Monday, 24 July 2017

The ‘Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014’

‘The Act’ requires the Parish Council (not to be confused with ‘The Parochial Church Council of Hemingbrough’ a.k.a. ‘The P.C.C.’ or ‘The Church’) to answer questions about how it spends our money.  Most residents couldn’t give a toss.  I asked the Parish Council about its grass-cutting Contract, a part of which covers St. Mary's Church graveyard. 

Who is contractually committed to pick up the cuttings that plague graveside mourners and relatives of the departed, especially in wet weather?  

Most nodding-donkey Parish Councillors couldn’t give a toss, and probably have never seen the seven-year, open-ended Contract.

The Parish Council Chairman, Jan Strelczenie, has been filmed telling Councillors he agrees with the Contractor who he says claims it is not his duty.  The rolling, open-ended seven-year (so far!)  Parish Council Contract says it is the Contractor’s duty. 

Strelczenie has been filmed telling Councillors he suggested to the Contractor he should ‘add a bit’ to his prices.  

The Church couldn’t get a copy of the Parish Council Contract, even though it reimburses the Council for the work at the Graveyard. (?????)     
I have told the Council’s Auditor I believe the payment of public money to a Contractor for work not carried out under contract may be unlawful, and the Parish Council must have a visible process of corporate due diligence that protects the Council, St. Mary’s Church, and local electors.

There have been two responses so far, but nothing from the Parish Council (I think?)

From The Church, in the post.

From The Tossers! From the Village Notice Boards!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Hemingbrough Parish Council meetings are highly unsatisfactory. (4)


January 2017 Parish Council Meeting.

Me: (in an open part of the meeting considering a proposal, since approved, to build dwellings off School Lane.)

Thank you, Chairman.  What are the projects that the Council would spend the money (the CIL - Community Infrastructure Levy) on, if it is approved?”

Chairman Strelczenie (on the film record) : Well, we haven’t anything in line at the moment.



– in others words –


I know of at least one Councillor who was shocked when learning of that explanation.

It will be interesting to hear the answers from the Clerk to the Council, Mrs. Julie Leighton-Eshelby and Chairman Jan Strelczenie who, with his wife or civil partner, declared a beneficial interest or a license to occupy (for more than one month) land or property detailed as “Hemingbrough Community Memorial Garden” YO8 6QG owned by the ‘Parish of Hemingbrough Historical Heritage Society’ (PHHHS).

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Hemingbrough Parish Council meetings are a monthly "bun fight"*

That ‘A’ Word!

A council must do what the law requires it to do**.
A council may do only what the law says it may do.
A council cannot do anything unless permitted by legislation.

The law gives local councils choice in activities to undertake; but surprisingly
there are very few duties, or activities that they must carry out in delivering
services to local people.  Exceptions are that a council MUST:

consider the provision of Allotments if there is demand for them from
local residents and it is reasonable to do so.

Chairman of the Council Jan Strelcnenie told a resident at a recent Council Public Forum that Allotments are outside the remit of the Parish Council.  The Clerk to the Council Julie Leighton-Eshelby did not correct him, so Councillors and the Public were left with false information. 

How can the highly unsatisfactory Council gauge demand from residents if false information is allowed to rule the roost?    

It seems that only one Councillor cares to prompt for the truth.  No wonder he is bullied. Maybe that is why other Councillors seem disinterested or simply keep their mouths shut, for months at a time.  

* Visiting North Yorkshire County Councillor 
** The good councillor’s guide

Monday, 17 July 2017

Hemingbrough Parish Council meetings are highly unsatisfactory. (2)

Some of the actions at Hemingbrough may be unlawful.  Certainly, many are very nasty.

Let’s start with the Village Grass Cutting Contract.

The Parish Council has a single, three-part contract.  The first part covers St. Mary’s Church Cemetery and Walkway down to Oldways.  The Church reimburses the Parish Council for that work. The other two parts cover the village.

The experienced Clerk to the Council, Julie Leighton-Eshelby, who clerks for three other local Parish Councils, signed the Contract.  She signed it on 22nd February 2010.  It had no end date “after which the contract will be reviewed”!  

The Contract has been rolled-over by Councillors, most of whom probably don’t have a copy to enable them to understand what they are approving.  Remember, most of these people recently voted to assert ridiculously incorrect minutes prepared by the Clerk were accurate!  Councillors have approved an increase in charges for the Church grass cutting.  The Clerk confirmed it in her minutes.     

The Contract states, “The Contractor shall be responsible for the removal and the disposal of waste materials/grassing cuttings etc” which will be music to the ears of complaining, graveside mourners and relatives of the deceased in wet weather.       

