Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is Wind Energy really the answer?

Windfarms in the East Riding of Yorkshire

If each wind turbine that is currently being planned is given planning permission coupled with those that have already received permission or have already been constructed, the total amount of energy produced will exceed the 2010 ERYC target of 40.7mw by a considerable amount.

A windfarm survey was carried out in those communities surrounding the proposed windfarm at Sixpenny Wood between Gilberdyke and Howden; the response to the survey was very high, which demonstrates the importance of this issue to people.

Over 90% supported the government’s targets to generate 10% of our energy from renewable resources by 2010

64% supported the use of wind energy to help meet these targets

65% opposed the windfarm proposal at Sixpenny Wood

31% supported the proposal

It is clear that the majority of people in those communities surrounding the proposed Sixpenny Wood do not want this windfarm, but expressed a commitment to wind energy as a principle. The Government and ERYC planners must be made aware of this and great care should be taken in the siting of windfarms, the opinion seems to be “site wind turbines where the wind is consistent and where the impact on communities is minimal, with offshore Windfarms being the favoured option”.

There appears to be confusion has to how much renewable energy is to be sourced from wind energy across the East Riding within the next 15 years – the Government has set the East Riding a target of supplying 105,000 or 80% of households by 2021. Is this figure meant to include any potential wave or tidal energy projects? – The tides, as a source of energy is of course the most consistent. If wave and tidal power are to be part of the equation why is neither the Government nor the ERYC pushing these? There is also the question of solar power that many people support; the opinion seems to be that solar panels on roofs of buildings are preferable to large wind turbines

If we look at the reality of wind energy each wind turbine will have to be shadowed by a conventional source of energy generation, in case the wind doesn’t blow! But with tidal power the generation is consistent 365 days a year therefore there is not the same reliance on shadow sources, and looking to the future, perhaps not the need to develop as many new nuclear power stations. If one takes this to the logical conclusion the cost of wind power must include the cost of the shadow generating capacity whereas the cost of tidal power is simply the cost of the installation and running costs. In this context the cost of wind energy becomes expensive even with government subsidies.

There is also confusion over the policy about energy savings. Instead of the East Riding being given a quota to produce 148.2 MW of electricity from renewable means by 2021 - why should there not be incentives to actually save part of that quota? This can be done through encouraging (and financing) energy savings in buildings both new and old, as well as educating people in the simple measures that can save power, such as reducing the amount of appliances left on standby mode and the use of low energy light bulbs.

The ERYC is promoting energy derived from waste such as bio-mass combustion, projects such as that proposed at the Gallymoor site near Holme-on-Spalding-Moor and Saltend are to be applauded, providing that the effects on those neighbouring communities are minimised, and those same communities give their consent.
The East Riding, with its long length of coastline and tidal rivers could, and perhaps should be at the pioneering edge of tidal power development. It must be the role of the ERYC to develop a holistic energy policy, which should include both energy generation and energy conservation as these are inextricably linked. This policy could be innovative and forward looking that may well ultimately have the consent of the masses.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Phone mast Rejected


An application for a 20m-high phone mast in Gilberdyke was recently refused by the East Riding of Yorkshire Western Area Planning Committee. There was support in principle for the phone mast in the area as it will benefit ’Orange’ users within the community, however there were objections to the specific location of the mast and it was felt that it should be sited some 320m further away from residential housing in the village”.

Gilberdyke Parish Council Chairman Paul Robinson says: “This is a victory for common sense, the range of the antennae is many miles, so why site the mast within 80m of housing when there are equally good sites at the far side of the industrial estate owned by the same company as the proposed site?”

Paul continued: “It’s heartening to know that democratic planning committees can exercise common sense - without them communities such as ours are at the mercy of the operators, who do not consult, and ignore our requests and concerns.

