NEWS: secretive council / cricket joy / woodland for sale

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early February 2017
In this post we have news of…:  our local council holding secret meeting / building underway at the cricket club / a copse of trees for sale / countryside bunglaow for rent…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including an Open Day for anyone wanting to stand in elections to the County Council this May. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Bright Cricket future

It looks like 2017 is going to be a very big year for Blythe Cricket Club (who play in Cresswell, on the ground just up from the Izaak Walton).  Not only is the work on their new club-house/community-centre finally under way, but they have made a major signing.

It had been hoped that the work on the new brick building at the Cresswell Lane ground could get started last year, when the old wooden pavilion was knocked down.  (The pavilion had been up for nearly a century and was really showing its age).
However, any progress on the new-build meant jumping through yet more hoops with the Lottery Fund, which is the body underwriting much of the cost.
The good news however is that the hoops have been jumped and the construction company moved on to the site in the middle of last month (see pic below).
Sadly the work will not be finished in time for the cricket season, but fingers are tightly crossed for a completion in the late summer.  Perhaps.

Construction at Blythe Cricket Club Feb 2017Meanwhile, the First XI’s drive for promotion this year has been bolstered by the signing of the Bangladesh international Mosharraf Hossain as their professional for 2017.  The left-arm spinner has appeared on and off for his country for the last eight years. It shows the confidence the team has after a very good season last year.

– – –
To buy / to rent

Cresswell seems to be the place if you want to buy a little stretches of land. Following the sale of the old railway sidings land near Railway Cottages, comes a chance to buy the narrow spit of land that runs alongside Sandon Road as you approach the Hunter Pub – it’s just over an acre in size.  A copse of small trees stands there at the moment.
If you’re interested, the auction for it takes place on March 9th.Copse on Sandon Road

Copse on Sandon Road

By the wa, not far from that copse is a rather desirable bungalow, which is up for rent at the moment. Bungalow on farm track, Cresswell
It’s off the beaten track, down the unmade road at the back of Rookery Crescent, and surrounded by fields on three sides with fine views.  If you’re interested, it is going for £1200 a month. See details.

– – –
Secretive council

Did you hear about the ‘irregular’ Draycott Parish Council meeting which took place at the beginning of last month?
No, neither did we….

Even though this council has been reproached in the last few months for its tendency to want to pass decisions behind closed doors, this time it went even further, and didn’t even bother to inform the electors that it was meeting, or why.
We understand this particular meeting was arranged by the councillors themselves.  No public notice was put out, and no reason announced for why this secret meeting was held – no notification at all – nor even why it was so necessary to hold it behind closed doors – an action, which, as the Government’s own advice tells us, is “undesirable”.
The whole incident blows a huge big hole in the so-called ‘Transparency Code’, whereby councils are supposed to be much more open with their electors.

Exclusion of the public form

Exclusion of the public form. Was a document like this formally presented and signed?

What we’d ask the council to do as soon as possible is to publish: the subject of the meeting; why it was so important that it be a discussion excluding the public; which councillors attended (and which councillors, if any, objected to this possibly unlawful shenanigan); who took the minutes; and what decisions were finally taken (in our name!).
It would be really important too, to also know why the whole thing has been kept secret…

It does seem utterly unbelievable that this sort of thing is going on.  Until we get a full explanation, it just appears to be a lack of respect by the council for its own electors.

***
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8 responses to “NEWS: secretive council / cricket joy / woodland for sale

  1. Unacceptable comments

    Quite right Kate. The comments made about the work that you do, as clerk to the council, by some councilors I found to be totally unacceptable and I told them so. Disgraceful! Bet they didn’t tell you to your face!!!
    You work extremely hard and are very efficient. The fact that you volunteer your own time just to keep up with all that is involved is admirable.
    jleach2

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  2. From Kate Bradshaw, Clerk to Draycott Parish Council

    The public were not permitted to sit in on this meeting because “it was confidential, for the reasons of discussion of the Clerk Salary and Hours which is a permitted reason for holding a confidential meeting.
    I was not permitted personally to attend the meeting, as it concerned me as clerk, and a request I had made (a fact you seemed well aware of when you published the article about the precept rising because the clerk has asked for a pay rise.)
    To set the record absolutely straight what I (as Clerk) had asked for was that more of my hours might be paid for ie….. I am paid for 20 hours and work 40 every month …. I had not asked for an hourly rise!
    I have only received a copy of the minutes where I know the decision that was taken.”

    For the public domain…
    The minutes were documented by the chair………
    Decision: the council declined to pay me (as Clerk) for more hours – despite the recommendation of my professional body of 26 hours per month for a small parish council clerk plus 3 hours per month for website, social media etc to meet the needs of the Transparency Code (which can and will be funded by government up to April 2018 but after that will have to be funded by the parish council).
    If the council had been minded to pay for 26 hours per month then that would have caused the precept to rise by about £3 per household per year.. an increase the parish council were not prepared to do.
    On this occasion I think the council are to be commended in the management of public money not criticised.
    The only person who lost out in this negotiation is the Clerk.

    The Clerk now places on record that she is paid for 240 hours per year (20 hours per month) and any other hours are done on a voluntary basis.
    I hope this explains all your readers need to know.
    Kind regards
    Kate Bradshaw, Clerk to Draycott Parish Council

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  3. I hope that this copy of an email sent to Mark Stewart (who works on this website) on the 13 January 2017 regarding the “secret” meeting will clear the air…………
    “Dear Mark, My apologies if you didn’t see the notice…. I omitted to publish it. However it was detailed on the draft minutes for December.”
    I hope this explains what your readers need to know.
    Kind regards
    Kate Bradshaw, Clerk to Draycott Parish Council

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    • Kate, This seems to be a mystery.
      We have looked at the minutes of the parish council for December. In fact, there is no mention there of a possible extra meeting, no date for such a meeting, no agenda outlined. All these are required by law for a council meeting.
      We have looked at the draft minutes of the parish council for January. There is no mention of the secret meeting having taken place, who attended it, or what its decision was. A formal publication of these is required by law. As you were not present, have you, as the Clerk, even been given these details yet? If so, will these details be pubished eventually?

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      • Mystery solved.
        In error I had published my working document between agenda and final minutes. As soon as I looked at it again I realised my error as it is in no way complete.
        I have now updated the website with the signed copy of December minutes where it is clear for all to see the initial indication that the December meeting could include a confidential item.
        You will note that there is a record under Finance that the council declined to discuss…… and then at item 14 a date for a confidential meeting for 9 January 2017. I hope that clears that up.
        You are correct when you say that the minutes of that meeting should have been signed off at the January meeting but that will be remedied at the February meeting.
        In future it is my intention with minutes to publish a draft copy about a week or so after a meeting and then scan a signed copy of the minutes as the final copy. That way there is no room for error.
        Kate Bradshaw, Clerk to Draycott Parish Council

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  4. Quite right Maureen. Some coucilors don’t seem yo be able to be open and transparent… Why do you think I resigned??!!!!!

    By the way if this ‘secret’ meeting is the one I attended before I resigned last month, we were told not to discuss it with anyone else!!!!
    Ex parish councillor Jacquie Leach

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  5. It seems that the parish council may be in cahoots with someone/somerhing/somewhere! Usually when people wear masks, hoodies etc or do not want to reveal themselves for some reason there:s something to be ashamed of,or undercover, or plain deceitful! WHY, IF THERE’S NOTHING AMISS, DON’T YOU COME CLEAN!!?
    m.myers

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