So there we have it – after almost three long and presumably tortuous years for the two Haslemere Independent Town Councillors involved Justice has been done – or has it?
Hopefully, this long-awaited judgement will bring an end to one of the most Toxic, hateful and acrimonious chapters in the history of Haslemere. A period which has done nothing for the reputation of the great town, and even less for the greedy, spiteful developer who can now happily trouser shedloads of cash and will likely provide new homes for the good people of Croydon, Carshalton or Carlisle.
Cllrs Kirsten Ellis and Nicky Barton were last week found to be in breach of the member’s code of conduct over their actions against Red Court. The Monitoring Office must have set a record in taking nearly three years to investigate what should have been a fairly straightforward case. A case that almost wrecked the life of one of the accused. A new councillor still wearing her L plates!
If you can bear to take the three and a half hours necessary to go through the 328 pages of evidence and then read through the rest of the information concerning Councillors Barton Ellis’s disciplinary hearing before Waverley’s Standards Board- ask yourself this question?
Why would anyone want to become a parish, town, or borough councillor?
Waverley Monitoring Officer Robin Taylor and his motley crew should be ashamed that they have put the two councillors through 30 months of absolute misery to come to the following conclusion of a complaint/s made against them.
Some complaints were withdrawn because the Haslemere town Council Code of Conduct wasn’t up to scratch. You can watch the trials on U-Tube, conducted by Waverley’s hanging judge Cllr Michael ” I am past my sell-by date, Goodridge.’
Decisions 22072022 1000 The Standards Panel
The WW could if required to do so, come up with more serious cases of breaches of conduct by borough, parish and town councillors. Breaches, which the monitoring officer and others have completely ignored.
Two members of the “so-called public’ who just happened to be an agent of developer Redwood Ltd complained that two Independent councillors had breached the Haslemere Town Council’s Code of Conduct by not declaring they were members of the Haslemere South Residents Association. And as such, they should not have taken part in the council’s deliberations on its Neighbourhood Plan.
They were accused by Redwood, the developer of being NIMBYs.
Redwood stooges Brian Cox and Richard Benson should be justly proud of themselves – now that developer Redwood Ltd, thanks to a Government Inspector has the first phase of 50 homes under its belt at Scotland Lane, Haslemere and has taken the scalps of two women – passionate about Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, wildlife and the countryside where they live and work.
Perish the thought that anyone in public life should care about the environment and the countryside where they live, let alone to go to such lengths to defend it?
Having read most of the documentation well into the night – we don’t advise it, though it is marginally better than watching the Tory PM hopefuls scrapping it out on TV.
Neighbourhood Plans set the vision for future development in areas of the borough and are a local guide to where development should take place.
Very few towns and villages in Waverley have adopted NPS so far, at appeals Government Inspectors have taken little notice or regard for those that have them.
22 thoughts on “Haslemere Councillors in breach of Code of Conduct.”
A healthy dose of whataboutery in this post and the councillors defences. Councillors should abide by the code of conduct, if they don’t it should hardly be a surprise when they are found guilty. Arguing that others have broken the code isn’t a defence against their own actions. The behaviour of Haslemere Town Councillors has been an issue for some time, the outcome of this investigation is no surprise. It’s true it should have concluded earlier but the verdict would still have been the same.
We agree – standards in public life should be upheld – a bit like planning rules. However, I am sure you will agree they should apply to everyone not just chosen few.
Saying the two councillors are” guilty” when no criminal offence or penalties were involved is defamatory. All that was found were technical breaches of a now much clarified code of conduct.
I agree with Eagie Eye -in the haste for as much oxygen for publicity as possible, the bandying around that the two councillors have been found “guilty” is libellous and defamatory – this was not a criminal action – there was no criminal charge -all that was involved was a possible infringement of provisions in a code of conduct that even the Council itself could not correctly interpret let alone apply consistently it seems. Hopefully, that has now been addressed by the recent amendments to the code. But alas too late for the councillors relentlessly targeted by Redwood and its associates in their dogged pursuit of destroying an AONB green site that a majority of Haslemere residents voted to retain.
I think you will find their actions were more than “technical breaches” and the findings have been referred back to Haslemere Town Council for appropriate censure and penalties should they be deemed appropriate. I certainly think they should face more than a “slap of the wrist” as they have concealed membership of the HSRA and have voted on a matter when they were both pre determined and not objective. I think their whole integrity in this matter is called into question.
I refer to today’s Herald where I read that the Cllrs plan to appeal! They have both complained about the cost of this complaint although they themselves are responsible for most of the delays (Cllr Barton raising a complaint against the Monitoring Officer) and also not making themselves available as they are too busy. Their appeals will cost the taxpayer even more and they haven’t a leg to stand on – perhaps these costs should be passed onto the Cllrs when the original findings are upheld!
It is about time someone complained about the Monitoring Officer. Should have been done long ago over the Alfold saga and the part that the so-called – Protect Our Waverley Group and the parish council managed to get away scott free with!
What AONB site?
How did these two get found guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct while the husband wife team of Cllr Robibi and Cllr Keen escape even an investigation? They’re the ones who had a closed door meeting with developers for the Royal Junior School, after which they pulled out every trick in the book to tank the Red Court development in order to try and get their new developer friends permission to develop the Hindhead site, despite being in an AONB.
If there are any Haslemere councillors who should be looked into, it’s those two.
We can think of a whole string of people who should be brought before the Standards Board. Thereby hangs not a tale but a series.
It was Cllr Barton who actually introduced United Learning to senior people within the Planning department at Waverley to suggest the site would be a good alternative to Red Court (Where she lives). Cllr Follows who “had the back” of the HSRA throughout then acted in short order to directly substitute the school for Red Court (same down to the same allocation number) – this despite him knowing that Red Court had submitted an appeal which they subsequently won.
