Posts Tagged ‘heritage’

Ulverston

May 28, 2014
Gillam's Tea Rooms providing fine food and excellent service  since 1892

Gillam’s Tea Rooms providing fine food and excellent service since 1892

Ulverston

Ulverston

Here we go again, yet another corrupt local council in bed with developers, destroying local heritage, local community.

The local planners are happy to allow historic buildings within a conservation area to be ripped down for an unwanted supermarket.

Local people are not willing to stand idly by, they are crowd funding to raise the money to mount a Judicial Review.

It is tragic what is happening across the country, corrupt local councils in the pocket of greedy developers and Big Business.

Please sign the petition to keep Sainsbury’s out of Ulverston.

I am very pleased to see Richard Buxton are on the case. I could not have chosen better lawyers myself, they are excellent.

It is heritage that gives a sense of place, but all corrupt planners and councillors see is palms greased and pockets lined.

We are used to seeing pubs destroyed and the site redeveloped, in Ulverston it is an old brewery and associated cottages that will be destroyed for an unwanted supermarket, the supermarket in turn will then lead to the destruction of the town centre.

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Destruction of The Tumbledown Dick

April 17, 2014
The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

This is how a local council safeguards its local heritage.

This is what happens when a local council gets into bed with developers and Big Business.

This is what happens when planning officials blatantly lie to push through a planning application on behalf of greedy developers and Big Business.

Lying planning officials said renovation would take place.

Lying planning officials said a historic building was being safeguarded.

This is what happens when local councillors have secret meetings with the Fat Clown and stitch up a deal behind the back of the local community.

Three local councillors met in secret with McDonald’s. Two were members of the planning committee and fell over backwards to push through the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick. One of whom was the chairman. The chairman was foolish enough to later brag that his committee had approved the deal he had agreed with McDonald’s. The third councillor gloated on his blog after the deal had been pushed through.

When the chief executive of the local council learnt that McDonald’s wished to acquire The Tumbledown Dick, he sent out an e-mail with one word: Great!!!

An official, believed to be in the planning department, vandalised a Wikipedia entry to support McDonald’s. That official is still in the employ of the council. No disciplinary action has been taken. The council is refusing to name the official or make public their internal investigation.

It was claimed the building was heavily contaminated with asbestos. Why therefore are the demolition contractors not carrying out any special precautionary methods either to remove the asbestos, or to protect the surrounding area and passing public from asbestos dust? The site is not secured, anyone can easily wander on site. Why are the demolition contractors hypersensitive to pictures being taken? What are they trying to hid? A very old building. Whey no historians or archaeologists present to record any finds?

Local councillors are still spreading the lie The Tumbledown Dick was a drug dealing den.

Local councillors are still spreading the lie there was no alternative.

The local community were willing to buy and run The Tumbledown Dick. They were never given the opportunity to do so.

The Tumbledown Dick dates from the 1720s. It pre-dates modern Farnborough. It was all that was left of the town’s early heritage. It was in recent years, a popular live music venue. For the last few years it has sat derelict. Although a locally listed building and in appalling state of repair, the council refused to enforce repairs.

The Tumbledown Dick is being demolished for an unwanted Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

One of the local vile trolls has already posted gloating comments on the council facebook page, delighting at seeing The Tumbledown Dick demolished.

Contrast the demolition of The Tumbledown Dick with the renovation of The Queen Hotel, a Grade II, early Victorian building in Aldershot.

Destruction of The Tumbledown Dick, is but one example of the damage that is being wrought on Farnborough and Aldershot by the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

Councillor David Clifford is Innocent?

November 7, 2013
BBC1 Garrow’s Law: Tales from the Old Bailey Garrow would have been on his side

BBC1 Garrow’s Law: Tales from the Old Bailey Garrow would have been on his side

On his blog David Clifford published the following letter from an unnamed council jobsworth which he claimed showed his innocence.

It did anything but.

Dear Cllr Clifford,

I understand that you may be already aware that complaints had been made, so I just want to confirm that I received five complaints from members of the public all expressing anger with the content of your blog posts relating to the Tumbledown Dick decision and one also alleged undue influence on the planning process itself.

In my capacity as Monitoring Officer I have looked into these complaints and have come to the conclusion that the content of your personal blog is not a matter covered by the Code of Conduct for Councillors which relates only to actions undertaken in a member’s official capacity as a councillor.

