Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Three Stooges WILL NOT LISTEN!

More filmed evidence (YouTube Video  2 minutes 52 seconds) that Hemingbrough Parish Council under the current leadership is a disaster.

Such is the prejudice of Chairman Richard Drew and Vice-chairman Kenny McCann that comments by Councillors Chilvers, Strelczenie and Proctor are shouted down and discussions are ‘moved on’ without resolution, and the Clerk is ineffective.

It’s been happening for years but now the camcorder takes you into the heart of the meeting of Hemingbrough’s elected representatives and lets you see and hear the prejudice for yourself.

This subject is Charitable Donations to village organisations.  The Parish Clerk mentioned the Council can disburse funds to a maximum of £3,000.  Strelczenie, still the Chairman of the Selby Branch of the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations, I believe, so he knows what he is talking about, offered advice to the contrary and reminded Chairman Drew and the Clerk of a change to Standing Orders made two years ago.  

Instead of making progress by discussing in a calm, reasonable manner whether the Standing Order amendment two years ago altered the £3,000 maximum or not, Drew is his bombastic, ludicrous manner said ‘Perhaps it was (changed) and perhaps it wasn’t, that’s doesn’t matter’.  The session ended with Drew belligerently telling Chilvers in front of the public to “SHUT UP!”  He was required to apologise.  McCann on this occasion did nothing to check the record or moderate the Chairman’s manner.

While on the subject of Council Donations to Village Organisations why did the Chairman of the parish charity Hemingbrough United Charities (Martin Senior) that is meant to support the needy, and the Secretary, Kenny McCann – those two again - fail to apply for a donation when they had been reminded at a previous meeting of the availability of funds? 

Senior and McCann as Charity Trustees appointed by the Parish Council three years ago  and Officers have a legal duty to do their best for the charity beneficiaries.  Why didn't they submit a request to the Council?  Proctor, a relatively new Councillor, tried to understand the Council’s involvement with United Charities but after a whispered comment by McCann to Drew (or yanking his strings again, in the popular local vernacular), instead of offering a reasonable explanation, Drew forced the discussion to ‘move on’!

Disbursements to beneficiaries were virtually nothing in the three years to 2013 – the latest accounts.  Rent from the charity's only asset, agricultural land was static, fund raising events must have produced virtually nothing  and the Parish Council gave nothing to the parish Charity.  Why not?                                    

Bring back Mrs Sue Strelczenie

Can she be persuaded to stand for election in May 2015?  She managed the Parish Council’s Website until she lost her seat in 2011.   

The current two and a half-page Hemingbrough Parish Council Website is a disgrace bringing shame on the Council leadership of Richard Drew & Kenny McCann.

When Drew, McCann and their ‘Mute Newt’ Mates of Senior, Harrison, and Pickering took over the Parish Council almost four years ago they set about destroying the Council’s Website.

After only one month with their hands on the power they reduced the web site to what it is today.

In an act of implacable retaliation against their foes on the Council they wanted Councillor Roland Chilvers’ information about village history and wildlife removed from the website.  That reminds me of the ‘McCann email’ describing how his Hagg Lane Green Mates regarded the Father of the Parish Council as a waste of space and their concern about his high-profile work for the village.  

The Council minutes of June 2011 promised Councillors would look into updating the website over the next few months.  Yeah, like the McCann Allotment Project that just dropped off the agenda!  

Just how much effort does it take for the Parish Clerk to ensure the Agenda and Minutes sections are kept up to date?  How long does it take to add a ‘Microsoft’ Report for the benefits of residents? 5 Minutes?????  Where is the upgraded web site promised a few months ago?

Is the Parish Clerk blindly operating under Drew’s and McCann’s instructions?  Can’t she be bothered anymore?  From last week’s Council meeting she can’t recall motions from a year ago. (More later).

