Thursday, July 29, 2010

Moving from Gilberdyke’s ‘Outstanding’ School up to Howden School

Last week saw the emotional leaving assembly and parent’s tea for Gilberdyke School’s year 6 pupils as they said farewell to the outstanding Gilberdyke school.

(pictured are Gilberdyke year 6 pupils: Aaron Cook, Ashley Holt, Katy Robinson and Elliott Stone)

As a School Governor and Chair up until stepping down last year, I am immensely proud of what the School and parents have done in producing the well-rounded 11 year olds we see leaving the school, who without exception are a credit to the teachers and staff. The School can rightly be proud of its 'outstanding' status that it was given at the last OFSTED inspection.

The vast majority of Gilberdyke’s year 6 pupils are moving to Howden School and Technology College in September.

There are five other Schools in the cluster that feed into Howden School and Technology College. These schools at Newport, Eastrington, Bubwith, Barmby on the Marsh, and Howden Junior School should also be proud of their achievements in continuing to produce the high calibre pupils that will again enter the secondary School in September.

As a parent whose daughter is about to move from Gilberdyke to Howden School and Technology College, I attended the recent parents evening, where people were genuinely concerned about the school. Prior to the event a number commented on how shocked they were to find the School had fallen so far so as to be placed in special measures.

The new executive head Dave McCready and acting head Garry Garghan gave a very open and honest assessment as to where the school finds itself, but more importantly where the school needs to go and detailed the ‘blue print’ they were going to follow.

I was certainly impressed with what Mr McCready had to say, a man who came across as having the required management skills and knowing how to move the school forward, especially when he talked about the realities of the situation. He listened when parents talked about school discipline the lack of respect shown by pupils to teachers, and he talked about the importance of gathering the evidence as to where individual pupils were in their learning. Importantly he talked about how the issue of inadequate teaching was going to be tackled, and the weaknesses in the safeguarding policies and procedures, and the issues around care; guidance and the support to students were going to be addressed quickly.

I am confident that Howden School will turn around very quickly, and with the support of parents and all those connected with the School, those high calibre pupils entering year 7 from the Primary Schools will continue to achieve at the high levels we have seen in the Primary Schools.

An offer of a 'Free To Use ATM' in North Cave

The following is an email I received this afternoon:

Hi Paul

Bank Machine Ltd are an ATM company who install Free To Use ATMs, we have recently installed an ATM into Rainhill Village which also had the HSBC ATM removed due to a raid. If any of the retailers in North Cave are willing to have an ATM in their premises we are more than willing to assist.

Please call me or email to discuss this further?

Kind Regards

Julie Davison
Bank Machine Ltd
National Account Manager

ERYC urges HSBC to reconsider their short-sighted decision in not replacing the damaged ATM machine in North Cave

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has put its weight behind the campaign to have HSBC replace the damaged ATM machine in the village of North Cave. At yesterdays meeting the full Council supported my motion that it write to the HSBC Bank in the strongest terms, raising the points I mention, and asking them to reconsider their short-sighted decision in not replacing the damaged ATM machine in North Cave. Thank you to all my fellow members for their support.

(pictured with North Cave Parish Councillors Howard Strong and Steve Skipsea as they hand me the petition prior to the Council meeting)

The following is a transcript of my speech:

On Saturday 12th June at approx 3.30am there was an attack against the North Cave HSBC ATM cash machine, which was forcibly removed, badly damaged and left in the road after the raiders were allegedly disturbed. Since the incident the ATM machine has not been replaced and the building has been boarded up, approaches to HSBC have resulted in confirmation that the machine will not be replaced.

Historically there has been a bank in North Cave with the HSBC’s previous incarnate the Midland Bank providing banking services to local residents – no doubt playing on the fact that it was a local bank to attract customers. Then about four years ago the bank was closed, and I am told the HSBC wrote to all local customers saying that although the branch would be closed they would ensure that service would continue to be available through an HSBC ATM…. This promise has now been broken.

The ATM cash machine was installed providing banking 24 hours per day 7 days per week, providing an essential service for residents not only from North Cave but also to residents of Hotham, Everthorpe, Broomfleet, Newport and Gilberdyke. I have also spoken to people who work at the Wolds Prison who used the cash machine on the way to and from work.

North Cave consists of 705 houses, the Parish Council has organised a petition in the village and so far over 400 people have signed, demonstrating the strength of feeling within the community.

North Cave Post Office offers a cash withdrawal facility – although ironically this service is not available to HSBC customers, and is only open during office hours. The North Cave shop provides a ‘Cash Back’ facility, which unfortunately is not free and the shop closes at 8pm. So we have the situation were the loyal, long-standing and local customers of what was the Midland Bank, before becoming the HSBC, cannot gain access to their accounts – although they can withdraw their own money at the shop during the day provided they are willing to pay for the privilege.

