Sunday, 22 February 2015

Heads down, Arses up!

Rather than explain to residents how our very own version of Moe, Larry and Curly couldn’t organise the Parish Council to respond to Selby District Council’s ‘PLAN SELBY’ Consultation in time they opted to stick their heads in the sand and leave it off the February Parish Council Agenda altogether.  I look forward to reading how they minuted their farce.

How was it possible for Parish Council Chairman RICHARD DREW, Vice-chairman KENNETH MCCANN and the Parish Clerk to make such a monumental cock up?  

I hope the two elected Councillors will maintain their heads down posture until the 7 May elections when their arses will be in a perfect position for a good kicking.         

For how many years do envy and bias predispose individuals to vote against colleagues in a Parish Council? Many, it seems!

Roland Chilvers will always be remembered for his series of charity fund-raising books of Pictures and Memories of Selby, Hemingbrough and nearby villages after he had amassed copies of local photographs and preserved them for posterity.

I couldn’t get to last Thursday night’s Parish Council Meeting but it hasn’t taken long for the alleged behaviour of our Councillors to get around the village on the mostly reliable grapevine.
It’s alleged that Chairman Drew and Vice-chairman McCann ran at least a part of the meeting with disregard for the rules and in the main for the advantage of the friends with whom they campaigned for our votes and to the detriment of other Councillors.

Apparently, Councillor Chilvers, who is not a part of their voting bloc and brings an independent to view to the Council table, began to read out a prepared statement regarding the historical background of the Oldways Village Green when Chairman Drew interrupted him and declared without a vote being taken that McCann could not be questioned on his actions, and ‘the matter’ was closed, to the apparent mirth of the Vice-chairman.

That sounds believable from the films and recordings I have made since August 2014:

there were two items on the Agenda about the Oldways Village Green

"Item 10. Discuss and consider the possible contamination of Oldways Dyke, and Item 11. Chronology and Update on the Oldways Memorial Walk, by Parish of Hemingbrough Historical/Heritage Society Archivist"

and the Oldways Green was mentioned in the email from McCann in 2009 describing the thoughts and feelings of Hagg Lane Green Conservation Society members after Councillor Roland Chilvers had resigned as Chairman of that Group, 

I think much of Roland’s bad feeling towards me at the PC comes from this, I think he wanted to be remembered for his work on Hagg Lane and unfortunately the majority of the group just thought he was a waste of space.  

The Oldways is his next attempt to be remembered for something I think, it will just go the same way as the “Land with No Name” if it is up to Roland and Jan to do the work – they do always look busy in the photos in the (local) papers though.” 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Correspondence with the Parish Clerk

To:  North Yorkshire Police

Fulford Road, York YO10 4BY

Dear Mr Burrell

About your email of 9 February 2015 asking for a copy of my recording of the Parish Council Meeting.

Since recording meetings from last August I have noted the Parish Clerk records every Council meeting.  May I suggest you ask her for an authenticated transcript of the comments made about you by the North Yorkshire County Councillor (Michael Jordan)? 

Surely she will co-operate or respond to a Freedom of Information Act request.   I’m certain her transcript with be the same as mine.

Copy Mrs Julie Leighton-Eshelby, Clerk to the Council

18th February 2015

Friday, 13 February 2015

Typical: ‘The Three Stooges’ of Hemingbrough Farce

When it came to “PLAN SELBY” Parish Council Chairman RICHARD DREW, Vice-chairman KENNETH MCCANN and the Parish Clerk couldn’t lead the other Councillors into a brewery for a proverbial piss up.
Our useless, local version of Larry, Moe, & Curly couldn’t represent the Voice of Hemingbrough Residents because they don’t communicate with the people they are meant to serve, and can’t follow a simple written brief even when it’s in front of them.  Their ‘Mute Newt’ Councillors and Co-opted Mates are just as bad.
Here’s a link to Escrick Parish Council’s “PLAN SELBY” Submission.

