28 June 2015

Co-option Meeting Part Three - The Final Interviews, and the Selection Is Arrived At


Continued from previous article


David Lamb

The next candidate to be interviewed was David Lamb.  David has been a councillor for four years.

Cllr Lamb had a very strong attendance record during his last four-year term.

David’s tenure as the chairman of New Mills Town Council 2014-2015 was outstanding.  This is because he stood up to all of the blackmail, all of the threats, and all of the dirty tricks that the ex-town clerk’s little band of supporters could throw at him following her dismissal.

As a result, the Hall Street Jokers failed in their attempt to shake down New Mills town council - and hence the council taxpayers of New Mills.  See previous HPT articles for all the details of this.

However some of the Hall Street Jokers are still up to their little games so far as Cllr Lamb is concerned.

After trying to scapegoat everyone else, the HSJs are now trying to scapegoat Cllr Lamb for their abject defeat in their doomed Employment Tribunal claim.

The HSJs look everywhere to cast blame, except for the right place.  The blame lies solely with the unacceptable actions and omissions of the dishonest, incompetent and foul-mouthed former town clerk (Susan Stevens) who was sacked for gross misconduct in a public office.

The latest lies against Cllr Lamb being peddled by disgraced ex-councillor Alistair Stevens (partner of Susan Stevens) are claims of so-called ‘money laundering’. No doubt Cllr Lamb will also be accused of financing Al-Qaeda, planning to poison the national water supply, causing the Greek eurozone crisis, and being behind the appointment of Chris Evans to Top Gear.


Rebecca Harman

Rebecca was the only candidate to get a vote from all six of the voting councillors.  That’s quite a vote of confidence to live up, so good luck to her.

Being a beginner at this sort of thing, Rebecca indicated that she would like to attend the necessary ‘good councillor’ training.  She won’t have to start from scratch though, as the excellent Good Councillor Guide is expected to be distributed to all the newly co-opted councillors who don’t yet have a copy

When leaving the interview, she put in a good word for Lynn Allen (formerly Cardwell), the candidate who was not present at the interviews.


Andy Bowers

Andy Bowers is New Mills born and bred, with a phenomenal range of local contacts.  He has just completed a four-year term as a councillor.

Andy believes that, because the council is a public body, paid for by public money, its business must be conducted openly and in public.


Result

The six new councillors-elect on New Mills Town Council were announced as (in alphabetical order):

Lynne Allen

Sara Atherton

Andy Bowers (subsequently withdrew; see note below)

Derek Brumhead

Rebecca Harman

Claire Lamb

Just after the co-option meeting ended, Andy Bowers announced to the meeting that he was withdrawing from the co-option process.  As he did not sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, he did not become a councillor.

The above five new members join the existing six councillors, who are:

Sean Whewell (Chair)

Tony Ashton

Josh Gaskell

Lance Dowson

Ray Atkins

Barry Bate


The gender agenda

The council is now more balanced than previously, having seven males and four females, and a couple of younger (or at least younger-looking) members. It is no longer exclusively pale, male and stale.



27 June 2015

Co-option Meeting Part Two - The First Interviews


Continued from previous article


After all the pre-selection procedures had been completed, the six vacancies on New Mills Town Council were competed for by seven remaining candidates.

These were, in alphabetical order:

Lynne Allen (formerly Cardwell)
Sara Atherton
Andy Bowers
Derek Brumhead
Rebecca Harman
Claire Lamb
David Lamb


Lots and arrangements

The candidates, apart from Lynne Allen who was not present, went out of the council chamber and into an ante-room to await their turn for interview.

After their interview in the council chamber, they would be shown to a different room.  This was in order to avoid post-interview candidates mixing with pre-interview candidates and giving them advance knowledge or tips about the questions in the upcoming interview.

Lots were drawn in the presence of the candidates to fairly determine the order in which those present would appear before the council.

Upon reading the previous sentence, English grammar police will have winced at seeing the split infinitive. However, that battle is lost. We all now have to live happily with the split infinitive.

