Long Preston Parish Council – Election Results

For the information of Long Preston residents and other
interested parties, these are the final results of the Parish
Council election held on 22 May:

Candidate Votes Cast
John Goodall 204
Nick Tyrer 202
Andy Kay 192
John Sturgess 141
Paul Morley 137
Martina Harrison 135
Judith Mason 131
David Inglis 122

Of the seven vacant seats, all the above candidates
were duly elected with the exception of David Inglis.

Long Preston Eye offers it’s congratulations to the elected candidates and wishes the new council well in its endeavours to restore harmony and good sense to our Dales village.

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Filed under Long Preston Parish Council

Parish Council Elections 22 May 2014

GoodbyeAs many villagers are aware, The Eye hasn’t been updated since January 6 2014 – the date on which all but one of Long Preston’s seven Parish Councillors resigned en bloc, citing as their reason the ongoing criticism levelled by “a small group of troublemakers”*

To avoid provoking controversy in the run-up to the Long Preston Parish Council election on Thursday 22 May,  The Eye will publish no further articles until the election is over.

Meantime, this blog would like to acknowledge and thank the four District Councillors [Carl Lis, Richard Welch, John Kerwin-Davey and David Staveley] appointed by Craven District Council to serve as interim Parish Councillors alongside Cllr Chris Moorby pending the statutory Parish Council election on Thursday May 22.

To view the list of Parish Council candidates and their proposers and seconders, please click on the following link: Parish Council Candidates 2014

* “Troublemakers”: A term used by councils and other governmental bodies to describe those who uncover and expose inconvenient truths.

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Filed under Craven District Council, Long Preston Parish Council

Question Time?


What did you say the question was, Nick?

Were you one of the handful of Long Preston villagers who gamely turned up at the sparsely attended annual Parish Meeting on March 6th (which by strange coincidence clashed with the date and kick-off time of a televised UEFA Champions League match)?
If so you may recall the loaded question posed by a tame stooge on behalf of  former LPPC chairman Nick Thwaite, who remains a parish councillor despite his resignation from the chair, allegedly due to “lack of time”. 

The stooge’s carefully phrased question was in two parts …

  1. What was the annual cost of the grass cutting when carried out by Cllr Thwaite?
  2. What is the quoted annual cost of the grass cutting to be carried out in 2013 by the local contractor Horton Landscaping?

The answer to question one was £1,500. And to question two: £3,750.

Trick questionThese seemingly telling figures had the desired effect. The concerted buzz that circulated through the village hall  was, to say the least, meaningful. On the figures cited, it would seem that the oft criticised Cllr Thwaite had been good value for money after all.

Or had he?

What the questioning stooge did NOT ask (presumably because it wouldn’t  have suited Cllr Thwaite’s book) was this:  What was the total cost to ratepayers of purchasing and maintaining the mower on which Thwaite sat whilst collecting his fat fee?

Nor did the stooge choose to ask whether there had been a less expensive tender for the contract other than that quoted by Horton Landscaping?

Had the stooge chosen to ask this key question, the answer would have been YES.

The other firm concerned has asked not to be named for commercial reasons but  holds grass-cutting contracts with several other Parish Councils within Craven and is highly commended and competitively priced – or so this blogger understands from the chairman of one of those councils.

Grass-cutting,jpgIn order to be sure of my facts, I contacted the firm in question and was informed that it had indeed tendered for the Long Preston contract via recorded delivery. I understand that its quoted price for a one year contract was circa £3,000 pa, with a discount for a three year term.

The firm’s owner tells me that his highly competitive tender was never acknowledged – formally or otherwise – despite its signed-for delivery.

Other contenders for the Long Preston grass-cutting contract in previous years – among them two who live in Long Preston – have also complained that their tenders remained unacknowledged.

Now, dear reader, why might that be? This blogger can only guess and invites you to do likewise!

Please share your thoughts via the ‘Comments’ facility below.


Filed under Incompetence, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized, Waste of public money

Why Does the Parish Council Want to Deter You from Attending the Annual Parish Meeting?

Keep Out

Yes, us!

Yes, the signpost (on the left) means you! And me. And the rest of our village. Or that’s the way it seems – unless you can find another way of interpreting the facts below! But first, please note the time and place of this important annual public meeting.

Date: Wednesday 6 March 2013
Time: 8pm
VenueVillage Hall

The Annual Parish Meeting [APM hereon] is traditionally held in May or June every year. The meeting provides villagers with the opportunity to hold the Parish Council to account, ask questions and put forward suggestions for future action.

But for reasons unstated by the Parish Council, this year’s APM has been brought forward by some three months.

However, you wouldn’t be aware of this unless you’re one of the handful of villagers who have the time and inclination to view the Parish Council’s latest postings on its noticeboard adjoining the bus shelter!

Nor would you be any the wiser if you viewed the Council’s website where (as at today’s date – 28 February) there’s no mention whatever of the APM.

In addition to the suspicious bringing forward of the APM date and its totally inadequate  publicity, this year’s meeting is likely to be even more sparsely attended than usual.

Why so?

Because the date and time of the meeting clashes with a major televised sporting event: the UEFA Champions League match between Juventus and Celtic which kicks off at 7.45pm – fifteen minutes before the meeting’s start!

Amazing coincidence, eh! Which would you rather watch?

Cynics might think that the Council wants to have have a near-empty hall, sparing its members the ordeal of answering uncomfortable and controversial questions on such topics as the cost of mowing our village greens by the council ‘s former chairman.

To say nothing of the council’s persecution of the Long Preston Christmas Lights Committee and its ongoing conflict with the Playing Fields Association.

If you feel disinclined to let your elected representatives get away with jiggery-pokery designed to minimise public attendance at the APM, please come to the meeting in person to form your own opinion  and – if you wish – express your views.

And please copy or forward this blog to neighbours and other village residents who might be interested. The link URL is http://longprestoneye.org.

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Filed under Freedom of Speech Abuse, Incompetence, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized

Craven Tories Give ‘Thumbs-Down’ to Slick Nick

Tory LogoOn Tuesday 12 February Craven District’s Conservative Party met to select its candidate for North Yorkshire County Council’s Ribblesdale Division election this coming May. The division covers a large and sparsely populated area, ranging from High Gearstones in the north to Nappa and Halton West in the south.

Vying for this safe Tory seat (minimum annual pay £8,994 plus expenses) were current incumbent Cllr Richard Welch (also a District councillor) and Long Preston’s mini-despot and former Parish Council chairman, the power-hungry Nick Thwaite.

