12 September 2014

New Councillors at New Mills



Regarding New Mills town council, the Returning Officer has today declared as follows:

Tina Glozier (Christina Mary Glozier of St James School* on Spring Bank) is elected unopposed for Ollersett ward in New Mills.

Tina Glozier also proposed one of the electoral candidates for Whitle ward:

There will be a by-election in Whitle ward between candidates John Sydney Ferns and Michael Robin Kirk. This will take place on 9 October 2014.




* Is a private address, not actually a school

09 September 2014

New Use For A Grand Old Building?



At last night’s town council meeting in New Mills, the subject of the lease renewal for the town’s Heritage Centre came up.

Current arrangements

The Heritage Centre currently occupies a cellar of a shop. The lease terms are onerous, originally signed many years ago. The New Mills town council is the tenant named on the lease.

Under the terms of the current lease, the town council - in reality the town’s council taxpayers - has to pay a share of the maintenance of the building’s exterior, not occupied by the Heritage Centre.

When one only occupies a cellar in a building, yet then receives a demand from the landlord for paying towards a whole new roof of that building, the layman is bound to question what sort of deal has been signed up to.

In commercial property, this is a standard lease. The terms are called ‘full repairing and insuring’. The shorthand is FRI.

The way well-advised commercial tenants avoid this trap is to pay for a Schedule of Condition at the outset of the lease.

Seeking value for the council taxpayers

Paying rent, one never owns the property. Yet in the case of the current Heritage Centre, one is liable for the landlord’s repairs etc.

Some councillors are therefore questioning whether occupying one of the town council’s own properties might be a more effective and cost-efficient option. Especially if the property in question is a grand old half-used building in a fabulous setting: High Lee Hall (pictured above).

No decision has been made.

Thinking skills

Starting the journey to the right informed decision, the first thing that’s needed is two blank sheets of paper. A rational, comprehensive three-way list of Pluses, Minuses, and Interestings (‘PMI’) is then created for each of the proposed locations.

Such a listing is a thinking tool for identifying the key factors in any upcoming decision.

Expect a backlash, no matter what the proposal

In general, people dislike change. So if the idea of a potential re-location were to gather traction, expect a campaign to be started to ‘Save the Heritage Centre’ in its present location.

The town council’s principal representative on the Heritage Centre’s Management Committee, Councillor Alistair Stevens, failed to attend last night’s town council meeting.

His views on this subject were therefore unheard.

One factor that won’t be known until some options are explored

No switched-on commercial landlord wants an empty property, with all the problems that brings.

And if the long-standing tenant has been a local council, then the loss of both that excellent covenant and the reliable rental stream is not a good scenario.

Add to that the fact the property is a hard-to-let cellar (there are perfectly good shops that have difficulty attracting long-term tenants in New Mills, never mind cellars under shops) and you have the situation where a landlord may be inclined to offer incentives to the council to keep the Heritage Centre in its present location rather than lose them as a tenant.

08 September 2014

Elections Timetable



The next full local elections for councils in this area are to be held on 7 May 2015.

Notwithstanding the short timescale remaining until new councillors are to be elected in those full elections, two local by-elections in New Mills have now been orchestrated by the disgraced former town clerk of that town, Mrs Susan Stevens.

Cost of the by-elections and latest councillor no-show

The direct cost to New Mills council taxpayers of the two unnecessary by-elections is estimated to be in the region of £4,000 to £8,000.

Mrs Stevens is married to discredited current New Mills councillor Alistair Stevens.

It is relevant to this issue of councillor elections orchestrated by Mrs Stevens to note that in fact her husband Cllr Stevens has failed to attend the last four town council meetings.

Cllr Stevens was legally summoned to each of the council meetings. He has failed to comply with the summons on each occasion.

The original version of this article stated that Cllr Stevens had missed the last three town council meetings. However, since then a further council meeting has been held (8 September 2014).

Cllr Stevens was the only councillor no-show at that one as well.

Timetable

The timetable for the two by-elections is now on High Peak Borough Council's website, under 'Elections'.

The Borough Council's returning officer is responsible for the administration of all elections.

The form of nomination to be a councillor is available from either the town clerk at New Mills town hall or from Municipal Buildings, Glossop SK13 8AF.

Completed nomination forms must be delivered to the Returning Officer, Municipal Buildings, Glossop SK13 8AF no later that 4pm this coming Friday 12 September 2014.