In a response from HSBC’s London based Deployment Manager Caroline J. Abrahams cites concerns for potential injury and damage to the any building housing an ATM machine as the reasons for not replacing it stating,

“Having considered our position very carefully in this instance we feel that reinstating the machine could put both our customers and the building residents at further risk of a repeat attack and we will not therefore be replacing the ATM”.

Well I’m not sure how many HSBC customers are queuing at the cash machine at 3.30am to ‘suffer potential injury’ and as the first floor rooms of the building are not occupied - the comment about the risk to building residents is difficult to understand.

I have a letter to David Davis MP from Mr Steven K Green, who’s not just your ordinary Banker, this man is a serious Banker, in fact the Group Chairman of HSBC.

In this letter he gives a few carefully selected figures and statistics, as one would expect from a Banker. These include:

“Industry statistics show that 25% of all physical ATM attacks result in the forcible removal of the ATM machine” - nothing surprising there.

He also States, “Experience has shown us that once an ATM has been attacked in this way it is more likely to be attacked again” but surprisingly he fails to give any figures or statistics to back up his case.

Well I’ve got some figures for this Banker – let’s talk about the bailout of the banks - It is estimated that the bailout cost each person in Britain approximately £13,800 - if one multiplies that by the 1,392 adults living in North Cave that means that the community contributed £19,209,600 to the bailout. I wonder how this compares to the cost of replacing the ATM machine in the village – A bank source says this is approx £40,000 which is less than ¼ of 1% of the money contributed by residents to the bailout.

The Banker also states and I quote, “there is a free of charge external ATM currently operated by Halifax, which is located on Welton Road, 0.75 miles from the centre of North Cave”

Clearly he’s been give some duff information here, because as residents know there is no Welton Road in North Cave nor within 0.75 miles of the village, not even in neighbouring South Cave – BUT there is a Welton Road 6.6 miles away in Brough. So we have a man who deals with figures on a day-to-day basis but can’t tell us the number of miles to the nearest cash point.

He continues, “also taken into account where the cash services which are already available from the village itself, from the Post Office and the local shop”

I’m at a loss as to why the Group Chairman of the HSBC fails to grasp that HSBC and the Post Office do not have an agreement where the HSBC card can be accepted at a Post Office for free cash withdrawals. I also wonder if he realises that the local shop charges people to withdraw their own money from their own account?

He also states, “customer demand for ATM services is migrating from where they live, to where they work, undertake considered purchases and their social and leisure activities”

This is only credible if you are NOT a pensioner living in North Cave who has held a bank account for many years, firstly with the Midland Bank and then the HSBC, and now can’t get access to their money without a bus ride.

Again it is not credible if you want to draw money to spend locally at the pub, the travelling fish and chip van, or at a function put on by the Playing Fields Committee or at the Village Hall.

This is not credible if you work at the Wolds Prison and want to access your cash on the way to or from work, and it is certainly not credible if you have exited the M62 on the way to the coast and you want some spending money.

“As far as I’m concerned this is clearly not acceptable for local residents. I have still not received a satisfactory reply to the question I raised with HSBC regarding risk assessments and whether these have been undertaken for all ATM machines operated by them, and how many have been removed because of the risk to customers and buildings.

“This smacks of an excuse to remove a cash machine from a village and yet another example of rural communities facing cuts to services. Banks should remember that it was taxpayers money that was used to bail them out of a self inflicted crisis, those taxpayers of North Cave, Hotham, Broomfleet, Newport and Gilberdyke deserve better from the HSBC.

I urge the Council to write to the HSBC Bank in the strongest terms, raising the points I have mentioned, and asking them to reconsider their short-sighted decision in not replacing the damaged ATM machine in North Cave.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Goole and Howdenshire PCSOs to act on Dog Fouling

This weekend the Goole and Howdenshire Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have been issued with the necessary fixed penalty tickets to give out if they witness owners allowing their dogs to foul in public places. The £75 fines are to be paid to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Dog fouling is a major issue for many of our towns and villages. It is the most offensive type of litter on our streets and it is consistently raised by residents.

The tickets can only be given out if the PCSO witnesses the act as part of their day-to-day patrols. There are no plans to for the Police to respond to reports of dog fouling.

Recent figures estimate the UK dog population to be 7.3 million, with dogs producing approximately 1,000 tonnes of excrement each day. In a recent survey of over 19,000 sites dog fouling was present in over 8% of these sites.

Some dog owners still fail to clean up after their dogs and the highest level of dog fouling can be found in areas where people actually live.

