Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Persimmon? Using 'Cowboy' firms to do their work? Never?


Bearing in mind the tragic story of a four year old boy who lost his life as a result of a mantlepiece, in his parents Persimmon home falling on him because it hadn't been fixed to the wall properly, take a look at the link above. Read the problems that these people had with their Persimmon home as a result of Persimmon employing contractors who were not sufficiently trained enough, to work on their sites. They have been described by the author of the article as 'cowboys'.

According to the inquest into the death of the four year old boy, the people who fitted the mantlepiece that came away from the wall, had had no real training or experience of doing this job.



Persimmon employing 'cowboys' again? will they ever learn any lessons?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I always had my doubts about Dr Joan Rees?

Here is a page from the last edition of Private Eye. It concerns 'dodgy dealings' taking place in Doncaster City Council, home of one of the largest, if not the largest, local authority corruption scandals that this country has ever seen. But please look closely, because who should be doing a great impression of Sharon Shoesmith from Haringey Council and telling porkies in order to try and convince people that everything is okay and proper and cover up the truth about what has really been happening in Doncaster? None other than our very own Dr Joan Rees, an ex- senior officer of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council who along with a whole flurry of other senior officers, just couldn't wait to leave RCBC for pastures new!

It would appear that after high tailing it out of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in late 2006, she has wasted absolutely no time at all in embroiling herself in practises, as have been exposed in Private Eye, that are dubious to say the least.

If she has found it so easy to get involved in this kind of behaviour so soon after leaving, then you really have to ask yourself just what was she involved in in all the years that she was in her position at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council?

After all, you don't just start behaving in such a manner over night do you ?

This is image from private eye. Click on image to enlarge.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Four year old killed in Persimmon Home.

A friend of mine who lives in the South called me today and told me the story from his area about a four year old boy who was killed because the fireplace in his Persimmon Home, came away from the wall and crushed him.

It came away from the wall because Persimmons' sub contractor hadn't used sufficient fixings to hold the mantlepiece to the wall. Why hadn't sufficient fixings been used in so many Persimmon Homes? It clearly states in the articles below, that the inquest found that there was lack of an audit paper trail? Have Persimmon tried to cut costs by instructing their sub contractors to use less fixings than they should, because there were many other mantlepieces that had already fallen and many more that had also been installed shoddily? Ultimately though as the inquest found, through shoddy work amongst other things taking place in Persimmons' houses, a four year old boy has now lost his life.

This is an absolute tragedy.

In light of this questions have to be asked here in Redcar. If Persimmon homes cannot oversee the safe installation of fireplaces in their houses, can anyone in their right mind see them providing sufficient funding or attention to safety in order to clean cap the 35 acre site in Coatham with clean top soil to try and get rid of contaminants in the soil to make the area safe? Or clear the whole area of landmines which has already been stated in their own application would be so costly to do, it would make the whole scheme financially unviable? Or even worse, provide between 12 to 14 million pounds in order to construct a sea defence in order to make the area in Coatham safe from flooding and not only that, make sure that it is built correctly?

Of course they're not.

If they haven't been able to ensure that their subcontractors have fitted fireplaces properly, then how on earth can they be trusted to deliver a piece of major engineering and construction by building a seadefence as part of the Coatham Scheme?

This is a company who have, through the death of a small child, been found wanting on so many different counts. This is a company that for some reason, are our councils preferred developer? Their shoddy practises and their total disregard for the safety of the people who buy their homes is there for all to see. Why are they our councils preferred developer? How many watchdog programmes, complaints from existing Persimmon home owners on the ings, dispatches programmes etc, does our council need to see before they realise that this company care about nothing other than their big fat profits? The most repugnant thing of all, is that they are ultimately responsible for all the contractors that they employ and yet here they are seemingly trying to pass the buck.

Does Redcar really want or need this level of commitment to safety here?

Persimmon will be desperate to keep this story as confined to its own area as they can. I say let everyone here see their lack of caring to attention and to the safety of others.

Watch these news items, read the newspaper articles and be horrified. Not only because of the death of a small boy, but because Persimmon and this council know how dangerous working on the Coatham site is, but they were quite happy to let McAlpines workers dig into Coatham common in September 2006 without following any of the safe working procedures for men working in contaminated soil, procedures set down in their own planning application. They were quite happy to let these workers have no UXO men on site as they dug into the common when both Persimmon and the Council knew that the land is home to potentially 100's of unexploded WW11 landmines.
Not only that, they allowed a JCB to dig into the common, when it clearly states in their own planning application that because of the potential prescence of UXO there, no such heavy equipment that causes such vibration should be used.

