Tag Archives: Core Strategy

Plans Revealed for Birkdale Avenue Playing Field

The developer Taylor Wimpey has revealed it’s plans to develop the Rotherham Council owned playing field at the end of Birkdale Avenue.

BirkdalePlot

To summarise they plan to build a load of houses over it and replace it with a much smaller open space a long way from where local children play currently.

This is where the plot lies:

219Plan

Having been previously told by the developer that they had no interest in the playing field I am not happy, I am also less than thrilled with Rotherham Council who seem to be willing to see what little recreational land we have left built on.

Well last week I handed in 150 evidence forms claiming the footpaths that people currently use on that land, so I hope the owners of the new houses will be OK with me walking through their back gardens and riding my bike through their dining room.

Full PDF plans are available here and here.

We are Proud to Launch our Footpaths Campaign!

Rotherham Council are making plans to build over 240 houses on the greenbelt land behind Birkdale Avenue, Wentworth Way, Turnberry Way, Belfry Way and Moortown Avenue

219Plan

219 Close

This land has been used by local residents for walking, cycling and horse riding for decades, but none of the footpaths we use are legally recognised, therefore access to many of the footpaths could be lost if the houses are built.

We would like to see the local paths recognised legally by having them placed on the Council’s definitive map. You can help by filling in the witness statement on our leaflet if you have used any of the footpaths shown overleaf for the last 20 years or more. We will then present this to the Council as evidence that the paths should be entered onto the definitive map. The Council have a legal duty to investigate our claims.

We are distributing our leaflet locally to ask for support from the immediate community who use these paths regularly (or semi-regularly, that’s still valid!) You can ALSO DOWNLOAD IT HERE!

The slick, sophisticated marketing machine at our disposal has swung into action (me on my bike)

The paths are shown below:

LittleMap3

  1. Lakeland Drive bus stop to Swinston Hill Woods, following field boundary behind Turnberry Way, Wentworth Way and on following power lines.
  2. Swinston Hill Road to boundary of field, linking up with footpath 1.
  3. Birkdale Avenue to Swinston Hill footpath across playing fields and also diagonally across playing fields.
  4. Birkdale Avenue to field boundary passing entrance to Wentworth Way.
  5. From gate at Wentworth Way across field to link with footpaths 1 and 2.
  6. Swinston Hill Woods to Lakeland Drive across fields arriving near Fairways shop.

To enter a valid claim for these footpaths we need to prove at least 20 years usage.

If you would like to take part please download the leaflet HERE!

Dinnington Town Council AGM 13/05/2013

It’s Monday the thirteenth which may be unlucky for some, but surely not for us as we are off to Dinnington Town Council which is usually a civilised affair.

If we were off to the Parish Hall I’d be packing my body armour and taking at least 12 sick bags, but these cares are far from our heart in the lovely Lyric.

There’s a good-ish attendance as the Cllrs roll in, Judy Dalton has paid us a visit as a member of the public as have Bodie and Doyle, aka Cllrs Jepson and Thornton. Judy hasn’t brought her fan club with her, must be their night off. We also have Save our Greenbelt and Dave Smith and Mr Lewis present, so here we go!

This is the AGM so the Chair Cllr Pauline Davies kicks off with a brief summary of the year past, she also announces she will not be standing for another term and so her reign ends. The torch and the chain passes to Cllr Ralph McIver, Pauline volunteers to move down the bench to Vice Chair so they have essentially swapped places.

We move on to the public forum with a question from Save our Greenbelt who ask the Council to request a clean-up of the Timber Yard building site.

My question is whether or not the Council will consider obtaining two RMBC assets that the Borough seem to want rid of, the Birkdale Playing Fields and RMBC Service Centre.

Dave Smith is next and starts with a stinging attack on the way the meeting is being conducted. No minutes or agenda are provided on the web site and the public and Cllrs are having to share agendas at the meeting or the public would have had nothing to look at. He welcomes the socialist spirit of sharing present in the room, however.

He continues with his actual question: What do the Council think to the closure of the Service Centre?

Cllr Jepson (the Dinno one) jumps in and says the consultation was a sham and the Borough had made their minds up before it started. Comments are made but the Borough Cllrs Falvey and Havenhand are made very conspicuous by their silence.

Only when directly asked by Mr Smith does Cllr Falvey jump to their defence and says they constantly fight for Dinnington and it could have been worse.