'No' to Nick!

‘No’ to Nick!

In a close-run contest Tory members opted for Richard Welch (eight votes  against Slick Nick’s five), although given the latter’s resounding rejection by the electors of Hellifield and Long Preston in the 2011 District Council elections, it’s surprising Nick-Boy made it onto the Tory selection list at all.

So is that the end of Nick’s political ambitions? Highly unlikely, in this blog’s opinion.

Those familiar with Thwaite know how much he hungers after power – and the  cash and kudos it generates. Also how credible he can be when he so chooses. He’ll almost certainly be sniffing-out future  electoral opportunities within the environs both of North Yorkshire County and Craven District Councils.

Moreover, Slick Nick has no need to limit his ambitions to a single political party. Any port in a storm will do!

Carl Lis

Chameleon Carl

For a role model in cynical political expediency Nick need look no further than  County and District councillor Carl Lis, a long-serving political chameleon who has switched his political allegiances more frequently than a baby needs a nappy change: from Tory to Lib-Dem to Independent, and back again to Tory.

“Power”, as philosopher Bertrand Russell observed, “is a heady drug”. And Slick Nick, having savoured that kick– even at the lowly level of parish council politics – is well and truly hooked. He’ll doubtless be exploring further dreams of political power in an constituency where his foibles are unknown.

National Park Standards?


Which probably explains why in January Nick decided to resign as chairman of Long Preston Parish Council – citing as his excuse the onerous duties of his new appointment as chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s Standards Committee which (according to the YDNPA website) meets just three times a year!

Nick, however, remains a member of LPPC , although the chairman’s chore has passed to long-serving councillor David Monks – to whom this blog owes a huge (and voluntary) apology.

In an earlier posting, I christened Cllr Monks ‘Sooty’, implying thereby that he was little more than Slick Nick’s glove puppet. This was unfair, insulting and unproven.

This blog was wrong!

The Eye was wrong!

Although this blog has not been asked to do so, it unreservedly apologises to Cllr Monks and withdraws this slur. I wish him well despite the poisoned chalice he has inherited.

Why this blog’s sudden change of heart?

Because, having taken the council’s chair for the first time at the January meeting in difficult and stressful circumstances, Cllr Monks acquitted himself with honours in terms of modesty and candour– characteristics conspicuous by their absence in his predecessor!

Under Thwaites rule, the council was little more than a talking shop. Action (of any kind) was notable by its absence and foot-dragging the order of the day! Issues raised by members of the public three years ago remain unresolved.

Sleeping on the job?

Asleep on the job?

Since its election in May 2010, our Parish Council has achieved virtually nothing, save a massive increase in the Parish Precept.  This blog cannot recall a single improvement to the village and its environment for which the council – as a whole – can justly claim credit.

Yet much has been achieved by village volunteers and certain individual councillors who would not wish to be singled out for their public-spirited efforts. This blog salutes and thanks them.

Let’s hope that under the aegis of its new chairman, Long Preston Parish Council is about to enter a new era of honesty, enterprise and achievement on behalf of those who elected them.

Good luck Cllr Monks!

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Filed under Chairman Monks, Incompetence, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Yorkshire Dales National Park

Is Long Preston Parish Council’s New Chairman Under Remote Control?

Nick & Sooty (no initials)

As you’ve probably already heard, former Parish Council chairman Nick Thwaite has moved upward and onward to pastures new (and more lucrative) within the bureaucratic bunker known as the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority [YDNPA hereon].

This taxpayer-funded institution’s  financial generosity to its politically appointed members exemplifies the time-honoured phrase: “Jobs for the boys.”

Handshake (new)Thwaite, who became a junior member of the YDNPA in 2010 has been busy, busy, busy cultivating the ‘right people’ – and not without success.

His focused fawning has paid dividends, resulting in Nick-Boy’s recent appointment as chairman of the Park’s – wait for it – Standards Committee!

No, don’t book an eye test – you read that correctly.

Naughty Nick really has been appointed to chair the YNDPA’s  in-house body responsible for members’ ethical behaviour!

In the light of which, the comment most frequently heard by this blogger in and beyond Long Preston is: “The lunatics have taken over the asylum!”

But how did this gob-smacking travesty come about?

Conspirator Bird According to well informed sources within Craven District Council, Nick was touted for the job by a conspiratorial cabal of CDC’s ‘Independent’ politicians as a blocking move to prevent Tory councillor Carl Lis (the YDNPA’s chairman and quarrying advocate) from adding the Standards Committee chair to his portfolio of nice little earners. 

Nick, understandably, was only too happy to oblige the plotters. The chairman’s post requires no specific skills and is an undemanding little sinecure which brings in welcome extra moolah. 

Consumer Magnifying Glass

The Standards Committee deals with issues relating to ethics and the conduct of Authority members. It meets two to three times a year (or more often if so required) and its members’ responsibilities are far from onerous.

Despite which Nick cites this new sinecure as his reason for resigning the chair of Long Preston Parish Council – where regrettably he continues to exert influence as an ordinary member.

Sit-On Mower

Having handed over the Parish Council’s reins earlier this month to his compliant crony and fellow-councillor David (Sooty) Monks, Nick-Boy clearly has no intention of ceding either influence or affluence – the latter referring to his infamous role as the district’s highest-paid  grass-cutter

So now Thwaite has abdicated the LPPC chairman’s throne, who’s running things in our tattered Parish Council ?

Bob DylanTo quote the immortal lyric by Bob Dylan: “The answer my friends is blowing in the wind”. And what the wind has blown back into our Parish Council is none other than Long Preston’s very own Machiavelli manqué , Richard Nicolas Thwaite.

As our friends across the English Channel are wont to say: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!”


Filed under Craven District Council, Incompetence, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized, Waste of public money, Yorkshire Dales National Park

Christmas Lights: the Parish Council Version … and the Truth!

Xmas Lights John Goodall


For twelve years the Christmas Lights adorning Long Preston’s several  village greens have been greeted as the best seasonal display of any of the villages and hamlets that straddle the A65 between Skipton and Kirkby Lonsdale.

And at no cost to residents – thanks solely to the voluntary efforts of Long Preston’s Christmas Lights Committee [CLC] led by Arthur and Julie Modd, who with dozens of other CLC members have raised thousands of pounds and given freely of their time.

But from 2013 onward, villagers, young and old, as well as travelers along the A65, will  no longer be able to enjoy the pleasure afforded by our superlative Christmas Lights.