They are an absolute disgrace. It almost makes me want to print off these pages from the newspaper articles below and deliver them through the door of every Persimmon home in Redcar, to make people aware that this could quite easily have happened here, or even worse, may yet still?






Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The waters get even murkier as more truths come to light.

Have a look at this.


We were pointed to this by a source from within the council and have discovered some very interesting information regarding the PCT and their involvement in the Coatham Scheme.

In the Redcar and Cleveland Coatham Scrutiny Committee final report on page 12, it clearly states...

5.2 Health Care Concern

5.2.1 Concerns were raised regarding the ability of the doctors’ surgeries and the dentists in the area to cope with the influx of additional people from the new housing development. It was be anticipated that a development of this size would house approximately 500/600 people.


"The expert witness from Langbaurgh Primary Care Trust stated that:
5.2.2 Doctors Surgeries
Currently this would not be an issue for the local doctors’ surgeries in Redcar as they had spare capacity and there was an already declining population in the area".

Well, well, well...this shows us quite a few things and once again raises more questions?

Firstly it shows that the PCT had had involvement with, and input into the Coatham Scheme, long before the plans for a five GP surgery were added to the Coatham Planning application, without there being any consultation and without any of the councillors or relevant council committees knowing a thing about it in 2006.

But secondly and most important of all, is the statement made by the "expert witness" from the Langbaurgh Primary Care Trust.
This expert witness clearly told the Coatham Scrutiny Committee in 2004, that there was no need to worry about the influx of extra people coming into Coatham as a result of the houses being built, because existing doctors surgeries in Redcar had spare capacity to accomodate the extra number of people that had been quoted.

Not only that, this expert witness completely rubbishes in one line what Cllr Chris Abbott and countless other individuals from within the council have been saying for years. Cllr Abbott, amongst others, has been telling us since our campaign began, that the population of Redcar was increasing and so we needed to have the houses in Coatham and elsewhere to meet this demand. And yet here is this expert witness telling the Coatham Scrutiny meeting that the area, and I quote, "had a declining population"?

How can Cllr Abbott tell us that the population was increasing to justify building the houses, when an expert from the PCT had already told the Coatham Scrutiny Meeting that the population of the area was declining?

How can Veronica Moore the wife of the ex-chief executive, who was on the board of the PCT at the time and the PCT board state in 2006, that there was a need to move the existing Coatham surgery over to the Coatham Enclosure Scheme because they wouldnt be able to cope with the increased numbers of people, when an expert from the PCT in 2004, approximately eighteen months before that state, that there was enough spare places in existing surgeries to accomodate the influx of extra people that the scheme would bring and so obviously, have no need of another surgery being provided as part of the scheme?

It is clear to see that what PCT manager Mr Stephen Childs said at the meeting at the Coatham Memorial Hall in January 2007, carries far more weight than we could have possibly anticipated. He stated in front of over 100 people, that the decision to add the 5GP surgery was and I quote "a speculative move on behalf of Persimmon and an officer of the council". An officer that for some reason he refused to name?

Any guesses as to who it was?

Whoever it was they, along with the developer and also the PCT, despite Stephen Childs saying that the PCT didnt know that plans for a surgery had been added to the Coatham plans but actually did know, desperately wanted this new surgery to go ahead. They pushed this new GP surgery despite it having had no public consultation before the plans were added to the application, despite councillors having had no knowledge about its addition to the application and despite the most damning fact of all, that one of the PCT's own expert witnesses had already stated months and months before, to the councils own Coatham Scrutiny Committee themselves, that there was absolutely no need for it at all?

Now why on earth would they all do that?

Friday, December 12, 2008


Hello again Mark,

There were a few other questions that I would like you to answer that I forgot to ask in my previous email.

Why are the council still pressing ahead with the scheme when the leader of the council has described the planning process for Coatham as tainted and the MP has described the Coatham scheme on radio as a disaster?

Why are the council still pressing ahead with the scheme when the MP has already stated publicly that there is no funding for any of the leisure facilities that have been touted by the council for four and a half years and when the only leisure facility that is now featuring is being paid for through prudential borrowing?

