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 Parish Council - increasingly arrogant?
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 13 Nov 2013 :  19:42:58  Show Profile
Two years ago, at the request of Angmering Parish Council, I established a Forum on their behalf in order they could answer questions from the public - these were in the days of openness. A set of rules was agreed to prevent abuse by Forum members.

It has been noticeable over the last year that responses by APC to questions raised by the public have been getting less useful and people have expressed the opinion to me that this Council is getting more secretive and providing responses that are barely satisfactory.

Under APC rules, they have undertaken to normally respond within three working days of a question being asked.

On 17 November - 4 weeks ago - I asked what I thought was the following reasonable question to which I still have not had a reply:
quote:
2014 will see the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 and commemorations are being planned globally. Across the UK, villages and other communities are preparing plans to commemorate the event.

As this has been discussed nationally for the last 4/5 months, I conclude the Parish Council has also been thinking about how they will coordinate events in Angmering, and talking to organisations such as the British Legion, the Church, Angmering In Bloom, The Angmering Society, Schools, etc.

Could APC advise the current situation as far as it is concerned.
It was a very simple question. If the Council had done nothing or did not intend doing anything, they should just be honest and say so. We appear to have now got to a situation where, if APC do not like a question, they will simply not reply - reneging on their agreement of aiming to respond within 3 days.

They are not that bright and I'm sure believe that the public is unaware of the secret and undocumented meetings they have been having on various issues. It would seem that the Council's arrogance is increasing weekly. The public meeting the Council proposed for September on housing issues was sidestepped, the Council believing that a poor statement issued by them would satisfy Angmering residents for which they no longer have any regard.

Take the Angmering Community Land Trust for an example. This should have a wide representation of capable Angmering residents and especially those who have eschewed becoming parish councillors due to the frustrations, among other things, caused by the inexorable time it takes in achieving anything. But what do we find? It looks as if the CLT will be having a high representation of parish councillors as trustees. These are the same people who are bleating that that they are working flat out and cannot take on any more commitments! Are they not just the same old gang trying to cover their tracks for their secret housing meetings?

Don't let those who are paying for all Angmering's services know what is going on - just extract the money from them. And, talking of money, have readers got any guesses to how much the parish precept is likely to increase next year? Will APC try and increase the precept as much as possible before central Government imposes a cap on inflationary increases without a parish referendum? We shall see!

derekdainton
deleted

579 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  09:34:25  Show Profile
Well said, Neil. Your views as a respected member of the community should be taken seriously. Despite many opportunities for the Parish Council to be more transparent in both their actions and communication, so far they have continued to proceed in their uniquely arrogant fashion.

Is this the approved stance of the Council as a whole or limited to particular individuals? If there are dissidents who think there's a better way they should have the courage of their convictions and make their opinions known. Otherwise they all stand condemned.

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patty
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
738 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  10:31:13  Show Profile
Neil, you are quite correct in what you say about the setting up of the Q&A page for the PC. We both spent a lot of time on this, and I would be extemely sad if it is not working correctly.
One of the thoughts behind this page was that perhaps in time, the PC could actually set up its own Q&A page, so that questions that were likely to be asked by many residents could be answered for all to see at a glance. With the problems arising from the site being maintained by Arun, we knew this would be a long way off, and you very kindly allowed this to be trialled on your site.
I thank you again for your assistance on this.

I do now find that things are being stated which I am sure must be inaccurate. The CLT was, or is being set up for the community and as such will be administered by the community. How can you say it is being hoodwinked by the PC? This is not a PC committee.

According to the last newsletter, there were some 19 people who gave their details to being part of this new venture. That alone outnumbers all the members of the PC, so I am at a loss to see how you can warrant your statement. As I recall, the original plan was for it to consist of a couple of Parish Councillors, acting as individuals with the main entity being members of the public.
In fact, at the P&F meeting in March, when this was originally discussed the following was minuted:

Although it was expected that the Parish Council would not be in control of the Trust, there was a need to ensure that it was supporting the idea and able to help to get it up and running.