The Chairman, who admits to having a copy of the contract, told Councillors the Contractor hadn’t asked for any increase in charges.  If the Contractor didn’t ask for an increase, then who on the Council proposed and seconded an increase? And WHY?  The Clerk must have the answers.

The Chairman led Councillors to believe the Contractor was NOT responsible for picking up the grass-cuttings.

Whilst it is not the duty of the Clerk to stop Councillors making prats of themselves, why didn’t Mrs. Leighton-Eshelby correct the Chairman’s false assertion about the grass-cuttings?  Why didn’t she offer advice to Councillors about the correct way to contract for services above a specified value?

Did the Council’s Internal Auditor get a full briefing from the Clerk about the nature of the rolling contract of seemingly perpetual duration above a specified value?  She didn’t mention a problem with the payments in 2016/2017 for the Council’s largest contract despite work not done!    

Why did I have to provide a copy of the Contract to the Secretary of the Parochial Church Council in the absence of one from the Parish Council?  Why didn’t the Clerk advise Councillors about the dubious propriety of a Chairman encouraging a Contractor to ask for an increase in charges on the public purse?

Unbelievable?  Watch the following YouTube Video of the Chairman, with the Clerk by his side, briefing largely disinterested Councillors!

Chairman Strelczenie tells grass cutting Contractor to ask for more public money!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Hemingbrough Parish Council meetings are highly unsatisfactory. (1)

Some of the actions at Hemingbrough may be unlawful.  Certainly, many are very nasty.

I believe I am correct when I say the Clerk to Hemingbrough Parish Council, Mrs Julie Leighton-Eshelby, is employed by the Council, under section 112 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972, to support the Council's activities.  

Clerks are employed to implement Council decisions.  Clerk’s are expected to provide advice and guidance for Councillors.  Councils use public money to pay for Parish Clerks to access advice from Specialists such as the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations.  Parish Clerks are supported by ‘Monitoring Officers’ of nearby principal councils, such as Selby District Council.

Parish Clerks are NOT answerable to any individual Councillor - not even the Chairman!  No single Councillor can act as a Clerk's line manager - not even the Chairman!  

Clerks are not responsible when Councillors make prats of themselves, with or without guidance.

Clerks are responsible for putting together the Council agenda.

Clerks are not Secretaries.  Clerks are not at a Chairman’s beck and call.  Councils and residents expect Clerks to be independent, trusted, objective Officers.  It is reasonable, therefore, for Residents to ask Clerks about their duties and results. 

So, with defined roles and oodles of advice, what has gone wrong at Hemingbrough, and for so long?  What has been done to stop the very nasty behaviour around the Council table?

(To be continued).

Sunday, 9 July 2017

A Tale of Two Chairs (1)

“Chairman Strelczenie”, not the Parish Clerk, set up the appointment to inspect and copy Parish Council 2016/2017 Financial Papers.

I arrived with my cameras, including a six-foot high, extended tripod with video-cam already mounted on top, and my Chaperone – a four-foot, ten inch high, lady pensioner. 

I greeted the Chair and Clerk.  They know I arrive at every Parish Council event involving the public with my video-cam and cameras highly visible and they watch me setting up my paraphernalia.  Strelczenie knows he appears on YouTube if he flagrantly flouts Council rules. (More later)

During my inspection, the Clerk and Chair came within one metre of my highly visible tripod and video-cam.  Neither expressed any concerns.   

The Clerk’s service during the inspection was excellent.  We carried out the inspection politely, with the Chair throwing in bad-tempered comments.  Did he have something to hide? (More later) 

After Strelczenie interjected yet again with a bad-tempered outburst, he must have remembered the video-cam from which I have taken these video stills and verified the sounds and actions throughout.  He came rushing across the room in a threatening way that caused the Clerk to yell out “JAN!” as one would try to check a dangerous dog’s uncontrolled behaviour and I told him loudly “Do not come near me, at allDo not come near me, at all!

My wife was hugely shocked.

Strelczenie backed off in the face of the Clerk’s warning shout, my warnings and the strategically placed, protective Chair Number 2 I had placed between my wife and the human Chair in case of a red-faced, eye-bulging, threatening outburst.   

The Chair declared “This account ….. (inspection?) is over, it’s over, it’s over.”  I have him on film bullying Councillor Chilvers during the past six months, but this was the first time he bullied a member of the public with his behaviour and “It’s over” declaration.   

Earlier that morning, before the inspection, I had reported my concerns about Strelczenie’s likely behaviour to the Council’s External Auditor.

I received advice NOT to go to the inspection alone.  I thought a small, female pensioner would stop the Chair’s infamous, filmed, bullying outbursts. NOT SO!