P.S. The Bear Garden Blog has had more that 65,000 Visitors despite a two year break

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Protected species may be at risk from conifer shreddings dumped on a Parish Council registered Village Green

A letter from Roland Chilvers, the farmer, author, local historian and wild-life campaigner.


As a Councillor I cannot put pen to paper or dispatch an email re council matters.  As a member of the public I may express my opinion. Therefore regarding your concern regarding the tipping of large quantities of green garden waste spreading's [for want of a better description] on the Hemingbrough Parish Council registered Hagg Lane Village Green I believe you have a right to be concerned.

You may be aware, freshly shredded garden waste will generate heat and toxic liquid (even in a Green Bin) therefore tipped adjacent to a water course or pond, toxic liquid may eventually leach into the soil and the water.

In the case of Hagg Lane Green, the ponds [linked together] but not directly connected to the adjacent watercourse may over a period of time may become polluted by the process of natural gravitational seepage along with soil pollution beneath the tippings.

For your information:

The adjacent watercourse eventually connects to the ‘Old Ways Lane’ Environmental Agency dyke, the habitat of the Water Vole a protected species.

Furthermore one of the Hagg Lane ponds is the breeding location of the Great Crested Newt, again a protected species.

Personally I believe it would be a tragedy if both species were to be wiped out from these two locations for years to come through irresponsible consideration for the long term care of the local environment.

Roland Chilvers

23 March 2015

What Whoppers!

In the public Parish Council Meeting Councillor Senior denied knowing the identity of ‘Crew-cab, White Transit Van Man’ who dumped commercial sized loads of fresh green conifer shreddings on the registered Village Green. 

Harrison and McCann kept schtum! 

How many people would believe the three of them and their Hagg Lane Green Gang Steering Group Members didn’t know about the whopping great piles and didn’t find out who dumped them there, unless they already knew!

I don’t know of a single one yet.

Senior’s Hagg Lane Green Conifer Dumping Knowledge Denial

It didn’t take long for residents to name the ‘Crew-cab White Transit Van Man’ at the centre of the Parish Council row, even calling at my home to confirm his identity.  When Councillor Senior told Chairman Drew he didn’t know the identity of the person dumping commercial quantities of conifer shreddings on the registered Village Green managed by Senior's independent Steering Group was the less than alert Drew the only person in the Village Institute last Thursday night who didn’t know his identity?

Why didn’t Councillor Harrison, who was sitting next to Senior, tell the meeting the identity of the White Van Man?  She was proposed by Drew and confirmed as the Council’s Representative to keep an eye on the Hagg Lane Green Group on behalf of residents and report back to the Council so Councillors and the public can “Hear” what is happening?

Why didn’t Councillor McCann, the Council Vice-chairman sitting next to Drew, inform the meeting and try to muddy the waters with the ‘registered carrier of waste’ interjection?  Why was McCann more concerned with the coming Investigation than sharing his knowledge with colleagues and the public?

How can the Councillors excluded from the ‘Hagg Lane Green’ voting faction have trust and confidence in the Openness and Transparency required by Government from the clique that meets in private session a few days before every Council meeting?  They don't get a look in!  It’s been happening for years, and must stop, NOW!  

All backs scratched? 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Hagg Lane Green – a Village Green registered by the Parish Council.

The bad tempered Council exchanges and Senior’s denial were captured in a YouTube video at  It lasts for 2 minutes 50 seconds.  Look at the pictures below to appreciate the extent of the fly -tipping, for that is what it was if Senior was telling the truth about not knowing the identity of the individual who must have dumped the shreddings without permission.  The problem is that some residents say they know exactly who did it!  What was McCann’s game of asking Chilvers “Are you a registered carrier of waste?”  Harrison kept quiet as usual, as she has for the better part of the past eight years!  Were McCann and Harrison quiet on the matter because they didn’t want to contradict Senior?  Do they know who dumped the shreddings, but aren’t prepared to say?  Not even a simple word!