Cllr Thwaite: Ill-will to all men?

Cllr Thwaite: Ill-will to all men?

This is due to the ongoing intervention of the Parish Council  –  in particular its politically ambitious chairman (who has made no secret of his wish to personally assume responsibility for the Lights) and his confederate, Parish Clerk Stephanie Wheelhouse – both of whom who have harassed and interfered with the CLC’s activities to the extent that the latter’s volunteer members are no longer willing to tolerate the constant and deliberate aggravation.

The greens, you see, are notionally the property of the Parish Council – or more accurately the residents of Long Preston whom the council purports to represent.

And until 2010, when Thwaite and his cronies came to power, the council supported and encouraged the CLC’s public-spirited activities. 

Sadly, this is no longer the case.

Below you will find (verbatim) the latest email missive from Parish Clerk Stephanie Wheelhouse – on the face of it eminently reasonable – until you  hack through the bureaucratic gobbledygook to expose its venomous hidden agenda! In response, The Eye publishes verbatim the reply by Julie Modd on behalf of the CLC.

This blog invites readers to judge the issue for themselves. And to remind you of what you and I (to say nothing of others travelling through our village) will miss  at future Christmases, you’ll find two fine photographs accompanying the following email exchanges.  Please read on …

From: Clerk at Long Preston Parish Council [mailto:clerk@longprestonpc.org.uk]
Sent: 07 January 2013 17:01
To: Arthur and Julie Modd
Subject: Xmas Lights

Dear Mrs Modd,

I apologise for the delay in replying. I hope you have had a good Christmas and New Year.

It is becoming clear to me that the problems in the past have arisen because of a significant gap in understanding between the roles and responsibilities of the Parish Council and yourselves as volunteers.

Perhaps if I outline the full position of the Parish Council as the owners of the land on which you place the lights, and the owners of the lights to which you normally connect up, it will help.

The Parish Council is a corporate body, established by statute over 100 years ago. It exists whether there are any Councillors or not: Councillors are merely the people elected at any one time to direct policy and decide on services to be provided to the community. It is not the Councillors who are liable for any risk, it is the corporate body. Councillors have a duty to report potential problems to the Council, but unless the Council specifically empowers them, no Councillor has any power to act on behalf of the Council. The officer(s) of the Council, however, do have a general power to act on behalf of the Council: in fact it is a very specific part of my job description to monitor and ensure that the Council’s exposure to risk is minimised. This manifests itself in particular by asking appropriate questions or taking action which can then be reported back to the Council.

A 21st Century Council is entirely different to that of even 10 years ago. The subject of risk is one which Councils have to take account of at every step. Risk can be financial, contractual or in the field of public liability. Like any organisation – including the Post Office – the Council works to minimise risk, and where possible to insure against it. The Council expects that any organisation which either holds a licence from us to use our land or whose activities affect the Council in any way takes the same, modern and sensible attitude to risks. The majority of other groups in the Village who have dealings with the Council understand this and co-operate fully. I expect this from you as well.

This is not just a matter of common sense, it is a matter of behaving in a clear and responsible manner as far as (in this case) people’s safety is involved. I do not care about the past, and any arguments which members of the group and Councillors may have had – I am concerned simply here and now on behalf of the corporate body about the safety of the general public on Council land and also members of the Christmas Lights Group who, if injured, could decide to make a claim against the Parish Council. Our insurers require that I satisfy myself that what you do is competent and legal. If not, then if your insurance were to fail, a claim could rebound on the Parish Council and the Council could be left without insurance unless I am satisfied. The consequence of this for the Council could be that either a successful claim for compensation would be met through the precept – hardly an ideal situation – or through the Parish Council having to mount an expensive legal case for negligence against the individual members of the Christmas Lights Group. Clearly this is not a situation that anyone wants, least of all you, and so it makes sense to co-operate and ensure that I have the information that I require to satisfy the Council that all risks are minimised and covered as far as possible by insurance. I haven’t even touched on the potential for an investigation by the HSE and criminal proceedings that could follow.

If you are interested, I can highly recommend a text called “Public Safety and Risk Assessment” by Ball & Ball-King which emphasises the weighing up of health & safety as against public benefit. It is a text which forms the basis for risk assessment training for Clerks and Parish Councils.

My request for Mr Baines’ insurance was not a comment on his abilities, merely a simple request for a document which should be freely available for you to pass onto me. Further, I ask you to return to my original email to you. I have not accused you of any incompetence or breaches of any licences, I have simply reported to you that I have had concerns raised with me by Councillors and members of the public (one, who I ought to add, has lived in Long Preston all their life) about the failure of street lights and the Christmas Lights themselves. I have also satisfied myself that there was a question to ask as I had seen members of your group up ladders. All I asked from you, therefore, was a confirmation that all the work that required a qualified electrician had been carried out by one. If Mr Handley confirms that no certificates were required then that is fine – all you needed to do was to tell me that.

Finally, I understand that the village rumourmongers are suggesting that the intermittent nature of the lights, especially over Christmas itself, is because the Parish Council ordered you to switch them off. This is clearly untrue, and I will report to the Council that it is untrue. Such rumours are obviously unhelpful and I intend to place a notice on the PC noticeboard to that effect. I presume that you have no objection to making this a joint statement and the Lights Group will also put their name to this?


Stephanie Wheelhouse

Clerk to Long Preston Parish Council
Parish Office:
c/o 132 Main Street
BD20 8NU


Christmas Lights Maypole Green

This is Mrs Modd’s reply on behalf of the CLC:

From: Arthur and Julie Modd [mailto:longprestonpostoffice@btconnect.com]
Sent: 09 January 2013 13:12
To: ‘mailto:clerk@longprestonpc.org.uk’
Subject: RE: Xmas Lights

Dear Mrs Wheelhouse,

You are so wrong ,the problems we have had in the past with the council have a lot to bare on what is happening now. We thought we  had addressed the problems with the council when we agreed to pay for our own electricians and obtained our own insurance. It is the council that is not cooperating with us, not the other way round. Our insurers tell me that as long as no unnecessary risks are taken(climbing ladders is not one of them) our insurance covers all of our volunteers, also our electricians, and the public, it also indemnifies the parish council against any default or fault against any problems that may arise whilst our lights are on their property. Our electrician will also have insurance which will cover all aspects of the same and so should the council .This is a chain of liability. I have ran a business myself for Twenty Seven year and understand all about public liability insurance. We as a group fully understand our responsibilities and you really do not have to go into the histories of parish councils and duties of the parish council with me.

