Thursday, May 07, 2009

Well Come on then...What are you waiting for?

Heres a link to an article on the councils website.

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

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