Monday, 26 January 2015

Why? Why? Why?

Why did ‘The Big Lottery Fund’ contact the Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group in November last year about a past Lottery Grant to Hemingbrough Parish Council?

Why didn’t ‘The Big Lottery Fund’ contact the Parish Council about the Lottery Grant?  (Maybe they did and it was not listed in the Council’s correspondence.)

Why did the Conservation Group minute that there would “not be any direct request for copies of our records”?

Why didn’t Councillors Martin Senior & Glenis Harrison mention that Lottery ‘Tip Off’ to the Parish Council three nights later when they were called by the Clerk to make a report to the other Councillors and the public under Agenda “Item 11a) Hear reports from committee representatives: (Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group”. (The film record shows both Councillors kept their mouth shut for that item!)

Why didn’t Councillors Kenny McCann, the Parish Council Vice-chairman mention that Lottery ‘Tip Off’ to the Parish Council and the public at that same meeting?

Why was that original Parish Council Grant Application filled in with the home address of “Mr Kenneth McCann”?

Why did the “Big Lottery Fund” write to “Mr. Kenneth McCann” of Hemingbrough Parish Council at his home address?

Why didn’t the Parish Clerk handle the Grant Application and correspondence?

Why did the present Parish Clerk refuse to provide a copy of correspondence between the Parish Council and the Conservation group when she was served with a legitimate Freedom of Information Act request last year?  Does the Parish Council have a copy of all this Big Lottery Grant papers in its files right now?  (I mean “right now” not “in a week from now”!

Why did the Parish Council Chairman, Richard Drew, ignore my offer to provide the Council with a copy of Council papers obtained from the Lottery Organisations under the Freedom of Information Act?  

This is what happens when a Parish Council does not have control of the public land it has registered as a Village Green for the benefit of all residents and the Council and the Public have no oversight of the considerable grants of Lottery money awarded to the Council.

Who are the Councillors fighting any efforts to return the Village Green to full Council control with public oversight, with the Conservation Group continuing to manage such matters under a licence from the Council?


Sunday, 25 January 2015

A ‘No Brainer’?

I know which one I would trust the most to direct and manage public land registered as a Village Green by the Parish Council: 

‘The elected Parish Council of all Councillors summoned to transact the business in the published Agenda at a meeting open to the public that can be filmed and recorded by the public with decisions recorded in official minutes that can be relied on in a court of law with information available to the pubic under the Freedom of Information Act ’


‘A group of individuals having campaigned together to win a majority position on the Parish Council, including at least four elected Parish Councillors who have formed part of a majority voting bloc on the Parish Council for almost four years with bias against one or more other Parish Councillors, directing and managing the same Village Green at a private meeting held two or three nights before they answer the official summons to debate the Parish Council’s business of which they have already been advised and briefed,  when their business is not open to the public and their Group records are not available under the Freedom of Information Act because the Group is an independent one with its own Constitution, and its Chairman,  one of the Parish Councillors appointed by the Council’s majority voting  bloc of which he is a member, is formally called on at the Parish Council Meetings to advise all Councillors and the Public of developments  at the Group, and he doesn’t! 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Rt. Hon Eric Pickles is in the news this week after he wrote to Imams about how they could help with some cultural difficulties.  Like him, or loathe him, I will never forget that he gave the public the right to film and record Council meetings.  

I hope most are boring and there is little to encourage regular viewing.  Bubwith Parish Council, for example, seems to be a model with an excellent, knowledgeable Clerk helping and supervising events.

I have been watching the shambles at Hemingbrough for some time but with the self-serving Council minutes in their hands it was difficult to provide evidence of their shenanigans.  Pickles has changed all that.  

Every word is recorded now.  Every action caught on video.  Who said what and in what manner.  Who says virtually nothing at every meeting and is there as part of a voting bloc.  The body language.  The arguments, accusations and the bad blood.  The interference by the visiting District and County Councillors who have no right to sit at the Parish Council table and are advised by their profession association, the Y.L.C.A, not to do so, even though there is no law against it.

Pickles lets residents see what they have elected.  The fiascos, the chaos.  The reality as the masks slip and the election pledges are forgotten.

