Thursday, May 28, 2009
Dacorum or Redcar and Cleveland? They could be one and the same.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Do it for your children...
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The truth is on tour...
Thur 21st May:..NEW MARSKE Club
Frid.29th May:.. SALTBURN Community Theatre
Thur 4th .June: .LAZENBY Club
Tues 9th .June: GUISBOROUGH Quoit Club
Wed 10th June:.REDCAR Priory Club
Thur 18th June:.MARSKE Working Men's Club
All 7.30pm - Admission free / donations welcomeexcept Saltburn which is £3 due to hire of venue & cinema equipment.
We are aiming to show this film in as many venues across this borough and this area in order to show the real truth about this Coatham Development to as many people as we possibly can. The councils lies, arrogance, failure, ineptitude, secrecy, mismanagement and misuse of public money regarding this scheme will be shown backed up with all of the facts and all of the documents.
No mealy mouthed rubbish, half answers, spin, or downright lies...
Just the truth. www.pancrack.tv/news.html
All this chopping and changing? Which version is the truth?
"Over the last 7 years, the Council has been working towards the delivery of a major regeneration project at Coatham Links.
During that time, we have secured a development partner - Persimmon Homes Ltd - and assembled an £85million funding package of public and private resources to deliver hundreds of new homes, a new indoor and outdoor leisure and sports facility with swimming complex, new coastguard/lifeguard station, and high quality open space. The Masterplan also includes a health village and opportunities for other commercial opportunities such as public house/restaurant, a children’s nursery and further leisure facilities including extreme sports. The scheme will bring major benefits to Coatham and Redcar as well as the wider Borough. As a major regeneration project the scheme has the potential to create 200 new jobs and boost the local economy with increased visitor spending. This will provide opportunities for local people - in training and employment and benefits to local businesses".
In further detail, the scheme will include:
• A new public Leisure Centre – with competition swimming pool, leisure and
children’s pools, fitness suite, performing arts space, indoor sports hall for a range of activities , outdoor 5 a side courts, and beauty treatment facilities. A dance floor of similar size to the current provision in the existing Redcar Leisure Centre will be incorporated.
• High Quality Public Open space – the improvement works currently being
completed at the Boating Lake is an advanced element. Piazzas, boulevards and
promenade including any necessary additional sea defence works will be
completed under the scheme.
• Extreme Sports Village – development of the current business operated by
Enterprise West Ltd operating the Mungle Jungle/Rkade. The Council is working with them to achieve this.
But in a different council spinning/damage limitation exercise from May 6th they said...
Coatham Links will be a mixed use development which will provide:
A new state-of-the-art leisure centre with 6 lane 25m pool, leisure pool, dance floor/performance space, 8 court sports hall, junior gym, 75 station fitness suite
357 new dwellings offering a range of new homes for first-time buyers, families and retirement
New public spaces, lighting and landscaping
Combined public sector and private sector £millions investment
The creation - either directly or indirectly of up to 200 new jobs
New public house and restaurant
LifeStyle Sports Village
How is it that on the 6th of May the council tell the public that the scheme will definitely be providing a childrens nursery and public house and yet yesterday on the 19th of May, they tell the public that there is only an opportunity for these things to be provided?
How come on the 6th of May there was no mention of the new leisure centre containing beauty treatment facilities, but on the 19th of May there is?
How is it that on the 6th of May the council tell the public that a health village will be provided as part of the scheme but on the 19th it isn't even mentioned in the detailed list of what is going to be provided? It only gets a brief mention, sandwiched in amongst some of the things that there are opportunities for, but no firm commitment to. This is easy to explain though. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU READ THE LETTER FROM THE PCT ON THIS SITE WHICH SAYS THAT THE PCT ARE LOOKING TO SITE THIS DOCTORS SURGERY ELSEWHERE!
On the 6th of May, there is something listed that is called the Lifestyle sports village. I asked on this blog then, is this the same thing as the Extreme Sports village? And lo and behold, yesterday on the 19th of May, the Lifestyle Sports village has gone and the Extreme sports village appears? It says that the council are working with them to achieve this, the important words there are "working with".
They haven't got funding for it and they never will have. The council have given the owners of the Mungle Jungle 125 year lease and still they cannot raise the money. As the MP said to me and other members of our group, they could give the owners of the mungle jungle a 1000 year lease and they still wouldn't be able to raise the money.
On the 6th of May they don't mention in the list of things that the scheme will provide, that it will provide piazzas, boulevards or a promenade, but on the 19th of May, they do? Also why do they refer to the sea defence as any necessary when they know that it is definitely necessary. So necessary is it, it was a part of the Coatham Planning Application and the EA laid down planning conditions about its construction.
I ask you, when they are twisting, turning and deliberately misleading the public what does it say? When they change things from one week to the next, what does it say?
It says that they know that their game is up. It says that they know that they have been caught out and they are desperately trying to tell people anything to convince them that all is well.
Go and see the film "Coatham a Common concern" and you will see the real facts and know that things are far from well with this scheme or with our council and MP.
The desperate words of desperate people...
I asked her what her involvement with this article was, because it is filled with untrue comments and statements that are totally misleading. She said that she had had no involvement in it at all. I told her that when I found out who had written it then we would seriously consider taking legal action as the article, in stating that the public should not be taken in by our allegations, are basically saying that we are lying when in truth, all of the things that we have said in our newsletter and film can be substantiated with documents and witness statements.
Can you believe that she asked me to send her a copy of the film so that they could watch it. I told her that if she wanted to see it then she should come to one of the screenings around the borough and sit among the people who pay her wages and whilst shes at it, bring 59 councillors with her.
Q. When was planning permission for the new scheme given?
A. May 2007.
Q. Can I see the designs for the scheme?
A. The Coatham Links Masterplan showing the location of the facilities and visual design
concepts will shortly be on the Council’s website www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk
Information on further design detail will be given on the Council’s website when this becomes available.
As detailed designs are developed these will be made available to the public, elected Members and staff.
Q. The Council has often been asked why do we need the housing?
A. A mix of housing and leisure is essential to provide the range of facilities and benefits that we can achieve through the scheme and secure the necessary finance. The scheme has not attracted any of the facilities that the council have been talking about for five years apart from the leisure centre and pool which is being paid for with over 13,000,000 pounds worth of borrowed money, something which isnt dependent on housing.
Developing some ( two thirds of the site ) of the land for housing will help to pay for the leisure facilities by enabling the Council to access capital receipts and Grants that otherwise would not be available. The capital receipt from Persimmon will help provide the infrastructure for the site and no grants for leisure, save £500,000 from Sport England have been attracted. Persimmon will pay the Council a £5.6million capital receipt for the land. Under the FOI act we learned that the land had been given a value of just over £4,500,000 in 2006 so why should Persimmon pay a million pounds more than it's been valued at? allocated for housing and the Council will receive Grants totalling £11.3million. This will contribute to the cost of the new sports and leisure centre, highways and high quality public open space improvements.???The grants that the council speak of aren't for leisure at all. They are to assist Persimmon in preparing the site. Getting rid of UXO, Contaminants etc. They are also to provide a combined heating plant that Persimmon were supposed to use to help heat their houses, but aren't.
Despite the current downturn generally in the housing market across the UK there is still demand for more housing in Redcar. If that is the case, then why have the Liberal Democrats in their most recent LibDem focus newsletter stated that the population in the town is decreasing and that there isn't the need for so much housing?
Without the housing, the development would not include the new sports and leisure facilities or the swimming complex. Completely untrue as the council is borrowing the money to provide the pool/leisure centre.
Q. When will the Coatham Development start and finish?
A. Following a legal challenge planning permission for the scheme is in place
The start date on site will be affected by the outcome of ongoing legal action by protestors to register the land for development as a Village Green. Unfortunately the timescale when this will be known is not within the Council’s control, however, a decision is expected imminently. How do they know? More bias and pre-determination here possibly? ( If it is, have things been influenced by people in high places? )
The earliest start envisaged is later this year, this would mean completion of the whole development by mid 2012. The earliest start? this surely means that there is a latest start envisaged also and as such, the scheme isn't realistically going to start for some time to come?
Q. Who owns the land often referred to as Coatham Common?
A. The Council owns the land; its title is registered with the Land Registry. The council may hold the deeds for the land, but it is the people of Redcar who own the land as it is stated in protective covenants that it is to be used by them for leisure purposes in perpetuity.It is also included on residents of High Street West Deeds, that they have access to the land, something that a Chancery Court Judge instructed the council to release details of, but 18 months later, still have not?