I have looked into the other matters raised and have concluded that there is nothing to suggest that you acted other than in accordance with recommended practice, and of course you are not a member of the Development Control Committee so took no part in the decision made.

I have now informed the complainants that we will not be taking any further action in respect of these complaints.

Kind regards
Solicitor to the Council and Monitoring Officer

Local councillors are in theory there to serve the public. It is not surprising therefore, when David Clifford, a Rotten Borough of Rushmoor councillor, started using his blog to abuse the local community, people got upset. Half a dozen were sufficiently annoyed or upset, they filed formal complaints.

David Clifford claims he has been cleared. But has he? Let us first step back a little.

We have independent police investigations, and for very good reasons. When even a Cabinet Minister is stitched up by lying police officers, one who continually forgot to mention to House of Commons Committee that he had attacked a member of the public when off duty and had ‘lost’ CCTV footage, what hope the rest of us?

We used to have an Independent Standards Board for England, for a very good reason, as we cannot have police investigating police, we cannot have councillors and councils investigating their own. 

Under the old regime, it is highly unlikely David Clifford would have been cleared. You only have to look at a Farnham councillor who was found guilty a few years ago.

Or look at Peter Sandy, a very hard working councillor, who was obstructed at every turn by officials, who was stitched up by same officials. When it came to a hearing, he was cleared of almost all the false charges laid against him, and of those found guilty, these had to be seen in context, he called an official a liar. The official was shown to be a liar, but apparently as a councillor you are not allowed to say so. So much for accountability.

Would Pete Sandy had got a fair hearing locally? We all know the answer would have been no.

We had, and assume still have, on the one hand, the Borough Solicitor giving dodgy advice and how to get away with it, then on the other hand, wearing a different hat as local ethics officer. You cannot be both.

We had three Rushmoor councillors found guilty of a very serious offence. They were the let off, due to poor advice by the borough solicitor, ie they had been advised to do something dodgy by the borough solicitor. It sounded like a conspiracy and if nothing else, was grounds for firing the dodgy borough solicitor. 

To now look how the David Clifford complaints have been handled.

First where is the investigation? A letter from a council anonymous jobsworth is not an investigation. 

Second, the author of the letter, who does not have the courtesy to provide a name or a signature, is wrong in fact. Clifford is writing as a Rushmoor councillor. Not writing as someone who happens to be a councillor, who happens to be writing a blog. He clearly states he is writing as a Rushmoor councillor for the local Empress Ward.

Welcome to David Clifford’s weblog, which enables Empress Ward residents see what David Clifford is up to, get an idea of his views on various topics and give him feed back, other than when he is out walking round the ward. NOTE: Some views expressed by Cllr David Clifford may not be supported by the Conservative Party. Contact David via david@empress-tory.org or follow him on http://twitter.com/davideclifford 

He has a blog, which is attributable to a councillor. 

—> http://cllrclifford.blogspot.co.uk 

Therefore it is very clear, he is writing as the local ward councillor.

When David Clifford met with McDonald’s and stitched up a dirty little deal behind the backs of the local community, he did so as a local councillor, together with two other councillors, both of who sat on the planning committee, one of who was the chairman, plus the local MP, who a few years ago bragged his service was comparable to McDonald’s (at least a little honesty from Gerald Howarth).

Maybe unbeknown to David Clifford, the chairman of the planning committee was caught bragging that the deal approved by the committee was what he had brokered with McDonald’s.

Did David Clifford act to influence the planning committee? A moot point. The truth is we do not know. 

What we do not know from this grubby little meeting, is was what fees were requested from McDonald’s, as from what we see in both the Commons and the Lords, this is standard practice, and Howarth does have a habit of claiming retainers from very unsavoury clients, like arms dealers and pay-day loan companies.

What is interesting, is that our anonymous latter writer ‘concluded that there is nothing to suggest that you acted other than in accordance with recommended practice’.

In other words, to treat the local community with arrogant contempt, ignore their wishes, then gloat, as we saw with the councillors and officials at the planning committee, is ‘recommended practice’. 

Is he cleared?

In the Court of Public Opinion, no. Before a properly constituted and run Tribunal, highly unlikely.

David Clifford responds to criticism by accusing people of posting hate, that he has the right to say what he wants, and accuses people of being ignorant and not knowing the facts.

