KEPT IN THE DARK

The insatiable desire of our top Oligarchy to control everything appears to roll on relentlessly. Of course, the Executive could have said no but they seemed collectively minded not to do so. Reel back to the 15th November Executive meeting that started at the usual time of 9.30am. (Its very clear by now that Leader has no intention of shelling out the same to Capricorn Animal Rescue that I shelled out in bacon butties. Readers will recall they were a well deserved snack because of the clumsiness by the Executive in causing Planning Committee members great inconvenience back in September. The kennels are in his ward, for heaven’s sake)

I digress. After the Executive’s regular meeting, the final version of the Choices document that sets out the proposed terms that tenants can expect should they decide to ballot to leave council property in favour a social landlord was discussed. No big deal you say but: the Housing Project Board has been meeting for almost two years, diligently chaired by Cllr Carolyn Cattermoul who even attended in a wheel chair when she badly broke an ankle in the summer. As a member, I too made these meetings a priority as its a huge decision for residents to decide whether or not to leave the Authority for a social landlord. We had been faithfully promised the chance of agreeing the final draft before it went to further consultation. In fact, all was going well and progress being made monthly when quite suddenly meeting after meeting was cancelled including one scheduled for 18th November. I contacted the Project Leader and asked what was going on. He rang to reassure me that all was well. Of course, the decision had already been made to break the promise to bring the Choices final draft back to the Project Board for our final approval. It’s true that Group leaders were given some briefing sessions but not enough to fully understand a very complex document. The message was that everything was OK but WAG had allegedly demanded the document asap and that ended any further consultation..

Now for the truth. Further control freakery had gone on behind the scenes which allowed all previously promised consultation to be arrogantly ignored and enabled the Choices document to go straight to full Council on 22nd November. The Chairman was in for a rough ride and even prayers before hand did nothing to quell some members frustration. She was immediately confronted by Anglesey Commissioner Cllr Aldridge who challenged the minutes. We had previously agreed for a meeting to be held on a Saturday to discuss schools modernisation but it did not happen.. He called the ditching of the members decision to meet as one that smacked of “anarchy & indiscipline”.. He was right to make this accusation. The minutes were accurate but our wishes had just been blatantly ignored. It took a Labour Opposition member to tell us what was right and wrong. Rules are rules and just cannot be ditched without the proper process but no one at the top of this Authority appears to cares a jot for what the back bench muppets want.

I rose to agree with him as it was very clear that the Choices document had been rushed through to Council unnecessarily which was a clear intention of ignoring members once more. By sidestepping the normal fall back procedure of allowing the calling in process to review the Executive’s decision, a further liberty had been taken with the proper process. Pretending that the decision was “urgent” under our Constitution, allowed the Council’s Chairman, Cllr Hilary McGuill to override further scrutiny of the Choices document. Cllr Carolyn Cattermoul as the Project Board Chair naturally took a dim view of such sneakiness and eloquently said so. She reported that the Project Board had not met since June and any chance of this Board determining the final draft had been lost. She felt that the way the Choices paper had been brought to Council warranted a full investigation as she suspected that rules and procedures had been undermined. All those months of patient deliberations and getting a balanced document had been swept aside. Labour had agreed to abstain en bloc against anything to do with the ballot despite the housing stock transfer idea being foisted on Welsh councils by a Labour Government. The Labour group were so keen to abstain from anything to do with the ballot process, no one had appreciated what Cllr Cattermoul was proposing. Thus, her call for a full enquiry into how corners were cut and promise for proper consultation abandoned; was lost.

Of course she was right to have called the Executive to account. The definition of urgency did not fit the Constitution’s requirements. To removal the crucial “call in” process was a completely wrong. Certainly lots of anarchy and indiscipline from the top team here. No wonder the Interim Monitoring Officer stayed away from that crucial meeting.

NOTHING HEARD FROM THE CRIME SQUAD!

I wrote to the Chief Constable on 21st September making a complaint that I had been the victim of perjury. Immediately, a Detective Superintendent was given the job of considering the facts. Apart from a very nice chief inspector visiting a day later, I’ve heard absolutely nothing more from the police and certainly nothing from the super. What on earth is going on?

I know the Cllr Heesom Adjudication Panel is refusing to hand over the Cllr Woolley transcripts but surely a criminal allegation cannot be ignored just because a civil panel is intent of sitting on the evidence. I’ve now written to the police asking them to show their independence and to get on and do what they are paid to do; deal with crime and bring perpetrators to justice. Watching the unfolding news where 8 South Wales officers have walked free as crucial evidence conveniently vanished leaving a bill for millions and justice denied yet again by the victims of that 22 year old miscarriage of justice, all police forces must look very carefully at their own procedures. I hope my complaint will not turn into a case of anarchy and indiscipline too. I may put the letter to the police posted on my blog. It cannot be right for he Leader of this Authority should be allowed to trundle as of nothing has happened. Nolan principles demand there is an investigation. What is the point of taking the oath if is treated as a meaningless cheap little ritual? More Anarchy and indiscipline here too.

RUINED LIVES?

2nd December. I had to visit a new development that the Planning Committee had passed many months ago. Four huge properties had been or were nearing completion & I wondered how this had affected the two neighbours whose gardens ran closely along side the new development. One property had a “for sale” sign and the lady of the house & her husband in poor health told me they could take no more and were getting out. The noise, the disruption, living close to a building site after many years of near rural tranquillity was too much to bear. Neighbour No 2 was of the same frame of mind. I was invited in to see the new houses from their kitchen and I could sympathise with her as they towered over the older properties. Months of fumes from the concrete mixers and lorries had been endured. The birds had now deserted their garden and the couple were anxiously anticipating losing what little privacy they had when some bordering bushes were grubbed up too. I could only glumly express my regrets and explained that at times the planning process is just too cruel.

It was always going to be a done deal once a large garden abutting their properties were sold and planning consent achieved. There is no way back and there will always be winners and losers. Thee winners are the residents of these splendid new palaces and the Authority too who will be able to charge top dollar by imposing top of the range council tax. The losers- No prizes for guessing this. I mentioned that I had come to determine if a tree should be removed from the garden of a new build. I told her that the tree would go. “They’ve got everything they asked for and it still goes on”, she said wistfully. I knew exactly what she meant.

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