Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dear Parish Clerk

I consider your email response dated 16 September 2014 about Meeting Papers to be unreasonable.

Hemingbrough Parish Council still picks, chooses and ignores whatever rules and regulations it wants to thwart members of the public wanting to learn about council events

I have no concerns about when you schedule discussions of the new rules and what you must do to become compliant other than I knew about the new rules long before they were approved by Parliament on 6 August 2014 and so should you, so you could have reasonably scheduled discussions for your August or September meeting instead of waiting for me to request you get on with it.

As a bona fide member of the press I am entitled to a copy of the meeting briefing notes now.  The Department for Communities and Local Government advises you that if Standing Orders are not fully in line with the new rules and expectations in the short term you “simply waive the relevant provisions of those old Standing orders which could be taken to inhibit the new rules, and then take steps to update formally “the Standing orders.  I would consider any other action, including your suggestion of scheduling a debate in October to be unreasonable.

I trust you will reasonably provide me with a copy the briefing papers before the meeting, conduct the Planning session with the formality dictated by Local Council protocols and resolve the matter of the Councillors who are Members of the independent Hagg Lane Green being influenced by that Group during discussions and votes as the Nolan principles require.

Note: ‘Nolan Principles’ require under the Principle of Integrity Councillors “should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”   

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

We don’t want to make it too easy for the public .....

The Agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Parish Council is still not on the Council’s website.

Dear Parish Clerk

I intend to exercise my rights from time to time under the “Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014) as a Member of the Press as defined in the Department for Communities and Local Government publication ‘Open and accountable local government’ publication

Regarding the Government’s encouragement for you “to place copies of the agenda, meeting papers and notice of meetings at offices and on their website, if they have these facilities.”

As Hemingbrough Parish Council has many years experience of updating its own website, I should like to see the Councillors’ “meeting papers” added to it as soon as practically possible however, until they are, I would like a paper copy of them before the meetings take place.  I will collect the copy from the Clerk to the Council’s home at an agreed time or they may be posted through my home letter box, whichever is the most convenient for you.  I am prepared to lodge a sum of money with you to cover the costs of photocopying or pay the requested amount just before the meetings, according to your preference, to help you comply with the spirit of the new National Rules.  Let me know which options you prefer, please.

Copy to R. Drew, Chairman of the Parish Council

“It is a criminal offence if, without reasonable excuse, a person with custody of a document which is required by the national rules to be made available to the public, refuses to supply the whole or part of the document, or intentionally obstructs any other person/s from disclosing such a document.

If a person is found guilty of such a criminal offence, he/she may be fined up to £200.”  
Open and accountable local government August 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

8 Months of Enthusiasm, or Misery. October 2014 to May 2015

For one Group, enthusiasm and commitment. 

For another Group, I can’t think it will be any different.  It may be worse.  Every morning on the way to work.  Every evening on the way home.  Friday nights.  Saturday nights.  Sunday mornings.  Grumble, Whinge and Moan, Complain, Whine and Groan.

Work has started to create a Memorial Garden at the site of the Hearthstone Filling Station.  Fundraising Officer Robert Procter at the Parish of Hemingbrough Historic/Heritage Society says the team has only just taken possession of the site and its first task is to demolish the structure.  The Society will be consulting village residents as to the work being done and will shortly be delivering a newsletter with details to all residents and will be updating their website shortly  Mr. Procter and his colleagues value all the support for this project which they have pursued with great enthusiasm and commitment.

Such is life in Hemingbrough with the incessant, factional infighting at the Parish Council that concerns the Hagg Lane Green Ponds.  The ‘Mute Newts’, otherwise known as the ‘Hagg Lane Green Gang’ lead by Councillors Kenny McCann and Kristina Wilkinson with the other Mute Newts, Neil Pickering, Glenis Harrison, Richard Drew and Martin Senior, blocked a proposal for a Memorial to the Great War of 1914-1918 from becoming a Parish Council initiative without offering any formal explanation.  It didn’t take long for the village grape vine to carry the ‘news’ that it was blocked because they didn’t like any proposal from Councillors Chilvers and Strelczenie.   