Cllr Russell defends the two Borough Cllrs, but this doesn’t go down very well with the public and frankly I don’t blame them. Labour Borough Cllrs in this part of the world act like Imperial Viceroys, commands are handed down from the Borough and they come back to take their seats in Dinnington and break the bad news to us. It’s something we are seeing again and again, instead of aggressively representing our cause at the Borough they are merely Labour policy apologists and it’s high time it changed.

The public session ends with Save our Greenbelt protesting that they have not been allowed to speak, ooops move on!

The state of the roads are mentioned and lamented, however Cllr Falvey jumps in here as well to defend the Borough, oh God.

Cllr Tweed has arrived by now to bring the Boroughs up to full strength so on we plough.

Next up the Parishes in the south of the Borough have joined up and requested that RMBC improve their communications to all concerned. The request was made in April and no reply has been forthcoming. An incredulous silence is only broken when Dave Smith asks for clarification  as even he can’t believe what he just heard.

The Local Plan is discussed and Cllrs informed that the RMBC road show on 20 June will be accompanied by additional days at the Lyric put on by the Town Council to make sure everyone gets to hear of the plans.

Cllr Jepson asks if cabinet members from RMBC might also be invited but Cllr Falvey again jumps in and says the existing arrangements are OK. She also appeared to suggest at one stage that Council officers attending the event would be expressing Council opinion rather than just providing facts and listening to residents. When challenged by Mr Smith she said this was not what she intended to say.

This does raise an interesting question as she definitely did say something along the lines of “Cllrs and officers can give the public information to help them form their own opinion, rather than the opinions of others.”

This does seem a possible dig at the various protest groups which have been campaigning against the plans for some time now. If anyone feels I’m wrong here please feel free to comment.

Lastly the possibility of the Town Council acquiring the RMBC Service Centre, the Council is split on this, some like Cllr Wardle say that we should not have to buy what is provided free to other towns. Good point.

Cllr Tweed says it could be a good opportunity for Dinnington to acquire an excellent resource. OK, yep good point.

The now Vice Chair Cllr Davies says that RMBC should give it away to Dinnington. Bloody good point!

Cllr Wardle laments at the lack of support shown to Dinnington and once again the tiresome Cllr Falvey is there to defend the Borough. Sorry but it’s getting boring.

The public half of the meeting ends as the Cllrs descend to private session, we advise Ralph to get a few more links on his chain, Ali G is mentioned at one point but it’s all in good fun as we depart for the post meeting post mortem on the pavement.

A full helping of debate and intrigue with none of the nastiness and poison spitting that you usually find over the border  Hurrah.

Future Building Site on Greenbelt at Lakeland Drive (updated)

If you live at the Dinno end of Lakeland Drive, especially Birkdale Avenue, Wentworth Way, Belfry Way, Moortown Avenue and Turnberry Way, as well as Swinston Hill Road this is the site in the Local Plan which affects you.

Taylor Wimpey have had an interest in it for ages to build 240 houses and they could get their chance as under current plans it will be removed from the greenbelt.

The 219 plot (as it is knows) is shown below:

219

The site is a combination of a Council owned playing field and two farmers fields which are privately owned. When the news broke in 2011 about homes being built here the owner began putting crops in the field, perhaps to hide the evidence of recreational use. Barbed wire and fences also sprang up overnight along with signs warning people to keep off.

219 Close

This was quite silly, as recreational use of this land can be easily documented back into the past for decades. Many of the worn paths and tracks, the entry and exit ways are the work of 30 years or more walking, cycling and horse riding…
…And that is why this land “parcel” in particular has caused more anger than all others put together.
People are not going to accept a threat to their local recreational land, on their own doorstep, that they have walked over for decades.

This land is literally criss crossed with footpaths, but more on that in a later article.

219 Closer

The agricultural properties of the land are also rated as very high, although the recent farming is probably more of an attempt to deter walkers.

This is a shot from the end of Wentworth Way before the land was ploughed…

Wentworth

This fair sized parcel could accommodate 240 houses. The Council have proposed one third could gain access by opening up the end of Wentworth Way to the vehicle movements of 80 additional households. This has not gone down well with residents on that street who already complain of difficulties with car parking.

So to sum up, loss of recreational countryside, increase of traffic on a quiet residential street and loss of landscape and quality farmland.

No wonder this plot above all has caused so much resentment.

Here’s a quick plan for your perusal…

219Plan

An Open Letter to Anston Parish Council from Tim Wells

Local resident Tim Wells has copied us into this open letter to Anston Parish Council. We are pleased to reproduce it here, Tim is not the first person to challenge the parish council on their reluctance to openly discuss this issue and we applaud his efforts.