Mr Bob Shanks a resident of nearby Hazel Crescent says “The hard work of Paul Robinson and the Parish Council who played an important role in getting the proposal rejected should be recognised and appreciated, and also that of David Davis MP who supported the residents objections”.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Appointment of Gilberdyke Parish Council Funding Advisor

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Appointment of Gilberdyke Parish Council Funding Advisor

Gilberdyke Parish Council sets quite a high precept each year; a high proportion of this is given out in grants. That the money is needed is not in doubt, but the ability of the Council to continue to give large amounts of funding indefinitely, especially as the village continues to grow is in doubt. Shortly the Parish Plan will be published where further activities and groups may well emerge. Parish Council Chairman Paul Robinson states “We cannot as a council continue to increase the precept to fund this without looking at ways to help groups become more self-sufficient”.

The Parish Council has employed Charlotte Hursey as a dedicated part time ‘Development and Funding Advisor’ working within the Parish. The role is to establish and provide a funding advice service for local voluntary and community groups. In order to assist them identify their requirements and develop funding strategies; provide advice and training sessions; and subsequently support, will be provided to assist and advise them - from filling in application forms through to completing the funder’s monitoring requirements.
The aim is for the funding advisor to work with all organisations and groups operating within the community to maximise potential funding for the Gilberdyke Parish.

Paul Robinson adds “The Parish Council has provided grants to many organisations on a consistent basis over the years which have been put to good use by these groups operating within the community, organisations such as: The Gilberdyke and District Leisure Association (GDLA), the Memorial Hall, children’s groups, the scouts, the football, cricket and bowling clubs, the school PTFA, the Good Companions and Ex-servicemen’s clubs, the Fledgling project, and the local Churches”. Paul Continues “I feel it is important that the council foster a self help Community and Voluntary sector, with one of the first steps being to help groups acquire the skills and knowledge that they require to write funding applications and look for alternative sources of funding from outside the village.” Adding “One could use the analogy ‘rather then giving a fish for them to feed for a day, we can teach them how to fish and feed them for the rest of their lives’ ”

Full details will be provided to the organisations/groups working within the community in the near future. For more information please contact Charlotte Hursey at: chursey@waitrose.com
Sue Nicholson, Clerk to Gilberdyke Parish Council on: (01430) 441278 or the Parish Council Chairman, Paul Robinson at: paul12clear@aol.com or tel. (01430) 440659

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Howdenshire Forward Young People and Sport Initiative

Howdenshire Forward Young People and Sport Initiative

The following is a discussion document providing some thoughts, ideas, opinions, assumptions and comments designed to give a direction on which the Howdenshire Forward 'Young People and Sport Initiative' can proceed forward. It is by no means set in stone, 100% right or representative of but a few people’s ideas. There is heavy emphasis on listening, consultation and consent without which any project of this nature cannot succeed.

Paul Robinson

(Young People and Sport Initiative)

Young People and Sport was selected as a lead priority (‘initiative’) to enable Howdenshire Forward to move ahead. It should be acknowledged that this could give Howdenshire Forward the opportunity for somewhat of a fresh start, it is in tune with what people are telling us, as issues concerning young people have been highlighted in many surveys and Parish Plans conducted in Howdenshire. This initiative is a positive project and is something for which we can expect to gain significant and widespread community support, relatively quick indications of success and the capacity to really impact on the quality of life of the two distinct groups of beneficiaries.

The Howdenshire Forward ‘area of impact’ has been defined as the catchment area of Howden School; this should not be completely inclusive or exclusive but viewed in general terms. Any ‘Young People’ initiative could logically have Howden School at the hub, taking into account the children attending not just Howden School but also the feeder primary schools. Sport is played across the area with many clubs and different facilities. The sports facilities already at the Howden School could well be utilised as part of any initiative, and may well become a focus for some sporting activities.