No.  A simple word.  A reply.  A statement, recorded, filmed and published on YouTube.  A record accepted in law and for a Monitoring Officer’s Investigation. Uttered by a Hemingbrough Parish Councillor summoned to the monthly public meeting to transact the Council’s business.  Offered to the Chairman who asked the question.  Heard by Councillors and the public.  A damning illustration of the plague that has ruined local Council business for more than five years?

Mistrust Doubts Suspicions Disbelieve Deceit Lying Conspiracy Schemes Plots?     

Who has been fly-tipping commercial quantities of waste, green conifer shreddings on the registered Village Green?

A Green of ponds surrounded by ash, willow, hawthorn and mature oak trees.  Wildlife in the undergrowth; moles, mice, weasels.   A SINC!  A Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.

No conifers grow by that Village Green.  Now much ground is covered by conifer waste that takes a long time to rot down.  Conifer shreddings that suppress undergrowth and destroy natural habitat.  Conifer shreddings that interfere with the wildlife.  Conifer shreddings that leach more resin into the soil than the broadleaf trees growing by the Green.  Conifer shreddings that have been imported and dumped from a commercial operation. 

Who has been doing that for a prolonged period?  Who gave permission to that?    

A Councillor (Chilvers) asked the Chairman.  The Chairman (Drew) who proposed his friend (Senior) as the Council’s virtually permanent ‘elected Representative’ on the ‘Hemingbrough Hagg Lane Green Conservation Group’ that allegedly usurped control of the Green some years ago.  One of two Council Representative (Senior & Harrison) who are asked every month to report developments so other Councillors and the Public can HEAR what is happening on the Green.  But they never do and are never asked by the Chairman (Drew) to do so.  Which is really strange as Senior chairs the Steering Committee of that independent Conservation Group.  So the person in charge of the Group that gets money from the Council should report back to the Councillors and Public on his own activities and the activities of the other Parish Councillors in that Steering Group (Harrison, McCann, Pickering, Lees – that’s half the Council) but he doesn’t!       

Drew asks Senior ‘Do you know who it is?’

Senior says ‘No!’

Incredulity!  Amazement!  Doubt!  Astonishment!

Village residents see what’s happening on the Green.  Senior is a regular visitor to the Green – he cuts the grass!  Harrison lives opposite the Green and is known for watching what goes on there.

Chilvers challenges Senior now that the ‘No’ is the official answer. ““Then I will enlighten you that’s it someone with a crew-cab white Transit.

The finger of suspicion – rightly or wrongly - immediately points towards the local tree surgeon who is also a long-term Member of Senior’s Steering Group.  Neither Council Vice-chairman McCann nor Harrison offered to say who has been dumping commercial quantities of conifer shreddings on the Parish Council Village Green, or even if they know.  McCann seems to know the person concerned has a licence to carry transport waste.

To answer the journalist’s worn-out question “How did that make you feel?”

I was shocked.  If Senior lied, he should get off the Council as nobody could trust him anymore.  He should be sanctioned.  If he did not lie, Senior expects us to believe that he as Chairman of the Conservation Group and a Parish Councillor charged by the Parish Council with specific duties for the Green did not know about or find out the identity of the Mysterious Person driving a white crew-cab Transit dumping masses of conifer shreddings, probably from a commercial venture, which I guess is one way of avoiding a charge for disposal of waste product, on a registered Village Green without any approvals, that interferes with the wildlife and plants that make the area so distinctive.  He should get off the Council either way!

It is the local Tree Surgeon I feel sorry for.  He hasn’t had an opportunity yet to explain the situation that exploded in the Council Meeting.  If he is not at all involved he should be given the opportunity at the next Council meeting to come and confirm it wasn’t him and the circumstances are just an unfortunate co-incidence.  Maybe he has been dumped on!  By a single word? 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Hagg Lane Green continues to cause intense distrust between Councillors after many years.

(A quick overview of last night’s meeting.  Much to blog in the coming month.)