Dear Dominic
I feel as though I am having the wool pulled over my eyes by the Parish council.  The reason for this letter being an open letter sent to the local guardian and forwww.lovedinnington.com to put on their web site.
At the meeting which was cancelled after the police were called, a lady asked you to vote for or against the core strategy in the question time.  At the re adjourned meeting I confirmed with you in the closing questions that a vote would happen at the next meeting and you confirmed to everybody in attendance, that would be the case.
However at the next meeting you walked around the vote without having it.  Even though a number of independents, voiced their opposition to building on the greenbelt.
I ask at the next Parish meeting in May, that you put on the Agenda an item to vote for or against the core strategy and the vote be recorded.
Dinnington have already voted completely against the core strategy and it is time that Anston Parish council stick their neck out and do so.  Before any further houses are built in Anston, there has to be consideration of schooling, congestion on roads, services and an area of land set aside for a civic centre for Anston.  RMBC need to plan more sustainable communities, not massive housing estates with no soul, we aren’t part of Rotherham.
Building on the greenbelt should be the very last option, if at all.  The houses we really require around here, are 1 and 2 bedroom houses, which would enable larger houses to be freed up for young families.  Rather than building across fields, it is important to utilise existing brown field sites, which are plentiful in Rotherham and Sheffield and where traditional industry no longer exists.  It is perhaps a time for people to move back into towns and city’s, the opposite to what happened in the 60’s and 70’s, after much industrial land became vacant.
As a country we need to become more sustainable and start to grow more of our own food, we have lost over 5 farms since I came to Anston in 1966.  Farming land is important for food and to allow people around here to feel as though they do live in the countryside, not urban sprawl.
I await you confirming that a vote will take place at the next Parish meeting?
Yours in anticipation

Anston Parish Game of Thrones April 15 2013

It’s a calm and peaceful evening in Dinnington, there’s beer in the fridge and the latest episode of Game of Thrones to watch on telly. I however decide to eschew this masterpiece of slashing, blood and heaving bussomry, Anston Parish Council beckons and the game is afoot!

The meeting kicked off with Cllr Crowther in the chair for finance and general matters, 3 Borough Cllrs were present along with the usual supporting cast, Cllr Beck watching from the side-lines. Stuart Thornton opened with some concerns on grants that have been issued but we moved swiftly to the main session as more Cllrs and public arrived.

Mr Beck took the chair to announce a presentation by RMBC highways maintenance, it was explained to us that the budget for repairs is 5 million quid or thereabouts and that roads are regularly surveyed and repaired as funds allow. Residents raised concerns about the quality of repairs and work carried out by utility companies. The officer defended his position saying that funds often meant repairs had to be temporary and overall contractors do a good job. Lack of money and equipment means the Council cannot always provide the service we would like, but they do their best.

I have to say this was received with not a little bit of scepticism.

Cllr Ireland commented that RMBC do a good job but the roads are rubbish, not quite sure how you can have it both ways! Cllrs Burton and Dalton held their tongues throughout.

A question came from a resident asking about a sustainability impact assessment for building work near the Butterfly House. Cllr Burton jumped in and said that there were no plans to build near the Butterfly House, to which Stuart enquired about just how much Borough Cllrs know about the future sites and policies document that isn’t supposed to be out yet and details the decimation of our green belt?

I can assure everyone that all Borough Cllrs know exactly where the next big building sites are going; they went for a briefing on it ages ago. In fact by the time you read this the parishes should know as well.

Cllr Burton denied this however, it’s confidential don’t you know?

Mr Lewis asked about the pending land deal and called for the chairman’s head on a platter, Judy Dalton replied that it is a complicated question. Stuart disagreed, finding the chairman’s head very appealing; he was instantly attacked by Cllr Stonebridge who accused him of sound bite politics.

It got some applause so maybe he has a point!

The skate park was discussed and the chairman accused of fobbery, which is the wilful fobbing off of the public. Mr Lewis accused various Cllrs of wearing nappies and Stonebridge and Thornton clashed again. It got a bit shouty.

There followed much arguing over who interrupted who and who did what which saw Mr Beck getting redder and redder and Stuart and Stonebridge especially getting louder and louder. Cllr Saint-John was moved to express his despair at how the Council was conducting itself lately as Mr Beck wrestled back control.

