Lib Dems tone is ‘hurtful and upsetting’

First published in Letters

WITH reference to the ‘ditched planning records’ the circumstances behind this are common knowledge at the council and why I took the decision as the manager.

Since the council was threatened by the landlord of New Town with a rental increase based upon the amount of space occupied by the thousands of files dating back to 1946, I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone.

In so doing I saved the council business rent and as far as I am aware caused no problems for at least the past four years. I do not see the ‘immense problems’ that Councillor Axcell refers to.

As soon as the issue came to a head I wrote to the council and explained the action taken and a more detailed letter of mine was attached to the committee report and there is absolutely nothing more to add.

The reason why this has emerged again is simple. The Liberal Democrats are making political capital of the issue, in particular they wish to denigrate the leader of the council who was chairman of the development control committee for many years, serving it selflessly throughout.

The Lib Dems have worked for years in a non-political capacity on the council. As a lifelong Warrington resident I feel the future of the town is far safer with Labour than their opponents who are more interested in this type of squabbling than delivering achievements on the ground.

While I obviously regret what has happened since the destruction of the files I firmly believe that my track record in being prominent in delivering the Rixton Clay Pits Nature Reserve, Marks & Spencer Westbrook, Golden Square, The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Victoria Square Stockton Heath and the future of Alford Hall bequeaths an improved quality of life for thousands of Warrington residents.

The tone of the Lib Dems attack is extremely hurtful and upsetting to my family but does not surprise me.

JOHN EARLE Grappenhall

Comments (38)

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2:21pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Nick Tessla says...

John Earle writes


" I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone."


On what criteria did he decide they would be of no interest?
John Earle writes " I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone." On what criteria did he decide they would be of no interest? Nick Tessla
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2:54pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Samantha1000 says...

The man is clearly running scared. He knew the importance of maintaining a planning register. It is a statutory requirement. Also he was told by the previous head of legal, circa 1999 - 2000 not to destroy the records. Yet he did. Then he refused to attend the inquiry, only submitting a brief summary after the inquiry, thus avoiding any questioning of his actions and motive.
The man is clearly running scared. He knew the importance of maintaining a planning register. It is a statutory requirement. Also he was told by the previous head of legal, circa 1999 - 2000 not to destroy the records. Yet he did. Then he refused to attend the inquiry, only submitting a brief summary after the inquiry, thus avoiding any questioning of his actions and motive. Samantha1000
  • Score: 0

2:57pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Gorsedd says...

Nick Tessla wrote:
John Earle writes


" I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone."


On what criteria did he decide they would be of no interest?
Right Nick - and in whose interest did he make the decision made?
[quote][p][bold]Nick Tessla[/bold] wrote: John Earle writes " I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone." On what criteria did he decide they would be of no interest?[/p][/quote]Right Nick - and in whose interest did he make the decision made? Gorsedd
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3:36pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Richard65 says...

What a dreadful man, he refused to attend the inquiry and now peddles this crap and wants sympathy!!
What a dreadful man, he refused to attend the inquiry and now peddles this crap and wants sympathy!! Richard65
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Clariot says...

Why now John?, why are you expressing hurt now and trying to play the sympathy card. Why did you not attend the inquiry?Why are dragging Terry Oneill into this? Why are your referring to the fact that Terry served as the chair of the development management committee, for years back in the day when you ruled the roost?

I do hope one day the truth is known, as there is a bad smell about all of this. Especially so in the aftermath of the inquiry report, which was clearly a cover up.
Why now John?, why are you expressing hurt now and trying to play the sympathy card. Why did you not attend the inquiry?Why are dragging Terry Oneill into this? Why are your referring to the fact that Terry served as the chair of the development management committee, for years back in the day when you ruled the roost? I do hope one day the truth is known, as there is a bad smell about all of this. Especially so in the aftermath of the inquiry report, which was clearly a cover up. Clariot
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Thu 3 Jan 13

grey_man says...

So this man knowingly broke the law with all the consequences that had in the run up to the LGO report into the Marton Close scandal and God knows what else. He then refused to co-operate with the official inquiry and now he's on here bleating like this.

And still we can ask. Is it more likely that an experienced and senior planning officer like John Earle who had also been told what he was doing was unlawful 'made an honest mistake' in destroying the entire planning record while leaving not a single trace of the decision and the destruction in any minutes, memos, emails and notes? Or that there was another motive?

