Cross Keys Swing Bridge, Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire

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Sutton Bridge Parish Council
Archived Meetings News for 2014


Jan 52015

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 16th December 2014

Comments in blue are, as usual, observations emanating from the Public Gallery.

Cllr M Booth absent.

Public Forum

• Christmas bonhomie much in evidence: Bloomers expressed their thanks to members of the PC, especially Cllrs Brewis & MBooth; Mr Fenton was grateful that things appeared to be moving on the West Bank valve front (it emerged later that they'd be fixed by February 2015 though it was not clear what the arrangements for maintenance would be) but said that the drains were still full of compacted leaves.

• Mr Blundell reminded members of the PC that there was a recent case of a Tory MP being filmed playing a mindless computer game during a Commons Committee meeting. He wondered what the attitude of the PC would be were one of their number to be filmed doing a crossword, say, or fiddling with an I-pad during a meeting.

The Chairman said that they would take a rather dim view of such an event. Quick as a flash, Cllr Brewis said that he used his I-pad because he was consulting the PC Meeting Agenda. Since he had not been named by Mr Blundell either for doing a crossword or for iddling with his I-pad, it was a clear case of 'if the cap fits...' It was noteworthy that, though he persisted in scrolling up and down on his I-pad for some reason, he never once turned to his crossword puzzle during the course of this meeting but had something to say, however trivial, on every single agenda item – one almost wished that he'd been focussing on his crossword after all.

4. Chairman: Fly-tipping in Lime Street. A sofa had been left under a Fly-tipping sign. Letters would be sent to residents. Covered under Item 14. Foreign language leaflets. It was pointed out that the cost of clearing fly-tipping would be more than the cost of leaflets.

5c. Santa Run worthy of £100 grant for sweets

6. Correspondence

a(i) SB is Category C for parking patrols. Viz, twice a month – for how long it's not known

a(ii) A solution to the problem of fixing speed reactive signs on the bridge had been proposed by the Road Safety Partnership – new posts could be installed.

7. Planning (i) Leesons wanted to use a garden for staff car parking. It would free up the pavement. Deemed important to add a rider that the space could not be used for commercial vehicles.

Additionally, with reference to the November discussion under 19, the PC would be contacting the Community Land Trust regarding the possibility of building affordable housing on derelict land. (Watch this space!)

8F. Burial Ground Cllr Scarlett questioned whether £21000 spent on gates for the burial ground was a good use of taxpayers' money. The question of applying for grants for this was deferred. The Clerk and Cllr Hills will collaborate over a solution, obtain local quotes and seek alternative options.

9. Incinerator Nothing doing...

Share Price of Pacific Green still @ 25 cents

10. EDF B Further information is now available. Cllr Brewis pointed out (as though nobody else had ever taken any action, as though Wash & Sutton Bridge Protection Group had not been corresponding with the Secretary of State for some time) that he was in correspondence with the SOS.

11. Public Convenience How much would it cost to knock it down & send the bill to SHDC? To ask solicitor if it's legal to do so.

12. Accident in Bridge Road Was the Anglian Water vehicle responsible for impeding view? Write to Anglian Water again.

13. Rubbish bags in King Street To write to residents and notify SHDC

14. Fly-tipping See above...

The Meeting ended at 8.15 – Is this a record? No, there was a meeting 3 or 4 years ago which dissolved in chaos before that time when the then Chairman reduced the Parish Clerk to tears. Things have improved considerably since then.


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Jan 52015

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 25th November 2014

Comments in blue are, as usual, observations emanating from the Public Gallery.

'The Knight of the Crossword' or 'Cllr Brewis Multi-tasking'
(He'd nearly finished it off by the end of the 'public' session...)

Absent: Cllrs Giles & Dewsberry

Public Forum

• Mr Blundell reminded members of the PC that a few residents of Sutton Bridge had spent a lot of time, energy and money campaigning against the Incinerator and Power Station that SHDC want to dump on the Wingland site. The campaign had gone ahead in spite of calculated obstruction from certain elements in Sutton Bridge who are presumably running their own agenda without regard for representation of the people.

Members of SHDC Planning Committee and the Officers totally ignore anything that comes from residents. There did not seem to be any activity on the Incinerator front. They were presumably hoping that the campaign would die out. So much for democracy...

He concluded with a request: "Since we ordinary individuals get no response from SHDC I would like to request that the Parish Council make an attempt to find out what's going on. I hope for an answer under Item 14..."

To some extent this was addressed by Cllr M Booth under Item 7 telling us what we already knew...

• Mr Fenton pointed out that leaves & fag-ends were clogging drains in his area. With the anniversary of the floods last year fast approaching something should be done now.

4. Police Matters:- The Clerk reported that the rave-man had been 'moved on' by the police.

5. Chairman:- Fly-tipping signs were going up – they might be effective if the fly-tippers can read, he said. He and the Clerk had been investigating the West Bank drain flap, cutting the grass & taking photos.

6. Clerk:- Fly-tipping – an analysis of tipped material had resulted in 2 fixed penalty fines & warnings to others who had not been aware of the legal situation [One always thought that ignorance of the law was no defence...!] The Chairman and Clerk had investigated the West Bank outfall drain flap and found it to be corroded and rusted up. There had been no exceeding of air quality limits recorded at Westmere. Burial Ground training had been organised; there would be a special group for 12 people organised to take place at the Curlew Centre on 4/2/15 to save the cost of going to Lincoln.

7. District & County Cllrs' Reports:- Cllr M Booth said that 'PREL' had not responded to SHDC questions which was why there had been no action.

This was already known to the campaigners who in any case were of the opinion that the questions were unanswerable. The point about Mr Blundell's statement was that maybe an official body like the PC would carry more clout with the 'planners' who seem to have no respect for ordinary voters. Such is the nature of public involvement in PC meetings that it was not possible to emphasise this point. At least one PC in the land gives 'the public' an opportunity to make comments at the end of a PC meeting.

Cllr M Booth added that he and Cllr Brewis had been advised not to go to the Ombudsman [over what he did not say] on account of the fact that there were people in the Parish fully capable of doing just that. Cllr Brewis was very effusive in support of the idea that he and M Booth were only too willing to help people who wished to approach the Ombudsman [over what remained a complete mystery...]

Past experience suggests that when a complaint is backed up by a Councillor it stands more chance of serious consideration; one wonders who it was that gave our two District Cllrs such advice and why they so meekly accepted it. The many complaints already made to SHDC by ordinary residents regarding Officer P Jackson's unforgivable rudeness in August last have been dismissed by the executive, closing ranks, as without foundation. Reprehensible. What help either Cllr Booth or Cllr Brewis could possibly offer in this area it is difficult to see. After the fiasco in August, the Planning Committee is about to modify its procedure regarding public speakers at Planning Meetings – watch this space!

A report from 'Suttons on the Wash Flood Committee' is available from the Clerk.

Cllr Brewis went on at some length about something to do with medical matters. He had a report which he circulated to PC members at the end of his entirely unmemorable ramble during which several people looked heavenwards. After which he carried on doing his crossword puzzle.

It's not clear why he saw the need to take up so much time over this issue since he had prepared the written report for councillors. Things are not normally explained at such length or made clear for the Public Gallery. What he said did not help at all.

8c. £500 for the SB Food Bank:- It was made clear that any funds granted would be for setting the Food Bank up & not for its day to day running. Cllr Hills expressed the view that people in poverty should be encouraged to learn to support themselves and that therefore the grant should be £250 plus an allotment. (Typical Tory point of view) Cllr Rowe expressed support for a grant of £500 and this was supported by Cllr M Booth. Here the 'discussion' descended rapidly into what one can only call Farce when Cllr Hills said she had grave doubts about one part of the Food Bank's request for funds which she had apparently expressed during earlier discussions. Though there was some doubt about what to do, it was decided that this should be discussed in what Cllr Brewis called the 'private' session of the meeting. Several councillors agreed that they didn't know what they were talking about. (Members of the public were clearly to be kept totally in the dark.)

From a public point of view, such a farce plunges the whole operation of the Parish Council back into the disreputable dark days of 2009 and the lack of democratic transparency then: during this exchange there was all the appearance of a coverup of some kind. We do not know what decision, if any, was arrived at.

19. Cllrs Rowe, Scarlett and M Booth, with valuable factual guidance from Lynne Harrison, when Standing Orders were suspended, engaged in a very refreshing discussion about the problem of the impoverishment of Sutton Bridge where 35% of families live below the poverty line. The poorest district council ward in South Holland.

