Greens take 2nd Seat on Nuneaton Council

May 25th, 2014

Congratulations to Ian Bonner who has become the 2nd Green Councillor on Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council.

The greens have also taken a seat in Nuneaton so that we are now a group of 2 at the Borough council. Weddington ward now has 2 green borough councillors and the county councillor. The Tories have yet again sacrificed other seats to save Weddington resulting in the Tories being reduced to just 3 on the council.

We had targeted two wards to spread the Tory fire and try the impossible.

In Nuneaton St Nicolas
Con 995
Green 602
UKIP 347
Lab 334

in Nuneaton Weddington
Green 982
Con 800
UKIP 432
Lab 317
TUSC 13

Keith Kondakor.
Nuneaton Green Party

The full results are on the Coventry Telegraph website  

Green Councillor Call for help

January 24th, 2014

I need the public’s help for witnesses of last years snow clearing farce.

· Green Councillor is to be tried by standards sub committee on 11th February
· Council deletes or never kept records of vast emergency snow clearing operation
· Council blocks access to evidence in standards hearing
· Council wants to gag a campaigning councillor from being critical of officer no matter what the circumstances.

A year ago I embarrassed the Borough Council into clearing the Nuneaton town centre snow on 5th day of inaction, which had led to the cancellation of the Wednesday Market and impacted on many local businesses as well as the safety of the public.

For the last year I have been subject to a conduct complaint about a facebook comment I made on the afternoon of the snow clearing. The council has wasted time & money on this investigation instead of investigating the snow clearing farce.

The standard hearing is due to take place at 2PM on the 11th of February. I have requested information about the council clearing the snow, cancelling the market and any complaints it received using the Freedom of Information act. The council replied that it had no information on the snow clearing as it was not responsible for clearing the snow! It clearly did so but will not allow me to know who was responsible for the farce.

It is also refusing to allow the councils snow clearing to be part of the investigation & hearing. This in effect is blocking off evidence of the farce from being used in my defence. The reply from the council states, “The Monitoring Officer considers that snow clearing events are of no relevance to the fundamental issue of whether your action was acceptable.”

If anyone was impacted by the councils refusal to clear snow or has records of the events of that week please email keith@nuneatongreenparty.org.uk or call 76 344 079. I am very keen to know about people who were injured in the town centre or had emails from the council.

Notes:-
Both Nuneaton News & Coventry Telegraph reporters witnessed the snow clearing farce. The councils actions came after an Interview on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Breakfast show on 23rd January.

Part of council workforce that did great snow clear on 23rd Jan 2013

Jail threat over Snow clearing farce ended.

July 24th, 2013

Nuneaton & Bedworth Council has now lifted the threat of jail to me after I commented on facebook about farcical Nuneaton town centre clearing snow. The council will still waste £1,000s on investigation of my facebook comment which was probably only seen by about 20 people.

 

Background

 

On the evening of Friday 18th January heavy snow fell on Nuneaton resulting the market being cancelled the next day. This was quite right. However the council ignored all request to clear the town centre snow over the next 4 days. This resulted in a massive loss of business in the town centre and many accidents.

 

On the 23rd January the Market in Nuneaton was cancelled due to the borough council refusing to clear the snow on either the Monday or Tuesday. On the Wednesday morning I appeared around 7.30  on the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio Breakfast Show with one of the council’s senior management team. At the end of the interview I said that I would go down the town and start clearing the snow at 1:30PM.

 

Within 2 hours a large team of around 30 council workmen started to clear the snow in the pedestrian area. Virtually every bit of show was cleared by 1PM. It was obvious that the decision to leave the snow in the town centre while blaming the county council had been reversed due to my intervention.

 

Market traders were very angry as they were told the market had to be cancelled, as the snow could not have been clear.  There was coverage in the local press. My comment on my personal facebook page was critical of the clearance not happening sooner and my personal view that we need to replace of the Director of Regeneration and public protection.

