Cross Keys Swing Bridge, Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire

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Sutton Bridge Parish Council
Archived Meetings News for 2014


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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