Q. Is the site being sold at its commercial value?
A. The site was independently valued before the Council signed the Development Agreement with Persimmon Homes Ltd. Is it just me or can everyone see that they have completely ignored their own question here? In truth, what they dont want you to know, is that the land in the Coatham Enclosure was valued in 2006, when land prices and house prices were booming, at just over £4,500,000? Such a low figure for thirty five acres of coastline with planning permission to build 359 luxury apartments and homes? When you take into consideration that just SEVEN ACRES OF LAND in Marton in Middlesbrough to build just 70 houses on was valued at EIGHT AND A HALF MILLION POUNDS, £4,000,000 more than what 35 acres in Redcar has been valued at with planning permission for five times the number of properties, then what on earth is going on?
Q. Have any planning conditions changed without permission?
Suggestions, No suggestions have been made at all. The truth has been told however that Council Officer Simon dale changed the EA's planning condition regarding the construction of the seadefence in Coatham.have been made that one of the Environment Agency planning conditions was changed without permission. The planning conditions outlined in the formal response from the Environment Agency were taken into account when the planning application was determined. One of the conditions was strengthened to ensure that any necessary works to the sea wall are implemented before the buildings are occupied. This is an absolutely untrue. The EA's planning condition clearly stated that the Coatham Sea Defence had to be constructed before the houses were built. Simon Dale changed it to the sea defence had to be constructed before the houses were occupied. This did not strengthen the planning condition at all and as the EA said in an email to Ian Hopley, the changing of the condition was done without consent from, or consultation with the EA and it is unlikely that they would have agreed to it. This change was made with the proper authority? I think the statement that I've just made and which we have already proved with the relevant documents, shows that it wasn't.
Q. What leisure facilities will be available to the public at Coatham when
construction starts? None.
A. Construction on site will take place in managed phases in order to minimise disruption to local residents and other users of the site.
One of the first elements to be constructed will be the new Leisure Centre. The current facility will remain open for as long as possible but will need to be demolished to make way for a new Leisure Centre. This proves that there will be no leisure facilities at Coatham when construction starts because the first thing that they will do is demolish the bowl and leisure centre. Interim arrangements are being explored to maintain a level of the sports facilities currently available at the Redcar Leisure Centre. People will be notified when this is known.The facilities offered at Mungle Jungle/Rkade will still be accessible. Other factors that will be considered are minimising disruption to local residents and businesses, vehicle and pedestrian routes, and parking. This will be Impossible when one of the main arteries into the town is closed.
Q. How will increased traffic be dealt with?
A. A number of improvements will happen. Improvements at the Trunk Road junction have already taken place with additional filter lanes on the east and west approaches. A Traffic management plan will be submitted to the Council by Persimmon to maintain traffic flows through the site during construction. Traffic calming measures have been proposed for High Street West to avoid ‘rat runs’ although some local people are opposing this. There isn't even a traffic impact assesment in place when there will be so much traffic chaos caused and they are wanting to start work in a few months time? What does this say to you? High Street West is too narrow to have two way traffic and the kink in the road at the top of High Street West on Majuba Road will mean that it will be virtually impossible to be overcome.
In a few words the traffic will not be dealt with at all and if there were another 300-400 cars there as a result of people living in those houses, the whole area would be gridlocked.
Q. How many parking spaces are to be provided?
A. The current plan envisages around 660 spaces including allocations for motorcycles, disabled people, horse boxes and coaches subject to final design detailing. What they aren't saying is that visitor car parking will be reduced because a high number of these car parking spaces will be for the people who use the leisure centre and pool. The seafront car park, where people sit in their cars whilst their children play on the beach will be gone and a much smaller car park will be situated at one end of the caravan park behind sand dunes.
Q. Will sailors, windsurfers, kiteboarders and other users still have unrestricted
access to the beach?
A. It is important to facilitate these users and access will still be permitted for a whole variety of uses and a Beach Management Plan is being drawn up to enable users to enjoy the beach in a safe manner while recognising the need to ensure by law the safe protection of wildlife and the environment.
Once again, they fail to answer the question. English Nature as part of their agreement to lift their objection to the scheme, stipulated that the beach at Coatham had to be restricted use on a seasonal and spacial basis to extreme sports users and horse riders. This fact was brought out and established in open court at the footpaths hearing in March 2007 in the magistrates court in Middlesbrough. The council DARE NOT tell the public that a public beach will be restricted to the public though as a result of these houses being built!
Q. What is the current position on the Village Green application submitted by
protestors to the scheme?
A. We understand that representatives of the Friends of Coatham Common have submitted an appeal against a decision by the Legal Services Commission to refuse further legal aid. The protestors’ purpose is to pursue an appeal to the House of Lords to register the land allocated for development as a Village Green. This follows unanimous decisions by Appeal Court judges to refuse previous appeals by the protestors using legal aid against the Council’s decision to reject this second Village Green Application.
Q. Did the Council engage a Barrister to provide a legal opinion about the
Restrictive Covenants associated with the scheme and then keep this confidential? Yes they did. Despite all of the rubbish below, thats exactly what happened, it was even in the Evening Gazette in 2006 the MP even spoke out against it. If the Barristers opinion had gone in the councils favour why hide behind confidentiality or as people normally refer to it, secrecy? After all, the whole reason for obtaining the opinion in the first place was to settle the issue of covenants once and for all. It was recommended by the Coatham Scrutiny committee and approved by the councils cabinet that the opinion be sought and relayed to the public. It was stopped from being made public by the now ex-CEO? On an issue connected with this, did the council have to employ a top London Barrister at a reported cost of £12,500 a day, for three days, to argue a case to divert and close footpaths in a magistrates court in Middlesbrough? A case that should have been argued by the councils own legal officer. When the council advertised this stopping order, they even admitted that the covenants were there and that they did have a relevance.
A. The Council has a responsibility to balance a number of often conflicting interests in contractual matters such as the Development Agreement in place between the Council and Persimmon Homes Ltd. In applying the public interest test to this specific matter, the Council has concluded that the public interest in maintaining exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing this information. This is covered by Access to Information Procedure Rules.
Q. Did the Council pay for legal and consultancy costs incurred by Persimmon
without a Section 106 Agreement?
A. The Council is only paying for legal and consultancy advice which it directly benefits from. The fact is that it was not the councils responsibility to pay for any of Persimmons legal or consultancy costs at all and as the leaked document from 2006 shows, the council agreed to take the unprecedented step of paying for Persimmons legal and consultancy fees to and I quote "keep Persimmons confidence" The fact that there was no Section 106 Agreement is not of any consequence as we have a contractual relationship with Persimmon in our Development Agreement and this incorporates many of the benefits normally incorporated in a Section 106 Agreement. The fact that there is no 106 agreement in place means that Persimmon have absolutely no legally binding commitment to providing any community or leisure facilities at all in regard to this scheme. They have not paid towards the boating lakes refurbishment, they aren't paying for an extra classroom and they aren't contributing financially to any leisure facilities either because the council are having to borrow the money and they did not pay for the road improvements on the Trunk Road. So like with the Barristers opinion, instead of keeping it secret, show us the development agreement and lets see what we are actually getting from Persimmon in the way of benefits?
Q. A minority of protestors to the scheme have made allegations of corruption
within the Council in relation to this scheme.
A. A minority of protestors have alleged there is corruption within the Council in relation to this scheme and that it is being driven forward against residents’ wishes. These allegations have been investigated by the Police, Courts, Audit Commission, the local Member of Parliament and the Ombudsman – all of which has confirmed that the Council has done nothing wrong. ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE.
We urge the public not to be taken in by these allegations.They are nothing more than a spoiling tactic to try to thwart the scheme. Hang on, our 'allegations', even though they are backed up with documents and witness statements, have been described on your website as libellous and untrue. Where's the libel action? Where's the writ? Where's the injunction stopping the film being shown?
Exactly, you haven't issued any. I wonder why that is?
If you would like further information about the Coatham Links Regeneration project please
• Alan Logan, Regeneration Project Manager 01642 444235
• Lydia Spiller, Regeneration Specialist 01642 44435 May 2009.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the latest untrue, knee jerk, panicking rubbish that is being put out by a desperate council who have been and are continuing to be, exposed every time they try to defend the untruths they have already told. They are telling lies in order to cover more lies and as if this isn't bad enough, they have our MP Vera Baird helping them to cover these actions. This article is a response to our newsletter and our film that contains all of the facts. The council has cherry picked things from our newsletter to answer. They have not told the truth in their answers and in some cases they haven't offered answers at all.
But then they have, for some reason, ignored completely a whole raft of things that were contained in our newsletter and one can only ask why? Why haven't they attempted to mention,or answer why the council and Persimmon Homes were working on Coatham together a year before the scheme was even advertised as a leisure scheme not a housing scheme? Something that was taken to the Ombudsman but the Ombudsman did nothing about? So much for being investigated by the Ombudsman?
