Whitby Abbey Aire – Media Coverage

I take my hat off to those in the media who have covered the news of the Whitby Abbey Aire so enthusiastically.

Sandra Turner – Letter To The Editor (Whitby Gazette)

This has included:

NB: Please click on the links above and support all the media outlets whenever possible.

I am informed that the business community has welcomed the idea. Motorhomers have also given their thumbs up.

I can personally confirm the interest shown. Since February 2016 I have posted over 2,500 articles on this site. The Whitby Abbey Aire post has generated more than twice the amount of traffic than the previous most popular post.

The future of a Whitby Abbey Aire certainly looks bright.

Next Step

I would expect that the next step will be for Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) Councillors to put a motion forward in support of the Whitby Abbey Aire to the next Full Council meeting scheduled in July.

I will continue to support and assist whenever possible SBC, Councillors, local businesses and motorhomers in this exciting endeavour.

Posted in Parking

Whitby Abbey Aire

On Saturday 7 June at 04.30, I passed the Abbey Headland Car Park at which point a seed was sown.

Since then, myself and Whitby campaigner Nigel Ward have brought together local business and traders’ associations, Scarborough Borough Council opposition Groups and the national motorhome fraternity to facilitate a novel boost to Whitby’s winter off-season, in the form of a Whitby Abbey Aire at the Abbey Headland Car Park

The following is reproduced by kind permission of the North Yorks Enquirer. This gives an insight into the background to date and the support the proposal has.

Whitby Abbey ‘Aire’ – a Winter Lifeline

  • an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, offering a ray of hope for businesses in Whitby – and the whole of East and North Yorkshire.

The North Yorks Enquirer has received a Letter to the Editor – one which subsequent enquiries reveal has also been sent to Yorkshire Coast Radio (who covered the story, sort of, here), the Scarborough News and the Whitby Gazette.

The Letter, signed off by former Scarborough Borough Councillor (and Portfolio Holder) Sandra TURNER, speaks kindly of me and equally kindly of former East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor and campaigner Andy STRANGEWAY, whose name will be familiar to regular readers. This part has been omitted from the YCR report (by special request, I am given to understand).

The substance of the Letter concerns itself with an initiative that grew out of a socially-distanced site visit made by Andy and I for the purposes of examining the form of words on the signage prohibiting ‘overnight’ parking in a Council-owned car park. (Regular readers may be aware of Andy’s success in challenging TROs, PSPOs and OPPOs prohibiting ‘overnight’ parking; so are many Councils. The fact is that ‘overnight’ is not defined in law, thus rendering such prohibitions unenforceable).

When I presented the proposal to Whitby east side community group leaders Hero SUMNER (Chair of the East Side Traders’ Association) and former SBC Councillor Sandra TURNER (East Side Community Centre) the response was as positive as that recorded by Andy when he approached the motorhomer community – BRING IT ON!

But let me not steal Sandra TURNER’s thunder . . .

Letter to the Editor – Preparing for a Future working with Covid-19

Dear Sir, 

I write to you as a former Scarborough Borough Councillor of nearly fifteen years service to express my strongest urgings to present Councillors of all political persuasions. For heaven’s sake, and for the sake of our business people, all pull together!

Nobody could have imagined, when the Labour/Independent coalition wrested control of the Council in May 2019, that the year (perhaps years) ahead would see the world, the country and the Borough driven to a virtual standstill by the COVID-19 virus. Since the local elections, we have witnessed a landslide Conservative victory in the general election, yet a Labour administration here in the Borough; a new PM has complied with the will of the 52% and discharged Brexit, yet the Leader of our own Council, for one reason or another, has accomplished very little, particularly here in the northern area. But surely the problems ahead transcend party politics? 

The immediate tragedy of the coronavirus – the forty thousand plus deaths – is certain to be followed by an extended period of dire economic challenge. Here in Whitby, our many small businesses have seen their town empty during the most glorious spring and early summer on record – and this following a long, wet and unusually quiet winter. Despite the grants and loans, the lasting legacy of the coronavirus pandemic will inevitably include the collapse of many hitherto vibrant businesses, job losses, mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcy.  