Our usual way of thinking about this is to consider just one contributory factor – class, race, single attitudes (to work or education), government intervention.

A more complex and real way of thinking about it, as suggested by the discussion, is to think of it as a cluster of variables in a systemic process which can be illustrated thus:-

To read this diagram, which is from the point of view of those in poverty, think of it as a vicious circle and follow the arrow round from the top. The more there's a lack of decent jobs (what jobs there are being ill-paid or part-time), the harder it becomes to face cost of living rises or cope with governmental anti-human cuts, the more people who are even in work are forced to live in material and soul poverty, the more their living conditions are depressed, the more they have to think about how to make ends meet rather than grasping educational opportunity for children who will then not be able to better themselves by getting decent jobs – having to settle for ill-paid or part-time ones because that's the level of aspiration. And so on round and round.

In any context where a vicious circle is operating the question is – what interventions can be made to turn it into a virtuous circle? Intervention will only be made where there is understanding of the process and a will to make the conversion.

It emerged from the Parish Council discussion that Cllr M Booth clearly feels deeply about the plight of those living below the poverty line in Sutton Bridge. Cllr Scarlett is involved with setting up the Sutton Bridge Foodbank – that is a provisional intervention which helps people in the short-term to face up to day-to-day living issues but, on its own, it will not solve the problem. He quite rightly suggested that a longer term intervention would be to provide extra coaching for children to enable them to grasp educational opportunities to fit them for taking up better jobs. But where are the 'better jobs' in Sutton Bridge? Cllr Rowe has long advocated the setting up of labour-intensive small businesses on the Wingland site. If South Holland District Council Planning was worth more than the paper it's written on, instead of being intent on dumping a noxious incinerator on Sutton Bridge, employing very few residents, they could have fulfilled their obligation to ensure that the Power Station owners fulfil one of the original provisions which was to install infrastructure on the Wingland site. This would have enabled small enterprises to flourish there.

It was a very good discussion; now the Parish Council must take action.

Meanwhile, during the meeting, Cllr Brewis was doing a crossword puzzle.


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Oct 312014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 28th October 2014

Record minimal length agenda – two sides of A4; record finishing time 8.30pm. Not much worth noting but some very significant things.

Cllrs Grimwood & Cllr Giles were absent. Cllr M Booth took the Chair.

Public Forum

• Question: What's with the tents on the Green?

• Raves reported 2am-7am at the weekend. Police said this was on 'EDF land' and that EDF had been supportive of efforts to monitor

'EDF land' – a plot of land adjacent to the existing power station apparently

• Leaves on the pavement; problems with car parking in the road and on pavements

• Motorbike cruising up Lime Street at speed

• Hare Coursing – Operation Galileo

• Police would get their bicycles mid-November – Cllr M Booth

6. Clerk

• Potholes, cracks & drains. Highways say that it is not unreasonable that the faulty drain situation has taken a year to sort out. Expressions of disbelief seeing that we might be getting near flood-time again.

• Flood Committee – Sutton Bridge & Long Sutton joining forces to meet monthly. Emergency plan in the pipeline. Requested that meetings be advertised on Notice Boards.

• Pavilion refurbishment – §106 money available. Many fire safety issues. The money left over from refurbishment could be allocated to confront fire safety recommendations.

• Air Monitoring equipment would cost all told around £50,000. Mrs Rowe suggested that as part of the planning conditions the developers be asked to foot the bill.

Who will make sure this happens?

• Drainage at Speechleys done and very acceptable.

7. District Councillor

• Cllr Brewis in his characteristically incomprehensible fashion spoke about two issues: something to do with the ambulance service and the need to avoid a group cheap energy scam which had at first seemed OK.

He did not make it clear exactly what he was talking about demonstrating his neglect of the 'public'. Councillors had a printout of what he said which might have made things clearer for them. They looked pretty restless while he was talking.

12E. Nothing to report about a newsletter...

14./15.

• The Clerk reported the result of Parish Poll: 605 in favour of a Public Inquiry over EDF B and EPSB; 7 against.

• Ms Rome had been asked whether the Peterborough plant was up and running and where fly ash was going to be disposed of. No reply.

• Letter from Hayes said that Pickles was still monitoring the situation

• The Clerk summarised Cllr Giles' formal complaint about SHDC Officers and Cllrs sent to them 'in her personal capacity'. She had asked for this and SHDC's inadequate response to be made public – see appendix.

• With regard to the 'Gagging of Nina' Cllr M Booth said that when he alerted Gammba-Jones to the problem he had been under the impression that he would deal with it but he had learned that, rather than take action himself, he had sent an officer who had acted very rudely. Cllr Rowe asked if the exclusion of Nina had been brought before the Planning Committee – the answer was NO.

Of course and Cllr Brewis tut-tutted and blew his cheeks out at this point...

• Ms Kennealy, Executive director, Breckland-South Holland, considers the complaint re Officer Jackson to have been dealt with and concluded.

Other people who made complaints were decidedly unhappy about Ms Kennealy's 'investigation', the conclusion of which led one to have the feeling that those who witnessed Jackson's extreme rudeness were lying about what they observed. They were nonplussed by the democratic deficit involved in what appears to be the secret stitchup between Gammba-Jones and Jackson, details of which Gammba-Jones says he has forgotten.

• Serious continuing issues regarding sustainability, transport, disposal of fly ash, impact assessment and flood-risk etc have not been dealt with. Ms Kennealy points out that the developer has not yet replied to requests for updates.

• Ms Kennealy emphasised SHDC's continuing commitment to involving Cllr Giles in any renegotiation.

• Cllr Rowe said that the Planning Committee had nonchalantly approved the incinerator application before looking at it in a way that would have prevented all these questions being raised. Why did they pass it in the first place?

• Cllr Brewis said that the PC should take the matter to the Ombudsman. There was some discussion about whether this was possible. Perhaps a Cllr could do so on behalf of the PC. It was suggested that Cllr Brewis & M Booth should go to the Ombudsman. Cllr Booth said they'd have to seek legal advice before they did so.

It is noteworthy that Cllr Brewis is still only making a noise about procedures rather than material issues; he carefully avoids committing to a principled objection to the proposed developments while giving the appearance of being 'the people's champion'. Elections loom. This contrasts strongly with Cllr M Booth's current stand that it's crazy for anybody to contemplate three potentially explosive developments in such a relatively small parcel of land. A distinct shift of position!

Who will make sure that an approach to the Ombudsman takes place and decide what the terms of the approach will be? How will Cllrs Brewis & Booth have any idea of the complexity of the issues since they have not kept up with the arguments? Since members of the public, with detailed knowledge of what's been happening, have had their complaints to the Ombudsman rejected, what chance would Cllrs Brewis & Booth have, when they do not have specific details at their fingertips?

• Cllr Rowe raised the issue of PC speakers at reconvened planning meetings EDF B and EPSB. Cllr Brewis suggested that who would speak should be decided 'on the day'.

This seems to be cutting it a bit fine: a speaker will need to prepare well to make a solid point in the allotted 3 minutes and it needs to be certain that there no repetition of the 27th August Fiasco.

• Cllr Rowe was investigating the fact that conditions attaching to the existing power station were never enforced. How can we be sure that EDF B conditions will hold? Were they worth the paper they were written on?

The same question applies to EPSB.

17. Cllr Rowe asked what the situation was with regard to the Draft Local Plan. Cllr Brewis said that the residential part of it would be forthcoming in November.

20. Repainting the village sign was a big job involving renovating the metal supports and treating the sign itself etc. Cllr Brewis suggested offering the job to Peele School arts & crafts department.

If professional people have been consulted it seems a task beyond school children, Health & Safety-wise for a start...

21. A request for the PC to consider the plight of child poverty at the next meeting. This had risen to a disgraceful 35%.

The meeting ended at around 8.30.

APPENDIX

Complaint Letter from Cllr Giles to Mrs Graves, Chief Executive, SHDC 2nd September 2014

I am formally writing to you to complain about the offhand way South Holland District Council deal with the general public. in particular the Planning Committee, the Planning Committee Chairman and the Planning Officers.

I write to you with some of my concerns regarding South Holland District Council, who are likely to consider an amended planning application by EPSB (Energy Park Sutton Bridge) H18-0723-12 to build a gasifier on land in Sutton Bridge.

Last time SHDC considered this application they approved it, although, there were hundreds of letters of objection from residents, Parish Councils, and groups, expressing concerns that vital information was not, and is still not, included in the applicant's submission and is not available to the public.