Why haven't they mentioned the fact that the council acted highly irregularly by signing the development agreement two days before the local elections and two weeks before G.O.N.E had decided whether or not to call the scheme in?
Why haven't they mentioned the immoral, unlawful and even illegal behaviour of senior officers of this council in Employment tribunals. Officers who were all heavily involved in the Coatham scheme?
Why are they careful not to mention the amounts of public borrowing that are needed to provide a pool and new leisure centre because they have attracted practically no funding whatsoever?
Why haven't they mentioned the fact that officers of this council have illegally changed minutes of meetings and exceeded their spending powers under delegated authority?
Why haven't they mentioned that George Dunning called for the ex-CEO's investigation twice to then let him off the hook and out of the back door with a £360,000 pay deal?
Why haven't they mentioned the supression of an audit report carried out by the same officers who featured so badly in tribunals, which showed that the council weren't a four star authority at all?
Why haven't they mentioned that there are two letters from the Serious Fraud Office which state that their actions pertain and I quote "to corruption" and that they "should be investigated by the police possibly assisted by the CPS"?
They haven't mentioned any of these things in their pathetic response to our newsletter and what they have tried to answer they have answered untruthfully.
This council and Vera Baird have run out of time. They have no credibility anymore. Their reputations are in shreds and the truth about them and all that they have said is there for all to see. They have no way to turn and they have no way to go and everytime that they try to wriggle out of what they have said, they incriminate themselves even further.
This just has to stop. It is up to every last decent person in this borough to say no to what is happening here and call for them all to be investigated independently
Lets get rid of them all...
These people are hounded, these people have TV commercials dedicated to encouraging other people to "shop a benefit cheat". These people when caught, have their benefit stopped, are investigated and if they are found guilty, they are taken to court and prosecuted.
So why is it then, that MP's in the House of Commons can STEAL thousands of pounds of public money by claiming for mortgages that are paid off, they can STEAL public money by claiming for the renovation of their homes, can even attempt to STEAL money by claiming for CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS under their bent system and yet they think that they can get away with everything by saying, now that they have been caught out, that they are sorry, they didn't mean to do it, we'll pay the money back and all of the other lame excuses that have been tumbling from their mouths.
They all make me sick to the stomach. People like Vera Baird make me sick most of all. She actually tried to defend her immoral behaviour. She tried to say that just because her £300.00 claim for Christmas decorations had been turned down, that she hadn't done anything wrong! Like her intention to claim for baubles and fancies ( since when were they ever essential to her job as MP ) was of no concern at all. She tried to abuse the system, she tried to take public money that she had no entitlement to, just like all of the people who are hounded by the DSS benefit fraud squads. She and all of her Westminster cronies should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. Not only are her low morals on display with her eagerness to try to cream money that she was not entitled to, they are on display when you see how she has tried to help the local authority in her constituency, cover up their terrible, possibly corrupt behaviour in particular, regarding the Coatham Enclosure Development. They are on display when you see that she tried to threaten a Church Warden in order to try and stifle the truth and as if that wasn't bad enough, and I have the email from her to prove it, they are on display when you see that she encouraged Rachel and I to stand as independents against Labour candidates in the elections two years ago, something that she should be thrown out of the Labour Party for.
Instead of having a TV camera crew following suspected benefit cheats around in order to make a cheap TV programme, we should have one following our elected MP's around, on their huge salaries and with two or even three homes, and we should be hounding them all the way into the courts. Fraud is fraud, theft is theft, no matter whether you're unemployed on a hundred pounds or so a fortnight, or an MP on £10,000 A MONTH. Infact when you look at it like that, I know which instance of theft and fraud I think is worse.
When they are on that much money every month, why can't they pay for their own kitkats, plugs and Christmas decorations?
Never mind offering the speaker of the House as a sacrificial lamb to appease the public who are baying for blood, never mind guilty MP's leading the attack on the speaker in order to try and take the heat off them, lets have them all out, lets have them all investigated and lets have them all prosecuted.
After all, if the Telegraph had not exposed this grand theft and deception, would any of those who were dipping their fat noses in our trough, have ever owned up to what they were doing? Of course they wouldn't. More than this, this corruption and fraud is institutionalised, it has been going on for who knows how long?
Monday, May 18, 2009
Wouldn't it be a turn up for the books if this MP's Thamesmead apartments were one of the Persimmon Apartments featured in articles in the Times and Building Magazine about this Persimmon development and the forty million pound fraud scandal that surrounds it?
The medical village HAS bitten the dust...Despite what the council tell us.
Those reasons that are not listed, included the fact that the council and Persimmon were not going to be able to deliver this disastrous, tainted and botched ( to quote our MP and council leader ) scheme. So obviously the PCT agree with us. But I am also wondering why Stephen Childs, the PCT manager who was involved to a large extenet in the addition of this surgery to the Coatham Planning application without anyone being consulted or knowing about it, who was aware of the massive conflict of interests between Mrs Veronica Moore who was pushing the surgery as a board member of the PCT whilst her husband Colin, was pushing its inclusion as the Chief Executive of the council, is now working in a different department of the PCT?
Read this letter though and cast your minds back less than two weeks, to when the council and Vera Baird claimed in their joint statement on the councils website, that the Coatham scheme was to include a health village. Their lies and untruths get more and more transparent every time they open their mouths.
Last week I was also talking to someone from the council who told me that people who use the Coatham Bowl and leisure centre were fed up with the arguments between our group and the council and all that they wanted was a new leisure centre because the roof was leaking. It shouldnt still be leaking when nearly FORTY THOUSAND POUNDS was spent on fixing the roof less than 6 months ago?
Friday, May 15, 2009
People can see through her...
"I would not have agreed to show the film if I had know that in that ten minutes there were at least three allegations of financial corruption or conspiracy against the Council and its officers. There were also allegations that the local MP had been aware of this corruption and chose to ignore it. I immediately distanced myself from these new allegations to the audience when the film was over.
"Whilst I am sure that there are lessons to be learned from the whole Coatham Enclosure saga and the way a few local residents still feel dissatisfied with the way their objections were discounted, I refuse to endorse allegations of dishonesty against the Council and I have discussed what was said about her with Vera Baird, the local MP, and I am satisfied that it is untrue.
It would seem that after calling for her to be investigated by the police, Ray Mallon doesn't agree. I think that if the truth was known, Mr Goodwill doesn't agree with his own statement either.
Oh Dear Ms Baird, Robocop wants you to be invetsigated by the police.
Things are certainly hotting up for our Vera aren't they?
Ray Mallon calls for police investigation into MPs expenses
May 15 2009 by Sandy McKenzie, Evening Gazette
THE ROW over MPs’ expenses claims took a new turn today when Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon called for a police investigation. Here Mr Mallon, who served as a police officer for 27 years before becoming Middlesbrough’s elected Mayor in 2002, explains why he has made an official complaint to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
There are now countless examples of MPs bending the rules to their advantage but just two examples stand out to me as illustrating how the House of Commons still doesn’t understand what they have done.
First we have the increasingly ridiculous figure of the speaker Michael Martin. Instead of demanding police investigate this abuse of public funds he calls for them to instead investigate the leaking of these figures. I cannot think of a case with a better “in the public interest” defence than this one. Whoever provided this information to the Telegraph has merely informed the general public how their money has been spent. He or she should be given a medal not berated.
Secondly, earlier this week, on the day that Corus announced more than 2,000 workers on Teesside could lose their jobs (along with thousands of others in supply industries), we discover that a local MP, Vera Baird, expected constituents to pay nearly £300 for her Christmas decorations.
An eminent lawyer, Ms Baird argues there is no shame in the fact this claim was rejected. The Gazette reported her as saying: “In cases where you are not sure the claim is acceptable, you put it in.”
This mindset, clearly prevalent throughout Parliament, illustrates what has gone wrong. MPs should not be regarding expense claims as a wheel of fortune, they should not be claiming a penny from the taxpayer unless they are absolutely certain it is justified as essential to their work as an MP and if the claim is rejected they should be mortified.
The Green Book provides guidelines on MPs’ allowances and spells out that claims can only be made for expenditure necessary to perform Parliamentary duty. It actually states: “claims should be above reproach” and that members should “avoid purchases that could be seen as extravagant or luxurious”.
But I believe the reports in the Telegraph and elsewhere have exposed something far more serious than the mere insensitivity or greed of some MPs.
What does this statement say about Cllr Chris Abbott and Cllr George Dunning?
