Labour’s fixation with land acquisition-A Liability?

One of the agenda items at Monday`s  APC meeting (15th December)  (Item 9 (iii) was another chance for Anston Parish Council to ‘grab’ more land.  Lafarge Tarmac Trading who own the Lindrick Dale and Brancliffe (near the canal at Turnerwood) disused quarries are keen for the Parish Council to take these into APC ownership.                                                                                                                                     The three Independent Cllrs, Baker, Jepson and Thornton, spoke against taking on this land due to the cost of maintaining the SSSi site, road/track maintenance, the bridge maintenance and who has rights of legal access.

No surprise then when the Labour Party councillors went against them and forced through another meeting with the agents of Lafarge. It was pointed out that there had already been a meeting at the site, with Independent Cllr’s Baker, Jepson and Thornton and Labour Cllr.Dalton attending, but this was dismissed by the Labour group.

Cllr Dalton, who clearly wants to take on this land, failed to give any answers when challenged why the Council needs it.-Simple answer; She has no plans, no costings and no idea. This seems reminiscent of the last Labour land grab, the purchase of 32 acres of land off Rackford Road(now known as Rackford Meadows) in which it was strongly argued that no proper public consultations took place to commit £12,800 per year of local taxpayers money for the next 20 years to repay the loan taken out by APC. Not surprisingly the two main protagonists who were pushing for the purchase of Rackford Meadows, Labour Cllrs.Dalton and St.John, don’t live in Anston village and therefore will not be paying the extra costs via the parish precept.

Background on the Lafarge/APC proposal:                                                 Neither site is likely to be developed in any way due to the locations access constraints and the fact that one site is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). It therefore follows that the potential for any income from them is zero. It was discussed at the site meeting that the vendor (Lafarge Tarmac) also wants to transfer to APC a bridge over the river and the access track that serves 3 or 4 properties. It was said by the vendors agents that the vendors had been maintaining the access track and immediately above this track is a steep wooded embankment that has some very large mature trees growing on it. All  this adds up to a considerable liability for local taxpayers. If APC does not accept the land there is very little chance any detrimental development would take place at either site. The letter from the land agents on the agenda at Monday night’s meeting mentioned a historic agreement for the land quarries to be transferred to the PC when restoration was complete, even if this were the case there is no evidence of any such agreement, and the fact that no restoration work at all has been carried out means that the terms of the alleged agreement has not yet been met by the vendor. No work other than replacing/repairing some fencing has been carried out at either site for decades. It is for this reason the floor of Lindrick quarry has become a SSI which means it is of no practical use and can’t be restored or landscaped.

To sum up;                                                                                                                             A company which makes huge profits is trying to pass on their liabilities-which they no longer want-to APC. If APC were to accept the proposal they would be signing the taxayers of Anston up to cover the cost of this liability for ever more. Anston Independent Cllrs. hold the view that to even give the proposal any kind of consideration the vendors would need to indemnify APC from responsibilities regarding the access track and river bridge and offer a considerable lump sum to negate on-going maintenance costs for at least the next 50 years.                                                                                                      Anston PC has a history of acting in haste (they were given Anston Stones by RMBC) so it’s easy to see what will happen with the ongoing costs of the quarries if Labour dominated APC accept force through this proposal.

1) What are the cost implications?

2) Will we be consulted?

3) Will we be lumbered with more tax increases before the Parish Elections in May 2015?.

Anston Labour councillors; Answers please. 

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A big Thank You to all our British and International readers, rebloggers and followers who have helped to increase awareness of this site. Since going live in late May this year nearly 9000 of you have visited this blog and read about the strange-and often undemocratic and chaotic-behaviour of Labour councillors-(aided and abetted by the two sham Independents, Brindley and Ireland) on Anston Parish Council who have forgotten why they were elected and who they were elected to represent in Anston. In May 2015 Anston residents will have the opportunity to change the balance of power on Anston Parish Council so we can have Openess, Honesty, Transparency and real Democracy to replace what we are currently presented with; Secrecy,Half Truths and Cover Ups.

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The next update will be week commencing 5th January 2015.

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