Our members once again felt  for the third year running that a certain member of the council was making life difficult for us. We saw this for ourselves whilst we were on the green, and others saw photos being taken of  work that we had done. We do not agree that we have not cooperated with the council, it is just that every time we do the boundaries are pushed further for us. Maybe you do not have trouble with other groups, but maybe other groups have not had the trouble we have. I shall be sending a copy of your letter to our insurers who were happy when they came to do their inspections that everything was been done efficiently, and safely. We will make a statement  of our own saying that you did not say we had to stop working on the Christmas lights, but that your actions towards  us over the past three years did. We will not make a joint statement with the council. We have tried our hardest over the years but it has never been enough. I may not be as clued up on the law as you are Mrs Wheelhouse, but I know the difference between right and wrong and how this group has been treated by one councillor  in particular is morally wrong. The lights will be coming down from The Maypole Green this coming weekend. We shall not be applying to put them back up on any council property.

Regards J Modd.

Christmas Tree Main Green

If you live in Long Preston (and even if you don’t) please make Cllr Thwaite, his devoted clerk and five compliant parish council cronies aware of your views. You can express your opinion in our Reader Poll below. Likewise feel free to post your thoughts in our ‘Comments Section’ (also below).


Filed under Christmas Lights, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized

Ten New Year Resolutions for Long Preston Parish Council !

Puppet on a stringNew Year’s Greetings for 2013 to Long Preston Parish Council and its magisterial clerk, the aptly named Mrs Stephanie Wheelhouse!
Why aptly named, do I hear you ask Dear Reader? According to Google, the wheelhouse is that part of the ship from which it is steered – a fact prompting members of the public attending recent Parish Council meetings to ponder whether the PC is steered by chairman Nick Thwaite or the officious and apparently ambitious Mrs W? Be that as it may, this blogger (suffused with the seasonal spirit of goodwill and vin ordinaire de Tesco) respectfully recommends to our floundering and costly council that it adopt forthwith the following ten New Year resolutions …

  1. Less Talk, More Action
    Talking Shop
    In July 2012, this blogger sent Mrs Wheelhouse two simple Freedom of Information requests – a task unlikely to occupy more than (say) fifteen minutes.
    Despite several reminders this information was not forthcoming within the statutory twenty working days and in September I jogged Mrs W’s memory with  another reminder.
    To which I received an email reply almost immediately requesting more time to deal with these requests so that she could (to use a phrase worthy of TV’s Sir Humphrey) “move the council forward”.
    As this seemed an excellent and long overdue idea, I replied by return email, offering to extend the mandatory 20 day period  by a further 20 days. As  at  1st January 2013 – 119 days (or 84 working days) later, Mrs W had failed to deliver!
  2. Solve the Mystery of the Missing Minutes
    Sherlock Holmes
    Now here’s a challenge for the indefatigable Mrs W! Find the allegedly missing LPPC minutes that are said to contain much potentially controversial financial information. A couple of years back this blogger, concerned at the hefty increase in the Long Preston parish precept, asked for sight of the council’s accounts and minutes, only to be told by chairman Thwaite that this vital  public information was languishing in a massive unsorted pile of council documentation in the village hall committee room –  a situation that was (wrongly) blamed on a former parish clerk. Mr Thwaite  invited me to  assist in his ostensible  search to locate these key  documents – an invitation I immediately accepted. But Thwaite did not allow me to examine any of the council documents he unearthed and after an hour of purported searching, he suggested we call halt and resume at another time. Despite repeated email and telephone reminders from this blogger, “another time ” never happened.  This blog leaves it to you, dear reader, to speculate why?
  3. Adhere to the Rule of Law
    All elected council members – whether County, District or Parish – areJudge legally required to abide by the rules of ‘Personal and Prejudicial Interest’ . These specify that a councillor may not speak or vote upon a matter if …
    a member of the public (with knowledge of the relevant facts) might think that a Councillor’s judgement of the public interest could be prejudiced i.e. the topic under consideration directly affects a Councillor (or a member of their family or a close associate) with a financial interest, or relates to a licensing or regulatory matter.
    Cllr Thwaite  knowingly flouted – and his legally qualified clerk abetted – this  brazen breach of procedure at the July 2012 LPPC meeting.  A key item on that meeting’s agenda was Thwaite’s formal censure by Craven District Council for “bringing the Parish Council into disrepute”. Not only did Thwaite fail to leave the meeting as required by the rules, he, the subject of the discussion, continued to chair the meeting!
    This blatant defiance of the law was witnessed not only by myself but also several other Long Preston citizens. Thwaite was accordingly admonished for a second time by Craven District Council!
  4. Adopt a Demonstrably Open and Fair Tendering Process
    No Cheating
    For several years the LPPC tendering process has been little more than a farce insofar as the parish’s grass-cutting contract is concerned.
    To date there has been totally inadequate advertising of invitations to tender for the contract, restricting ads to media which few (if any) professional contractors would read, e.g the Long Preston parish magazine and the local newspaper’s ‘Parish News’ section.
    This time around, there has been a minimal improvement in the credibility of the process, in that an invitation to tender has been posted on LPPC’s website.
    The site includes a copy of the formal tender document which runs to twenty-one pages (read it here if you’ve got the stamina) and requires would-be contractors to provide a mass of irrelevant and unnecessary  information. Most of which has as much bearing on grass cutting as this blog does to speed-dating. Indeed LPPC’s ludicrously OTT document would be more relevant to a contract for building a bomb shelter at the Palace of Westminster!
    Indeed, so risibly irrelevant is this twenty-one page travesty, that a cynic might think it was expressly designed to deter applicants. But surely no LPPC member or officer would stoop that low. Would they?
  5. Stop Interfering with the Village’s Christmas Lights
    Long Preston’s much praised Christmas Lights display – for several years in the capable hands of a team of dedicated volunteers – went prematurely ‘dark’ in the interval between Christmas and the New Year thanks to LPPC’s intervention over alleged “safety concerns” e.g. one of the lights blew a fuse! Could it be that the person who instigated this mean and vindictive act  is the self-same local politico who, while  holding court in local hostelries, made no secret of his ambition to personally oversee the installation of the lights.
    Whether he wished to do so as an unpaid volunteer is uncertain.
  6. Hands Off the Long Preston Playing Fields Association
    SONY DSCThe LPPFA – a registered charity – is another of our village’s admirable voluntary enterprises.
    It has a long-term lease on the School Lane playing field which is owned by the Parish Council. Until last year, the council was represented on the LPPFA committee by two elected members – Cllrs Newhouse and Monks – both of whom resigned for reasons unstated publicly. Currently there are no nominated Parish Council representatives on the LPPFA committee.
    Some believe these resignations may have related to the election of a new LPPFA committee which decided that the field (hitherto mowed by LPPC chairman Thwaite at unknown cost to village taxpayers) should instead be mowed by a team of willing volunteers.
    Since the resignations of Cllrs Newhouse and Monks, a surprising number of spurious (and anonymous) complaints alleging the “discovery” of hazardous materials on the playing fields have been laid against the LPPFA.
    Whilst there is no concrete evidence that the Parish Council was in any way involved in laying these false complaints, this blog suggests it would be in the village’s best interest for any future Parish Council representatives to be councillors with no prior involvement in LPPFA matters.
  7. Restore Harmony with Christmas Lights Committee
    Two neutral, local, and respected persons (not councillors) should beHandshake invited to act as a neutral intermediaries between the council and the Christmas Lights Committee. This glorious annual display is  admired throughout Long Preston and beyond – it should not be wrecked by the machinations of a petty local Napoleon.
  8. Stop Bending the Rules to Silence Those Who Elected You
    No-one likes to be on the receiving end of criticism. But it’s vital to democratic government – local as well as national – that taxpayers have the right to question or complain about what is done (or not done) in their name.
    And it’s vital to a healthy democracy that politicians and others wielding political power are held to account for their actions – or lack of them.
    At LPPC’s most recent meeting on 5th December the author of this blog  wished to draw members’ attention to the Parish Clerk’s persistent failure over a period of several months to provide data requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
    All councils – County and District as well as Parish – enable taxpayers to air such concerns during the ‘Public Participation’ session that precede all publicly held meetings. In the case of LPPC, however, every conceivable bureaucratic barrier was erected to prevent this.
    Under draconian new rules recently adopted by LPPC, members of the public are required to give advance notice in writing of the subject/s they wish to raise. A requirement with which I immediately complied.
    Surprise, surprise then when my right to speak at the meeting was refused without valid reason by chairman Thwaite and energetically supported by the clerk – the subject of my complaint. More worrying yet, there was not the slightest murmur of protest from LPPC’s other elected members who purport to represent me and all other village electors.
    This travesty of democracy was witnessed by a long-serving County and District councillor, who later commented to a third party that the denial of this democratic right was unprecedented in his many years of political experience.
  9. Cease Covert Pre-Meeting Decisions on LPPC Business
    ConspiratorsPersistent rumours (from credible sources including a former parish councillor) claim that an  inner cabal of elected members meet covertly in advance of each  monthly meeting to discuss and decide how best to ensure the desired outcome of certain agenda items.
    Whether or not these secret and exclusive meetings are illegal is uncertain: they are, however, an affront to democratic governance insofar as they corrupt unbiased debate and disadvantage other councillors during the decision making process. Such secret meetings should cease forthwith!
  10. Shutter the Talking Shop and Start Getting Things Done
    Blah Blah Blah
    Long Preston Parish Council, under its current regime, is little more than a dictatorial talking shop, expelling much hot air but achieving nowt!  Just the opinion of this blogger?
    Not so. According to an email I received from the Parish Clerk shortly after  her appointment last year,  Mrs Wheelhouse regarded her first priority to be “moving the council forward” (her words) with regard to the stockpile of accumulated and  neglected council business. With the exception of providing allotments after persistent lobbying by eager villagers, little else of substance has been achieved during this broken council’s term of office. Fingers out LPPC!
    Please express your opinion in our poll.

