Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Well that was like shelling peas. If that's the best that you can do, I'd resign now.

Hey, I got in from a packed Coatham Church where 200 people watched our film Coatham a Common concern and found this posting on Cllr Chris Abbotts blogsite. COATHAM LINKS - PUTTING THE INTERESTS OF THE BOROUGH FIRST I have answered every untrue and half truth telling point that he has made, in blue. What an absolutely desperate load of old rubbish from a councillor and a council who are trying everything that they can in order to counter the truth that has been printed and spoken and filmed about the Coatham scheme and the behaviour of officers and councillors alike.

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

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