The blocked Councillors turned to the village Historic/Heritage Society for support.

If village history repeats itself the Mute Newts will go through the same purgatory as they did when Councillors Chilvers and Strelczenie were erecting the village entrance sign.  The Mute Newts will have to endure all the publicity the blocked Councillors will get in the village and local newspapers in the lead up to the Parish Council elections next May when the Memorial Garden should be coming into bloom very nicely.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Do they think I am stupid? I know they are!

10 September 2014

There was an immediate jump in the Bear Garden Blog viewing figures as Councillors scrambled to view the 'Carter Jonas' Post immediately below.  Do they think I don't have viewing statistics? 

11 September 2014

This morning, the Parish Clerk sent me a copy of the 'Carter Jonas' letter I requested more than two weeks ago despite her not even acknowledging my request.

I shall be interested to read how the Clerk and Councillors minute the issue as I have a recording of the 'discussion' and decision.  Rewriting Council history, and even making it up, is more difficult when you are being filmed, photographed and recorded.   

About their stupidity; the former Clerk, a gentleman, told me Councillors weren't smart enough to remember what lies they had told me.  They haven't changed.  He knew, and so did I.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

McCann & Drew conceal Turbine Community Consultation Letter from Residents

I don’t trust Hemingbrough Parish Councillors as far as I can spit.  In particular I don’t trust Councillors Kenny McCann and Richard Drew to fulfil their duties of Vice-chairman and Chairman respectively.

Is a 77-metre Wind Turbine development a sensitive issue?  Noise, flicker, blot on the landscape, wild life, is a single application the forerunner of a Wind Farm, a thin end of the wedge, and so on.  Emotions run high.  Parish Councils must dread Turbine applications.

Sensitive Developers, like Carter Jonas Property Services, understand the issues.  They know that getting local residents involved early can benefit everyone.  They can express their opinions before plans are finalised and if they then address the issues Developers can expect their planning application to be processed more quickly.  Potential Developers let residents, businesses and regular land users know about proposed developments by a COMMUNITY CONSULTATION LETTER which is sent to the local Parish Council as Councillors are charged with the duty of advisingconsulting and representing residents.

It doesn’t work that way at Hemingbrough.  The two Council factions are ‘bullies’ and ‘cowards’.  They don’t work together.  Looking at their record and expenses for the past three years suggests they don’t do much work at all.  ‘Let’s get the meeting over as soon as possible’ seems to be the motto of the Cowards.  It was the majority faction Cowards who pledged to put the interest of residents at the forefront of the intent when they sought your votes! 

When they received a Community Consultation Letter, McCann and the others agreed with Drew’s suggestion “I think we are best leaving that whole subject until we get the detailed proposals.”  By that time it will be too late to advise and consult residents. 
Never mind the residents, to express it politely.  Drew’s remarks and McCann’s willingness to go along with them were not off-the-cuff reactions.  Carter Jonas had sent their Community Consultation Letter to the Parish Council on 22 July 2014.  Councillors had received the meeting Agenda and briefing notes on 17 August 2014.  The Agenda item was described as ‘Proposed development on land to the north of the River Derwent, Hemingbrough’.  The Clerk had not described ‘the letter’ as a Community Consultation Letter.  There was no mention of Wind Turbine.  There was no suggestion of the topic that may have encouraged residents to attend the Council meeting.  They could have been muttering about a stable block, house, estate, anything.

The Council operates under rules to make its work more transparent and to be accountable to the local community, whether they like it or not.  Those rules must help any member of the public who wants to know about, view or report its work.  But not in Hemingbrough!
In two minutes Councillors had disposed of the Item in what seemed to be a prior arrangement between Chairman and Clerk.  There was no explanation by the Chairman, Vice-chairman or Clerk for the benefit of the public.  In fact, their avoidance of the topic was exceedingly suspicious.