If there is more than one person nominated for either of the two wards, the election will take place on Thursday 9 October 2014.

Each new councillor will be eligible to attend only a handful of town council meetings. These are the meetings that will take place before the council is dissolved for the full council elections of May 2015.

Cost savings

Some readers have asked whether there isn't some sensible method of avoiding the unnecessary costs.

In fact Mrs Stevens' expensive and unnecessary by-election demand only just sneaked under the wire.

The relevant local government legislation states that where there is less than six months until general elections are to be held in any event, then the local council may decline the expense of by-elections and instead co-opt councillors for the remaining period.

Therefore, once 7 November 2014 has passed, this latest example of Mrs Susan Stevens' nonsense in that family's vendetta against New Mills town council will not be possible.

02 September 2014

New Mills Cricket Club Being Dragged Into Discredited Local Couple's Vendetta Against Council



We understand from usually reliable sources that High Peak Borough Council ('HPBC') has started to take an active interest in the licencing and public safety affairs of New Mills Cricket Club.

If so, this is another deplorable knock-on effect of the feud that discredited local councillor Alistair Stevens and disgraced former town clerk of New Mills Susan Stevens have started against anybody they think had any role in her recent dismissal.

Mrs Stevens was dismissed as the town clerk following a string of gross misconduct failures in public office on her part.

We know that officers at HPBC keep an eye on High Peak Transparency, as do some local police officers, because reliable information is often published here before any other news outlet.

We understand that the alcohol licencing arrangements, the food arrangements, the public safety arrangements, the public liability insurance, and the playing of music in public without paying for the legally necessary licence, are all now of interest to the relevant authorities.  Some remarks were made about these matters in the public comments section of HPT a few days ago.

This all appears to have come about following the publicity surrounding the disgraced former town clerk canvassing some cricket club members to sign a letter concerning holding additional expensive by-elections in New Mills shortly before general elections will be held in the town in any event.

The expense of  by-elections is borne directly by the council taxpayers of New Mills.

This whole mess is deplorable from start to finish and is wholly unnecessary.

01 September 2014

Local Councillor's Fake Company - Latest News


Some examples of fakery

Companies House reports that the fake company set up by the son of a local councillor and the sacked former town clerk of New Mills is called 'Tall Poppies Consultants Ltd'.

The individual who, according to Companies House, set up the company is James Alexander Stevens. He is the son of Alistair Stevens and Susan Stevens. According to his personal blog, his ambition is to be a primary school teacher.

Despite this, and the fact that honesty is evidently one of the necessary personal qualities in teaching young children, Jamie got involved in making the false statements that were necessary in order to set up the fake company.

Jamie Stevens falsely told Companies House that his occupation is HR Consultant. He also allowed his personal home address to be used for the fake company's registered office.

As Jamie Stevens is NOT a HR consultant - none of the people involved with the fake company are - it is legitimate to wonder what other reasons there could be for setting up this fake HR company, other than malicious ones?

It is relevant to note that the genuine Tall Poppies HR consultancy is the adviser to New Mills town council, which recently dismissed Mrs Stevens as town clerk due to her gross misconduct in the role.

The reason all this is topical now is that the fake company has failed to file its Annual Return. This key document in companies law was due at Companies House by 23 August 2014.

The current director of the fake company is Alistair Stevens, who is a councillor in High Peak and an estate agent in the Oldham area.






Defamation postscript

Cllr And Mrs Stevens have threatened the editor of  this site with defamation proceedings. Jamie Stevens was specifically mentioned as part of those defamation proceedings. Let us see what any of these individuals can find in the above reporting of fact that would support any attempted defamation claim against this site.

31 August 2014

Affordable Homes - The Shame of the High Peak




Government figures have been released which show all recent affordable housing delivery in England, itemised by local authority.

The new data can be found by following this government link.

There are 331 local authorities in England. In delivery of affordable homes for its less well-off citizens, High Peak came near the bottom of the table in joint 309th.

The data is from the Department of Communities and Local Government. It has been published as part of the government's campaign to increase the supply of affordable homes for local people.

The data covers the years 2010-11 to 2013-14.

These dismal figures are the result of letting nimbys have the run of the housing argument. People who desperately need affordable homes are not noisy and organised, like the nimbys are.

29 August 2014

The Complainer - Latest Instalment

It is our sad duty to report that some of a certain local councillor's intimates have been putting the word around that the councillor in question has made a formal complaint against a local police officer.