It’s our fault.  We elected mostly a bunch of asses and they co-opted their mates.  Some are worth saving.  But not many.

The Monitoring Officer arrives at the Parish Council

Jonathan Lund, Deputy Chief Executive, Selby District Council and ‘Monitoring Officer’ arrives for the session: Advice on Parish Council’ Constitutional Enquiry

[These Councillors have not been able to work together for the past 3 years and 9 months. They have achieved Sweet F.A at the Council.  They have only three more meetings before the Councils Elections in May.  Now they want to use our money to fund an enquiry into their bickering, accusations, arguments, bias etc.

Councillors should struggle through the next three meetings with as much good grace as they can summon, forget the enquiry, then put their respective positions and pledges for the future to the residents at a public meeting and let us, the residents, decide through the ballot box who is fit to look after our interests.]


In relation to Parish Council and Hagg Lane I’m not offering comments or judgements   

The Parish Council is a little stymied

It is an issue that is becoming detrimental to the proper conduct of Council business

I understand you have had some advice from Sheena Spence - ‘It would be better if the matter is delegated to a group of people’  To investigate and present a report back to the Council – and that I think is perfectly sound advice

my concern with that approach is whether in reality

the Parish Council is in a position where two or three of you are genuinely independent 
enough to have the confidence of the other members of the Parish Council
that any investigation has been independently pursued

issue that has touched most of you round the table

Would you be able to find two or three of your colleagues that you would have confidence in to get to the bottom of it?


I don’t think it (YLCA advice) will take you to where you want to be

If you want to pursue this and get to a resolution

a number of options but they are not without some cost

if there aren’t three of you, is there a small number
so one or two members of the Parish Council supplemented by

that might be something you would want to consider

imagine the District Council’s charge (for an enquiry) would be between two or three thousand pounds

if you think Councillors have breached the Code of Conduct you can submit a complaint to the Monitoring Officer, to me

Councillor Proctor
I have no wish to be associated with a Parish Council that’s being brought into disrepute for whatever reason.  It’s heading down that path

Let’s get it off the agenda and let’s get on with what were are here to do which it look after the interest of the local community because certainly in the six months I have been on this council I don’t think we have done that in any respect whatsoever

Councillor Chilvers
You (Lund) say contact the National Lottery, the National Lottery has blacked us, this Parish Council, from applying for any funding because of the actions of certain people.  We cannot go to the Lottery.  I want it cleared up. A ‘certain group’ won’t discuss it.

Councillor Drew
Councillor Proctor has kindly offered his services to help run it (the enquiry) He says he has no historic connection with the organisation (Hagg Lane Green) or any decisions that were made in the past, so that’s fair enough, but we’re scratching around looking for anybody to support him

You’ve got Eddie (Councillor Kinsella)
We’ve got Jan (Councillor Strelczenie, still Selby Branch Chairman of YLCA?)



Councillor McCann
The problem is Bob has also heard the comments that have been made so while ho could be considered o be independent he’s obviously heard all the discussions prior to any investigation taking place

[Proctor interjection]

Councillor McCann to Proctor
I didn’t say you were biased, I just said you have heard the comments

Here we have a Councillor who has put a letter together and it’s been pinned up on a Notice Board outside where I live, slagging me off, and another Councillor and his wife.  That’s disgusting! And you know who it was.


Keep them out of the Brewery

The combined talents (!) of Council Chairman Drew and Vice-chairman McCann, and the Clerk, Mrs Leighton-Eshelby, could not get organised enough to ensure a response from the Parish Council to the ‘Plan Selby’ Consultation before the 17:00 deadline yesterday despite sending Councillors Sedman and Senior to a briefing at the Eastern Community Engagement Forum and two separate training evenings, one of which was attended by McCann, and having the December and January Parish Council Meetings to agree a position.  

Even then they F***** U* the project by not understanding the purpose of the Consultation and did their own stupid thing, again!

I understand Selby Council was quite dismissive when the Parish Clerk asked for more time.

We get what we elect!    