As we ease out of lockdown, our town will be crying out for footfall – self-distanced, of course – and, above all, creative ideas to extend the season, if possible through to Christmas and beyond. Local campaigners Andy Strangeway and Nigel Ward, through connections in the British motorhome community, the Whitby East Side Traders Association and other tourism-related business bodies, have been discussing with me the possibility of attracting motorhomers in large numbers (there are some 250,000 registered owners, in this country alone) to a specially designated parking area on the Council Abbey Headland carpark, where power and water facilities are already available, during the period November to March, when parking is free.  

Everyone I have spoken to sees this local initiative as a precious lifeline in an otherwise bleak economic landscape. Unfortunately, the Council’s association with the Yorkshire Coast BID has borne no fruit, nor even the promise of fruit – only controversy and negativity. What we need now is for the Council to set aside past differences and political divisions and embrace the unpaid and unrewarded creative input and community spirit of people like Mr Strangeway and Mr Ward. I may have lost my Cabinet Portfolio but never my fervent desire to do the best I can for the people of my town. This plan is a winner and I urge my former colleagues to get behind it, as I am sure they must. Right now, more than ever we must take advantage of any opportunities available to us. 

Best regards 

Sandra Turner

I can report that discussions with local business proprietors has confirmed virtually unanimous support for the proposal. In the past, the National Motorhome Organisation has been shunned in Whitby since a small number of B&B proprietors on Whitby’s West Cliff lobbied the bejasus out of former SBC Councillor Joe PLANT [Con.] to prohibit ‘overnight’ parking (apparently motorhomes parking ‘overnight’ there were “spoiling the view”- at night!). This present initiative faces no such objections.

I can also report that SBC’s leading Opposition Group is fully supportive, as the following Press Release confirms:

The Conservative Group on Scarborough Borough Council today call for support for a proposal put forward by former Councillor Sandra Turner to extend the season in Whitby by allowing motor homes to use the Abbey Headland car park during the winter months. There are toilet and water facilities on the site already and a nominal charge could be levied. There are at least 250,000 motor homes registered in the UK and they are an important part of the tourism industry with disposable income that could be usefully spent in Whitby. Leader of the Conservative Group on Scarborough Borough Council Cllr Derek Bastiman said:

“We welcome good ideas wherever they come from in the spirit of cooperation and in the best interest of all the businesses in Whitby and the surrounding areas. We would hope that other similar initiatives could be explored throughout the Borough to extend the season and promote the local economy and employment which has suffered drastically in this crisis. If our economy is to recover we need the skills of all local business and community leaders to be recognised and used by the current administration in the Town Hall.”

Chair of the Whitby East Side Traders’ Association, Whitby Town Councillor Hero SUMNER – who is also spokesperson for the Yorkshire Coast Levy Payers’ Association – sums up the initiative thus:

“This idea would be great news for us all if Scarborough Council were to take this more ‘inclusive’ approach.

Many of our regular visitors are motorhome and camper van owners and they are a great contribution to our local economy. They are a gregarious bunch and often meet up from all corners of the country.

As you’re no doubt aware, there are currently less than adequate facilities to enable them to feel welcomed either as groups or individuals.

The car parks discourage them as they take up extra room and residents certainly don’t appreciate their presence when parked outside their homes.

This has led to many of these visitors saying they feel alienated and a lot less inclined to visit.

By offering a more welcoming, dedicated area for them so close to the Abbey and facilities within the town would undoubtedly help to provide a more ‘inclusive’ environment and give the assurance that all visitors are once again welcome.

It is a testament to the team spirit, ingenuity and creativity of Whitby businesses and communities to have created solutions where others might see problems.”

At a time when every business in Whitby is desperate to claw back lost time by continuing to attract customers in the ‘off season’, one can only hope that the incumbent Labour/Independent fragile alliance does not decide to play ‘dog in a manger’.

With a Cabinet comprising only Councillors holding seats south of Newby, one can imagine the initiative being ‘hijacked’ (as is so often the case) for Scarborough.

But those with a wider vision will recognise that every tourism destination in the country will be swift to follow our lead. So this is the message I would urge SBC to trumpet loudly to British and European motorhomers:

“Come and enjoy the Whitby Abbey Aire!”