The officer's alleged failing?  It seems the officer did not do the councillor's bidding when the councillor claimed that a consultant to New Mills town council was defrauding the town council out of some VAT money.

It should be noted here that the councillor is engaged in a known vendetta against the consultant.

In fact, this VAT issue has already been dealt with on High Peak Transparency. Please see What Is The Substance (If Any) In This Claim for the proof that such a fraud against New Mills town council is impossible to have taken place.

We are all for the police being accountable. But causing difficulties for a busy officer, when it is clear that the alleged 'crime' has not been committed, is out of order.

There is also the issue of a local councillor wasting police time.



"Michael, I begged you to get some therapy"

27 August 2014

Stop Press - New Elections in New Mills


High Peak Transparency understands that 10 electors have come forward to demand elections in each of the two seats recently vacated on New Mills town council, and so there will shortly be local elections for those seats.

This is instead of co-option, which is the usual method in these circumstances.

When further information comes in regarding this surprise development, read it here first on High Peak Transparency.

Update (11:49 28 August 2014)

Strangely, New Mills Cricket Club appears to be wildly over-represented on the forms that were sent to High Peak Borough Council demanding that these expensive by-elections be held, so close to the forthcoming general town council election in a few months' time.

The cost will fall on the council taxpayers of New Mills, by way of the local town council having to foot the bill.

Now who can we think of that is both malicious and also harbours a grudge against the local town council?

Update (13:00 28 August 2014)

We understand that at least three councillors are considering whether to convene an extraordinary meeting of New Mills town council.

The reason is that the council taxpayers of New Mills will have to bear the burden of the costs if two  unnecessary extra elections are demanded so close to the forthcoming general town council elections.

Update (22:00 28 August 2014)

An extraordinary town council meeting has been convened for next Wednesday 3 September.  The item on the agenda is:

'For Council to agree the setup and, if necessary, the printing of polling cards for the forthcoming election in New Mills for the vacant seats of Ollersett and Whitle and the associated costs.'






25 August 2014

What Is The Substance, If Any, In This Claim?





Anonymous claims have been made to this website about the VAT accounting of a business that has acted as a consultant to New Mills Town Council.

The intention behind the anonymous claims appears to be to try to damage the reputation of the business. By doing this, the anonymous person(s) hope to smear or cause difficulties for the town council.

There is also gossip on the same subject being spread by some of the Hall Street Jokers, gossip which at the current time is completely unsubstantiated. Note to new readers: ‘Hall Street Jokers’ is the informal term that has emerged for the small clique which blindly supports the former New Mills town clerk Susan Stevens, who was dismissed due to her gross misconduct in office, and the discredited New Mills councillor Alistair Stevens.

Here is a representative example of the comments received on this subject:

‘Never mind the Stevens witch hunt shouldn't somebody be doing something about ***** defrauding the Council by not being VAT registered but adding it to invoices’

The reason this comment and ones like it weren't published by HPT at the time they were received is that the central assertion in it is a nullity.

The correct logic is followed through below, step by step, to enable proper understanding of the validity or otherwise of the claim:

1. New Mills Town Council (‘NMTC’) is VAT registered.

2. When NMTC receives invoices with VAT charged on them, those invoices go in the Inputs part of NMTC’s VAT Return to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs ('HMRC').

3. When NMTC issues an invoice charging VAT on the supply of services, that invoice goes in the Outputs part of the VAT Return.

4. Every quarter, NMTC’s book-keeper compiles a VAT return and sends it to HMRC.

5. Upon receipt of NMTC's VAT return, HMRC makes a Bank Transfer to NMTC. This refunds back to NMTC  the net VAT that has been charged on invoices to NMTC (i.e. net after the VAT that NMTC has charged out on its relevant sales and rentals).

6. Because all net VAT on invoices received is fully refunded to the council, it is therefore literally impossible in the present circumstances to ‘defraud the Council by not being VAT registered but adding it to invoices’.

End of logic argument.

To summarise:

From the point of view of NMTC, the VAT charged on invoices issued to it is reimbursed to it every quarter by HMRC. This is done by way of the VAT Return.

If any reader wants to check the above with a qualified VAT accountant, just ask the accountant about the difference between VAT input tax and VAT output tax.

All taxation affairs of the business concerned - the business that is the target of the anonymous spurious claim - are between it and HMRC. If any further facts emerge on this issue - and they must be facts, not guesswork or malicious assertions that are unfounded - then we will be happy to consider what to do about it.