Firstly as employment tribunals prove, the council under the leadership of Colin Moore, saved the council money regarding equal pay by underhanded means. One of the dinnerladies who was offered the pay settlement pittance of five thousand pounds, went to tribunal and won her rightful amount - £32,000. Something which featured on the front page of the Guardian newspaper but strangely failed to get a mention in the councils peoples, pride and progress magazine or on the councils website? What Mr Abbott also doesn't mention is that the union man who was supposed to be working on behalf of these lowly paid workers was actually working for Moore and the officers and who, when he had persuaded dinnerladies to settle for such a derisory sum, was given a job in management himself! Unfortunately this led him to being thrown out of the union that he had represented for thirty years. Yes lets all join in with Mr Abbotts applause at lowly paid dinnerladies being conned by Moore and his cronies. It's like I said the other day, Abbott and co. may regard this as a victory, but whats the victory worth when it's been won through stealth and cheating?
But lets also look at some other words that were used to describe Moores actions in different tribunals. We have deliberately disingenuous ( lying ) sharp practise, changing evidence overnight, bullying, intimidation, concealing, I was at the Tait tribunal where it was established that in Mr Moore and other officers concealing the truth about parking tickets that the council had acted illegally.
You could also throw in for good measure that Moore was in charge of a council with a £12,000,000 black hole in its budget, who messed up with Liberata at a huge cost to the council, who was involved in a massive conflict of interests regarding the 5 GP surgery which appeared in the Coatham plans from nowhere, who's actions whilst under Lib Dem control resulted in the council being downgraded to a two star authority and who surpressed an audit commission report which showed that the council never was a four star authority to begin with. We have him in a letter to the MP acting like the 'President' of the council, totally subventing the council in telling the MP that he will agree to meet her if she agrees to his requests, we have him totally subventing the council in him keeping a barristers opinion regarding the Coatham covenants secret, when the elected councillors who were on the cabinet had ordered that it be made public. We have him acting secretly regarding the council withdrawing support for TVR ( something that prompted a second call for his investigation ) and twice under his control, this council was found by the Ombudsman to have been guilty of maladministration.
Now, I ask you, are any of these documented facts consistent with Councillor Abbotts description of "As a chief executive, he has been brilliant".
Equally though, the article leaves George Dunning with egg on his face too. For here we have Mr Dunning attacking Colin Moore for his excessive pay and yet George Dunning let this absolute cowboy, leave this council with a two year enhanced pay deal worth THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND POUNDS! Not only that, he called for Moores investigation twice as leader of the opposition and yet when Moore announced his retirement Mr Dunning let him leave without as much as a question asked in anger and a glowing reference akin to Mr Abbotts, in the press?
They are such forty faced, hypocrites and all of these facts lead any normal person to ask the question what hypnotic hold has Colin Moore held over all of them?
Council leader joins row over high-paid executives
From the archive, first published Saturday 29th Mar 2008.
A COUNCIL leader has spoken out over a local authority pay row by criticising highly paid chief executives and referring to "people that run around after the highest salaries".Councillor George Dunning, the leader of the ruling Labour party on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, hit out at a previous administration in charge of the council responsible for increasing the pay given to its senior officers.Coun Dunning spoke out after the publication of a Town Hall Rich List by the Taxpayers' Alliance which revealed that a record number of North-East council officers earned more than £100,000-a-year in 2006-7.In Redcar, seven officers broke this limit, which Coun Dunning said was the result of decisions taken by a previous Liberal Democrat-Conservative-Independent coalition which took office in 2003, before losing control in May last year. He said: "My personal view on the fact that the coalition has left the new Labour administration with a legacy of the highest group of officers in the North-East on salaries over a £100,000 shows that the coalition knew nothing about the people of Redcar and Cleveland's feelings towards very high officers' salaries, hence they voted the coalition out."There are some local authority chiefs getting more than our Prime Minister and that cannot be correct."Having been a steel worker, working with people who work their socks off in difficult conditions to get a living wage, makes these salaries look like winning the Lottery."In Redcar and Cleveland, we want the best people for the job and who want to work for us, and not people that run around after the highest salaries."Three of those included in the list have since left the council, including chief executive Colin Moore, who earned £151,282 in 2006-7.Councillor Chris Abbott, leader of the Lib Dem group on the council, said the council officers in question had justified their increasing salaries.He said: "The council has only paid peanuts in the past and could not attract the top staff and as a result it showed in its performance."By paying the going rate for the job it means you get the best people."Referring to Mr Moore, he said: "As a chief executive, he has been brilliant. He saved the council £30m on the deal he got for us on equal pay."Meanwhile, Durham County Council said three of its senior officers who were included on the list had also left, and not been replaced.The authority confirmed that prior to his leaving, chief executive Mark Lloyd, who is due to take up a new role with Cambridgeshire County Council next month, had a salary range of between £151,000 and £190,000.A spokesman said: "To attract the best and brightest people to deliver value for money it is essential to pay a suitable wage."
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Now why is that?
After being provided with the facts and documents, The Serious Fraud Office stated in writing that what has happened here in Redcar and Cleveland pertains to corruption and should be investigated by the police possibly assisted by the CPS, the Audit Commissions corporate assesor asked if we thought that there was corruption existing over Coatham and Ashok Kumar MP asked me himself in a meeting in his constituency office in Guisborough in 2005 if we thought that the council was corrupt.
If there wasn't a whiff of corruption to be had anywhere surrounding Coatham or this council, why have two Government bodies and a Government representative all asked the same question? I would like to point out that it was at this point in my summation in Parliament last week, that Robert Goodwill MP, who had been well informed about the above, stopped me.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The truth is coming out and they just can't stop it...
However, when I looked at Mondays Evening Gazette, I realised that that this campaign, the campaign that I have given heart, body and soul to, is on one count, almost over. After five years the truth, the truth that this council have been denying for five years, was there in black and white. The new leisure centre and pool was now costing a whopping £13,800,000 and that money hadn't been 'levered' in from Persimmon building their houses because they haven't built any and it hadn't come from external grants and funding that had been 'attracted' as a result of Persimmon building their houses either, it has come from this council borrowing the money. Money that we will have to pay back through our council tax being raised.
I always remember ex council officer Peter Ellis saying in front of me, Charles Davis and Cllr Madge Moses at the councils exhibition in the Coatham Bowl in 2005, that we could and I quote "have a baths without having the houses because we could borrow the money" A stunned Madge Moses said "Peter! what are you saying?" "But of course we aren't going to borrow the money Madge" replied Mr Ellis. I knew then, when this now ex-senior officer of the council said that, that these officers and this council were lying to the public and more than this, to the elected councillors themselves, who now for some reason are happy to take part in the lie?.
It is there for all to see that we don't have to have the houses to have a pool and it is there for all to see that not only have the council systematically lied to us, along with Vera Baird, we should have had this pool provided long before now.
Borrowing money for a baths and paying it back through our council tax has been the only realistic way of this council securing the money to build one. We have said this to the council and the MP Vera Baird. Yet even though they have known this all along, even though borrowing has been written into their funding of the scheme from day one, borrowing which has gradually risen from 3 to 5 to 8 to 10.4 and now to 14 million pounds, the council have constantly denied it. I recall one meeting with Vera Baird In Charles Davis' house where Ms Baird said in front of five other people, "I dont want houses to be built on the coast and if you show me one way to get a baths without having to have the houses and without having to borrow the money and putting peoples council tax up, then I will come out and support it, but we cant borrow the money and put peoples council tax up". How ironic that she should say that, yet she isn't now speaking out against her Labour controlled council borrowing £14,000,000 in order to do the thing that she said she could never support?
I have spoken to people over the last few days who have said that people just want a baths, they are sick of the arguments between the council and us. I will say this, THAT WE WANT A BATHS TOO! We have always supported the building of a baths. But what we haven't supported is the building of 359 houses on our much loved coastline when there is absolutely no need. But it has gone much further than this now. I want a baths in Redcar, I streaked at Wembley in 1997 to try and save the one we had because it mattered to me so much, that our town should have a baths. No-one would like to see a baths in Redcar more than me. But at what cost do we want a baths?
If we accept the baths as part of this disaster (To quote Vera Baird ) of a scheme then it would be like winning a game of something, poker say, by cheating. It would mean nothing. What credibility does anyone have by winning something unfairly? We as a town surely want something that we can be proud of, an achievement that means something, that has been fought for and won fairly. Not a hollow victory that has been won through foul means not fair. This scenario is even worse when you consider that it is the Local Authority who is the cheat. But their aim is to win at all costs, to force this disaster upon us no matter what, in order to conceal their cheating.
