Author Topic: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council  (Read 37492 times)

louise stella

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2008, 20:40:26 »
I have three council boundaries within a mile of my home, my council have the policy that you can rent an allotment if you live within or no more than three miles from their boundary.  Not sure if this is a common agreement or what!

This lady has a moral right to her allotment because she has had it so long!!

Bloody beaurocrats!

Louise
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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2008, 20:40:26 »

DenBee

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2008, 20:44:33 »
Thought I'd do a spot of research on this, and put Swanley Hextable allotment into Google.

Guess which thread/site came up top of the list?  ;D

That's no good is it if I want to learn something new?  ;)
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Uncle Joshua

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2008, 20:48:59 »
I did that search too.

DenBee

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2008, 20:51:07 »
And obviously so did Mr Rashbrook?  :)
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otto_nowak

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2008, 21:02:11 »
These jobsworth councillors are just the pits

DenBee

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2008, 21:08:18 »
I've been doing a spot of trawling on the net about the separation of Hextable and Swanley, and I'm surmising from what I've read that it's left some bad feeling between the two parishes, particularly so with Swanley, which seems to have had the most to lose (Hextable was the "affluent" part of town apparently). About 3/4 of Hextable wanted to be separate on the grounds that it would benefit their village, and only 1/4 of Swanley thought it was a reasonable idea, on the grounds that to do so would be detrimental to themselves.

Fair enough, they feel they've lost out here - but it's happened now.  Sensible thing to do seems to be to draw a line under it and move on.  And not to try to score cheap points.
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betula

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2008, 21:13:01 »
Well at least he did post to give his point of view.Hopefully now he has read all our comments he might have a rethink and give his backing to this poor lady.Come on Ian ,have a heart and give this lady some support.You would earn yourself a lot of respect. :)

ACE

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2008, 21:26:11 »


I think this is ridiculus and so is the ex councillor for trying to justify it.

I think you will find that like all ex councillors he will be co-opted in the near future. I wonder which council?

It is the only way some of them can get a seat again. It is the old pals act coming into play.

Elected councillors need to be elected by democratic vote. Co-opted councillors only need a nod from their mates.

It's all legal as well, they work on the apathy vote.

kt.

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2008, 21:46:38 »
Get in touch with this MP urgently. You do not have to be in his constituency as allotments is something close to his heart.  He is pursuing ongoing stuff regarding allotments in Parliament. I got a reply quite soon. You could also contact his office direct, hopefully for a more urgent response.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2008-02-19c.154.0

Have you asked your new borough council if you could go to the top of the waiting list for the next available plot in the newly named district? Just a thought as you previously came under them  before the split anyway. ???
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Uncle Joshua

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2008, 21:56:17 »
Get in touch with this MP urgently.

Just done that with a link to this thread.

Ian Rashbrook

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2008, 20:17:24 »
Apologies for not declaring an interest on my previous post. I assumed my email address would appear which makes it quite clear what my politics are. For the record, which is very public anyway, I am chairman of the Labour Party in Swanley and was a Swanley Town councillor from 2003 to 2007. During that time I argued strongly against the proposals to create a separate Hextable Parish as it would create precisely the problem which people are getting so exercised about. As I said previously, I believe this whole situation is very sad.

I'm not an allotment holder and only came across the site whilst doing an internet search for something completely different. My post was not down to being worried, far from it. It was motivated by a thought that people with no apparent connection with Swanley but an obvious interest in allotments might be interested to know the background to a situation that had caused them to post their views on this website. Maybe I should have opted for the quiet life but my post has at least generated a few comments that deserve a response.

The suggestion that Swanley should have access to one plot in Hextable doesn't work because there are no allotments in Hextable. It is an area that has recently been identified as being in need of allotments by Sevenoaks District Council. If the area had still been part of Swanley we would be looking to do something about that. As it is not anymore, a colleague who knows much more about this than I is writing to the plot holders affected (I think there are two although the newspaper report only mentions one) to explain what they need to do to get the new Hextable Parish Council to provide plots for residents there. There are also unused plots in some neighbouring areas which might be available.

Swanley's problem is that is does not currently have sufficient plots for all the people that want them and there is a waiting list of Swanley residents who would like a plot but do not have one. If there were surplus plots there would not be a problem. Once the split happens on April 1, Swanley's obligation must first and foremost be to the residents of Swanley Parish. On the whole they don't want their council taxes spent subsidising neighbouring areas. Would it be reasonable to deny a plot to an aspiring allotment holder who pays council tax to Swanley Council in favour of someone who will no longer be doing so? I don't think so. I have put that much more politely than some of the comments about Hextable that have come from people in Swanley in recent months. Whoever pointed out that the situation here has been acrimonious has got it spot on. 

Incidentally, one of the things that Swanley Council had planned to do over this last year was develop a Parish Plan looking at land use and the provision of facilities. Even without the SDC report, that could well have identified sites for additional plots. Unfortunately work on that plan had to be suspended when it was announced that the Hextable split would proceed because our small group of council officers had to devote very large parts of their time to dealing with what is a major business reorganisation with the associated legal, financial and personnel issues to resolve. The good news is that work on the plan should resume shortly and, as a result, provision of additional plots should be possible for the twenty or so people who want allotments but currently don't have one. If this work can be done quickly enough and sites can be identified then it may be possible to review the notice to quit. However, I'm not about to make promises that might not be possible to deliver.

As for getting "a proper job", I have one thanks. If I had relied on my income from being a councillor I'd have starved to death in 2003. Like most town and parish councillors, Swanley Town Councillors are unpaid. The considerable amount of time that people from all political parties here put in is given up freely.