This is so-called “Democracy” in the area under the remit of Selby District Council Monitoring Officer and Solicitor Gillian Marshall. (More later).

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The appeal of a cricket player on the fielding team asking an umpire for a decision 

The village grapevine suggests the local cricket club is displeased to hear Forbes Davidson, wearing either his Hemingbrough Parish Councillor Hat, or his Hemingbrough Institute and Playing Fields Committee Representative Hat, or his Selby District Council Community Engagement Forum Representative Hat, or his Yorkshire Local Councils Associations (Selby Branch) Representative Hat or his Director’s Hat in Councillor Procter’s private ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’ Company, or even No Hat at all, mention in public the Hemingbrough Cricket Field and possible redevelopment.

Hats?  Sounds like ‘fingers’ and ‘pies’ to me! 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

An earful from the usually silent ‘Vegetable Patch’

Chairman Strelczenie got an earful in May 2017 from the usually silent Councillor Harrison.     
I think we do a lot behind peoples’ backs, spending money, and the people of the village know nothing about it

Continuing my theme of ‘Keeping residents in the dark’, on 30th April 2017 I wrote to the Clerk to the Council, Julie Leighton-Eshelby, who also clerks for Cliffe, Skipwith and Thorganby Parish Council Councils, I believe. 

After two months, she has not responded to my request about Hemingbrough Council’s application to acquire land at Hagg Lane Green by adverse possession so I could provide evidence to the Land Registry in support of the Council.  I have Land Registry’s approval to provide evidence.   

I don’t know if it was Leighton-Eshelby’s decision to refuse to take notice of or acknowledge, or disregard intentionally my request, or if it was a joint decision with Strelczenie, or his decision alone.  I imagine a body such as 'The Society of Local Council Clerks' (SLCC) would not condone such behaviour.

Behind their backs, out of their presence, without someone's knowledge, all sum up the Council’s sudden decision to exclude the public at their December 2016 meeting, even though no member of the public was present – a devious way of NOT writing minutes for the public to read.

Strelczenie confirmed later in an email the subject was the Hagg Lane Green Conservation Society and the adverse possession issue.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Council’s utter contempt for Hemingbrough residents

Utter Contempt?  The wilful disobedience to or open disrespect for the Rules or Orders of a Court or Legislative body.

In this case, the open disrespect by Hemingbrough Parish Councillors for the Rules and Standing Orders on Thursday, 18th May 2017 when Chairman Jan Strelczenie read out the Minutes of the 2016 Annual Parish Meeting, written by the Clerk to the Council, Mrs. Julie Leighton-Eshelby, and asked Councillors to make them legally acceptable in a Court of Law in England by agreeing the minutes just read out were a true and accurate record.

Chairman Strelczenie had read them out, Leighton-Eshelby had heard them, her own record, and Councillors L Carstairs, F. Davidson, R. Drew, G. Harrison, Vice-chairman R. Procter and L. Stebbings had given the appearance of listening and had signified they were true, while Councillor K. Terry had the grace to admit he could not remember.

Councillors agreed with Strelczenie and Leighton-Eshelby that the 2016 Annual Meeting in Hemingbrough had been a short one in the Village Institute with no Public present.

Two members of the Public gave Councillors enough rope to hang themselves - they could have attempted to correct the false, legal record - then interrupted the meeting to challenge the above Councillors and Clerk – the minutes, now legally true, assuming Strelczenie signed them as a true record, were WRONG! 

“Short” Meeting is open to debate, but members of the public were present, the meeting was long enough for one member of the public to read out a statement, the meeting was not in the Village Institute, it was in the Methodist Church Hall, and a resident has a film record to prove their utter contempt.          

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING ABOUT - obviously not about the 2016 Annual Meeting, not about the Council’s Rules and Standing Orders, not about their duties, not about the legal record and not about the residents?    

So far, those incorrect minutes, nor a legally approved, corrected version, have appeared on the Parish Council’s website.  There was no mention of them by the Chairman at the June 2017 Council.

Maybe the Chairman, Vice-chairman and Clerk to the Council hope this will go away.  No chance!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Big Questions

This week’s Parish Council Election campaign spawned a raft of Questions about Council Vice-chairman Bob Procter’s ‘Village Hall Project’.

Community Centres, Conference Centres, Halls and provision of Recreation Grounds and Playing Fields are under the Parish Council remit, so why are current activities and concerns in Hemingbrough absent from the Parish Council Agenda and debate in the presence of the public?

Will Procter’s proposed state-of-the-art District Community Centre be under private of public ownership?  If under private ownership, how many of today’s Parish Councillors will be involved?