I have to admit I cant find any further information on this at present, but I really cannot understand your statement and have to say, with the utmost respect, that on this occasion I am sure you are wrong.

any comments and views listed above are those of myself personally and not as a Parish Councillor, and in no way reflect opinions of the Parish Council or any other professional bodies
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derekdainton
deleted

579 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  10:45:58  Show Profile
So, Patty, in the interest of transparency, who from Parish Council will be represented on CLT?
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patty
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
738 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  11:02:18  Show Profile
Good question Derek, which I am afraid I can't answer as have been told nothing by the PC.
That is not to be taken as suspicious, because as said earlier, it is not a PC commitee so I would not expect too much detail to filter through, only the occasional updates.

Have to say I am presuming (which is a dangerous thing to do), that it would be the orginal 2 or was it 3 members that went to the original set up meeting.

OK, looks like I dont know much, so will have to ask, but I still dont see how the PC can monopolise the Trust with 19 possible volunteers.

Surely there must be a Trust member who reads this Forum, that can enlighten us and put an end to this suspicion.


any comments and views listed above are those of myself personally and not as a Parish Councillor, and in no way reflect opinions of the Parish Council or any other professional bodies
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derekdainton
deleted

579 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  11:13:31  Show Profile
Fair enough. But if there were 19 volunteers, I wonder how the eventual representation was decided, whatever it is. Perhaps someone can answer that one as well?
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  11:21:44  Show Profile
Regarding the CLT, I am talking about the eventual trustees and not the 19 people who originally expressed an interest in the CLT. Volunteers who would assist in some way are, of course, entirely different from trustees. While they might express opinions, they would have no say in how the Trust operates.

I'm sure that there would never be 19 trustees. The CLT could probably not effectively operate if there was much more than 11 as a maximum.

I do not disagree with there being one or possibly two representative trustees on the CLT from the Parish Council to provide a Council perspective but, if there were many more, they could seriously influence the CLT and impose their ideas and policies on it. The CLT needs to be totally independent from the Parish Council from the outset or it will not have any credibility in the eyes of the public.

If there is no secrecy surrounding the CLT - and there should not be - perhaps someone could give an indication of how many trustees there are likely to be and at what stage the CLT is at.
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  11:44:13  Show Profile
So APC, following my comments on the WW1 commemorations, has now at last responded today. Not the hint of an apology for not observing their own rules. Arrogance? I leave it to others to judge!

With all due respects to the British Legion, they are an ageing body and I doubt whether they have the ability or resources to coordinate the 2014 WW1 commemorations with all appropriate village organisations. Parish Councils throughout the country are taking the lead but not so in Angmering it seems. Now there's a surprise!
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Robinf
Senior Member

105 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  12:41:44  Show Profile
The PC have been banging on about the CLT and that they are only there to promote the body and that it will be the trustees who will be in control. So it's interesting wording from the PC, as minuted at the P&F meeting in March:

"Although it was expected that the Parish Council would not be in control of the Trust, there was a need to ensure that it was supporting the idea and able to help to get it up and running."

The word 'expected' suggests to me some ambiguity in the PC position on who might end up controlling the CLT. Perhaps if they had said 'the PC will not control the CLT under any circumstances...' might have made their position quite clear.

I'm sure someone will come back and say I have taken this out of context.

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derekdainton
deleted

579 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  13:00:11  Show Profile
Whilst we wait for any information from the Angmering CLT a visit to the Community Land Trust website at www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk reveals an interactive map. Clicking on Angmering reveals:

"Angmering CLT is exploring a library, new community facilities and food growing in addition to affordable housing in their popular commuter village in Sussex. The CLT has developed from a neighbourhood planning exercise and is currently in its early stages."

Cynics would say we can probably dispense with the first three areas of exploration as a bit of a smokescreen but it would be interesting to know where in the village the affordable housing is being considered?
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luckyduck
Moderator

United Kingdom
169 Posts

Posted - 14 Nov 2013 :  14:10:48  Show Profile
In answer to some of the points above, the starter list of trustees consists of 5 councillors, including the chairman, 2 non aligned villagers, the vicar, and the chairman is the ex chairman of SEEDA (the government planning quango for the south east of England) - and all have been 'invited' to be trustees, but no-one knows who has issued the invitations, and from the list none have any previous experience of setting up trusts, except for one non aligned villager. So it strikes me that the above statements that APC will not seek to influence the CLT are the usual load of mis-information emitted by the parish office. You may also like to know that the CLT has been having some secret discussions/negotiations with Arun DC, but as the CLT does not exists as a legal entity, it will be interesting to know on what basis they have been entering discussions.
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derekdainton
deleted