Posted in Covid 19, Parking

Profound Coronavirus Post – 29 March 2020

On 29 March 2020 I published Coronavirus – Failed Policy And Questionable “Facts”. At the time I knew of no one stating this. Even those close to me advised against me publishing my opinions.

“How many will suffer and die at Stage 2 because of the failed policy of Stage 1?” typified the profound post.

Since then I have held the Government to account for closing cemeteries in Government U-Turn Forces Cemeteries To Re-Open.

I am now in the process of holding the Government to account for the Fundamentally Flawed Stay Overnight Covid Regulation.

Never be afraid to speak out. You may be the only one speaking the truth. Others will follow.

I reproduce the full 29 March 2020 article below:

Coronavirus – Failed Policy And Questionable “Facts”

I am in no doubt many will attack me for this article but I have no intention of sitting back and being silenced.

Firstly, I do not question that there is a virus. I question the Government “facts” and the policy of dealing with the virus.

Government “Facts”

To make this simple let us hypothetically say that in the UK “1,000 people have the virus” and that “100 have died with it”. This is 10%.

  • Fact 1 – “1,000 have the virus” – but what if over a million have had the virus and most are not recorded?
  • Fact 2 – “100 have died with it”. Just because a person dies with the virus does not mean they have died from it.

Now, what would the fatality rate be?

Failed Policy

From what I have read in the UK 1.5 million out of 66 million is considered vulnerable i.e. 1 person in 43. Why has there not been a policy to isolate the vulnerable but not the other 42?

Stage 1 – Stage 2

Make no mistake the virus itself is Stage 1.

Stage 2 will be the results of the failed policy. This will include non-virus related deaths, cancelled medical appointments, mental health, alcoholism, business failures, job losses, houses being repossessed etc.. Clearly, Stage 2 will dwarf Stage 1.

India

Last Saturday I arrived home from a month in India. Just after I left the country went into lockdown. I believe this lockdown was forced on India by Western Governments.

1.3 billion people live in India. This lockdown will result in countless deaths.

Please click on BBC – Locked Down India Struggles.

Once you have watched the BBC article I ask you to consider what I have said. How many will suffer and die at Stage 2 because of the failed policy of Stage 1?

If you want to attack me, so be it.

Posted in Covid 19

Stay Overnight Covid Regulation – Fundamentally Flawed

On Monday 1 June, the Government amended The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 to state:

“No person may, without reasonable excuse, stay overnight at any place other than the place where they are living.”

The English and world media covered this extensively but it would appear that this is unenforceable.

What is overnight? Is it:

  • Between the hours of darkness – currently 22.30 to 03.30
  • An eight hour period
  • A twelve-hour period
  • For two minutes between hours unknown
  • For more than an hour between hours unknown

It is disappointing that the UK Government has amended a regulation that is ambiguous and, I believe, thus unenforceable.

This means that any Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued in relation to this amendment must be revoked; all monies paid for any FPN issued reimbursed, and the regulation itself revisited.

As a result, until such time as the regulation is once again amended or new regulations introduced, it would seem to be lawful to stay “overnight” in a place in which you do not live, in England.

Furthermore, Police Forces must be informed not to issue any FPN in relation to this regulation.

Test Case – Public Spirit

To facilitate a test case of the regulation last night, in an act of the public spirit, I believe I may have stayed “overnight” in Whitby, which is not the place where I live. Of course, I may not have stayed “overnight” as I am unaware of what “overnight” is, as per the regulation.

A delightful “overnight” view

I have informed Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill and East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight of my staying “overnight” to give the Government the opportunity to issue me a FPN and to facilitate taking a test case against me, or to revisit the regulation.

I will always respect the law as I believe others must do also. Unfortunately, with this regulation the UK Government ironically may be guilty of not respecting the law if they issue a FPN in relation to it.

Posted in Covid 19, Parking

Unlawful Driffield CCTV – Strangeway Is Spot On

Today I have received a copy of an email sent by Driffield Town Council (DTC) to ERNLLCA on 4 July 2019 in relation to the unlawful DTC CCTV system. DTC confirm that my opinions that the DTC CCTV system is unlawful are spot on.