In the next few years the whole country is going to feel the impact of the Olympic games and Yorkshire Forward are working with all Local Authorities to get the maximum out of this. It means of course that we will be all much more aware of sport, particularly amongst young people, and we therefore need to be ready for what is likely to be increased uptake before and after the Games take place. This initiative would fit well into this context.

Initially Howdenshire Forward needs to look at building the partnerships essential to the make the initiative successful. Howdenshire Forward can be the lead partner but only with the consent of those other partners, this must be carefully done so as not to isolate or alienate the very organisations needed to ensure success. The partners should then subsequently have a large part of the project creation, design and most importantly the implementation. This action may well be the key function that determines the success or failure of the project.

The overall project must be sustainable with Howdenshire Forward having an exit strategy and timetable.

Young people and sport are generally associated with each other and the two can be grouped together, but not exclusively so, as it may be that there are significant groups of young people, especially amongst girls, not interested in sport.

It is widely accepted that participation in sport has many advantages for young people, from promoting good health to learning respect and life’s lessons, from team building to learning how to win and how to lose. Sport is also seen as an alternative to, drink, drugs and crime amongst young people.

It is also accepted that young people like to be creative, like to perform and be recognised for their achievements – this can be through music, drama or other artistic avenues. These are areas that can be explored and prospective partners identified and consulted.

The ‘Young People and Sport’ initiative

The ‘Young People and Sport’ initiative may well encompass a number of individual projects, and must be determined and shaped by the young people, and the participants and supporters of sport – Not Howdenshire Forward. The role of Howdenshire Forward would be to lead the initiative, undertake/oversee the consultative process, facilitate the collaboration and sharing of information required, provide help and training as the need arises, contribute to the overall design and ensure that the funding is acquired. Howdenshire Forward may well have a significant role in the delivery, and the monitoring and evaluation afterwards, but this should not be open ended.


Definition of ‘Young People’

Howdenshire Forward’s definition of ‘Young People’is those below 18 years. It may then be that this is broken down into two groups those from birth to the end of primary school age and those of secondary school age up to 18. The advantages of these two groups are:

The two groups fit very well with the schools, which may well be the key partners.

The two groups may require different levels of supervision.

The two groups have different levels of maturity and therefore different interests.

The younger group may well concentrate on more local activities with local nurseries and primary schools, the older group may be more independent and require more complex challenges which may include activities necessitating transport, but revolving around Howden School.

The younger group are a natural feeder group for the senior group.

Consultation with Young People

We must consult the young people of our communities and the schools are best placed to facilitate this. Howden School pupils, members of existing Youth organisations operating within the catchment area of Howden School, the feeder primary schools, scouts, Air cadets, Army cadets, the Youth Café, sports clubs and others must be consulted as a first step. We must determine what the young people want, what motivates them, what doesn't etc. Any survey questions or research needs to be well thought through to get under the skin of what they are really thinking and presented to them in a format that is fun.

There are numerous ways of conducting this, but the survey of the youth carried out at Howden School, where some 623 young people were consulted, could well be treated as a benchmark survey, with other consultation exercise results from other groups and organisations layered on top as they become available. This may well include a dedicated interactive website, including blogs, and the ability for the young people to be consulted by text.

Any project must give young people a sense of belonging, a feeling of empowerment, and part of the decision making process. It must be made easy for them to communicate with Howdenshire Forward, at their level not ours. A sense of ownership of any project must be instilled in the young people – (if they have a sense of ownership they are more likely to take care of it) and individual projects must appear to be bottom up rather than top down.
By definition the people already attending or part of youth organisations and other groups have already made a decision to do something positive. Those people who perhaps are not involved and possibly disenfranchised with conventional clubs and even school itself must not be excluded.

It must be acknowledged that a significant number of young people will just want to ‘hang around’ at a place where they can feel comfortable, sheltered and secure, with perhaps a minimum of supervision. If this is the case than this must be accommodated.