 

Five weeks later I was informed that a formal complaint had been made against me about my facebook comment. I was told that I had to keep details of the complaint confidential or I would be committing a criminal offence. I was told this offence could lead to a prison sentence.

 

The council offered to drop the investigation if I would apologise to the officer and sign an agreement never to be publicly critical of any council officers.

 

Yesterday a council’s solicitor finally told me that the law about telling the public has been repealed in 2010.

 

It is total madness for the council spending £10,000s each year on stopping staff and councillor making critic comments but refusing to spend money on clearing snow, which would reduce accidents and allow the market to operate.

 

Regular council staff are never allowed to comment on what is going on and are constant fear of dismissal. It seems staff have been unfairly dismissed or made redundant when have not pleased the management. It is therefore vital that councillors can comment freely on the competence of senior management and the cabinet.

 

I hope anyone who was injured or lost business in the town centre during the period that the council refused to clear the show will be witness at the eventual meeting of the Labour dominated standards committee.

 

Cllr Keith Kondakor

facebook page

Letter from ICO about facked PCD report

November 29th, 2012

I have had a reply from the information commissioner 16 months after I first made a request to see the PCT report on Hallams proposed heath centre on the Weddington development.

It seems the ICO can do nothing about the PCT supplying a possibly faked document.

27 November 2012

Your complaints to Warwickshire PCT

Dear Mr Kondakor
As you may recall I have been investigating your complaints about Warwickshire PCTs responses to your FOI requests.

I wrote to the PCT and asked it to confirm its position and provide further arguments to support its decision to withhold the requested information if it maintained that no information was held or that information could not be disclosed. I have now received further submissions from the PCT.

FOI971 – Request of 8 July 2011

This request was for:

  1. “Please supply details of which 4 of the 12 GPs in Nuneaton are likely to be closed or need upgrading.
  2. Please supply details that have been provided to Hallam.
  3. Please also supply details of expenses claimed by your non-exec board members during the last 2 years.”

The PCTs response was that an estates strategy was in the process of being completed and would be published in the Autumn, it provided an explanation with regards to (2) and a spreadsheet with total expenses paid to non-executive directors in response to (3). Any information not provided was being withheld on the basis of section 43 of the FOIA. I explained that I would be focusing on the PCTs response to (1) and (2) as it appeared information had been provided with respect (3).

FOI1176 – Request of 25 January 2012

This request was for:

“1) the rapid health assessment related to Hallam land proposed development at Weddington in Nuneaton
2) any related correspondence regarding proposal with regards to the impact of the Development on NHS provision in Nuneaton.
3) any documents relating the changes to the GP provision in Nuneaton.”

In this case the PCT provided information in response to (1) but stated no information was held in response to (2) and (3). I explained that I would be focusing on the PCTs statement that no information was held and whether the laptop it mentioned it was retrieving had now been searched.

PCT response

The PCT has explained that it had applied the section 43 (commercial interests) exemption in relation to the first request but had not at the time identified any specific information which this would relate to. It applied section 43 as it considered that any information which may exist within the scope of the request would be likely to be commercially sensitive.

The PCT further explained that the statement about the 4 GPs likely to need upgrading or be closed was not based on fact and that GPs enter into their own business arrangements in relation to the development of their practice premises, often investing their own funds. A request is then made to the PCT for rent reimbursement charges which are considered as part of a business case process and discussed in part 2 of the PCT Board meetings as the cases include commercially sensitive. For this reason the PCT had concluded that should information it would be exempt under section 43 of the FOIA as it would relate to commercial discussions between GPs, developers and/or funders.

However, following the investigation by the ICO the PCT has conducted searches for information within the scope of this part of the request and confirmed that no information is held. Therefore the PCT is withdrawing its reliance on section 43 and instead states there is no information it can provide.

With regards to your request of 8 July, and to the searches conducted by the PCT to determine no information was held in relation to your earlier request, the PCT provided the Commissioner with further details of the searches it carried out to determine no information was held.