I funded a solicitor myself requesting a Judicial Review. The Court ruled on the 7th May this year that SHDC had been "unlawful" in their granting of permission, subsequently quashing the planning application. This information was not listed on the application website, therefore this was misleading to the public.

It was also agreed that I would participate in the decision making process of any future application, but this has not happened.

The applicant has now submitted amended plans. The application still does not address the sustainability issue.

SHDC planners, have been asked by residents, Councils, and groups for information regarding the application, they have not addressed any of the issues or replied with any answers.

I have requested answers to:

• Where the fuel stock will come from? The applicant say that the information is commercially sensitive and refuse to disclose: how will it be transported, what road networks will be used?

• How were Lincolnshire County Council Highways Department able to compile a traffic/transport assessment of the roads, if they had no prior knowledge of where the fuel/feedstock would be coming from? I was told that HGV's would be used. Was West Norfolk Borough Council consulted? Consequently there is no assessment of carbon footprint.

• Where the fly ash residue will be transported to, there was mention by the developer at a Parish Meeting, of a plant that would cater for the fly ash in Peterborough, but as yet no such plant exists. Helen Rome Director for EPSB refused to update information about this application when requested by a local Parish Councillor.

• There has been no reply from SHDC, when asked if the Ports of Sutton Bridge and Kings Lynn would be used.

• Why no cumulative impact assessment is available particularly in respect of emissions. On occasion the emission already reaches the upper limit. There already is a 780MW gas fired turbine power station on the site, and SHDC have recently offered no objection to another 1800MW gas fired turbine to be built on a green field site, adjacent to the proposed gasifier.

• Fire risk assessments have been requested, as there is already one gas pipeline serving the existing gas fired power station, which the Health and Safety Executive stated in the first application it was in the "consultation" distance, but apparently for the present application, it is no longer in the "consultation" distance. I feel that this matter should be investigated, and an Emergency/Contingency Plan should be produced, and made available for Public inspection prior to any further Planning decision.

• The site is a Zone 3 Flood Risk Area, Why do SHDC feel this is an appropriate site?

• Sutton Bridge Parish Council, Kings Lynn and Norfolk Borough Council along with Parish Councils bordering the site have all objected due to lack of information. My local MP John Hayes has formally objected to this application and has written to The Secretary of State requesting a Public Inquiry. His previous objections were dismissed, out of hand, by the Planning Officers.

• Why has no consideration been given to the WASH (BAP) Biodiversity Action Plan of which SHDC part funded. The Lincolnshire BAP should also be considered.

• The Forestry Commission were not originally consulted and it appears found out by default they are a Statutory Consultee. When the application was re-submitted they were not re-consulted, a local Parish Councillor Vicky Hills wrote to them and advised them that it had been re-submitted.

• Where can I find the assessment of the cumulative impact of emissions for the site. I still haven't had an answer.

This application, if granted, would have a devastating affect on our village, residents and The Wash, which is a SPA, SSI, AND Ramsar Site. The plant would be significantly harmful to the unique landscape of the Wash Area, including noise, dust, light and odour pollution.

SHDC appear to have no concerns regarding the lack of, or incorrect information, within the application. Members of the Planning Committee openly admitted that they did not understand the non-technical summary. So why did they vote? Surely they are permitted to ask for more information.

I am concerned that SHDC Planning Committee are unable to be impartial in this application, as they were involved in introducing the Landowners to EPSB Ltd. (originally PREL) and mediated between the two parties.

EPSB and SHDC still cannot prove sustainability.

The residents, groups, Councils and my MP are requesting a Public Inquiry.

In the planning application website letters from Groups, are listed under "background papers". Even one from Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council has been listed as "background papers". Group Observations have been listed as "residents observation". I do think that the planning office is not very competent.

Kings Lynn and Norfolk Borough Council had to ask twice for a copy of the Judicial Review.

On numerous occasions the planning application website was unavailable, and people were asking how to access the site. I emailed Gary Porter and Richard Fidler, neither one actually replied, though Gary Porter did "cc" me into an email he sent to some one asking them to sort it.

On Wednesday 27th August a representative from Wash & Sutton Bridge Protection Group had applied to speak at a planning application H18-0001-06, and had an email confirmation that she would be able to speak, but on the night was refused permission. A planning officer was most rude to her. This attitude is completely unacceptable. What has happened to The Code of Conduct?

For all the above reasons I have no confidence in South Holland District Council, and as you know I have complained to the Ombudsman.

Totally inadequate reply from Julie Kennealy, Executive Director of South Holland District Council headed 'Public Engagement with the Planning Process' of which there is none.

I refer to your complaint dated 2 September 2014 and received 5 September 2014.

As confirmed on 9 September 2014, and given the serious nature of the matters you have raised with me, I have dealt with your complaint under Stage 2 of the Council's Customer Feedback Procedure.

I note that your complaint makes reference to the role of the Planning Committee, the role of the Chairman of Planning Committee, and the role of officers.

[Carefully avoiding reference to their offhandedness]

I further note that your complaint refers specifically to a particular planning application, namely that referenced H18-0723-12. This relates to land at Wingland Enterprise Park, Centenary Way, Sutton Bridge. The application itself is being promoted by Energy Park Sutton Bridge Limited and seeks permission for the development of a renewable energy park. I am well aware of the background to this matter and conscious that, following a successful Judicial Review funded by yourself, the earlier decision of this Council was quashed. This information is fully in the public realm and the application has been the subject of a further round of consultation. It presently remains undetermined and will be reported back to Planning Committee for decision.

I note that you state that the applicant has amended the scheme but that a number of issues remain to be addressed. One such issue you highlight is that relating to sustainability. You then state that both yourself and others have requested additional information but that officers of the Council have not yet supplied the information requested. You thereafter list a number of questions relating to the proposed source of the fuel stock, highways matters, fly ash and the potential utilisation of port facilities at Sutton Bridge and Kings Lynn.

I agree with you that these issues remain to be addressed. It is precisely for this reason, and others, that the Planning Service has written to the applicants requesting further information. Once this information has been received it will be placed in the public realm and re-consultation will take place. As the requested information has not yet been received, officers are presently unable to furnish you with the information you have requested. I can, however, commit to you that once the information is received it will be placed in the public realm as above and re-consultation will take place. Only after the conclusion of this re-consultation process will the application be presented to Planning Committee.

I am further aware that we have committed to consulting with you prior to the application being returned to Planning Committee, notably in relation to the question of any conditions that might be proposed. As we are as yet unable to prepare a report to Planning Committee, mindful that we are awaiting the receipt of previously requested information, we are not yet in a position to clarify what the recommendation might be. This means that it would, at this stage, be entirely premature to consider the wording of conditions. Nevertheless, the commitment to discuss matters with you prior to the application being presented to Planning Committee remains and will be honoured.

I would hope that the above clarifies matters. Please accept my own apologies at the length of time this matter is taking but we presently remain in a situation where we are awaiting necessary information from the applicants. We have recently written to them reminding them that this information is awaited and that we remain committed to both re-consultation and discussion with yourself. If the situation changes you will, of course, be notified immediately.

You make further complaint that the website is sometimes inaccessible. I am mindful that electronic delivery of information is not something that the Council is statutorily obliged to deliver. Nevertheless, we attempt to operate in an open and transparent manner and to maintain access to planning records electronically. There are occasions when the website, for technical reasons un-related to Planning Service, is temporarily unavailable. When this occurs we do attempt to make necessary fixes as soon as is practicable. If the website is down for some considerable time for reasons beyond our own control then the planning file to which you refer remains available for inspection, at request, at the Councils Priory Road offices. I would suggest, however, that it would be prudent in order to minimize travel-time to first inquire of officers for how long the website is to be unavailable. It has not, to my knowledge, been unavailable for long-periods of time but if this does cause you inconvenience then please feel free to contact officers directly. In the context of the application to which you refer, my suggestion would be that you contact the case officer, Richard Fidler, in the first instance.

Finally, you refer to the last cancellation of a public speaker at the Planning Committee held on 27 August last, I have dealt with a number of complaints relating to this particular area of concern and am satisfied that matters were dealt with appropriately. I have, furthermore, written to those attending directly with a rather fuller explanation of events.

[An 'explanation of events' – what this means is that SHDC simply closed ranks and Officer Jackson's version of events was accepted nem con – you could hardly call that an 'explanation of events' – they were simply explained away... Disgraceful... As Cllr Giles said, 'What about the Code of Conduct?']