The following are the subjective impressions of this reporter.  Other people will of course have their own views on the candidates.


Sara Atherton

First up was Sara Atherton.  Sara came across well apart from one serious blunder.  This was that she stressed, in her view, the paramount importance of confidentiality.

Here are the serious problems with 'confidentiality' where the public's business is concerned:

‘Confidentiality’ is what led to the disastrous Iraq war vote and action.

‘Confidentiality’ is what led to MPs getting away for years with stealing millions of pounds of expenses - taxpayers’ money - that they weren't entitled to.

‘Confidentiality’ is what led to the ninety-six innocent deaths in 1989 at Hillsborough going for a quarter of a century without the justice of a full public judge-led inquiry.

‘Confidentiality’ is what led to the insane High Peak Magistrates Court scheme almost being foisted on the unsuspecting public of New Mills.

‘Confidentiality’ is what led to a profoundly dishonest, incompetent, foul-mouthed town clerk of New Mills (Susan Stevens) nearly getting away without being exposed and sacked.

No.  In public life, transparency is the word.  Not ‘confidentiality’.

In public life - that is to say in local councils that are paid for by the taxpayer - with very few exceptions ‘confidentiality’ is a bad word.

It is to be hoped that in stressing ‘confidentiality’ Ms Atherton made an innocent error arising from inexperience in public life.  Dealing almost entirely with family-related matters in her work-life could be where this ‘confidentiality’ slip-up came from in her councillor interview.

(Note:  since this article was published, Sara told HPT Editor straight that she hasn't got any time for 'media crap'.  A fair comment, well made.)

Sara has been present in the public gallery at council meetings, and again that shows a genuine interest. But why not let Sara say it in her own words: “I've been to several town council meetings and been struggling to keep my mouth closed.”

Sara supported Labour’s ‘Caitlin Bisknell for 2015’ and has several local Labour Party faces on her Facebook page.  Not that there is anything wrong with that!


Dr Derek Brumhead MBE

Most people reading this local politics blog will already know of Dr Brumhead.

A genuinely nice person, Dr Brumhead is far too modest to mention his MBE, so we’ll mention it for him.

Dr Brumhead’s detailed knowledge of the local history of this area is immense.  He has shared that valuable knowledge in a huge number of books and expert articles over the years.

Dr Brumhead was instrumental in creating the New Mills Heritage Centre in the late 1980s, an institution that is still going strong today.

Another person living in New Mills started self-importantly calling himself “Mr New Mills” a few years ago. However, if there ever were to be such a genuine title it would have to be awarded to Dr Brumhead.


Claire Lamb

Mother-of-two Claire, 42, has lived in New Mills all her life.

Claire has worked within social services and during her interview gave ‘listening’ as a good skill.

Claire interviewed very well.  The stand-out quote out of all the interviews was from Claire. It was:
“I would like to be part of the administration going forward and help to continue the good work… especially the transparency and being open with the public”





If any of the above pen-portraits are inaccurate in any way, the subject is most welcome to get in touch and they will promptly be amended accordingly.  The same applies if any subject wants additional details added to the above mini-bios.



To be concluded shortly with Co-option Meeting Part Three 


25 June 2015

Co-option Meeting Part One - Preparation and Debates



The council meeting to co-opt the necessary six new councillors for New Mills town council was held at the town hall on Monday 22 June 2015.  This was the only item of business on the agenda.

Early in the meeting a loud wailing and crying was audible from the public gallery, interrupting the council speakers.

No, dear reader.  Disgraced former councillor Alistair Stevens had not returned to the council chamber and carried on making his usual noises. The incoherent gurgler on this occasion turned out to be four month-old baby Erika, in the public gallery with her parents.


The co-option process, all held in public

The town council, with the expert advice and counsel of the Derbyshire Association of Local Councils, designed a process for selecting the necessary six councillors.

In summary, the co-option process was as follows, with each stage allocated a time deadline:

1. Publicise the vacancies on the council and the forthcoming co-options;

2.  Expressions of interest in becoming a councillor are invited from all qualifying interested persons.

3. An application pack is then sent out to interested potential councillors.

4. All candidates still in the selection process after the above stages are interviewed in public, at the public council co-option meeting.