579 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2013 :  13:21:47  Show Profile
Certainly appears to be skewed towards APC influence. Which actually means the APC Chairman's writ wrote large!
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Mr Growser
Average Member

United Kingdom
81 Posts

Posted - 18 Nov 2013 :  16:17:34  Show Profile
Agree with Neil that it is unrealistic to expect The British Legion to make all the running in arranging appropriate activities to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the commencement of World War 1.
Those stalwart people who still carry the Banner for The British Legion are like all of us getting older and must surely expect help and initiatives from other Villagers who,in turn I suspect,look to APC to show some leadership as are many,many other PC`s throughout the Country.
Sadly the subsequent posting by the APC Chair does not indicate that APC is prepared to take a lead role but instead says it will support whatever ideas the BL comes up with.
Absolutely NOT GOOD ENOUGH and needs to be reconsidered.
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seagull
Average Member

United Kingdom
49 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2013 :  13:23:27  Show Profile
I would rather spend more effort in celebrating the END of WW1 than the start! However rather than bashing the Parish Council, as usual, how about us villagers telling the Parish Council what WE want. We elected them to represent our views, so let's start giving them some. How about planting poppies around the village to remember those that lost their lives or who were injured. There you are, that's a start!! I am sure you can all come up with better ones?
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2013 :  17:24:11  Show Profile
What you would like, seagull, is not what the nation is going to do. Might celebrate the end of WW1 in 4 years' time. Understand Angmering In Bloom will be planting poppies around the village.

Tell the Parish Council what we want? I agree with you in principle but this Parish Council does not listen to the people who elected them - really no different from central or local government! My polite question to the Parish Council was ignored for a month and, after pressing for a reply, was then completely brushed aside with the suggestion that effectively APC was going to do nothing! Utterly heartless!

If you know some councillors, seagull, perhaps you could try bending their ears!!!
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seagull
Average Member

United Kingdom
49 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2013 :  18:27:46  Show Profile
I agree, Neil, that the Parish Council are not very transparent and user friendly but it is still up to us to tell them what WE want, not for them to tell us what they are going to do. If they continue to ignore our wishes, then we must make sure they are not re-elected in 2015, especially the Chairman, as the buck stops with him!
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patty
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
738 Posts

Posted - 23 Nov 2013 :  18:39:24  Show Profile
A few of us are currently talking about ideas for the next 4 years.
Several things have been suggested to commemorate the people who lost their lives, during the space of the next 4 years.

One idea that we are looking at, is the possibility of re-producing the celebrations for the end of the war in 4 years time, to as near as we can achieve, copying those celebrations of 100 years ago.

The details are on Neil's history pages on the AVL site and I would welcome any comments on this idea.

(I am not answering this for PC, this is with my other hat on as a parishioner).



any comments and views listed above are those of myself personally and not as a Parish Councillor, and in no way reflect opinions of the Parish Council or any other professional bodies

Edited by - patty on 23 Nov 2013 19:01:30
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2013 :  10:36:23  Show Profile
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of hostilities in 2018 is fine and I personally think that is what the national project SHOULD have been - but it's not. The national project is for commemorations during 2014.

Knowing the recent history of our Parish Council (and even the apathy of many village residents), nothing will happen within the next four years either.

What is likely to happen nationally in 2014 is that there will be a move to amalgamate all village/town projects for 2014 into a county or national archive. If Angmering does nothing for the 2014 commemorations, then there will be a sad gap in those archives.

Angmering Parish Council did nothing for the village Millennium Maps Project. A beautiful book was produced featuring maps from villages right across West Sussex. The glaring omission? Angmering.

Now I'm well under way in researching Angmering's Fallen during WW1 and will be adding another section on those from Angmering who served and survived that war. Can anyone suggest how this material could be used? Obviously, I will include it in the AVL History Centre.

However, first of all I will be publishing a booklet on the life of probably Angmering's greatest soldier and server of St Margaret's Church and the Community - Col. Sydney 'Tommy' Tomlin - who joined the Royal Artillery as a bandsboy in the first decade of the 20th century, served with distinction in both World Wars, and rose to become the Military Commander of Rome (1944/45) with the non-substantive rank of Brigadier. Tomlin did not arrive in Angmering until 1947 so it may be difficult to justify the booklet being part of the 1914-2014 documentation, but it raises awareness ahead of the 2014 national commemorations. The booklet will be available early December (Price 2) - perhaps a stocking filler for those interested in Angmering history.
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Bert
Advanced Member

484 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2013 :  13:43:58  Show Profile
I appreciate "the national project" is for commemorations during 2014, in respect of WW1.