It must also be recognised that there is a connection between gatherings of young people and the consumption of alcohol. This is something that is very difficult to eradicate although should be discouraged as much as possible, and is not to be condoned. Though perhaps it is preferable for young people to drink in places where the communities are prepared to tolerate this rather than where those young people would choose to, where they can cause nuisance, intimidation and disruption.


Sport by definition can be very wide ranging from ball games to motor sport, from team activities to individual efforts and includes both participants and supporters. Initially a simple inventory of sports teams operating in the Howdenshire area and facilities available could be compiled. Howdenshire Forward would be in a position to contact and consult all the teams to determine the future direction(s) and identify key people who would then be part of the decision-making and dissemination processes.

Collaboration between teams in the same community

There are many individuals or small groups that put a great deal of their own time and money into sport, especially for young people in Howdenshire. It appears that many of these individuals or small groups operate in isolation to others. These individuals or groups coming together could obtain significant advantages particular in sharing of resources and joint funding activities, especially if facilities can be shared. If Howdenshire Forward can help to facilitate this then our crucial partners will emerge.

There are organisations like the Gilberdyke and District Leisure Association (GDLA) that have brought together different sports under one umbrella organisation. A committee consisting of interested individuals, as well as members of the various sports teams and groups form the GDLA. The land on which the GDLA has numerous pitches, a bowling green, as well as a pavilion incorporating changing rooms was purchased and is owned by Gilberdyke Parish Council for which a peppercorn rent is levied. Parish Council funding has been provided annually for individual sports as well as the GDLA itself to help with the running costs of the facilities. The Parish Council is moving away from funding individual sports but instead placing those funds at the disposal of the GDLA, the committee will then prioritise and decide which sports should be funded and to what amount. This is an example of how sporting groups can come together to make decisions specific to sport, based on experience and knowledge, rather than the Parish Council making decisions with little or no relevant knowledge. This concept is possibly something that can be developed and adapted to enable Howdenshire Forward to fund sporting activities across the target area whilst ensuring that the decision making process is devolved to the local level.

Conversely the ‘Ashes’ playing fields in Howden appears to be under used. Howden Amateurs FC use the ' facilities' and are a Premier County League Club however the poor facilities (the Pavilion) prevent the team from progressing further. A small grant from the football foundation was obtained for new posts, which have been installed. Perhaps the club could be expanded to involve young people and a junior team developed, although the lack of space may be a constraint. The Howden Town Juniors could not be accommodated on the ‘Ashes’ and obtained a new pitch near the school on land that is rented from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Cricket has recently returned to play on the ‘Ashes’ however the poor facilities (the pavilion) are again a constraint. The Ashes Playing Field sub-committee are at the present time applying for grants to rebuild/refurbish the pavilion and also develop the existing tennis courts into a multi purpose all weather area. The Town Council provides an annual grant to the ‘Ashes’ and is also holding commuted sums money earmarked for the above projects.

It appears that the sports organisations/groups in Howden operate in relative isolation to each other. It may be that these groups could be brought together to fully utilise the existing facilities in the town, including the school, The ‘Ashes’, and the football pitches rented from the council, etc. New shared facilities could then be developed in the future as the need is identified.

There are facilities in a number of other villages within the target area, which need to be encouraged to be part of the initiative. Ideas that have proved to be successful can then be shared, altered and developed if required.

Adult teams without junior sections

There are sports teams, which cater only for adults and do not have a junior section and vice versa. The positive benefits of having junior teams attached to adult teams are numerous and should be encouraged to provide mentoring for the young people, and to help those teams become sustainable in the long term as the young players mature.

There appears to be many children who do not take part in organised sports, but participate in spontaneous sporting activities where a group will put their jumpers on piles to form goals before stating to play football. This is important, as only thing required for this is an open space. The same could be said for a flat tarmac area, not designed for anything specifically but used for skate boarding or BMX riding.