I would hope that the above is clear and that I have responded to the issues you have raised in full. If, however, there are further matters on which you require clarification please feel free to contact me directly.

Finally, I am mindful that you have already contacted the Local Government Ombudsman. For my part, I consider my own investigations relating to the issues you have raised with me in your letter dated 2 September 2014 complete, the Stage 2 complaint review finished, and the matter from the Council's perspective permanently closed.

[What, therefore, would be the point of contacting J Kennealy for clarification?]

If you remain unhappy with the outcome of my investigations then you have the option of further approaching the Local Government Ombudsman. Their details are as follows:

The Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry, CV4 OEH
Website; www.lgo.org.uk

[A further closing of ranks...]


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Oct 92014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 30th September 2014

Cllrs Preston & Scarlett absent.

Karen Croxford was introduced as the Clerk's new assistant.

Public Forum

Mr Fenton had the floor to himself. He raised a number of important issues:-

• Boston has a sluice to stop flooding – should not SB have one?
• There are cracks in the road on West Bank
• The manhole covers are sinking
• There are holes in the road by the Bridge Hotel
• People are putting rubbish in salt bins
• Refuse is falling from dustcarts and not being retrieved
• The footpath outside Whitmore's is deplorable
• There is much speeding on Bridge Road

Cllr M Booth pointed out that a Flood Risk plan was about to be printed.

4. PCSO Musico-Cardillo spoke about

• Kids had asked for a new basketball net at the Queen Street play area
• The dangers of people lurking in AB Walk
• Much speeding on Bridge Road

From the Public Gallery: Cllr Brewis nodded sagely at the suggestion that efforts be made to stop speeding, seeming to forget that he was the architect of the dismantling of the Road Enhancement Scheme (wasting a lot of tax-payers' money) which it was admitted had had the side-effect of slowing traffic down.

• Suspicious torches had been seen at night, machinery had been stolen and hare-coursing was taking place.
• Road signs in multi-national languages might be a good idea to stop people ignoring road indications

5. The Chairman reported

(a) that nobody had turned up to the Meet Your Parish Councillor evening.

(b) He offered thanks to the Bloomers for making Sutton Bridge so beautiful.

(c) He noted continual fly-tipping.

From the Public Gallery: It's perhaps not surprising that nobody turned up because 95% of people in SB don't know they have a Parish Councillor or even that there is a Parish Council working its socks off for their sake.

6. The Clerk reported, amongst other things, that Highways have said that pavements will be spray-tarred in 2015 and that they are being chased over defective drains.

7. Cllr Booth

(a) repeated his call for a Public Inquiry into the chimneyfication of SB (17 chimneys in the 'Energy Park' and the next field).

(b) He said that on Green Sack Day discarded clothing could be separately packed for collection

Cllr Hills informed us that the huge heaps of green bales that regularly appeared on the portside were brought from Scotland to Sleaford. A large carbon footprint.

From the Public Gallery: Cllr Brewis mumbled much and informed us that he'd written to Ed Davy (DECC) & MP Hayes about the chimneyfication of SB (see above note). He kept the contents of his communications to himself so it wasn't clear whether he wrote in support of the developments or against them.

10. (i). The proposed new takeaway was discussed. Objections could be made on the grounds of vibrating machinery, lack of space for waste dustbins and smell etc. Cllr Brewis suggested a 'holding objection' until the problems were discussed. The objection was carried.

From the Public Gallery: What point could there be in making a Holding Objection? What could the applicant possibly do to get round the objections? Smell is smell, lack of space is lack of space, vibrations are vibrations etc. End of discussion.

12E. Parish Newsletter – Nothing to report...

14. Incinerator. Clenchwarton PC couldn't make a comment on EPSB since it didn't have enough info.

From the Public Gallery: WSBPG Leaflet has been sent to Clerk for onward transmission.

17. S106 money owing to SB. It seems that the terms of the S106 agreement for the existing Power Station were too much of a mish-mash. SHDC hijacking of the money for salaries etc was not illegal under the circumstances. There was a need to make sure that any S106 agreement for EDF B or the incinerator be tightened.

From the Public Gallery: In the event of the proposed developments being approved, who will make sure of this? Is this why SHDC seem so eager to dump the developments on SB – is it so they can get their hands on the money?

19. Argument over BT plan to use the listed building phone box by the Bridge as a defibrillator unit. How would it be monitored? What if there was an emergency at the Bridge?

22. 'Consultation' on Local Plan by end of the year...

Your reporter looked around at about 8.50 to find that everybody else in the Public Gallery had sneaked out when he wasn't looking. All the energy in the room had drained away when Cllr Brewis spoke. Your reporter left at 9pm while things were still in full flow.


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Aug 22014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 29th July 2014

Is the Parish Council wilting under the strain? Apologies from Cllrs S & M Booth, Scarlett, Mrs Grimwood. Cllr Brewis reported that he would be late because he was at a Power Station Liaison meeting [there was a rumour that he was seen earlier leaving the village in a westerly direction... he did not turn up...]

Public Forum. There were a number of new faces in the public gallery. Questions were asked about

4. DONG Presentation by Ian Renshaw. Ian explained the origins of the DONG takeover. The Race Bank windfarm would generate twice as much electricity as the existing power station. The same consents & licences applied to DONG as did to Centrica. Investigations of drilling plausibility would be stepped up in the next two weeks; there would be no repeat of the Nessie experience – the plan was to drill under the marsh & bank. DONG had talked to Centrica.

The Chairman suggested that it might be appropriate for standing orders to be suspended for the public gallery to ask questions. Questions ensued, some beyond Ian's remit.

5. Police. The Clerk reported much vandalism & anti-social behaviour. There was a reported rigmarole about the difficulties of catching perpetrators. The police rep had left during the DONG presentation but Sgt Boxall had been made aware of the problems.

6. Chairman. Continuing problem of fly-tipping. Congratulation to Cllrs Mrs J Rowe, Mrs V Hills and Mrs S Giles on successful anti-incinerator demonstration.

7. Clerk. Anglian Water van inconveniently parked causing a considerable visual obstruction to vehicles exiting New Road but not a straightforward legal offence. Cllr Hills pointed out that 'obstruction' was an offence. The driver had said there was nowhere else to park – he would park elsewhere when possible. The Chairman suggested that Anglian Water be given a number of suggestions for alternative parking.

Drains: the Environment Agency were prevaricating...

§106 money – discussions planned in Spalding. Cllr Giles asked why the discussion couldn't take place in SB.

8. District & County Cllrs Reports. Short item since both Councillors were absent. Cllr Brewis had sent in a report which another Councillor described as 'the usual waffle'. The report would be made available. Somebody said, "Don't all rush!"

11. Planning Matters

12. Highways. The 30mph restriction beyond the Bridge had been imposed because of surface deterioration. It was largely ignored by vehicles who sped over the Bridge. Cllr Rowe pointed out that vehicles coming from the east were depositing road fallout on the bridge which caused much rumbling and probable deleterious effect on the bridge road surface.

15. PREL

(From the Public Gallery: each 'specialist' reports from its own angle and does not take a global view so each time a 'specialist' says 'No Objection' to the development they mean from their specialist point of view – hence the need for an independent scrutiny of the validity of the whole re-submission which the Parish Council will organise and pay for...)

16. EDF power station B

Somewhere here the Clerk announced that SHDC would let her know the date of the Poll. From which we conclude that they have accepted the request for one.

17. Old Public Conveniences

Suggestion that we move out of SHDC and into West Norfolk.

18. Marina. Going ahead...

19. Speed Signs. Resolved to purchase two Reactive Signs at £2000 a go which would indicate the times when there's most speeding so police could respond at the appropriate times assuming an average.

21. Air Quality Monitoring Facility in SB. Resolved to contact DEFRA

22. Village Green Sign. Colin Blundell agreed to consult Janet Blundell and Maureen Hunt about their willingness to give the Green sign the same treatment as the other two signs they renovated. [They said OK!]


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Jun 262014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 24th June 2014

Absences: Cllrs S Booth, Preston, Brewis, Giles... Scarlett arrived late from another meeting...

Quote of the Evening: 'Remember that the more boats you have on the river the higher the water will be...' = The level of discussion about the Marina...

In the Public Forum Mr Fenton pointed out that the defective drain-valve still hadn't been seen to and that there was serious fly-tipping down his way.