Just call the police to investigate what was going on. If he's done nothing wrong, there won't be a problem and it will be cleared up.
So this man knowingly broke the law with all the consequences that had in the run up to the LGO report into the Marton Close scandal and God knows what else. He then refused to co-operate with the official inquiry and now he's on here bleating like this. And still we can ask. Is it more likely that an experienced and senior planning officer like John Earle who had also been told what he was doing was unlawful 'made an honest mistake' in destroying the entire planning record while leaving not a single trace of the decision and the destruction in any minutes, memos, emails and notes? Or that there was another motive? Just call the police to investigate what was going on. If he's done nothing wrong, there won't be a problem and it will be cleared up. grey_man
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Thu 3 Jan 13

grey_man says...

Nick Tessla wrote:
John Earle writes


" I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone."


On what criteria did he decide they would be of no interest?
Nick

I am not a planner. But I can guarantee that any planning record will consist mainly of domestic extensions. So it's an irrelevant point he is making.

What should be of interest are the minority of records. Somebody pointed out on here recently how the destruction had made one significant planning dispute impossible to object to because Earle had destroyed the records for it. Maybe he should be more concerned with that part of his legacy.
[quote][p][bold]Nick Tessla[/bold] wrote: John Earle writes " I went through each one personally. I kept those that I felt could be of interest in the future, the vast majority of those destroyed were domestic extensions of no interest to anyone." On what criteria did he decide they would be of no interest?[/p][/quote]Nick I am not a planner. But I can guarantee that any planning record will consist mainly of domestic extensions. So it's an irrelevant point he is making. What should be of interest are the minority of records. Somebody pointed out on here recently how the destruction had made one significant planning dispute impossible to object to because Earle had destroyed the records for it. Maybe he should be more concerned with that part of his legacy. grey_man
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5:27pm Thu 3 Jan 13

grey_man says...

One more thing. When Earle says that he 'caused no problems'. I assume he's pretending to be unaware of the planning dispute in the centre of this, that led to the LGO report that made the national news and which also meant that Warrington residents were involved in a dispute so vicious that the police were involved on more than 100 occasions.
One more thing. When Earle says that he 'caused no problems'. I assume he's pretending to be unaware of the planning dispute in the centre of this, that led to the LGO report that made the national news and which also meant that Warrington residents were involved in a dispute so vicious that the police were involved on more than 100 occasions. grey_man
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5:37pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Dustin says...

This seems to be confirmation of what we have all thought for some time. Namely that he was not the only senior officer (and most probably the odd member or three - if he is telling the truth) who knew statutory records had been wantonly destroyed. The inquiry revealed all the principal planners knew and decided to button their lips. But from this letter (if true) the knowledge of unlawfulness was more widespread. If it that is so the electorate is entitled to know. No wonder the interim CEO who is set to be with us for the foreseeable future wants to put this down as just "a lack of communication" (see WW). The Lib Dems were the only party who wanted the Police brought in and I think they were right then furthermore subsequent events lend weight to that view.
This seems to be confirmation of what we have all thought for some time. Namely that he was not the only senior officer (and most probably the odd member or three - if he is telling the truth) who knew statutory records had been wantonly destroyed. The inquiry revealed all the principal planners knew and decided to button their lips. But from this letter (if true) the knowledge of unlawfulness was more widespread. If it that is so the electorate is entitled to know. No wonder the interim CEO who is set to be with us for the foreseeable future wants to put this down as just "a lack of communication" (see WW). The Lib Dems were the only party who wanted the Police brought in and I think they were right then furthermore subsequent events lend weight to that view. Dustin
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Reader says...

I find it rather unbelievable that not only did the once head of department destroy statutory planning records which by law MUST be kept (even I know that and I don't work in planning).

With all the public outrace, internal investigations, local and national news coverage and even a public inquiry (which HE refused to go to) he now speaks out by posting a so called 'heartfelt' letter on the Guardian letter page and one that is nothing more than political finger pointing.

Maybe people would have had more respect for him and may have even classed it as a genuine 'mistake' had HE been open and forthcoming in the fist place. Saying that it wasn't a 'mistake' and he has made it clear that the destruction was intentional.

Can't help but think maybe he is covering someone elses back too who may be at risk of some bad press or even loss of job in the hope that his letter will finally settle the dust for ALL concerned.
I find it rather unbelievable that not only did the once head of department destroy statutory planning records which by law MUST be kept (even I know that and I don't work in planning). With all the public outrace, internal investigations, local and national news coverage and even a public inquiry (which HE refused to go to) he now speaks out by posting a so called 'heartfelt' letter on the Guardian letter page and one that is nothing more than political finger pointing. Maybe people would have had more respect for him and may have even classed it as a genuine 'mistake' had HE been open and forthcoming in the fist place. Saying that it wasn't a 'mistake' and he has made it clear that the destruction was intentional. Can't help but think maybe he is covering someone elses back too who may be at risk of some bad press or even loss of job in the hope that his letter will finally settle the dust for ALL concerned. Reader
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Samantha1000 says...