    [You can also leave a comment if you wish – see below.]

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Filed under Freedom of Speech Abuse, Incompetence, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Waste of public money

Want to Earn Up to £18 per Hour Mowing Our Village Greens? Then …

Fancy earning up to £18 per hour for cutting the grass on Long Preston’s several village greens?

£18 per hour – and no other takers?

That’s what Long Preston Parish Council has been paying its own chairman Nick Thwaite for the past several years. Yet there have been surprisingly few, if any, other tenders for the work. Odd indeed, especially at such a generous rate!

Even odder is the fact that the previous grass-cutting contractor – a local resident who for more than twenty years prior to Cllr Thwaite’s election as chairman efficiently tended the greens at a far lower cost – has not quoted for subsequent grass cutting contracts.

Interestingly, the October 2007 minutes of the Parish Council meeting  contain a reference to an unspecified “difficult situation” with the former grass-cutting contractor. The minute also stated that the council would accordingly invite new tenders for the respective duties of grass-cutter and lengthsman.

But an examination of subsequent minutes over the ensuing period can find no reference to those duties being put out to competitive tender.


Understandably this caused some raised eyebrows within the village and a year or two later the contract was formally put up for tender, prompting seven sceptical villagers (who sniffed a rat) to each submit respective bids.

And although the minutes of the council’s November 2007 meeting record the re-appointment of chairman Thwaite to both jobs, there is no reference whatever to the seven other tenders submitted!

According to Alison Fawcett – the parish clerk at that time – the only criteria considered by the council when re-appointing its chairman to the grass-cutting and lengthsman duties, was that our elected representatives wanted “someone they knew and could work with.”

And chairman Thwaite, it transpired, was the sole applicant to fit that demanding description!

Strangest of all in this shifty saga is the dearth of tenders (zero, zilch, nix and none) from the many other local individuals and contractors who might reasonably have been expected to tender for this work.

Could this be dearth of applicants be attributed to the Parish Council’s carefully crafted non-advertising  of its invitations to tender?

Such vacancies and contracts are normally advertised in the ‘Jobs & Careers’ section of the Craven Herald and other local newspapers – a platform certain to attract the attention of relevant interested parties.

Instead, the council’s publicity was confined to the Long Preston Parish magazine – which is unlikely to be read beyond our village boundaries. Plus  (for those with exceptionally good eyesight) a minuscule mention in the free ‘Village Roundup’ section of the Craven Herald (see example beneath).

Herald Village Roundup
[Note: This is not the original page featuring the invitation to tender for the grass-cutting contract. But it accurately reflects the ludicrously inadequate size of the  so-called ‘advertisement’ inviting tenders for grass-cutting.]

Few raised eyebrows, then, that chairman Thwaite was the sole applicant for this potentially lucrative contract!

When the contract and absence of competitive tenders was discussed at the Parish Council’s ensuing meeting, Cllr Thwaite himself took no part whatever in the decision-making process for this lucrative contract.