“Chilvers: Mr. Chairman, I’m not happy with this Hagg Lane Group.  I’ve been contacted by a person who wants to know Who is dumping conifer shreddings on the Parish Council registered Village Green namely Hagg Lane.   Will the Members here, the Representatives, tell us who is dumping all those shreddings and confirm they will have it stopped.  It isn’t woodchip, it is green shreddings of conifers, I won’t say Leylandii because I don’t know what sort they are but they do carry disease.  It’s not legal to be fly-tipping and that is a registered Village Green.  We have representatives and I would like to find out the name of who is doing it and get it stopped.  I am sick of people coming to me.    

Drew to Senior: Do you know who it is?

Senior: No! (Parish Councillor, Parish Council appointed Representative on the independent Hagg Lane Green Group supposed to take care of residents’ interests, Chairman of the independent Hagg Lane Green Gang states categorically to the Council he doesn’t know who is dumping the shreddings on the registered Village Green!  Ask anyone else who follows these matters and I imagine only one name will surface, a long term Member of Senior’s Green Group Gang, a name often brought up by McCann in Parish Council meetings.  Ah, but what vehicle does that village resident drive???) 
Chilvers: Then I will enlighten you that’s it someone with a crew-cab white Transit .......”
(The hunt is on!  Early birds will no doubt have started at the West end of the village this morning.)

Rewind to the start of the meeting:  

For seasoned Hemingbrough Parish Council observers the tension was increasing as the 19:30 start of the meeting approached.  All eyes were on the door.  The Village Institute outer door was being opened.  A pause!  The inner door opened.  Councillor Chilvers walked in.  Smiles from some.  Increasing tension from Chairman Richard Drew and Vice-chairman Kenny McCann.  

Where were they?  Councillors Sedman and Lees had been summoned to the meeting and had failed to show up.  No apologies from either of the errant Councillors, according to the Clerk, whose first duty on Parish Council nights is to attend to the business of the Council on behalf of residents by whom they were elected, or not in this case, as these two had been co-opted and conveniently bolstered the working majority of the Hagg Lane Green Gang.

The voting arithmetic was all to cock.  The arrival of Councillor Chilvers and the failure of the other two to show up meant a fine balance as the Hagg Lane Gang could muster only four votes against the other four Councillors and Drew’s second deciding Chairman’s vote in case of a tie would be needed.

Such was the tension, Drew forgot his Chairman’s Opening remarks and opted instead for “I’ve got nothing useful to say, so ‘Good Evening’.

The Public Forum didn’t go well - Chairman, why did the Council not reply to the North Yorkshire Police email request for information in December?  The Clerk claimed she did not receive it!  

Why has it taken the Council more than a year to get a Dog Shit Bin?

Drew was asked how many Parish Council Newsletters (eventually written by him after being prompted) have been produced.  350!  He was told the local Historical Heritage Society produces 850 Newsletters and hand delivers them to keep Residents informed.

The Parish Council would not be considering a charitable donation to the Historical Heritage Society for the Memorial Rose Garden project!

A Resident with a Tree Specialist’s Report who has correctly applied to fell a tree will be rightly annoyed to know Drew told Councillors “There’s nothing wrong with it, that I can see.”  He was over-ruled!

A proposal to suspend the annual grant of £600 for the Hagg Lane Green Group was made, and without discussion Drew jumped in with a counter proposal to pay the £600 to his Green Gang Mates with whom he campaigned for election the last time around.  McCann realised he should not vote on the matter, changed his earlier Declaration of Interest and the voting took place without him.  Drew, Senior, Harrison voted to pay the money, (naturally), Chilvers, Proctor, Strelczenie & Kinsella voted to suspend the payment until after the “Investigation”.

See, the arithmetic was all wrong!   

Arguments about a ‘Named Vote’ as the Drew faction didn’t want their names noted and the other four wanted Residents to know how they had voted.

Then a row over mention of the Hemingbrough United Charities chaired by Senior with McCann as the Secretary.  How much have they given to the poor of the parish in the last two year?  Sweet F.A.