I agree reader. I think there are several people involved in this. Planning permissions are worth an awful lot of money, as is turning a blind towards enforcement of breaches. A lot of backs will have been scratched over the years.

I would look at the leadership of the council when he left, did he retire or was he sacked? If he was sacked, did the leadership who sacked him make a decision not to tell anyone about the destruction of records? If so they are culpable and Earle knows that. Is that why there is a reluctance to be open and transparent and that is why we had the farcical inquiry led by WBC Legal Services.
I agree reader. I think there are several people involved in this. Planning permissions are worth an awful lot of money, as is turning a blind towards enforcement of breaches. A lot of backs will have been scratched over the years. I would look at the leadership of the council when he left, did he retire or was he sacked? If he was sacked, did the leadership who sacked him make a decision not to tell anyone about the destruction of records? If so they are culpable and Earle knows that. Is that why there is a reluctance to be open and transparent and that is why we had the farcical inquiry led by WBC Legal Services. Samantha1000
  • Score: 0

10:43am Fri 4 Jan 13

MikeJT says...

The council took up so much space that it was going to cost a fortune in rent so we needed to get rid of the files.

Now, is it a typical "public servant" response to say...."so we should get rid of some" whereas the common sense solution would be "well, lets save some storage space by digitising these documents".
The council took up so much space that it was going to cost a fortune in rent so we needed to get rid of the files. Now, is it a typical "public servant" response to say...."so we should get rid of some" whereas the common sense solution would be "well, lets save some storage space by digitising these documents". MikeJT
  • Score: 0

11:34am Fri 4 Jan 13

Gorsedd says...

MikeJT wrote:
The council took up so much space that it was going to cost a fortune in rent so we needed to get rid of the files.

Now, is it a typical "public servant" response to say...."so we should get rid of some" whereas the common sense solution would be "well, lets save some storage space by digitising these documents".
Mr Earle knows this excuse just wont wash. From the little that did come out of the public inquiry and an internal audit, we know that legal and planning stored documents on the same floor of the same building before "records were selectively ditched". Both departments were offered alternative storage space. Legal took up the offer, planning did not. JE has not attempted to explain why he took some documents out of the files and left others in them. And there are a whole lot of other things he and others have not attempted to explain or excuse.
[quote][p][bold]MikeJT[/bold] wrote: The council took up so much space that it was going to cost a fortune in rent so we needed to get rid of the files. Now, is it a typical "public servant" response to say...."so we should get rid of some" whereas the common sense solution would be "well, lets save some storage space by digitising these documents".[/p][/quote]Mr Earle knows this excuse just wont wash. From the little that did come out of the public inquiry and an internal audit, we know that legal and planning stored documents on the same floor of the same building before "records were selectively ditched". Both departments were offered alternative storage space. Legal took up the offer, planning did not. JE has not attempted to explain why he took some documents out of the files and left others in them. And there are a whole lot of other things he and others have not attempted to explain or excuse. Gorsedd
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Fri 4 Jan 13

grey_man says...

Regardless of the cost, he had a statutory obligation to keep the records and he knew it. That may be why the destruction was not recorded in any communications and why the planning department spent 4 years covering up for it.

The council can try to wash their hands of this by not asking the more obvious questions and John Earle can continue whining like none of it was his fault, but there is far more to this than is publicly acknowledged.

Personally I don't think we'll ever know because Earle has the council itself not asking too many questions. Steven Broomhead is another who is not prepared to ask the simple question: 'why did a senior council employee knowingly break the law, cover up for his actions then refuse to take part into an inquiry into what had happened?'
Regardless of the cost, he had a statutory obligation to keep the records and he knew it. That may be why the destruction was not recorded in any communications and why the planning department spent 4 years covering up for it. The council can try to wash their hands of this by not asking the more obvious questions and John Earle can continue whining like none of it was his fault, but there is far more to this than is publicly acknowledged. Personally I don't think we'll ever know because Earle has the council itself not asking too many questions. Steven Broomhead is another who is not prepared to ask the simple question: 'why did a senior council employee knowingly break the law, cover up for his actions then refuse to take part into an inquiry into what had happened?' grey_man
  • Score: 0

1:01pm Fri 4 Jan 13

say no to redrow says...

The arrogance of the man. John Earle writes,

''In so doing I saved the council business rent and as far as I am aware caused no problems for at least the past four years. I do not see the ‘immense problems’ that Councillor Axcell refers to. ''

John Earle, you are a disgrace. I am one of many house owners affected by the Redrow application to build further houses on a field opposite Doeford Close in Culcheth. There has been a lot of coverage in the Guardian about it.