Saturday, 17 January 2015

For those asking about the three plots

See Posts below.

It's not for the Parish Council to decide, but obviously their opinion is very important.  They are supposed to represent residents.  We elected them when they pledged to consult us. 

Selby District Council's Consultation Document makes it very clear, in a number of places,
 Maybe these Parish Councillors can't read.  Anyway, the cat is out of the bag! 

Councillors decided last night at an early meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Institute they will support “Plan Selby Plots 001, 007 and 008 for residential developments in Hemingbrough

‘Plan Selby’ Stitch Up (3)

Compare the Escrick Parish Council Web Site with the dearth of information on the  Hemingbrough web site and notice boards, and the back-street stitch up by the Parish Council led by Councillors Richard ‘We have been elected to make the decisions for the Residents’ Drew and Kenny McCann with their Mute Newts faction.  

New Parish Council elections will take place in May 2015. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

‘Plan Selby’ Stitch Up (2)

That was quick! 

I have never known a Parish Council meeting like it.  Experienced Councillors were legally summoned to the Hemingbrough Council by a supposedly experienced Clerk.  They were “to consider and resolve the business to be transacted at the meeting as detailed in the agenda below.  1. ‘PLAN Selby’ - Consider and Decide on Parish Council response."    

There were no “Declaration of Interests / Dispensation Requests” before they launched into their own preferences and their three favoured plots.  I have no idea if any of the Councillors or their relatives or friends own any of the three plots.  When they finally got around to declarations none mentioned a prejudicial interest in the preferred plots. 

Maybe they can argue in future that they were not bound to declare interests if they have them because they were not asked to do so for that item.

I imagine the many residents and developers who have suggested their plots for consideration by Selby Council will be unhappy this morning with last night’s meeting and will be looking at the Selby Council web site to find out who has been favoured and who has not! 
Are they simply thick or devious?  Filming and recording Parish Councillors for six months does not give me much confidence in most of them.  Their antics bring the Parish Council into disrepute in my mind regardless of what pernickety legalistic definition is used by the local Monitoring Officer.        

“Plan Selby” Back Street Stitch Up. Where were you?

Councillors decided last night at an early meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Institute they will support “Plan SelbyPlots 001, 007 and 008 for residential developments in Hemingbrough.  It’s hard luck if you put forward land you own for consideration by Selby District Council; the Parish Council has already decided which plots it favours.  (It’s all on film.  That's the only way to prove what was said by whom.)

It’s not surprising that you were not there.  The Council Leadership of Richard Drew and Kenny McCann did not arrange for any special publicity in the village - nothing about the Council’s process on the web site, even the calling notice and agenda for the early meeting were not listed before the meeting, no posters, no newsletter, no earlier report from Councillors Senior or Sedman about their briefing as formal Parish Council Representatives by Selby Council.  Zilch!

Last night’s early session was supposed to answer Selby District Council’s Question ‘How will we choose the best sites to deliver the (District Council) strategy?  

That seems like a sensible and transparent process when lots of money is at stake.  Decide how it will be done fairly and without prejudices, then choose the plots.  Selby Council is clear that site selection will take place later this year only when the process is agreed after public consultation.

Without any discussion of ‘How will we choose  ...” Hemingbrough Councillors waded straight in to their own preferences and started to draft a letter to the District Council when Councillor Chilvers, supported by Councillors Proctor and Strelczenie, told Drew and McCann “That is wrong!” 

Once again, those three Councillors had to remind the Council Leadership that they were elected to represent residents and RESIDENTS MUST BE CONSULTED.  In a shocking exchange Drew told Councillors they were elected to decide on behalf of residents!  Never mind the 2011 election pledge by Drew, McCann and their fellow clique members about putting the residents at the forefront of their intent!  

The civic-minded trio focused on facilities and benefits for residents and insisted the Parish Council must listen to residents.

Eventually, a Public Meeting was agreed but the objective was to get agreement for their decision, not about a fair and transparent selection process. 