Supporters Clubs

There is also the issue of people who support teams rather than play. It may be that supporters clubs affiliated to professional teams, such as Hull City, Leeds Utd, Goole Town, Hull FC, Hull Ice Hockey and others, can become established or existing groups developed. Again these organisations would be crucial partners.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Paul Robinson blog - A brief biography of PAUL ROBINSON East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor, representing Howdenshire and living in Gilberdyke

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I was born in 1962 and brought up in a council house in Faxfleet; I went to Howden Comprehensive School, leaving at 16, as my parents could not afford me to stay on….. I served an Apprenticeship at Drax Power Station, attending colleges at Harrogate and Doncaster before qualifying as a mechanical maintenance engineer.

My parents were Liberals - but I saw the error of their ways at a very early age!! ….. I have been a Conservative from as long ago as I care to remember, through the heady days of being constituency Chairman of the Boothferry Young Conservatives in the mid 80’s, including being a member of the panel which originally selected David Davis MP, to now being vice chairman of the Howdenshire Branch, sitting on both the Executive Committee and Campaign Team for our Constituency Party, as well as being a Patron….. This party is my home and nothing would make me more proud than to represent my Community as well as my Party at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.


After the death of my father in 1987, I decided to do something very different - to work in 3rd world development….. I remember having to endure a rather complex selection interview….. I remember being asked “who were my heroes”…….. The panel appeared most shocked when I revealed these to be Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher - and Norman Tebbitt - and to which a rather scruffy, leftward leaning lady retorted, “Well, we normally get people of a more pinkish persuasion here!”


I was offered a posting and spent the next four years in West Africa… For the first two years working for the Overseas Development Agency and, Save the Children introducing technical education into rural secondary schools and the design and construction of buildings.

I spent the second two years working for ActionAid initially designing and then implementing a £200,000 skills training program to provide training for village youth and existing artisans, in their skill area as well as in literacy, numeracy, business skills, and marketing….. Had I done anything like this before? No not really, I learnt how to listen and find answers as I went along! …. Oh!..and I learnt how to speak Mandinka and Wolof!!

Coming Home

In 1992 I returned back to the UK, and did what most 30-year-old men do - I moved back in with my mother living in Newport!

I set up my own business, as something to do whilst I decided on what to do next. Thirteen years later that business is now a successful company employing 8 staff.

I met my wife Nicci a few months after my return and moved to Gilberdyke… We were blessed with the birth of our daughter, Katy in the October of 1998.

Gilberdyke Memorial Hall

In mid 1999 a new committee was formed to run the Gilberdyke War Memorial Hall, after the previous committee stood down after losing a community vote to sell off the Hall for building land….. I was elected to Chair this new organisation from the outset. I spent the next 4 years leading a team of volunteer committee members transforming the Hall into a thriving community resource, generating funds and becoming a self-sustaining business.

I worked with the Parish Council to secure funding for 2 Youth Shelters on the Memorial Hall field….. These proved very successful in giving the youth a place where we want them to congregate - the shelters are cleaned early each morning to remove all the evidence of the night before and have become so successful that the concept is repeated across the East Riding.

Gilberdyke Parish Councillor

I became a Parish Councillor in late 1999, elected as vice chair in 2003 before being elected as Chairman in May 2005….. It was a bold decision for the Parish Council to select me, their youngest member (by half a generation) to lead them….. As Chairman I have modernised the policies and procedures, and been proactive in pursuing issues that make Gilberdyke a better place in which to live.

Under my leadership the Parish Council is now more responsive to Community needs….. I have endeavoured to be a catalyst for others to be creative in putting forward ideas and suggestions, having an open forum for members of the public to speak at the end of each meeting and to listen to and act on their suggestions and views, as well as developing our own ideas….. The Parish Council is to employ a dedicated grants officer to work with organisations operating within the village - to bring more money into the community -

School Governor

I was originally selected by the Parish Council to become a Community Governor at Gilberdyke School - and after just two years was elected as Chair….. Our proudest achievement has been to see the school lifted into the top 4% of Primary schools in last years OFSTED report….. Working with the Head and Staff we continue with the tasks of implementing the so-called reforms handed down to us by central Government.

