04 March 2015

Response From Local Headteacher To Recent Conservative Party Leaflet

The following response to the recent 'Jeff and Josh special' local Conservative electioneering leaflet has been issued by the headteacher of the New Mills School Business And Enterprise College:

"To all our wider school community

"I am writing in response to the recent Conservative Party campaign leaflet that has been sent out to New Mills residents. The ...Newsletter had a section on schools in which there was a statement about New Mills Secondary School and academisation which has caused some concern. I will outline below the context of where this statement has come from but I can assure you that we are not currently in the process of becoming academy.

"As stated in the newsletter after being put into Special Measures the Department for Education (DfE) will look to transfer a school in special measures into an academy and remove it from Local Authority control. Last July the Governing Body was heavily pressured by representatives of the DfE into making a decision about Academy status.

"After much deliberation and research the Governing Body resolved to 'join the Cheadle Hulme Education Trust (CHET) as a sponsored academy subject to the satisfactory conclusion of all negotiations'. The Governing Body did not make this decision known to the wider school community because it was felt that until all negotiations had taken place they did not know if there would be a satisfactory conclusion. Their caution was justified when CHET made their decision not to proceed with New Mills School at this point in time given the financial issues.

"Since taking up my appointment as the new Headteacher in September I have been working with the Local Authority to drive the improvements needed at our school. Alongside working with the LA I have been working with Cheadle Hulme High School (CHHS) as part of the school to school support programme which I shared with parents at the parent forum in September, this programme is being funded by the Local Authority. Linda Magrath, the Headteacher at CHHS, came along to the parent forum meeting in September to share how we were going to work together to drive school improvement.

"I am happy that New Mills School is making the progress needed to come out of Special Measures and this has been confirmed by a recent monitoring report carried out the Local Authority.

"I hope this puts into context the statement in the campaign leaflet and I can assure you that we are not currently in the process of becoming academy.

"Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or need clarification on any points made.

D McGloin


Jeff and Josh, and the High Peak Conservative Association, it's over to you.

02 March 2015

First Labour leaflet of 2015 - the Barrow section

What follows is the unedited, verbatim text of the 'Cllr Alan Barrow section' of the local Labour Party's New Mills edition of the first election leaflet of 2015.

(Pictures and detailed scrutiny / commentary to follow):

Arden Quarry Update

Alan Barrow, who chairs the Arden Quarry Liaison
Meetings, reports:

‘Work is now going on to install an engine to generate electricity from landfill gas. Much better for the environment than flaring this potent greenhouse gas. It also gives the operator a financial incentive to collect the gas which should help to ensure no repeat of the odour problems of 2012.

There have been few complaints about odour recently. I’m told there could be temporary problems while the changeover from the flare to the engine takes place. Please do call the Environment Agency hotline 0800807060 if you are affected in order that any problems can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Planning permission for composting 2000 tonnes per year of green waste has been approved, but cannot start until plans for controlling odour, dust etc. are also approved. There is a condition that the operation shall cease if there is demonstrable nuisance to occupiers and users of the surrounding land and property. If this works successfully and without nuisance, it will be good for the environment by diverting green waste from landfill.  We have to wait and see.

It’s good to see soils being placed over the finished parts of the landfill and we hope much of it will be grassed this year, improving the visual impact of the site from the west and north.

Measures to improve the safety of Oven Hill Road are agreed and we will monitor how effective this is, continuing to bring community concerns to the liaison meetings.’

First Labour leaflet of 2015 - the Dishonest Ian Huddlestone section

What follows is the unedited, verbatim text of the 'Cllr Huddlestone section' of the local Labour Party's New Mills edition of the first election leaflet of 2015:

(If all you are seeing is a blank page, do not adjust your browser.  Dishonest Ian Huddlestone does not feature in any of the stories put out by the local Labour Party in this election literature)

First Labour leaflet of 2015 - the Dowson section

What follows is the unedited, verbatim text of the 'Cllr Lance Dowson section' of the local Labour Party's New Mills edition of the first election leaflet of 2015.

(Pictures and detailed scrutiny / commentary to follow):

The millenium walkway is rated the 4th highest visitor attraction in Derbyshire – not bad for a little market town on the edge of the county!

The walkway is the most iconic of the town council’s projects under a Labour majority in the years up to 2007.

‘The council had been working on the project since 1996, and won grants of some £475,000 to fund it.

I was elected in 1999,’ writes Lance Dowson, who has served on the council since then. ‘So I shared in the excitement as the construction went on, then the celebrations when the walkway won six awards, featured on Royal Mail stamps and various TV shows, made New Mills famous nationally and internationally, and brought thousands of visitors to the town. It is great that it is still attracting tourists to help our local businesses.

In the following years we carried on improving access to natural spaces for local people and to attract visitors.

With further grants we established Goytside Nature Reserve and the Community Orchard
In 2006 we grasped the opportunity to enhance the Torrs further by working on plans for the innovative reverse Archimedes screw hydropower project.

We lost our majority on the council in 2007, but community groups have picked up what we started. I am proud to be chairman of the Friends of the Orchard, who have won many prestigious awards over the years, and I congratulate the other community bodies who work hard to enhance our town’s environment and economic health.’