Anyone who actually knows how Swanley Council functions would not describe people connected with it as "jobsworths". It is one of the most responsive I've ever come across and I have lived in London, the West Midlands and East Anglia before moving here. That probably explains why voter turnout is rising here when in most parts of the country it is falling.

And sadly for me, there is no co-option of councillors here in Swanley either. All seats are contested. The only way onto this council is by election and that is how it should be. I will be knocking on doors again talking to the electorate for the next few weeks. At least I will if the snow stops.

Ian Rashbrook

powerspade

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2008, 20:30:39 »
I hope he get the boot let if snow let it snow let it snow- then he will not go out canvasing

Uncle Joshua

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2008, 20:31:14 »
Would it be reasonable to deny a plot to an aspiring allotment holder who pays council tax to Swanley Council in favour of someone who will no longer be doing so? I don't think so.
Ian Rashbrook

Ian is it reasonable to take an allotment off someone because of a  situation she has no control over?

I'm sick of all the nanby panby do gooders who run this country but don't listen to what the people actually want,

betula

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2008, 21:24:31 »
Hello Ian,yes you have put your head over the parapet so thanks for that at least.You appear to me to have a very single vision over this issue.Everybody must stick to the rules and be in the correct little box.You say you sympathise with the lady.Do you really?As a labour man I would expect you to be banging the drum for the underdog.The labour party I grew up with certainly would.To me this is a moral issue.You may be acting within the law but to let this lady lose her plot is immoral.
As you do not have an allotment you probably find it difficult to understand that it takes many years of hard graft to get your plot into a good state.Can you imagine how galling it would be to have to turn your back on your hard work and hand it over to someone else in these circumstances?
We are all very passionate about our allotments and we will always stick up
for our fellow allotmenters no matter where they are in the world.
I am glad you are considering making more allotments available but please do your best to help this lady keep her plot.Keep us posted.

theothermarg

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2008, 21:45:19 »
On my site the parish the allotments are in gives priority to the people living in that parish on the waiting list but once someone from a neighbouring parish gets one thats it ,they stay! in fact most of the people on the commitee don,t live in the parish,they are very hardworking and if they were chucked off it would probobly fall apart! why can,t Swanley council do the same?
marg
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betula

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2008, 22:11:23 »
Yes,I am sure I  read on the thread about plot rents that people outside the parish paid a slightly higher rent.There are ways round this issue I am sure.

Robert_Brenchley

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2008, 23:06:26 »
On my site the parish the allotments are in gives priority to the people living in that parish on the waiting list but once someone from a neighbouring parish gets one thats it ,they stay! in fact most of the people on the commitee don,t live in the parish,they are very hardworking and if they were chucked off it would probobly fall apart! why can,t Swanley council do the same?
marg

People from outside the area are welcome on 99% of sites. If there isn't something in the contract to say that the plots are only for people from Swanley, I'd say the council are on very thin ice.

Mr Smith

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2008, 11:14:56 »
Being the stubborn bastard I'm  I would just claim 'grandfather rights' after ten years and just carry on digging the lotty and say to them 'I ain't moving pal' :)

Jeannine

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2008, 12:12:56 »
For my money Rashbrook has just made the situation worse. How can he or anyone come to that justify a decision without being educated about what the decision is.

If anything is in situ, and in this case it is a lady on an allotment, there are many things to consider before moving it.

If common sense was allowed to prevail when the decision was made to stop allotmenteers from taking lots outside of their area due to a boundary move or any other reason AND I am in agreement with that by the way, surely to goodness it should not apply to folks already there, that wouldn't be difficult, it is just another line on a piece of paper.

This lady is not going to be there forever, her children don't have rights to the plot , for goodness sake, the council in charge  are acting like fools ,goodness only knows what disasters could occur if they had a serious decision to make.

This is not just a patch of ground, there will have spent years of work to get it into the condition it is now, she may well have buildings, greenhouse or shed, perennial veggies that take years to become fruitful.

At her age giving her another patch somewhere is no use,she probably couldn't put all the work into a new one.I certainly couldn't, it would be the end for me.

With all the trouble in the world why on earth couldn't one little old lady, gardening her veggies be left alone.

Come on , use an atom of common sense here, don't try and justify it.

The problem is as I said, those folks who made this decision sitting on their benches simply didn't bother to look into what this would mean to her AND what little it would mean to leave her alone for as long as it takes.

I doubt very much if anyone waiting for a lottie would want to kick off  an elderly lady to get one.


Absolute twaddle, I would laugh if it wasn't so serious.

Personally I wouldn't leave my patch, they would have to carry me off, trowel in hand and probably with half the countries allotment owners there to protest. The council would look like what they are..idiots

I would go and support her



« Last Edit: March 23, 2008, 12:16:52 by Jeannine »
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DenBee

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Re: Nasty nasty Swanley Town Council
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2008, 12:46:36 »
I can't see any socialist principles applying in this judgment - apart from Ken Livingstone (hawk, spit) kind of course.  ::)

And I'm a leftie myself.

In the case of any kind of boundary/borough change, then surely services etc. only change pro-spectively, not retro-spectively (the bold and hyphens are my own).  This plot-holder is already in place, has been for some years, and hasn't broken any contract terms as far as we know.

After reading Mr Rashbrook's explanation I'm afraid I stand by my original statement of murky politics and using people as pawns.  It's too late now, and incredibly childish, to thumb your nose at the people of Hextable and say "Ner, told you it wasn't a good idea to split from us" and use this lady as an example and a scapegoat.  It doesn't portray Swanley council in a good light at all.
Tread softly, for you tread on my greens.