Sunday, January 06, 2008

This arrogance,contempt and spite has to be stopped now.

Here is the part of the High Court Judges exact verdict, that the council are trying to sweep under the carpet. And I quote…

“In the result, the claimant succeeds on his 1st ground. In my judgement, the councils decision to grant planning permission for the project was UNLAWFUL by reason of apparent BIAS and apparent PRE-DETERMINATION. Planning permission should be quashed on that ground”.

There are seventeen pages of his verdict. Holding the meeting during Purdah, the thing that the council are trying to make most play of, was just a part of the complex case. There are two things that need to be said here.

Firstly, after sending George Dunning an email pointing this out to him and pointing out that the major reason for the planning process being unlawful was bias and pre-determination, he replied, not only ignoring this point, but still quoting the issue of Purdah and still maintaining that both he and the council and the MP, had not seen the judges final verdict? If we have received the final verdict then it is impossible to believe that the council has not. They are desperately trying to ignore the major issue of bias and pre-determination as the main reasons for the whole process being unlawful, in order to try and just carry on regardless.

This belief has been enforced today. The same person who sent Mr Dunning the letter, today went to the Coatham Bowl. He was told by the duty officer, that the Coatham Bowl and Leisure centre are still going to be closed on March 31st this year. Dancers will be made to go to the education centre (old Salt Scar school) on Corporation Rd and a temporary gym will be set up on the racecourse.


They have no planning permission for anything, yet they are still carrying on as though they have. They are closing down our leisure centre and only concert/dance venue when they haven’t got planning permission to build anything in its place and wont have for a long time. This is an act of spite. They are trying to force the people of this town to just accept this flawed, unlawful, underfunded scheme, even though they have no planning permission for it because it was found to be unlawful, even though they have no funding for it and even though the whole scheme is dead in the water. In closing the Bowl and Leisure centre and offering not even a sub-standard replacement, they are trying to make people accept their plan.

It is about time that instead of displaying such arrogance, they showed a bit more humility in light of being found to have had an unlawful, biased and pre-determined planning permission quashed in the High Court.

I urge every last person in this borough to fight them and their arrogance and their utter contempt for the public within this borough. They have no planning permission because of their bias and pre-determination. Because this scheme has been given cross party backing in the council chamber they are unlikely to get planning permission, because planning committees have to unbiased and independent and this council cant provide an unbiased planning committee, so this scheme is dead in the water. Yet despite this, they want to close and demolish our last leisure facility in order to try and get the public to simply accept this dead scheme.
They have to be stopped now. They are the ones who have been found to have been unlawful. They are the ones who are guilty. It is they that should be penalized, NOT THE PEOPLE OF THIS TOWN!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Our Press Release...

Here is a Gazette link regarding the Independent investigation that we have called for below, is what our actual press release said. Compare the two?



The Friends of Coatham Common are demanding an immediate independent investigation into Redcar & Cleveland Council’s controversial leisure-cum-housing scheme following last week’s High Court ruling which saw planning permission thrown out as ‘unlawful’; and following MP Vera Baird’s desperate attempts to absolve Labour of their part in the scandal.

Chris McGlade, spokesperson for ‘The Friends of Coatham Common’ said, "The high court ruling damns the council officers and ALL the parties from the previous Tory/Lib-Dem/Independent coalition to the current Labour leadership and including Vera Baird. They were all fully aware that the planning meeting was unlawful and they all did nothing to stop it”.

“Vera Baird is the Minister of Justice & Solicitor General of this country. Her attempt to incite anger in tax payers having to pay court costs for the judicial review that we brought as our democratic right against a planning decision that she knew was unlawful, is a shocking disgrace. Vera Baird may claim that Labour warned the Coalition at the time of the planning meeting but if they were so keen for justice to be done why did they then commit public money to defending something that they knew was unlawful in the High Court? They were more than willing to break their election promises of taking it back to being leisure-led and they were also more than willing to let Persimmon Homes make millions of pounds of profit by building 359 houses on our coastline with unlawful planning permission. I think rate payers of this borough deserve to know why they were so willing and why the council and MP, have aligned themselves with an unlawful situation to such an extent? ”

This latest episode is featured in the final cut of a documentary chronicling ‘the real story of Coatham Enclosure’ by Teesside film-maker Craig Hornby.

Craig said “I’m editing the final cut and it keeps getting longer and longer as more and more revelations come to light. Vera Baird’s latest statement beggars belief as just last month we had a screening of the film arranged in Parliament but she got it stopped. If Labour weren’t party to the scandal, why did she not seize a golden opportunity to bash the coalition by showing the film in The House?
She then called for an internal inquiry but who she did she ask to lead the inquiry? None other than the acting Chief Executive, Ray Richardson, a man who has been recently featured in back to back editions of Private Eye for his less than trustworthy behaviour. This move on Vera Bairds part, was nothing more than an attempt to whitewash the situation regarding Coatham and other issues and keep it 'in house'.
This is simply not good enough. The situation regarding Coatham needs a full, independent investigation now.

Craigs film "Coatham, a common concern" which calls for an independent investigation and presents the full facts surrounding the Coatham scheme will be screened early in the New Year.
For more info:

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