The local plan was discussed and Stuart accused more or less everyone of delaying discussion so it was too late for the Council to object or comment. Cllrs Dalton and Burton in particular had not acquitted themselves well according to him. SJ jumped in and Cllr Ireland this time lamented the poor form in which meetings are held.

Cllr Ireland continued to call for a well-rehearsed vote of confidence in the chairman, this led to severe heckling from Mr Lewis in particular and comments from Stuart along the lines of you must be joking. Mr Beck’s head was called for again. Cllr Ireland poo pooed this and in summing up said that Mr Beck’s head was in more demand than is decent and certain people (Stuart) should stop being nasty. This was greeted with mirth from the audience, but support came from the Council fan club (all one of them)

The vote was carried easily as the flock rushed into the pen.

An RMBC planning document on how sustainable the Core Strategy is was dismissed by all as gobbledy gook, except Judy who said it was technical and rather good. Hmmm.

Final questions from the public… A merciless attack by Mr Lewis on the vote of confidence enjoyed by Mr Chairman, then a strong attack by the Council fan club on Stuart calling him a                  puppet.

No one was very surprised when Stuart pointed out that the numerous commercial contracts the questioner holds with the Council might have something to do with the line of questioning. And let’s not examine that one too closely, meeting closed job done.

So to sum up, a depressing return to bitch politics, no real decisionsor debate leaving a frustrated public who at one point were described by Cllr SJ as anoraks with nothing better to do.

The movers and shakers in the building are clearly the Labour Borough Councillors, who, opposed by the two main independents, use the grumpy old men brigade to shout down any common sense by sheer weight of numbers.

Everyone else round the table seems to be either sheep or cannon fodder, so essentially we have Bodie and Doyle vs. Ronald Wealsey and Victor Meldrew.

Hmmm, at least Game of Thrones is waiting at home to help me wind down.

Anston Parish starring Bodie and Doyle

bodiedoyle

On the agenda for tomorrow night:

Cllr Ireland proposes “That the Council records a vote of confidence in its Chairman, Cllr Dominic Beck” Don’t know what’s going on there.

For all you green belt fans there will be discussion aplenty on that subject also, as well as the usual gossip outside later on.

Also Stewart to be beaten over the head on several occasions (not on the agenda but likely)

I think I’m going to start calling Clive and Stewart “Bodie and Doyle”, it sorts of fits with Clive calmly taking things in and Stewart kicking down the door. Applications for the position of “Cowley” will be taken on the night.

Agenda is here.

Land Banking and Neighbourhood Plans

As we know large housing developers carry a “land bank” on their books, it’s kind of an extension of their cash flow, just as any company needs a good supply of money to operate, a developer also needs a steady stream of building sites for its raw material.

Much has been made about the 400,000 houses worth of land already banked in the UK, the problem is much of it is brownfield and not profitable enough in the current economic climate, so developers are turning ever more towards green fields.

So when our local authority assures us that brownfield land will be developed first, it’s really a very simplistic view of the housebuilding world which is driven, like the rest of the world, by the need to make a profit.

This interesting report from the National Trust states:

“The National Planning Policy Framework excludes many of the 400,000 sites nationally that have planning permission from a council’s deliverable five-year housing supply on the basis that they are currently considered economically unviable for development.

The NPPF encourages a short-term view of economic viability that risks unnecessary development of greenfield and Green Belt sites. Local Plans must identify a “deliverable” five year housing land supply. This means that development plans must be shown to be economically viable and achievable with a reasonable time frame.

The fact that greenfield sites are more profitable to develop than brownfield sites, and therefore more viable, is forcing councils to propose development of these sites. As a case study in this report shows, many of the sites for 10,300 new homes approved for development in Salford are excluded from the council’s five year supply forcing the council to consider planning applications for greenfield sites.”

It makes sobering reading and I feel this is one impact of localism that we will feel quite soon! There are lots of brownfield sites in Dinnington and Anston in need of re-development, but who will choose these above going straight to green field? It’s cheaper to build there and it will make more profits as it will tend to be in a more desirable location.

There is a really good summing up here.

Another aspect of localism is Neighbourhood Plans, an opportunity for town and parish councils to make their own mini plans for development. The same report has this to say:

“The Localism Act introduced a new layer of local planning: Neighbourhood Plans. The government’s aim is to “put communities in the driving seat”. It should be emphasised that  Neighbourhood Planning is still at an early stage. The regulations governing the creation of Neighbourhood Forums were only finalised in April 2012.

Councils have identified three key challenges that face Neighbourhood Planning.