Clerk: We’ve had this letter giving us information about the proposal and offering the opportunity to comment but my advice to the Parish Council would be to wait until the formal application comes in before looking at anything and submitting any comments and I will just reply to them thanking them for the letter but we will comment once we have received formal application.  Is everybody in agreement with that?
Councillors Yes
Chairman Drew: I think we are best leaving that whole subject until we get the detailed proposals.  Is everybody in agreement with that?
Councillors Yes

There was no mention of advising the public, no suggestion of getting the opinions of anyone and no Council comments at all for Carter Jonas Property Services. Why didn’t they put the Consultation Letter on the Village Notice Board so anyone with an interest could ask for more details and offer comments?  McCann and Drew just don’t seem to care about keeping residents informed, like they can’t be bothered to ensure the Clerk puts minutes on the notice board.

After the Meeting I asked the Clerk for a copy of ‘the letter’.  Two and a half weeks later there was no copy from the Clerk.  I am entitled a copy and so are you.  It is a public document now, it was listed on the Agenda and it was ‘discussed’.  The Council rightly demands residents obey their Rules when attending meetings, but they don’t follow the rules.  The Clerk forgets that she works for the residents as well as Councillors and we pay her salary!

You would think she would have been smart enough to learn by now.  I know the rights of residents so asked Carter Jonas for a copy of their Community Consultation Letter.  I received it in twenty-four hours.

The obvious question is why did Councillors treat the Turbine Community Consultation Letter in such a way?  By their decision that night they reserved the right to themselves of receiving the formal Planning Application from Selby Council at some time and deciding amongst themselves what remarks to make.  Residents would learn of those remarks five or six weeks later.  These particular Councillors don’t seem to give a toss for Residents except for a few weeks before the Parish Elections; the next election will be on 7 May 2015 when no doubt they will make empty pledges again.

I won’t be voting for Kenny McCann, or Richard Drew, or Martin Senior who made the same pledge at the last election and sat there silently throughout as the archetypal ‘Mute Newt’.  Do they still think the Parish Council is a back-street club where they can do what they want with our money?

Is there a younger generation in the village that fancies a real fight with these $*^%$£&(*£s at next year’s elections?     

I can’t spit very far.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Residents want to know about the whole subject ....

Dear Parish Clerk

You just don’t get it, do you?  

Your new national rules have been changed to make the Parish Council more transparent and accountable to the local community.  They are designed to help any member of the public who wants to know about, view or report your work.

I hereby give you notice that a meeting of Hemingbrough Parish Council will be held in  Hemingbrough Village Institute on Thursday 21st August 2014 commencing at 7.30pm.  Item 10e e) Note receipt of letter received from Carter Jonas regarding proposed development on land to the North of the River Derwent, Hemingbrough.

It is two weeks since I asked you for a copy of that letter and you have ignored my request.  Residents are entitled to know about the proposed development at the earliest opportunity and I am sure that is why Carter Jonas sent it to our elected representatives.  

I am legally entitled to a copy of that letter, a Parish Council Meeting Briefing Paper, under the new rules and because I am a member of the Press

I have no concerns about Councillors preferring to reserve their comments until the formal plans have been received but I object to the manner in which Councillors referred to the letter in Council without enabling the Public present to know anything about the proposal other than “It’s where ferry used to go ... “ and “It’s best leaving the whole subject until we get .....”

Without further ado, please “Please email me a copy of "letter from Carter Jonas regarding proposed development on land to the North of the River Derwent" that was listed on last week’s agenda at Item 10e and mentioned by you in the session of the Council open to the public.  If email is not convenient for you, then you may deliver a copy to my home or arrange a time when I may collect a copy from your home.

Thank you,   


Monday, 1 September 2014

You are the Zombie, goodbye!

I have just been told Councillor Mike Jordan (see below) probably got his “Zombie” description from the North Yorkshire County Council lexicon.  

On their Council meeting days approximately 45 Tory Councillors cram into a small room an hour before the official meeting at 10:30 to receive their instructions.  The small Tory Group Cabinet tells Councillors if and when they may speak in the meeting and how to vote for every resolution.  Their reward for behaving as told is a good lunch at 13.00.  Those not allowed to speak feel like Zombies. 

Pigs waiting to get their snouts in the trough, more like.         

I don't wanna be a Zombie

One hour and eighteen minutes. The duration of last month's Hemingbrough Parish Council meeting.  That's how long (or short!) Councillors devoted to the formal part of their responsibilities to discuss matters affecting residents.

