Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Good news for our youth, bad news for the council and their disastrous scheme for Coatham

Today it has been announced on the Councils website that nearly five million pounds worth of big lottery funding has been secured for the youth media and arts centre that the council said they were applying for at the back end of last year. This is great news and lets hope that this centre will be of great use to the youth of our town and the wider area.

However, for the council, despite their gushing statements in their own press release, it is very bad news. Councillor Jeffries says in the release...

"we believe it could be a complementary feature of the Coatham development."

How on earth can it be complimentary to the Coatham Development when as Councillor Mark Hannon, cabinet member for economic development, has already told me in an email, that this youth centre is going to occupy the site within the Coatham Enclosure that was going to their visitor centre with its iconic tower, indoor and outdoor performing arts centre blah de blah de blah, the feature that was going to make the Coatham development a visitor destination of regional importance?

It's not complimentary to the Coatham Development at all, it's replacing the most important part of it. As Mark Hannon admitted in his email to me and you can scroll down and see his answers for yourself, the visitor centre was only ever an aspiration? Thats not what the council have been making out in every press release they have put out, until recently, during the course of our campaign is it? It's all so confusing.

They told us from the start that we were going to get a visitor centre.Even when one of their disingenuous officers told me in court that the visitors centre wasn't going to feature anymore, which we all now know that it isn't, they still told High Courts and High courts of appeal, that it was going to go ahead?
Even when our hypocrite of an MP, Vera Baird, told the whole town in at least three public statements that there was going to be no visitor centre, the council still maintained that there was?

At first a council officer told ex Labour Councillor Charles Davis, that this new youth facility was going to be sited on what is known in the Coatham plan as D2 leisure. This site was, they told us, going to be a bowling alley which Colin Moore and Vera Moody stated publicly, they had all the funding for? I know, how can they put a new youth facility on the site of a leisure facility that they have already said, back in 2007, they have all the funding for? We made this glaring contradiction public and not so surprisingly, suddenly things change.

Putting it bluntly, now that Mr Hannon has let the cat out of the bag in writing, which Alan Logan did verbally way back in 2007 in court, that the visitor centre isn't going to happen and that this youth centre is going to occupy the site of that visiotrs centre, we know three things. Firstly that there's going to be no bowling alley because that's where they were going to situate this new facility until we made their glaring contradictions public. Secondly there's going to be no visitors centre because they're going to build this new youth centre and drugs counselling centre on that site and thirdly we know that the council have been telling lies, to the people of this area, all along. The reason for them lying so desperately is that without that visitors centre, the Coatham scheme is just a housing estate with a baths and leisure facility that is being paid for with at the last count over FOURTEEN MILLION POUNDS OF PRUDENTIAL BORROWING THAT THE PUBLIC WILL PAY BACK THROUGH THEIR COUNCIL TAX. This figure has risen from the figure of £10,500,000 which it was back in 2007.

Without that Visitors centre, as the man from English Partnerships told me some time ago and only recently aswell, they would not provide any funding for something that is basically a housing estate and thats why the council have lied so desperately about this mythical facility.

They have lied and lied and lied again. All the times they have mentioned the visitors centre in their press releases, they have lied. They have twisted and turned and tried to do everything that they possibly could to keep people believing their lies. But when their preferred developer has a loss of, over £780,000,000 as was reported yesterday and their "Disastrous" to quote our own MP, scheme lays floating face down in a sea of underhanded deals, controversy, conflicting statements, lack of funding and downright lies, they are now desperately trying to save their own shameless, arrogant faces.

By quietly trying to replace the key ingredients of their "failed", "disastrous" scheme to quote Vera Baird once again, with 'new facilities' that they are maintaining are only complimentary to the facilities that they just daren't admit publicly that we aren't now going to get, they are deliberately trying to con people in order to try and save their own, already tainted reputations. They are an absolute disgrace.

They daren't even admit to the public that this new youth facility will also be home to a drugs counselling centre. In their release they refer to it as "an integrated advice service for young people covering information and guidance on personal development and health issues". Once again, they daren't admit to this and call it what it is as imagine not only the feelings of apprehension in the local residents already living there, but the feelings of dismay in the people of Redcar who certainly wouldn't see a drugs counselling centre as being in keeping with the councils many press releases and public statements of the Coatham Enclosure being a leisure development and visitor destination of regional importance.

They are absolutely beneath contempt. This failed, tainted, disastrous scheme has been orchestrated and pushed by a select bunch of council officers, most who have hurriedly flown the nest in order to avoid being uncovered, who have been found in open tribunals to have lied, changed evidence, bullied, threatened, intimidated, acted illegally, concealed the truth and brought the council down into disrepute.

These officers have been aided and abetted and at every turn by elected councillors from all parties, who have for some reason, helped these officers by going weakly and blindly along with all that they have suggested even when they have been provided with the truth and the facts and they have been assisted by an MP who rather than have the public inquiry into this whole mess that she herself said publicly should happen, stopped a neighbouring MP from calling for an independent investigation into the whole lot, by threatening him with the Speaker of the House when the speaker had no power to intervene and then completed the whitewash by calling for an internal investigation to be held by the council themselves that she knew wouldn't have found anything at fault as Haringey councils internal investigation didn't because the man that Vera Baird asked to head this internal investigation was the now ex-finance officer and ex-acting CEO Ray Richardson, who had been involved in the surpression of a final financial audit report and countless other acts as were printed on three occasions in Private Eye.

As it was not even an internal investigation took place.

It's about time that this whole grubby mess was independently investigated. I have no doubt in my mind that it will be.

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