Monday night and off we trot to the Parish Hall, but it’s NOT a Parish Council meeting as such. It is a public meeting called by Cllr Thornton and the room is split into two areas. Outsiders like me who don’t live in Anston must sit at the back, Residents sit round in a big circle. Any councillors attending tonight do so as members of the public, except the chairman Mr Beck and the clerk.
The local plan for house building in Rotherham was raised straight away no house building planned in Anston says Mr Beck. Hmm not sure that’s right, after all once they have tarmacked their way across Dinno East to the Butterfly House they will be in Anston then, technically. Oh and were they to build a massive new trading estate over near Todwick some of that would be in Anston, still details, details, let’s move on.
Mr Beck was also criticised for reading out a statement before clearing it with fellow Cllrs, and also asked by a resident about what he would do should a conflict arise between his post here and the one at Wales where he is borough Cllr? Mr Beck pointed out that the meeting was not about him and to be fair he has a point.
He was also asked about times he may have dropped the ball, but picking the ball up Mr Beck moved the meeting onwards.
Questions also asked about the upkeep of the hall and grounds which costs thousands upon thousands per year, however it was pointed out that there are many bills to pay and much work to be done.
RMBC were slagged off for the rather poor standard of service that residents experience, cuts were blamed until one resident pointed out that the services were poor before the cuts. Move on!
A vote proposed by Stuart for the automatic exclusion of any non-Anston resident who interrupts a parish meeting by speaking.
Hmm, we’re in a personal bug bear type place here for me, I have no idea why it is seen as a good thing for Dinno residents to be forced to keep silent at Anston Parish and for the same to apply to Anstonians at Dinno Town Council.
Anyone who actually thinks that what happens in one village does not affect the other is frankly kidding themselves. The two places are joined at the hip, and this is one rule which really doesn’t need reinforcing.
But vote they did and yes surprise, surprise sanctions will now apply to anyone from over the border who dares to speak!
The greenbelt issues were raised once again, with Cllr Burton telling everyone greenbelt land will not be used straight away and not while there are empty houses in the area. Quite how she thinks this would happen is not clear, government planning inspectors have been allowing developers to ignore brownfield for a year or more now, but I’m guessing that wasn’t in her briefing from the borough.
One of the fan club members at that point asked Cllr Thornton why he was objecting to building on greenbelt. This would mean his children couldn’t afford houses in the area apparently, as building on brownfield is too expensive. This is the old myth that the new houses in the area will be affordable or social houses. They won’t, no developer is going to waste the lovely countryside locations in Dinno East and Throapham with affordable cardboard boxes when they can build 4 and 5 bed exec homes instead.
BUT people still peddle this old myth, even though the government is now telling developers that the old deals which meant a certain proportion in new developments had to be affordable is now off.
I have to say the fan club comments were a little better than usual, but this was in part due to Judy Dalton being perched on their shoulder throughout I’m guessing! She’s no fool when it comes to following the Labour party line from the borough.
Stuart Thornton did dare to ask if the fan club members heckling had anything to do with the contracts they had with the parish council. This provoked a threat of a solicitors letter from fan club member #2.
The vote in the end was headed off by Jo Burton, who I can only assume was being remote controlled by someone with a brain. In the end the public fell for it and voted to insert her amendment to urge Cllrs to oppose greenbelt development unless brownfield and all other sources of housing were exhausted. It’s actually impossible to do that, but details, details, move on!
The top secret land deal was raised once again, I say secret, but bacteria on the planet Mars have heard what and where it is by now, so let’s move on.
One resident said that the A57 divides Anston and Mr Beck agreed. Have they seen my cunning plan to divert the A57 and allow Anston to begin a glorious new age? No, and I’m not allowed to speak…
By now Cllr Burton had changed the meeting to love-in by inviting all present to tell her what they loved about Anston. It’s a long list and I love the place having spent the first three decades of my life there, but isn’t this just a distraction really?
It is and from this point on the meeting got very shouty, with poisonous comments being literally spat from one corner of the room to the other. Mr Beck had finally had enough when he closed the meeting and had gone so red as to resemble beetroot.
It was at this point that events went pear shaped in a major way, no doubt you will have read various versions on other sites and in the papers as well.
I do not intend to add to these comments, at least not yet.
Thank you and good night.