Instead,as is required by law, he rightly absented himself from discussion of the contract, quitting the meeting and leaving the decision in the safe hands of his unbiased vice chairman, Cllr Keith McBride and five dispassionate fellow councillors.

So what about this latest decision to put the grass-cutting contract out to tender in December?

JusticeThe Long Preston electorate can be confident that in such closely scrutinised circumstances, chairman Thwaite’s council colleagues will  ensure that the applicant deemed to provide best value to the taxpayers of Long Preston will triumph in the tender process.

So if you fancy undercutting chairman Thwaite’s lucrative rate of £18 per hour, why not have a go?

You won’t even have to provide your own equipment as our Parish Council generously provides the present incumbent (courtesy of village taxpayers) with a splendid £5,000 plus sit-upon  motorised mower.

Interested? Then visit the council’s website where you’ll read that …

“The Council will shortly (December 2012) be tendering for a grounds maintenance contract. This will cover maintenance of all open spaces owned by the Council and grass cutting during the growing season. Interested parties should email the Clerk to be alerted when the tender is live. It is anticipated that the contract will begin early in the New Year, with grass cutting to be undertaken at the start of the 2013 growing season.”

As 17th century savant Baltasar Gracián y Morales put it:  “A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”

Advice that Cllr Thwaite would be sensible to heed!

LongPrestonEye.org will correct within twenty-four hours any proven inaccuracies published on this site and drawn to the attention of its editor. In such cases an unconditional apology will be published and a cash donation made to a recognised village charity of the complainant’s choice.

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Filed under Freedom of Speech Abuse, Incompetence, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Waste of public money

Who’s the (Fairly) Harmless Long Preston Psycho ?

Apologies in advance for the alarming headline!  Thanks to the late great Alfred Hitchcock’s scary movie , the word Psycho suggest a murderous slash-happy nutter who chatters away to  his mother’s decaying corpse in the attic.

But in the words of George Gershwin’s famous song: ‘It ain’t necessarily so’.

Although ‘Hitch’ made marvellous movies, his grasp of psychopathy was tenuous. Less than 0.01% of psychos brandish a carving knife, but nearly 100% sport a winning smile, an aura of integrity and oodles of charm.

That’s the opinion of PsychologyToday.com which reports: “Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders to spot. Psychopaths can appear normal, even charming. but beneath the façade they lack conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal.”

Many successful con-artists have charmed their way into the good books of some of the world’s most powerful and perceptive people. Take, for example, the case of  Peter Clarence Foster, a convicted Australian con-man who hit the headlines back in 2002 following his involvement in helping barrister Cherie Blair, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, buy properties in Bristol.

If the savvy Blairs can be conned by a psycho, why not you and me?

It’s worth a glance at the Hare Psychopathy Checklist – a diagnostic tool used to rate a person’s psychopathic or antisocial tendencies, ie:

“People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get with they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.”

These are the twenty traits associated with psychopathy as assessed by the checklist:

  1. Glib and superficial charm
  2. Grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  3. Need for stimulation
  4. Pathological lying
  5. Cunning and manipulativeness
  6. Lack of remorse or guilt
  7. Shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  8. Callousness and lack of empathy
  9. Parasitic lifestyle
  10. Poor behavioral controls
  11. Sexual promiscuity
  12. Early behaviour problems
  13. Lack of realistic long-term goals
  14. Impulsivity
  15. Irresponsibility
  16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  17. Many short-term marital relationships
  18. Juvenile delinquency
  19. Revocation of conditional release
  20. Criminal versatility

Bear in mind, though, that not all of these traits apply to the average psychopath. And  what the heck has all this to do with Long Preston anyway?

Consider: In a village with a population of 631 registered electors there is a strong (albeit purely statistical) probability that a very small percentage correspond to the medical definition of  ‘psychopath’.

Which, according to Probability theory [the branch of mathematics concerned with the analysis of random phenomena] makes a handful of villagers (including the author of this blog) prime candidates for psychopathic diagnosis!

Ever mindful of the law of defamation, The Eye names no names for the dubious accolade of Long Preston’s ‘Psychopath-in-Chief’.’ Instead  you are invited to re-read the above check-list of twenty traits … then nominate whomsoever you think fits the bill!

Needless to say all nominations will remain anonymous!🙂

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Long Preston Goes Global!

Greetings Fellow Long Prestonians — and the unknown others who comprise this village blog’s amazing audience. If, like me, you’re gobsmacked by the number of visitors to the LP Eye website (3,951 as at 6.44pm today) you’re not alone!

After all, Long Preston Parish boasts only 631 registered electors, so you may rightly wonder as to the accuracy of the visitor count?

This blog’s author certainly did. But I’ve since checked with the site’s online host, San Francisco -based WordPress, and the answer is “very accurate indeed”!

The visitor count is automated and controlled solely by WordPress, which registers visits via a cookie placed on each visitor’s web browser. I believe WordPress also notes the unique computer ID  and the country from which each visit is made.

However, rest assured that WordPress doesn’t know your personal identity or anything else about you.

Moreover, there’s no way I as The Eye’s author – or anyone else –  can tamper with the visitor count.

So where the heck have these 3,900 ‘unique visitors’ come from? Certainly not just Long Preston and its environs!

The answer lies in new data recently supplied by WordPress to its users – see this PDF file which features a world map showing that folk from as far afield as the USA, New Zealand and Russia are taking an interest in our village — seven of them from Cambodia, would you believe!

The Eye can only assume that villagers are regaling friends and relatives beyond Long Preston with news of the abysmal performance of our broken Parish Council.

If you’ve got any other plausible theories, do please share them via the comments facility below.

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Parish Council Chairman to be Investigated

News recently reached this blogger’s ears (or, more accurately, his eyes) in the form of an email confirming that Craven District Council’s most senior legal Officer, Gill Cooper, has referred to North Yorkshire Police two complaints laid  by a local elector [not this blogger!] against Long Preston Parish Council chairman Nick Thwaite.

These concern perceived breaches of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, and  breaches of the recently introduced Localism Act.

The outcome of this referral by CDC’s politically neutral Monitoring Officer will not be known for some while but, to use the time honoured phrase, Mr Thwaite’s collar has been well and truly felt … and not before time either!

It should be stressed that this is only an investigation and – at this stage – no charges have been brought against Mr Thwaite. Clearly, however, CDC’s legal department believe there to be sufficient grounds to justify a criminal investigation.

The Eye will keep you posted on developments and the eventual outcome  – whenever that may be. But don’t hold your breath; these things take time – months maybe.