Since 17 June 2019, I have attempted to assist DTC to put matters right but they have failed to utilise my knowledge. As a result, it could be said that they have run around like headless chickens. Yet despite this running around the system remains unlawful.

There are numerous reasons why the CCTV system is unlawful. Indeed further emails I have received today confirm some of these. I believe, at this point, it would be appropriate for me to highlight just one aspect.

Scheme Controlled By DTC

As no DTC Councillor or Officer has any access whatsoever to the location where the Driffield CCTV system data is stored (Driffield Police Station), it is false to claim that “The scheme is controlled by Driffield Town Council”. Indeed, no DTC Councillor or staff have legal clearance to see the Data or even enter the room.

I gave DTC the opportunity to offer a response for publication. With all due respect, their response was nonsense so I believe it appropriate to just publish an extract.

“I can confirm that agreement has been reached with Humberside Police, and Driffield Town Council are indeed now the data controller and the police the data processor.  This is a perfectly legitimate arrangement and controls are in place to ensure that DTC personnel are entitled to access the system for purposes stated, including responding to Data Subject Access requests, which is a duty we can delegate to a duly trained member of staff – in this case the police. Driffield Town Council do control the system therefore the signs are correct.”

DTC are actually claiming that they do control the Driffield CCTV system as “the duly trained member of staff is the Police”.

I am sure we will all accept that the Police are not duly trained members of staff of DTC. As I said – nonsense.

Digging Holes

I am at a lost why DTC, at considerable expense to their taxpayers, has spent nearly a year attempting to ensure their CCTV system is lawful yet continue to fail.

My advice to DTC is simple:

  1. Stop digging.
  2. Stop wasting taxpayers resources.
  3. Work out an “A to Z” how to make the system lawful.
  4. Share that A to Z with key stakeholders, including myself and legal representation.
  5. Once everyone agrees that the A to Z would produce a lawful CCTV system only then, subject to finances, start the process.

To do otherwise is throwing good money after bad.

Required Actions

As DTC knew for nearly a year that I was right all along that their CCTV system was unlawful it raises the question of why they have permitted an unlawful CCTV system to unlawfully gather personal data.

DTC must now:

  1. Put the brakes on this charade.
  2. Make a public statement that their CCTV system has operated unlawfully and continues to do so.
  3. Switch off the CCTV system until such time as it is lawful
  4. Request Humberside Police to revisit all cases where evidence gathered by the CCTV system was used as evidence.

I hope that DTC finally does the right thing as currently, Driffield have a CCTV system that data gathered by it is unlawful and cannot be used in a Court of Law. In truth, it is a friend to those committing crime.

It is ironic that those who are in charge of a CCTV system to address crime are committing crime themselves.

Posted in CCTV, Driffield

Hambleton Council Fail To Enforce Parking Tickets

Hambleton District Council (HDC) have failed to issue one Fixed Penalty Notice for overnight parking at Leeming Bar despite wasting £26,800 attempting to ban overnight parking. I can now confirm that they also shy away from enforcing Penalty Charge Notices (Parking Tickets). Over the past five years, they have failed to enforce 1,490 parking tickets. At £60 a ticket this equates to a loss of £89,400.

Add the £26,800 to the £89,400 and that is £116,200 of lost revenue. It appears that HDC introduces bans but are too scared to enforce them.

Today it is one year since I started my campaign against the Leeming Bar Overnight Parking ban. The success of my campaign is that HDC has not issued one ticket.

Happy birthday HDC and congratulations for losing £116,200 in revenue, your residents must be proud of you.

Interestingly the tickets were issued by Scarborough Borough Council!

Further Information

Please see Hambleton (click on the link).

Posted in Hambleton, Parking

Failure To Change Covid Message – Again

Having raised with Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) their failure to change their covid message yesterday I am speechless to receive an email from their Freedom of Information department at 09.48 this morning with the incorrect message still on.

I appreciate this may require a “technical” officer to remove the image. But surely as an interim, it can be removed manually before sending emails out to prevent confusion for residents?

Once again I have sent an email to Mike Greene, SBC Chief Executive highlighting my concerns.

Perhaps Mike and I should meet up for a social distancing banging our heads against the wall.