You shredded the files from the original application and it is clear from all that remains of the file, which is the permission letter, that a field outlined in red must not be built on. This was a condition of the original development. We all know this field is the one Redrow now want to build on, but we can't prove it because you took all the drawings from the file and shredded. How dare you say no harm has been done!!
The arrogance of the man. John Earle writes, ''In so doing I saved the council business rent and as far as I am aware caused no problems for at least the past four years. I do not see the ‘immense problems’ that Councillor Axcell refers to. '' John Earle, you are a disgrace. I am one of many house owners affected by the Redrow application to build further houses on a field opposite Doeford Close in Culcheth. There has been a lot of coverage in the Guardian about it. You shredded the files from the original application and it is clear from all that remains of the file, which is the permission letter, that a field outlined in red must not be built on. This was a condition of the original development. We all know this field is the one Redrow now want to build on, but we can't prove it because you took all the drawings from the file and shredded. How dare you say no harm has been done!! say no to redrow
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Sat 5 Jan 13

yazhoo1 says...

John Earle says:

"...they (the Lib Dems) wish to denigrate the leader of the council..."

No, he does that all by himself.

Terry O'Neill, what a mess your council is in!
John Earle says: "...they (the Lib Dems) wish to denigrate the leader of the council..." No, he does that all by himself. Terry O'Neill, what a mess your council is in! yazhoo1
  • Score: 0

10:06pm Sat 5 Jan 13

grey_man says...

say no to redrow wrote:
The arrogance of the man. John Earle writes,

''In so doing I saved the council business rent and as far as I am aware caused no problems for at least the past four years. I do not see the ‘immense problems’ that Councillor Axcell refers to. ''

John Earle, you are a disgrace. I am one of many house owners affected by the Redrow application to build further houses on a field opposite Doeford Close in Culcheth. There has been a lot of coverage in the Guardian about it.

You shredded the files from the original application and it is clear from all that remains of the file, which is the permission letter, that a field outlined in red must not be built on. This was a condition of the original development. We all know this field is the one Redrow now want to build on, but we can't prove it because you took all the drawings from the file and shredded. How dare you say no harm has been done!!
And there's the rub. Who stood to gain from the destruction? Not the people of Warrington that's for sure. Instead it was and is developers who potentially have a huge financial interest in the destruction of planning records. Redrow look like they will benefit and they won't be alone.

That is why people like John Earle are legally obliged to maintain records and conversely why he should now be answering to the police about what happened and why, seeing as he wouldn't supply answers to an official inquiry.

This isn't a party political point because no parties have done more than pay lip service to the idea of asking the difficult but obvious questions. Certain Lib Dem councillors have at least raised their heads over the parapet but they soon pull them back down.
[quote][p][bold]say no to redrow[/bold] wrote: The arrogance of the man. John Earle writes, ''In so doing I saved the council business rent and as far as I am aware caused no problems for at least the past four years. I do not see the ‘immense problems’ that Councillor Axcell refers to. '' John Earle, you are a disgrace. I am one of many house owners affected by the Redrow application to build further houses on a field opposite Doeford Close in Culcheth. There has been a lot of coverage in the Guardian about it. You shredded the files from the original application and it is clear from all that remains of the file, which is the permission letter, that a field outlined in red must not be built on. This was a condition of the original development. We all know this field is the one Redrow now want to build on, but we can't prove it because you took all the drawings from the file and shredded. How dare you say no harm has been done!![/p][/quote]And there's the rub. Who stood to gain from the destruction? Not the people of Warrington that's for sure. Instead it was and is developers who potentially have a huge financial interest in the destruction of planning records. Redrow look like they will benefit and they won't be alone. That is why people like John Earle are legally obliged to maintain records and conversely why he should now be answering to the police about what happened and why, seeing as he wouldn't supply answers to an official inquiry. This isn't a party political point because no parties have done more than pay lip service to the idea of asking the difficult but obvious questions. Certain Lib Dem councillors have at least raised their heads over the parapet but they soon pull them back down. grey_man
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Sun 6 Jan 13

Dustin says...

So another developer might benefit from the destruction of statutory records, which were improperly played around with, making it impossible to lodge legitimate objections. This will not surprise people in Warrington who are tired of the excuses and solutions offered up after successive planning shambles.

Grey_man rightly says “there is far more to this than is publicly acknowledged”. That is the problem for the council and its members. Before Earle related events came to light, trust was at rock bottom now it is nonexistent. It will remain so long as we are expected to unquestioningly accept lessons have been learned, planning is being done by properly by professionals and the council is a partnership of members making decisions based on best advice from officers. There is evidence that planning and its related actions have been and still are suspect here despite the involvement of professionals. The odd one or two may have left with no red marks on their CVs but others are still here doing what they have always done.

