The new Parish Council met in the Village Institute on 21st May at 7.30 p.m. It was the first opportunity to see what you voted for. Looks promising!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Divided Loyalties in May 2016

It takes only one meeting to notice them.  They have crept into Hemingbrough Parish Council despite the election pledges of 2015.  

The Memorial Rose Garden, an amazing achievement, was offered as evidence of how eight individuals could work together for the good of the village.  How they could do that in the formality of an 11-Member Parish Council.  Most still can.  Councillor Procter, the public face of that Group, resigned from that Group.  The village grape vine reasons have a common theme - the relationship between Council Chairman Strelczenie and Deputy Chairman Procter.  Their styles are different. 

One swallow does not make a summer.

Nobody knows more about our vital bus service and inconsiderate parking than Messrs. Strelczenie, Chilvers (R) and McSherry (D).  The Council has discussed them at great length for years, as any regular attendee knows.  The bus company ultimatum was inevitable given the village growth.  So were the emotions of those directly involved.  Businesses and residents don’t want yellow line parking restrictions nearby, some residents do want them.  School and playing-fields users don’t want them and are threatening to ignore them.  Managing three public consultations to balance the ’interests’ against saving the bus service was an unenviable task for Strelczenie.  Many people think he did it well.   

Individuals still chunter on about how they would have done it.  Procter chose to record his own negative opinion of Strelczenie’s efforts in the Council minutes for all to see in perpetuity.

Following the Annual Parish Meeting, Councillors were “summoned” to elect their Officers for the new Council year.  They are “summoned” by law to ’consider and resolve’ Council business detailed in the agenda sent to them at least three days before.  They must arrive with their thinking hats on.  The ‘Election of Chairman’ brought up Procter's name, showing at least two Members preferred him to Strelczenie.  A counter-proposal brought up Strelczenie’s name. 

Councillors and the public were no doubt counting numbers: nine Councillors present, rules allow family and partners a free vote.  The result was four votes each!  Councillor Terry declined to vote.  Did he know a tie would allow the Chairman a second vote?  Naturally, Strelczenie used his deciding vote to confirm his own position for another year.

‘Election of Chairman’ May 2016. Click here to view on YouTube

The short Clip begins with the Chairman counting the Votes cast for him.  The sensitive video camera microphone picks up the muttered comment of disgust of one Councillor at the end of the vote, “Another wasted year!”

Divided Council loyalties matter less when deciding sites for dog excrement bins.  They are unacceptable for the most expensive village project ever, the Community Centre.

Its chances of success diminish when directed outside the Council with no formal briefing of Councillors for a year.  It is of concern when Procter, allegedly Councillor Carstairs and Councillor Davidson direct it without their Councils hats on!  Those three Councillors voted against Strelczenie as Chairman.  Davidson is the Liaison Officer for that external project but he is not formally liaising with Chairman Strelczenie and his Council colleagues.  It is surprising they have not asked, “What’s going on?” and have had to be ’encouraged’ by the residents to get together.  

Are the two factions not talking to each other?

This is not what they promised in return for our votes.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

“We have pledged to work together ....”

Sometimes, a Parish Council needs an associated Community Group to access funding.  Collaboration is vital to avoid another Parish Council Civil War.

No mention of a Community Centre in the Council for a year?  Councillors kept in the dark?  An independent Group with Parish Council Members?  A privately registered Company?  Are these related to the attempt to unseat Chairman Strelczenie? (to follow ....)   

In the dark at the Annual Parish Meeting 2016

Chairman Strelczenie - It’s up to Councillors, especially those involved with the ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’ (???) to ask Julie (Parish Clerk) to put it on the agenda for the next meeting. 

Councillor Procter took the opportunity to tell Councillors what he had been doing for the past few months: :

“I can speak to that.
I am quite happy it goes on the agenda.
It’s in the very early stages of .... (mumble mumble mumble)
Just doing a feasibility study  
No concrete proposal as such .... (mumble mumble mumble)
The Group is up and running and working .... (mumble mumble mumble).”

Not very illuminating!  

He would have another opportunity later in the evening.

Would he mention the other two Parish Councillors, Liz Carstairs and Forbes Davidson, allegedly part of the independent Hall for Hemingbrough Group;  his discussions with the Selby Council Community Engagement Forum;  his discussions with local landowners;  his privately registered company, ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’;  the proposed Community Interest Company, etc?  

