The new Parish Council met in the Village Institute on 21st May at 7.30 p.m. It was the first opportunity to see what you voted for. Looks promising!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Parish Council Meeting Dynamics

Even residents can see the split.

Deputy Chairman Procter sits as far away as possible from Chairman Strelczenie after years of the Parish Chairman and Deputy sitting beside one another to exchange knowledge on whatever crops up.  

The four Councillors voting in favour of Procter replacing Strelczenie as Chairman, three of whom are on the independent ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’ Committee, sit adjacent to one another. 

Parish Council has nothing whatsoever to do with the Community Hall

Admission that will shock residents.

Council Chairman Jan Strelczenie invites his Deputy to tell the Council what’s going on at that independent working group that includes three Members of the Parish Council (Procter, Davidson & Carstairs) not wearing their Council hats who hadn’t briefed their eight Council colleagues about probably the most important community project concerning Hemingbrough Village until prompted to do so at the Council’s Annual Meeting in May despite an election pledge of “committed to working together for the community”. (16 June 2016)

Some Members of this Council need to remember the pledges that earned them votes.  

(To be continued)

Monday, 13 June 2016

Correspondence with the Parish Clerk

I assumed the Clerk had Councillor Procter’s Declaration of Interest since about 18 February 2016.  It was not available on the Hemingbrough Parish Council or Selby District Council websites, as it must be, within two weeks of an amendment, nor was it available for inspection in late May when I asked Selby District Council for a copy.


“How do you bring amended entries to the Council’s attention?  How can Councillors and the public be kept informed if you do not, when the District Council fails to ensure all Parish Councillors’ Registers of Interests are kept up to date on its own website (only four of the eleven Councillors were listed this morning, ALL DATED 2012) and the Parish Council website does not link to that Register, as it must, according to national rules.  I am guessing you do not know your link is broken. 26 May 2016.

This clarification is in addition to my outstanding question about a verbal declaration when the Deputy Chairman reports to the Council on his CEF duties.

Excuse me if this issue is outside your competence, in which case I will redirect my request to the Monitoring Officer who at least has the duty of ensuring the Parish Registers are up to date and displayed for inspection.”

No reply, so far. 

Correspondence with the Council Chairman

Subject: 'Hall for Hemingbrough' independent Working Group

Dear Chairman of Hemingbrough Parish Council,

I propose Hemingbrough Parish Council seeks formal representation on the independent village working group ’Hall for Hemingbrough’ by the appointment of one Councillor given the duty of briefing Councillors and the public at monthly Council meetings.

I believe that duty cannot be handed to the Working Group Chairman Mr. R. Procter, by virtue of his registration of a private limited company of that same name and his lack of Council briefings until prompted in May 2016 despite his many local discussions.

The Parish Council should have formal involvement in the Village Hall project, especially at its inception, and should not rely on reading external Facebook postings, prompts from residents, and the presence of Parish Councillors not wearing their council hats.

Dear Mr Markham,
Thank you for your recent email dated 9th June 2016.
You will be aware that a decision such as you request is not something that I as Chairman can instigate.
However, I have discussed the issue with the Clerk and she is happy to include your email in correspondence.
This way it can be discussed and the council can make a decision.
With Kind Regards
Jan Strelczenie

Dear Chairman,
Thank you for your note. I agree that is exactly the way suggestions from the public should be handled.

Best wishes

Monday, 30 May 2016

Divided Loyalties in May 2016

It takes only one meeting to notice them.  They have crept into Hemingbrough Parish Council despite the election pledges of 2015.  

The Memorial Rose Garden, an amazing achievement, was offered as evidence of how eight individuals could work together for the good of the village.  How they could do that in the formality of an 11-Member Parish Council.  Most still can.  Councillor Procter, the public face of that Group, resigned from that Group.  The village grape vine reasons have a common theme - the relationship between Council Chairman Strelczenie and Deputy Chairman Procter.  Their styles are different. 

One swallow does not make a summer.

Nobody knows more about our vital bus service and inconsiderate parking than Messrs. Strelczenie, Chilvers (R) and McSherry (D).  The Council has discussed them at great length for years, as any regular attendee knows.  The bus company ultimatum was inevitable given the village growth.  So were the emotions of those directly involved.  Businesses and residents don’t want yellow line parking restrictions nearby, some residents do want them.  School and playing-fields users don’t want them and are threatening to ignore them.  Managing three public consultations to balance the ’interests’ against saving the bus service was an unenviable task for Strelczenie.  Many people think he did it well.   

Individuals still chunter on about how they would have done it.  Procter chose to record his own negative opinion of Strelczenie’s efforts in the Council minutes for all to see in perpetuity.