They have done this already. It was exposed in the Tait tribunal case, that the council knew that they were putting parking tickets illegally on people because they had no Traffic Road Order in place which permitted them to do so. So what did they do? Rather than inform the public in order for money taken in illegal parking tickets to be returned, they concealed the truth and kept it away from the public. They did the same with the boroughs dinner ladies. They knew that the dinner ladies were entitled to a higher pay settlement than they offered them, but the council tried to frighten them into believeing that if they did not take their offer, then they would get nothing at all and encouraged them to take a pittance. One dinnerlady went to tribunal and was awarded her rightful amount of £32,000!
The Coatham Development is just another example of their underhandedness and their cheating in order to win at all costs. It has massive questions hanging over it. The foul stench of corruption is hanging all around it. We asked the question in our newsletter "Is Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Corrupt?" and listed all of the facts which suggest that they may be. We have done the same in our film. It is so bad, that a group of planners from the South who have been monitoring the progress of this scheme, based on the limited information that they have been given told me that and I quote " We know that something doesn't smell quite right with this scheme"and that "every couple of months things come to light about this scheme which are more complicated and more worrying". The person who told me that, said that I could pass that information onto Mr Robert Goodwill MP for Scarborough and Whitby, which I did.
Mr Goodwill may have retracted his support for our campaign, he may say that he now doesn't believe what we have said in the film and the newsletter, but does anyone honestly think that Mr Goodwill would have risked his position as a front bench Conservative MP by showing a film in Parliament that he did not believe was true from the outset? Would he have risked his position by intervening in the constituency of the Solicitor General, if he was not certain that all of the facts and all of the documents that we had presented him with, were correct or if he had not been presented with all of the documents and facts? Would we have gone to Parliament, Vera Bairds stomping ground and stated our case so vigorously if we were lying? In every instance the answer is no.
We told him everything and gave him everything, even the newsletter asking the question of the council and still he backed us. Many believe that it was Vera Baird applying pressure to Mr Goodwill that forced his hand and the fact that he realised that things were bigger than he anticipated. Many believe that when he was informed that the council had settled the ex-assistant Chief Executives tribunal out of court, at the cost of who knows how many hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money, in order to stop the truth about what this council had done coming out into the public domain, he realised just how bad things were and that made him back out quickly. The real clincher though came in his official statement withdrawing his support for us. Mr Goodwill clearly lists allegations in his middle paragraph, that we had not made publicly ourselves? Why would he list a whole series of untrue and libellous allegations in the middle paragraph of his official retraction if they were just that?
He knows how wrong everything is with not just the Coatham Scheme, but many aspects of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. At the meeting that he is now trying to distance himself from, he was even approached by one professional gentleman who told him that he thought that this Coatham Scheme could possibly be akin to the infamous POULSON AFFAIR! And Mr Goodwills reaction? Did he recoil in horror? No, he gave the man his card and invited him to contact him again! This followed a meeting where it had been agreed that efforts should be made by us and Mr Goodwill, to try and obtain both the barristers opinion and the development agreement for Coatham which had both been kept secret.
Whatever happened in between the screening and the retraction, one can only assume? But when you take into consideration that Vera Baird was applying pressure to Mr Goodwill right up to the screening and when you take into consideration that she tried to threaten and bully an elderly Church Warden into not allowing the film to be shown in Coatham Church, it is obvious that Ms baird applied sufficient pressure to Mr Goodwill in order to get the result that she so desperately wanted.
The only thing wrong with that is she may have applied pressure and tried to do things through stealth and intimidation, but if she had any real belief that we could not back up what we have said, if we were lying or had libelled her and her rotten council so badly, then the film would have been injuncted and we would have received writs for libel.
Despite writing to her twice inviting her to do these things. She hasn't taken us up on our offer.
So much for us lying eh?
Monday, May 11, 2009
THIRTEEN POINT EIGHT MILLION POUNDS OF BORROWING!
In a line? Lying Bastards!
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, something to hide? It was never clearer than it was today.
It would appear, that for legal reasons, I can say no more than this, but I will say this.
That when a council pays the sum of money that those close to this situation are talking about, in order to stop the facts coming out into a public court, then really,
WHAT DOES THAT SAY TO YOU?
More than this, senior officers within the council, the current Labour cabinet, old coalition cabinet members and a lot of councillors will all be privvy to the facts that the council have desperately covered up by settling this case out of court. More than this, if the Labour cabinet know, then it's safe to say that our Christmas tree scrounging MP Vera Baird will also know and yet rather than tackle the problem, they pay someone off, cover it all up and then say that we are wrongly smearing the hard working officers?
If they have nothing to hide, then why go to such lengths to keep the truth away from the public? Thats because as I said, the truth that was going to be spoken in open tribunal, would have possibly led to sackings, an investigation and the council being brought to its knees.
Lets have the investigation now and lets get rid of the guilty.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Our Vera's been at it for some time...
Dear Ms Baird...
She didn't take out an injunction to stop the film being shown, she tried to threaten and bully the Church Warden. We haven't been issued with any libel writs, just smeared as not telling the truth and lying. The lack of any real action says it all for me.
Here is the letter...
Dear Ms Baird,
I find remarks being quoted in Press Releases on RCBC NEWS and website from you MP Vera Baird QC Solicitor General un- justified un warranted even libellous and I believe that I am owed at least a personal retraction of your harassing comments simply because I have chosen to exercise my democratic right to speak truthfully as I find following lengthy research and I can justify and more importantly provide irrefutable proof of any and all accusations I have made and will continue to make in regard to the tainted botched housing led development in Coatham ,together with my findings regarding Officer actions within Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council. as I believe, is my Human Right. I do not seek the privilege afford to you and others or intend to quote that I have at all times operated within rules as set down by my peers, I am simply clearly.
having read, what I perceive to be your disgusting, hypocritical comments, made by an advocate of Justice, a qualified barrister of high standing within her profession as a previous Junior in the practice of Michael Mansfield's chambers, my elected Parliamentary Representative and no doubt prospective Candidate for the next General Election which a large number of my colleagues, decent law abiding people Vera Baird MP QC Solicitor General, cannot wait to be called to allow us the right to decide not only who will represent us all whatever our views and political persuasion and give if other voters believe is deserved a mandate to Gordon Brown to continue as an elected Prime Minister rather than by default.
As author of such luminary entitled works including -
‘Perverting the Course of Justice’,
‘The Law of Harassment’,
‘Rape in Court’, ‘Battered Women who Kill and the Criminal Law’,
‘The Last Resort, a study of the Criminal Cases Review Commission’ who in your attempt at jocularity during 2005 Queens Speech mocked this town, your constituents, residents and did no favours with the following, now 30 year record holding locally elected Councillor East Cleveland Independent Steve Kay representing:Lockwood Ward
QUOTE-" The Labour backbencher mocked a Redcar-born colleague's former school.You said: "They were somewhat ahead of their time when, in his day, they searched you for guns and knives on the way in, and if you didn't have any, they gave you some.
"I would not say it was a tough school, but they did appoint their own coroner."
At the time Stephen Kay, the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council then cabinet member for education, in the first ever coalition Cabinet excluding your party representatives, said: "I cannot understand why she has said it. I know that these comments were made in a jocular manner, but I feel on this occasion, the remarks were very ill judged. To do this on a national platform and make fun of the people she represents is not called for, and gives people the complete wrong impression of the town. Might I also add you have also in the not too distant past called for changes with local coroner!
I now await your reply.
I HAVE WITHELD THE NAME AND ADDRESS.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Smell of the Tannery
Baubles, bangles and wall ornaments
Friday, May 08, 2009
A visitor destination of regional importance? Theyre having a laugh aren't they?
A new state-of-the-art leisure centre with 6 lane 25m pool, leisure pool, dance floor/performance space, 8 court sports hall, junior gym, 75 station fitness suite No mention that this should have been built long before now and not used as a carrot to dangle, because the council are borrowing the money to build it.
357 new dwellings offering a range of new homes for first-time buyers, families and retirement Now theres a visitor attraction.
New public spaces, lighting and landscaping. WOW, Lighting, Im wet with anticipation! Public spaces? Whats that? A toilet?
Combined public sector and private sector £millions investment. Whats this? This is supposed to be a list of what we are getting in the way of leisure facilities not what they are hoping to get to provide the infrastructure for the scheme. They must be trying to pad the list out or it would look terribly short.
The creation - either directly or indirectly of up to 200 new jobs. This isn't a visitor attraction and the jobs wont be permanent either.
New public house and restaurant Wacky Warehouse, Yippee! What a boon for all of the people living in the houses nearby, but its not a leisure facility and it wont turn Coatham from ordinary to extraordinary either.
LifeStyle Sports Village What on earth is that? Is this the extreme sports centre under a new name? You know the facility that they still can't get any funding for despite extending the lease of the mungle jungle for 125 years. Vera once said to us, when she was our friend, that they could give the owners of the Mungle Jungle a lease for a 1000 years and they still wouldnt be able to attract the funding. They haven't.
