Thursday, 9 March 2017

We can’t own it. We don’t want the Parish Council to own it - Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group (1)

6 March 2017

Dear Chairman Strelczenie,

Thank you for your reply to my enquiry of 8 February 2017.

I invite you to give a full account at the next public session of the Parish Council of the efforts to “register Hagg Lane Green”.

The Council’s questionable decision to exclude the Public and Press from part of its December 2016 meeting has become a village farce.  Councillors justified the exclusion because “a local group that had posted a cautionary notice on the application.

The Press and Public cannot get details from the Parish Clerk because Councillors chose to discuss the registration in secret.  They can get information directly from Ken McCann of the Hagg Lane Green Conservation Society or from the ‘village grapevine’.  

McCann’s portrayal of the matter is the Conservation Society cannot get ownership of the land and doesn’t want the Parish Council to own it.  The Society acted on the cautionary note and didn’t send a copy to the Parish Council because ‘We didn’t have to, so we didn’t’.

You confirmed Councillor Harrison was present but “did not get involved in the discussion at either of the meetings.” After the secret session, she must have known both sides of the argument about the ownership debate.  She is a long serving member of the Conservation Society, as is McCann who failed to gain a Council seat two years ago. 

Presumably, after the secret session, she could have conveyed the Council’s thoughts and plans to the Conservation Group. 

Presumably, Councillors discussed the Conservation Group’s objection on 15 December 2016.  If it mentioned the village lawnmower that caused a Council rumpus some years ago, it will verify the village ‘grape vine’ on Christmas day.

Surely, applying for registration of land under “adverse possession” is a public process.  Statutory declarations from neighbours or other third parties covering all matters of relevance may be useful as corroborative evidence.

I cannot believe the very limited circumstances under which Press and Public are excluded from Council business apply in this matter.  Indeed, I argue that it is to the benefit of the Council and Public that they must be fully informed about the matter.  They may have relevant information for or against the application, and there may be financial consequences now and for years to come.

Most of the Parish Councillors campaigned on the “needs to change and we aspire to the following: Openness and honesty.”  Your views …. “need to be represented in a fair and honest manner to ensure that the Village benefits from unbiased opinions and actions.”

I support the Parish Council’s efforts to register Hagg Lane Green as an asset for the village of Hemingbrough.  I do not like how the Council is managing the process.  How do Councillors know if public knowledge of local history gained from archives and libraries includes relevant information?