However I agree with seagull and neil that it appears to me rather strange. I accept entirely that 2014 needs to be recognised, but "commemorations" tends to suggest a form of celebration.

A recognition is very different to a commemoration.

I see nothing to celebrate over the commencement of WW1. But I see much to commemorate and celebrate in 2018 on the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.

Irrespective of what does or does not occur in the form of "commemorations" nationally or locally, I will not be supporting "the national project" on this occasion, and it has nothing to do with "apathy."
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2013 :  14:02:11  Show Profile
I think the term "commemoration" was used deliberately to differentiate it from "celebration". The fear is that celebrating the end of the war might be taken as a celebration of victory which communities are trying to avoid. Commemorating the 1914-1918 years is intended to remember all those who served worldwide and on both sides of the conflict.
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Bert
Advanced Member

484 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2013 :  15:37:01  Show Profile
That's a fair point Neil. However, as I wrote, .."commemorations tend to suggest a form of celebration."....."tend to..."

I appreciate it is intended to remember all those who served during the four years. But there will not be continuous commemorations for four years, and I will still prefer to concentrate a remembrance in 2018, much like we have very recently had remembrance occasions to commemorate the end of WW2.
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derekdainton
deleted

579 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2013 :  08:10:58  Show Profile
Certainly it seems to make more sense to mark the end of the war rather than the beginning. Indeed, some might say the end of any war is a cause for celebration. Semantics can get really tricky.
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2013 :  09:36:36  Show Profile
I think it is a project spread over 4 years starting from 1914. As I have indicated earlier, I also believe the thinking is flawed and it would have been much better to concentrate efforts on 1918. It is therefore likely that there will be a half-hearted approach to it which will dilute any commemorations/celebrations of the end of the war.
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2013 :  16:32:35  Show Profile
Back on the question of arrogance, the Parish Council has stopped posting agendas and minutes of meetings on its website. Agenda and minutes were not published for the full PC meeting on 14 November nor for the earlier Policy & Finance Committee Meeting on 29 October.

Is this a deliberate policy to keep residents in the dark about what the Council is doing, or has somebody at the Council lost control?
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luckyduck
Moderator

United Kingdom
169 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2013 :  16:35:42  Show Profile
Neil - are you implying that the local mafia does not know what it is doing? I thought they knew how to control everything, including what the villagers do and do not want. Please remember they are our thought police, and know far better than any villager what is good for the village, so why should they demean themselves to tell us anything?
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2013 :  16:55:05  Show Profile
Before anybody objects to aspects of luckyduck's last posting, I'm certain that "mafia" (lowercase) was used in the generally accepted sense of an organisation/body of people controlling everything and everybody rather than "Mafia" (with a capital M) who are slightly more extreme!

Just saying that as there might be a lot of concrete foundations laid in the district in next few years.
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derekdainton
deleted

579 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2013 :  18:48:10  Show Profile
And in a similar vein could we describe the communications policy of APC as the local equivalent of Omerta? (Upper Case)
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neil
Forum Owner / Moderator

United Kingdom
2623 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2013 :  16:46:09  Show Profile
With regard to the non-published Agendas and Minutes, I had a phone call from the Chairman of APC this afternoon explaining that the hosts of their website, Arun District Council, have an on-going problem in uploading new files to their server which is affecting the websites of some parish councils. They seem unable get to the bottom of the problem at present.

He asked me to put a suitable explanation on the AVL webpage which I will do. I have offered to host the minutes on the AVL website until Arun sort out their difficulties.
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roosterbri
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
553 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2013 :  06:32:23  Show Profile
""websites of some parish councils"" would not just be Angmering and the Three Villages would it......would it????????!!!!
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Robinf
Senior Member

105 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2013 :  06:48:50  Show Profile
No doubt the ADC IT boys won't be able to fix the problem until it suits the suits down at the Town Hall.
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roosterbri
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
553 Posts

Posted - 01 Dec 2013 :  15:29:56  Show Profile
""I have offered to host the minutes on the AVL website until Arun sort out their difficulties."" or they could post a copy in the Council Office window along with the other junk that is in there.
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