Would he mention the independent Group’s announcement pinned up in the bus shelter by the Church, but never mentioned in Council?  Would he invite all the Councillors to discuss and exchange views about the Community Centre in public?

Monday, 23 May 2016

Not once!

Helpfully, Parish Chairman Strelczenie asked Deputy Chairman Procter to comment on the questions raised in the “Items for next month’s meeting”.  That will be interesting.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Your May 2015 Hemingbrough Parish Council

We wish them Good Luck
"A bit of a squeeze round the Council table"

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Walk of Shame – May 2015

Belligerent, curmudgeonly Chairman Drew returns to the ranks as Councillor Jan Strelczenie takes over the Chair, and the legacy of Drew, McCann and their ‘Mute Newt’ Mates - Senior, Pickering, Harrison and Sedman – aptly described in the Internal Auditor’s report. 


Monday, 25 May 2015

Happy Bear

Thank you to the person who sent me this picture after last week’s Parish Council meeting

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sunshine at last.

I changed the colour scheme of the Bear Garden Blog after the election results were declared to match what I thought was a new mood of optimism.  Tonight’s Parish Council was exactly how it should be, with courtesy, consideration and the promise of progress.

The experienced Jan Strelczenie was unanimously elected Chairman of the Council with Bob Proctor also unanimously elected as the Vice-chairman.

You could hear the sucking in of breath when the Clerk revealed the past Parish Council chaired by Richard Drew and Kenny McCann had left +£54, 000 in the bank (31 March 2015).  As one person muttered, the ‘Mute Newts’ did nowt for residents, so spent nowt!

Chinese proverb

"Those who play the game do not see as clearly as those who watch."

I would like to reassure Councillors, especially the new ones that my cameras are not meant to embarrass or inhibit you and that when honest mistakes happen, you will not be blogged.
They can carry your good work into local homes, and that is to your benefit.  I hope you will forget the cameras are there, but do remember the Councillor who gave his partner self-serving versions of what goes on at Council meetings, then she saw differently when watching YouTube.

The cameras see far more than you can.  They see, for example, the numerous interventions of the visiting Councillors without the Chairman’s invitation, especially when sensitivities flourish.  They highlight people playing silly buggers and deviating from the well-known national rules, and are a public record of fact and continuity.  They can  improve the quality of meetings for Councillors and residents.

Watch a smart-mouthed Chairman and a Clerk with years of ‘experience’ still not sure in April 2015 of a basic ‘Named Vote’ rule she has used many times before!  This is unacceptable.   

Hemingbrough Parish Council became one of the first Councils in England to experience the new arrangements when I walked into the meeting on 21 August 2014, after a two-year absence, with a camcorder, camera, voice recorder and tripod.

The silly games of previous years were over!  If Councillors want to bugger about, their antics can be blogged and broadcast on YouTube and Twitter before they go to bed that night.  Thankfully, the new arrangements started a new era so everything that had gone before can be ‘water under the bridge’, if people are so inclined.

One experienced old warhorse was sufficiently concerned by my camcorder he told a local meeting how inhibited he felt.  There was no need, as long as he acted reasonably and accepted that Council Meetings are for the benefit of both Councillors and Residents. 

It is unacceptable, for example, for residents wanting to hear the session on local planning applications to be confronted by a cacophony of chatter and laughter from Councillors when they must keep quiet themselves.  It is even worse when visiting Councillors wander round making tea and chatting to their mates and the odd resident.  They would not try that in Selby District Council meetings.  Why did the Hemingbrough Chairman and Clerk allow it? 

Our Parish Council meeting is not a drop-in cafe.  It is the first tier of local government spending our money.  A competent Chairperson and a knowledgeable Parish Clerk should be there to guide and help - if they do not, they will be on YouTube and Twitter.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Election: Great Result, with a sting in the tail (1)

Hemingbrough promises to be a better place with a new Parish Council team pledged to be of strong moral principles and better communication with residents and council having the opportunity of working together.  

The first time to meet the team will be at the open Annual Residents Meeting next Thursday evening at the Village Institute at 7.00. 

The new team will not have completed the formalities that make them Councillors by then.  Parish council rules will not apply so they can talk informally, as individuals, about their busy and interesting programme and answer questions. 

National events have overwhelmed this week’s national Press - no coalition, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Murphy, McCluskey, Carswell – and our village grapevine has been busy too.