Senior and McCann as the Officers of the independent United Charities had not applied along with other village organisations for a Charitable Donation from the Council’s surplus funds. 

Another row about how much money can the Council give to village organisations.
Bad-tempered Drew tells Chilvers “Shut Up” and then has to apologise for “asking him to Keep Quiet”

Then a complaint that District Councillor Jim Deans had ignored protocol and entered Parish Council discussions without the specific authority of the Chairman, when Drew claimed he had given Deans permanent permission to made comments at any time in the Parish Meeting, which was a shock to all and about as believable as Senior not knowing the identity of ‘Crew-cab White Van Man’ dumping conifer shreddings all over the Village Green, and the missing Police email.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

To: Steve Burrell Dip ASM MCIHT MSoRSA

Traffic Management Officer,
North Yorkshire Police
York, YO10 4BY

I was disappointed yet not surprised you had not had a response to your enquiries from Hemingbrough Parish Council since before Christmas.  A few moments perusal of the Bear Garden Blog will tell you they think they are a law unto themselves.  

Since new laws came into force in August 2014 their every word and action when in public session can be recorded, filmed and photographed.  I guess years of slagging off individuals in meetings to polish their own egos when there was no proof other than written notes made them careless.

In the absence of any reply from the Parish Clerk or Chairman, which I had thought would be the most appropriate way, I have decided to respond to your request for a copy of the video segment when a North Yorkshire County Councillor singled you out for some harsh words which seemed to me to me most inappropriate in an open Council meeting. 

My camcorder slices films into manageable segments so, unfortunately, the description of you and your work, which I presume has been repeated elsewhere, comes at the end of the first clip and the beginning of the second one.  I confirm the two videos have been clipped to length but not edited or amended in any other way.  The easiest way to get them to you, and enable you to share them, is to embed them in the 'Bear Garden Blog' at: 

First clip

Second clip


They don't want to make it easy for us to find out what's going on

The last set of Minutes on the Parish Council's Web Site is from before Christmas.  No Agenda for tonight's meeting on the Web Site either.  Drew and McCann aren't putting Residents at the forefront of their intent, as they promised four years ago when seeking our votes.


We don’t want anyone new breaking into our cosy little majority

If there are no more nominations than the eleven seats, then we don’t have to face an election.

It will be much better if we can co-opt our Mates after we are re-appointed to fill any vacancies.

Same old, same old .....

Consider the transparent, open style of the Bubwith Parish Council and the Parish Clerk and then consider the total absence of anything about the coming election from Chairman Drew, Vice-chairman McCann and the Hemingbrough Parish Clerk.  There is nothing on tonight's Agenda to guide possible candidates.

Notice also that Bubwith Council publishes a monthly Newsletter.  Can you remember a Hemingbrough Parish Council Newsletter from Drew or McCann?

I think Drew, McCann, Senior, Harrison, Pickering or Sedman couldn’t give a toss about local residents.  Look for anything positive in the Council minutes.  

There is far more good work coming from the local, independent Historical Heritage Society led by Councillors Chilvers, Strelczenie, Proctor and Kinsella who have to appeal for funds.    

Come to think of it, what’s happened to the Hemingbrough United Charities since Senior was re-appointed as Chairman of Trustees and McCann was reappointed Secretary?  What have they done to fulfil their legal obligations?

Trustees have and MUST accept ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of a charity, and ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Heads down, Arses up!

Rather than explain to residents how our very own version of Moe, Larry and Curly couldn’t organise the Parish Council to respond to Selby District Council’s ‘PLAN SELBY’ Consultation in time they opted to stick their heads in the sand and leave it off the February Parish Council Agenda altogether.  I look forward to reading how they minuted their farce.

How was it possible for Parish Council Chairman RICHARD DREW, Vice-chairman KENNETH MCCANN and the Parish Clerk to make such a monumental cock up?  

