Gypsy site decision and the Malicious Daily Mail.

The last site visit scheduled for 9th January Planning bus was in Magazine Lane, Ewloe and the matter would be decided by members on Wednesday 11th. It was a mean little site tight against the A55 with its constant roar of traffic, deep in mud in which wallowed 5 inquisitive ponies I felt sorry for the livestock and their conditions and I would have felt even unhappier for young children to live in such conditions particularly when a properly laid out site was available down the hill.

A break before the start of the 1300 Planning committee allowed me to pop out and explain procedure to the people who were speaking against the proposal for the residents. I then met the applicant’s agent & my breath was taken away with his gratuitous rudeness to me and to Planning Officers. Yes, he would want three minutes to speak to the first part of the application and yes, he would then want a further three minutes to tell us how we had got it all wrong if we dared refuse the first application. He then threatened all in hearing with how he would take the Authority to the cleaner’s with massive costs. Officers bridled at such arrogance but kept their cool.

The Agent launched himself into his brilliance at fighting gypsy planning applications and we were mad enough to refuse we would soon learn to our financial cost as had other English & Welsh Authorities who had been so foolish as not to allow applications that he was defending. Both speeches appeared provocative and bullying & we were accused of not wanting gypsies in our county. I hoped members would not be drawn into an equally robust counter challenge which I had assumed was the reason for such boorish behaviour from the agent.

Only Cllr Attridge expressed his shock at enduring this greatest insult he had come across in his eight years on the Planning committee. Cllr Gareth Roberts was onto the reasons for such a tirade too. Best not to be provoked was his suggestion, one that I endorsed. “We have no control over what a speaker wants to say but we do have control over how we respond,” I announced stiffly. We listened intently to our officers and agreed with their recommendations. Straight refusal and for no other reasons that those fully developed in our reports There was no bias, no nimbyism Its just the wrong place and there is no need for further gypsy provision in the county.

Chester Chronicle journalist David Goodban kindly emailed me a spiteful & wildly inaccurate piece on Britain’s poor showing in the European Court of Justice that appeared in the Daily Mail The heading “Ten cases that make a mockery of British Justice” and I was number 8, having been allegedly paid £25000 by the European Courts on a phone tapping issue that involved being absent from duty when an IRA attack was imminent. Number one was the terrorist Abu Qatada, the radical Islamist cleric once again in the news and once described as bin Laden’s right hand man. My entry was a nasty slur by this newspaper who always had it in for me when I was fighting my discrimination action in the 90’s. All other papers were supportive but not Andrew Louden, the Mail’s low life hack who covered for the Mail in Manchester. He was the first to door-step me and even joined a posse who tracked me down on holiday in Spain in the thick of my protracted 2 year battle for equality.

I’ve instructed Martin Howe, Patrick Heesom’s legal adviser on the Ombudsman’s £3million débâcle to act for me. I wonder why the Mail has opened hostilities against me again after all these years? Nothing to do with my ongoing support for Eddie Gilfoyle and my contempt for those who allowed him to wallow in goal for 18 years? Surely not!

COST OF EARLY RETIREMENTS FOR COUNCIL STAFF.

By coincidence, I’m substituting on 19th January’s Corporate Resources Panel. Topic 7 is of particular interest as it covers details of cost of taking early retirements.

Had met a complete stone wall since Susan Lewis left under special circumstances agreed with the Chief Executive, my questions to him, Head of Human Resources and the former Head of Legal Service were refused despite policy demanding members should be kept informed regularly of early leavers. Of course, no names are mentioned in the report & I do not expect to be any the wiser after the 19th January meeting but at least this is some acknowledgement that up to now, the policy to brief members has been ignored AND for too long. Now, I need to know when the panel to interview for the post of Monitoring Officer is due to start. The New Year was the promised occasion. This too has been the subject of much email exchange that thus far, has come to nothing.

With the interim Monitoring Officer making something of a hash at a County Council meeting last year which was widely commented upon, the rather pejorative nick name of “Wet Lettuce”, seems almost deserved. With the Cllr Heesom Adjudication panel grinding on, the post must be properly filled by a person who is prepared to make difficult decisions. This comment is no reflection on the temporary appointee but my quest for information from her has been dealt the same treatment as my attempts to establish the cost of the former Director’s early departure. Mostly silence! Odd that departed early retired Director took up another post so soon in Denbighshire having left her mark on the reputation of two councillors, me: who was found guilty of a code of conduct breach but given no sanction and Patrick Heesom who still fights on.

One Comment

  1. Colin Hughes says:

    “It was a mean little site tight against the A55 with its constant roar of traffic.”
    Yes Alison, its awful for those with nervous systems.

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