First, the powers of Neighbourhood Forums are limited. Neighbourhood Plans cannot include proposals that are contrary to the Local Plan or the National Planning Policy Framework. The LGiU research confirms this picture. Nearly two thirds of local authorities said that Neighbourhood Plans were not important or not important at all in shaping their Local Plan.

Second, not all areas have a Neighbourhood Forum. Parish and Town Councils are able to act as Neighbourhood Forums. Neighbourhood Forums must, however, be established from scratch where these bodies do not exist. Although there are a number of successful examples, contributors to the LGiU research expressed concern that coverage is uneven and focused in more advantaged areas.

Third, the resources for Neighbourhood Forums are limited. Estimates for the production of a Neighbourhood Plan range from £20,000 to £100,000 which, given the low level of funding allocated by government to support Neighbourhood Plans, must in general be found by local communities. This has had a deterrent effect and may serve to concentrate Neighbourhood Plans in more advantaged areas.”

So maybe not all they were cracked up to be and quite expensive, worth considering perhaps for Towns or Parishes with the will and the means?

Don’t Bother With Brownfield, Raid the Greenbelt Say Government Inspectors

The government’s new national planning framework has been running for a year now and the effects are highlighted in a report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The contents of this report will ring alarm bells for anyone who cares about the countryside around Dinnington.

There has always been a “brownfield first” presumption in planning which means previously developed land must be used before digging up open countryside. Developers don’t like this as it’s more expensive and means they are often restricted to building in less desirable locations. Now government inspectors are beginning to allow developers to ignore this principle if alternative sites are not considered “deliverable” This means that if a developer feels they cannot make sufficient profit from brownfield they will be allowed to go straight to the greenbelt.

Sustainability is being thrown out of the window as this test of “deliver-ability” starts to take precedence.

Developers are being allowed to drop hundreds of houses onto open country without making any contribution to local infrastructure, even in areas considered to have outstanding natural beauty. Government is taking the housing figures in authority’s local plans as minimums and smaller authorities like Rotherham are being forced to “co-operate” with larger ones like Sheffield to accommodate over spill.

What does this mean for Dinnington? Well we are constantly told by Rotherham Council that we have to allow a huge extension of at least 700 houses onto our greenbelt to ensure the “local plan” they are putting together is acceptable to government.

But if these plans are being ignored now anyway, as the CPRE’s report seems to indicate, what is the point? We may as well run with no plan and just fight every application as and when it comes up. Figures like the 1300 houses in total and 700 on greenbelt are now going to be treated as minimums and could inflate dramatically over the life of the plan.

The government is also relaxing the laws which require new developments to include a certain proportion of affordable housing. I think this disproves once and for all the defense used by many (including some borough Councillors) for the house building plan; that the new houses planned for Dinnington are intended to benefit our community by being affordable and for local people.

In light of this information could I please ask that Anston Parish Council stop coming up with excuses to avoid debating an objection to Rotherham Council’s Core Strategy and finally get off the fence.

Could I also make the same request of Kevin Barron MP who seems to be positively welded to the fence on this issue. The whole of Rother Valley is being disadvantaged by this plan, so please Kevin start representing your constituents instead of running scared on the issue.

They should be demanding that the local plan be changed so as to more fairly spread the development over the next 15 years throughout the borough and not just heap it in a small number of places like the Dinnington and Anston greenbelt.

Come on people, pull your fingers out!

A summary of the CPRE report is here.

Further info here.

Anston Parish Council Meeting Mar 18 2013

It’s that time of the month again, the parish hall is calling and the great and good descend for another fantastical parish council meeting.

Mr Beck kicks off reading apologies for absence, Stuart Thornton straight on the attack asks where the absent people are? Do they have better things to do? He is shot down by Cllr Saint-John with the accuracy and ruthlessness of an SAS sniper.

Not deterred Stuart asks why minutes do not reflect the reasons he left a meeting early, i.e. that he felt the chair at the time was not doing his job. Move on says Mr Beck!

Again Stuart pops his head above the battlements to suggest that the prices paid for emptying bins seem on the expensive side. There is general agreement on this, but not on what to do, a motion is passed to vaguely look at it in some way.

Mr Beck answers a query and confirms tweeting is allowed in meetings! Huurah, move on!

As the main session starts a few familiar faces drift in, most notably Mr Lewis in a provocative t-shirt. 3 Police PCSOs also troop through the door and are not so subtlety questioned by the public as to why they are there.

The main event kicks off with a question about repair jobs on the Green outstanding from three years ago. Cllrs Burton and Baker promise to progress, no one can remember that far back.

