In Anston Secrecy Still The Norm?

Consultation, What Consultation!

May I inform residents of Anston, through your columns, that Anston Parish Council is embarking on the purchase of land which it is at pains to keep secret from members of the public.

Despite continual questioning by the public at parish council meetings, Anston Parish Council refuses to furnish answers to the public.

The chairman, Dominic Beck, has stated quite clearly that the public will not be consulted on this matter. There are rumours in this village that the land is of very substantial size. It follow, therefore, that the purchase price will be a great deal. This needs to be put before the ratepayers of Anston.

After all it is ourselves the ratepayers who will have to foot the bill, which could amount to many thousands of pounds, possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds.

This money will have to be borrowed and, obviously, paid back with interest. This will be over many years. An onerous burden for the residents of Anston.

Anston Parish Council seek to justify this secret purchase using the following figures, which were discussed at the meeting of Monday 15 October.

Out of about 3,500 households surveyed. only 300 replies were received (less than 10 per cent). And of the 300 replie,s not all were in favour of the parish council purchasing land. The results of the whole survey have not been released to the public – WHY?

However,  despite the fact that Anston Parish Council refuses to tell the public where the land is, ex-chairman John Ireland gave the game away at Monday’s meeting.

Cllr Ireland said we want to create a buffer zone to protect Anston Stones Wood . It does not need much stretch of the imagination to work out where this land is and, given the rumours circulating around the village, it appears to be on Rackford Road.

The residents of Anston should be made aware of the financial burden that Anston Parish Council is intending to place upon them in this difficult financial climate.

It is worthy of note that four of these councillors, three of whom are Rotherham Borough councillors, do not live in the Anston catchment area, so no problem for them.

Come clean councillors – it is Anston ratepayer’s money. Consult with the Anston ratepayer.

Hilary Estrada-Haigh

5 thoughts on “In Anston Secrecy Still The Norm?

  1. Firstly the fact that a consultation was carried out does in effect mean precisely that. The fact that it had a poor return is not relevant. The results should have been published, but it is unclear why this has not been done.

    Regarding the purchase of the land, I can see why they want to do it. The Public Works Loan Board offers an extremely favourable rate of interest, and is used a lot for funding things of this nature. The land could be a useful aquisition.They appear to have no loans outstanding according to the last accounts.

    However. having read some of the minutes and other documents on the council website, I can see why there is cause for concern, Firstly does anybody have an interest in that land either current or future? (they don’t always declare) Who is the current owner, and what type of land is t i e. is there any prospect of planning permission being sought or granted for the land in question,.

    I note they have virtually agreed to pay the asking price, and this is where I start to worry a little. It is relatively easy to get a valuation on any land, and to establish current ownership.

    I think they take too much notice of RMBC is chucking out the public and clearly the chair leaves a lot to be desired not to mention the clerk’

    Here is a link for the Public Works Loan Board regarding loans to Parish Councils they are quite helpful if you need further information

    http://www.dmo.gov.uk/index.aspx?page=PWLB/PWLB_pc_lending

    You might also contact the Taxpayers Alliance about this

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/

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  2. Dear Hilary,

    I would very strongly urge and advise that any citizen who REQUIRES (not asks or begs) statutory information from a statutory authority, into which category the Parish Council neatly fits, submits a Freedom of Information Request by e-mail to the Clerk of the Parish Council, and cc’s in as many of their friends, acquaintances, RothPol readers, MPs, Information Commissioner, maybe a decent local newspaper (if there happens to be one), radio station, Private Eye, etc etc.

    That statutory organisation has 20 working days to respond with the info or a reason why they choose to withhold it. Been there many many times in the last 10 years, and references to same can be supplied from the vaults of Rovrum Town Hall Towers if required 🙂

    If you require help drafting help with such a FOI Request it would be my honour and privilege to act on your behalf to challenge this satellite statutory organisation that’s dominated by RMBC Corn Fed Grunters, Muppets and Clowns.

    You can contact me through the RothPol Editor.

    Kind Regards,
    Lt-Col Grald-Hunter,
    FOI Civic Consultant and Harrier of Corn-Fed Grunters, Muppets and Clowns 🙂

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  3. Dear Casstrickland,
    just to clear up a few points, the “Consultation” was a survey carried out for a “Parish Plan” and no mention was made at the time that the Parish Council wished to buy land. I am sure that if the costs were put and the land amount were given, the out come would have been even lower than the so called 10%. ( Interestingly, at the last Council Meeting when challenged over the amount of replies the Council had received, none of the Councilors knew the answer,or remained quite. And yet this is the “so Called” figure that they are basing their justification on.) The Public Works Loan Board do give a good rate of interest, but again the Parish Council has not and will not say how much or how long any loan will be over. The Main point is that the parish Council is going to buy land, in our name, using our money, but will not tell us anything about it. The Chairman Cllr Beck has said the Parish Council are NOT going to consult with the Public, why not ? its our money. The Parish Council did a similar thing about six years ago under the Chairmanship of Cllr St John. They purchased 3 acres of land at twice the then current price (Value per acre £3,000 PC bought at £6,000) Dispite repeated requests from the Public to Cllr St John, they point blank refused to to release anything until the land had been purchased. I am quite sure that most people in Anston, to this day do not know we own this land. The Parish Council aready owns approx 100 acres of land which costs in the region of £18,000 to £20,000 a year to maintain, so why do we need more?.
    Finally, 3 of the Labour (and it is the Labour Councilors who are pushing this) do not live in the Village. Cllr St John and Cllr Dalton both live in Dinnington and Cllr Burton lives in Woodsetts, so no cost to them then.
    Consultation should happen with the people who are paying Tax in this Village.

    Ps Whats the betting that the Parish Council Tax/Precept will be going up next year (no Election next year). Guess which 3 Labour Cllrs will be voting for it , and guess which 3 Labour Cllrs wont be paying for it?.

    S Thornton

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  4. Moonshine, we are not the kind of blog that publishes unsubstantiated remarks. Please evidence them if you want comments, such as yours, published in the future.
    Rothpol

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