Not sure why “Louwheezy” thinks it is libellous and defamatory to state that Cllrs Barton and Ellis have been found to have breached Haslemere Town Councils Code of Conduct. The Code is there for a reason and the two councillors were warned on numerous occasions that their actions might get them into hot water. They disregarded the advice so as to ensure the vote to change the settlement boundary went their way. Their votes helped carry the day 6 – 5. Cllr Ellis failed to declare that she was a founding member of the HSRA which was set up to “fight” Red Court and then expects us to believe she was not pre determined – what piffle!! She knew exactly what she was doing and has been found out. It should be noted that the matter has been referred back to Haslemere Town Council for appropriate action and censure. It is worth noting that although both members only belong to one committee, planning, they have not bothered to attend over 90% of the meetings of said committee held over the past year!
‘Shocked’ and ‘Sigh’ won’t say who they are, and prefer to troll females councillors for reasons – and interests – known best to themselves. They misrepresent the facts. Their intent primarily, it would seem, is to smear elected councillors and the local democratic process while defending the right of a speculative developer’s plans to extract a great deal of wealth from building mass housing over Haslemere’s biodiverse habitat-rich AONB/AGLV against the majority wishes of the community. The support given to this project by Haslemere and Waverley Conservatives, at odds with the majority of their own Haslemere constituents, has been a most striking feature of this saga.
What a ridiculous comment – I am not “trolling” you because you are a female councillor – I am simply bringing up facts which you seems to find inconvenient. It is YOU that has been found to have breached the code of conduct. Please can you say where I have misrepresented the facts as I am always very careful in what I say. (Its my legal background!) You say we wish to smear the local democratic process – is this the same process which YOU have played fast and loose with? When asked at your hearing you seemed unable to understand a question that was put to you “From the time of your election to the time of the vote did you argue against Red Court either through the Herald or through social media?” your response was that it was a long time ago and that you were an inexperienced new councillor and couldn’t remember – let me help you – you were very active in campaigning against Red Court but you say that this did not compromise your objectivity nor were you pre determined – What planet do you think we are on – we have seen through you and you have been found to have breached the code of conduct. I gather you plan to appeal – good luck with that as you haven’t a leg to stand on – at least it will give the story more legs!!
So that I can correct the record, can you let me know which facts I misrepresented? Very happy to withdraw them if I’ve misled.
I take it from the silence that I didn’t misrepresent any facts. In which case the allegation that I was “smearing” anyone seems ironic.
It is incredulous to believe that Cllr Ellis actually believes she “was open minded” as she states when considering anything to do with Red Court. She was a founder and committee member of the HSRA dedicated to “fight” Red Court. She has used her position at every opportunity to thwart development over her back fence. She would have us believe that where she lives had nothing to do with her decision. I question why she helped set up “Save Scotland Lane” which later became the HSRA. I cannot see any record of her setting up any other body to fight development in other parts of Haslemere. I read how excited members of the HSRA were when one of their members Cllr Barton had Leader Follows substitute Red Court with the Royal School site in Hindhead. The HSRA has actively promoted the school site as being better than Red Court. They disregard the following facts – the school site is AONB – Red Court was AGLV a lesser designation. Both sites are outside the settlement boundary – Red Court was actually within the boundary before Ellis/Barton and others chose to change it. They talk about the problems of transport around Red Court but for their Royal School plans to proceed the Prep School would have to move to Farnham Lane (an even narrower road than Scotland Lane) which also happens to be a no through road so all vehicles must make two journeys to the school i.e. to and from) The Royal School is even further from shops etc making it necessary to own a car and the site has no mains drainage. The problems with the Royal School site allocation are being considered by the inspector looking at LPP2 – it is quite likely he will find the plan unsound. Cllr Ellis has said that anyone who disagrees with her has political motives but she herself is very quick to point fingers at the Conservatives. I have come to the conclusion that Cllr Ellis is a hypocrite!
I am not surprised by this at all.
Does Cllr Ellis really think that by resigning from the HSRA she has suddenly turned over a new leaf and actually supports development over her back fence – of course not and the public won’t be taken in by this. Cllr Ellis has been very vocal over many years over her objections to Red Court. She and Cllr Barton even visited the site for the planned phase 2 (on 18th August) even though it is a complete conflict of interest. I think they feel they are being clever and haven’t actually read the standing orders and new code of conduct which clearly state they should not participate, let alone vote, on a matter when any reasonable member of the public would see there is a conflict of interest (this is clearly stated in the code of conduct) They are supposed to be open, honest and objective and on this matter I would question whether there are!
Many years ago, 4 out of 5 Cranleigh Councillors announced they had an interest in a major housing development in Cranleigh minutes before the JPC began, leaving Cranleigh underrepresented at the committee. All 4 had taken part in open (and closed) discussions with this developer for many months before the JPC. Why do Councillors get involved in planning if it isn’t for self-interest purposes? Cranleigh suffers as a result of their actions. I’m not sure if any are still Councillors.
Didn’t former councillors – Brian Ellis & Co say they wanted more footfall in Cranleigh? Is there more footfall in Cranleigh now – we are based on the other side of the borough and seldom visit the Cranleigh area.`Perhaps your shopping scene is now more vibrant? Tell us, please.
So both Cllrs Barton and Ellis have lost their appeals and new standards panels have agreed that they did breach Haslemere Town Councils code of conduct – I am not surprised as they didn’t have a leg to stand on. Cllr Barton laments the cost and delays but forgets that a lot of that was of her own doing. She brought all sorts of complaints against the Monitoring Officer presumably in an effort to have the complaints against her (and Ellis) found unsound. They are still campaigning against phase 2 of Red Court so don’t seem to have learned their lesson – shameful conduct!