As part of its searches the PCT has confirmed it did retrieve the laptop that had been issued to a former employee and all of its folders and email accounts were searched with the following search terms – Weddington, Hallam, 106 (for section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act). I would consider that these search terms were broad enough that any information within the scope of the request would have been identified from these searches. The PCT did identify some files from these searches and examined each one individually to see if they related to the development in question.

This resulted in two files being found that were within the scope of your request, both of which the PCT states had already been provided to you:

  • Letter to Peter Glazebrook (30 November 2011)
  • Desktop Health Impact Assessment

In addition to this the PCT has informed the Commissioner that when this employee left an exit interview was conducted and all paper records were handed to the Director of Estates. These files have also been examined and no information within the scope of the request was found.

When responding to my initial email to you, you raised concerns about what you described as “a seemingly faked RHIA” dated 19 August 2011. Unfortunately this is outside the remit of what the Commissioner can investigate, our role is to determine whether information within the scope of a request has been provided but does not extend to commenting on the accuracy of information or making determinations on the authenticity of documents that are provided.

In conclusion, taking into account all of the above, my view is that the PCT has carried out adequate searches and does not hold any further information in relation to your requests.

Next steps

The Commissioner can issue a decision notice in this case, setting out his findings as to whether the PCT has correctly applied the FOIA and specifying any steps he requires them to take. However, the Commissioner prefers complaints to be resolved by informal means and my initial view is that it would not be of any benefit to proceed to a formal decision notice as my conclusions in this matter, as detailed above, would simply be mirrored in any decision notice drafted.

As I am satisfied the PCT carried out adequate searches to conclude that no information was held if you do wish to add any further arguments to support your view that information is held then please focus on why you think more information would be held and let me have your views by 11 December. If I do not hear back from you by this date I will assume you are satisfied with my conclusions and close the case.

If you would like to discuss this any further then please feel free to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Jill Hulley
Senior Case Officer

Martin Heatley expenses hearing

December 20th, 2009

At last Warwickshire county council have released the minutes for the Hearing about Martin Heatley’s excessive expenses claims. I have set up a website just about the expenses scandal in Warwickshire.

Please read the officers report and minutes of the standards hearing were he was partly let off!

http://www.greennuneaton.org.uk/wex/kkwp/?page_id=25

Councillor Martin Heatley to face heat over expenses

November 30th, 2009

On Monday the 7th December a Warwickshire County Council Standards sub committee meeting will take place. It is expect to discuss my formal complaint about apparently excessive travel expenses made by the last environment portfolio holder, Councillor Martin Heatley. I consider it as vital that this meeting is well publicised and that all the evidence is presented in open session.

I have been told that I cannot reveal what the investigation found out until it is disclosed at the meeting. First the meeting will discuss if any evidence needs to be kept secret. The basic complaint had been based on facts obtained using the freedom of information act. I have also obtained details of expenses claimed using the Audit Commission act. I can legally put that the information on the Internet and cannot see any need for holding the main part of meeting in private.

I can disclose that I complained based on the councillors £8,672 of travel & Substance allowances claimed in 2008/9. Mt First information request was for travel expenses on a couple of selected dates. It seemed councillor had been claiming first class train travel above what was allowed. He also seemed to claim for far greater mileages than I expected. I followed this up with a more extensive request and used my rights under the audit commission act to get a full copy of his mileage claims for 2008/9.

The councillor makes around 200 return trips at the council taxpayers expense. In my view almost all of them are for excessive distance or first class rail travel in excess of that permitted. The most remarkable claims include

Every trip from is farm to Shire Hall is 52 miles round trip.
Every trip from is farm to Nuneaton is 10 miles round trip
16 May 2008 – Bermuda village 20 miles round trip
12th August 2008 – Coventry 40 miles round trip
15th September 2008 – Water Orton – 60 miles round trip
15th Jan 09 – George Eliot Hospital – 10 miles round trip

If effect Councillor Heatley steels a few extra pounds from the taxpayer every time he goes to a meeting. This is worrying as the councillor is in charge of the resources department at the county council that manages the council’s wealth.

