Thursday, 9 March 2017

We can’t own it. We don’t want the Parish Council to own it - Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group (2)

This is why the Parish Council went into secret session in December, questionably invoking a device to exclude the Public and the Press.     

Why would a few residents who organise the excellent Winter Wonderland oppose Chairman Jan Strelczenie’s Parish Council vision?  

Link Hagg Lane Green, the Village Pond, the Memorial Garden and the Oldways into an unmatched local heritage and conservation area featuring an outdoor classroom, memorial walk and quiet contemplation area protected against commercial development in perpetuity.  

I think less selfish people would contribute their undoubted conservation expertise to the wider village scheme.   

The Hagg Lane Green Wars continue.  I’m not surprised three long serving Parish Councillors, Messrs. McCann, Senior and Pickering, failed to regain their seats at the last Parish Election.  They were Members of the Hagg Lane Green Group that came to dominate Council business for years.  Unlike the Parish Council, this private group is not subject to public scrutiny.  Even the Parish Clerk was surprised some “£50,000 of public money” could be spent without the public being able to look at the accounts. 

One of the last straws that hastened the decline of the Conservation Group on the Council was Councillor Senior playing silly buggers.  He would not reveal the identity of the person dumping commercial enterprise evergreen clippings on the Hagg Lane village green.  The Conservation Group admitted later that it had given one of its own Members permission to dump the shreddings.  With no ownership rights, they gave the Parish Council no chance to comment on or agree their plan, preferring mystery instead.

Only the mostly mute Councillor Harrison of the Conservation Group retains her “vegetable plot” seat on the Council.  She is “supported” by the presence of former Councillor McCann in the public seats at most meetings.

When the Hagg Lane Green Gang and their friends dominated the Council for four years until 2015, they disgraced themselves spectacularly.  With interest rates at an all time low, lacking ideas or ambition, they built up the Council reserves in the bank.  The Council’s Auditor criticised them for not spending the precept – our money - on schemes to benefit residents.  While residents contributed money, goods and labour to the Memorial Garden and Oldways projects, they offered nothing from bloated parish funds. 

In spectacular fashion, they shot themselves in the foot!  The campaigned for re-election with ‘more of the same’, and carped on about vendettas and plots.  

N.B. “Vegetable Plot” Seat?  I coined the term years ago after watching Councillors Harrison and Senior in particular sitting through countless Council meetings.  They added virtually nothing to the general discussions except in planning session when they poked their noses into people’s housing plans.  They stirred into life for Hagg Lane discussions: they waited for Councillor McCann to vote on a proposal, and then voted likewise.