I think this sends out a clear message that the Police and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council have listened to residents concerns, and that dog fouling is not to be tolerated. I fully realise that the Police have priorities and will quite rightly not be responding to calls reporting individual cases of dog fouling, but if it is witnessed by the PCSOs they now have the powers and tickets to fine the owner – hopefully this will make people think again before leaving their dog's mess.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Howdenshire Policing Update

Please find the latest Howdenshire Neighbourhood Policing update.

I will be Chairing the next meeting of the Howdenshire Police and Partnership Community Forum which is to be held tonight at Howden School starting at 7pm.

1. Priority

Issue: - Anti-social behaviour on Scalby Lane, Gilberdyke

Action: - Following complaints of Anti-social behaviour the team are actively working to reduce incidents of this nature in order to improve the quality of life for the residents of Gilberdyke. Anyone witnessing anti-social behaviour is asked to call in with details. Howdenshire Neighbourhood Policing team will aim to respond to all calls for service in relation to this priority. Any incidents that are not attended will be investigated and followed up by the team.

Positive action will be taken against anyone engaging in anti-social behaviour.
East Riding of Yorkshire council anti-social behaviour team also investigate reports of anti-social behaviour the 2 teams will be working together along with other agencies to target the issue. Howden and Howdenshire Neighbourhood action team have also recently completed an anti-social behaviour project.

A local youth who was charged with criminal damage to a window in December will appear at Beverley youth Court on 27th July, this same youth has since been charged with further offences including another criminal damage he will appear at Goole Youth Court for these further offences on 17th July 2010.

2 further local youths have been charged with an assault, which occurred on 8th May, they will appear at Goole Magistrates Court on 30th June 2010.

Regular patrols are being conducted in the area and an anti-social behaviour workshop has been done at Gilberdyke School by Police Community Support Officer Simon Palmer and East Riding of Yorkshire council anti social behaviour officer, Lisa McClure.

An Anti-social behaviour order has recently been obtained in respect of a local youth; any breaches of this order will be dealt with positively.

2. Priority

Issue: Anti-social behaviour, Eastrington Ponds

Action: -
This new priority has been set after reports received from Eastrington Parish Council and members of the community have reported anti social behaviour around the area surrounding the ponds.

The behaviour has included littering, drinking and general lack of respect for the environment.

High visibility patrols have been increased by Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers, and these will continue, officers will speak to those using the area and ask them to be respectful.

Anyone found offending will be dealt with in a positive manner, bins are provided at the site and users are kindly asked to use them.

It is important that anyone witnessing anti-social behaviour reports it to the police preferably at the time it is occurring, we will aim to attend all reports and those we can’t make it to we will follow up and try and identify those involved so we can deal with them. Work will continue with East Riding of Yorkshire Councils, anti social behaviour team, and letters will be sent to parents of those engaging in anti social behaviour, anyone committing criminal offences will be dealt with in a positive manner.

3. Priority

Issue: - Underage drinking on the playing fields at Holme Upon Spalding Moor

Action: - A small number of reports have been received from residents of Holme Upon Spalding Moor that youths are drinking on the playing fields in Holme Upon Spalding Moor.

The team have increased foot patrols on the field and alcohol seizures have been made, the patrols will continue and youths in attendance will be spoken to about underage drinking and the consequences of it.

Residents are reminded that the playing field is a designated no drinking area which means that no-one can consume alcohol there whatever their age. Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers will require anyone with alcohol in their possession to surrender it, anyone who refuses commits an offence.

Licensing officers have also contacted local off licenses and advised them on selling alcohol to underage people and to be wary of adults who may be buying alcohol to supply to youngsters. Anyone selling alcohol to youths or supplying alcohol commits an offence and positive action will be taken in all cases.

Parents are asked to be aware of where there children are and what they are doing when they are out on evening, anyone drinking alcohol puts themselves in a very vulnerable position.

Officers will also use new powers under Policing and Crime Act 2009, which allows prosecution of youths for persistently possessing alcohol in a public place. Offenders can receive fines of up to £500.

4. Offenders brought to justice

The police and ASB team have worked together and as a result a local youth is now subject to an anti-social behaviour order, any breaches of this will be dealt with in a positive manner.

A Gilberdyke youth has been charged with criminal damage after a window was damaged by a snowball, he has appeared at Goole magistrates and pleaded not guilty a trial was due to be held in April 2010, but has been adjourned. The case will now be heard at Beverley Youth Court on 27th July 2010. This same youth has now been charged with other offences including a further criminal damage charge he will appear at Goole Magistrates court on 27th July for these offences.

