? “Well…you should be glad we look like a bomb site, if we didn’t, then a Hollywood film wouldn’t have come here in the first place, so you just be grateful”.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The truth will out

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Has He gone already?

I learned late on Friday night that the council has an acting Chief Executive now, none other than the finance officer, Ray Richardson. Could it be that Mr Moore has been permitted to try and plug the £12,000,000 hole in our councils budget (the job he was given by George Dunning as a reward for getting us into that position) from the comfort of his own front room? Perhaps a sun drenched beach in the Bahamas even?

Its impossible to comprehend, when you look at the tribunal reports at the very start of this blog last June, that the council suspended and dismissed normal council employees for far less than BEING IN CHARGE of a council that has, somehow, managed to end up with a £12,000,000 black hole in its budget. Yet the chief executive who is directly responsible for our council being in such a mess financially, is just allowed to slip away through the back door, with glowing public appraisals from the leader of the council who just a few months before he was made leader called for the chief executives investigation twice, without so much as a sniff of an investigation or any serious questions asked?

It would appear that not only were that last Libdem/Tory/East Cleveland independent coalition in the Chief executives pocket, the new Labour leader is too! Once again, the question we all have to ask is why?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Its Redcar baths all over again...

Today I telephoned the Redcar Leisure Centre to enquire about booking the Coatham Bowl sometime in December this year. The person who answered the phone said that it was more or less fully booked at the time that I wanted it. This person then went on to ask me how the campaign was going and what was happening?

So I gave them as brief an update as I could. The person that I spoke to then told me that there had been people looking round the bowl and leisure centre who were putting tenders in to knock it down.I was informed that Persimmon had sent them and that they wanted it down by the first few months of next year.

I was absolutely outraged! This company, with no 106 agreement in place tying them to providing any leisure facilities at all, are now trying to rush the council into demolishing our Bowl and leisure centre and there are absolutely no plans, or money to replace it! Remember, the councils "people, pride and passion" magazine, has already stated that the building of the 'leisure' has been moved back to phase two of the development which isnt due to begin until June 2009 at least! So we will be without our leisure centre and Dance floor until at least then.

This is just absolute sheer bloody mindedness by the council and Persimmon who,coincidentally, haven't even bought the land yet! They have to be stopped now. They are carrying on like everything is just fine, regardless of all the problems and lies and underhandedness surrounding this scheme and despite the scheme being described as botched and tainted by our MP and Labour leader of the council.

They want to demolish our last leisure amenity in this town and just like with our baths, they have no plans to replace it for some time to come. If Persimmon homes were going to be building a new leisure centre/pool then it wouldn't have been moved back to phase two, it would still be in phase one. If the council had any money to build it, then it would still be in phase one not phase two.The fact is Persimmon arent building it and the council havent got the funding and that's why its been moved back to phase two.

In 1997 when our baths was demolished, we were promised a new baths within two years of it being demolished. TEN YEARS ON and we still have no pool! The thing is, when BORROWING the money to finance the building of a baths has been the councils intention for some time, why haven't we had one built long before now? We have been in this position before with our baths and we cannot let this to happen again now with our leisure centre, dance floor and bowl.

This has to be stopped.

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