It is correct, councillors are entitled to free speech, but as councillors, they are also expected to comply with a code of conduct and act for the local community.  They are also required not to bring their public office into disrepute.

He has failed miserably on all counts.

It is reasonable to expect councillors to check the facts, to exercise due diligence and scrutiny, not regurgitate the lies drip fed to them by officials.

Once again, lies and half truths being spouted on The Tumbledown Dick. 

The building was subjected to wilful neglect. The Council refused to serve enforcement action.

If there was such concern at the state of the building, then why no CPO served?

And please do not say no money.

The Council has been happy to make a capital investment in the Vue Cinema in Farnborough, a commercial cinema chain and a bad employer.

The Council was happy to squander £1 million (or maybe more if rumours not within budget are true) on the shoddy re-paving of Queensmead. Then the County Council wasted a further £1500 of public money on a silly festival to celebrate squandering public money re-paving Queensmead.

When Andrew Lloyd learnt of McDonald’s acquiring The Tumbledown Dick, he could not suppress his glee.

Six weeks later, Lloyd blatantly lied to councillors when he claimed he knew nothing of plans of McDonald’s

There was not the problem Clifford claims outside The Tumbledown Dick late at night. On the other hand, go into Aldershot late at night. Or visit Farnborough Gate in the evening. 

Who is providing this false briefing on The Tumbledown Dick? Clifford and the ignorant councillors on the planning committee are all singing from the same song sheet. Is it officials, or is it the Andrew Lloyd – Peter Moyle cabal that runs the council, keeping everyone in the dark, including Clifford? 

Clifford is agreed he has been offensive. Code of Conduct requires courteous behaviour to members of the public. There is also not bringing his office or the council into disrepute. How does he reconcile the two and still claim to be innocent?

What is this Stalinist State he is rabbiting on about?

The Stalinist State is the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor dictating to the community. There is no accountability, no democracy. Indeed, at the planning meeting, the head of planning, as ever in the pocket of developers, instructed the committee to ignore the local community, and told them they were not there to make a democratic decision. Not that they needed any telling what to say, how to vote, as that had already been decided beforehand. 

Most people have checked their facts. It is ignorant councillors who have failed to check their facts.

Demolishing one of the oldest buildings in Farnborough, is not saving it.

Demolishing the building is contrary to the Council policy on local listed buildings.

Refusing to carry out an architectural and historical survey of the building BEFORE it is demolished, is contrary to the Council policy on local listed buildings. 

Why was this not written into the s106 legal agreement? Yet another example of deliberate negligence and maladministration by officials and failure to exercise due diligence by councillors. 

To say the building will be serving food, is to stretch the definition of what we call food, or at least food fit for human consumption.

Do a little research on what goes into industrial burgers. Horsemeat is the least of your worries. Diseased horses, rotten meat several years old, turned green, causing those who had to handle it to vomit as the smell was so bad. 

You can fool some people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time …

There has been no hate campaign, at least not by the local community. Local people are though very angry and disgusted at the manner in which they have been treated.

Take a look at the Rushmoor facebook page, and also note comments are being deleted, people blocked from making comments.

Yes, we are all entitled to our own views, as ordinary citizen, but councillors, commenting as local councillors, are expected to comply with a code of conduct, are expected not to bring their office into disrepute, and are expected to represent the local community.

Try reading the excellent article by Gavril Postnikov published by Medium.

Also the excellent article by Dicky Carter

The only reason there was a local campaign to save The Tumbledown Dick, was due to the failing by local councillors. And once there was a campaign, far from supporting it, there was a concerted effort at sabotage.

We have seen negative briefings by officials, including chief executive Andrew Lloyd and then borough solicitor Karen Limmer telling the campaign who they should not talk to.

We have seen a very unpleasant smear campaign by John Wall.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in that sense, yes, David Clifford is innocent.

But to date, we have not even seen a properly conducted investigation, and the borough solicitor, who defends actions against the council, is neither a proper or impartial person to carry out an investigation. And even worse, in this case seems to have been defence, prosecution, judge and jury. In other words, yet another Rotten Borough of Rushmoor farce showing the same arrogant contempt for the local community, which now appears to be officially sanctioned Council policy.

The letter from an anonymous council jobsworth has not cleared David Clifford, far from it, but what it has done, is officially sanctioned as council policy, abuse and arrogant contempt of the local community.

We are seeing is a complete failure of local democracy.