A local male and female have been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm following an incident in Sandholme in July 2009, where the victim was assaulted by 2 people one of whom had a baseball bat, the male was also charged with possession of an offensive weapon.
Both have appeared at Crown Court in June and an update will appear on this site when available.

A local male has been charged with assault and criminal damage following an incident at the Black Swan, Eastrington, and the male appeared at Goole Magistrates Court on 2nd March 2010, and pleaded not guilty to the offence a trial he will return to Goole Magistrates court on 22nd June 2010, the result of this case will be updated on the site when available.
This same male is currently on police bail on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle.

On 13th February 2010, 2 officers were travelling home from work along the A614 towards Howden, when they saw a caravan being pulled by a Mitsubishi Shogun, it was 1 o’clock in the morning and following a number of crimes in the area they thought this appeared suspicious. The officers followed the vehicle and alerted their on duty colleagues, the shogun and caravan stopped in the Pollington area and the male driver who was alone was arrested for theft of the shogun from the Lancashire area and theft of the caravan from Barmby Moor, he is currently being held on remand till his trial on 22nd June 2010. An update will be published when available.

On 23rd February 2010, a female from Eastrington, called police to report a road traffic collision on the road between Gilberdyke and Howden. Officers attended and located a vehicle in a ditch but the driver had left the scene, it was believed the driver may have been in drink officers eventually managed to locate the driver after members of his family had tried to hide him. The driver and a member of his family were both cautioned for obstructing a police officer and the driver has been summonsed for driving whilst over the limit.

A male from Blacktoft has been charged with theft, robbery and possession of a prohibited weapon, this case will be held at the crown court and a date is still to be fixed for the trial. This same male has also had his vehicle seized in April by HM Revenue and Customs for using illegal diesel.

Officers from the NPT have been actively targeting areas where regular complaints are received from residents with regards to speeding vehicles and several drivers have been given verbal warnings, endorsable fixed penalty notices or reported to court.

Areas visited include; Thimblehall Lane, Newport, Station Road, North Cave, Main Street, Bubwith, Back Lane Holme Upon Spalding Moor, Station Road, Eastrington and A614, Foggathorpe.

2 Gilberdyke youths have been charged with an assault, which occurred on 8th May, they will appear at Goole Magistrates Court on 30th June 2010.

On 12th June 2010 a male was stopped by officers near to Ellerton, this man has been charged with a drink driving offence and will appear at Goole Magistrates court to answer the charge.

A Howden youth will appear at Goole Youth court on 14th July, after officers were called to the Blacktoft area following a report that youths were riding bikes in an anti social manner. The Youth has been summonsed for taking a motor vehicle without the owners consent, driving with no insurance or licence.

A further youth also had his bike seized.

A Gilberdyke male appeared at Goole Court on 28th May 2010, following an incident on Station Road on 7th May. The male was convicted of assault and a public order offence and was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £80 costs.

A male has been issued with a police caution for section 5 Public Order Act after a road traffic collision in Newport on 8th June. The caution was issued after the male was excessively abusive towards the other driver, he later apologised for his actions.

Following a series of flashing incidents which occurred in Howden between 11th June and 18th June, enquiries were made and PC Tennant quickly identified a male suspect for the offences.

This male was arrested on 20th June 2010 and was remanded in police custody to appear at Goole Magistrates Court the following day.

The male has been bailed by Goole Magistrates court with conditions to attend Goole Police Station 3 times per week and observe a curfew between 2100 and 0600 each day, the male will reattend court on 30th July 2010

5. Meetings

You are invited to attend any of the below meetings:

Police Surgery: Means: an opportunity for you to meet privately with a member of the neighbourhood team to discuss any policing issue of concern. This is a drop-in event so you may have to wait a few minutes.

Police and Communities Together Meeting: This is a public meeting where the police and other public authority representatives will be present. Its main purpose is to determine what the local priorities for action over the next three moths will be. It gives members of the public an opportunity to raise their concerns and influence those decisions.

Street Briefing: This means that the whole neighbourhood team will be briefed on current problems in the area and tasked to deal with them. The public can meet with the officers and be informed about how they can help with these issues.

Type: Police Surgery
Venue: Howden Library, Shire Hall, Market Place
Date: Monday 26th July 2010
Time: 5pm to 7pm

Type: Police Surgery
Venue: Howden Library, Shire Hall, Market Place
Date: Monday 23rd August 010
Time: 5pm to 7pm

6. News and Appeals

Summer home security

With the warmer weather it’s easy to forget about home security, but traditionally the summer months mean an increase in burglary. By following some simple steps you can help to protect your home and belongings and still make the most of the summer. Don't give a burglar a break this summer.