Glossing over a cover up is not the answer. It pulls everyone down to the lowest level and is unfair on those have played no part in the misconduct or, like the electorate, were kept in the dark. It heaps more than the usual scornful on the electorate and won't restore trust. That has to be gained positively, not sweet-talked into acceptance.

The question “why did a senior council employee knowingly break the law, cover up for his actions then refuse to take part into an inquiry into what had happened?” needs adding to. We need to know “why did other senior council employees and others fail to act responsibly with the integrity implicit in their positions when they knew the law had been broken, who were they and why did they go along with the cover up until it had to be forcibly dragged out of the council?”

Any unpleasant answers thrown up have to be tackled head on transparaently, not swept under the carpet to maintain reputations of those who may let the council down. This cannot be left to fester unresolved because it was out of this situation John Earle was able to do what he did. The only people who can put things right are the members and only the members. The independent inquiry set up and run for them by others was a costly failure and told us little that was not already known.
So another developer might benefit from the destruction of statutory records, which were improperly played around with, making it impossible to lodge legitimate objections. This will not surprise people in Warrington who are tired of the excuses and solutions offered up after successive planning shambles. Grey_man rightly says “there is far more to this than is publicly acknowledged”. That is the problem for the council and its members. Before Earle related events came to light, trust was at rock bottom now it is nonexistent. It will remain so long as we are expected to unquestioningly accept lessons have been learned, planning is being done by properly by professionals and the council is a partnership of members making decisions based on best advice from officers. There is evidence that planning and its related actions have been and still are suspect here despite the involvement of professionals. The odd one or two may have left with no red marks on their CVs but others are still here doing what they have always done. Glossing over a cover up is not the answer. It pulls everyone down to the lowest level and is unfair on those have played no part in the misconduct or, like the electorate, were kept in the dark. It heaps more than the usual scornful on the electorate and won't restore trust. That has to be gained positively, not sweet-talked into acceptance. The question “why did a senior council employee knowingly break the law, cover up for his actions then refuse to take part into an inquiry into what had happened?” needs adding to. We need to know “why did other senior council employees and others fail to act responsibly with the integrity implicit in their positions when they knew the law had been broken, who were they and why did they go along with the cover up until it had to be forcibly dragged out of the council?” Any unpleasant answers thrown up have to be tackled head on transparaently, not swept under the carpet to maintain reputations of those who may let the council down. This cannot be left to fester unresolved because it was out of this situation John Earle was able to do what he did. The only people who can put things right are the members and only the members. The independent inquiry set up and run for them by others was a costly failure and told us little that was not already known. Dustin
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Mon 7 Jan 13

cookie1974 says...

If what he has done is illegal and he has admitted it on here can he not be arrested? If a law has been broken? i bet that once arrested he would sing like a canary and everyone else involved would soon be brought into light.
If what he has done is illegal and he has admitted it on here can he not be arrested? If a law has been broken? i bet that once arrested he would sing like a canary and everyone else involved would soon be brought into light. cookie1974
  • Score: 0

2:32pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Cleopatra says...

The council has shown no intention of instigating a police investigation and therefor it is upto you, the taxpayig public, to instigate a police investigation yourselves. I believe it can be done.
The council has shown no intention of instigating a police investigation and therefor it is upto you, the taxpayig public, to instigate a police investigation yourselves. I believe it can be done. Cleopatra
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Mon 7 Jan 13

HappyMisery says...

Digital copies should have been made of the original documents. Also, any records for the council should have been held on microfiche. Allegations and questions could not have been raised if the council had followed common sense. Clearly, the fact that documents are not available when required demonstrates another decision made by a manager without any regard for impact or repercussions. The tone of the LibDems is not only appropriate but the questions raised are completely valid.
Digital copies should have been made of the original documents. Also, any records for the council should have been held on microfiche. Allegations and questions could not have been raised if the council had followed common sense. Clearly, the fact that documents are not available when required demonstrates another decision made by a manager without any regard for impact or repercussions. The tone of the LibDems is not only appropriate but the questions raised are completely valid. HappyMisery
  • Score: 0

4:22pm Mon 7 Jan 13

grey_man says...

cookie1974 wrote:
If what he has done is illegal and he has admitted it on here can he not be arrested? If a law has been broken? i bet that once arrested he would sing like a canary and everyone else involved would soon be brought into light.
What he has done is, I believe, unlawful rather than illegal.