Visiting North Yorkshire County Councillor Mike Jordan seems to think it's O.K. to get up, walk about, chat to mates and make a cup of tea during such short formal sessions. (See his email below)

Why does he bother coming to Hemingbrough? Do North Yorkshire County Councillors get basic allowances, travelling and subsistence expenses for putting in an appearance? 

According to Parish Council Minutes, in July “County Councillor M Jordan left the meeting” before the Planning Item started. How long did he stay? An hour? Long enough to get his name in the minutes. 
In June “County Councillor M Jordan left the meeting” before the Planning Item started. How long did he stay? An hour?
In May the Council Meeting lasted for a whole hour and ten minutes. County Councillor M Jordan stayed until the end!
In April the Council Meeting lasted for a whole hour and ten minutes. County Councillor M Jordan stayed until the end!
In March “County Councillor M Jordan left the meeting” before the Planning Item started. How long did he stay? An hour?

“Conservative Mike Jordan, who lost his Sherburn seat to Labour’s Bob Packham with only 11 votes between them, (in the 2013 North Yorkshire County Council election) blamed UKIP for his defeat. He said: “They stood and they’ve taken my votes – it’s as simple as that”

I wonder why?  It didn't take him long to get back in again.  

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Correspondence with North Yorkshire County Councillor Mike Jordan

Dear Councillor Jordan,

Thank you for your explanation which concentrates entirely on the wishes and likes of Councillors and makes not a single reference to the Public.

In a public session of any Council I expect to hear the discussions so I may understand what the Council likes and prefers in local developments.  I may have particular interests in the planning applications being discussed.  I do not recall public Planning Sessions at Selby District Council morphing into a Chimpanzee's Tea Party.  What you do behind the scenes out of the gaze of the public is your own private affair.

My recordings of last month's Planning Session at Hemingbrough show that Councillors paid no attention to the public.  The noise was appalling!  If Councillors wish to make a drink or chat to other Councillors I suggest they go to the separate kitchen; if you have something valuable to say to the Council then stay at the table and ensure everybody hears your contribution.

Despite your training and experience you have a lot to learn about the rules that have been designed to show the Public how decisions are made.

As guests at Hemingbrough, I expect you all to behave accordingly.  The Public can deal with Hemingbrough Parish Councillors at the appropriate time if they fail to respect the local electorate.   

-----Original Message-----
From: Cllr.Mike Jordan
Sent: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:06
Subject: RE: Hemingbrough Parish Council
Duly noted. I tried to respond some days ago to the email on the blog but it failed to deliver so I shall try again.
I have to say it must be some time since you attended the Barly and sgodby Town Council meetings because they get up and walk around and make a cup of tea when we come to planning. As someone who has been on the Planning committee and had considerable training I think it useful that I can provide advise. I do not play any part in the voting.
I also have to say that at County Hall we regularly get up and walk around during debate to talk to others without interupting the debate. We do not like just sitting there as zombies and it is part of the process as you will have noted at The houses of parliament. Formality taken to its end stifles debate and we do not want that!

Cllr Mike Jordan

McCann funked* it

Things are not always as they seem.  It was bad enough for Parish Councillors to arrive for their meeting and find me sitting there with my camcorder, camera and voice recorder ready to capture their every word and action.  For Councillors McCann and Senior, Councillors & Members of the Hagg Lane Green Gang, the agony must have been excruciating.

They must have soon realised what I had done.  Not only had I reappeared after two years but ‘there it was’.  I had written to the Clerk a week before so my enquiry had to be added to the Agenda:

“Item 13.  Advice of correspondence received, and DECIDE ON ACTION to be taken, where appropriate:-  b) Resident – Note receipt of further correspondence regarding Hemingbrough Parish Council and Hemingbrough Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group.”