Many burglars target only empty homes. If you are going on holiday or even if you’re just out at work all day, try to make it look like someone is home and don’t advertise your absence. Use time switches – available from most DIY stores – to switch on lights, radios and other appliances when you’re out or away.

If you’re going away, get a friend or neighbour to collect your post, draw your curtains and make your home look lived in.
If you are taking your car on holiday, ask a neighbour to park in your drive. Remember to cancel milk and papers.
Write your home address on a piece of paper and keep it inside your suitcase. Make sure your address isn't visible from the outside.
Hide financial documents and keys – if someone does break in you don’t want them to also steal from your bank account or take your car.

Don't leave windows open and doors unlocked when you are in your garden enjoying the hot weather.

As well as tackling the local priorities the team have been busy with crime prevention work. In partnership with the neighbourhood action team a number of events have been organised where members of the public can access crime prevention materials and advice. If anyone would like a visit at home to discuss crime prevention issues please contact the team so we can arrange a suitable time.

Anyone with any information about crimes within the Howdenshire ward are encouraged to contact the local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0845 6060222 ext 2243

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stories of Africa to Bubwith's Tuesday Group

Today I was invited to speak to the Tuesday Group in the village of Bubwith, on the time I spent in West Africa as a development worker. It has been a while since I have given a presentation on this (2006 if I recall), but needless to say with the help of a few slides it was great to recall that very special time from 1988 to ’92.

I’d forgotten my cement block house in the village of Kerewan with it's corrugate roof and glassless windows, the delights of using a pit latrine and bucket baths instead of a proper toilet or shower (as we had no running water or electricity), about the heat, the humidity and mosquitoes, and about the basic food I ate for months on end, including the total absence of cheese, bacon and mushrooms.

It seems so long ago that I had the misfortune to contract malaria and dysentery, and break my toe in the same month.

I do drift back on occasions - when I chose to listen to African music, listen to the BBC World Service or eat African food, but today it was great to deliberately take myself back to those great times. I think it went down quite well with the audience as they were still interested after over an hour and continued to ask questions after I’d finished.

It got a little emotional at the end when I spoke about the two members of my 'African Family' that 'adopted' me whilst out there - who with a little input from me all those years ago have become very successful in their own right.

Please see

Anne Smith, the organiser and Chairman of Bubwith Parish Council was very kind in her comments at the end when she said, “I now understand why nothing you are hit with as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor phases you - after all that you went through in Africa”.

I think she may have a point!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Goole's Courts threatened by closure

Plans to shut Goole's Courts and transfer cases to Beverley were discussed by the ERYC’s Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee. As a committee member I spoke at length against the plans to close Goole's Magistrates and County Court, others also spoke against and the committee agreed to object to the move.

For me this is about keeping justice local, and for it to be seen as such.

The figures provided by Her Majesty’s Courts Service (hmcs) were clearly flawed and encouraged comparisons between the urban areas of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, and the town of Goole and the surrounding rural area.

We saw figures about the time a courtroom is used against the hours it is available to be used - 63% at courts in the rural Humber area against 65% in the more urban South Yorkshire Area. But local JP John Hall confirmed that Goole itself has a utilisation rate around 70% (hmcs inadvertently missed off this figure for Goole – astonishing as this being the Court planned for closure).

If the Goole Court is closed it will mean court users making a 56-mile round trip to Beverley. The court users are not just those facing justice but also includes, the victims, witnesses, their friends, families and support workers – it’s not just the cost (£11.70 by rail) but the inconvenience if public transport is to be used. A couple of hours off work to attend the Goole Court can turn into a half day or full day off to travel to Beverley. This would also be applicable to the Police, with the Goole Court at present being directly above the Police Station (using the police cells for holding those awaiting justice). The Police would have to travel to Beverley to give evidence – I questioned the cost implication in fuel, officers time and cover arrangements, and why this had not been factored in to the hmcs figures.

I suspect the cost savings to hmcs will be much smaller than the increased costs to the Police, Court staff and the public who have to travel. The action of one public service body to save money would result in much greater costs to others, in this case savings to the Courts would increase costs to the Police.

I raised the point that crime rates are higher in urban areas like Goole, therefore it is important to have justice being delivered in the area of most need, and that Justice is seen to have been done. The Goole Times covers many court cases in the paper, would this happen if the ‘time pressured’ journalist had to travel all the way to Beverley? I suggested not, resulting in local residents not being kept informed of the successes of the Police and Criminal Justice System in the area.

Goole JP John Hall also raised two interesting points when he said:

"We foresee more defendants not turning up because they are on low incomes or because they simply don't want to.”

“A lot can't even get into Goole for 9.30am so I don't know how they will get to Beverley."