To round off matters, I confronted Drew about his unilateral attempt to move the open “Parishioners Forum” from the slot after their discussions.  Despite the Council’s published agenda giving parishioners the opportunity to comment on their discussions, Drew tried to move it to the beginning of the meeting when they not yet said anything.  McCann had to remind Drew he was out of order so I had the opportunity to speak but under the rules about Parishioners addressing only the Chairman I felt I was talking to a thick plank but my views are on record.

P.S. Can you guess why Councillors did not talk about Lottery funding to help finance the Village Hall idea supported by Chilvers, Proctor, Strelczenie and Councillor Kinsella?  It would have been the obvious topic for discussion.  More later.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


The McCann Letter.

It doesn’t take a Genius to work out the source of the ‘Hagg Lane Green Civil War’ that has ruined Hemingbrough Parish Council for years.  Soon it will be “The Oldways Civil War” if you read ‘The McCann Commoners Letter’ from 2009 (the third paragraph from the end.)

The Members’ McCann refers to include serving Parish Councillors Martin Senior (Group Chairman), Glenis Harrison and Neil Pickering.

Hemingbrough Parish Council does not need an expensive ‘Truth and Reconciliation Tribunal’.  What is done is done.  It’s only a Village Green, after all, one that is registered by the full Parish Council. It does need 'resetting', a fresh start with goodwill. They should have enough to do, like ensuring the footpaths are clear of snow, or producing a Parish News letter about 'Plan Selby', for example.  

It needs to bring the Village Green back under full Council direction and control that will guarantee Public Scrutiny, allow ‘The Members’ of the Conservation Group to look after the protected species and replace Councillors Senior and Harrison as Council Representatives to the Group with other Members who have had no previous involvement with the management of the Group.

Meanwhile, Councillors McCann, and his ‘Mute Newts’ Senior, Harrison and Pickering who contribute virtually nothing to the Parish Council other than a block vote, should consider their positions as representatives of the residents given their long-standing attitudes to other elected Councillors.

The redactions are the names of individuals not on the Council.  Mostly they were not elected to the Council in 2011 although another Conservation Group Member tried and failed, and his Group colleagues would have appointed him Council Chairman had he been elected.       

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

To the 100+ daily Visitors to the Hemingbrough Bear Garden I send greetings of peace and prosperity at this special time of year.  Thank you for all your emails.  Posts will resume next year. I have other things to do.

Happy Days

Cringing in Plain View at the P.C. Panto

PLAN SELBY – the most important Local Development that will affect our lives.  What has the Parish Council Leadership of Drew and McCann told you about it? Sweet F.A.

Selby District Council made it the centre piece of their recent ‘Eastern Public Forum’, formerly known as the ‘Community Engagement Forum’ or ‘CEF’.  The Parish Council appoints two representatives to attend and report back to the residents.

Councillor Chilvers asked for a report from the representatives.  


Sedman was absent from the Council that night.  Senior was cringing on the corner of the table unwilling to say he was the ‘CEF’ representative.  Eventually, they agreed to listen to Senior’s ‘Plan Selby’ Report later in the meeting.  

When it came to it, Senior ducked it and didn’t mention 'Plan Selby' at all, and Drew and McCann forgot to ask him about it.

I saw Councillors Strelczenie, Proctor and Kinsella at the Forum in their own time so they are well informed.   

Strange that, it’s the same group of names that keep cropping up in the projects; Memorial Rose Garden, ‘Oldways’, Fund Raising, Community Engagement Forum, Unbiased potential Committee for the Hagg Lane Green Enquiry .....

And it’s the same old group of names that blocks the Allotments, the Centenary Memorial Civic Project and a Donation to the Rose Garden, and are at the centre of the Hagg Lane controversies, the Chief Whinger and perpetual Mute Newts. 

Monday, 22 December 2014


He doesn’t come to Council Meetings in December.  Never has.  He has other priorities before Christmas.  What can we get on the Agenda that we don’t want filmed?  I want him to record this.  We don’t want him to record that.  At least we get one month off.  Happy Christmas, my a***!

Oh, F***!  His car’s here.  He must be inside.  (Whispered Aside. The Chairman asked the Clerk how he should handle the YLCA (the Council's Professional Adviser) letter.  “You had better read it out.”  OK, if that’s your recommendation.