Obviously you could also surmise that the unlawful act indicates an illegal one but we simply don't know because nobody within the council has bothered pursuing that train of thought.
[quote][p][bold]cookie1974[/bold] wrote: If what he has done is illegal and he has admitted it on here can he not be arrested? If a law has been broken? i bet that once arrested he would sing like a canary and everyone else involved would soon be brought into light.[/p][/quote]What he has done is, I believe, unlawful rather than illegal. Obviously you could also surmise that the unlawful act indicates an illegal one but we simply don't know because nobody within the council has bothered pursuing that train of thought. grey_man
  • Score: 0

7:15pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Gorsedd says...

HappyMisery wrote:
Digital copies should have been made of the original documents. Also, any records for the council should have been held on microfiche. Allegations and questions could not have been raised if the council had followed common sense. Clearly, the fact that documents are not available when required demonstrates another decision made by a manager without any regard for impact or repercussions. The tone of the LibDems is not only appropriate but the questions raised are completely valid.
The questions and comments made by the LibDems are those of an organization which seeks to determine the facts. Would that there was a collective will amongst the other parties to reach the same conclusion.If there isn't please explain why.
[quote][p][bold]HappyMisery[/bold] wrote: Digital copies should have been made of the original documents. Also, any records for the council should have been held on microfiche. Allegations and questions could not have been raised if the council had followed common sense. Clearly, the fact that documents are not available when required demonstrates another decision made by a manager without any regard for impact or repercussions. The tone of the LibDems is not only appropriate but the questions raised are completely valid.[/p][/quote]The questions and comments made by the LibDems are those of an organization which seeks to determine the facts. Would that there was a collective will amongst the other parties to reach the same conclusion.If there isn't please explain why. Gorsedd
  • Score: 0

11:55am Tue 8 Jan 13

Nick Tessla says...

grey_man wrote:
cookie1974 wrote: If what he has done is illegal and he has admitted it on here can he not be arrested? If a law has been broken? i bet that once arrested he would sing like a canary and everyone else involved would soon be brought into light.
What he has done is, I believe, unlawful rather than illegal. Obviously you could also surmise that the unlawful act indicates an illegal one but we simply don't know because nobody within the council has bothered pursuing that train of thought.
The difference between unlawful and illegal, I hear people ask.


Unlawful is contrary to law where as illegal is..................
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...a sick bird of prey



:-)
[quote][p][bold]grey_man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cookie1974[/bold] wrote: If what he has done is illegal and he has admitted it on here can he not be arrested? If a law has been broken? i bet that once arrested he would sing like a canary and everyone else involved would soon be brought into light.[/p][/quote]What he has done is, I believe, unlawful rather than illegal. Obviously you could also surmise that the unlawful act indicates an illegal one but we simply don't know because nobody within the council has bothered pursuing that train of thought.[/p][/quote]The difference between unlawful and illegal, I hear people ask. Unlawful is contrary to law where as illegal is.................. .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... ...a sick bird of prey :-) Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Tue 8 Jan 13

MikeJT says...

Question....... Mr Earle has now openly admitted his actions in public. Assuming, as others have indicated, these actions are unlawful/illegal could ANY member of the public now report these actions to the police on the basis that they believe a crime had been committed and as a result would the police be duty bound to investigate?

Or maybe that is a question that our new crime boss will have to ask his deputy!
Question....... Mr Earle has now openly admitted his actions in public. Assuming, as others have indicated, these actions are unlawful/illegal could ANY member of the public now report these actions to the police on the basis that they believe a crime had been committed and as a result would the police be duty bound to investigate? Or maybe that is a question that our new crime boss will have to ask his deputy! MikeJT
  • Score: 0

4:05pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Samantha1000 says...

from the CPS website,

http://www.cps.gov.u
k/legal/l_to_o/misco
nduct_in_public_offi
ce/

The offence is committed when:

a public officer acting as such
wilfully neglects to perform his duty
and/or wilfully misconducts himself
to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder
without reasonable excuse or justification
from the CPS website, http://www.cps.gov.u k/legal/l_to_o/misco nduct_in_public_offi ce/ The offence is committed when: a public officer acting as such wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder without reasonable excuse or justification Samantha1000
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Gorsedd says...

Samantha1000 wrote:
from the CPS website,

http://www.cps.gov.u

k/legal/l_to_o/misco

nduct_in_public_offi

ce/

The offence is committed when:

a public officer acting as such
wilfully neglects to perform his duty
and/or wilfully misconducts himself
to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder
without reasonable excuse or justification
This causes them a problem, because it nets in those who wilfully misconducted themselves as well as others who neglected to do what they should have done. Public office should be a responsible position.
[quote][p][bold]Samantha1000[/bold] wrote: from the CPS website, http://www.cps.gov.u k/legal/l_to_o/misco nduct_in_public_offi ce/ The offence is committed when: a public officer acting as such wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder without reasonable excuse or justification[/p][/quote]This causes them a problem, because it nets in those who wilfully misconducted themselves as well as others who neglected to do what they should have done. Public office should be a responsible position. Gorsedd
  • Score: 0

9:30am Wed 9 Jan 13

Nick Tessla says...

