ANSTON PARISH COUNCIL MEETING – MONDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2012
STATEMENT OF TRUTH.
On Monday 17 September 2012, I attended Anston Parish Council Meeting.
During the 1st Question Time for the public, an Anston Resident Mr George Dickens asked questions as follows:
Mr Dickens said he had seen from previous Parish Council (PC) Minutes that it had been RESOLVED; To purchase land, the funding of which was to be a loan from the Public Works Loan Board. Mr Dickens asked the Chairman:
What was the purpose of this purchase, What price was being paid, How much land was involved in he purchase. How was the purchase being funded (Mr Dickens acknowledged that a loan was to be taken out but asked what the interest on this loan would be. He further queried the impact of this loan on the precept for Anston.
The Chairman ( RMBC Borough Councillor, Dominic Beck) told Mr Dickens he could not give details because the Parish Council was still in negotiation with the seller.
Mr Dickens then again asked the Chairman how much land was involved and what was the reason for this purchase, saying that would not breach any confidentiality. The Chairman refused to disclose this information saying doing so would disclose where the land was.
Mr Dickens asked the Chairman if the PC would be consulting with the public. The emphatic reply was that they would be doing so. A councillor then queried this, asking when that decision had been made saying it had not been brought before the council.
At that point the Clerk Michael Gazur, leaned towards the Chairman and whispered something to him after which the Chairman then said “We will be publishing it in the News Letter.” Several members of the public then raised objections saying that would not be the consultation the Chairman had agreed earlier in the meeting.
At this point the Chairman said “I am closing the public session because it is for 20 minutes and you have had 21.” At the end of the meeting, during the 10 minutes for the public to ask questions pertaining to what had been discussed Mr Dickens raised the point: Would the public be consulted by the PC in respect of the purchase of this land. He pointed out that he was unsure of the Chairman’s answers, he said a Yes or No would be sufficient by way of answer.
RMBC Councillor Judy Dalton then raised an objection by way of saying that the 10 minute session was for members of the public to ask questions regarding anything that had happened in the PC meeting. Councillor Thornton pointed out the Agenda heading for this public session: That it was permissible for questions to be asked on anything that occurred in the PC meeting and the public sessions. Mr Dickens requested the Chairman, to ask the clerk to record his questions in the public notes that usually accompany the minutes. The Chairman refused and told Mr Dickens to write in. Mr Dickens pointed out that he had already asked his questions and that the PC were well aware of this and the
nature of his questions.
Mr Dickens pointed out it was because of this behaviour i.e. their refusal to be open with
the public, that lead people to be concerned about the way business was conducted at Anston PC. Mr Dickens stressed he was not saying the PC was doing anything untoward but their lack of openness caused concern for people.
At this point Cllr Iain St.John started a tirade against Mr Dickens, this tirade continued for some minutes. At the point where Cllr St.John said to Mr Dickens “You have had your reply now shut up and get out” I left off my note taking and looked up. Cllr St.John was leaning the full width of the table, his face was red, his eyes bulging and the veins on his neck standing out. He was glaring, shouting and screaming at Mr Dickens. I tried to stop this bullying behaviour towards Mr Dickens by calling out Oy Oy that’s enough. Cllr St.John paid no attention, he continued shouting and screaming at Mr Dickens so loudly words were becoming indistinguishable, it was noise and rant and this continued for some minutes.
Mr Dickens and other members of the public left the meeting, I stood up and said that the behaviour we had witnessed was absolutely disgraceful and disgusting. I repeated this several times. I looked at the Chairman, Dominic Beck, he was sitting with his head down. I sat down and looked at Iain St,John, who also then had his head down. I started to gather my belongings, all the time looking at Iain St.John. He raised his eyes and I told him once more that his behaviour was thoroughly disgusting. He put his head down for a few moments then jumped to his feet and went out. I collected my belongings and went out. As I got into the porch Iain St.John was shouting at another member of the public in the same uncontrolled way. Mr Dickens was standing quietly by the door.
At no time whilst I was in the porch did Cllr St.John apologise for his behaviour. Eventually he just turned and went back into the meeting.
Cllr St.John’s behaviour was totally uncalled for. It was disrespectful, intimidating and bullying. To speak to anyone in the manner witnessed is unacceptable and for a public servant to rant uncontrollably at a member of the public deserves investigation.
At no time did any Parish Councillor, bar one-Independent Councillor Stuart Thornton– intervene to stop this bullying.
Nor did the Chairman (Dominic Beck) curtail or even attempt to curtail this disgusting tirade.
Signed as a true record Hilary Estrada-Haigh. 30 September 2012
firstname.lastname@example.org says: Why is this uncouth person still a Councillor?