5. Councillors then vote on each candidate, in public.  Councillors are asked to state the reasons for their votes.

6.  Because the purpose was to co-opt six new councillors, each voting councillor only has a maximum of six votes available to him.


Number of candidates

The number of original co-option applicants was substantially more than six.

However, after the application pack and the rules of the contest went out, and it became clear to potential candidates that the process of becoming a councillor (quite correctly) was not an automatic or easy one and that no ‘friend of a councillor’ would be a shoo-in, several candidates withdrew and the list was reduced to seven.


Lynne Allen (formerly Cardwell)

One of the seven remaining candidates, Lynn Allen, stated she was on holiday at the time of this council meeting.

This led to lively discussions at which the view was aired that by failing to turn up for the interview Ms Allen/Cardwell had failed the selection process.

On this view, there were therefore now only six candidates for the six co-option vacancies.  The necessary number having been arrived at, no election would be necessary.


Six or seven?

The council meeting was suspended so that members of the public (as well as the councillors) could air their views on how this issue should best be resolved.

HPT Editor put the case to the meeting on this issue as follows:  Firstly a lot of work had gone into designing the selection process in order to end up with the widest possible choice, and therefore no candidate should be unnecessarily excluded.  Secondly Lynne Allen was an outstanding candidate to be a councillor.

Therefore Ms Allen should still be considered as a candidate.  If any voting councillor wanted to mark her down for failing to appear for the interview then that was legitimate, but the interview was only a part of the selection process and not the whole process. There was some support for this view.

The contrary view, also legitimate and expressed by several people, was that six of the co-option candidates had had to go through the onerous test of public interview.  For one person to avoid that ordeal, whatever the reason, was unfair on those six.

After debate, the council decided that Ms Lynne Allen would remain as a candidate.

Therefore, at the start of voting, seven candidates were standing to fill the six available vacancies.


To be continued.  Next article on the way...





Cartoon in honour of Cllr Bate's desire that New Mills Town Council have more females and more people from Ollersett

24 June 2015

Social Housing And Money


Michael Renshaw, a High Peak Borough Council tenant, has forwarded us a copy of the following letter he recently sent to High Peak Borough councillor Emily Thrane:


"Dear Councillor Thrane,

"Thank you for replying to Edwina Currie’s letter in the Buxton Advertiser. I must confess that I didn't read Edwina’s letter but I do get the gist of a discounted cash flow model. My understanding is that the council own the bricks and mortar of their housing stock but they also owe a commitment to their sitting tenants to manage, maintain and invest in the stock.

"The sentence that drew my attention was `Any transfer has to be supported by tenants through a ballot`.

"This is incorrect. There has never been a legal requirement for a ballot to transfer to an ALMO as the ownership of the stock remains with the council. It was always considered to be good practice to hold such ballots and to engage with as many tenants as was practically possible. The council did this for the 2004 transfer but not for the 2014 transfer back.

"A timetable was made and a provisional date for a ballot to return to in-house management was seen in the agenda (item 7) for the Corporate Select Committee on 17th April 2012. The suggested date for the ballot was March 2013.

"Reference was made to the DCLG guidance at the time that stated that councils should undertake similar consultation to change their housing management arrangements as they did to put them in place originally.

"The DCLG was so concerned that the then Housing minister Andrew Stunell wrote to all stock owning authorities including the High Peak in December 2011 to remind them of this expectation. There was no ballot.

"The Council, in my opinion, made little effort consulting with tenants over the transfer back in-house.

"Elderly tenants (those most likely to respond but least likely to respond online) were invited into draughty community centres on cold winters’ evenings with snow and ice on the ground. A 79% agreement was claimed by the Council until Councillor Haken worked out that this was 79% of less than 5% that had responded. You may recall that one of your colleagues made reference to that infamous advert for cat food.  (HPT Ed - for younger readers, this is where the nonsensical phrase '8 out of 10 cats' comes from)

"It is inconceivable that the transfer to HPCH would have been signed off by DCLG on these figures ergo the consultation was inadequate.