Health Village. As has already been revealed on this site, Steven Childs, manager in the PCT who was involved in the extremely dodgy appearance of this 5GP medical village, but who is now working in another dept of the PCT, has already told us that he understands that this is now no longer happening. CROSS IT OFF! And put it in the bin with the others.
Childrens Nursery. Hang on, this should be part of the leisure centre and listed as such. More unnecessary padding! By Paul Daniels, the councils spin doctor and ex-Gazette employee is good at his job isn't he?
But where has the Single Screen Cinema gone and the Bowling Alley and the Extreme Sports Centre and the open air performance area and the parade of shops and the Bingo Hall and the iconic tower and most of all, where has the visitor centre gone?
Thats right, down the pan.
Now lets base ourselves in REALITY. Lets take out the rubbish and spin and show the true list of what the Coatham Enclosure leisure development, the councils flagship, the renaissance for Redcar, the visitor destination of regional importance will really include.
1.A new state-of-the-art leisure centre with 6 lane 25m pool, leisure pool, dance floor/performance space, 8 court sports hall, junior gym, 75 station fitness suite childrens nursery.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...WELCOME TO THE COATHAM ENCLOSURE LEISURE DEVELOPMENT !
A pool and leisure centre that you could find anywhere and most importantly to the powers that be, 357 Persimmon Homes. It's just a coastal housing estate with a baths. That the public are paying for.
What have we been telling you all for five years?
The more you look, the more the desperation shows...
"I know that most Redcar people support the Coatham Links development and want it to start as soon as possible. How does she know that? When has any meaningful consultation been done with the people in this town? Her own Labour council totally rubbished the Coatham consultation carried out under the old coalition, in the press and there's been no more done since then. What she means is every sane person in the town wants leisure facilities, including us, but what she isn't saying is that the majority of people dont want the houses, which we dont have to have because the council are borrowing the money to build the pool and replacement leisure centre.
I have had doubts in the past about the number of houses to be built there, versus the amount of leisure facilities. But things like the fantastic new "MyPlace" seafront youth centre have tipped the balance. The "MyPlace" youth centre she refers to is a great achievement by the youth of this town. But what Ms Baird omits to tell people is that it isn't even part of the Coatham Plan, it hasn't got planning permission, it has had no public consultation whatsoever, and it contains a drugs counselling centre that they are trying to play down by not mentioning in their press releases. Most of all, what they are not telling people is that they are desperately trying to include this youth and drugs counselling centre in the Coatham Scheme on the site of the visitor centre, because the visitor centre which was supposed to be the attraction that would make the Coatham Scheme a visitor destination of regional importance, is no longer happening. If you have a look at the list on the website of what the council are saying the scheme will bring, the MyPlace youth centre isn't even listed, because it's not part of the scheme!
Coatham Links should be a great boost to Redcar, bringing more new people here and giving us all a leisure centre, swimming pool and many more facilities of which we can feel proud. Bringing more people here? What does she mean by that? That people living in another 359 houses will turn our towns ecconomy around? If houses regenerated then our town would be booming. It isn't and it hasn't been long before the recession, even though thousands of houses have been built in the town. The pool we can have any time. It isn't dependent on houses being built because the council want to borrow over ten million pounds to build it. As for many more facilities, have a look at the councils list, apart from the pool, there aren't any.
The political parties on Redcar council oppose each other as they should in the interests of democracy, and if anything had been done wrong as this development evolved one political party or another would certainly have said so. There are loads of things wrong with the Coatham Scheme that shocked everybody at the Parliamentary screening, but nothing has been done about them because they have all allowed certain officers to get away with the abuses that they have carried out. But they are all, to a member, committed to Coatham being built as speedily as possible, in the interests of the people of the Borough.
"A very small group of protestors have got attention over the years. Oh not this old chestnut again. Sheelagh Clarke in 2006 said in the Gazette that when you get over 400 people at a public meeting then you cant dismiss it as a few hotheads. Vera herself has already said on TFM that there are many people opposing the scheme and who have concerns. She herself praised us in two specially prepared newsletters which we put out on her behalf. How many faces has she got? Ah but thats right, of course, she said those things and so did they, when the Labour group were in opposition.
They have made serious allegations against the council and recently against me but these are untrue. No they aren't they are all very true and thats why there have been no writs for libel issued and no injunction stopping the film being shown.
They showed the MP for Scarborough, Robert Goodwill, an edited version of their protest film "Coatham - A Common Concern" to persuade him to show it in Parliament and then yesterday, having obtained his consent, showed in Parliament a longer version of the film that he had not seen that contains the nasty allegations nasty allegations? She would say that because they are made against her and the rotten council that shes trying desperately to protect. and which he has totally disowned. He backed out because you had been putting him under pressure right up until the film was shown. Mr Goodwill had been made aware of all the facts, but it became too hot to handle for him when he realised just how bad things are here. Tell you what Vera, come and see the film and watch the PPC for East Cleveland and South Middlesbrough Pual Bristows reaction to having seen the film and after having taken part in the debate. The things that he says and the concerns that he has certainly aren't consistent with a Perspective Parliamentary Candidate and an MP who he says invited him there, that are in the process of retracting their support? So how much pressure did you finally put on Mr Goodwill to pull out? The same amount as you put on a Church Warden in his sixties?
"The long legal campaign waged by these few, Oh no, the marginalising tactic coming into play again! There were three hundred people in the Church last night, two hundred the night before and over a hundred three weeks ago, from across the borough, at a non-public, group meeting where we discussed what we were going to do. How many people do you get at your meetings Vera? Thousands I suppose, I bet a majority attend those meeting don't they?
protesters paid for through legal aid, what a shame that the Solicitor General doesn't advocate the little man on the street using the democratic, legal processes available to him, in order to stand up and speak out against the might of rotten councils. What does she want? A dictatorship? YOU WILL OBEY, FOUR LEGS GOOD TWO LEGS BAD.- has also held up this much needed, Who needs the houses? Persimmon? and much desired community development. "I look forward to sitting by the new pool with you - as soon as we can."
We couldn't agree more Vera, but please tell us all why we haven't had a pool built before now when its construction has never been dependent on the houses being built because the council, you know the one thats been downgraded, IS BORROWING THE MONEY AND PUTTING PEOPLES COUNCIL TAX UP, TO BUILD ONE.
Something that you said in Charles Davis' house in front of five other people, you could never support.
And all of this was all done without seeing the film, in any form? So why is he complaining so badly now and retracting his support, because of seven minutes of extra footage that he had already been informed about the content of?
This is a copy of that email...
Here are my suggested changes
Robert Goodwill MP for Scarborough & Whitby Shadow Transport Minister House of Commons London SW1A 0AA p: 020 7219 8268 f: 020 7219 8108
From: Christopher McGlade Sent: 27 November 2007 13:02To: GOODWILL, RobertSubject: Statement
Dear Mr Goodwill,
I have slightly tweaked the statement that you gave me for our press release over the phone last night, to read as it appears below. Is this ok? I am also going to phone Julie Moody ( someone he wanted to put us in touch with in East Cleveland regarding this matter ) later on this afternoon and speak with her about the situation here in Redcar and Cleveland.
The thing that a lot of people are disappointed with, no matter what their political persuasion may be, is the lack of leadership from our MP's regarding this issue.
Both Vera Baird and Ashok Kumar have been presented with information about the behaviour and actions of this council, in particular its officers and yet neither of them have done or said anything about it. In 2005 if I remember correctly, I went to see Ashok. I brought to his attention what information we had then. He asked me outright if I believed the council to be corrupt and I told him that I did, but he did nothing. Vera Baird was given the dossier that the ex-barrister compiled, that we sent to you a couple of days ago and she was also given all of the information about the PCT and the conflict of interests between the Chief Executive of the council and his wife who was a board member of the PCT, as well as information about some £360,000+ going 'astray' in the PCT and she too has done nothing.
People are wondering after the Private Eye article, why they have made no comment? Would you do the same?
We feel terribly let down and saddened that we feel like we cannot go to our own MP's for help, but thats how a lot of people are feeling, staunch Labour people too and thats just not acceptable.
The statement is as follows.
Robert Goodwill MP for Scarborough and Whitby, who responded to the concerns of one of his constituents about the situation in Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said, "Following the Private Eye article and after having seen a large amount of supporting documentation there are a number of significant questions that officers of the council have not answered and seemingly are not answering. If they cannot clarify the issues that have been raised then surely the only way forward is to have a full, independent, investigation".
Could you let me know as soon as you can if this is fine? Thankyou very much for all your help and patience,
I've just had a thought...