It’s a shame you won’t find anything similar in the Hemingbrough Parish Council files, on anything at all on their website. 
Are there any younger people sufficiently interested in Hemingbrough to stand for a Parish Council seat in the May 2015 election?
I'm sure the Escrick or Bubwith Parish Council Clerks will tell you how valuable it can be. Their Councils are nothing like the Hemingbrough brewery fiasco.  A word with Hemingbrough Councillor Bob Proctor and his colleagues from the Parish History Society about their vision for the village could be a good starting point. 
We deserve who we vote for.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Hemingbrough Village carved up on the QT

At last month's Parish Council meeting Chairman Richard Drew considered the clear instructions from Selby District Council for strategic "Plan Selby" Consultation that will affect all our lives.

The lights are on but nobody's home

(Without the New Rules on Public Recording of Council Meetings, you wouldn't have believed it.)

Vice-chairman Kenny McCann led the Group in the Site Allocations (Duh!) while Drew justified doing it because they have been elected to make the decisions on behalf of residents and minority Group Councillors Chilvers, Kinsella, Proctor and Strelczenie protested about the lack of public involvement.       

Seeing is believing

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ten Years on and the arguments continue.

January 2015.  Parish Councillors still arguing about who should control Hagg Lane Green registered by the Parish Council with North Yorkshire County Council as a Village Green. 

Step back in time.

17 March 2005.  The Parish Council set up a Committee with a Constitution to get access to Grants for which the Parish Council didn’t qualify.  At least four Councillors were on the Committee.


17 March 2005. The Parish Council ensured it had control of the Committee (“absolute power”) especially the Dissolution.

13 October 2005.  The Council Committee appears to have a new Constitution.

In 2014 I noticed from a joint Parish Council/Conservation Group Heritage Lottery Fund Application obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that the Lottery had “Printed on Thursday 20 October 2005 at 2:48pm” a copy of the Application Form, just seven days after the new Constitution had appeared. 

Did I smell a rat?  What was happening?  Did the Council files explain? Apparently, from all accounts, they are still locked away in the Clerk’s Garden Shed, or is it the loft, or is it the Group’s private filing cabinet, and there hasn’t been time to open them.         

In 2013 the Clerk provided a copy of that Constitution from the Parish Council files showing the make-up the Steering Group in October 2005 of what had at some time become the independent Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group without any Council control.


I queried that list of Steering Members knowing it was bogus.  For one thing, I believed Parish Council Chairman Roland Chilvers was the Chairman of the Committee or was it an Independent Group (?) at that date, and that he thought it was still a Council Committee. 

Why had the new Constitution been backdated?

The Clerk confirmed the Council File Copy of a letter dated 2009 from the Conservation Group had the bogus October 2005 Constitution attached to it.  She also admitted some details had been omitted from the Group’s letter and has been subsequently “corrected” but as the Conservation Group was no longer a Council Committee the omission/correction and the timing of it was Sweet F.A. to do with the Council even though four Members of the Steering Group were Parish Councillors.       

There is no explanation in the Council minutes of that time.    

Here’s the less than helpful letter from the Conservation Group that was never corrected by the Steering Group with its four Parish Councillors as Members, and two of them, including Parish Councillor Senior (!) were supposedly the Parish Council Representatives formally keeping an eye on what was going on and charged with the duty of reporting back to the Parish Council.

Note the change in the Parish Council’s role and loss of absolute control over its Committee in the October Constitution.

 P.S. It wasn’t until August 2008 that Parish Council Chairman Chilvers learned from the Council’s Professional Advisers that the Hagg Lane Conservation Society had become defined as “a constituted body with a separate identity to that of the Parish Council” on the basis of having “now had the opportunity to look over the constitution of the Hagg Lane Conservation Society.” (Letter from Sheena Spence, Deputy Chief Officer. (Ah! But which Constitution and was it validated by a Council motion?)

P.P.S.  The Conservation Group had bragged for years about changing a Group Constitution after Chilvers ‘threw his toys out of the pram’ so they were no longer under Parish Council control and they don’t have to take any notice of the two Parish Council representatives appointed each year to keep an eye on them, but then, why would they as they are already Members of the Steering Group.

You will not find all these details in the published Council records.  Strange. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Why? Why? Why?

Why did ‘The Big Lottery Fund’ contact the Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group in November last year about a past Lottery Grant to Hemingbrough Parish Council?

Why didn’t ‘The Big Lottery Fund’ contact the Parish Council about the Lottery Grant?  (Maybe they did and it was not listed in the Council’s correspondence.)

Why did the Conservation Group minute that there would “not be any direct request for copies of our records”?