I hope the two elected Councillors will maintain their heads down posture until the 7 May elections when their arses will be in a perfect position for a good kicking.         

For how many years do envy and bias predispose individuals to vote against colleagues in a Parish Council? Many, it seems!

Roland Chilvers will always be remembered for his series of charity fund-raising books of Pictures and Memories of Selby, Hemingbrough and nearby villages after he had amassed copies of local photographs and preserved them for posterity.

I couldn’t get to last Thursday night’s Parish Council Meeting but it hasn’t taken long for the alleged behaviour of our Councillors to get around the village on the mostly reliable grapevine.
It’s alleged that Chairman Drew and Vice-chairman McCann ran at least a part of the meeting with disregard for the rules and in the main for the advantage of the friends with whom they campaigned for our votes and to the detriment of other Councillors.

Apparently, Councillor Chilvers, who is not a part of their voting bloc and brings an independent to view to the Council table, began to read out a prepared statement regarding the historical background of the Oldways Village Green when Chairman Drew interrupted him and declared without a vote being taken that McCann could not be questioned on his actions, and ‘the matter’ was closed, to the apparent mirth of the Vice-chairman.

That sounds believable from the films and recordings I have made since August 2014:

there were two items on the Agenda about the Oldways Village Green

"Item 10. Discuss and consider the possible contamination of Oldways Dyke, and Item 11. Chronology and Update on the Oldways Memorial Walk, by Parish of Hemingbrough Historical/Heritage Society Archivist"

and the Oldways Green was mentioned in the email from McCann in 2009 describing the thoughts and feelings of Hagg Lane Green Conservation Society members after Councillor Roland Chilvers had resigned as Chairman of that Group, 

I think much of Roland’s bad feeling towards me at the PC comes from this, I think he wanted to be remembered for his work on Hagg Lane and unfortunately the majority of the group just thought he was a waste of space.  

The Oldways is his next attempt to be remembered for something I think, it will just go the same way as the “Land with No Name” if it is up to Roland and Jan to do the work – they do always look busy in the photos in the (local) papers though.” 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Correspondence with the Parish Clerk

To:  North Yorkshire Police

Fulford Road, York YO10 4BY

Dear Mr Burrell

About your email of 9 February 2015 asking for a copy of my recording of the Parish Council Meeting.

Since recording meetings from last August I have noted the Parish Clerk records every Council meeting.  May I suggest you ask her for an authenticated transcript of the comments made about you by the North Yorkshire County Councillor (Michael Jordan)? 

Surely she will co-operate or respond to a Freedom of Information Act request.   I’m certain her transcript with be the same as mine.

Copy Mrs Julie Leighton-Eshelby, Clerk to the Council

18th February 2015

Friday, 13 February 2015

Typical: ‘The Three Stooges’ of Hemingbrough Farce

When it came to “PLAN SELBY” Parish Council Chairman RICHARD DREW, Vice-chairman KENNETH MCCANN and the Parish Clerk couldn’t lead the other Councillors into a brewery for a proverbial piss up.
Our useless, local version of Larry, Moe, & Curly couldn’t represent the Voice of Hemingbrough Residents because they don’t communicate with the people they are meant to serve, and can’t follow a simple written brief even when it’s in front of them.  Their ‘Mute Newt’ Councillors and Co-opted Mates are just as bad.
Here’s a link to Escrick Parish Council’s “PLAN SELBY” Submission.

It’s a shame you won’t find anything similar in the Hemingbrough Parish Council files, on anything at all on their website. 
Are there any younger people sufficiently interested in Hemingbrough to stand for a Parish Council seat in the May 2015 election?
I'm sure the Escrick or Bubwith Parish Council Clerks will tell you how valuable it can be. Their Councils are nothing like the Hemingbrough brewery fiasco.  A word with Hemingbrough Councillor Bob Proctor and his colleagues from the Parish History Society about their vision for the village could be a good starting point. 
We deserve who we vote for.