27 February 2015

Employment Tribunal Dates and Times

The hearings in the much-anticipated Employment Tribunal cases of Susan Stevens and Marie Dudley v New Mills Town Council will start in just over a week’s time.

The cases start at 10.00 a.m. on Monday 9 March 2015.

The venue is the Manchester Employment Tribunal, Alexandra House, 14 - 22 Parsonage, Manchester M3 2JA.  The hearing is in a public Tribunal.

The picture at the top of this article is an extract from the Press Listing which has just been issued by the Courts and Tribunals Service.  Only the alphabetical order name of the first claimant is shown for each hearing: that is why Mrs Dudley is shown but Mrs Stevens isn't.

The hearings are expected to last about 5-7 working days, unless the judge starts laughing uncontrollably.

26 February 2015

A Surprising Choice

For those people in the High Peak who are fans of Country and Western and Alan Barrow, here is a press release from High Peak Borough Council:

"The Mayor and Mayoress of High Peak, Councillor Alan Barrow and Mrs Susan Barrow will be holding a Charity Barn Dance, on Saturday 28th February 2015, in the Restaurant at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton. The event will comprise of a drinks reception commencing at 7pm, two course dinner at 7.30pm and dancing to 'Swing Persuasion'.

"The aim is to provide a wonderful and memorable evening and raise funds for their Mayoral charities, which are Blythe House and Kinder Mountain Rescue. The dress code for the evening is smart casual.

"We do hope that you'll be able to join us for a fantastic night. If you would like to attend please e-mail Julie Fawkes, the Mayor's Secretary.

"Alternatively, print and complete the form at the bottom of the page (HPBC page) and return to Julie Fawkes at High Peak Borough Council, P.O Box 136, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 1AQ by 20th February 2015."

22 February 2015

Curious Brian

The already curious case of a former DALC Chief Officer and Treasurer taking the side of a dishonest former town clerk just became even more curious.

High Peak Transparency readers, who tend to be better informed on these sorts of local politics issues than the ordinary man in the street, will recall that Mr Brian Wood, formerly of the Derbyshire Association of Local Councils ('DALC'), took part in public speaking at the last New Mills town council meeting.

What Mr Wood had to say at the meeting was controversial, to say the least.

The fact that he made a round trip from Matlock - which is a distance of more than 60 miles -to say it is also noteworthy.

Regarding Mr Wood, we have now been pointed in the direction of an earlier New Mills town council meeting, which took place on Monday 8 July 2013.

Item 1 on the agenda was ‘To resolve to employ Mr Brian Wood as Minute Taker for the meeting.’

Here is the relevant minute of the meeting for that agenda item:
‘Cllr Barrow asked as a point of information, why Mr Woods was not present to take the minutes.  The Chair explained after speaking with Derbyshire Association of Local Councils, Mr Woods would only minute take and not give advice, and was happy not to attend on this basis, as he did not want to be put on the spot.’

The contrast between Mr Wood’s attitude towards the two different meetings is curious.

As further information comes in on the developing issue of Mr Brian Wood the ex DALC officer and Mrs Susan Stevens, the former town clerk of New Mills who was dismissed for gross misconduct, you will read it here first.

19 February 2015

What About The Workers?

Another edition of the local Conservatives' election leaflet/grumble sheet 'In Touch' arrived today.

Thanks go to our special delivery services, which hopefully will be keeping HPT and its loyal readers supplied with the election efforts of all the local political parties and independents.

The Save The Badger election leaflet has also arrived, which should receive a review here on HPT shortly.

This new edition of In Touch is glossier, bigger and more colourful than the Jeff and Josh Special of a few days ago.

The first obvious gap comes on page two of the leaflet (see picture above).

This is a map of the local council wards in this area. New Mills has three wards: New Mills West; New Mills East; and Sett.

Sett Ward's candidate is Tony Ashton.  West Ward has Jeff Lawton and Josh Gaskell.

But what about New Mills East?

The Tory leaflet has no names down as  candidates for this ward.  Do they think they have no chance there?

Conservative planners should be aware that there is a long and proud tradition in England of so-called working-class Tories.

It is a surprising omission.  The Conservatives are usually good planners, and they are the party with the biggest election war chest.

We await further developments.

In the meantime, here is the front page of the glossy colour production:

18 February 2015

Brian Wood Speech Disowned By DALC

Further to HPT articles on the subject of Mr Brian Wood's recent intervention supporting a dishonest former town clerk, Mrs Susan Stevens, DALC have today issued an official statement.

It reads:

"Brian Wood is a former officer of DALC and retired as Secretary/Treasurer in August 2012, therefore has no indemnified authority whatsoever to give advice in this sector.

"Any former position he has held is irrelevant and his views are his own.

"For clarity DALC's remit to its members, as a non profit making organisation, is to represent, train and advise their member parish and town councils, by offering a resource of vital, operational information and facilitating communication at all levels of the parish network - district, county, regional and national.

"DALC is affiliated to the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) who offer the services of a legal team to member parishes/towns, but once a council has employed its own legal representative NALC are unable  for reasons of professional etiquette to be involved."