Why didn’t Councillors Martin Senior & Glenis Harrison mention that Lottery ‘Tip Off’ to the Parish Council three nights later when they were called by the Clerk to make a report to the other Councillors and the public under Agenda “Item 11a) Hear reports from committee representatives: (Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group”. (The film record shows both Councillors kept their mouth shut for that item!)

Why didn’t Councillors Kenny McCann, the Parish Council Vice-chairman mention that Lottery ‘Tip Off’ to the Parish Council and the public at that same meeting?

Why was that original Parish Council Grant Application filled in with the home address of “Mr Kenneth McCann”?

Why did the “Big Lottery Fund” write to “Mr. Kenneth McCann” of Hemingbrough Parish Council at his home address?

Why didn’t the Parish Clerk handle the Grant Application and correspondence?

Why did the present Parish Clerk refuse to provide a copy of correspondence between the Parish Council and the Conservation group when she was served with a legitimate Freedom of Information Act request last year?  Does the Parish Council have a copy of all this Big Lottery Grant papers in its files right now?  (I mean “right now” not “in a week from now”!

Why did the Parish Council Chairman, Richard Drew, ignore my offer to provide the Council with a copy of Council papers obtained from the Lottery Organisations under the Freedom of Information Act?  

This is what happens when a Parish Council does not have control of the public land it has registered as a Village Green for the benefit of all residents and the Council and the Public have no oversight of the considerable grants of Lottery money awarded to the Council.

Who are the Councillors fighting any efforts to return the Village Green to full Council control with public oversight, with the Conservation Group continuing to manage such matters under a licence from the Council?


Sunday, 25 January 2015

A ‘No Brainer’?

I know which one I would trust the most to direct and manage public land registered as a Village Green by the Parish Council: 

‘The elected Parish Council of all Councillors summoned to transact the business in the published Agenda at a meeting open to the public that can be filmed and recorded by the public with decisions recorded in official minutes that can be relied on in a court of law with information available to the pubic under the Freedom of Information Act ’


‘A group of individuals having campaigned together to win a majority position on the Parish Council, including at least four elected Parish Councillors who have formed part of a majority voting bloc on the Parish Council for almost four years with bias against one or more other Parish Councillors, directing and managing the same Village Green at a private meeting held two or three nights before they answer the official summons to debate the Parish Council’s business of which they have already been advised and briefed,  when their business is not open to the public and their Group records are not available under the Freedom of Information Act because the Group is an independent one with its own Constitution, and its Chairman,  one of the Parish Councillors appointed by the Council’s majority voting  bloc of which he is a member, is formally called on at the Parish Council Meetings to advise all Councillors and the Public of developments  at the Group, and he doesn’t! 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Rt. Hon Eric Pickles is in the news this week after he wrote to Imams about how they could help with some cultural difficulties.  Like him, or loathe him, I will never forget that he gave the public the right to film and record Council meetings.  

I hope most are boring and there is little to encourage regular viewing.  Bubwith Parish Council, for example, seems to be a model with an excellent, knowledgeable Clerk helping and supervising events.

I have been watching the shambles at Hemingbrough for some time but with the self-serving Council minutes in their hands it was difficult to provide evidence of their shenanigans.  Pickles has changed all that.  

Every word is recorded now.  Every action caught on video.  Who said what and in what manner.  Who says virtually nothing at every meeting and is there as part of a voting bloc.  The body language.  The arguments, accusations and the bad blood.  The interference by the visiting District and County Councillors who have no right to sit at the Parish Council table and are advised by their profession association, the Y.L.C.A, not to do so, even though there is no law against it.

Pickles lets residents see what they have elected.  The fiascos, the chaos.  The reality as the masks slip and the election pledges are forgotten.

It’s our fault.  We elected mostly a bunch of asses and they co-opted their mates.  Some are worth saving.  But not many.

The Monitoring Officer arrives at the Parish Council

Jonathan Lund, Deputy Chief Executive, Selby District Council and ‘Monitoring Officer’ arrives for the session: Advice on Parish Council’ Constitutional Enquiry

[These Councillors have not been able to work together for the past 3 years and 9 months. They have achieved Sweet F.A at the Council.  They have only three more meetings before the Councils Elections in May.  Now they want to use our money to fund an enquiry into their bickering, accusations, arguments, bias etc.