“Dear Parish Clerk,
Can you confirm that:

all future costs associated with Hagg Lane Green, such as removal of fly tipping materiel, removal of travellers, Court fees, etc.  will be borne by Members of the independent Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group and not the Parish Council,

the date on which Hemingbrough Parish Council assigned all of its share of the monies, (or the resulting assets) awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to that independent Group following a joint application for funds

that truth of the Joint  Conservation Group/Parish Council Application that states "The land is owned by the Parish Council who will act as the accountable body for the project" and the land is owned "Freehold or other type of outright ownership" which, as statements open to challenge, could be in contravention of the Funds' Rules and Regulations.

Perhaps the issue of Parish Council Ownership of the land at Hagg Lane by Freehold or other type of outright ownership is what you and the Parish Council sought to conceal by your failure to provide any of the information I requested in a properly worded Freedom of Information Act request that was discussed in Council.” 

Essentially I was asking if the joint application by the ‘Parish Council’ and the ‘Parish Council Committee for Hagg Lane Green’ to the Heritage Lottery Fund included a whopping lie, and the Council’s assurance that all future costs are borne by the now independent Hagg Lane Conservation Group as that Group controls everything at the Green and residents have no say what happens there so there cannot be costs with representation.  

As they approached Item 13, Vice-Chairman leaned over to Chairman Drew for a whispered exchange, then Drew rather nervously said:

‘So where are we going now?  We’ve got some correspondence regarding Hemingbrough Parish Council and Hemingbrough Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group.  We are not in any position to give any answers to that tonight.  We need to do some work on that one before we can formulate a reply so we will leave that until the next meeting.’

Against all Council protocol McCann and Drew had announced without any reference to the other Councillors that an agenda item was NOT to be discussed by the Council and that an unidentified group of Councillors and presumably the Clerk would either meet outside the formal Council session or discuss on the phone or by email my questions and formulate a reply away from public scrutiny.  

NO DISCUSSION.  NO ‘DECIDE ON ACTION’. At a stroke McCann and Drew had shown their ignorance or contempt for the new Councils Rules designed to show the public HOW decisions are made.

* funk
1. British - a state of great fear or panic.  Synonyms: panic, state of fear, fluster;
2. British verb: funk; past tense: funked; past participle: funked;  avoid (something) out of fear.     "I could have discussed it tonight but I funked it."  Synonyms: avoid, evade, dodge, escape from, run away from, baulk at, flinch from.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Order! Order! Order!

Without public scrutiny, they do what they want, not what they should. 

Now it's easier with camcorder, camera and voice recorder. 

Dear Chairman Drew

Hemingbrough Parish Council meeting 21 August 2014

Items 10 ‘Consider planning applications received and decide on advice to Selby Council’ is an official session of the Council’s meeting that can affect the social and financial circumstances of parishioners.  It must be treated with the formality it deserves.

At last Thursday’s meeting under your Chairmanship it was a casual, slapdash, uncontrolled, noisy affair in which Parish Councillors and Clerk split into little groups for social chatter while plans were treated like pass-the-parcel objects and the level of noise in the meeting room prevented anyone in the public seats from hearing most of the comments from whichever splinter group had the plans in their possession. 

If your visitors from Selby District Council and North Yorkshire Council cannot sit in their seats at the Council table for the less than 90 minutes of your meeting, and keep quiet during the planning session, then I suggest you ask them to leave before that Item begins. 

Do District Councillors wander away from the Selby District Council table to natter with anyone in the public seats when they are bored?  I think not.   

In the neighbouring Parish of Barlby & Osgodby the same three visiting Councillors are required to sit in the public seats and speak only when invited to do so by the Chairman and obey the rules governing parishioners.  Comparisons between your session and that of your neighbours are to your detriment.  

For the sake of the parishioners at least it is your duty to maintain control so get a grip, please.

Monday, 25 August 2014

53,000 Visitors

The more people who know about Hemingbrough Parish Councillors and their antics, the better!  Hopefully the new scrutiny will force them to behave and put residents at the forefront of their intent, which is what the ruling ‘Hagg Lane Green Gang’ pledged to do when campaigning for election the last time.

Parishioner - Would it help? Chairman Drew – NO!

A parishioner living at Church Farm, Main Street addressed the Parish Council during the Public Forum about her planning application which had been turned down by Selby District Council and the Parish Council.  She hadn’t realised she could have spoken to the two Councils to get help to ensure her application was correct before submitting it. 

