Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Meeting at the Coatham Bowl 21/10/07 Part 1

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Alex Jones picks up on our campaign!

I have been having many hits on this blog from the U.S. Then yesterday, the legendary Alex Jones puts a link to the Coatham trailer on his site. The word is definately spreading!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coatham a common concern trailer

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jimmy Willis goes to the High Court

Today we went to the high court in Newcastle for the pre-court meeting connected to the case of Jimmy Willis being evicted from Coatham Common. It would appear that the council and their legal representative had anticipated that the judge may just have granted the council a possesion order today however, after we made our case out to him he didnt and now Jimmy will get to have his say and be heard in the high court in front of a high court judge. Submissions have to be made by the end of November and then the court will decide when the hearing date will be after that.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The truth laid bare for all to see

At last, after months of investigative work and meetings with various people the truth about this councils behaviour came out at our meeting last night in front of nearly 500 people in the Coatham Bowl. The most explosive information that we exposed, was the evidence provided by a whistleblower at the highest level of our council, a suppressed Audit Commission report from September 2006 which shows that this council in not doing a mid term financial plan for 06/07 08/09 and in not presenting it to council, the council was struggling to even be considered a 1 star authority, never mind the four star authority that they keep on boasting that they are.

This document was suppressed and taken out of circulation by a handful of senior officers who didn’t want the information that we aren’t a four star authority being made public and bringing to the attention of the council. They didn’t want to lose the money paid by the Government for councils that have four star status and according to the information that we have received from the whistleblower, they also did not want to jeopardise the chances of the old coalition taking control of the council once more at the local elections this May. This is serious now. In suppressing this document these people have acted fraudulently. Not only that, they have altered council minutes from March 2006 to make it look like this mid term financial plan had been done and presented to the council, when the Audit report from September 2006 that they have suppressed, shows that they haven’t! The thing is that councilors from the Redcar and Cleveland Borough council have known about the existence of this document, yet none of them have ever spoken out about it.

We have painstakingly collected all the evidence and have given it to the serious fraud office. It has also been taken to the Auditor general, G.O.N.E and the local Government ombudsman. We have approached an outside police force and an MP from another constituency who was appalled by the situation and who told us that they would be neglecting their duty if they did not intervene. We have approached a well respected investigative journalist and national publications and we are determined to get the independent inquiry into the actions of this council over this issue and the issue of Coatham. Which brings me to the Environment Agency documents that were given to us late on Saturday, which appear to show collusion between the Environment Agency, council and Persimmon about the issue of flooding in Coatham. The council and Persimmon have desperately tried to get out of building a multi million pound sea defence in Coatham. They have, in the documents provided, got the EA to go against their own consultants reports which show nearly two thirds of the site as being a zone three high flood risk area, and instead go with Persimmons' consultants who state that the area isnt a flood area hardly at all? Council officer Ian Hopley even states that he thinks that there may not even be a need for a sea defence!
In one email from an employee of the EA to other employees of the EA, it clearly states that the EA were going to do all they could to help this scheme because, and I quote “ a lot of money and the councils credibility is at stake”. When was the councils credibility or a lot of money ever deemed to be a consideration that had to be taken into account by the EA?

Once again, the truth and the real facts have been suppressed. Not only that, in one document it states that the decision to add their own planning condition to the planning consent for Coatham and not the Environment agencies planning condition, was taken by the LOCAL AUTHORITY AND NOT THE PLANNERS! In doing so the document clearly states that the council have gone against DEFRA/government guidelines. This statement backs up totally the information given to us by the whistleblower, that the decisions in Coatham were taken by a handful of officers in the council.
In this instance they have overrode the planners who had already agreed the wording of the Environment Agencies planning condition that stated that no houses could be built until the sea defence in Coatham had been built. It just so happens that in the main, the officers who have changed this condition to allow houses to be built before the sea defence is built and who have overrode the planners, are the same officers who have made most of the decisions in Coatham and are the same officers who have acted fraudulently in suppressing the Audit report which shows that this council isn't a four star authority and which is struggling to be a ONE STAR AUTHORITY, not the four star authority that they have been misleading people into believing that they are.

All of these documents will be scanned and put on this blog as soon as possible. All of these facts will be there for all to see. These truths were spoken in front of nearly five hundred people last night at the Coatham Bowl.