And, as more than a few Long Prestonites, [aka ‘moaning bastards’ – see last posting], are ruefully aware,  ‘Slippery Nick’ is a world class escapologist!

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Filed under Craven District Council, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized

Are You One of the “Moaning Bastards” Insulted on Chairman Thwaite’s FaceBook Page?

As the old English proverb has it: “With friends like these who needs enemies?” It’s a maxim upon which Long Preston Parish Council chairman Nick Thwaite, a FaceBook member like millions of others, may have cause to ruefully reflect.

In a recent posting on his FaceBook page, Mr Thwaite gleefully flaunts his fifteen minutes of fame in an article published a few months back in the Daily Express.

And on the same page he  permits his moronic mates to post opinions in which they insult a sizeable number of villagers as: “Moaning bastards [who] you never see getting off they’re [sic] arses and doing anything good for the village …”

This isn’t to say that Mr Thwaite’s ‘Team Moron’ have no right to air their views.

Of course they do.

But – boring though they may deem it – they should first acquaint themselves with the facts. ‘Team Moron’ decries as “moaning bastards” those who are critical of Thwaite and his council cronies, ignoring the fact that many of these “bastards” voluntarily donate hundreds of hours of their time to improving the village, its amenities and helping their fellow citizens.

The “moaning bastards” mow grass in the churchyard and elsewhere. They  maintain and improve the playing fields, its user facilities, the tennis courts and the children’s playground. They also created the original village website and undertake countless other community tasks.

But unlike Mr Thwaite they do it for nowt!

Fair-minded readers, however, might wonder whether Mr Thwaite can control the comments published on his FaceBook page?

He most certainly can control them! The ‘owner’ of a FaceBook page has absolute editorial control over who says what  and can publish or decline to publish third party comments posted on the page.

Regrettably, however, Mr Thwaite saw  fit not only to boast about the way he has milked the Long Preston electorate – he also allowed to be published loutish comments that insult a significant number of the village’s electorate.

The Eye hopes Mr Thwaite will rue the day he did so. And apologise forthwith.

But don’t hold your breath!

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Warning: This Parish Council Questionnaire May Damage Your Privacy!

A  ‘questionnaire’ from Long Preston Parish Council slithered through my letterbox this weekend, as presumably it  did in every other Long Preston household.

This document – especially its amateurish methodology and the personal nature of the questions it posed  – rang alarm bells. Not just as a village resident but as a retired market and opinion research professional.

Back in the 90s I was a director of a company within the AGB Research Group – then the world’s second largest market and opinion research company. In this capacity I worked on research projects for a clientèle that included British Airways, Unilever and ICI Pharmaceuticals. And for nine years more I worked for the World Advertising Research Centre.

I’m not trying to impress you with this ancient history –  simply attempting to establish my credentials in the field of professional opinion research.

And suggesting that if you value your personal privacy and decline to take part in what appears to be a biased data-gathering exercise, you should immediately bin the Parish Council’s intrusive and amateurish questionnaire.

Here are five key reasons why it should be consigned to the garbage bin:

  1. A prime requirement of accurate and unbiased opinion research is that the ‘sample’ (trade jargon for those responding to a survey) is statistically representative of the population as a whole, ie Long Preston’s resident adults.  This can only be achieved if questionnaires are distributed to adults only on the basis of one per person (or one per household). No such controls are in place with the Parish Council questionnaire, copies being freely available at the Post Office Stores and on the Parish Council’s website.

  2. The questionnaire fails to make clear whether some questions relate to single or multiple members of a household. To achieve results that accurately and statistically reflect village opinion, the sex of all adult respondents should be stated. Moreover there is no safeguard to invalidate multiple and other responses from non-residents and those below voting age.

  3. The section devoted to ‘Housing’ (item 18) invites opinions on the number and type of new properties to be built in our already over-developed village but makes no provision whatever for those respondents who might wish to answer ‘NONE’.

  4. A fundamental rule in all opinion research is that  a survey’s sponsor [in this case the Parish Council] should play no role whatever in the collation, analysis and interpretation of the collected data. The reason for this is obvious: to ensure that the sponsor is in not position to influence or otherwise tamper with the data. In this instance, however, you are instructed to deliver your completed questionnaires directly to Keith McBride – vice chairman of the Parish Council!

  5. So far as this blog is aware, Mr McBride has no qualification or professional background in the field of opinion research. So who should undertake the task of assessing responses to this survey? If it is to have any validity whatever, the analysis must be entrusted to an independent third party in whom the Parish Council  and the village’s dissident group both have confidence.

Any volunteers?

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Filed under Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized, Waste of public money

Can You REALLY Believe What You Read on This Site?

The author of this site is as fallible as the next man. Probably more so! Which, in the light of my last posting [1-August-12], set me thinking.

As a former business journalist, I have done my level best to verify each and every fact quoted on LongPrestonEye; but I’m all too aware that it’s easy to misunderstand or misinterpret what one witnesses, hears or reads.

So back in May I emailed the clerk of Long Preston Parish Council inviting  councillors to correct any provable factual errors  or mistakes on the Eye website. Moreover, I undertook to publicly correct all such faults, flaws or oversights and – where appropriate – publish an apology online.

According to  the minutes of the Parish Council meeting of 6 June [Agenda Item 12.77 (b)] my emailed offer was relayed to the council. To date – more than ten weeks later – I still await a response from the Council to my offer and have received no request for corrections or amendments!

So can you really believe what you read on this site? I invite you to reach your own conclusion!

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Our Broken Parish Council Again Hits the Headines in Yorkshire Post

“Any publicity is good publicity”, as the old advertising adage has it. A bewhiskered proverb with which Long Preston Parish Council and its controversial chairman Nick Thwaite are unlikely to agree!

In the wake of yesterday’s follow-up story in The Yorkshire Post , no further comment by this website is necessary.

Let The Yorkshire Post’s story speak for itself …

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Filed under Craven District Council, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized, Waste of public money

District Council Upholds Complaint Against Parish Council and Chairman

From ratepayers’ pockets and into Cllr Thwaite’s!

Following the recent revelations in the Yorkshire Post and Daily Express, few Long Preston residents can be unaware of the disquiet within the village surrounding its Parish Council and, in particular, the lavish payments (£18 per hour for grass-cutting work) made to the council’s controversial chairman Nick Thwaite.