Some highlights:

Chairman Drew:  The YLCA has laid out a procedure.  I’ll read the whole thing

YLCA suggests a Parish Council Committee of two or three Members is put together to conduct a formal investigation, a full review with a formal report of the Hagg Lane Project and the associated land.  Nobody who has been involved in the Hagg Lane Project to be on the Committee
The Committee should be able to approach any person who can contribute positively to the investigation

Chairman Drew: As that’s the advice of the YLCA I’m all for taking their advice

Drew: “We will have to discuss it (the 2 or 3 person Committee composition) at length”  It’s difficult (Commentary. No, it’s not!)

(Is Drew thick or prevaricating?  Chilvers has already worked it out.  So have most people. Even the cat!  11 Members.  Disqualified immediately, Senior, McCann, Harrison, Pickering – Hagg Lane Steering Group Members; Lees – at the Hagg Lane Committee in November, ?December;  Drew – Publicity photograph and election leaflet showed he is a campaigning Friend of Hagg Lane Green; Chilvers – past Chairman of Hagg Lane Green.  That’s seven of eleven eliminated. 

Who is left? Strelczenie, the Local YLCA Chairman, surely he is trusted; Proctor, trusted Fund Raiser for Memorial Rose Garden, Sedman, and Kinsella.  Have they had any involvement, other than procedural matters in Council with Hagg Lane Green? Not according to Chilvers.)             

Councillor Chilvers: Mr Chairman. I disagree. There’s one here, and one here, and one there (Pointing at Strelczenie, Proctor and Kinsella. Sedman was absent. Chilvers may be one of the Council elders but he’s sharp and got his head screwed on right.
Chilvers; There are your three.  You don’t have to discuss it anymore.

Councillor Strelczenie’s interjection

Drew: Everybody has some involvement with Hagg Lane Green (Surely procedural involvement doesn’t count. How has Proctor been involved? Kinsella? Sedman?)

Drew: We need to seek advice on the way forward. (Three minutes and he’s forgotten what he said  “As that’s the advice of the YLCA I’m all for taking their adviceIs this a Medical condition or is somebody jerking his strings again?)

Drew: Because this is now subject to an enquiry ....  So that’s what I’m putting in place now. (What?)   

Councillor McCann:  “I do seem to be the brunt of the majority of the emails” (That’s because he drones on and on and on and ..... His Hagg Lane Green Mates are all Mute Newts.) I’m accused of saying I didn’t say anything ?? (He should check the audio record!  It’s no longer down to ‘what I think I said or meant to say’.)

McCann:  “... a suitable Investigating Officer .....”. (Hello, hello, hello!  The YLCA advice was Councillors form the Committee.  Obviously McCann wants Lund of Selby District Council to do it!) “and personally I would like to see it done by Selby District Council (There it is. He doesn’t trust his fellow Councillors or the YLCA advice.)     
Councillor Deans: I should think it highly unlikely   I think it’s a matter for the Parish Council and the Hagg Lane Group (Just like the YLCA said.)

McCann: I understand some of the investigations are carried out by the Police

Chilvers: The Parish Council set up a bank account and got £10,000 of lottery money

Drew: (Interrupts Chilvers although he had not spoken for more than a few moments) “It’s too much detail” and continues to interrupt, This is out of Order, Order (Making his dislike of Chilvers apparent)

Chilvers: This is a serious matter.  It isn’t out of order.

Drew: It is out of order because we’ve declared an enquiry (?????) and as an enquiry is now theoretically under way but it’s not under way (?????) (Has to be seen and heard to be believed.)

Councillor McSherry offers to ask Lund, the Selby Council Monitoring Officer, for his recommendation (What about the YLCA?  I bet that was a set-up job knowing the people involved and how they work)

Drew: We will leave that one there.  

Note: The online Selby District Complaint Form says “Please note that the Monitoring Officer can only consider complaints about the behaviour of individual Councillors or Members” and this enquiry is not a complaint about individual Councillors or Members (A Member is a co-opted Councillor who is often a mate of the ruling clique.)