Mr Blundell apologised for taking up time with his comments – at the previous PC meeting nobody wished to say anything in the space allotted to 'the public' which saved 15 minutes and got us all home early. He pointed out that, since there was a vote carried against it, the PC is at least notionally not in favour of the proposed incinerator. But he wondered whether the PC keeps its money where its mouth is.

In the past the chairman has said that the incinerator's OK by him provided there are no health risks. Has he researched this?

At the Annual Parish Meeting. the vice-chairman said (following Gammba-Jones and Fidler) that the traffic problems associated with the proposed incinerator will be no more than if there were a lot of separate occupancies of the industrial area: (4/5 HGV movements in and out every hour + build-up and snags – negligible impact?). At the less than memorable APM he tried to close things down by saying that wherever the incinerator is it will cause problems – at last an admission that there will be problems – the implication of his view is then that we might as well have it here and collect the money as we pass GO.

Add to all this that the Independent clique on the PC refused to support Cllr Giles when she went for Judicial Review and then remember the fact that Cllrs Booth and Brewis were thanked by Ms Rome for delivering leaflets on PREL's behalf and one has to feel that the silent majority on the PC are in favour of the incinerator. Have they done any research about the potential problems? It's all baffling.

Mr Blundell, knowing that there was no likelihood of comment, wanted the following questions answered:-

What steps have members of the PC taken

(From the Public Gallery... Under Item 15 in the Agenda there was a very interesting exchange during which the Independents appeared to support Cllr Rowe's proposals for lodging objections to PREL's revised submission, writing to the MP, and calling for a Public Enquiry. It remains a question as to whether the PC will insist that the District Cllr raise strong objections when the SHDC Planning Committee meets to rubber stamp the re-submission...)

4. Police Matters

5. Chairman

(From the Public Gallery... Experience shows that when a place is a tip people think that it's OK to make it even more of a tip. The tipping of obnoxious things like the proposed Incinerator and Power Station B on the village probably won't help matters... Mess Contamination)

6. Clerk

(From the Public Gallery... Sutton Bridge should perhaps feel proud & rather charmed that the rooks have taken up residence on Bridge Road. One out-lying resident would be very happy if they nested in the nearby tall sycamores...)

7. District

(From the Public Gallery... The implication here is that Power Station B is a foregone conclusion – never mind the health & pollution issues etc – just a matter of making sure that the village gets its bribe money...)

10 (ii) A retrospective planning application for a large garage was refused.

13. Reports

15. PREL

(From the Public Gallery... In the absence of Cllr Brewis, one might have expected Cllr M Booth & Cllr J Grimwood to have reiterated previous assertions that everything to do with the Incinerator was OK. It seems an extraordinary about-turn that they seemed to go along with Mrs Rowe's proposals when, as Mr Blundell said in the Public Forum, they, together with the rest of the 'Independents', have in the past, appeared not to oppose the PREL experiment... The plot thickens... One might ask – Do they know, for example, that the 'Planners' have already agreed to rubber stamp the re-submission so that any steps the PC takes are futile?)

16. Power Station B

(From the Public Gallery... What support will they get from the PC as a body?)

17. Old Public Convenience

18. Meet Your Councillors

19. Newsletter

20. Parking Obstruction

22. Marina

(From the Public Gallery... What nobody seemed to know was that the Somerset Levels problem was brought about by Right Wing ideological lack of support for spending money on IDB's there. Our area is a managed system and the IDB's are paid to ensure protection from the kind of flooding experienced in Somerset.)

23. Section 106 Money

The Open Meeting ended about 9pm


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Jun 12014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 27th May 2014

Once more, the PC fails to have anything to say on something of real importance…

The numbers of members of the public attending Parish Council Meetings is fast dwindling: seven people, a member of the press, and for a very short time a community policewoman attended this meeting. It's not really surprising that the Parish Council fails to make a hit with the residents: the quality of discussion is pretty dire, most Councillors come to the meetings unprepared, and there seems to be a conspiracy of silence from the majority clique over the really important issues.

It's worth remembering the informal motions carried at the end of Mrs Giles' meeting on the 27th February 2014 regarding the proposed incinerator which seem to have been forgotten:-

1. That the Sutton Bridge community was the subject of victimisation by SHDC. This was proposed by Gary Croxford who had just resigned from the PC expressing outrage at the way they had reneged on paying for a Judicial Review. The feeling of the Meeting was that Sutton Bridge has been, and is continuing to be, used as a dumping ground for obnoxious industrial developments.

2. That in view of the disgraceful decision on the part of a majority of those present (including Cllrs Booth & Booth, Brewis, & Grimwood) at the Extraordinary Meeting on February 13th, 2014, not to continue with a Judicial Review, a vote of no confidence in the current Sutton Bridge Parish Council should be recorded.


27th May 2014 Public Forum. No residents had any questions or comments which is not really surprising since no proper discussion has ever resulted from anything that has been said in the past in the Public Forum. To everybody's relief this saved 15 minutes.

Cllrs Grimwood & M Booth were re-elected as Chair & Vice Chair. Cllr Dewsberry was absent. The Chairman had to be reminded to welcome Cllr Scarlett.

Bridgewatch welcomes Cllr Scarlett and hopes that he will have success in motivating Sutton Bridge residents to participate in local politics.

From the Gallery... Cllr M Booth said that what he meant was that any industrial development would have a traffic impact and once more Cllr Grimwood opined that 'Highways' had given the all-clear. Cllr Rowe pointed out that there had been no recent road survey but this was ignored. It's pretty obvious that although the PC voted against the proposed Incinerator Cllrs Booth & Grimwood are, for reasons best known to themselves, supporters (and, let's make no bones about it, judging by the conspiracy of silence whenever the issue is raised, so is the ruling clique – there is a complete absence of concerted PC opposition to the project).

From the Gallery... No reply. Mrs Giles let him off the hook by praising him for doing some delivering when other Cllrs did nothing.

From the Gallery... No discussion. The Chairman shuffled this under the carpet by saying sotto voce, "We'll note it..." Watch this space! But don't hold your breath.

From the Gallery... There was a suggestion that SHDC be asked to clear the pavement and Cllr Mrs Grimwood said, "Shoot the birds". The residents of SB should bear this outrageous suggestion in mind in case it's acted on. Simple non-technical observation shows a complete absence of bird poo on the pavement; it's obvious that the rooks' nests are inside Feldbinder's fence. By this time, Cllr Brewis was working on a laptop or tablet.

From the Gallery... Once again it was suggested that there had been a request at the APM for a Newsletter. That's not what was asked for. The point was made then that the PC had a responsibility to advertise itself properly to the electorate. It will interesting to see what the response to 'Come and Meet your Parish Councillors' might be...

1. To resolve to accept Garden of Rest draft regulations; as circulated prior to meeting

2. To resolve on Parish Council administering the new Burial Ground, taking into account information contained in draft Business Plan; as circulated prior to meeting

3. To resolve on authorising Burial Ground Committee to investigate suitable Accounting& Administration software packages to support management/admin of Burial Ground (subject to resolution under (ii) above)

From the Gallery... The assembled multitude was getting restless at this point. One of the 'public' stalwarts said, "I think I need a large Scotch..."

From the Gallery... Since the PC is supposed to be against the Incinerator one might have expected a measure of enthusiastic support for Cllr Rowe's congratulations – there was none. Cllr Preston said that had the PC fought for Judicial Review they would not have had the same success as Mrs Giles fighting as a private citizen and getting her money back. Clearly nonsense.

From the Gallery... And so, once again, the PC fails to have anything to say as a body on something that is of importance. One remembers the way that it failed to rise to the incinerator threat when it first came up in November 2009 and to the way that it failed to counter Cllr Brewis' privately organised Enhancement consultation in April 2009 – which was where Bridgewatch came in exactly 5 years ago this month. Nothing's changed.

Public note-takers had gone by this point in the proceedings…


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May 62014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 29th April 2014

Quote of the evening: ‘Nothing’s Ever Followed Through...’ (Cllr Hills)

(Except for the Burial Ground which Cllr Hills has followed through tenaciously...)

The View from the Public Gallery

It was not surprising that no mention was made of the Annual Parish Meeting that went down like a lead balloon in April. As an appendix to this report there’s an account of what sounds like an excellent model for how such a meeting should take place. There’s also a description of a much more enlightened approach to public involvement in Tasburgh, just south of Norwich.

The Annual Parish Meeting was to have featured a talk from the Environment Agency on Flood Defences but they pulled out at the last moment without explanation. It would have been all over in ten minutes had it not been for questions about how and why the Council had reneged in secret session on its agreement to go to Judicial Review over the Incinerator decision by SHDC.

