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June 21, 2013

Justice for Brid (1)

A few weeks have passed by since the beginning of May when we got together to demand ‘Justice for Brid’. Since then we have not let the grass grow under our feet. Today we wrote to all East Riding of Yorkshire councillors, and have asked them to sign the following declaration:

I Councillor…… ………………………………………………

representing the residents of ………. ……………………………………….Ward

declare my active support for the residents, businesses and taxpayers of the East  Riding.

I undertake to demonstrate this support by actively working:

• to UNDERSTAND WHY the council is unable to proceed as planned, despite
over a decade of preparation and massive spending on ‘experts’ and purchase
of property

• to DISCOVER WHAT has been and is being done to support, and not
damage, existing businesses

• to IDENTIFY THOSE RESPONSIBLE who have made decisions that have
created the flawed Bridlington Regeneration Area Action Plan resulting in the
need to reassess options for the Bridlington regeneration

• to DECIDE if the regeneration management structure is fit for purpose

• to DETERMINE if there is sufficient confidence in those responsible for the
current situation to continue their involvement in the regeneration
I declare that I will actively use every democratic option open to me as a councillor to scrutinise and to publicly hold to account all those responsible for the current situation in Bridlington and for any waste or misuse of taxpayers’ money.

I pledge to ensure that all evidence uncovered is placed on the public record and that any public meeting of the council is recorded and broadcast.

Signed

Cllr………………………………………..

Ward……………………………………….

The response received from East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) was unexpected and expected in equal measure. 

We tried to contact all sixty-seven ERYC councillors this morning, asking them to sign the declaration. Forty-one councillors publish private e-mail addresses on the council’s website. All forty-one of them received a covering letter and a copy of the declaration to sign and return.

The remaining twenty-six councillors use official eastriding.gov.uk  e-mail addresses. All twenty-six e-mails were returned as blocked. Justice for Bridlington is calling for more transparency and accountability in County Hall, yet ironically cannot contact councillors who use official e-mail addresses. Councillors appear to have no control over who contacts them or what lands in their inbox.

If the council thinks councillors are being spammed, there are always spam filters. To block e-mails completely highlights the problems that exists.

The story doesn’t end there though. Those councillors who have received their copy of the declaration, received the following message from Matthew Buckley, Head of Legal and Democratic Services:

Dear Members

Members may have received an e mail from an organisation calling itself ‘Justice for Bridlington’. Could I ask Members not to respond to this e
mail for now.

We are discussing an appropriate response.

This e-mail was sent despite the following request in the covering letter sent to councillors:

You are not obliged to reply to this letter, but if you do, we ask that you do so as an individual. A reply made jointly, by a political group, or via officers may imply that you are unable to fulfil your function as a councillor and/or that you are unwilling to engage with your electorate.

So there we have it. In trying to call those who are responsible for the regeneration fiasco to account, and in trying to campaign for more transparency in County Hall, Justice for Bridlington is prevented from contacting councillors who use official e-mail addresses, and council officers have tried to stop all councillors from replying and signing the declaration.

We will, of course, be making sure those councillors who we couldn’t e-mail receive a hard copy, but perhaps you can see what we are up against. Please support us in this campaign if you can.

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