Considering the reaction to Mr Earle's letter perhaps the Guardian should consider putting on its investifative journalism hat and running an article on his actions - including input from the police about their response (or lack of it).
Considering the reaction to Mr Earle's letter perhaps the Guardian should consider putting on its investifative journalism hat and running an article on his actions - including input from the police about their response (or lack of it). Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

11:59am Wed 9 Jan 13

grey_man says...

The Guardian has yet to report on the sale of a piece of council land in Howley for £44,000 based on advice from the planning department, who immediately granted an application for residential use for the land which was then sold on for £350,000. This happened last year.

Compared to the amount of money the council has thrown away here / diverted into somebody else's pockets, the Bridgefoot farce is chickenfeed.

Is Gareth Dunning there?
The Guardian has yet to report on the sale of a piece of council land in Howley for £44,000 based on advice from the planning department, who immediately granted an application for residential use for the land which was then sold on for £350,000. This happened last year. Compared to the amount of money the council has thrown away here / diverted into somebody else's pockets, the Bridgefoot farce is chickenfeed. Is Gareth Dunning there? grey_man
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Karlar says...

grey_man wrote:
The Guardian has yet to report on the sale of a piece of council land in Howley for £44,000 based on advice from the planning department, who immediately granted an application for residential use for the land which was then sold on for £350,000. This happened last year.

Compared to the amount of money the council has thrown away here / diverted into somebody else's pockets, the Bridgefoot farce is chickenfeed.

Is Gareth Dunning there?
Like so many other events about which people have complained over the years this was surely little more than another example of a breakdown of communication? Responsibility could not reasonably be laid at the door of any particular individual? Perhaps the Members were not told at the time but now they have we can be assured it won’t happen again.
[quote][p][bold]grey_man[/bold] wrote: The Guardian has yet to report on the sale of a piece of council land in Howley for £44,000 based on advice from the planning department, who immediately granted an application for residential use for the land which was then sold on for £350,000. This happened last year. Compared to the amount of money the council has thrown away here / diverted into somebody else's pockets, the Bridgefoot farce is chickenfeed. Is Gareth Dunning there?[/p][/quote]Like so many other events about which people have complained over the years this was surely little more than another example of a breakdown of communication? Responsibility could not reasonably be laid at the door of any particular individual? Perhaps the Members were not told at the time but now they have we can be assured it won’t happen again. Karlar
  • Score: 0

9:40pm Wed 9 Jan 13

grey_man says...

Well apparently lessons have been learned.

Again.

And again.
Well apparently lessons have been learned. Again. And again. grey_man
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Wed 9 Jan 13

grey_man says...

The important thing is for the council to keep cutting services to pay for a) executive pay, b) the routine ****-ups and c) the other stuff that may or may not be ****-ups but which we should be careful not to ask too many questions about, nor who was responsible and why, just retire them and let's say no more about it.
The important thing is for the council to keep cutting services to pay for a) executive pay, b) the routine ****-ups and c) the other stuff that may or may not be ****-ups but which we should be careful not to ask too many questions about, nor who was responsible and why, just retire them and let's say no more about it. grey_man
  • Score: 0

10:04pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Karlar says...

grey_man wrote:
The important thing is for the council to keep cutting services to pay for a) executive pay, b) the routine ****-ups and c) the other stuff that may or may not be ****-ups but which we should be careful not to ask too many questions about, nor who was responsible and why, just retire them and let's say no more about it.
One of your ****-ups should definitely be *****-ups, because one at least is still ongoing. My friend at the T*** H*** who has been in local government for years says this council seems to have more than its fair share of solicitors. That might be why people who should have been shown the door are difficult to get rid of quickly as they would in the private sector. A good place to start cutting?
[quote][p][bold]grey_man[/bold] wrote: The important thing is for the council to keep cutting services to pay for a) executive pay, b) the routine ****-ups and c) the other stuff that may or may not be ****-ups but which we should be careful not to ask too many questions about, nor who was responsible and why, just retire them and let's say no more about it.[/p][/quote]One of your ****-ups should definitely be *****-ups, because one at least is still ongoing. My friend at the T*** H*** who has been in local government for years says this council seems to have more than its fair share of solicitors. That might be why people who should have been shown the door are difficult to get rid of quickly as they would in the private sector. A good place to start cutting? Karlar
  • Score: 0

8:37am Thu 10 Jan 13

Samantha1000 says...