Posted in Covid 19, Scarborough

SBC Duty Of Care Response – Delaying Tactics?

Yesterday I received an unexpected response from Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) in reply to the concerns I raised in relation to their Duty Of Care to employees working from home.

“Due to the IT risks and security issues which can arise from following links in emails from sources external to the Council, we no longer accept correspondence and/or complaints where details are provided in this manner.”

Why would a Local Authority not embrace modern communication?

How can a Borough Council possibly function under such arrangements?

Do the Government, North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Police, the NHS etc.. never forward links to SBC?

Would this suggest that SBC does not have adequate security built into their system to prevent a cyber attack?

It would not be appropriate for me to second guess the reason behind this unusual policy of SBC without first having sight of the policy.

I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to SBC for a copy of the policy and any other information held in relation to “Due to the IT risks and security issues which can arise from following links in emails from sources external to the Council, we no longer accept correspondence and/or complaints where details are provided in this manner.”

SBC Director of Legal & Democratic Services  Lisa Dixon & Chief Executive Mike Greene

PAT Testing

The SBC employee who originally contacted me with their concerns has today been informed of the following:

“The UK Health and Safety Executive along with insurance companies will expect you to perform PAT testing to ensure that you are compliant with certain regulations including:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Not complying with the above mentioned regulations can result in fines up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. Fines have been seen to go as high as £20,000 and offences heard in the Crown Court have carried sentences of more than 2 years imprisonment in addition to unlimited financial penalties.”

Understandably this has caused the employee further concern and they are keen to ensure that their working from home complies with all legal requirements.

SBC Response

In an attempt to ensure all SBC employees are working from home in a lawful manner, I have sent a cut-and-paste of yesterday’s post and also this post to SBC.

Delaying Tactics

Hopefully, the opinion of a friend that SBC is merely playing delaying tactics will prove incorrect.

Posted in Covid 19, Scarborough

SBC Failure To Change Covid Message

For reasons known only to themselves Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) have failed to change the Governments Covid 19 message on their outgoing emails for over three weeks.

Today I received an email from SBC with the above out of date message. Ironically the email was from their Complaints Department.

I have registered a formal complaint against SBC for their failure to share the correct Government message.

As their failure undermines the Governments Covid 19 message I have requested it is changed as a matter of urgency to avoid further confusion.

Posted in Covid 19, Scarborough

Evidence Revealed – Overnight Parking Ban Unenforceable

Since 3 June 2019, I have witnessed with amusement how Hambleton District Council (HDC) have attempted to convince local residents and themselves that the Leeming Bar Overnight Parking ban is enforceable when I knew it was not.

I now reveal the reason for my confidence.

Firstly, today HDC has revealed that despite wasting over £26,800 attempting to ban overnight parking at Leeming Bar not one Fixed Penalty Notice has been issued.

HDC have known all along that the ban was unenforceable. This is confirmed in their Public Spaces Protection Order Protocol – Leeming Bar as number 3 states:

“Fixed Penalty Notices are designed to tackle low-level anti-social behaviour.  They will only be issued where an authorised person has reason to believe a person has committed a penalty offence and there is sufficient evidence to support a successful prosecution.”

How can evidence be provided of a trucker bedding down in his truck, a lady sleeping in her motorhome or Strangeway in his sleeping bag in a car?

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is distinctly different from a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), an FPN is issued in relation to a criminal matter, whereas the PCN issued in relation to parking breaches is a civil matter.

HDC must provide evidence of “remaining” in a vehicle to support a successful prosecution. How can such evidence, in this case photographic, be provided of a trucker bedding down in his truck, a lady sleeping in her motorhome or Strangeway in his sleeping bag in a car?

They cant as the trucker is behind curtains, the lady is under her duvet and Strangeway is engulfed in his sleeping bag.

If anyone takes a photo of a person sleeping in their bedroom for evidence in a Court of Law they would be arrested and find themselves on the sex offenders register.

Further Information

Public Spaces Protection Order Protocol – Leeming Bar (click on the link to read)

Happy Birthday

I would like to wish all at HDC a Happy Birthday for Wednesday. I have had a ball.

Posted in Hambleton, Parking, PSPO