We are going to make sure that the investigation into the whole stinking lot begins.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's up to you...

On Sunday October 21st at 7pm at the Coatham Bowl, Craig Hornby is showing a film that he has made about our campaign in Coatham. On that night, facts about the shameful way that this council have behaved, backed up with documents, will be brought before the public, about Coatham and about the behaviour of this councils officers. Our group have fought relentlessly not only for the Enclosure to be developed solely for leisure, but for the truth and for that truth to be known. And on Sunday 21st of October it will be.
I urge all residents of Redcar and Cleveland to come to the showing of that film to see and hear the truth. You will be shocked. You will be upset. You will feel let down as we do. But it is up to as many people as is possible, to come and see and hear the truth, so that the abuses that have been taking place, by those in authority in OUR council are stopped and never, ever happen again.
We have done all we can to bring you the facts about the scheme in Coatham and this councils behaviour for over three years. This is our borough. This is our council. It does not belong to the unelected officers.Its so important that you come and see and hear for yourself on the 21st, for the sake of our town and borough and the home that we want our children to grow up in.

Now it's up to you.

FOCC: the common people

The Friends of Coatham Common's newsletter:

click on images to enlarge:

Whats that all about?

I have been informed by a council source that an email has been sent by a senior officer of Redcar and Cleveland Borough to practically everone in the council, praising the ex-branch secretary of Unison, when in reality he has been expelled from the union after a two year investigation that brought some extremely serious charges against him. Not only is it highly irregular for an officer to do this, why should it be that senior management are praising the ex-branch secretary of the union when he had been expelled from that union after a two year investigation? Could it be that one of the charges brought against him was colluding with management?

From what I gather the Labour group are reeling about this.

I’ll tell you more at the showing of Craig Hornby’s film at the Coatham Bowl on the 21st of this month.

Ive just looked at Redcar.net and here is a posting stating the same thing from someone called laughingfish....."If there are any labour councillors who still have the guts to look at this site. As a UNISON member, and a council employee I was disturbed to receive an email yesterday from a member of RCBC’s senior management. The email, from the council’s Chief Communication, Information & Engagement Officer, in the Chief Executive's Department, was sent to everyone in the council. It thanks the former UNISON branch Secretary for his service to the Branch. It also forwards an email from the individual concerned indicating that he has been expelled from UNISON after 33 years of loyal service.
Many posters on this site have referred to the poor state of industrial relations within the council in the past. It appears that despite their expressed intentions Labour members seem unable to stop managers from abusing their positions and meddling in trade union issues. I say these things because many UNISON members are fully aware of the events which resulted in the extremely lengthy investigation (2 years), and the subsequent expulsion.
The Chief Communication, Information & Engagement Officer would be wise to acquaint herself with the facts of these matters – which are very serious – before taking such steps as she has done. As it stands in my opinion the officers email is a disservice to the union I am a member of and seeks only to damage it. Furthermore it is written without any regard for the facts. Consequently a number of us are now going to ask our Union to consider publicising these facts. Furthermore to pursue this manager’s inappropriate misconduct through the correct channels.
When will managers at RCBC learn we decide who represents us, not you. We did this 2 years ago when we voted a new branch secretary in. Stop meddling.
When oh when will Labour members cut the rhetoric and deal with what we voted them into deal with. You are still not in control of this council !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mr Abbotts cop out!

Below are Chris Abbotts weak excuses for not putting my posting on his blog. He tries to wriggle out of posting my comment by saying It was an anonymous posting, but then he says I revealed my identity? He says that he reserves the right not to publish anything which is personal, which my posting is not, nor is it offensive or libellous. Have a look for yourselves, I posted it on my blog yesterday. If the facts contained in my posting were libellous, then surely I would have been sued, alas, I have not. The only time any kind of action has been remotely taken against me was when Councilor Dave Fitzpatrick was represented by Cleveland police over the civil issue of me posting the truth about him on my blog and that was thrown out by the CPS only recently.When you take into consideration the amounts of police time and resources and PUBLIC MONEY that were spent by the police trying to fit an offence to something that wasn't an offence on behalf of a councillor, then you are left with only one conclusion. What an absolute disgrace!