Why when the MP has already stated that there is no funding for any leisure, did the ex-CEO and cabinet member for economic development state publicly that the funding for all the leisure, including the bowling alley, was in place? Which statement is true?

Why when building thousands of houses on hundreds of acres of land has not regenerated our town and the town is in decline and this process started long before the credit crunch, do you and the council believe that another 359 houses being built on just 20 or so acres will turn the fortunes of the town around?

Why, when the planning process had already been described as tainted by George Dunning and when George Dunning and Vera Baird had, after the High Court Decision last December that stated that the planning process was unlawful, state publicly that they had known all along that it was unlawful and had even warned the old coalition that what they were doing was wrong, did the Labour controlled council then challenge the Judicial Review over the planning process?

If the Labour leader and the Labour MP and the Labour group had all known at the time of the planning meeting in April 2007, that what was happening was unlawful, even to the point of warning the old coalition about their actions, then why did they defend the process that they knew to be unlawful all along in the High Court?

More than this, why was it Persimmon who appealled against the High Courts decision and not the council and even worse, when the original High Court decision was overturned at appeal, why didn't George Dunning and the Labour MP who had spoken out so strongly about knowing how the whole planning process had been unlawful from the start, did they not say a word about it or condemn the High Court of Appeal for overturning something that they had already stated publicly, that they knew was unlawful all along?

As cabinet member for Economic Development and so presumably privvy to all of the relevant information relating to the questions that I have asked, I would like the answers within fourteen days please.


Chris Mcglade.

A letter to Mark Hannon, cabinet member for economic development.

Here is an email that I have just sent to Mark Hannon cabinet member for economic development, following his latest comments regarding Coatham. Lets see how he responds...

Dear Mark,

I just thought that I'd drop you a quick line. I was interested by your latest comments about Coatham and I quote..

"Councillor Hannon, giving his portfolio report to a meeting of the Council, reaffirmed the Council's commitment to the Coatham Links development."Persimmon Homes remains committed to the scheme but it has been delayed by legal challenges against the planning and village green decisions.
"Persimmon were successful in their appeal about the planning permission and we appeared at the High Court last week about the Village Green."In the meantime, we have been working to secure a Preferred Contractor for the Leisure Centre tender and we started improvements works to the boating lake."So long as there are no more legal challenges, we hope to start on site with Persimmon Homes in April."

You say that you hope to be on site in April, but by that do you mean the council or Persimmon?

Also, as none of the 47 planning conditions attached to this development have been addressed yet, but have to be before work begins, could you confirm that all 47 planning conditions will be addressed before work begins? None more so than the construction of a seadefence estimated to cost between £12,000,000 and £14,000,000? It would appear to me that if you are hoping to be on site in April, then you better start on the seadefence straight away to give you at least the remotest of chances of having the seadefence completed before the houses are completed.

Will you confirm that the whole site will be cleared of landmines and contaminants before the work actually begins in April? Afterall, this is something that is set down in Persimmons own planning application, as having to be done before work even starts.

Will you confirm that action will be taken against Simon Dale for breaking DEFRAS rules in changing an EA planning condition, without consent or consultation, regarding the construction of the seadefence?

Could you tell me why public money is being spent on providing the seadefence in Coatham, something which is the sole responsibility of Persimmon?

Could you tell me why the cost of the boating lake refurbishment has risen from approximately £50,000 to over £700,000? Could you tell me why Persimmon are no longer contributing to this cost?

Could you tell me why it was stated in the Gazette in 2006 that the boating lake improvements were not part of the Coatham Scheme but complimentary to it, to then suddenly become part of the Coatham scheme at the planning meeting the following year, to now become, once again, nothing to do with the Coatham Scheme?

Could you tell me why, when Persimmon have already downed tools on sites around the country because of the stagnant housing market and because of the country sliding into recession where as a result, people aren't even buying cars and Christmas presents let alone houses, why the council are so optimistic that they are going to be on site next April when so many major hurdles, in just making the area safe, still havent even been addressed yet, let alone physically tackled?

Could you possibly tell me why there has been no council investigation into the massive conflict of interests between Mrs Veronica Moore who was pushing the 5GP surgery now included as part of the Coatham scheme as board member of the PCT, whilst her husband Colin, do you remember him? was pushing it as head of the council?

Can you tell me why the council and Persimmon were both employing the same solicitors and consultants to do reports and surveys about the gross housing requirements and the contaminants in the land at Coatham, a year before the LEISURE, not housing development, was even advertised?