She explained her thoughts about the objections, for example, the planned ‘Velux’ windows could only be viewed from the Church roof, and not from street level.

Chairman Drew’s response was less than helpful, “We will discuss it at the appropriate moment.”  When the parishioner asked, “Do I need to come back for that?  Would it help?” she got an abrupt “No!” from Drew so she went home.

If Drew had been helpful he would, with Council agreement, have moved the scheduled discussion of her application to near the start of the formal meeting so she could have heard the Councillors talk about smoke from her property getting into an adjacent property at Sunday Dinner Time and causing a falling out between neighbours (according to Strelczenie) for example.   

Clearly, Drew’s NO! meant her presence would not have helped Councillors.  It would have been very helpful for the parishioner to hear the rabble babble way in which her application was examined again and understand the Council’s concerns before submitting a new application.     

The Clerk asked the Council, “So we are putting through the same objections as last time and we still object to the application?  Strongly! called out a Councillor.

Drew offered the observation, ‘We no doubt will receive a new application in the fullness of time.  I don’t think their description changed very much, but we shall discuss that when we get it.’

These self-centred Councillors do very little to help parishioners, as a survey of the past year's minutes will show.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Surprise email from Councillor Chilvers

Having been made aware of your 'blog 'peek a boo' picture of me, of which (I don't care a toss), please allow me the liberty to make you aware of a few facts

After a very stressful visit to my wife laying (sic!) in a high dependency ward in York District Hospital, I attended Hemingbrough Parish Council August 2014 meeting as was my public duty.  Due to a number of matters relating to the eventual return home of Mrs. Chilvers at some point in time, I arrived at the P C meeting without my agenda so could not follow the same. Although I spoke on a few agenda items, in the main I sat back from the table and kept out of items I could not follow.

I am fully aware you may publish this email or an amended version, but once again (I could not care a toss) as to me there are more important things in life.

Cllr. R.Chilvers.

Dear Mr Chilvers

I was genuinely sorry to hear about your wife's stay on a hospital high dependency ward as I know how stressful that can be for the patient and relatives. I hope she is soon restored to the family home.

About the photographs, I have been told that Councillors thought the first Hemingbrough Parish Council to take place under full public scrutiny with video and audio recording was a marked improvement from the usual Bear Garden when you and Strelczenie and your mates are at loggerheads with the ruling 'Hagg Lane Green Gang' and the parishioners are disadvantaged by your collective bad-tempered tomfoolery.  I am pleased to have had such an effect on the Council and look forward to seeing you all in future.

I am taking this opportunity of thanking you and your clique for your efforts to set up a village memorial for the Great War and hope to see a start on the Rose Garden soon when I will be around to photograph it.

If you really don't give a toss about my photography then I think it would be better for you not to waste your time with correspondence,  Best wishes


More Chilvers Bullshit.

Chilvers could follow the meeting even without his copy of the agenda.  He was sitting within spitting distance of the Clerk so could have asked for a copy, he was sitting between his two mates so could have looked at their copies, and Chairman Drew announced each section as they moved on to it.  See how eagerly he entered the session when they came to the item of Tree Cutting. 

All is not as it appears to the casual observer.  ‘Mark’ and ‘George’ are code words for the Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group and the ‘Chilvers Gang' respectively.  McCann (top left) and Senior (bottom right, sitting where they can signal to each other) want Mark to do the tree work as he is part of their Conservation Group while Chilvers and Strelczenie (sitting together so Strelczenie can remind Chilvers what they are talking about) oppose anything the other two want.  

The ineffectual Clerk can be best described as “all at sea.” You would think she would know more about the Parish Contractor so she could avoid a silly statement  

Eventually ‘Mark’ loses out to ‘George’ by way of a seconded ‘Proposal’ that nobody voted for.

For a detailed account of the loathing between the two factions, see “Toxic Treachery” below when McCann and his mates described Chilvers as “never seemed to be able to follow the meeting, nothing different there, and did not understand what had been asked.  He was probably wandering off at a tangent as usual.  His resignation letter from the group was as usual not the true facts,” (See 6 May 2014 Post).