But when he was going to show the film the first time in Parliament 18 months ago, before Vera Baird threatened him and stopped him from showing the film and calling for an independent investigation which he said that he had to do because if he didn't "then he would be neglecting his duty", he had the room booked, the invitations ready to go out and the draft statement calling for the independent investigation was ready to go and guess what?
He hadn't seen any version of the film whatsoever?
He had arranged the screening and the calling for an independent investigation, based purely upon the facts, backed up by the documents, that we had shown him.
It's like I said to him yesterday in an email,
"if I was lying, if the things that our group were saying were untrue, then do you seriously think that I would dare come to Parliament, Vera Bairds manor was the term that I used, and speak those untruths in the Seat of Democracy in our Country about the mighty Solicitor General of this country and the council which lies within her constituency? The answer now is the same as it was then".
Of course I wouldn't.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Well Come on then...What are you waiting for?
I found out about this today. I told a packed Coatham Church tonight. The Church Warden informed me that there was between 280 and 300 people in the Church. So much for Vera's statement about a small number of people. That brings the total to approximately 500 people in two nights.
To be honest I suspected that this would happen on Tuesday when Mr Goodwill told everyone at the Parliamentary screening, that Vera Baird had tried, once again, to put pressure on him to not show the film in Parliament right up to it being shown. He read the email that he said she had sent to him on Saturday 2nd of May 2009. The thing is that it is easy for Mr Goodwill to say the things he is now, but in truth, the screening ended after the people in attendance, including Mr Goodwill, were debating what should be done next?
The debate was left with Mr Goodwill saying that we should make moves to get hold of the secret barristers opinion and the development agreement for Coatham which was signed by council officers two days before the local elections and two weeks before G.ON.E had decided whether or not to call it in in 2007. That's how the meeting was left.
Whilst Mr Goodwill remonstrated during the meeting that there was an extra seven minutes of the film which he had not seen, what he is not saying, is that all of the facts which were contained within that 42 minute film including the other seven minutes, had already been given to him before hand. None of it was new to him and he had been made aware of it all on previous occasions. I even sent him a copy of the newsletter that we have just put out asking if Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council was corrupt and he raised no objection to it whatsoever.
What throws up more questions about this sudden retraction, is that an interview that was done with the PPC for Ashok Kumars ward and which is now part of the film, reflects the true flavour of the debate that followed the screening, and not Mr Goodwills new stance at all? The man in question clearly has serious concerns and clearly states that serious questions have to be asked. He mentions Robert Goodwill in the interview too and makes no mention of him pulling his support.
So we have to ask ourselves what has really happened between Tuesday afternoon after the screening and Wednesday, for Mr Goodwill to change his mind? He based his decision to show the film in Parliament not just on the film that was previewed, which was virtually the same as the one shown in Parliament, but also on all of the other facts that we had brought to his attention over an 18 month period, including an email which showed that Vera Baird, Labour MP, had "persuaded" both Rachel and I to stand in the local elections in 2007 as independents against Labour candidates. Something that he said she should be thrown out of the party for.
I had already sent Vera Baird an email today after Rachel received Mr Goodwills email, but below is another that I sent earlier when I saw her hypocritical statements on the councils website.
Dear Ms Baird,
It's relatively easy to put pressure on another MP who is obviously mindful that you had already threatened him, 18 months ago, to not show the film and to not call for an independent investigation. You had sent him an email last Saturday trying to put pressure on him to not allow the film to be shown. It's even easier trying to intimidate and bully a Church Warden into not showing the film in Coatham Church, which thankfully, he resisted because he could see through your threats for what they were.
But where is the substance in any of the things that you have said in the article that appears on the councils website? For instance, instead of making comments in press comments, why don't you and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council do something really radical if what we have said in our newsletter and film is so libelous?
And take us to court.
Thats the real proof of the councils innocence, the council that you appear, for some reason, to want to protect?
You seem to want to protect them even though they have had officers found in national publications to have supressed audit commission reports and replaced them with others, changed minutes of meetings, been found to have been deliberately disingenuous, guilty of sharp practise, found to have concealed the truth, changed EA planning conditions, brought the council into disrepute, had them downgraded to a two star authority and acted unlawfully.
Talking about unlawful, if you did take us to court, then I could call you and George Dunning as witnesses and perhaps then under oath, you could both tell me why, even though you stated publicly in December 2007 that you had known at the time of the Coatham Planning application that you had both known all along how wrong the planning process was, the Labour council still defended a judicial review that you, in your own words, had known all along was unlawful?
Are councils supposed to spend public money defending things that they know to be unlawful?
You could also possibly tell me why, after your own Labour leader called for the investigation of the now ex-Chief Executive Colin Moore twice, did neither George or you actually have him investigated when Labour came to power? Preferring to let him leave the council on a sickness ticket with a glowing appraisal in the press, a two year enhanced pay deal and massive pension that was worth £360,000? More than this could you tell me why, when Mr Moore turned up working for Cumbria council just two or three months later, did neither you or George Dunning do anything to reclaim the public money that had been given to him from Redcar and Cleveland in his enhanced pay deal and pension?
These are just a couple of things that we have been trying to get out into the wider public domain and answers to for some time. Along with the fact that this council and Persimmon homes were involved together over the issue of Coatham a year before the scheme was advertised as a leisure scheme. Thats a bit odd? Especially when the scheme was advertised as a leisure scheme, leisure developers expressed interest only to be ignored in favour of Persimmon Homes PLC who were a house builder and who haven't signed a section 106 agreement with the council to provide any leisure facilities whatsoever?
So come on Vera, instead of blustering on the councils website, or threatening other MP's and Church Wardens, take us to court and lets get it all out in the open. It will be so much better than trying to threaten people into distancing themselves from a film that you haven't seen yourself.
Chris Mcglade and the Friends Of Coatham Common
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Well that was like shelling peas. If that's the best that you can do, I'd resign now.
I would also like to point out, that our MP Vera Baird QC MP, Solicitor General of this country, phoned the Dean of Coatham Church who then got the Church Warden to phone her and tried to frighten the elderly warden, into not allowing us to show our film in the Church tonight.
What an absolute Disgrace. The film was still shown to a full church.
Here is Councillor Abbotts ridiculous posting that says absolutely nothing and my responses to it.
The leaders of all the political groups on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have joined forces in condemning the tactics being used by a minority of protestors opposed to the Coatham Links re-development project. What tactics are those Mr Abbott? Telling the public the truth about this scheme, the behaviour of certain officers of this council and the fact that the council were downgraded to a two star authority because of things that happened when your old Lib/dem Coalition were in power?
This follows the distribution of a leaflet and production and screening of a film by protestors. Condemn all you like Mr Abbott, you're bound to because truth always hurts, especially politicians, but where was the libel writ denying all of the things that the leaflet contained or the injunction to stop it being delivered or the film being shown? Ah thats right, there wasn't one.
In a joint statement, Cllr George Dunning, Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Chris Abbott, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Valerie Halton, Leader of the Conservative Group, and Cllr Steve Kay, Leader of the East Cleveland Independent Group, said: “Right across the political spectrum and in the seven years covering three different administrations, as a Council we have always put the needs of the Borough first in promoting the Coatham Links re-development project. Put the needs of the Borough first? Have they? Is that why for five years you have all lied to people in the Borough telling them that they had to have the houses in order to have the leisure, when in reality, youre borrowing over ten million pounds to build the only leisure facility that is being provided and none of the other leisure facilities are happening?
Is that why the Labour group damned the coalition for their handling of the scheme before the 07 elections claiming that they had let everyone down over Coatham, that it should be taken back to the drawing board and that the planning process, that you pushed through during Purdah, was tainted?
Is that why Conservative leader Valerie Halton blamed the Labour leader George Dunning in 2007 in the letters page of the Gazette over Coatham and in return he blamed her for being a part of a coalition that signed the Coatham development agreement? Why should you blame someone for signing something that was so beneficial to the borough?
Not only that, the Labour MP called it botched and on Radio stated that it was nothing more than a housing estate that was and I quote a "disaster". When was inflicting a disaster upon the borough ever considered to have been putting the needs of the borough first? When was a disaster ever considered to be good for the borough?
“The Coatham Links re-development project will deliver a massive improvement in the sports and leisure facilities available within the Borough, No it wont, it will provide a pool in Redcar that should have been built years ago and replace a leisure centre that we already have. What it wont provide or replace, is a music venue in the Coatham Bowl, that lots of people love and which the councils own consultants Nathaniel Lichfield stated in 2006, was one of the only three visitor attractions, along with the race course and Coatham beach, in the town. In the borough Mr Abbott or Redcar? Because after all said and done there are no leisure facilities whatsoever in the principal town in this borough.