Could you tell me why the council are hoping to build a media and youth centre, also comprising a drugs counselling centre, on an area of the Coatham Enclosure that has already been designated for the building of a bowling alley as part of the Coatham scheme? A bowling Alley that the now ex-Chief Executive and ex-member for economic development have stated publicly, that they had funding for as far back as 2006?
Why is something that isn't part of the Coatham scheme, replacing something that is part of the Coatham scheme and not only that, replacing something that they are supposed to have full funding for?

To be honest Mark, your latest statement about Coatham was akin to the less than honest press release that both you and George Dunning issued in March. You know, the one where you made out that the village green process was over when in reality you both knew that it wasn't because the council had already notified opposing solicitors before the release was even issued, that the council themselves were intending to take the issue to the High Court. Could you tell me why you did that Mark?

I would like you to answer all aspects of this email and all the questions contained within it, within fourteen days please.


Chris Mcglade.

Friday, December 05, 2008

This simply has to stop.

Approximately three or four weeks ago, under the Freedom of Information Act, I asked the Audit Commission if they had ever employed a Mrs Veronica Moore ( The wife of the ex-Chief Executive of Redcar And Cleveland Borough Council Colin Moore) either as an employee of the Audit Commission or in her capacity as a consultant? I then asked that if they had, had she ever done any work for the Commission regarding Redcar And Cleveland Borough Council and if so, what were the dates?

They replied a short while later refusing to confirm or deny that she had, stating that this information was protected under the Data Protection Act. Take a look at this first link


Strange? Here was the Audit Commission refusing to confirm or deny whether Mrs Moore, in any capacity, had been employed by them and yet here on this site for Fairlight Consultancy, Mrs Moore herself gives details of her own employment history where it states quite clearly, that she has worked for the Audit Commission?

I sent the link to the Audit Commission and put it to them that their excuse for not giving me the information that I had asked for held no water at all. I re-submitted my request.

A short time later, I received a reply from a Mr Shipsey at the Audit Commission who told me that just because Mrs Moores details had appeared on this site for a firm of consultants that she had worked for, it did not mean to say that it was correct or that it had been put onto the site by her or with her authorisation? He insinuated that the information could have been put onto this site by someone else without her knowledge! he then claimed that he wanted to know why I wanted the information and said that my request was based more in curiosity than it was in public interest. Once again, even though Mrs Moore had already admitted publicly herself that she had worked for the commission, the Commission hid behind the Data Protection Act and refused to give me the information.

I quite liked the line where Mr Shipsey said that I was asking more "out of curiosity than in public interest". So I pointed a few things out to him.

I told him that it had already come to light that Mrs Moore was pushing the inclusion of a 5GP surgery as part of the Coatham Enclosure Scheme as a non executive board member of the local PCT as her husband, who had taken the unprecedented step of taking the planning department of the council under his direct control, was pushing all aspects of the Coatham Enclosure Scheme from within the council.

I pointed out that shortly after we made this public, Mrs Moore resigned her position as non executive board member of the PCT.

I then pointed out to Mr Shipsey, that it had come to light and been featured in Private Eye magazine, that senior officers of this council, including Colin Moore, had surpressed a final financial Audit report that showed that this council were not a four star authority and then colluded with a certain individual/s with the Commission to replace it with another 'final' report, that miraculously showed that our council was a four star authority.

I pointed out that not only had both versions of this final document been put onto the Private Eye Website, the Serious Fraud Office had sent me a letter stating that this should be investigated by the Police possibly assisited by the CPS and that this letter had formed part of a large dossier that had been complied and sent to the District Auditor and that had resulted in the council being downgraded to a two star authority.

I told him that despite his remarks, my request for information, in view of what has already taken place between officers of the council and the Audit Commission alone, was based far more in public interest than it ever was in simple curiosity.
I then sent him this next link...


Lo and behold, here is another site where Mrs Moore had given details of her employment history to the public and once more, she states that she had worked for the Audit Commission. I put it to Mr Shipsey that his excuse was looking even more ridiculous than it had done the first time and I re-submitted my FOI request.

That was over a week ago and I still haven't had even an acknowledgement from Mr Shipsey.