Whilst I am Chair, our school will continue with competitive sports, will treat multiculturalism as an understanding of how other cultures live, (rather than a Politically Correct Dogma), we will continue to help those who are gifted and talented to achieve their potential rather than holding them back, those with special needs will get the extra help they require, and for the majority - including my daughter - they will receive the best primary school education we can give them.


My proudest achievement was to devise the Gilberdyke youth project after the community had highlighted youth issues as being their greatest concern…... This is a sustainable project including a purpose built youth building, activities and supervision by youth workers…… There are now in excess of 145 members….. The project gives the youth a sense of belonging, a feeling of ownership, empowerment, and part of the decision-making process. It was a pleasure to lead the team of people who helped me put this project together - but more satisfying to be able pass on the project to that team as my commitments to the Parish Council and School increased.

I want to continue to work with the Gilberdyke youth to develop a youth council or “Parliament” - to bring to them the concept of democracy – to give them a slot at each Parish Council meeting, where they can feel comfortable in bringing forward their concerns, ideas and requests….. This should lead to a bottom up rather than a top down approach to youth issues.

I believe that deep down people want to be self reliant, young people given the chance will jump at independence….. If they’re brought up with a sense of personal responsibility and a belief in their own abilities, they will step forward and take charge of their own lives… It’s up to us to encourage them to take that chance.


One of the most important issues we face is voter apathy, especially amongst younger people, I want to reach out to and represent people of all ages within Howdenshire but especially my generation and younger, to champion their issues and through me allow their voices to be heard…..

Looking at the make up of the Conservative’s on the East Riding Council - my age group and below are not adequately represented.

However successful an individual becomes in whatever field - it is in my view essential that one gives something back in return, many decide to give money to a chosen charity, some perform heroic feats to raise money for the benefit of the infirm or the less well off, and others give time to voluntary organisations….. Over the past years I have chosen to devote a lot of my time, energy, drive, and expertise to the community in which I live.

I do not have exactly the same experience of being a County Councillor that the incumbents possess, but I’m a quick learner who welcomes challenges….. I bring with me the experience of being the Director of a successful company - which gives me the freedom to take time away to focus on other things….. I found that running my Company did not give me all the challenges I was looking for …but was able to find this elsewhere with the Memorial Hall, Parish Council, and School. I envisage continuing to find new challenges in the role of a County Councillor.

Why a County Councillor?

Why do people become Councillors? Prestige? Money? Power?? Or just wanting to represent their community and to have their voices heard? ….. I am able to confirm that my reason is the latter.

A East Riding Councillor is part of the overall decision-making process affecting the whole of the East Yorkshire….. If elected I will contribute – I will be part of this process, pushing forward new and modern ideas, working with my fellow councillors and the council officers to develop policy in areas where I have experience, an interest or the community has a need.

If elected I promise that the one thing you will get from me is honesty. Yes, I will speak my mind, and if I don’t know the answer to something, I’ll do my best to find out….. But at the same time I understand and will support the need for collective responsibility.

I have nothing to hide – I WAS NOT brought up as a Conservative I chose to be. I am who I am…… I will owe it to my ward community if ELECTED, to keep on being me, I am from working class origins, and I think my values reflect that

I believe in a smaller state, lower taxes, more individual responsibility, national sovereignty, the rule of law and a strong national identity. I am Euro-sceptic, Patriotic and believe in flying our National flag.

I believe in simplicity, listening to others and hard work. I love a challenge. I love living life and I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve achieved.

I’ve taken risks along the way, and I have few regrets. But if you’re willing to take that risk and elect me as an East Riding County Councillor for the Howdenshire Ward - I promise you hard work, honesty, and to represent our community to the best of my ability.