"Tenants I spoke to at the time were mostly unaware that anything substantial was occurring. Tenants didn't generally realise that their peers in Sheffield had demanded and received a ballot before returning to the council. No mention either that other councils such as Wolverhampton were extending their ALMO agreements.

"I got the distinct impression that HPCH staff had been told to avoid talking about the transfer back.

"I welcome the commitment to develop and implement a proper business and investment plan and sincerely hope that the new administration will, not only usher in a new era of transparency, but also acknowledge the Value for Money that the Resident Involvement budget provides."

Yours Sincerely,

Mick Renshaw
Whaley Bridge (address supplied)




Mick added the following in his covering note to HPT: 

"High Peak Councillor Emily Thrane wrote in the Buxton Advertiser on 18th June that `Any transfer (of the council’s housing stock) has to be supported by tenants through a ballot`. She was, I believe, referring to a transfer of ownership and not management (i.e. to an ALMO) although this is unclear. I am awaiting a response to my e-mail (attached).

"Section 173 of the Localism Act 2011 gave new found financial freedoms from April 2012 to stock-owning councils. Bringing the management of the council housing back in-house suddenly became a much more attractive proposition especially if you could come up with ways to pull money through the ring-fence by recalculating the cost of core democratic services and recharging the Housing Revenue Account."


19 June 2015

Council Co-options Coming Up



On Monday 22 June at 7:30 in the evening, a meeting of New Mills Town Council will be held to make the decisions on the six people who will join the council as new members.

By statute, this town council has twelve members.  However only six were elected at the last local election.  This leaves a shortfall of six vacancies. (see previous HPT articles)

Applications to fill these vacancies have been received from more than six people.  A selection process has therefore been designed, to try to establish the relevant credentials for each of the candidates.

High Peak Transparency will be reporting on the selection meeting as soon as possible following Monday night.

----------------------

On a separate subject, at the time of writing the New Mills Town Council's meeting dates have not been altered from their standard fixture of second Monday in every month.

At the first meeting he attended as a new councillor (May 2015), this standard, convenient, and easy-to-remember date system was requested to be changed by Cllr Tony Ashton.  The reason he gave was that his diary has some Borough Council meeting entries for those dates.



15 June 2015

Torr Vale Mill Statement From High Peak Borough Council




A few days after High Peak Transparency broke the Prince Charles Torr Vale Mill story, the Buxton Advertiser belatedly carried the following report on its website:

"A local council has reiterated its commitment to securing the future of a derelict former textile mill in New Mills.

"The pledge by High Peak Borough Council follows the release of correspondence from Prince Charles to government ministers, dating back to 2008, which revealed his concern for the future of historic listed buildings, particularly Torr Vale Mill.

"In a letter to the then housing and planning minister Caroline Flint, the future monarch wrote how the decaying state of the Grade II* listed mill “makes me weep”.

"A spokesperson for High Peak Borough Council said this week:
'The council is working with the owner of the mill, Derbyshire County Council, Heritage England and the Torr Vale Preservation Trust to keep the building in good condition and continue to explore options to bring in new investment.
'The council is committed to maintaining this important heritage asset with the full involvement of the owner and in a way that does not commit unnecessary public expenditure.' ”



09 June 2015

Updates on Co-option, Local Conservative Party Issues, and Potential Heritage Centre Reforms




HPT laptop on which these posts are written is about to go away for repairs for 3-4 days so here are some quick notes from last night's New Mills Town Council Meeting:


Council Co-options

Regarding the Co-option of six new councillors, the closing date for applications has been extended to 19 June 2015.

An application pack will be sent out to all interested persons.

A council meeting will be held on the evening of Monday 22 June 2015 at which the co-option candidates will be interviewed and councillors will vote for the candidates they prefer.

There are six vacancies to be filled, so each councillor will have six votes.