At the end of this farcical meeting, which went totally unreported in the Press, in order to let the acting Chairman off the Incinerator hook, Mr Blundell had suggested that the Parish Council had a responsibility to raise their profile in the public mentality – even, to start with, to let residents know that there was such a thing as a Parish Council, what its role was and what it might contribute to village life if it were properly run. Out of 3000 residents it seems unlikely that more than 1000 (if that) know that there is a Parish Council at all; one has to wonder whether the ‘Independent’ majority would even want democratic involvement. The only time there has been a real expression of democratic belief/understanding in the last couple of years has been over the incinerator and that was ignored by the ‘Independent’ majority on the PC as being ‘unrepresentative’.

For the sake of appearances the PC voted last year to ‘oppose the incinerator’ but, by refusing to finance an investigation into the SHDC Planning Committee’s worse-than-a-chicken-coop ‘discussion’ of the issues involved, they have not put their money where their mouth appeared to be. Indeed, the chairman, who was unaccountably absent from the Annual Parish Meeting, has said that the Incinerator’s OK by him so long as the Environment Agency says there’s no health risk; at the farce called an Annual Parish meeting the Vice Chairman, M Booth, betrayed both his lamentable ignorance and his tacit support for the project by saying that the predictable traffic problems (caused by a 22 ton HGV with wood pellets in and an empty one out of the site every 6-10 minutes) would entail no more of a problem than if the Wingland site were used for the manufacture of candlesticks or grandfather clocks (or even chicken coops...)

“There’d be plenty of lorries with wood for grandfather clocks,” said M Booth.  A 22 ton HGV in and out of the site every 6-10 minutes? Perhaps the Cllr is living in the past: the demand for grandfather clocks (or candlesticks) is not what it used to be.

This is how the crypto-supporters of the Incinerator have chosen to be brainwashed: the industrial estate is for industry & there would be just as many lorries to service an Incinerator as there would be if there were a number of small businesses there. This is the Gammba-Jones’ line and it is tosh.

Said M Booth at the so-called Annual Parish Meeting : “There’d be emissions wherever they put biomass plants...” which amounts to an admission that emissions are very likely to be a problem. The larger question arises – why install biomass plants anywhere if they pose a danger to human life & well-being? 

Cllr M Booth: “At the incinerator hearing I said – so long as there were no health issues...” So he supports the Incinerator too... If the second power station gets the go ahead there will be  seventeen chimneys belching out who knows what;  it’s very unlikely that there will be an absence of health issues though it’s anybody’s guess who will measure breathing problems & bronchitis and deaths from eating polluted crops & fish.

They said they wanted a Newsletter...

With reference to Item 19 of the Parish Council meeting of 29th April 2014.

After certain members of the Parish Council had evaded examination of their support for the Incinerator yet again, it was agreed at the Annual Parish Meeting to put the question of how to involve the electorate in PC affairs on the April meeting agenda. In the event, this proved to be a question too far: its proper consideration would have involved a bit of thinking and brainstorming, in which few councillors would have been capable of taking part in a constructive way. So, rather than tackle the issue of ‘involving the electorate’ it was boiled down by some hidden process to ‘they said they wanted a Newsletter...’ so that they could be ‘kept informed’.

So the PC falls back on the publication of a Newsletter, past examples of which have done nothing to inspire anybody. Cllr Rowe pointed out that there had been many big issues about which residents had been kept in the dark.

On 29th April, the following suggestions took the place of thoughtful discussion.

Cllr Brewis, who did not attend the APM, opined that it was not possible to justify the spending of £1100 to post a PC newsletter to all residents. Maybe he could have offered to deliver it at the same time as he and his team put his self-publicising ‘Newsletter’ through all but a few chosen letterboxes...

The Clerk said that she could produce a double-sided A4 sheet as a Parish Council Newsletter but she said, with good reason, that she didn’t think that many people would ask for it. She added that, as it was currently made up, the Website was not very inspiring but that she had no time to improve it; a Newsletter could be included on it. She could even email it to interested parties.

Cllr Preston said that people could come into the Office to collect it which would perhaps suffice if they knew of the existence either of the Office or the Newsletter.

The new Cllr Scarlett, whose potential tasks, in his absence, went up by leaps and bounds during the course of the evening, had apparently expressed an interest in doing something with the Website.


On the 29th April the ‘Public Forum’ lasted three minutes, perhaps because ‘the public’ realises what a waste of energy it constitutes. Mr Shapland referred briefly to Agenda Item 12(ii) (supplying Cllr M Booth with shrubs/trees from Woodland Trust’s ‘Free Tree Pack’ in order for them to be planted along his boundary with the Burial Ground to protect the site from contamination during spraying…) He asked whether the saplings would not be affected by harmful spraying.

Item 4. the new police representative, Sgt Boxall, reported that a new CCTV, administered 24/7 from Boston, was going to be installed. Observation would be carried out by full-time staff rather than volunteers but, while there would be more screens to watch, there would be no increase in staffing levels nor could he offer reassurances about response time or prosecutions. On the other hand, the new CCTV was the result of the application of ‘better technology’ so there would be no more ‘glitches’.

At this point Cllr Hills lamented that “Nothing’s Ever Followed Through...”

It was agreed to have a special meeting, perhaps in Boston, with some of the technical bods who could go into more detail and even provide details of what happens in comparable places like Kirton.

In order to provide more personal policing in the village, the police would like three bicycles @ £400 each. A bike trailer would cost another £1000. Cllr Brewis opined that this was a jolly good idea.

Mention was made of somebody in Nenelands who, believing himself to be public-spirited in clearing the area, was setting fire to items which had been fly-tipped such as kitchen cabinets and old settees; burning the latter results in toxic emissions. There were expressions of horror round the council chamber. The irony seemed to be lost on members that they could be disturbed by pollutants from the burning of fly-tipped settees while being at the same time unmoved by a rather larger problem that could be generated by toxic incinerators & power stations...

Item 6. New consultation over a Local Plan. This provides an opportunity for asking for Wingland to be de-classified as an industrial area or at least limited to the accommodation of small, non-life-threatening concerns.

Item 7. Cllr Brewis went on at some length about the need for the PC to write a letter to the Government asking that the need to ‘opt out’ of being included in computerised Medical Records should be changed to having to ‘opt in’. The danger was that one’s medical records could be sold on to any Tom Dick or Harry. This might well be the case but it’s not quite clear what this has to do with the Parish Council. We were interested to hear that Cllr Brewis stated categorically that he had opted out.

Item 12B. Cllr Giles was resigning from Allotments. Cllr Scarlett would replace her.
Item 12C (i) Cllrs Scarlett & Giles would become members of the Personnel Committee.
Item 12D Cllrs Brewis & Preston had ‘beaten the bounds’ together.
Item 12E (i) Cllr Scarlett will be the additional member of the Parish Newsletter Committee.
Item 12F (iii) Cllr Brewis opined that having the 9ft boundary of the new Burial Ground planted as a wild flower area was a jolly good idea.

Item 13 (i) Perhaps Cllr Scarlett could become a representative on the Suttons Emergency Planning Group. Cllr Brewis was already in a position to make reports.

Item 14. Fidler will keep the PC informed re PREL. Neil Goudie says there’s been nothing from the applicant but that an Environmental permit will definitely be required.

Item15. South Holland Planning Committee had not been informed of the new Power Station proposal and had therefore not made observations.

Cllr Rowe raised the issue of the measuring of pollution levels. According to the DEFRA website emissions in this area had been in the RED for several days at the beginning of April people in this area had been advised not to exercise outside and to use inhalers. On the other hand the South Holland District Council website reported that their air monitor readings at Westmere School Bridge suggested that everything was GREEN & OK. So who can we trust to provide a correct reading of pollution levels? There has been no statement from either the EA or SHDC about the discrepancies. One wonders what is being monitored. DEFRA should be contacted and South Holland asked again. Should the Power Station monitor itself? The incidence of bronchitis and people with breathing problems had gone up at the Hospital. In whose interest is it to under-report pollution levels?

Item 17. Cllr Mrs Grimwood reported that there were tree branches overhanging Bridge Road by ‘Metalair’ and a lot of ‘birds’ mess’ on the pavement. The rooks might have something to say about her suggestion that the tops of the trees be cut out...

