Thorough investigation needed?

A thorough investigation of BMDC is required



The Equality Act of 2010, Section 149, Article 6 requires that the Council “has taken into account the views of all those who have an interest in, or whom may be affected by the proposal”.

The Human Rights Act, Article 6, also requires that people get a fair hearing, specifically that “The applicant must have a real opportunity to present his or her case or challenge the case against them”.

At Thursday’s meeting Menston’s solicitor and local Ward Councillor were allowed only a couple of minutes to speak, and Menston’s expert on flooding and drainage was given virtually no time to argue any case. What is more, the latest variation of the condition which the Council voted to accept was made available to the Menston delegates only the morning of the hearing. This was after several changes over the months since the last hearing, none of which was adequately made available to the Menston interested parties in a timely fashion.

How on earth can this be considered to adhere to the requirements of the Equality Act and Human Rights Act, let alone the spirit of them?

Surely it is time for a thorough investigation of the activities of the Planning Department and various associated Committees like that above, the developers, organisations like Yorkshire Water and various shadowy figures in the background, by someone or some organisation with far more resources than those available to the Menston organisations.

Another worrying aspect of this affair is how the voting at these appeals is split on clear political party lines: as before, the vote last Thursday was four (all Labour) to accept the variation of condition proposed by the developer, three (all Conservative) against. This is despite that fact that it is the national Government, in which Labour does not figure, which is intent upon allowing the big money developers to destroy swathes of greenbelt land.

Many questions need to be asked. One is: what goes on in the meetings “behind closed doors” between the developers and influential organisations? Immediate past Chairman of the Menston Community Association Alan Elsegood (who was ‘expelled’ from the meeting last Thursday) was careful to make a disclaimer about the possibility of slush money being involved at last week’s AGM, but many villagers are of the opposite view. They need to be reassured by a thorough independent investigation, because many of the proceedings in this case do not make any sense to the majority of residents.

I have said before in another ‘forum’, as someone who has travelled throughout and lived in various European cities, that the city of Bradford (the place where I was born and raised is only three miles from the city centre) has been turned into “the biggest dump in Europe” and BMDC seem intent on gradually turning the still attractive outlying areas like Menston into similar dumps.

It is a disgrace that, to effectively challenge the environmentally careless money-making ventures of the big developers, community associations need to raise enormous sums of money which, to the developers are close to insignificant.

Do we live in a democracy? As long as the big money can override a 98% vote of local residents, we certainly do not!.


8 responses to “Thorough investigation needed?

  1. Pingback: Menston village – what more can Philip Davies MP do? | menstonvillagewharfedale

  2. I was asked to leave the R&A meeting on Thursday because I chose to protest that Menston had never (in the 4 years this has been proceeding) been given proper consultation. Our Local Referendum was ignored, the planning decisions have been politically-motivated, the supposed site visit by Councillors was a sham as they didn’t even get off the bus, and it was only immediately before the meeting last week that the revised text of the Condition 10 was published (it went on the BMDC website at 08:55 and we didn’t get to see it until shortly before our item was scheduled for hearing at 14:00). What has caused Bradford’s Drainage Officer to change his mind over the original clause which protected Menston from more flooding? Why separate the issues of drainage from the site and the waterflows through and over the site? Why are the Planning Officers not prepared to let the Councillors read the geological evidence for themselves? Why are the Councillors not challenging the Officers on the issues of consultation or the implications of high-volume development in Menston? Why are our own Ward Councillors so ineffectual? Why are Dale Smith and Jackie Whiteley not prepared to ‘rock the boat’? Whose interests are they serving, and why are they not making their voices heard or walking out? I’ve got time for Philip Davies, but what is he actually doing to protect Menston? Now that I’m not Chairman of the MCA any longer, I believe I’ve got a bit more freedom to say what I want – independently of the MCA – and what I had to say on Thursday is that Menston is being stitched-up by the Planning Dept. of Bradford Council! We’re being denied consultation, a voice and any sort of independent, unbiased procedure.
    Alan Elsegood

    • I Assume you were asked to leave because yourself and the rest of the anti development activists were causing a disruption to the meeting and this can not be tolerated in a council chamber, and regarding the local Menston referendum 98% of the vote was from 1,760 residents NOT the whole of Menston.

      • 1,760 of the Menston residents eligible to vote is a far greater turnout than that by which the majority of MPs are elected…grumpytyke

      • You assume wrongly, there was no disruption in the council chamber other than Mr Elsegoods shouts of disgraceful, he was asked to leave, which he did quietly. And the so called activists were there regarding flooding and drainage as the plans for the development have been passed.

  3. All through this torrid and prolonged battle with a Council Hell bent on completely ignoring the wishes of the Menston Community, I have not heard a thing about what our local MP is doing to help us. Surely he can pressurise Parliament to investigate the Council’s dubious tactics.

    • I am going to ask the same question of the man himself, Philip Davies MP, at a meeting scheduled with him this coming Saturday (19th) afternoon – grumpytyke

    • Dear Tony

      I think you may be correct on this,.even though the community association M.A.G. and the Parish Council have all tied to get as much support as possible from Philip it may be time to” take off the gloves ” and look at B.M.D.C. in a different light.
      The overwhelming evidence of Party Politics playing a part in the decision making in Menston is staggering.The government have legislation in place to make it clear Councillors can campaign and vote freely on any issue.
      Policy :Making local councils more transparent and accountable to local people
      The numbers 4 to 3 keep me awake at night!!!!!!


      Dr Steve Ellams
      Menston Community Association Chairman

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