Thursday, September 21, 2006


The Conservative Party Website

As a very worried Darlington businessman of 30 years standing I feel that I can no longer remain silent.

Businesses in Darlington are just surviving, 2 or 3 a week are closing or going under. The Town Crier Sept 06 – The Future Looks Great page 6, this business has subsequently closed since moving into the town centre after 40 years of trading in Darlington. At a recent community partnership forum meeting John Buxton, Director of Development and Environment laid the blame for failure with Lifestyle saying that the products being sold were perhaps not appropriate for the chosen marketplace. However in The Northern Echo on Thursday 14th September

Managing director Brian McPherson, who bought the company from Alan Goodrich in 1995, said that footfall had dropped dramatically since the start of the £7m Pedestrian Heart project.

He said that in October last year, before the start of the project, the Blackwellgate shop's sales had been eight per cent up on the previous year.

He said that during the works, the shop had endured 8ft barriers outside the premises, disruption from digging and traffic, as well as continuous noise and traffic fumes.

He told The Northern Echo yesterday: "The council, who stated in their manifesto they encourage and support independents, have failed badly on this occasion.

"As no financial support was given to traders, this council has turned its back on their manifesto pledges.

How can local businesses even hope to succeed within the present culture?

Soon we won’t need to worry about congestion or park and ride schemes, unless of course people are flocking to see our glorified patio area (once proudly now as the market square), or to shop in our new Tesco/Asda/Co-op…(depending on which multinational has greased the right palms). Be under no illusion that if this council gets its way on this issue then that’s all that will be left of our town.

Anybody who went into Darlington on August Bank Holiday Monday would have been horrified at how dead the town was. Darlington Borough Council can’t tell me that the means will justify the end. Also let us not forget that we are a market town. We must fight to keep our markets and support and encourage the market traders.

I have spoken with a substantial amount of business colleagues, friends and other business people who like me are depressed and disillusioned. All I have heard from them is, who is there to speak on our behalf or even to listen to our concerns?

Never have I in 30 years of trading felt so angry. This town has been raped and pillaged by a council that doesn’t give a damn about anyone or anything other than residing in a new town hall of some grand design, I presume!!! Our town centre looks like a building site and I don’t have high hopes of it looking any better once it has been completed and all it has is national companies and Darlington brand businesses like mine have been allowed to go to the wall.

The council are consulting on Tescogate, I like many others have no faith in Darlington Borough Council consultations. One example being: Darlington Borough Council wrote to businesses on Duke Street on 4/5/06 to consult on changes to Hackney Carriage stand provision as the council wants to designate 75 metres of Duke Street as a taxi rank, part of which runs directly outside of my business premises. Most businesses on Duke Street felt that this would have a detrimental effect on business. I replied immediately as did many other businesses on Duke Street, four months have passed and no replies or updates on the proposals have been received. WHERE is the accountability??

When will the bread and butter businesses like mine be listened to? It feels like the bulldozers are sat on the edge of town with their engines running, just waiting for the nod. Action needs to be taken now before it is too late.

left by Tim Hinton- Clifton


The Conservative Party Website

Are we to get a new Town Hall?? News reaches me that the new Town Hall will be nothing more than a front office. Back up/support staff will be housed at offices in Morton Palms.

Questions then that need an answer:

Will we be paying rent to TESCO for new town hall (have DBC sold all the land for this developement).

What will be the rent for other offices needed to house back up/support staff.

On an ongoing basis how much will be the real cost of this developement.

Rumour has it that on an awayday, 9 cabinet members voted to proceed with the TESCO developement whatever the outcome of the consultation, surely this is "PREDETERMINATION", something that the DBC solicitor has gagged others for. Is there a senior officer or Councillor that can deny this, after all it is just this sort of thing that will come back and bite you on the arse when it becomes public knowledge.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


The Conservative Party Website

This is the text of Borough Soliciters "GAGGING ORDER"


Dear Councillor

Council Consultation on Redevelopment of the Feethams/Town Hall Site – Position of Members of Council

I am writing to provide some advice in order to enable you to alert Members of your group as you consider is appropriate.

I have already provided advice to each member of the Council’s Planning Applications Committee about the forthcoming public consultation exercise, in their capacity as members of that committee.

I understand that a decision will be made by Council whether or not to proceed with a proposal to proceed with the redevelopment of the site. Although decisions of Council are not quasi judicial, when Council is making a decision on particular places or individuals as oppose to broad policy decisions some of the rules relating to planning committee decisions do apply. Any Member who makes a definite statement of their position in relation to the proposal which is yet to come before the Council risks an allegation of bias and pre-determination. This is not any casual statement about the proposal, such as ‘I’m not sure I agree with what’s suggested’ but definite statements about the individual Member’s position on the particular decision under consideration, such as ‘this (proposal) goes ahead over my dead body’.

If a Member decides that he or she does want to express very definite views about whether to proceed with the redevelopment or indeed join a campaign or lobby group then that Member may need to declare an interest at the Council meeting and consider carefully whether they can take part in the Council decision. I am writing to give you the opportunity to alert Members of your group to the consequences of this approach so that individual Members can seek advice and decide which route they would like to take.

Members can take part in consultation meetings and express views, but if they want to reserve the ability to take part in subsequent decisions on the proposal they should avoid making definite statements about whether the redevelopment should go ahead. Manifesto or group decisions are statements of intent and are not binding on individual Members and would therefore not prevent a Member of that group from taking part in a decision.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Whitehead
Borough Solicitor

Well they do not listen and they do not want listen, at last proof positive.

Myself, and my collegues Kate Davies and Tim Hinton-Clifton, prospective Tory candidates for Pierremont are against the Tesco plan.

Why it should matter wether planning committee members speack out is a nonsense, because New Labour Councillors are told how to vote by the militant one and therefore block voting occurs.


Friday, September 01, 2006


The Conservative Party Website

In my opinion yes, the cabinet system now in place gives opposition no chance to stop any policy of ruling party. Our New Labour council will go to any length to make sure there agenda is met especially using a three line whip, this means that at scrutiny committee stage block voting takes place.

The New Labour Councillors do not have the guts to stand up for there ward residents, they lack the spine to stand up for our Town.

May 07, will hopefully see them out.


The Conservative Party Website

From the Echo;

Council leader Councillor John Williams said: "This proposal is at a very early stage and the council does not want it to go any further without hearing the views of residents, traders and anyone else with an interest in the town."

On hearing the views of "residents, traders and anyone else with an interest in the town" will he actually take note? After all, he and his council had great difficulty in understanding the emphatic "NO" over the pedestrian heart scheme.

I along with many thousands of other residents had always thought that Darlington was a "Market Town", how wrong we were, it is a "Supermarket Town".

How very, very sad that we have allowed this ruination of our great town by those, who in my opinion are just out to line the pockets of themselves and their sycophantic followers.

If this is allowed to go through it will spell the end of all small businesses in the town. The bespoke traders are the reason for many visitors to keep returning to Darlington, they can visit Boots, WH Smiths and most other nationals anywhere, the small businesses are what make Darlington unique.

It seems that you can take the man out of militant Liverpool, but you cannot take the militant out of the man. It may well be that he is after his own bit of history by bankrupting Darlington, after all we must now owe millions. How much of our council tax goes to paying off debt.