8 to 3!  What will the 3 do?  What do the voting numbers mean?  Liz Carstairs 545 votes, didn’t she do well, shows the strength of the ‘schools’ vote; Roland Chilvers 460 votes for his knowledge, experience and commitment, he’s still working on the Memorial Rose Garden at his age; Keith Terry, Les Stebbings, Forbes Davidson, new council faces, a new approach; Bob Proctor, an ‘incomer’. Maybe we will get things done now.  What is Glenis going to do?  Wonder who will be the parish chairperson?  Should get rid of the squabbles.  Maybe we should not have been so complacent.  At least they have some ideas. (And some unmentionable comments!)

Was it only seven days ago when Mary Weastell,  Selby District Council Acting Returning Officer and Chief Executive, Assistant Chief Executive at North Yorkshire County Council, Governor of Selby College, Chair of the North Yorkshire Community Safety Partnership (the speed camera people?) and the lead North Yorkshire District Chief Executive representative on the sub-regional Housing Board, woke on the Sunday morning to find her name on Twitter and elsewhere because Hemingbrough Parish Council results had been ‘declared’ at 3.45 on Friday afternoon, so she said, but they wouldn’t be announced on the Selby Council website to the candidates, their supporters and the residents until sometime on Monday?  That must have prompted a flurry of activity to get them published on Sunday afternoon.  There is nothing quite like Twitter to encourage those in the public eye to do the job we expect of them.    

So what about the 3 - Harrison, Sedman, Drew?  They campaigned on a platform of ‘You voted for us before, Vote for us again.  We want to run the council.’  They offered no plan.  Their election leaflet sounded like small ideas from small people.


Although the Parish Council is the first tier of local Government, there should not be any Opposition.  Yes, there are different views to be honestly debated, collectively decided and then implemented for the Community with our money.  No local feuds, no ingrained petty squabbles or tit-for-tat voting based on past arguments and sleights in the village.

It is not as simple as that.  The core of the new council Team is five Councillors from the Parish of Hemingbrough Historical Heritage Society.  They may take part in discussions about the Memorial Rose Garden and the ‘Oldways’ but may not vote on resolutions.  That leaves the voting Council Members for such issues balanced at 3-3 each.

So what will Harrison, Drew and Sedman do?  Will they join the rest of the Team that received resounding support from residents, or will they continue with the ’Opposition’ of the past four years?  Will they do what we expect of them?  The camcorder will be there to observe.

Perhaps they could start with an act of reconciliation.  How much would it have cost the Council to remove and clear the site of the old filling station?  The Council has bloated funds from the four years they were in power.  Surely, they know what to do!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


I recognise a blocked email when I see one.

Never mind, James 'Jim' Deans.  I left a copy at the ‘Access Selby’ office this afternoon to ensure you get it!  Remember you are one of my two elected representatives in Selby District. 

(Click this image to enlarge it.)

Monday, 11 May 2015

Well done, Hemingbrough

Democracy is alive in our village.



Brayton, Hambleton, Hemingbrough, Selby (North), Selby (South) Selby (West)


Parishes where there were fewer Candidates than available seats so everyone putting forward their name was ‘elected’ without a contest!

Acaster Selby, Appleton Roebuck, Balne, Barkston Ash, Barlby (Bridge), Barlby (Osgodby), Barlby (Village), Barlow, Beal, Biggin, Bilbrough, Bolton Percy, Brotherton, Burn, Burton Salmon, Byram Cum Sutton, Camblesforth, Carlton, Cawood, Chapel Haddlesey, Church Fenton, Cliffe, Colton, Cridling Stubbs, Drax, Eggborough, Escrick, Fairburn, Gateforth, Grimston, Heck, Hensall, Hillam, Hirst Courtney, Kelfield, Kellington, Kirk Smeaton, Kirkby Wharfe with North Milford, Little Smeaton, Long Drax, Monk Fryston, Newland, Newton Kyme Cum Toulston, North Duffield, Riccall, Ryther Cum Ossendyke, Saxton Cum Scarthingwell, Selby (St James), Sherburn In Elmet, Skipwith, South Milford, Steeton, Stillingfleet, Stutton with Hazlewood, Tadcaster (East), Tadcaster (West), Thorganby, Thorpe Willoughby, Towton, Ulleskelf, Whitley, Wistow, Womersley.