Details of the consultation can be found at the Ministry of Justice website, where the 36 page document can be downloaded, and the link for feeding back comments. I urge people to contribute and take the opportunity to forward their comments

This can be found at:

(photo courtesy of East Riding Mail)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Howden School and Technology College placed into ‘Special Measures’ by OFSTED

Howden School and Technology College has been placed into ‘Special Measures’ by OFSTED following the recent inspection. As an ex-pupil and a parent whose daughter is to start her secondary school education there in September I was shocked to hear this. I have frequent contact with the School both as a Councillor and as a member of the Gilberdyke School Governing Body whose pupils feed into the School.

I recognise the problems, but I am reassured that the measures being put in place by the Local Education Authority will see the rapid improvement, we have seen in other schools who have been in a similar situation, and that Howden School pupils will benefit from this almost immediately.

The Local Education Authority has acted quickly and appointed a new Executive Headteacher and Acting Headteacher, and I have every confidence in the School’s ability to move forward quickly and to move out of special measures within a year.

I look forward to my daughter and her fellow pupils who start the School in September, as well as present pupils, receiving an excellent education as I did all those years ago.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't Be A Scam Mail Victim

Criminals maintain lists of suckers who fall for mail scams and sell them on to other criminals for them to exploit too. Your elderly friends and family could be on these lists and you may not even know it.

Jessica was one of these chronic victims and the scammers had not only controlled Jessica’s life for five years, they were also responsible for destroying the relationship she had with her family including her daughter Marilyn. was set up by Marilyn as part of this ongoing campaign in 2010. Please visit the site to read their full story and to find out how you can help.

This posting was prompted by the following email I received from an East Riding resident called Cheryl:

Dear Paul

I am writing to you about a horrendous problem, which not only needs highlighting but a change in the law (somehow), Jim (name changed) (71) my neighbour, has over the last 3 years spent his entire life savings responding to mailing scams, he has been taken in by companies promising him huge cash prices in exchange for orders.

I found out about this at Christmas and it has taken me 6 months to get through to him that he was being conned. Such is the power that these mailings have.

I have been doing some research into this subject and it has horrified me in a number of ways, all of these scams are generated from outside the UK, due to postal licence s supplied by Royal Mail, the majority of post is always UK post marked, there is also a UK undelivered mail return address printed on the back of the envelope, this gives the impression that these are UK based businesses. However to return your order along with your cheque, the envelope supplied by the scammers is usually overseas or a UK Po.Box.

Unfortunately the people that are repeatedly targeted don't know they are victims, the documentation is that good they genuinely believe that they are going to receive the promised cheque, instead they get more and more mail again promising cash prises. And because they wont accept its a con absolutely nothing can be done to stop them,

Royal Mail states they have a legal duty to deliver addressed mail and yet the postmen & women that deliver the mail know who is being targeted by the amount of mail a residential address received. Jim has now stopped replying to these scams however he has in the last three weeks received a full wheelie bin worth of mail. When he woke up to what was happening he filled 3 wheelie bins by dumping what he had hidden round the house.

Think Jessica was set up by Marilyn Baldwin after the tragic death of her mother Jessica. Jessica was conned out of £50,000 over a five year period, the stress of keeping up with the scammers demands finally took there toll in October 2007, before her death Marilyn had managed to remove over 30,000 items of mail from Jessica's home.

This is the only help in the UK for this problem, scam mail can be an addiction which is hard to break and unlike smoking, drinking or gambling addictions, you can-not avoid the constant stream of post arriving every day, nor is there any UK law or counselling currently in place to help "victims" imagine a drug addict getting a fix through the door every morning its just wrong - so it this.

It is with Marilyn's help, that I have got through to Jim, and by talking to the local post offices at Aldbrough, Sproatly & Bilton, I have since discovered that there is a victim at each post office. Again like Jim & Jessica they are chronic victims who will not listen and been given up on by the people around them.

This is something I feel very strongly about, the fact that these scams have been going on for so long, (I found stories on the internet about Vita-Mail going back to 2001) and the fact that there is complacency amongst people that can do something about it but wont.

Can you please have a look at the website and please unlike some others I have spoken to, don't dismiss this. Both myself & Jim were featured in the Holderness Gazette and we have both been filmed for the BBCs Fake Britain programme.

Scam mail is really big business all of which goes out of the UK and registering with the MPS or the DMA does absolutely nothing - the UK Direct Marketing Association actually has a scam mailing list for sale openly on its website.

Your help and support would be invaluable in helping to protect the vulnerable people in this area.