A greenbelt question on what arrangements will be made for schools when the new houses planned by RMBC are built. Cllr Dalton says the planners will this into account at the time, Cllr Thornton disagrees saying the infrastructure plans offer no money for improvements. It’s a complex subject but I happen to know he’s right and she’s wrong.

Another question along similar lines, saying Anston needs a civic centre, all present broadly agree but the feeling is it is now too late for such things, it should have been done in the seventies and the time has gone. They have obviously not seen my plan to divert the A57 and reclaim Anston for the people. It’s a plan as cunning as a bag of foxes, but we move on to……

Why don’t we cut Dinnington Comp in two and bring half of it to Anston? Then kids won’t have to go as far…. Hmmm no one touches this with a big stick.

Cllr Burton asks why are we discussing this, it’s all in the hands of private developers, demoralized we move on again.

Mr Lewis asks SJ what he was playing at when he spoke up for the Brethren at the planning board. It’s an old theme and is greeted with sighs, SJ tells the questioner to get bent in a nice way.

Clive Jepson gets a similar reply when he asks SJ about his contact with the Brethren prior to their planning application. No further comment…

We turn to the worst kept secret in Anston next, the top secret land deal the Council is involved in. Apparently there is an update but we can’t be told what it is because the thing we all know about is secret. This is getting boring…!

It is pointed out that if the deal is not kept secret the Council may lose the land. That’s it knackered then, because by now even the flippin Martians must know.

A letter next asking Cllrs to declare whether or not they are for building on greenbelt. Cllrs Thornton and Baker are against, SJ says it’s not that simple, folks have to live somewhere. Beck and Ireland say wait for next Save Our Greenbelt meeting, Stonebridge says RMBC have been screwed by the route of HS2 so couldn’t do as much on brownfield as they’d like, Burton says as a last resort she’s for it.

Stuart says we can’t blame central government for things like this, RMBC decide where to put the houses, and they just gave Dinno another 200. No, it’s 40 says Cllr Dalton, ignoring the fact that RMBC themselves say it’s 200, sorry Judy 0/2.

A letter from Mr Beck to Kevin Barron is denounced as misleading by Stuart, he’s a terrier this man! “You’ll not get rid of me Stuart” laughs Mr Beck as the audience applaud. The applause was in favour of binning Mr Beck I must report.

A letter from the independent monitor who attended last months pensioner bashing meeting, he wants a public meeting with himself and the public only, no councillors allowed. This sounds interesting and is welcomed universally, although no one actually knows why he wants a meeting or what it’s for. A vote is taken to invite all Anstonians to a public meeting for some purpose no one knows. All we do know is some councillors have been complained about but we don’t know who.

I can’t help noticing the Council have brought their fan club again this month, all 3 of them in fact. They mainly snigger and quietly use the F word between themselves, booing the odd member of the public who dares to get frustrated at the slow pace of progress.

How better to consult with the public is discussed, along with the possibility of working more closely with Dinno Town Council. Councillors say they are keen, but it’s all a bit wooly, and no concise action is promised.

Stuart goes down in flames for daring to suggest the Council consult before buying any more land, he picks himself back up to ask where the 1500 quid is coming from for Anston Day.

Not sure says Judy, we can decide at the time says SJ. Move on! Says Mr Beck.

It all gets slightly shouty as Cllrs discuss various standing orders, Stuart loses again and heckling starts to break out  as we progress towards the end of the meeting.

A vote is taken to keep the land purchase secret, this provokes an exclamation of “yes” from the fan club, don’t know what’s going on there.

A residents asks when they can expect a reply to a letter, they are told the letter is acknowledged as received but not to hold their breath.

A resident tried to sneak a second question and get a cruise missile of a telling off, some wag suggests the councillors pay for Anston Day themselves, yes, it just got silly.

A final question to the independents accusing them of being on the fence over greenbelt, protecting the countryside will stop our children from having affordable homes apparently. Clive points out that there are many affordable homes not selling at the moment, and that the gentlemen in question supported the brethren so is hardly unbiased.

I wonder when people will stop talking about these new homes as if they are going to be council houses or something, they will be private, expensive and profitable comrade.

It’s been two and a half hours and there is a feeling of relief as muck rakers, the Police and general public leave the councillors to their private session.

This meeting has shown what a paralysed body this Council is, no real issues are debated with any great zeal or openness, the common good is sacrificed for infighting and the Labour Party line.

I despair.