Including a new competition-level swimming complex, a dance floor, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, These are all crammed into the new leisure centre that is being paid for with borrowed money though, because all of the other leisure facilities have bitten the dust and a space for the performing arts alongside a further development following the announcement of a £5millon Big Lottery Funded world-class youth, arts and media facility.Mr Abbott why haven't you told people that this youth, media and arts centre also contains a drug counselling centre? This fact has been in one of the free local papers? Why haven't you told people that it isnt even part of the Coatham Planning application, that it hasn't had any public consultation whatsoever and most of all, it has never been a part of the Coatham scheme and is only being touted as such now because it is replacing the, at the last count, £14,000,000 visitor centre with iconic tower! The visitor centre that the council lied to the High Court about when they said that it was definitely happening when it isn't. Since when was a youth and drugs couselling centre ever regarded as an adequeate replacement for a leisure facility that was going to make the Coatham scheme a visitor centre of regional importance? Thats right, never.
“The protestors’ allegations have now been investigated by the Police, LIE. We haven't been to Cleveland Police with any of our allegations because they have shown massive bias towards the council, like representing your old buddy councillor Dave Fitzpatrick over a civil issue, by spending sx months trying to fit a crime to me posting the truth on my blogsite when I had committed no crime Courts, LIE. Courts don't investigate possible corruption. Audit Commission, LIE. Because they actually acted on the dossier that we gave them and acted on the five and a half hour meeting that we had with them and downgraded the council as a result. the local Member of Parliament LIE. shes never investigated anything on our behalf regarding the shameful behaviour of elements of this council either. All she has done is stop an independent investigation being called for 18 months ago by a neighbouring MP and then ask the council to conduct an internal investigation to be headed by the ex-finance officer who featured three times in Private Eye for his less than credible behaviour. and the Ombudsman LIE. The ombudsman have never investigated anything on our behalf infact they used a flimsy excuse to get out of investigating the fact that the council and Persimmon were involved in Coatham together a year before the scheme was even advertised as a leisure development. However, they did investigate the council and in 2006 and 2007, when once again the Lib/dem coalition were in power, the Ombudsman did find the council guilty of maladministration.–
all of which has confirmed that the Council has done nothing wrong. Nothing wrong? Guilty of maladministration, dowgraded to a two star authority, found to be financially negligent, proven to have supressed a financial audit report, Nothing wrong? Aye okay then.
Given this, a minority of protestors Minority? Is this why there were 200 people in Coatham church tonight watching a movie that has been made about this most rotten council, 5 years after the campaign for the truth about Coatham began? When was the last time any political party in this area had 200 people at a meeting, ever?
has decided to promote a fantastical conspiracy theory which is untrue. Untrue? Is this why no legal action has ever been taken about any of the things that have been said by us in five years?
We urge the public not to be taken in. So do we, by the lies of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
“All that has ever motivated all of us at the Council is to do what is best for the Borough. No it isn't. Youre all motivated by your own selfishness. Youre all two faced hypocrites who can see your power base slipping away and the truth about the actions of officers supposedly under your control, being exposed for exactly what they are.
We do have our political differences but on this issue we are all in agreement Well you will be because youre all as guilty as sin of letting the people of this area down massively and turning a blind eye to all the things that have taken place!
the re-development project at Coatham Links is an opportunity to provide new facilities and benefits to the Borough and, as a Council, we are determined to deliver this to our residents. Once again, no its not. Its an opportunity to deliver another 359 homes built on a zone three high flood risk area along with a baths that is being provided with millions of pounds of borrowed money that the public will have to pay back through their council tax. A baths that we don't have to have any houses to have and that should have been provided long before now, but hasn't been, because this council have wanted to use it as a way of falsely getting people to go along with our coastline being blighted with housing.
“Throughout the development of the Coatham Links project, across all political parties, we have taken much time to listen to both supporters of, and objectors to, the scheme - LIE. You have never listened to the objectors to the scheme ever. You ignored a 10,000 signature petition against the Coatham scheme, but listened to a 6000 signature petition against the windfarm? You ignored over 2000 objections to the Coatham planning application, but listened to approximately 157 objections to the building of houses in Eston? You listened to objections about lamposts that were erected outside, you guessed it, THE MP'S HOUSE, but you ignored hundreds of people who have been barricaded into their homes as a result of fences being erected around the Common? Fences that are guarding and doing nothing and which to date have cost the tax payer over £48,000
as have our hard-working Council officers. Hard working council officers? Are these the officers that give replies to Freedom of information requests that contain, according to the Information Commissioners office and I quote, "inconsistencies"?
Are these the officers who have been found in so many tribunals as changing their evidence overnight, being deliberately disingenuous, bullying, intimidating, concealing the truth, acting illegally, being guilty of sharp practise and bringing the council into disrepute,?
Or are these the the officers who supressed an audit report that showed that we werent a four star authority at all, who have altered and changed minutes of meetings, changed an EA planning condition without consent or consultation to suit Persimmon Homes, gave themselves extra paid holidays that weren't brought before the council until after they had been taken or exceeded their spending limits under delegated authority by tens of thousands of pounds? Aye they've been hard at work alright, pulling the wool over everyones eyes!
We are convinced that the scheme is the right thing for our Borough and that it is widely supported. Well you have to say that dont you? What else can you say when everythings gone to pot? You should have a word with the MP, shes already called it a disaster publicly.
The latest tactics by a minority of protestors are a sad reflection on the way some people behave if they don’t get their own way - to accuse innocent people of wrongdoing because you can’t win the argument on merit is extremely reprehensible. Youre using the word Minority again Mr Abbott? Thats the third or fourth time you've used it in this posting? Sounds like you're desperate to portray to the public, the image of this campaign being the handywork of just a few, desperate people, Isn't that called spin? Some would call it propaganda, but I don't like that word it always reminds me of the Nazis in the last war.
But far from being a small group we have become an ever growing movement of people from across the entire borough from South Bank to East Cleveland, all dedicated to exposing what is going on and what has gone on within Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
Also, I'd use the word innocent very carefully Mr Abbott and as for wrong doing? The documents and paper work are all there. Would you like me to bring you the Scanlon tribunal report, the Whittaker Tribunal report, the Tait Tribunal report, or the tribunal report of the dinner lady who refused to accept the paltry £5,000 approximately that the council encouraged her and dozens of other lowly paid dinner ladies, to take. To then be awarded what she was really entitled to THIRTY TWO THOUSAND POUNDS, by an employment tribunal!
A story that didn't appear in council literature but strangely did find it's way onto the front page of the Guardian newspaper?
Perhaps I should give you both final financial audit reports for you to read? The one senior officers supressed and the one it was replaced with? Maybe you should see some old Gazettes where George Dunning, your new buddy, called for Colin Moores investigation twice or even the recent Gazette where you called for an independent investigation yourself? Wrongdoing isn't an accusation Mr Abbott, it's documented fact already in the public domain.
“But the protestors should know that as a united Council on this project we are not going to be turned away from doing the right thing by this hateful behaviour. Hateful behaviour? Is that like when you started an untrue smear campaign against me that I took you to the Standards Board for when you said untruthfully said that I was a member of the BNP? Or like when one of your Libdem councillors made STILL UNSUBSTANTIATED claims that she had been spat at in the street by the lead protestor? Or like when according to the police, someone from the council sent me, Mike Findley and Mary Lanigan vile hate mail through the post? Now thats hateful, don't you agree? Not exposing the unlawful, unconstitutional, deceitful, illegal behaviour of individuals within this council.
We are going to continue to put the needs of the Borough first - because it’s the right thing to do.” What I'll say in response to that Mr Abbott is this.
You have spent a full posting on your blogsite trying to extol the virtues of a scheme that has been branded a disaster by our own MP and castigating ordinary people who are exposing the truth about this scheme and the council. You have lied in your posting which I have easily proved. You haven't even attempted to deny the things that we have said in our newsletter, because they are all documented fact. I'll tell you what Mr Abbott, and this goes for all your party leader pals, if what we have said is untrue, libellous or we have been lying, then take us to court and disprove the things that we have said. Either that or welcome a full, independent, investigation into all apects of the Coatham scheme and the wider actions of the council, so that our questions can be answered. Either put up or shut up.
The council should know that their days of lying to the public, of covering up the behaviour and actions of the guilty, of wasting millions of pounds of public money, of behaving in a way that the Serious Fraud office have said in a letter pertains to corruption and of getting away with it all scott free, ARE OVER. The public are waking up to what has taken place within our council and to all that you and everyone else have allowed to happen and go uninvestigated and we aim to have everything independently investigated from the issue of Coatham to every other dodgy deal that this council has been involved with...Because that's the right thing to do.
And on that Mr Abbott, you have our word.
Posted by Chris and Glynis Abbott at 7:10 PM
hasEML = false;