APPENDIX

TASBURGH’S ANNUAL PARISH MEETING

Tasburgh, a small village south of Norwich, has a very good Parish Website.  One wonders what its Annual Parish Meeting might be like?  It sounds like it’s all-inclusive and very welcoming; it seems to be the kind of village meeting likely to inspire democratic consciousness and perhaps be a model for Sutton Bridge to follow. On the other hand, in spite of the excellence of its presentation, there were only eight members of the public at the APM this year.

‘...Historically Tasburgh’s Annual Parish Meeting has been organised by Tasburgh Parish Council and held in April or May. It has been an opportunity for the Parish Council and organisations and charities within the village to report on their activities during the year. It has also been an opportunity for residents to ask questions and provide feedback to all those groups.

‘The Parish Council invites representatives from village groups and advertises the meeting on the notice boards and website and in the Quarterly. The Parish Council usually hosts the event providing refreshments and paying the room hire...’

Tasburgh Parish Council welcomes the public to its meetings. In fact by law members of the public must be admitted to all meetings of the full council and its committees. However, the law does not allow members of the public to take part in the debates.

Whereas the Public Forum at Sutton Bridge Parish Council meetings is treated as a rather unfortunate ritual countered by a conspiracy of silence on the important issues – one that has to be suffered by the Council – Tasburgh offers a more friendly chance for ‘the public’, as Cllr Dewsberry used to call the residents of Sutton Bridge, to engage with councillors:-

‘...This council, like many other parish and town councils in England and Wales, gives members of the public an opportunity to speak at some point during the meeting, for us this is under ‘Public participation and exchange of information’.

We do this by temporarily adjourning the meeting this allows the public plus our District and County Councillors an opportunity to speak. It is important for you to study the agenda so that when the opportunity occurs you can make the best use of your time.

If you wish to raise a point which does not relate to an item on that evening’s agenda you are free to do so. However, the council’s discussion of the point might have to be delayed until a subsequent meeting as the council is unable to make a decision binding in law (this is particularly relevant to financial decisions) unless a specific item is included on the agenda.

Members of the council are always willing to discuss topics put forward by the public. Our agenda is prepared about a week before the next monthly council meeting so you will need to inform the Clerk or Chairman at least eight days before the meeting. Although this might seem a long time in advance the council is required by law to publicise its agenda at least three clear days before each meeting, these days do not include the day of issue or the day of the meeting...’


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Apr 92014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 25th March 2014

Cllr M Booth was missing.

Open Forum

The Public Forum (which only lasted ten minutes) was again mostly devoted to comments about the vote of the Independent majority on the PC to renege on the decision to set aside moneys to promote a Judicial Review into the deeply flawed SHDC Planning Process.

Brian Collins-McDougall said:-
I am sure the whole village would like me to express gratitude to Mrs Giles for her tenacity and commitment in pursuing legal action against the SHDC planning permission for the Biomass incinerator. Especially, when the parish council reneged on its commitment to funding legal action. Congratulations are due to Mrs Giles on the legal victory which was so close when some of her colleagues on the parish council pulled out.

Now we know how strong the case was for judicial review. Within a very short time of receiving correspondence from Mrs Giles' solicitors SHDC decided not to contest the case in court. It is obvious that the planners knew exactly how flawed their case was. One can only wonder if the real reason our District Councillors Mr Brewis, Mr M Booth and Mr S Booth opposed the legal action was precisely because they knew it was likely to succeed ? Did their contacts at SHDC persuade them to try to torpedo the legal action because it would win? A sceptic will wonder if the ruse about costs to the parish council was intended to mislead.

Last month at the forum, in the interests of transparency and open government, I asked each of our parish councillors to state how they voted and their reasons for so doing. I repeat that request: Mr Brewis, Mr S Booth, Mr Dewsberry, Mrs Preston and Mrs Grimwood we are still waiting to hear from you…

At last month's parish council Michael Booth dismissed the parish poll at which over 93% of those who voted were against the incinerator as unrepresentative. He made this point while hiding behind ‘standing orders’ so the public could not respond. Councillor Booth has no way of knowing how those who did not vote thought about this matter. The convention in this country for all elections, including council elections is that only the views of  those who vote are considered. I note that Michael Booth at the last election received only 20% of the votes of those who were eligible to vote. By his own logic 80% of the village don't support him. As a believer in democracy I urge him to do the decent thing and resign.

Mr Blundell

FROM THE PUBLIC GALLERY:

Before he could finish this point properly, Mr Blundell was asked by the chairman to wind up what he was saying quickly as his time was up. It was pretty evident that the chairman was more interested in clock-watching than anything that was being said. As it happened, the Public Forum, which included the two minute reading of a letter by the Parish Clerk, ended after 12 minutes. Thus even the pretence of democracy in Sutton Bridge is curtailed.

Unless the subject is dog poo or overhanging hedges there is never any comment on issues raised in the Public Forum. The Independent majority on the PC seem to express their so-called Independence by practising the art of maintaining a stony face & keeping mum when confronted with evidence of their lack of proper scrutiny of developments.

Cllr Mrs Grimwood sat with her back to the public gallery – perhaps because she felt guilty at her acquiescence in the independent majority’s vote against going ahead with a Judicial Review; she had once upon a time spoken against the incinerator.

Cllr Dewsberry always sits in a corner where he cannot be seen; he occasionally grunts “Move!” or “Seconded!” as though to justify his presence.

Cllr Preston had nothing to say as usual.

In the Public Forum serious comments made about the main issue affecting life in the village by residents showing commitment and take the trouble to attend PC meetings are simply ignored. It is therefore little wonder that there is no community spirit in SB; it is no wonder that residents don’t willingly volunteer or show public spiritedness.

Any mention of the PREL project and the implication of the silent majority’s support for it ─ their reneging on the PC resolution to set aside £10,000 to promoting the Judicial Review ─ is never alluded to or taken up and one suspects that the so called ‘independent’ clique has agreed a strategy for dealing with adverse comments.

Mrs. Hardy spoke of the long delay, almost two years, for a decision to be made about the future of the old toilet block in the Memorial Park car park.

BUSINESS

4. It was reported that Sgt Coleman said there would be a robust response to raves in SB. Straw bales at the entrance to places where raves were intended might be a good idea.

5. The Chairman pointed out that a burnt-out car had been removed from the allotments; the public toilets are now open 7 days a week between 7 and 5. (It later turned out that the toilets were open but there were no hand-washing facilities which might prove to be a public health issue…)

6. The Clerk reported that

There was some discussion about the issue of Polling Cards for the election of a new councillor. Cllr Brewis pointed out that they hadn’t been issued in the past. The Clerk reported that it would cost around £1200 to have Polling Cards. Cllr Brewis said, “We’ll see how we vote on it…” Cllr Hills said that in the interests of ‘Democracy’ Polling Cards were important. Cllr Brewis, said, “It’s up to the candidates to let people know there’s an election…” (See comment in From the Public Gallery…)

Cllr Brewis suggested that the Chairman be given a special mention for his continuing commitment to sweeping up leaves and repairing things that got broken round the village.

The Chairman rebuked residents for not being prepared to do litter-picking.

7. Cllr Brewis announced in no uncertain terms that he was going to refuse to have his name included in the Medical Register (and he advised the assembled multitude to do the same) in order to avoid unscrupulous companies buying his name.

8. (c&d)  The Bowls Club requires £1500 for a new roller and the Gospel Choir £500 for miscellaneous items.  The Bowls Club have been awarded £500 and the Gospel Choir £50.

9.(ii) The Environment Agency had reported that flood defences in the area had proved themselves to be ‘fit for purpose’. Cllr Brewis suggested that MP Hayes be asked for his opinion on this. Proposal to send a letter to Highways re the defective valve.

Cllr J Grimwood wondered if the EA had replied to an email requesting their reassurance that the Incinerator would carry no health risk…

The Clerk read out an email she had received that morning from an anonymous ‘Disgusted of SB’. It complained about the Independent majority’s reneging on the PC’s decision to go for Judicial Review and asked them to ‘consider their position’.

12. There is

13. Groups

It was pointed out that there were no hand-basins in the public toilets which might prove to be a public health issue.

14. PREL – The Clerk had received an email to the effect that all parties to the Judicial Review proceedings have consented to a court order quashing the planning permission. SHDC couldn’t be sure about sustainable development. Cllr Rowe stressed that SHDC should be asked to keep the PC fully informed.

15. Power Station B proposal

NOTES FROM THE PUBLIC GALLERY:

6.

8.

14.


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Mar 122014

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 25th February 2014

Open Forum

Most of the Open Forum was devoted to questions about the PC's lack of support over opposition to proposed incinerator.