Is a more-modest venture more in keeping with national village hall and community centre trends (declining!) while other efforts cater for the fortunes of the local football, cricket and bowls clubs and the Charity that owns the existing Playing Fields?

Will the Parish Council assess the implications for the village of the Vice-chairman’s and two Parish Councillors’ private scheme before any Public Meeting?

Will Procter’s private scheme be presented alongside the Council’s assessment of all possible implications affecting the village, such as road congestion, effect of local businesses, possible Playing Field’s redevelopment, improved community facilities, etc?

Will Parish Councillor and Director of the ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’ private company Forbes Davidson share with the Council at its next meeting, and the public, the Village Hall and Playing Fields information he talked about in public after a bowls event?



Thursday, 29 June 2017

Excruciatingly embarrassing

Parish Council Chairman Strelczenie told off by Selby District Council Official for using 
camera where ballot paper counting was in progress.

His Smartphone was pointed directly at a woman in the room who recorded his camera flash.

His target:

Who’s she? (Stebbings, Don’t know)

She’s getting out her pencil and paper!

(Looking away) She’s trying to stare me out!

After the Official was alerted, it’s not certain whether Strelczenie’s irritable “Bastard!” comment was directed at the Official for calling him out, the person who alerted the Official, or the woman who made him blink first. 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Well Done, Hemingbrough

‘Good turnout, engaged the residents and raised the bar (in parish politics)’ according to a Selby District Council Official after the election.  

Results: 376 verified votes, turnout 26.8%
Mark Allitt 217 votes
Vic Parkin 159 votes

Both candidates deserve praise for putting forward their names and applying their energy in an excellent example of local democracy in which residents filled a casual Parish Council vacancy avoiding a dirty-deal co-option of a mate by a small clique of sitting Councillors.

The election of Mark Allitt of Orchard End, popular with the local sporting fraternity in particular, brings great opportunities. 

The Parish Council suffers from an absence of representation of what some long-term residents call ‘the in-comers in their posh house at t’other end of t’village’.  Most recent residents show little interest in village matters and rarely visit Parish Council meetings until they have a problem.  

The Village suffers from a flood of planning plans and applications that could turn plots and fields in the Orchard End, Mill Lane, School Road vicinity into Hemingbrough ‘New Town’ with increased burdens on roads, drainage, the school and other facilities.                

The Parish Council suffers from bullying, untruths, factionalism and absurd ‘Nodding Donkey’ Councillors ready to nod through as a lawful record the Parish Clerk’s flawed minutes of an Annual Parish Meeting.  

In a Council of eleven Members, residents cannot afford virtually silent, full- or part-time or curmudgeonly Councillors who contribute little in the poorly regulated, monthly bun-fight except for their personal embarrassment.  

The Council’s Auditor criticises the Council for banking too much money instead of spending it for the benefit of residents.  The Leaders, Strelczenie and Procter, do not have any plans for the Council to attract the Community Interest Levy payments from house developers.

All residents should welcome Mark’s election if his enthusiasm leads the Council away from its present course and ensures Council Planners and builders hear the Hemingbrough Voice.  His election should be a warning to those who promise much at election time and deliver virtually nothing.    

Well done, Mark, and well done Hemingbrough.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

‘Bullying and Insulting Behaviour

I did not want an acknowledgement on 12th May 2017 from Gillian Marshall, Monitoring Officer and Solicitor to Selby District Council.  

I wanted ACTION to stop the Bullying and Insulting Behaviour. 

I hoped she would have a quiet word with the Clerk to Hemingbrough Parish Council, Julie Leighton-Eshelby, whose duty it is to uphold Standards, or Chairman Jan Strelczenie, or Vice-chairman Bob Procter, or send a note to the Nodding Donkey Councillors reminding them of their duties.

Two Councils have happened since then, including the ‘Night of Shame Gagging’ in June.

Now, I want ACTION from Janet Waggott, Chief Executive, Selby District Council to stop the Bullying and Insulting Behaviour.

Perhaps Nigel Adams MP can help stop the bullying and Insulting behaviour at Hemingbrough. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

‘The Shame of 
Hemingbrough Parish Council’

Chairman Jan Strelczenie and Vice-chairman Bob Procter lead the charge to Gag 'Father of the Council' Roland Chilvers as he prepared to ask about -

Transfer of a financial liability from the Parish History Society to Parish Council risk,

Implication of Procter’s Regional Leisure Centre being the sale of the School Road Playing Fields for residential development,

‘Mythical’ rolling village Grass Cutting Contract of indeterminate length breaching national guidelines,

Restoration of the lower Landing Lane Footpath for all residents, especially dog-walkers and those with young children.

Short YouTube Clips of Hemingbrough Parish Council 2017