Castillo de San Felipe

March 11, 2013

El Castillo de San Felipe, on the edge of Playa Jardín, is a 17th century colonial style fort which used to protect the town from attacks by corsairs and pirates. It is one of three fortifications which used to exist in the town.

Built under Phillip IV between 1630 and 1644. Subsequently abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin after the flood of 1826, as its original purpose as a defence against English privateers was no longer needed.

Apart from guarding the town, the castle also guarded a small harbour located at the mouth of the Barranco de San Felipe. It was this that gave the castle its original name – Castillo del Puerto Viejo.

Castillo de San Felipe is now used as a cultural space for exhibitions, music recitals and drama.

Finding it open is a problem. Only three times have I found it open but was not allowed in, changing art exhibition, rehearsals (twice).

A very misearble man manning it, a typical council jobsworth.

Yesterday it was open, or should have been open. There was due a midday recital, but it was cancelled due to illness of the pianist. A miserable woman, another typical jobsworth, refuused to let anyone in to the art exhibition, even though they had made the effort to tun up for the midday concert. Her unhelpful attitude was one of ´come back Tuesday´.

Last orders? How councils can protect local pubs from closure

January 26, 2013
The Lord Tennyson

The Lord Tennyson destroyed for student accomodation

The London Unity under threat of redevelopment thanks to greedy PubCo

The London Unity under threat of redevelopment thanks to greedy PubCo

The Tumbledown Dick  hand-tinted photo c 1911

The Tumbledown Dick under threat of demolition for Drive-Thru McDonald’s

Iris Murdoch once wrote of pubs as ‘universal places, like churches, hallowed meeting places of mankind’. This leads you to two inevitable conclusions: 1) she had a lovely turn of phrase and fully deserved that DBE, and 2) she had clearly never been to the Wetherspoons in Leeds city centre on a Friday night.

Like churches, however, pubs are facing a period of great challenge: the British pub is battling with diversifying consumer trends. The latest figures show that pub closures have slowed in 2012, but are still occurring at a rate of 18 a week, leading the Chief Executive of CAMRA to remark earlier this year that the future of Britain’s valued community pubs is ‘in jeopardy’.

Despite this, the emotion people have for community institutions like pubs sets them apart as a distinct political issue for local authorities. And recent planning policy suggests this is a concern shared by central government. The 2012 National Planning Policy Framework includes new responsibilities for local authorities to promote local pubs. According to the framework, planning policies and decisions should:

  • plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship) and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments; and
  • guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community’s ability to meet its day-to-day needs. (NPPF, March 2012)

The public house has never been specifically identified in a document like this before, so its inclusion is significant. The Localism Act too raises similar issues. The new Community Right to Buy makes it possible for communities to list local pubs as assets of community value, and to bid for them should they come up for sale.

There is certainly a strong argument to be made for the social and economic value of the community pub. IPPR’s recent report Pubs and Places: the social value of community pubs, placed the wider social value of a sample of community pubs at between £20,000 and £120,000 per pub. It noted that pubs inject an average of £80,000 into their local economy each year, besides their cultural and practical community value.

With this in mind, some local authorities have already gone out of their way to safeguard the future of their local pubs. Cambridge City Council and the London Borough of Islington, for example, have both established their own ‘pub protection policies’ to make it more difficult for planning loopholes to be exploited to turn pubs into housing, or betting agencies.

Of course this won’t be a priority for all councils. Pubs have the potential to exclude as well as include, and councils will need to weigh their decisions against the views of their community. Nevertheless, if councils want to protect the pub, they now have the powers to do so. We hope those authorities that plan to use them will get in touch to share their work with us.

For more information go to:

Posted by Lauren Lucas on Local Government Information Newtwork.

Pub closures, although they have slowed, are still running at the rate of 18 a week.

They are being sold by zombie pub owning companies that are unable to pay their loans for redevelopment as Tesco supermarkets, housing, drive-thru McDoanald’s.

The Lord Tennyson, a fine example of a Victorian pub was sold last year against strong local opposition for redevelopment as student housing.

The London Unity is under threat of redevelopment for housing.

The Tumbledown Dick, an old coaching inn c 1720, is under threat of demolition for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The greedy Pub Companies will falsely claim the pub not viable. What is not viable for them, is not the same as the pub not being viable. CAMRA has shown that pubs sold freehold without economic burden of extortionate rent to a PubCo can flourish thereafter.