Presumably, in the event of a tie, those candidates with the fewest votes will drop out.  A further round of councillor voting will then take place, this time voting only for the remaining candidates.  This process would continue until there are only six candidates left.  These become the new co-opted councillors.  This 'what to do in the event of a tie' aspect was not discussed at last night's council meeting, but there doesn't seem to be any other practical way of settling the issue in these circumstances.


High Peak Conservative Association

At last night's meeting a sixth person approached HPT Editor on the subject of complaints made to Tony Favell about the false statements made before the election by Jeff Lawton to the local public, and/or the money missing from New Mills Carnival's funds which is currently in the carnival's published accounts as a bad debt under Mr Lawton's name.

Jeff Lawton is Chairman of the High Peak Conservative Association.

HPT will be publishing the complaints, and the local Conservative Party's responses to date.  So far, most of the complainants have agreed that their names can be attached to the complaints.


New Mills Heritage Centre

In the secret part of last night's council meeting - i.e. intended to be discussed with the public excluded - was the agenda item 'Heritage Centre Restructure of the Management Committee'

Council and council committee meetings must by law be held in public, with only a tiny number of legally specified subjects where the council is permitted to exclude the public from a meeting.

Where a town/parish council is concerned, these limited subjects are such things as competitive tenders, litigation including contemplated litigation, and staff disciplinary or grievance matters.

It would clearly be breaking the law for 'Restructuring of Heritage Centre Management Committee' to be discussed by a council in secret.

The item was moved into the public part of the meeting, and so it can now be freely and openly reported to the public and to the taxpayers - whose money is used to pay for all of this - that some reforms are to be considered to the way the New Mills Heritage Centre is managed and accounted for.

One idea that will be under consideration is that the Heritage Centre's management committee meetings should be held in the council chamber in public.

Another idea that may develop into a proposal is that, because the council tax is used to fund the Heritage Centre, the Heritage Centre Management Committee may be made into a committee of the New Mills Town Council.  This does not exclude members of the public and HC volunteers from being on the committee.

No decisions have been made; this was mainly an announcement that the process is about to get under way and all interested parties can get ready to make representations etc.

It is to be hoped that the new management structure will be designed on the bases of rationality, transparency, and accountability to the council taxpayers.  Not on the basis of who complains the loudest about change or modernisation.

Cllr Barry Bate stated to the council meeting that the Heritage Centre was closed over the weekend.

--------------------------------


Please send comments in as usual: unfortunately there will be a short delay in comments being uploaded, until the laptop returns.  Hopefully the police will not be called to the laptop repair shop when the technician finds Tattooed Ladies Of The Urals Hinterland or Ladyboys Have A Beach Party.  These were all downloaded for educational purposes you understand.


08 June 2015

Future King Puts Local Heritage Scandal In Spotlight





A startling insight into Prince Charles’ concerns in the High Peak was gained when a local heritage scandal was raised by the future monarch in a letter to a government minister published yesterday.

The charming but decrepit old thing will be king one day, oops I mean is the Torr Vale Mill in New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire.

Torr Vale Mill is falling into more and more expensive disrepair as the years go by.

Internal view of Torr Vale Mill
The letter is dated 8 March 2008.  Here is what Prince Charles told the then Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Caroline Flint, about Torr Vale Mill:
“I am not sure if I managed to mention to you the enormous frustration my Regeneration Trust has experienced over the past fifteen years in relation to countless local heritage-led regeneration projects where progress has ground to an expensive halt because of the reluctance or inability of local councils to assert their powers at the optimum time to save historic buildings from complete dereliction at the hands of careless private ownership, when they could have become real community assets providing wonderful places to live and work?
“The terrible loss of value represented by decaying buildings such as Denbigh Hospital in Wales and Torr Vale Mill in Derbyshire, for instance, makes me weep! In both these cases my Trust has sympathetic developers and sponsors waiting in the wings and yet the Councils still prevaricate and countless opportunities for providing a mixed form of housing tenure in attractive surroundings are being tragically and scandalously lost.”

So who is the new Leader of the Council and responsible for the Local Plan, Planning and Asset Management?  It is local councillor Tony Ashton.