Brian Collins-McDougall said: "Along with most of the village I was outraged that the Parish Council had voted not to fund the legal action against SHDC on the PREL planning permission. The Parish Council reneged on the commitment made at a public meeting and let the local community down. The meetings to discuss this matter were held in private with only parish councillors present. It is a fundamental principle of democracy that those who are elected to public office should be accountable to their electorate. I am therefore asking each parish councillor to tell us how they voted and their reasons for voting the way they did.

As Michael Booth, Simon Booth and Chris Brewis are members of SHDC who are parties to this dispute, they arguably have a conflict of interest. We want to know if they participated in the discussion and the Parish Council vote on this matter. Did these councillors seek external advice on the legitimacy of taking part and if so from whom?"

Why were Cllrs Booth and Brewis present at the secret meeting since, as Cllrs who had made no effort to support the PC's objections at the SHDC Planning Meetings, they clearly had a vested interest in having the decisions of the SHDC meetings upheld?

It was pointed out that according to Biofuelwatch 'Air pollution in the UK reduces average life expectancy by two years and contributes to up to 200,000 early deaths every year, according to a government advisory body. Biomass expansion alone has been predicted to cause the loss of up to 1.75 million life years by 2020, according to a study commissioned by the Government. The Supreme Court has confirmed that the Government is in breach of EU requirements to reduce air pollution levels...'

Quotation from the Spalding Guardian of 16th March 2009:-

'...Residents and community groups were asked what benefits they would like to see as a result of the development. Cllr Brewis said the facility was an exciting prospect. He said: 'The principle of us using our landfill waste and getting more energy from waste and recycling materials has got to be a good one... It's a very interesting idea. It's an exciting prospect if it meets all the criteria...'

Does Councillor Brewis think that it now meets all the criteria, whatever he thinks they might be? Is it still an exciting prospect for him? Has he discussed all this with the PC? Can he list the problems which have been identified?

At the APM 19th April 2012 Cllrs Booth & Brewis were publicly thanked by Ms Rome for delivering PREL leaflets... At the suggestion that this might mean that they supported the Incinerator it is recorded in the minutes that Cllr. Brewis made a strong objection. He said that the 'PC would give the planning application a very thorough going over...' When did that ever happen? It hasn't.

Have we ever really found out what will be burnt in the incinerator? We've been told different stories by the PREL PR people. Once it was said that people in the area who had wood offcuts were queuing up to supply them; food waste has been mentioned and agricultural waste and treated compost then wood pellets. At the APM 19th April 2012 Cllr Booth thought he'd be able to dispose of his surplus straw that way. (Cllr Brewis later commented that the fuel source was not a material consideration in SHDC's commitment to the biomass project).

At a public meeting the PC voted against the incinerator but when it came to the SHDC Planning Committee our two 'active' District Cllrs completely failed to give any support to the PC. In what Gammba-Jones described as a 'fulsome debate'. Better debates take place in your average chicken coop. The planners were rooting for PREL and the chairman made comments that no proper chairman should have made. A challenge to the conduct of the hearing was agreed by the PC and fighting fund of £10000 was agreed. The residents deserve to know why the PC refused to go ahead with this.

There were calls for the resignation of members of the PC.

In his defence, Cllr M Booth volunteered the information that he was not resigning since he believed in democracy and in any case all the BATI talk about toxins was simply scare-mongering. The PC could not agree to giving an open cheque to the solicitors. Craig Jackson pointed out that there was no open cheque—the PC had agreed to set aside a £10,000 fighting fund; the question was—Why has this been reneged upon?

Agenda Items

1. Simon Booth was absent.

6. The Clerk's report contained a reference to rave-ups, 420 tree saplings from the Woodland Trust and a King's Lynn Advisory Group to the Wash European Special Area of Conservation meeting on 3rd March which would include, amongst other things, a reference to the impact of tidal surges last December.

8a. Accounts for payment: Noteworthy is the fact that £3600 was paid on account of Cemetery Development Services for 'drawings'.

8c. £500 grant for SBPFOS for attention to Arnie Broughton Walk & Memorial Park.
£1000 has already been paid to a contractor for clearing Arnie Broughton Walk but more money would be needed.
Naming of an area in Memorial Park as 'Remembrance Wood' to be addressed in next agenda.
WW1 memorabilia to be exhibited in the church.

9a(i). Letter from SBIB re the use of old toilets as storage space.

12A. The church graveyard is looking lovely—thanks to Kevin

12E. The Parish Newsletter—report next month.
12F. Thanks to Cllr Hills for making progress over the Burial Ground

13. Sutton Bridge LIVES Cllr Croxford reported that there had been two volunteers—more needed. SB Youth Club—'ticking over'. A full-time youth worker had been appointed.

14. In secret session the PC had resolved not to pay for further solicitors' advice over the advisability of going for Judicial Review. The chair expressed the view that they should lobby the Environment Agency to let the PC know that there were no health risks relating to the proposed incinerator and no danger to residents.

*********

Standing Orders were suspended at this point. Craig Jackson pointed out that there were many unanswered questions regarding the SHDC Planning Process. If the PC had agreed to spend another £2000 on getting solicitors' advice these could have been answered. What about the lawfulness of SHDC's decision? Was SHDC a competent body to make a decision about anything other than OK-ing a building? There were many other variables. Sustainablitiy of fuel-stock was certainly a material consideration. The Chairman's faith in the EA was totally misplaced.

Standing Orders were re-established... Cllr Croxford pointed out that there will be health issues and that they will start burning waste when the pellets run out. Who had approached whom over siting the incinerator in Sutton Bridge? At the APM it was suggested that SHDC had approached PREL. Somebody is lying. He presented his formal resignation to the Chair, saying that he regretted not being at the secret meeting when a majority decided not to carry out the wishes of the PC. He said firmly that the issue had not been handled properly. There was a round of applause and a note of regret that the wrong person had resigned.

15. Power Station B. Cllr Rowe was the only Cllr who had read most of the Feasibility Study. The Chairman remarked that he couldn't get his head round it.

Cllr Rowe said it was important to find out how many times the existing power station had breached emission safety limits in the last five years.

Sutton Bridge B is on a green field site and another green field site might well be needed for CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) which looks like a huge building. The document itself does not include the CCS. The feasibility study states the European Union directive that Power stations need a CCS only came into force on 25 June 2009. EDF say they are not sure they will have to adhere to that's why their feasibility does not include it.

The map on page 42 does not show the Wingland Industrial site boundary—it only shows the boundary for SSB A and CCS. Very misleading as it looks as though all that land is designated for industrial use.

Cllr Rowe suggested that the PC request extension for time to comment as our Council were not informed the application was in. It only came to the notice of the Parish Clerk when she was talking with a clerk in a neighbouring village.
She asked about the consultation period for local plan and said that there should be an independent EIA for Sutton Bridge B.

Cllr Brewis supported Cllr Rowe's suggestion about an extension for time to comment and said that emissions rules were constantly changing, in fact that the increasing risk of floods meant that the whole thing would have to go back to the drawing board and the consultation would have to start again. In any case a consultation would only start when the PC is notified..

19. Section 106: through the Freedom of Information Act, the Clerk had ascertained details of the S106 monies held by SHDC and it would appear there is some difference between actual interest earned and interest paid to SB.

Marina Project: if the allocated S106 money is not used by them by July 2014 it was suggested that it should be returned to the pot.

NOTES FROM THE PUBLIC GALLERY:

+++++ | STOP PRESS | +++++

After a Public Meeting on the 27th February 2014 in support of Cllr Giles' stand, it was announced later that, rather than suffer the Judicial Review, SHDC had quashed the permission for the gasifier/incinerator on the grounds that sustainability of fuelstock had not been addressed properly. Cllrs Brewis & Booth might like to comment on this since they argued that this was 'not a material consideration'.

At the end of the Public Meeting there was a show of hands on two counts:-

1. That the Sutton Bridge community was the subject of victimisation by SHDC. The feeling of the Meeting was that Sutton Bridge has been, and is continuing to be, used as a dumping ground for obnoxious industrial developments.

2. That in view of the decision on the part of a majority of those present at the Extraordinary Meeting on February 13th, 2014, not to continue with a Judicial Review, a vote of no confidence in the current Sutton Bridge Parish Council should be recorded.

Both these informal motions were carried unanimously.


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Aug 22013

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 30th July, 2013

Archived notes for previous Parish Council meetings held in 2013 can now be viewed HERE


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