Councillors should struggle through the next three meetings with as much good grace as they can summon, forget the enquiry, then put their respective positions and pledges for the future to the residents at a public meeting and let us, the residents, decide through the ballot box who is fit to look after our interests.]


In relation to Parish Council and Hagg Lane I’m not offering comments or judgements   

The Parish Council is a little stymied

It is an issue that is becoming detrimental to the proper conduct of Council business

I understand you have had some advice from Sheena Spence - ‘It would be better if the matter is delegated to a group of people’  To investigate and present a report back to the Council – and that I think is perfectly sound advice

my concern with that approach is whether in reality

the Parish Council is in a position where two or three of you are genuinely independent 
enough to have the confidence of the other members of the Parish Council
that any investigation has been independently pursued

issue that has touched most of you round the table

Would you be able to find two or three of your colleagues that you would have confidence in to get to the bottom of it?


I don’t think it (YLCA advice) will take you to where you want to be

If you want to pursue this and get to a resolution

a number of options but they are not without some cost

if there aren’t three of you, is there a small number
so one or two members of the Parish Council supplemented by

that might be something you would want to consider

imagine the District Council’s charge (for an enquiry) would be between two or three thousand pounds

if you think Councillors have breached the Code of Conduct you can submit a complaint to the Monitoring Officer, to me

Councillor Proctor
I have no wish to be associated with a Parish Council that’s being brought into disrepute for whatever reason.  It’s heading down that path

Let’s get it off the agenda and let’s get on with what were are here to do which it look after the interest of the local community because certainly in the six months I have been on this council I don’t think we have done that in any respect whatsoever

Councillor Chilvers
You (Lund) say contact the National Lottery, the National Lottery has blacked us, this Parish Council, from applying for any funding because of the actions of certain people.  We cannot go to the Lottery.  I want it cleared up. A ‘certain group’ won’t discuss it.

Councillor Drew
Councillor Proctor has kindly offered his services to help run it (the enquiry) He says he has no historic connection with the organisation (Hagg Lane Green) or any decisions that were made in the past, so that’s fair enough, but we’re scratching around looking for anybody to support him

You’ve got Eddie (Councillor Kinsella)
We’ve got Jan (Councillor Strelczenie, still Selby Branch Chairman of YLCA?)



Councillor McCann
The problem is Bob has also heard the comments that have been made so while ho could be considered o be independent he’s obviously heard all the discussions prior to any investigation taking place

[Proctor interjection]

Councillor McCann to Proctor
I didn’t say you were biased, I just said you have heard the comments

Here we have a Councillor who has put a letter together and it’s been pinned up on a Notice Board outside where I live, slagging me off, and another Councillor and his wife.  That’s disgusting! And you know who it was.


Keep them out of the Brewery

The combined talents (!) of Council Chairman Drew and Vice-chairman McCann, and the Clerk, Mrs Leighton-Eshelby, could not get organised enough to ensure a response from the Parish Council to the ‘Plan Selby’ Consultation before the 17:00 deadline yesterday despite sending Councillors Sedman and Senior to a briefing at the Eastern Community Engagement Forum and two separate training evenings, one of which was attended by McCann, and having the December and January Parish Council Meetings to agree a position.  

Even then they F***** U* the project by not understanding the purpose of the Consultation and did their own stupid thing, again!

I understand Selby Council was quite dismissive when the Parish Clerk asked for more time.

We get what we elect!    

Saturday, 17 January 2015

For those asking about the three plots

See Posts below.

It's not for the Parish Council to decide, but obviously their opinion is very important.  They are supposed to represent residents.  We elected them when they pledged to consult us. 

Selby District Council's Consultation Document makes it very clear, in a number of places,
 Maybe these Parish Councillors can't read.  Anyway, the cat is out of the bag! 

Councillors decided last night at an early meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Institute they will support “Plan Selby Plots 001, 007 and 008 for residential developments in Hemingbrough

‘Plan Selby’ Stitch Up (3)

Compare the Escrick Parish Council Web Site with the dearth of information on the  Hemingbrough web site and notice boards, and the back-street stitch up by the Parish Council led by Councillors Richard ‘We have been elected to make the decisions for the Residents’ Drew and Kenny McCann with their Mute Newts faction.  

New Parish Council elections will take place in May 2015.