Yours Sincerely


Monday, July 12, 2010

Gilberdyke Flooding and Memorial Hall Funding Issues

Gilberdyke residents may have received a letter from a Mike Whitley in which he details what he believes to be the flood relief scheme in Gilberdyke and the funding plans for a replacement Memorial Hall. He also makes serious and false accusations about the Parish Council as he seeks to satisfy and further his own agenda. Most residents are aware of the proposals and the funding arrangements, and the Parish Council has published a rebuttal document to clarify the details of the scheme and address Mr Whitley’s accusations directly.

Mr Whitley appears to have totally misunderstood the scope of the flood relief works, how it is to be funded and how the consultation process was carried out. He also fails to understand how Gilberdyke people feel about their Memorial Hall.

The document can be found at:

Gilberdyke Parish Council has unfortunately been subject to Mr Whitley’s actions for many months, which have cost the Parish Council a considerable amount of extra money and wasted time. The Parish Council has been open about the scheme and the cost implication from the very beginning, and has consulted extensively with residents. Now is the time to move forward with the flood relief scheme - as any further delays may well result in the work not being completed this year.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Holme on Spalding Moor Affordable Housing Proposals

A number of Holme on Spalding Moor (HOSM) residents have contacted me regarding the Parish Council’s proposals for 23 affordable houses in the village, this was after details of the proposals were published in the Parish Council magazine (the Grapevine). Of the 24 homes 19 are for rent and 4 can be for shared ownership (part mortgage and part rental)

An exhibition of the Affordable Housing proposals, was planned, and is still to take place at the Holme Gala to be held on 18th July 2010 at the Village Hall, where residents will have the opportunity to see the full details, ask questions and comment.

Due to the number of people contacting the Parish Council an additional meeting for residents is to be held prior to the Gala event on Thursday 15th JULY at 7.30pm in the Methodist Church Hall.

The issue with residents appears to be two fold:

The identified need and whether the affordable housing is for local residents (this is an issue I feel able to discuss below)

The location of the proposed site (As I sit on the planning committee that will determine the any future planning application I am unable to put forward an opinion or discuss prior to the planning meeting - although I can listen)

The case for affordable housing in Holme on Spalding Moor

I fully support the Parish Council in what they have done to attract this potential investment into the village to address one of the most important issues facing the community – that of affordable housing for local people. It is increasingly difficult for young people to find accommodation in rural villages because of both availability and cost, and these homes would go a long way to address this.

At present East Riding of Yorkshire Council had 38 applications on the waiting list for houses in HOSM, and a over 350 applicants requesting consideration for re-housing into the village as one of their areas of choice. But the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has just 45 properties in the village – almost all occupied.

In areas such as HOSM, where homes are required, much new affordable housing is linked to new housing developments where a proportion of those new houses are affordable. But this can mean that unless there is allocated building land in the village, there is little scope for building the required affordable properties.

This can be overcome by working in partnership with specialist affordable housing providers who can build on Green Field sites, and this is exactly what we are seeing with the Parish Council’s proposals. Whether the proposed site is the most appropriate in the village is open to debate.

HOSM Parish Council should be congratulated on obtaining the funding as it is dependant on the communities bidding for affordable housing to match the identified need – I recognise that villages want to grow by allowing children to leave home to live alone or with spouses/partners, without leaving their communities. Allowing young people to remain in the villages in which they grew up is a very important element of community cohesion in most rural settlements.

This is why it is important that local people, such as the HOSM Parish Council, who through the Parish Plan, have identified the housing requirements of residents, make decisions on affordable housing. The affordable housing as proposed is a mixture of not just rented accommodation, but also ‘Homebuy’ shared ownership – which means young people, who would not have the opportunity to conventionally get onto the first rung of the property ladder, then have the opportunity through this shared ownership – paying part rent and part mortgage.

So, in a nutshell, if affordable housing is to be provided in rural villages, the priority must be given to those who have a connection with the village, rather than further afield. This can only improve the village by allowing people to live and stay in their own community, and I fully support Holme on Spalding Moor Parish Council in what they are doing in this area.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

North Cave residents fight HSBC to have ATM cash machine replaced after attempted robbery

On 21st June there was an attack against the North Cave HSBC ATM cash machine, which was forcibly removed and badly damaged and left in the road, after the raiders were allegedly disturbed. Since the incident the ATM machine has not been replaced and the building has been boarded up, approaches to HSBC have resulted in confirmation that the machine will not be replaced.

(pictured with North Cave residents Sue Malton and Howard Strong)

Previously the bank opened between 10am and 2pm on a Friday offering a service to residents of the area, and then about four years ago the bank was closed, although some banking facilities remained available through the ATM cash machine. The cash machine offered banking 24 hours per day 7 days per week and provided an essential service for residents not only from North Cave but also to residents of Hotham, Broomfleet, Newport and Gilberdyke. I have also spoken to people who work at the Wolds prison who used the cash machine on the way to and from work.