It is vital that the standards committee meet in public given the background. The councillor has many powerful connections and manages a massive budget at the county council. The validity of his travel claims needs explaining in public, so that the public an judge if he is fit to govern a major department of our county council.”

My investigation also show many councillors claim very little in travel expenses and it is sad that one councillor seems to have let them down so badly. I am very keen that travel expense system does not encourage excessive mileage and will fight plans to introduce a mileage rate of around 82p/mi.le at Nuneaton & Bedworth borough Council.

His farm is 16 miles from Shire Hall, 2.5 miles from Nuneaton and just the other side of the A444 from Bermuda village

The link shows the mileage claims for 2008/9

http://www.greennuneaton.org.uk/ngp/heatley/heatley_expenses.pdf

The meeting is at 9:30AM at Shire Hall in Warwick

agenda

Lost money

February 27th, 2009

As of the 29th January 2009 the council had borrowings of £17.75 million and investments of £19.83 million

In February 2008 I warned the cabinet at the time not the increase borrowing and investments. The council then increased borrowing and invested £3 million into an Icelandic bank in 3 lumps. That money and the interest may be lost. I have repeated my warning the current cabinet as we still have money at risk in Irish banks.

At this weeks full council meeting I again questioned the council.  In my view the council is risking more money that it needs to.

Country Council cuts mileage at last

February 5th, 2009

Warwickshire County Council has just passed its budget for next year. Some of the cuts seem very silly such as reducing spending on winter roads. One good change is they have started to cut the mileage allowance for staff and councillors. They were getting around 56p a mile for the majority of cars with only the greener cars getting a lower rate. Now they said they would pay everyone 40 pence per mile. This still will cost too much as they drive 9,1 million miles per year.

link to cuts at WCC

Stop Nuneaton train rip-off

February 1st, 2009

I am shocked at the cost of an off peak return to Birmingham which is just 10p less that a peak ticket. Looking at fares from other towns in the Midlands to Birmingham shows we are getting ripped off big time.

I have started a facebook page to get something done. It seems the richer parts of Warwickshire pay less to use trains than we do in Nuneaton. Please join the facebook page to show your support.

The rip off to Telford is even bigger with a off-peak return costing £16 compared to £10.40 from Bedworth or Coventry. In fact the cheapest legal way to telford seems to be to get a return to bedworth and then one from Bedworth to Telford (that is valid either via Nuneaton or Birmingham).

(I have also put this on the Nuneaton rail user group page

Stop crosscountry trains rip-off – Facebook page

Return to Birmingham 20th January 09 off peak fare distance (miles) Cost per mile
Nuneaton £8.30 20 £0.21
Coventry £4.10 19 £0.11
Warwick £6.50 22 £0.15
Rugby £7.90 30 1/2 £0.13
Leicester £9.40 38 3/4 £0.12
Hinckley £8.80 25 1/4 £0.17
Coleshill £4.60 9 1/2 £0.24
Worcester £7.00 27 £0.13
Burton £8.70 29 3/4 £0.15
Tamworth £6.40 16 3/4 £0.19
Stafford £8.30 29 £0.14
Telford £7.90 28 1/2 £0.14
Northampton £11.40 51 1/2 £0.11
Stratford-upon-Avon £6.00 24 1/4 £0.12
Hatton £6.00 18 £0.17
Leamington £7.80 24 £0.16
Penkridge £6.60 22 3/4 £0.15
Lichfield trent Valley £4.70 18 1/2 £0.13

We dumped it

January 16th, 2009

The planning meeting in nuneaton is off as TCSR have withdrawn plans for hazardous waste plant at Judkins. While TCSR were still pushing for planning permission the risk remained that we would get the plant somewhere in nuneaton and bedworth.

read trib

The Hazardous waste plant is dead

Thanks for all the help

Keith Kondakor
Nuneaton Friends of the Earth
024 76 344 079
www.foe.co.uk/nuneaton