Not only does Cllr Ashton hold the above roles on High Peak Borough Council, he is also on New Mills Town Council.

Fresh from giving a personal witness statement in his active support for the dishonest former town clerk of New Mills - who was sacked as a result of her gross misconduct in public office - let us see where Conservative councillor Tony Ashton’s priorities now lie.




Great photo, terrible scandal.

Picture of Torr Vale Mill copyright Photographersdirect.com




Please click here for a link to the entire Prince Charles letter from which the above extract is taken.

07 June 2015

Some Employment Tribunal Fallout





Some interesting new revelations came out at the New Mills Annual Parish Meeting of 2015.

The meeting took place on Friday 29 May in the Public Hall of New Mills

New Chair of New Mills Town Council Sean Whewell chaired the meeting.  In Cllr Whewell’s opening remarks he noted that “it is good that (the meeting) is in the Large Hall.”

This was a reference to another councillor’s proposal - subsequently rejected - that this statutory meeting should be shut away in the unsuitable little lecture room that is in fact part of the Library and is not part of the Public Hall of New Mills.


Accounts: some consequences of the necessary dismissals of employees

The first item discussed by the meeting was the draft of the New Mills Town Council accounts for the year to 31 March 2015.

On looking at the figures in the accounts a member of the public seemed to say “professional thieves”. This phrase - or something like it - was repeated by several people until it was refined into “professional fees?” in the form of a question.

In the draft accounts, at the intersection of the two headings ‘town hall’ and ‘professional fees’ is the amount of £20,407.

The explanation was given to the meeting by former councillor David Lamb, because Cllr Whewell was not on the council during most of the litigation brought against the council that this figure relates to.

Mr Lamb stated as follows:

“The majority of the professional fees paid out were for, unfortunately, as you will be aware we had quite a lot of litigation in process.  We had to defend an Employment Tribunal, and there was also solicitors’ fees we had to pay out because certain members of the public and certain members of the council were going off asking questions of our solicitors, and they have to reply to those.  Unfortunately, we get charged for it.

“Councillor Dowson did make quite a speech on it, and if he remembers he said that ‘anybody that’s going off asking the town council’s solicitors for advice or asking for information, they should be charged for it.’ ”

Councillor Lance Dowson took up the explanation:

“There were three figures which were quite large.

“One was for £4,000 where a local councillor went off on her own and interviewed one of the people involved in it and then sent a great big report to the (staff disciplinary) panel.  Which meant the panel had to reconvene to go through it all again, which cost £4,000.*

“The other one was where some people had asked our solicitors for advice and then it wasn't until after things had happened that we went through it all and found that various people had taken it on themselves and the solicitor might not have realised that these people were asking for advice in a personal capacity.  But of course (the town council) got billed for it.  And I did suggest, very firmly, that we should go through it step by step and find out exactly what it was and we should send them the bill.

“On the third occasion, the same thing happened when the person who was taking us to the tribunal...  I did suggest that we didn't actually pay it and that we send them the bill and when they paid us we would pay the solicitor.  And if they didn't pay us we’d send the bailiffs in.  That’s how strongly I felt about it.  But council felt there was enough going on at the time.”

The audience then made various points about these sackings, subsequent litigation against the council, and consequent professional fees issues and how to avoid such a situation arising again if possible.


Cancellation of the insurance that indemnifies the council’s costs if an employee brings a dispute

After the above audience discussion, Cllr Dowson continued:

“ (The town council) paid extra for employee/employer conflict insurance.  I mentioned this to council and we got in touch (with the insurance company).  We were then told that had been cancelled by a certain individual just before they’d gone off sick for the second time.

David Lamb added, reading from a report describing this issue:

“I've got the actual report here… ‘For an unknown reason the clause covering Employment  Tribunals has been removed… and also there was a contract conflict clause in the policy that was also (removed) at the same time…’ ”

HPT Editor enquired whether there was anybody else other than the then town clerk/council proper officer Susan Stevens who the insurance company would have taken insurance clause cancellation instructions from at that time.

The answer came back “No.”