Despite a raft of complaints by concerned ratepayers, this disquiet has been contemptuously ignored by our Parish Councillors,  all but one of whom turned a blind eye to villagers’ concerns over what clearly was (and remains) a scandal  in terms of the outrageous hourly rate paid to chairman Thwaite for grass-cutting on the council’s own motor mower.

Cllr Thwaite’s £18 hourly rate is significantly above the average within Craven District – for example Cowling Parish pays just £8. Nearer to home, Long Preston’s highly qualified Parish Clerk recently received just £8.34 per hour  [see LPPC Receipts and Payment 2010 to 2011 (Payments to NT), entry dated 02/12/2010].

That’s less than half the hourly rate received by Chairman Thwaite for unskilled grass-cutting!

Concerns and complaints levelled by villagers have been – and still are – contemptuously rejected by the Parish Council as the work of “a handful of troublemakers”. And the figures quoted in the Yorkshire Post and Daily Express newspaper articles [based on the council’s own financial data obtained the under the Freedom of Information Act] have been perfunctorily rejected as inaccurate.

Fortunately however, this scandalous situation came to the attention of CRAG [Craven Ratepayers Action Group] which, having ascertained the facts from the current Parish Clerk, lodged a formal complaint with Craven District Council’s Monitoring Officer, who then appointed an independent Standards Sub-Committee [SSC] to investigate the matter.

After deliberation the complaint was upheld by the SSC, whose findings – sight of which is normally restricted to the complainant and the subject of the complaint – can be accessed here.

So in view of the sharp slap on the wrist from the Independent Sub-Committee, how did our elected representatives react to the verdict ?

This blogger attended LPPC’s specially convened meeting on Thursday 26 July to find out.

Were Long Preston’s elected representatives regretful, shamed, abashed, sheepish or embarrassed by the sharp rap on their knuckles by CDC’s independent Standards Committee? Did they apologise for letting-down those who elected them? Did they accept CDC’s offer of assistance and guidance – both to chairman Thwaite and the council as a whole – to ensure that such “errors of judgement” wouldn’t recur?

Not on your Nelly they didn’t! Deeming the best form of defence to be attack, our hitherto acquiescent councillors turned on their judges, deriding and scorning the independent verdict and vowing instead to deliver a “robust defence” of their actions in lining the pockets of their chairman.

[In all fairness, this ‘robust defence’, when prepared, will be reported verbatim by Long Preston Eye. Watch this space … Meantime, we’d welcome readers’ opinions – just click on ‘comments’ symbol below.] 


Filed under Craven District Council, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized, Waste of public money

About ‘Long Preston Eye’

The author

The reasons for the creation of this website are explained in the ‘Personal Statement’ below. It was made by the Eye’s author – a village resident for the past twelve years –  to members of Long Preston Parish Council during the ‘public participation’ session on 7 January 2012. His identity, although not revealed here, is known to all councillors.

“I refer councillors to the Long Preston Parish Council Meeting of 8 December 2011 at which Cllr Hilary Baker made a formal statement voicing her concern and puzzlement at the surge of public unrest within the village and the number of formal complaints and Freedom of Information requests arising therefrom. Cllr Baker was not alone among her colleagues … whose inability to identify the reasons for such unrest suggests that (with one notable exception) their collective finger is not on the village’s pulse.

The implication that this unrest arises solely from a handful of troublemakers provoked me to interject publicly during the meeting that a substantial number of Long Preston electors had lost confidence – not in the Council itself – but in its chairman, Mr Thwaite.

Not a single councillor asked me to substantiate that statement. But in the public interest, I do so now, citing four  prime reasons for public concern about Cllr Thwaite’s conduct as chairman. They are:

  1. His attempt to discredit the competence of the village’s volunteer Christmas Lights Committee – who for several years have successfully and safely carried out this good work without financial reward. Had Cllr Thwaite’s attempt succeeded, it would have opened the door to his taking-over the project with likely financial benefit [in collaboration with a professional electrician, Cllr Hugill, chairman of Hellifield Parish Council]. That Cllr Thwaite’s bid failed is due entirely to the surge of indignation and disquiet within the village – over which you, our elected representatives, are now wringing your hands!
  2. Inadequate advertising (in contravention of published guidelines) of the Lengthsman’s contract – for which he, Cllr Thwaite, was unsurprisingly the sole applicant.
  3. Payments made to chairman Thwaite in his dual capacity as Lengthsman and grass-cutter. In the eight months to 15 March 2011 these totalled £5,150 – an average of £643.75 per month. It is also worth mentioning that Cllr Thwaite’s colleague, Hellifield Council chairman Brian Hugill, received £950.06 of Long Preston taxpayers’ money for “street light maintenance”.
  4. Chairman Thwaite’s provocative and insulting attitude towards members of the public. In one instance, an elderly  female parishioner who complained about inadequate street lighting was reportedly told to “buy an effing candle”. In another he is said to have disparagingly referred to the Ribblesdale Estate as “The Gorbals”. If true, these allegations will not have enhanced Cllr Thwaite’s reputation – nor that of the Parish Council –within the village.

It is important to stress that the wave of disquiet within the village does NOT imply a lack of confidence in the council as a whole – but in its chairman, Mr Thwaite, whose conduct has demonstrably brought the council into disrepute.

I urge councillors to discuss in private session, and in Cllr Thwaite’s absence, the propriety of his behaviour and, in particular, its legality in relation to paragraph 3 above. After which it would be appropriate to issue a joint public statement.

In the meantime, I acknowledge and thank the majority of Long Preston’s elected members who receive no reward (with the exception of chairman Thwaite) other than the satisfaction of knowing that they serve their community.”

The response by parish councillors to this taxpayer’s statement was (a) to pass a near-unanimous vote of confidence in chairman Thwaite [one abstention]; and (b) to suppress forthwith the public participation sessions hitherto held at the start of each Parish Council meeting! The ban – the first ever in the council’s historycovered a period of two months ending May 2012 which, by a strange coincidence, spanned the entire electioneering period for the Hellifield and Long Preston Ward District Council elections. For which, in a second quirky coincidence, chairman Thwaite stood (unsuccessfully) as a Conservative candidate!

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Filed under Craven District Council, Freedom of Speech Abuse, Hellifield Parish Council, Long Preston Parish Council, Nick Thwaite, Uncategorized, Waste of public money

Taxpayers Money Down Drain – Parish Council’s Farewell

Money DownDrainSpend, spend, spend and to hell with those who foot the bill! That’s apparently Long Preston Parish Council’s farewell message to village taxpayers in the wake of the carefully stage-managed mass resignation saga last December when seven of the eight elected members jointly resigned.

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