North Cave post office offers a cash withdrawal facility (although I’m led to believe this is not available to HSBC customers) and the North Cave shop provides a ‘Cash Back’ facility, which unfortunately is not free. The opening hours of the Post Office is limited to office hours and the village shop closes at 8pm, therefore anyone wanting access to cash after office hours face charges, or later in the evening face a journey through to South Cave or Howden.

HSBC’s response cites concerns for potential injury and damage to the any building housing an ATM machine as the reasons for not replacing with HSBC’s London based Deployment Manager Caroline J. Abrahams stating, “Having considered our position very carefully in this instance we feel that reinstating the machine could put both our customers and the building residents at further risk of a repeat attack and we will not therefore be replacing the ATM”.

Mr Walter Sweeny, the owner of the building, has confirmed has that he has an ‘open mind’ to the ATM being replaced. The first floor rooms of the building are not occupied therefore the comment about the risk to building residents is difficult to understand.

“As far as I’m concerned this is clearly not acceptable for local residents. I would ask if a risk assessment has been undertaken for all ATM machines operated by HSBC and how many have been removed because of the risk to customers and buildings. I’m not sure of the usage of the North Cave ATM machine but it will unlikely to have been as high as some machines located in towns”.

“This smacks of an excuse to remove a cash machine from a village and yet another example of rural communities facing cuts to services. Banks should remember that it was taxpayers money that was used to bail them out of a self inflicted crisis, those taxpayers of North Cave, Hotham, Broomfleet, Newbald, Newport and Gilberdyke deserve better from the HSBC. I urge the Bank to reconsider their decision and recommend residents sign the petitions being organised by the Parish Council”.

Local MP David Davis adds, “HSBC needs to think again. I’m afraid this proposal not to replace the ATM strikes me as a ludicrous decision. This provides an important service for local constituents both in North Cave and the surrounding villages. I will be writing to the Chairman of HSBC to ask him to reconsider.”

Saturday, July 03, 2010

People Power Solves Holme-on-Spalding-Moor to Woldgate College Bus Issue

People Power prevailed in Holme on Spalding Moor this week when the future of the school bus from the village to Pocklington’s Woldgate College was resolved, after a lot of hard work by a group of parents.

The main issue was that Holme on Spalding Moor was outside the school catchment area for Wolgate College, but over 60 pupils from the village had chosen to attend the college.

The pupils have been able to use the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) funded bus service this past year, with parents paying a supplement £180 for the year. At the beginning of the present school year the Council gave notice that due to policies extending across the whole of the East Riding the subsidy paid by the Council for the bus could not be continued after the end of the year.

I am led to believe that this would have meant a rise to at least £570 per pupil if the college had passed on the £35,000 annual cost to charter a bus to replace the service.

This has been something on which I have been asking questions since last autumn and have been led through the various policy and cost implications for the Council.

When I looked at the benefits to the college of having an extra 60 pupils on the roll – it is my understanding that the college receives well in excess of £200,000 for taking those pupils. For the college not to contribute to the cost of transporting pupils from outside the normal catchment area was difficult to understand.

I feel it is absolutely paramount that parents and pupils are given choices when it comes to schools, and they should certainly not be unfairly penalised financially for the choices they make.

Well done to Holme on Spalding Moor parents!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Andrew Percy MP wins debate on closure of Goole Magistrates Court

Newly elected Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy has won a parliamentary debate on the closure of the Magistrates Court in Goole. Having raised the issue during questions in the House of Commons last week, Andrew applied to the Speaker for a debate. The debate has been scheduled for Westminster Hall on Wednesday July 7th.

The Ministry of Justice last week announced the start of a consultation on the proposed closure of 103 courts across England and Wales. Goole and nearby Selby Magistrates are on the proposed list.

Andrew Percy MP says, “I am delighted to have been selected for my first debate in Westminster Hall. I will now have the opportunity to put some of the issues surrounding this closure directly to a Government Minister.
The Minister is obviously going to be bound by fact that we have an on-going consultation. However, I shall be seeking assurances about the nature of this consultation and I want a specific pledge that, if a strong case can be made to keep a particular court open, the Ministry will spare them.

My concern about the closure of Goole and nearby Selby is that it will leave a justice black-hole in the local area. The work of Goole Magistrates will be sent to Beverley which, apart from being about 25 miles away, is neither cheap nor convenient to get to. This could result in witnesses choosing not to bother.

The last government underinvested in our courts, actually cutting their budgets by 7.5% per year for the last three years. It is a real shame that the new Government has been left having to deal with this underinvestment.”