Following the Annual Parish Meeting, Councillors were “summoned” to elect their Officers for the new Council year.  They are “summoned” by law to ’consider and resolve’ Council business detailed in the agenda sent to them at least three days before.  They must arrive with their thinking hats on.  The ‘Election of Chairman’ brought up Procter's name, showing at least two Members preferred him to Strelczenie.  A counter-proposal brought up Strelczenie’s name. 

Councillors and the public were no doubt counting numbers: nine Councillors present, rules allow family and partners a free vote.  The result was four votes each!  Councillor Terry declined to vote.  Did he know a tie would allow the Chairman a second vote?  Naturally, Strelczenie used his deciding vote to confirm his own position for another year.

‘Election of Chairman’ May 2016. Click here to view on YouTube

The short Clip begins with the Chairman counting the Votes cast for him.  The sensitive video camera microphone picks up the muttered comment of disgust of one Councillor at the end of the vote, “Another wasted year!”

Divided Council loyalties matter less when deciding sites for dog excrement bins.  They are unacceptable for the most expensive village project ever, the Community Centre.

Its chances of success diminish when directed outside the Council with no formal briefing of Councillors for a year.  It is of concern when Procter, allegedly Councillor Carstairs and Councillor Davidson direct it without their Councils hats on!  Those three Councillors voted against Strelczenie as Chairman.  Davidson is the Liaison Officer for that external project but he is not formally liaising with Chairman Strelczenie and his Council colleagues.  It is surprising they have not asked, “What’s going on?” and have had to be ’encouraged’ by the residents to get together.  

Are the two factions not talking to each other?

This is not what they promised in return for our votes.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

“We have pledged to work together ....”

Sometimes, a Parish Council needs an associated Community Group to access funding.  Collaboration is vital to avoid another Parish Council Civil War.

No mention of a Community Centre in the Council for a year?  Councillors kept in the dark?  An independent Group with Parish Council Members?  A privately registered Company?  Are these related to the attempt to unseat Chairman Strelczenie? (to follow ....)   

In the dark at the Annual Parish Meeting 2016

Chairman Strelczenie - It’s up to Councillors, especially those involved with the ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’ (???) to ask Julie (Parish Clerk) to put it on the agenda for the next meeting. 

Councillor Procter took the opportunity to tell Councillors what he had been doing for the past few months: :

“I can speak to that.
I am quite happy it goes on the agenda.
It’s in the very early stages of .... (mumble mumble mumble)
Just doing a feasibility study  
No concrete proposal as such .... (mumble mumble mumble)
The Group is up and running and working .... (mumble mumble mumble).”

Not very illuminating!  

He would have another opportunity later in the evening.

Would he mention the other two Parish Councillors, Liz Carstairs and Forbes Davidson, allegedly part of the independent Hall for Hemingbrough Group;  his discussions with the Selby Council Community Engagement Forum;  his discussions with local landowners;  his privately registered company, ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’;  the proposed Community Interest Company, etc?  

Would he mention the independent Group’s announcement pinned up in the bus shelter by the Church, but never mentioned in Council?  Would he invite all the Councillors to discuss and exchange views about the Community Centre in public?

Monday, 23 May 2016

Not once!

Helpfully, Parish Chairman Strelczenie asked Deputy Chairman Procter to comment on the questions raised in the “Items for next month’s meeting”.  That will be interesting.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Your May 2015 Hemingbrough Parish Council

We wish them Good Luck
"A bit of a squeeze round the Council table"

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Walk of Shame – May 2015

Belligerent, curmudgeonly Chairman Drew returns to the ranks as Councillor Jan Strelczenie takes over the Chair, and the legacy of Drew, McCann and their ‘Mute Newt’ Mates - Senior, Pickering, Harrison and Sedman – aptly described in the Internal Auditor’s report. 


Monday, 25 May 2015

Happy Bear

Thank you to the person who sent me this picture after last week’s Parish Council meeting

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sunshine at last.

I changed the colour scheme of the Bear Garden Blog after the election results were declared to match what I thought was a new mood of optimism.  Tonight’s Parish Council was exactly how it should be, with courtesy, consideration and the promise of progress.

The experienced Jan Strelczenie was unanimously elected Chairman of the Council with Bob Proctor also unanimously elected as the Vice-chairman.

You could hear the sucking in of breath when the Clerk revealed the past Parish Council chaired by Richard Drew and Kenny McCann had left +£54, 000 in the bank (31 March 2015).  As one person muttered, the ‘Mute Newts’ did nowt for residents, so spent nowt!