All very cryptic, in essence the council has a lot more solicitors than most Councils and a lot of them are not very good, or worse.

It is also worth pointing out and a lot of people may not be aware, that most if not all of the 'c ck ups' have the involvement of WBC legal services. The selling of the land in Howley will have been overseen by a solicitor, the lack of enforcement on the many breaches of planning across the borough will be signed off by legal, in fact, even if the planning dept enforcement team, or the members decide upon enforcement action, it is legal who make the decision as whether it is 'expedient'. In most cases presenting gobbledygook legal nonsense as to why it may be 'risky' to proceed.

The sham of an inquiry into the destruction of records was managed by the very same solicitor aligned to the planning department that shredded the records!

So yes, if cuts need to be made, shift the incompetent solicitors who have a track record of c ck ups.
All very cryptic, in essence the council has a lot more solicitors than most Councils and a lot of them are not very good, or worse. It is also worth pointing out and a lot of people may not be aware, that most if not all of the 'c ck ups' have the involvement of WBC legal services. The selling of the land in Howley will have been overseen by a solicitor, the lack of enforcement on the many breaches of planning across the borough will be signed off by legal, in fact, even if the planning dept enforcement team, or the members decide upon enforcement action, it is legal who make the decision as whether it is 'expedient'. In most cases presenting gobbledygook legal nonsense as to why it may be 'risky' to proceed. The sham of an inquiry into the destruction of records was managed by the very same solicitor aligned to the planning department that shredded the records! So yes, if cuts need to be made, shift the incompetent solicitors who have a track record of c ck ups. Samantha1000
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Gorsedd says...

The problem we have as grey_man says is that planning c***-ups occur again...again and ...again, and we're told lessons have been learned again...again and...er..again. There is a limit to the number of times this excuse stops being an acceptable answer for what has gone before. And we reached that point certainly no later than the publication of the report in 2011. That was not the only critical report on WBC planning from the Ombudsman. Helen Jones MP has rightly said the people of Warrington no longer trust the planning process or those engaged in it. Why is it that the electorate realize they have a number of rotten apples in the planning barrel but nothing ever seems to be done about it? Letting our rotten apples slip away one by one, quietly at their convenience is not the answer. It sends the wrong message to the rotten apples that remain because they continue doing the same old things badly, prompting more excuses. When they do eventually leave they do so without a stain on their records. Where is the sense in this?
The problem we have as grey_man says is that planning c***-ups occur again...again and ...again, and we're told lessons have been learned again...again and...er..again. There is a limit to the number of times this excuse stops being an acceptable answer for what has gone before. And we reached that point certainly no later than the publication of the report in 2011. That was not the only critical report on WBC planning from the Ombudsman. Helen Jones MP has rightly said the people of Warrington no longer trust the planning process or those engaged in it. Why is it that the electorate realize they have a number of rotten apples in the planning barrel but nothing ever seems to be done about it? Letting our rotten apples slip away one by one, quietly at their convenience is not the answer. It sends the wrong message to the rotten apples that remain because they continue doing the same old things badly, prompting more excuses. When they do eventually leave they do so without a stain on their records. Where is the sense in this? Gorsedd
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Fri 11 Jan 13

grey_man says...

Well this may have dropped off the front page, but hopefully John Earle and some members of the council will get the message about how the people of Warrington view this individual and the actions of the planning department, not to mention an inquiry which asked Question A - "what happened?" But not Questions B,C,D, E and F.
Well this may have dropped off the front page, but hopefully John Earle and some members of the council will get the message about how the people of Warrington view this individual and the actions of the planning department, not to mention an inquiry which asked Question A - "what happened?" But not Questions B,C,D, E and F. grey_man
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Sat 12 Jan 13

Gorsedd says...

Yes, not only did it drop off the front page but it all too quickly was removed from the 'Your Say' trailings. For months we had one about the exorbitant cost of taxi fares in London, yet this one on the shady destruction of records - a matter of greater importance locally was snaffled away after barely a week. Why? It needs to be addressed not hidden away.
Yes, not only did it drop off the front page but it all too quickly was removed from the 'Your Say' trailings. For months we had one about the exorbitant cost of taxi fares in London, yet this one on the shady destruction of records - a matter of greater importance locally was snaffled away after barely a week. Why? It needs to be addressed not hidden away. Gorsedd
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Sat 12 Jan 13

Karlar says...

This will remain topical Gareth until the Council is transparently seen to have tackled it. So far they have fudged the issue because they have something to hide.
This will remain topical Gareth until the Council is transparently seen to have tackled it. So far they have fudged the issue because they have something to hide. Karlar
  • Score: 0

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