It is clear for all to see, that the Audit Commission are trying to conceal the truth. Truth that has already been admitted publicly by Mrs Moore herself. Once again the question now has to be why? Why are the Audit Commission refusing to admit what Mrs Moore herself has admitted, namely that she has worked for the Audit Commission. There can only be one possible answer and that is that she has undertaken work for the Audit Commission regarding Redcar And Cleveland Borough Council and probably whilst her husband was in charge of the council?

In view of what has already come to light regarding the supression and replacement of the final financial report, the Audit Commission are obvioulsy reluctant to draw any more attention to the fact that what has possibly taken place, is at the very least, a conflict of interests.

It is clear to see, in the light of the shocking levels of collusion and whitewash that have already been demonstrated, that an independent investigation into all aspects of this council has to take place.

Only then, as in Harringey, will the truth of what has taken place, ever fully be known

Monday, December 01, 2008

Different cases but still, so many similarities...

Today, there were two stories in the news that had so many similarities with what is happening and what has happened here in Redcar and Cleveland. In the shocking baby P case, it was revealed that Ofsted had given Harringey council four star status for its childcare last year! Now that the brown stuff has hit the fan and it is clear to see that Harringey aren't a four star authority in this area, Ofsted have now said that they based their four star rating on false information given to them by Harringey council.

Mmmmm? Does this not sound remarkably like The Audit Commission giving our council a four star rating after the council had colluded with a certain individual/s within the commission, in order to surpress and replace a Final Financial management report that showed that Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council weren't a four star authority? Does the situation with Ofsted and Harringey council not sound remarkably similar to the Standards Board for England and the Local Government Ombudsman and the HSE and who knows who else, all being lied to by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and just accepting the word of a council who has had its senior officers found guilty of lying to employment tribunals, concealing the truth, bringing the council into disrepute and failing to tell the truth under the FOI act?

We then had the news that the officer in charge of childrens services at Harringey, Sharon shoesmith, has been found to have been telling lies because two or three weeks ago, she said that she had complete confidence that the council had done all they could to help prevent the baby P tradgedy, that basically they were blameless and that there wasn't any need for an independent investigation because an internal investigation would be good enough when in reality, todays report shows that they had all failed terribly and as such, two of the guilty have had the decency to resign but Mrs Shoesmith has been removed from her post on full pay!

Does this not sound remarkably like our ex-chief executive and ex-finance officer being found to have behaved terribly in tribunal after tribunal, been found to have lied to tribunals, been so guilty that their investigation was called for on more than one occasion, yet both men were then allowed to leave the council on massive enhanced pay deals and pensions by the leader of the council who called for some of the investigations, without a single question being asked?

Does the news of a Government whistleblower being arrested and having his computer etc confiscated at the request of the Governement, for leaking low risk information to a Conservative MP and the Conservative MP who received the information, having the police march into his office at the Commons, have his computer etc confiscated and also be arrested, not sound remarkably like two young men from East Cleveland being investigated for thirteen weeks by the police at the request of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, to be then arrested, have their computers etc confiscated, DNA taken, fingerprints taken and be detained for questioning for approximately thirteen hours for the non-crime of fly posting? To be then let off a couple of months later without charge and with just a talking to from the now ex-chief executive?

Does it not sound like my own case where Cllr Dave Fitzpatrick complained to the police because I had put two postings about his shocking behaviour on this blogsite when information had been brought to my attention and as a result, the police spent six months trying to fit a crime to what I had done when no law, civilly or criminally had been broken.

Does this type of iron fist behaviour that has been exposed in the news story today, behaviour that is intended to intimidate and deter any further leaks or dissent or to expose what this Government is doing wrong, not sound remarkably like the police calling me into their offices last June to 'talk to me' about the situation in the paragraph above? Does it not sound remarkably like our MP Vera Baird, threatening a Conservative MP from another constituency, into not allowing our film to be shown in the House of Commons and into not calling for an independent investigation into what is going on within Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council because he said that if he did not, then he would be and I quote, "neglecting his duty". Does our MP after doing this, then calling for an Internal investigation, not sound like the attempted cover up that has been shown today to have taken place in Harringey council?

The levels of intimidation, lies, bullying, whitewash, unwarranted heavy handedness and cover up that have been exposed today in these two main news stories and that have astounded and angered people in politics and across the country, have been taking placein Redcar and Cleveland for years and have gone unchecked, uninvestigated and unpunished.

After todays stories making the news, I am hopeful that what has gone on here will also make the news and will also expose the guilty and their actions and lead to every last one of them who has been and is involved, being investigated brought to justice or sacked.

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