The thing is, Mr Abbott just hates the truth being known.That's what he finds offensive most.This man just cant stand the fact that people now know that he, along with others, have stooped to the absolute gutter in order to try and marginalise those involved in our campaign by starting untrue smear campaigns and making unsubstantiated claims in cleverly worded 'news' letters and resorting to tactics that you would never expect from councillors or its officers, hence him stating in his response that he will post my comment if I retract the names because he doesn't want you to know what he and others have done.
Funny how he wants me to retract names in order to get my posting on his blog, but he doesn't refute any of the things that I have said? He also cant bear to tell you what we found out under the freedom of information act, that there is no 106 agreement between the council and Persimmon tying Persimmon to providing any leisure in the Coatham scheme at all.

What I want to know is, was why we had to ask for the information under the freedom of information act about the lack of a 106 agreement, at all? Why hasn't our 'open and transparent' council told us this of their own free will? Perhaps thats because for over three years they've been telling people that Persimmon ARE providing leisure in Coatham. This obviously isn't the case with the council now wanting to BORROW £10,400,000 to build a leisure centre/pool.

Yes, Mr Abbott and the rest of the council for that matter, don't want you to know these things. What you should now be asking yourselves is why they don't want you to know the truth about their behaviour, or the Coatham housing scheme?

Comment on Coatham Links
Posted by Chris:This blog has received a comment, via the anonymous option, to this posting which was predominantly about Labour but did make reference to Coatham Links, the topic of the comment, which we have rejected.We reserve the right not to publish anonymous postings even when the writer identifies himself if we consider them to be offensive, personal or if we think they may be libelous. All three apply in this case.The blogger whose name appears on the bottom of the comment does not allow comments at all on his blog, at least that was the case the last time I looked.If the person concerned would like to re-send the comments with all the references to other people removed we will be happy to publish the points that refer to me, and any additional ones he may have, as a blog item and answer them point by point in good faith.

Whatever happened to democracy?

Below is a press release issued by the council.

New Council Leader promises: We will not let the public down
Published: 17th May 2007

REDCAR & Cleveland Borough Council's new Leader Councillor George Dunning has today launched the Authority's new administration between the 28-strong Labour group and two independents, promising: "We will not let the public down."Councillor Dunning, installed at the Council's Annual General Meeting in Eston Town Hall, said: "We recognise that there are many major issues to tackle across virtually every aspect of Council services."We have a strong team in place and one of our first tasks will be to carry out a review of all structures - both political and managerial - to ensure that we achieve the best way forward for the Borough."We are not going to make promises to improve things overnight, but I can assure people they will see changes which will be based on clearly-identified priorities and a determination that Redcar & Cleveland will deliver quality services and play a constructive role within the Tees Valley and the wider region." The Council's ten member Cabinet will be chaired by Councillor Dunning, with Councillor Sheelagh Clarke as Deputy Leader, who also takes on the portfolio for Culture, Leisure and Tourism.

How strange to be reading this today 1st October alongside the REDCAR & CLEVELAND FORWARD PLAN covering the Period October 2007-January 2008 Published 14/09/07

The purpose of this document, as per Introduction, is a requirement of The Local Government Act 2000 requiring the Council to produce, according to a published timetable, a Forward Plan of Key Decisions to be taken over each ensuing four-month period.
Page 5 c states that the plan will contain details of the Key Decisions to be made for the four-month period following its publication. Lets take a short look: -

Bolckow Road Action Area
The Cabinet Decision will be made on 25 Sep 2007
How and when to make representations:
To Brian Kitchen before 10 Sep 2006 Tel 01642 444323
Coatham Leisure Centre Contract
The Cabinet Decision will be made on 25 Sept 2007
How and when to make representations:
To Ian Hopley 10 Sep 2007 Tel 01642 444301
Draft Redcar & Cleveland Regeneration Strategy
The Cabinet Decision will be made on 25 Sep 2007
How and when to make representations:
To Ian Wardle before 10 Sep 2007 Tel 01642 444258
Greater Eston Masterplan
The Cabinet Decision will be made on 25 Sep 2007
How and when to make representations:
To Bryan Kitchen before 10 Sep 2007 Tel 01642 444323 plus two more.
Monitoring of 2007/08 Capital Programme-Period 4
The Cabinet Decision will be made on 25 Sep 2007
How and when to make representations:
To Christine Scott before 10 Sept 2007 Tel 01642 771138


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