Both of the missing insurance clauses have now been re-instated.

If Mrs Stevens has any written statement to make that contradicts the above article - or just wants to exercise the right of reply that applies to all persons who are referred to on HPT - then she is invited to email it in. Such a text would be published verbatim and with no editorial comments. Email address is highpeaktransparency@btconnect.com




---------------------------------

*   Regarding this claimed "extra £4,000" issue, HPT Editor interjected in the parish meeting that the local councillor being referred to was DCC Cllr Beth Atkins.

The main person that Cllr B Atkins interviewed in this episode is Peter Bailey, who was the caretaker at the town hall during most of Mrs Susan Stevens’ period as town clerk of New Mills.  This interview process was done done by Cllr B Atkins at the request or with the agreement of NMTC councillor Ray Atkins.

Following the original publication of this article, emails have been shown to us from the relevant time in which Nicky Williams (the council's HR consultant at that time) quite rightly emailed all of the NMTC councillors asking if anyone knew of any information that might contradict the town council's version of events.  She also emailed Susan Stevens inviting Mrs Stevens to provide all and any information which supported Mrs Stevens' case.

The Cllrs Atkins' submission of the further information to the disciplinary appeal panel was in direct response to this specific email request to NMTC councillors from the council's then adviser.

Clearly, Mrs Susan Stevens and Mrs Marie Dudley were totally entitled to have all relevant and legitimate evidence they could find put to the the disciplinary panel, appeal panel, and Employment Tribunal.

The Employment Tribunal judge referred explicitly to the information that was submitted to the disciplinary appeal panel and found that the dismissal process was fair and lawful as of that key stage in the matter and going forward from then.

-------------------------------


Notes:  1)  Comments on this article which assert that something is a fact are much more likely to be published if they have a name attached.  2)  If you wish to make a comment or points, but don't want your name in the public domain, then email in  your comment instead.  Confidentiality will be fully respected.



02 June 2015

New Councillors Co-option Process





The New Mills Town Council has 12 seats, of which only six were filled at the May 2015 local elections.

There are therefore six further council seats which will now be filled by co-option of new councillors.

At the recent Annual Parish Meeting of New Mills, Cllr Barry Bate made an appeal for all interested persons who have the best interests of the town at heart to put out the word that the co-option process for new councillors is about to start.

Further details of the upcoming co-option process are expected to be discussed as an agenda item in the next town council meeting, to be held on Monday 8 June 2015.



01 June 2015

Large Eyesore Right Next To The Town's Civic Buildings



One of the subjects discussed at the 2015 Annual Parish Meeting of New Mills was the state of the eyesore site on Spring Bank, next to the town hall.

This is a former Methodist chapel, now derelict. The graves are well overgrown and the inside of the building is burned out and unsafe (pictured above).

The subject of trying to get this site improved was brought up at the meeting by Mrs Linda Kendall. She seemed a little concerned that people might think this subject was a bit 'old hat' to be brought up: in fact this is exactly the sort of issue requiring action that the Annual Parish Meetings are for.

Cllr Lance Dowson told the meeting he believed that the property had been recently purchased by a near-by business.  Land Registry shows that the building was indeed bought in 2013 by the trustees of J & F Tools Ltd Pension Scheme, a local firm giving a Spring Bank address.

A useful thing the New Mills town council could now do is respectfully write to the new owners and enquire firstly as to their plans, if any, for mitigating this eyesore next to the town hall and secondly what the practical timetable is likely to be.

If anyone wants any further details of title, ownership etc they should look at title numbers DY 334316 and DY 340006 held by HM Land Registry.

The price paid by the new owners does seem outlandishly high, but all one can say about prices achieved for particular properties is that a willing buyer has met a willing seller.

Also regarding price, the agent may even have found what is known in the property business as the 'special purchaser', i.e. in this case someone who owns a nearby property.

For a full range of interesting pictures of this site in its present condition visit the appropriate webpage on Derelict Places






Below is the chapel on the site, shown in all its former glory, i.e. before the decline of formal religion in our secular western world: