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Phone Tapping & other murky deeds

Dear Editor,

Whilst clearing out old paperwork over the weekend I came across a letter to Tarleton Parish Council from a concerned member of the public, which reminded me of the recent developments around 'phone-hacking & the then News of the World's Andy Coulson who went on to become David Cameron's aide. Readers may recall a front-page feature in the local press, the predecssor to the midweek visiter I think it was, which exposed certain members of Tarleton Parish Council who were caught secretly tape recording the Council meeting without the knowledge of fellow Council members & members of the public. Unfortunately for the hapless Cllr's involved in the scam, present in the public were the local Policeman and the Senior reporter for the Ormskirk Advertiser!

Underhandedness in politics is nothing new but this was pretty breathtaking stuff for 'Parish-Pump Politics' at the time and marked a new low in terms of the devious activity by Tarleton Tories in their desperate attempts to blacken the name of anyone who dared to challenge them.

As I had been using a mobile phone for some two years at the time (2001) I am now wondering if I too was a victim of phone hacking as I would put nothing beyond what dirty tricks they would employ. If they did they would have no doubt heard some extremely unflattering remarks about themselves which common decency forbids me to repeat via this respected website.

Who were these members of the Council? maybe I will save that for another time, on the other hand.........................

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 5th September 2010

Incompetent Tories revisited

Dear Editor,

With the Coalition Government's announcement to end the fixed term age of 65 for retirement I wonder what the Tory Tarleton Parish Council make of it?

Readers may recall that under the Chairmanship of Cllr. Dave Rydings, the Council decided to finish the previous Clerk to the Council's employment 'soley on the grounds that he had reached the age of 65' and that the bungling way in which it was mishandled resulted in the taxpayers of the Parish forking out some £4,565.00 in compensation.

These are the same Tories that proudly announce that they are not going to raise the precept as though this is a virtue and at the same time use reserves (originally raised via the precept) to bail out their irresponsible actions. I wonder whether they agree with their own government's decision or not?

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 28th July 2010

The mounting cost of incompetency

Dear Editor,

It is now apparent that the ex Chairman of Tarleton Parish Council Cllr. Dave Rydings is too aloof to be prepared to answer questions posted on this website in regard to the recent Employment Tribunal.

Alas for him and his political cohorts, the information will eventually come into the public domain, despite their attempts to hush it up. The costs of this fiasco to the Tax payers of Tarleton so far runs at:

1. Compensation £2,106.00

2. Legal Fees £1,950.00 (this is a story in its own right, to be continued!)

3. Mentoring of new Clerk £300.00

Total £4,356.00 & counting...............

Readers will recall that Mr Rydings, before he was elected, was a regular contributor to these pages on every topic under the sun and was especially critical of the then Parish Council.

He promised to be more financially 'responsible' than the previous Council if elected. His incompetency while Chairman is now costing the Tax payers of Tarleton extra money despite being warned about his actions at the time.

What I don't understand is that while it was obvious from the start that Cllr. Rydings was 'not up to it' - why did all the others help him? With more meetings taking place in secret outside of scheduled meetings, & with regular getting heads together, why then did no-one stop him? There is far more to this than meets the eye, as we shall see.

Yours Sincerely,

Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 12th February 2010

Employment Tribunal

Dear Editor,
Further to your news item re: TPC Employment Tribunal Judgement, I feel that it is high time that pertinent questions were asked of certain members of Tarleton Parish Council on behalf of the Tax payers of the Parish.

The first question I will ask is, given the fact that retirement at age 65 is not mandatory, why did individual members of Tarleton Parish Council take it upon themselves to 'engineer' the retirement of Mr. Sears after the date that he achieved that age? Many Parish Clerk's in part time employment continue to give excellent service well into age figures well beyond 65.

The Parish Clerk employed by the Council when I started some 20 years ago had a record of 48 years of first class service. So what was really going on here? All I know is that through a mixture of power politics, incompetence and wilfull disregard for the electorate, the current Conservative administration of Tarleton Parish Council are landing additional and unnecessary costs upon the taxpayers.

Through this website I would like to request the following questions to be answered:

As well as the awarded cost of £2106.00 for Unfair Dismissal for not following procedure, (which they were warned about in writing at the time) what are the additional costs of ;

  1. Legal fees so far?
  2. Advertising costs for new Clerk?
  3. Mentoring for new Clerk by Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Clerk I.T. Cropper?
  4. Fine from HM Revenue for not submitting return on time?
  5. Extra postage costs for not notifying change of Clerk?
  6. Costs of extra hours by new Clerk over and above contracted hours due to work caused by Tribunal?

The taxpayers of Tarleton no doubt await a response with great interest

Yours Sincerely,

Cllr. J.E.Hodson, 6th January 2010


Could someone explain to me why no-one seems to be responsible for picking up litter in the slightly less obvious places around the Village?

Take a look in the bushes alongside the Spar shop in Tarleton and it is full of rubbish that no-one ever seems to bother about. Why? If this land belongs to Acland and Bracewell, then is it not their responsibility? Or is it Spar's? Or West Lancs DC? Also, along the main road into Southport and across the Moss, there are hedgerows full of litter and as it seems it is not the Council's job to go meddling around in the hedgerows, then whose is it? The farmers?

If we want our Villages to look smart and if we are going to ask each other to keep them that way, then who are the key people we need to influence to get things happening?

Best wishes,
Bob Keegan, 10th April 2009

Farmers' Market

I have to say my family and I were extremely disappointed today when we pulled up into Mark's Sq to find that the planned farmers market wasnt there!

I do not believe it takes much away from local businesses, in fact, the village was empty this morning when we were looking around wondering where the market was and I'm sure it would have been packed being the last Saturday before Xmas. We had ordered items for Xmas gifts that were to be collected from the market now we have to rush around finding alternative gifts and this is most irritating.

Having my own business I understand the traders' concerns about the £15 stall fee to their rent/rates etc etc but competition is healthy, breeds desire to become better than you already are. If the shops in the Village were all superb they would have nothing to worry about as the Farmers' Market would be offering goods inferior to their products and thus, the problem goes away. However this clearly is not the case.

P Palmer, 20th December 2008

Farmers' Market

Dear Editor,  

We have four 'dual-hatted' Councilors on Tarleton Parish Council - three District Cllrs. & one County Cllr. The Farmers Market, we are led to believe, was suggested by one of those District Cllrs. Jim Kay. 

We now see that the Farmers Market was in breach of Street trading consent rules with the Local Authority, namely West Lancashire District Council. [See News 8th December 2008]

At the October meeting of Tarleton Parish Council I asked what provisions for monitoring / authorisation etc had been put in place before  the scheme was launched only to receive the reply from Cllr. Kay of " what would you have suggested ?" 

Just what are we getting for our money as tax payers when they cannot even get this right?

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 11th December 2008

Farmer's Market

Dear Sir,
I am writing to ask if someone could answer a question I have about Tarleton farmer's market. I, and many other people I have talked to, understood that the farmer's market was organised and run by Tarleton Parish Council as an amenity for local people.

However having read the correspondence on the website and the minutes of the Tarleton Parish Council meeting held on 20.10.08, it appears that this is not the case.

Could someone please clarify who now does run the farmer's market and whether there are more planned for the future.

Yours sincerely
Mrs B Cardinal 23rd November 2008

Farmers Market

Dear Sir, 

'Ardent supporter' Dave Rydings is being disingenuous in his statements with regard to the Farmers Market. When Tarleton Parish Council started the process ( or did it really? ) in partnership with Acland & Bracewell it entered into a duty of care to see the process through. Now we learn that local businesses are suffering and the Cllr. who took the plaudits for starting it, Cllr. Jim Kay, is stating that the market is 'nothing to do with the Parish Council' anymore. This is morally wrong.

Local Governance treads a very fine line when it dabbles in commercial activity, apart from the very real dangers of breaching legal boundaries there is the question of commercial sensitivity - how you affect others in the business community. Times are hard enough for businesses without parish councillors playing shop. No one is against a Farmers Market per se'  but it has to be done in a way which brings extra business footfall in to the village not merely spreading the existing customer base between a greater number of traders.

It is in the style of the current Chairman, Cllr. Rydings to try to shut down all debate with anyone who dares to dissent with him during Council meetings but to ask members of the public to do the same on this website says it all!

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson. 21st November 2008

Farmers' Market

Dear Sir,

I am replying to Mrs Simpson in a personal capacity and not as a Parish Councillor. Firstly, she was made aware of the discussion about the Farmers Markets by her son as she wasn't present at the meeting when they were was discussed.

Secondly, the issues surrounding Farmers Markets were thoroughly aired at that meeting and it was agreed that the Parish Council would take up the concerns expressed by those present with the landlord of Marks Square and the current Market organisers.

I am certainly an ardent supporter of local shops and will continue to be so but I do not intend to speculate on the outcome of any future discussions that may take place about Farmers Markets and I would ask Mrs Simpson to refrain from doing so as well.

Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings 20th November 2008

Farmers' Market

Dear Sir,

Like J Johnston, I too was pleased that we would be having a Farmers' Market in Tarleton and initially thought it would be good for the village. However, since the markets are now becoming something of a regular feature, I'm beginning to change my opinion.

My main worry is about the damage which it could be doing to our normal shops - for example the delicatessen, the butchers, the fruit and veg stalls - who mostly probably rely on Saturday customers to make up for their quiet starts to the week on Mondays and Tuesdays. It doesn't seem fair to let stall-holders (some of whom are not local even to West Lancashire) just turn up on a Saturday, pay their £15, and take their pick of the week's customers.

I'm sure that our regular shops pay an enormous amount in rent and business rates, most probably a few thousand pounds a month in total, so it seems a little unfair to allow non-locals to compete with them on the main shopping day of the week, just by paying a measly £15 pitch fee.  Now, I'd hate anybody to think that I was trying to stamp out competition, which would be wrong. I'm all in favour of competition, but it has to be reasonably fair .... and this doesn't seem to be at all.   

I'm sure that one of the first to agree with my views would be Dave Rydings, the current Chairman of the Parish Council. Some time ago Mr Rydings wrote a letter to this site about supporting our local shops, specifically the hardware store, which said "We should all support this very valuable resource in our village". I hope that he feels the same way about the other shops in the village and will therefore try and do something to help them stay in business at a time when nearly everybody is having financial problems.  Which of us would be happy if our small local shops all closed down, and were replaced with another Tesco in Mark Square?

Perhaps the simplest solution would be to hold the market on a Sunday, a day when many of our shops are closed anyway and also a day when additional shoppers could be drawn into the village.  That way competition would be maintained, but not in such a confrontational way as now. This would seem a reasonable compromise for everybody to accept.  I hope the Parish Council will be able to support a Sunday market as a solution which is fair to all concerned.

Your faithfully,
Glenys Simpson, 18th November 2008


I attended the Farmers Market today in Mark's Square and was pleased with the goods offered for sale, Although limited in variety, what was on offer was of good quality, well presented and at reasonable prices.

I understand that the Parish Council are holding another Market in September and I would urge them to encourage today's Traders to return. I will be making every effort to attend that one also. Well done Tarleton Parish Council. This along with the Hanging Baskets on Church Road show that you are interested in village improvements.

J Johnston, 16th August 2008

Dear Sir,
I have just read the Tarleton Parish Council's Website and note that many of the Councillors attended more than 60% of the Council Meetings which hopefully means they are in tune with the people who put them in place.

I note, however that one particular Councillor only attended 36% of the Meetings. Can he explain his regular non-attendance please and does he feel he is truly representing the people of Tarleton who voted for him?

Perhaps he should review his commitment and if he finds he no longer has the time or the desire to attend future meetings he should stand down and make way for someone who is prepared to be fully committed to the Council.

J Johnston, 20th June 2008

Car Parking In Tarleton
It is good to see the Over 60's Cark Park freshly marked out and disabled bays added but it's a pity that the marking out didn't extend to the spaces outside the shops alongside the car park.
I have recently tried to park in front of these shops several times only to find 4 cars spread out in an area that would accommodate up to 8.

J Johnston. 24th May 2008

Tarleton 'Over-60s' Car Park
I'm intrigued by the decision to celebrate St George's Day by closing this car park to repaint spaces and to swap over the entrance and exit. These were reversed previously to make life safer for the school crossing patrol. Has traffic reduced? No. Are those driving through more considerate? No. Have the HGV's been re-routed via a new Green Lane link? Of course not. I welcome the provision of disabled spaces by the toilets and the re-lining to make the rear rows more accessible. It is rumoured that there may be a Pelican crossing provided at the school, but until then, why put the patrol back in jeopardy? I've tried an on-line search, but nothing has come up. Possibly the Parish Council minutes would help, but since Tarleton, unlike Hesketh Bank, doesn't post its minutes on-line, no one without much spare time to spend in the library with the printed copies will ever know.
Ian Wells, 24 April 2008

Dear whom it may concern

A while ago the council thought about making a skate park, but i have a better idea, this may seem rather out there but although it is a good idea.

Basically i think there should be a artificial ski/snowboard slope as it would easily pay for itself once you have bought the equipment i.e (dry slope material) ski's and snowboards and the mound for the hill.

I have thought of different places to have it around the Tarleton and Hesketh Bank area, and thought of one place in the Tarleton area, i propose that the down hill ski/snowboard slope should be made in Carr lane playing fields as there is easily enough room on there for football etc as well as the ski slope.

Also this will be a massive tourist attraction which will also bring in money for the council also the ski slope will also bring alot of money for the council even more if the council runs the ski slope.

This is a statement from an artificial snow turf website "This artificial turf is used by many skiers and snowboarders. It is a carpet material consisting of a continuous, even surface that builds confidence and reduces accident rates.

I live in the Hesketh Bank area and think it would be a great thing to have near by.

Callum Cole, 10th April 2008

Dear Sir,
I write this letter in a personal capacity. My reply to Chris Stringfellow on the 9th Nov was to answer his queries. I hope I did just that.
I have no intention of getting into a slanging match with Mrs Hodson. I also have no intention of discussing or debating Parish Council business with her on this forum. Council Meetings are the correct place for that.

I will though answer an issue she raised which has nothing to do with the Parish Council. She wrote....
miraculously 'found' some money to pay for a new carpet and joined the over 60's himself!!
I joined the Over 60's to assist them to obtain funding for a much needed new carpet. All I 'found' was a source to obtain funding for them.This has nothing to do with the Parish Council and is a private matter between myself and the Over 60's members.
Yours faithfully,
Cllr. Dave Rydings, 20th November 2007

Dear Editor,
Well this certainly is rich isn't it, Mr. Rydings has finally arrived at a profound moment of truth, despite being told for years, that the chance of getting funding for the 'Green Lane Link' is virtually impossible. He persisted in misleading the public into believing that we were on the verge of getting it any day now. Talk about taking the electorate to 'futuresville'. The strategy seems to be 'promise to
work hard to get the Green Lane Link', (knowing there has never been a realistic chance of getting it), sit back and do nothing and there's a winner to get re-elected every time!
As part of the party political take over of the council FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITS 113 YEAR HISTORY, Mr. Rydings as Mrs. Fullbrooke's mouthpiece, now flip-flops on his previous comments. He's getting quite adept a U turns though, this is the same Dave Rydings that aggressivley critised the original ( and incidentally 1st in Lancashire) Parish Council Website and stated several times that 'it was simply not good enough' to rely on the Parish Council notice boards and library for information! Now he tells Chris Stringfellow to do that very same thing, what a hyprocrite!
At a meeting earlier this year, he personally promised to get the website sorted out "by the next meeting"! Now we are in the situation where he has managed to alienate all those who were willing to give their time and knowledge for free and he can't even offer a basic site! (If anyone wants to see an example of Rydings website management skills, take a look on the local conservative website- which he runs - talk about light years ahead......not!). This is an example of his cuts to services for local people. And surprise surprise, the EXCELLENT 'VILLAGE VIEW 'NEWSLETTER has gone too. So much volunteer time and effort went into producing and delivering the previous issues and all Mr Rydings has ever did was decry and criticise it. Another of his cuts. He recently presented to the council, his pre-prepared proposal to cut (another one!) future funding for the over 60's club insurance. This funding has been given by the council for many years BUT WHEN HE REALISED HOW UNPOPULAR THIS WAS, withdrew his proposal and then miraculously 'found' some money to pay for a new carpet and joined the over 60's himself!! I think he hopes people will have short memories when it comes to the next election and will deny ever doing any such thing. In submitting his response to this website and signing himself as Chairman, Tarleton Parish Council, Mr. Rydings is acting beyond his role of Chairman as he has had no authority to speak on the subject matter from the Council - but there again, dictators don't bother themselves with the finer points of law, they just ride rough shod over it and everybody in their ego driven self promotion.

Back soon,
Mrs. G.P.Hodson. 19th November 2007

Tarleton Parish Council Website & other Issues
Dear Sir,
Chris Stringfellow should take a trip to the Library where all the PC minutes are available to view. If he had attended the Parish Council meetings (which are now advertised in the local newspaper) he would know that the website has been discussed several times. The management of it was was offered to those who were previously involved. One turned it down and whilst the other offered to continue, it was not considered to be of the standard required by the members. It is on the agenda for the 19th where it is hoped that a decision will be reached as to the future of Tarleton Parish Council's website.
The next Parish Council meeting is being held at the Over 60's club.
The issue of the SPIDS (not SPRIDS) is more complicated that he realises. Yes, they can be erected and put into use. The problem arises in their maintenance. Speaking personally, I am as concerned as Chris is about speeding traffic but until the maintenance issue is resolved using SPIDS in Tarleton is on hold.
The LCC "Meet the Cabinet" question time was indeed held last Tuesday. He must be one of the few who did not receive a letter directly from LCC. If he had joined those of us who did attend (est. 100+) he would have seen that many issues were raised by residents. By far the greatest issue of concern was the state of the roads, in particular the Moss roads. Tony Martin, the County Councillor who deals with this, stated that there is no money to provide an answer - the Green lane Link. However, the Councils of Tarleton, Hesketh Bank and Banks realise the state of our roads is a major problem and working together to find a solution.
Finally, the Village View has been temporarily suspended as it was considered expensive in its present form. It should be reappearing in the New Year.
I hope I have answered Chris's concerns. If he wishes to contact a Parish Councillor or the Clerk he can do so by looking on any Parish Council Notice Board - one of which is at the Library, so he can obtain this information when he visits to read the meeting minutes.
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, Chairman - Tarleton Parish Council, 9th November 2007

Tarleton PC Website
Dear Sir,
Whilst browsing the village forum tonight (7th Nov 2007), I found myself at the Parish and District Councils page. Clicked on the Hesketh Bank PC link and found a fairly good, reasonably well presented site with up to date information, my only problem with this site is that it does not meet minimum accessibility standards for the UK, but that's another story.

Next I clicked the old Tarleton PC website link, even though I know the information there was two years old last time I looked, I thought I would have a laugh anyway. No surprise really, it's now disappeared - hope the current PC are not still paying the webmaster for anything!

Tried the newer link to Tarleton PC, and got the message - "Welcome to the new website for Tarleton Parish Council - Not currently in use". So there we have the state of local government communication in Tarleton, if you want to know what's happening you WILL attend the PC meeting or rely on heresay, 'cause they are certainly not publicising themselves. All this follows the abrupt death of the newsletter they used to send round.

From the village forum and the Hesketh Bank sites, I have found that Hesketh Bank are using a SPIRD device for speed monitoring, as I recall Tarleton borrowed some stuff from the Police a couple of years back and then got banned from using it. Whilst I am not an advocate of amateurs using these items in lieu of a real police presence (don't get me started on that debate again, oh all right maybe I will at a later date), at least they have publicised their involvement. HB 1 - Tarleton 0.

An event which most of Tarleton didn't know about, the Cabinet Question Time, even though this took place at Our Lady's in Tarleton not HB, was publicised on the HB site, HB 2 - Tarleton 0.

Hesketh Bank have telephone and email contacts available from their site to the PC, as well as an online form to send your views. HB 3 - Tarleton 0.

Come on Tarleton Parish Council, it's time we stopped the political meandering and started concentrating on the real things in life, the people who put you there and who you live amongst. Don't forget next time around we can just as easily get rid of you. Give us the information so we can see if you are doing your jobs correctly.

Chris Stringfellow, 7th November 2007

Tarleton Parish Council Meeting Minutes

To the residents of Tarleton

Those of you who use the internet will be aware that Tarleton Parish Council has published meeting minutes on their own website in the past. Last year a new website was launched and referred to the old one for archive material. This new website has been inactive since February of this year and I wish to apologise to Tarleton residents for not making the meeting minutes available.

We are pleased to advise that the minutes for all Parish Council meetings since May of this year are now available for you to read in Tarleton Library. The Librarian will advise you of their location. This will continue until further notice to cater for those without access to the internet.

The Parish Council will be relaunching their own website in the near future and all archive material will be transferred to it. We will advise residents when this is available. It is also hoped to include more information of the Council's activities.

Yours faithfully,

Dave Rydings, Chairman - Tarleton Parish Council. 18th August 2007

Dear Residents of Tarleton Central Ward,
I wish to say a big thank you to those who voted for me in today's Parish Council elections. As promised I will work with other like minded Councillors to keep expenditure within inflation and listen to what residents call for.
Tarleton is a great place and could be greater.
Politics is defined as "being engaged in civil administration" and that is a Parish Councillor's job. If certain members of that administration are like minded and have common goals does that mean that they are wrong in pursuing those goals?
The people of this great village have made their choice and, as one of those chosen, I will do my utmost to fulfil the trust you have put in me.
Yours sincerely,
Dave Rydings, 4th May 2007

I want to give a thankyou to all those people who turned out to vote for me in the Parish Council Elections. I knew from the start I was up against the Conservative party. As I said, and STILL say, PARTY POLITICS has no part to play in Parish matters.

I WILL be back in four years time, and will try my best to show how to properly serve the village's interest.

Alan Cooper, 4th May 2007

To the Residents of Tarleton Central Ward,
Many of you in Tarleton Central Ward will have received an election message through your door from the so called indepentent candidates refuting claims made by myself about their budget proposals.
May I ask you this -

"Where did I obtain my figures of their proposed expenditure?

I obtained it from their own website and their old website from meeting minutes published on it. I reproduce them below:-

2007/08 Estimates£

Playing Field Maintenance 17853
Grass Verge Maintenance 500
Play Facilities 13485
Bus Shelters 800
Litter Bins 500
Wayside Seats 650
Signs 700
Tree Planting 500
Footpath Maintenance, ditches and drains 500
Public clocks 100
War Memorials 200
Off Street Parking 10000
Cemeteries 750
Entertainment, Arts & Tourism 300
Parish or Village Halls 200
Notice Boards 800
Total Estimate 47838
Less Income 4000
Net Estimate 43838

General Expenditure £

Clerks Salary/expenses 10100
Clerks Allowances 360
Employers NI/Gratuity 940
Telephone 260
Postage 180
Printing & Stationery etc. 200
Website 500
Bank charges 40
Newsletters 2120
Audit 800
Training/Conferences 700
(Sub-total) 15850
Insurances 2800
Subscriptions 700
Loan repayments 14800
Donations 1500
Elections 1000
Repairs & renewals 500
Fencing, Carr Lane 2500
Floral Displays 2000
Total Estimate 42000

Exract from Parish Council minutes March 2006:-

2005/162 Parish Council website update.
Cllr.Simpson reported that he had produced a draft template showing a general layout for the proposed revamped website. It was agreed that a sum of £100 be allocated for registering a domain name.

It was agreed to make the second half-yearly payment of £150 to Mrs.Hiscock and to thank her for her work in managing the website since its introduction.

I have a hard copy of previous years budgets to make the comparisons with. Obtained from the Clerk under the Freedom of Information Act.

The sole purpose of this letter is to give you the electorate details of the information I have used when I put together my election leaflet. If anybody has any further questions to ask me please ring me anytime up to 10pm tonight on 07985 392213. I know it is a mobile number but I will be out and about in Tarleton Central Ward putting out a paper version of the above to those not on the internet.

Yours sincerely,
Dave Rydings, 3rd May 2007

Dear Sir,
I, like Ian Wells, regularily look at the Tarleton Parish Council's website and after reading the minutes for September's meeting noticed that Cllr Gavin Simpson has developed a new website. This can now be accessed on I would suggest to Ian Wells that he looks at that one - he will not learn anymore but at least he can see what the new site will look like. My only concern is that I hope that we are not paying for this site as we did with the old one at £300 per year.
Cllr Hodson says that "the new website is being updated even as we speak". Can he give a time scale that is more specific or is it going to be like the Village Plan? That was published 3 years ago in September 2003 with 23 specific actions to be carried out - 6 that were ongong and the remainder to be completed within 2 years.
P.S. One even stated that a review of the action plan take place every 12 months.
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 10th December 2006

Dear Sir,
In reply to Mr. Wells, the website(s) are in the process of being amalgamated/updated as we speak hopefully before too long we will have a more reliable up to date service. In the meantime all relevant information is posted on the Parish Council notice boards distributed around the village.
If there is any specific information needed you can always contact the Clerk to the Council Mr. Rod Sears or any member of the Council, contact details are on the website.
Cllr. J. E. Hodson. Vice Chair, 8th December 2006

Checked Tarleton Parish Council website today. The last update 15th September. Last minutes June. Who is hiding what?
Ian Wells, 7th December 2006

Dear Sir,
I am pleased to report that Tarleton Brass Band have been given a temporary space in the Pavilion for some of their equipment (including the Drums) and it is not in the loft!
I understand that the Parish Council have agreed to eventually find a permanent home for the instruments when all the refurbishment work has been completed.
It is pleasing that common sense has prevailed and that the Parish Council appreciate the need to cater for all forms of recreation of people within the village.
Pet project or not of the Chair, the right of ownership is with the residents of Tarleton. The Parish Council are only the gatekeepers.
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 8th August 2006

Dear Sir,
I attended Tarleton Parish Council's monthly meeting tonight - well not all of it I must admit, but enough to cause me great concern that certain members of the Council seem to be exercising control over the use of the Pavilion. I understood that it was for use by the residents of the village, and that was the case put forward by the current Chair and Vice Chair when they applied for money to develop it. I also accept that both of them have given a great deal of their own time and skills to make it what it is now.
I would though pose the following question -"do they therefore have the exclusive right to decide who uses it?" I ask this because what I witnessed tonight made me think that.


Tarleton Brass Band have rehearsed there for a long time. Whilst the refurbishment was taking place they made other arrangements but now wish to return and store instruments as before. They wrote to the clerk with a formal request and six of their members attended tonight's meeting to answer any questions the council may have.

The whole issue, it appears, had been decided beforehand. Yes, they can rehearse in the hall as before but if they want to store instruments etc they will have to go in the loft! yes you read it right - the loft!
Generously, the Vice Chair offered to cut a hole in the ceiling and build a folding step ladder into the loft. Mrs Gill Burns politely explained that it would be very difficult to carry the drums up there. She requested that if no other instruments were allowed to be stored in the building could the Parish Council please consider the drum kit for storage behind a partition in the main hall with themselves taking full responsibility for it being there. The Band members present also offered to purchase a cupboard to match in with the decor and obviously pay a going rent. One Councillor, Roy Hiscock, seemed to be implying a take it or leave it attitude.

The Chairman, Nadine Ashcroft, would not agree to any of the Band members proposals and crept around the whole issue by asking them to reconsider the ludicrous idea of carrying the drums into the loft by saying that it might only be temporary.
I suggested that a vote be taken by the full Council but that was dismissed.
So what conclusion would anyone make of the fiasco? Dictatorial by the so called independent councillors led by the Chair and Vice Chair who claim that thay do a lot for the youngsters in the village.

On leaving I was followed out by one Councillor who asked me if I was going to stir it - too right Mrs Hodson I am.

Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings 18th July 2006

Dear Sir,
I see that the Over 60's car park is being turned into a second hand car lot.
The other day there was one car advertised for sale on the car park. It hasn't been moved.
Now there is another one.
Now admittedly both cars are showing different phone numbers to contact but one is a landline number and the other is a mobile. Both notices look as though they were typed on the same machine.
What happens when the car park is full with cars for sale - does the cars owner have squatters rights? Will he put up a large illuminated hoarding before our local constabluary notice anything is untoward.
Dave Rydings, 16th June 2006

Dear Sir,
Further to my letter dated 9th June [below], I note from the latest issue of the Village View, that despite concerns from various quarters including some of the Parish Council, Tarleton Parish Council have granted permission for the TYAG to use Carr Lane Pavilion as a drop in centre for young people. The item goes on to say that closer to the opening date, local residents will be consulted. How can consultation take place after the event. The consultation should have taken place before any permission was granted. Any concerns the residents may have are obviously of no interest to the Parish Council, mind you the only one who lives anywhere near was the only one to voice concerns. Like everything with this parish council, its a case of I'm alright Jack, and sod the rest of you.
Chris Stringfellow, 18th December 2005

Wow, yet another fast paced, invigorating, Parish Council Meeting last night. I had a job to keep up with all the exiting and interesting subjects that were discussed!
The highlight came at the end with the announcement that Tarleton had won an award for best kept large village and would be awarded garden centre vouchers! As you can see if you did not attend you missed a very interesting and lively evening.
Now I ask you, does this sound like your average Tarleton Parish Council meeting? No, No and thrice No, is the cry.
Now let me come out of the clouds and come down to earth (with a bump)! I cannot remember a more boring and uninteresting Parish Council meeting. Even the 'Advertiser' reporter had to go out at one stage to make sure she was in the real world.
To end on a serious note - is this done to deter members of the public attending or worse still is it done to deter members of the public from standing for the Council?
I would strongly suggest the Chair looks at a this website - - it deals with how to make meetings interesting.
Dave Rydings, 21st September 2005

Dear Sir,
Sue Lunt wrote [Website Suggestions] saying she missed the banter about Parish Council Meetings. I felt that I had been hogging the limelight in commenting on the Tarleton Parish Council meetings but as I have often stated the deliberations at those meetings get a much wider airing via this web site because of the low turnout of the general pubic at those meetings - so I will continue.
In fact the revelations about the "goings on" by previous Hesketh Bank Parish Councillors (and the subsequent decisions on the conduct of certain Councillors) show to me that the general public are the best watchdogs of our elected councillors. To take no action against them is a travesty of justice and does nothing but harm to the role of those Councillors who are carrying out a worthwhile job without any remuneration on behalf of the community.
So, Parish Council's deliberations must be made available to as wide a local audience as possible (such as this completely independent website and not just the Parish Council's own minutes) to enable us to make up our minds if we wish these people to continue to represent us.
But - do not rely on a few individuals to report on the meetings - go to them yourself - Tarleton's PC next meeting is on Tuesday 21st June at the Over 60's club at 7.30pm.
Dave Rydings, 11th June 2005

Dear Sir,
I note with some concern, the minutes of the April meeting of Tarleton Parish Council, which confirmed what some local residents already thought, namely the siting of the proposed Drop In centre at the Carr Lane Pavilion. It is worrying that despite the worries expressed by one councillor, and his suggestion that local residents be consulted, the whole issue was bulldozed through without any thought for those living nearby. It is very noticeable that none of these councillors are suggesting the provision of a youth facility close to where they live, I wonder why?
Chris Stringfellow, 9th June 2005

Dear Sir,
So, the John Hodson "reign" is over! Tarleton Parish Council has a new Chairman! After a year of coaching Nadine Ashcroft now holds that lofty position. Councillor Simpson ( he was unopposed at the last election - meaning he was "elected" unopposed) holds the position of Vice Chair.
When asked what has been achieved from the Action Plan in the "Village Plan" I was told that many actions were ongoing. When asked why the village design group had not met for 3 months I was told that there had been too many other things to be attended to. In my opinion "the village plan is nothing more than a wish list" and I consider that the facts speak for themselves. ie Name one of the "action plans" that has been actioned?
Oh, by the way, the clerk still hasn't got an e-mail address. "Lots of viruses in the system" was given as the reason why after 2 years we still have to use snail mail to contact the parish council clerk. Still we should be grateful that at least the Council's own website organiser has decided to step down and that the Chair and Vice Chair are to take control. Perhaps they could sort out the clerk's e-mail problems first.
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 18th May 2005

Dear Sir,
I would appreciate if you would be kind enough to publish a postscript to my last letter.
I ask because I have assumed that the J E Hodson on the ballot notice for the general election could of course have been another person than the J E Hodson who is the Chairman of the Tarleton Parish Council.
If my assumption is incorrect I would appreciate clarification from the JEH on the ballot notice.
Thank you.
Dave Rydings, 8th May 2005

Dear Sir,
I freely admit that I am an active member of the Conservative Party and assisted in the General & County elections.I have stated this to make clear my affiliations.
I was therefore intrigued by the following;
You may be aware that a candidate wishing to stand in local or general elections has to be proposed and seconded by two people and be nominated by quite a few other people. Looking at the list of nominees on the notice board at the polling station I saw the name J E Hodson as one of the nominees for David Burrow.
My question is "How independent do you have to be to stand as an Independent?. I ask because JH claims to be an Independent. A (Red) Rose by any other name??
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 6th May 2005

Dear Sir,
Whilst I accept the fact you must be a hermit if you were unaware that a General Election will take place next Thursday I am concerned that our Parish Council Clerk has decided not to put notice of that fact on the Parish Council notice boards.
Besides the General Election there is another for the County Councillor and there is nothing on the Parish Council notice boards about this election either.
I checked with WLDC and they assured me that posters were sent out to the Clerk for him to display on these notice boards.
No notice about either election on the Parish Council's web site.
No notice on the Parish Council's own web site about the Parish and District Council's recent elections.
Please be aware that the Parish Council pay our our money to have a website.
Are we getting value for money?
Or do they consider it is not their place to post election information?
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 29th April, 2005

Dear Sir,
Yet another unimaginative Parish Council Meeting last Tuesday.
The report on the Village Plan delayed (yet again!) due to the fact that "they" have not met this month. I wonder who "they" are?
The Chairman brought up the "Amberwatch" idea once again - with several Councillor's stating that in their opinion it would not be suitable for the village. Undeterred the Chairman pressed on "we'll put it in the Village View and ask for residents opinions"
Several good ideas were put forward such as floral displays around the village - as usual the Chair had his own opinion and that was the only one that mattered - ideas such as that are never floated to the rest of the councillors.
When the subject of the proposed drop in centre on Carr Lane was brought up the Deputy Chair had her own opinions and would not listen to experience.
Next Month is the AGM - I would urge anyone to attend to see the farce for themselves first hand.
Yours faithfully
Dave Rydings, 22nd April 2005

Dear Sir,
Before last Tuesday's Parish Council meeting commenced a presentation was given by a commercial company called 247 who describe themselves as a provider of lamp post media innovations. At the end of the 40 minute presentation all present were given a sales pack that included a DVD. I have played this DVD and it confirms my own (personal) worst fears.
The sales technique is similar to that employed by insurance companies - fear - wrapped up in a 'doing the community a favour' way. They claim that most of the lamp posts in this country are past their sell by date and to replace them would cost £2bn! They offer to replace strategically placed lamp posts free of charge in return for allowing LARGE illuminated advertisement signs fitted to the post. Incorporated in the sign (approx. 20% of the total advertisement size) would be a scrolling message. This message would be controlled by someone appointed by the P. council and could, if necessary, be changed daily.(They call it Council Voice!)
In return the Council would receive a share of the revenue from the advertising - 20% - and they foresee each lamp post generating £1000 - £1500 per annum. The contract would run for 20 years so the estimated total revenue in that time scale would be £20,000 - £30,000 per Lamp post!!!.
Sounds great doesn't it? Reduce the amount on the Parish precept - instant messaging - no more traffic jams at Tarleton lights as traffic is redirected down Blackgate Lane, etc., etc.
When asked where could anyone view one of these in use we were told that they haven't got any up and running yet. So how can the prediction be given on revenue generation? If the scheme is that good why are not Council's beating a path to their door?
The Chairman suggested that the 'Village View' be used as a means of sounding out the views of the residents of Tarleton on the installation of these within the village.
It will be interesting to see just how that 'consultation' is worded - if the Police Operations Centre 'consultation' is the way in which the process is to be conducted then he has a fight on his hands.
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 19th March 2005

Dear Sir,
I attended last night's Tarleton Parish Council meeting and nearly got the answer to my question "What has been achieved from the Village Plan?".
I say nearly because it was dealt with as though it was a big secret. The gang of 3 -Cllrs Hodson, Ashcroft and Simpson were the only ones who knew anything about the "progess to date" and it beggars belief that the rest of the councillors' present didn't seem to know much about the "progress to date". It appears that £1.3M has been obtained in funding in the name of the "Village Plan" yet when asked by one councillor for a breakdown of income and expenditure Cllr Ashcroft replied that it was rather complicated to explain!
I am not suggesting for one moment that anything underhanded is taking place but I consider we all have a right to know the full details. I asked the same question at the end of the meeting with the lame answer that there is only so much time a councillor has to spare and after all they do it for nothing and in the interests of the community so they do not always have the time to be as explicit as they would like to be. When asked "Why not delegate?" Cllr Hodson indicated that he would like to but had received no offers - I wonder why?.
Why not use your own P.Council website? Again it was the same excuse we don't have the time. (Remember the person who runs the website is the wife of a Councillor and lives next door to the Chairman but the Clerk cannot do the work because he still hasn't got e-mail facilities).
So, the Gang of 3 - Cllrs Hodson, Ashcroft and Simpson continue to set the tone of the Parish Council. My hope is that eventually their stranglehold will be removed in the next parish Council Elections in 2006. Remember, Cllrs Hodson and Simpson were unopposed last time.
Oh I nearly forgot - "Amberwatch" gave a 40 minute presentation on flashing roadsigns complete with advertisements to the councillors present.
If time is a problem to Councillor Hodson why is he considering yet another project?
Dave Rydings, 16th March 2005

Dear Sir,
The big guns are out now complete with all the big words and fancy phrases that in the end tell you nothing.

Still no answer to my question -"what has been achieved so far from the action plan at the back of the Village Plan booklet issued in September 2003".

As Cllr. J.E. Hodson is very well aware I attend EVERY Parish Council Meeting and have asked the question on many occasions. The answer I usually get is "many projects are in hand and we will be giving a statement on them very soon" Are the "results" subject to the Official Secrets Act? I would advise anyone to read the Parish Council's minutes - I have yet to find any answers. In fact the brevity of the Parish Council's minutes are staggering.

As to his sarcastic comment about myself not speaking up at Parish Council Meetings he knows full well I am not backward at coming forward. I always have something to say at every meeting and further he has tried unsuccessfully to move public participation on the agenda to a place where it is difficult for any member of the public to comment on the deliberations of the councillors at that meeting.
The main reason why I use this website is that his "Antics" reach a far greater audience than the 2 or 3 people who attend just for the privilege of listening to him issue his missive's for 2 hours.(I roughly measured the amount of time he spoke against others at the last meeting
and it was in the region of 80% Chairman 20% others). I don't wonder the public don't attend.

How many of the original residents are still actively involved in the Village Design Group? Are there any minutes of meetings that they hold? What subgroups are there? Do they have any expenditure and income and if so where can I see a copy of the accounts?

I fear that like his proposals to implement "Amberwatch" in the village (illuminated adverts on lamp posts) will result in yet another survey will being carried out together with a detailed report and wasted expenditure of taxpayers money.
Dave Rydings, 27th February 2005

Dear Editor,
In order to put Mr. Rydings out of his obvious difficulty in understanding the concept and scope of the process of the Village Plan I would suggest to him that he should attend the next meeting of Tarleton Parish Council where a report of the progress to date of the VP will be outlined. My advice to him is that in order to minimise the amount of embarassment to himself he would be better to reserve his 'judgement' of what has been achieved until he is aware of the facts. I know he usually waits until he has retreated to the relatively safe distance of this website before he makes his usual negative comments but I would urge him to have the courage of his convictions and come and speak to us face to face.
Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson, Chairman, 27th February 2005

Dear Sir,
Everything is now falling into place re Glenys's attacks on me.
I have just received Bob Fosters election message through my door and note who printed the leaflet for him. None other than Glenys's son who is a great friend of John Hodson who was the instigator of the "Plan". So it's no wonder she behaves the way she does.
Oh by the way - just to ask again for the umpteenth time "What has been achieved from the village plan" I won't hold my breath for an answer.
Dave Rydings, 27th February 2005

Dear Sir,
Here we go again!
Glenys - answer the question "What has been achieved from the village plan?"
I personally consider that having a plan is a good idea but our Village plan is dead in the water.
Glenys - lend your keyboard to Bob - he will probably talk more sense.
Dave Rydings, 26th Febraury 2005

Dear Editor
I'd hate anybody to think that I was critical of Dave being a Conservative. Some very fine people have been Conservative - some still are! I was critical only of his attacking everybody who didn't share his political membership - and at the same time keeping his own political affiliations hidden. That is dishonest by most people's standards.

Now that's it's plain that he attacks only those who stand against his party's candidates, I think his views will be valued in the way they deserve. I'd like to make a start by putting a value on his advice to me to "refrain from using your keyboard Glenys" - this sounds very much like an attempt at censorship. Is this official Conservative Party policy, or just a personal one?

Rather than Dave trying to stop me from posting, it might do less damage to the Conservative Party (who haven't really done anything to deserve a supporter like Dave) if he were to stop trying to "help" them quite so much.

Yours sincerely,
Glenys Simpson, 25th February 2005

Dear Sir,
Isn't it interesting that Glenys "attacks" my political affiliations. Isn't that what a democracy is about? Anything I say though is an "outburst" to her.
I do not see one word in her letter telling us what has been achieved in the "village plan" which was the subject of my letter.
It's a case of "we must respond and, as we don't have any answers, we will attack him as a person". Pathetic.
She can criticise my politics 'till the cows come home - that's healthy in a democracy, but for crying out loud Glenys stick to the subject in hand.
She seems to belong to that group that decries anything that anybody else does or says without putting forward any ideas themselves. That's bullying isn't it?.
Put forward ideas or please refrain fom using your keyboard Glenys.
Dave Rydings, 25th February 2005

Dear Editor,
Although I usually avoid replying to Dave's sudden outbursts on this forum, I think his attack on Bob Foster deserves a response. Those of you who already know Bob from having met him during his "day job" round our paths and roads will also know that he is a person who genuinely cares about the village.

Under the circumstances, it's only fair and timely to point out that Dave is sufficiently senior in the local Conservative Party to be listed on their website. Now that his political affiliations are more publicly acknowledged, it might be worth keeping in mind that many of his posts might have been written in an attempt to blacken the names and reputations of any who dare stand against official Tory candidates. Sneaky, I know, but this sort of attitude seems to be quite acceptable in political circles ? I just wish that it hadn't filtered down to the Parish Council level where I believe party politics aren't necessary. Play this game at District and County level if you must, but keep it out of the Parish Council. Unfortunately, the Parish Council is the only council Dave has shown any interest in criticising. He refrains from complaining about actions taken by Ormskirk or the County - perhaps because that would involve criticising his political colleagues.

At least something good has come out of all this - an explanation for the Rydings' frequent desire to see their names in print. I thought Dave was just going for the title of "Busybody of the Month", whereas I now see he was probably acting under political direction. Forewarned is forearmed!

Yours sincerely,
Glenys Simpson, 25th February 2005

Dear Sir,
I have just read Bob Foster's election message. He speaks highly of the Village Plan. In fact he speaks of it as if it is the best thing that has happened since sliced bread was invented!
This I find strange - I have asked the Chairman of the Parish Council several times what of the action plan items have been carried out since the plans birth in 2003.
I still await an answer.
We've had reams of paper at a cost of £1000's to us council tax payers - most of it went into the bin.
We've had traffic surveys carried out with costs into the £1000's - what has happened?
We've had promises to enter into discussions with local businesses - any progress?
We've had promises to enter into discussions with the Growers - have they discussed anything?.
We've had promises to produce a Tarleton housing plan - have you seen any plan?
Etc, Etc, Etc...
If this village plan is so good why don't we all know about its "results"?
I'll tell you why because nothing has happened.
The Sports Hall is put forward as the great achievement of the Parish Council. That is just not true - it's what the Chair of the Parish Council would like you to think though.
A lot of people were involved in helping to produce this plan - I wonder just how many there are left who were active in the original group?
Sorry Bob, You're on to a looser. I agree things don't happen overnight but for goodness sake the so called "Plan" has been around for 18 months with nothing to show for it except spent money.

Dave Rydings, 25th February 2005

Dear Sir,
I apologise for hogging this thread on the letters page but I fell that the good people of Tarleton should be aware of what our elected (and unelected) leaders are up to.
At last night's Parish Council meeting the Chair, as usual, moved the public participation item on the agenda from item 16 to item 8. Fine you might say, the public don't have to wait until the end of the meeting to speak. The point is though that up until item 8 nothing had been discussed except planning matters. By doing this the Chair ensures that the public don't really have a chance to comment on that meeting's deliberations. Fortunately public participation was restored to item 16.
The clerk, when asked, "Did you tell the Chairman you had served the notice to WLDC about a Parish Council vacancy on December 29th?" he replied "No". In other words an unelected member of the Parish Council is controlling matters.
I only hope that after the public left he was rebuked by the members of the Parish Council for his actions.
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 16th February 2005

Dear Sir,
I have just come away from tonight's edition of "Tarleton's Own Players". They perform monthly on a Tuesday evening at the over 60's club. It is also called the "Monthly Parish Council Meeting". The cast includes Romeo and Juliet together with Puck & Bottom and supporting cast members.

Item 13 on the Agenda was "Amberwatch".
The Chair duly explained to us all that it was a means for the Council to raise money for the village. (So far so good.) He then went on to expand on what this entailed. (I know what you're thinking - what's the catch?). Let me explain - when a lamp post comes to the end of its life this company, "Amberwatch," put up a new one at their own expense. On it will be an illuminated display board that can be used to display information such as missing children and, (wait for it) also carry advertising (Surprise, surprise).

Consider this - you're driving up Church Road and you see this sign and naturally you read it. (Oops! sorry pedestrian, I didn't see you, I was busy reading about the offers at the local supermarket on the illuminated sign!!).

Are we looking to increase accidents in the village? Maybe we can do a deal with the Ambulance service to advertise our village on their vehicles - come to Lancashire's own Las Vegas - get a free trip to hospital courtesy of Tarleton Parish Council!

This idea was pioneered in America (where else)? where vehicles and pedestrians are kept separate.
I'm sure most residents would like to see vehicles travelling at a slower speed through the village but I wonder if they consider that this is the way to go about it.I suppose it makes a change from speed limit signs - after all they're a bit dull aren't they?

Problem is the Chair thought it a good idea!!
In desperation.
Dave Rydings, 15th February 2005

Dear Editor,
Further to the recent controversy over the vacancy on Tarleton Parish Council and after extensive enquiries, I have identified several areas of confusion and procedural breakdown which I will seek to address at the next meeting of the Council. With regard to the calling for an election to fill the vacancy it transpires that the timetable for the process which is supervised by the Local Authority West Lancs District Council, was 'triggered' by the submission of a form by the Clerk to the Council, unknown to the Council itself. It was intended to agree an announcement of the Intention to fill the vacancy at the February meeting of the Council in order not to appear to be acting with any undue haste.

In a modern democracy it is surely preferable to have 'elected' rather than 'co-opted' members to the Council as this gives direct choice to the wider electorate. Given that the process of Intention to fill the vacancy had started and indeed was almost at the chop off date, the ten electors who called the election were correct in doing so and did not, therefore, act with any undue or unseemly, haste. It would have been unfortunate if members of the public had been inadvertently deprived of the chance to call an election due to inadequate notification of the timetable. At the next meeting of TPC I will be recommending that the Standing Orders of the Council should be amended to adopt a clear procedure for the announcement of Intention to fill a vacancy procedure. There are wider issues that have figured in this unfortunate episode of which strictly speaking, are outside of the Parish Council's control, that need to be addressed also. I personally would have felt more comfortable with an election taking place at a later date but the important point is that an election is to take place which is preferable to co-option and I wish all candidates the best in their campaign.

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson, Chairman, 7th February 2005

Dear Sir,
I wish to reply to Cllr Hodson's letter of the 31st Jan about my criticism of Parish Council minutes. Whilst he quotes part of my letter he failed to complete my comment. Yes, I did say that I was pleased that he gave thanks for his remarks about the late Robert Hodge but I continued my letter by saying "that my pleasure was short lived" and continued to explain why. Further, do not call me a liar - I was at that meeting and I know what I saw.
I would agree that the minutes are passed by the P. Council but Mr Hodson forgets to say that the public who attend cannot see the minutes of the previous meeting and even if they were able to they couldn't comment on them. I have been to various P. Council meetings when Councillor's challenge the minutes. When it is taken to the vote, the so called "Independent Party" members close ranks and vote to accept them. I'll give you an example of an inaccuracy:-18th May 2004 minutes - item 2004/008 - a Cllr. queried the accuracy of Minute 2003/182 regarding production of the working plans for the Over 60's car park layout options. It was recorded that the minutes were correct by 4 votes to 3. I attended that meeting and recorded those votes: 4 Cllrs. voted that the minutes were correct; 4 Cllrs. said they were incorrect; 1 Cllr. abstained; 2 Cllrs.could not vote because they hadn't been at the previous meeting. I personally spoke to all those Cllrs. who voted against acceptance and to the Cllr. who abstained to ensure I was correct in my belief. The vote would have been carried by the Chairman using his casting vote but the point is the minutes were not accurate.
I have gone into detail re the above to support Mr Stringfellow's argument in his letter about the accuracy of TPC minutes.
Cllr Hodson - I do not consider that intimidation by you is very productive and suggest that instead of threatening legal action against those who make constructive comment on your actions, you should try to answer the points raised. I will perhaps take a leaf out of your book and go to the Standards Board.
David Rydings, 2nd February 2005

Dear Editor,
In reply to Mr. Stringfellow's letter I would respond by the following:
Cllr. Mee is the spokesperson for the Maintenance sub-committee of the Parish Council and therefore would put forward reports on various matters. Without going through all the back copies of minutes (yes I do have more important things to do) I would suggest that this probably explains the 'mass amnesia' he refers to.

Secondly and more seriously, he firstly identifies me personally and then makes an allegation of corruption (by inference) of which I take great and legal exception to. I would suggest that he retracts/clarifies this allegation or face the consequences.

I have never pursued or recieved personal benefit of any kind whilst involved in public life and do now call on him to withdraw his remarks.

With regard to the Sports Committee meeting the last held was the AGM where there was no discussion with regard to any traffic calming measures as the analysis for the Village View consultation has not yet been done. Mr. Stringfellow can be assured that when we discuss the matter at the Sports Committee meeting both he and representatives of the Rugby Club will be invited.

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson, Chairman, 1st February 2005

Dear Sir,
Over the lifetime of this website and it's previous incarnation I have agreed and disagreed with both Mr. Rydings and Councillor Hodson on a number of topics. I would therefore like to present the following points regarding their current debate about Tarleton Parish Council. For as long as the minutes remain, unedited, on the Parish Council website, the evidence is available for all to see.

Tarleton Parish Council appears to have become one of two things, either a corrupt, self serving body, concerned only with the elected member's personal or political goals and aims and those of their friends / acquaintances / supporters, or a group of total incompetents who should not be allowed to meet collectively for their own and the publics safety.

To whit the following.

Every meeting commences with the council agreeing that the minutes of the previous meeting are a true and accurate record, and all present attest to the same. Obviously the members do not actually read the minutes or are too befuddled to know what they are reading.

The November minutes state categorically on the Attendance and Apologies sections, that Councillor Mee did not attend, and from personal attendance at the same meeting I know he did not arrive at a later time, yet section 2004/093, paragraph 2 states quite clearly, "Cllr. Mee reported that Harry Mayor of Netholme Farm, Park Lane, Holmes, was the landowner of the field where it was proposed to site a new bus shelter".

Section 2004/099 states, "Cllr.Mee reported that the some of the swings at Carr Lane required replacement".

The December minutes state that everyone present agreed that the minutes of the previous meeting were a true and accurate record, agreeing that Councillor Mee made two documented statements, when in fact he was nowhere near the meeting.

Obviously there was a case of mass amnesia affecting every single member of the council, including Councillor Mee himself. This concerns me as Coucillor Mee also represents the area at District level. If he cannot remember which meetings he attends and when, how can he make an honest claim for his allowances?

The November minutes also record the receipt of an email regarding the parking in Carr Lane on match days and some concern was expressed verbally regarding potential increases in the numbers using the sports facilities there. The following is quoted as the response, "The Chair stated that the improvements being carried out at Carr Lane would not lead to an increase in the number of teams". Mr.Stringfellow, who was present at the meeting, was invited to the next Tarleton Sports Committee meeting, along with representatives from the Rugby Club".

The very next paragraph in the same subsection concerns a letter from Tarleton Corinthians, the first line states, "The letter highlighted the success of Tarleton Corinthians FC and the need now to seek additional sites to accommodate the additional teams".

The December minutes state, in the Sports Committee section, "Following a meeting of the Sports Committee it was noted that due to the increase in the number of junior teams there was now a shortage of playing areas". Again the increased numbers is a major factor. Coincidentally, no notification or invitation was received by either Mr. Stringfellow or representatives from the Rugby club.

A number of questions arise from this.

Why did the chair state categorically at the November meeting, that there would not be an increase in the numbers using the facilities, when he must have been fully aware that the next item was about to prove the opposite?

Why did he offer attendance at the forthcoming meeting, then fail to notify the interested parties?

Is there a hidden agenda causing the collusion between members of the Parish Council and the football club?

Can we really trust the current Parish Council to represent the wishes of the people who elected them or are they simply a collective of incompetents?

I now rest my case.
Chris Stringfellow, 31st January 2005

Dear Editor,
In response to Mr. Rydings criticisms it is only fair that I rebutt his inaccurate remarks and defend the good name of our Clerk, Mr. Rod Sears. The minutes of each meeting are presented, by the clerk, to the Council in draft form for approval subject to any alterations. Unless I am excercising some form of mind control over the whole Council, the minutes of the meeting were agreed as a true and accurate record. Mr. Rydings perhaps needs to make his mind up as to what exactly he does and does not remember as, quoting from his earlier submission to this site : "I attended last night's [Tarleton] Parish council meeting and was pleased that the Chairman, John Hodson, commenced with a minute's silence as a mark of respect following the death of Cllr Robert Hodge."

Perhaps his logic on the subject of the precept is that if we do not levy anything at all we are somehow being more efficient even if we achieve nothing at all. The Parish Council sets the priority and level of the precept because that is what it was elected to do as the democratic body it is.

Yours Sincerely,
Cllr. J.E.Hodson, Chairman, 31st January 2005

Dear Editor,
I wrote to you on the 22nd December expressing my disgust at the disrespect that the Chair of our Parish Council showed to the late Robert Hodge at the beginning of December's PC Meeting. I can now read the minutes of that meeting on the PC's own website. They state that he paid respects to Robert. That did not take place - the "minutes silence" lasted short of a minute and the words recorded in those minutes were not spoken by the Chair. I was there and was shocked at the disrespect he displayed. I would suggest the clerk should be more accurate in recording what actually happened.
The accuracy of the items raised under public participation are also sparce in the extreme. It leaves me with the feeling that points raised by those members of the public who attend are of little importance and not worth recording. No wonder residents do not attend PC meetings - they probably feel that it has all been decided on beforehand.
Most residents may be unaware that they will see a sharp rise in the Parish precept this year. A 6% increase in the budget over last year was agreed at January's meeting.
Do you know how much has been budgetted for for the next financial year? Some examples are - the "Village View"- £530 per time - 4 times per year comes to £2120 pa. £700 has been budgetted for for training and attending conferences for Councillors. £650 for subscriptions(???) and £500 for their own website. ( Hesketh Bank pay £150 for their website). A total expenditure of £49166 was agreed in their budget.
I for one hope that the residents of Tarleton express their views in the ballot boxes next year.
Yours faithfully,
Dave Rydings, 30th January 2005

THE 'SECRET' ELECTION [See News 28/01/05]
Dear Editor,
There was no announcement at the last TPC meeting as it was not the Parish Council which called the election. As the Chair of Tarleton Parish Council I was promptly informed by the Clerk of TPC late last week that an election for the vacancy on the Council had been called after he received a telephone call from WLDC.

It was intended to announce the vacancy at the February meeting of TPC in order to allow all due respect and services to take place before proceeding to fill the vacancy left by Robert Hodge, so as to avoid any such unseemly and therefore disrespectful haste. It will be interesting to see just who it was that felt it so necessary to proceed with such haste, when the list of ten electors required to call an election is duly published.

The normal process follows a given timetable from the time when the Clerk to the Council has to notify the District Council of the vacancy, where notice is then published. If members of the Parish apply to be considered, the Parish Council can then a) Co-opt a new member or b) Go to election, if one is called.

The way that this has been done is, I feel, disrespectful in its timing and also not very democratic in the way that the public have been left with a very narrow window in which they can apply. I would be very disappointed if it turns out that any of the ten electors who called for the election were present at the last TPC meeting where they must surely have known of their intention to do so and yet remained silent. Perhaps they will have the decency to come forward and explain their actions.

Yours Sincerely
Cllr. J.E.Hodson, Chairman. 28th January 2005

Dear Sir,
I have not lived in Tarleton for long but during that time I came to know Robert Hodge and he gained my respect as a man who cared about the village and its people. It was such a pleasure therefore to see so many people at the funeral of "Mr West Lancashire" himself on Tuesday 28th. The Church and the School Rooms were packed to capacity and the service was relayed by video screen so all could join in. Robert himself would have appreciated all the organisation that went into it. In fact, to those who made all the arrangements, I for one say "thank you" for giving such a well respected man the honour he deserved.
Tributes were made to his work as a Parish, District and County Councillor as well as his life's dedication as a Methodist Lay Preacher. All of his political friends (and adversaries) were in attendance to give him the respect that he had earned as a public servant. Geoff Roberts, Leader of WLDC, summed up Robert's attitude in his eulogy - "don't seek conflict seek solutions".
The service, conducted by the Rev'd Pat Aitchison was fitting for a man of Robert's stature and was conducted with warmth and humour that would have been appreciated by him.
Yours faithfully,
David Rydings, 28th December 2004

Dear Sir,
I attended last night's [Tarleton] Parish council meeting and was pleased that the Chairman, John Hodson, commenced with a minute's silence as a mark of respect following the death of Cllr Robert Hodge.My pleasure was because I know that Cllr Hodson and Cllr Hodge did not always see eye to eye and were from opposite sides of the political spectrum.
This pleasure though was short lived because Cllr Hodson went straight into item one on the Agenda - apologies for absence. The meeting continued throughout the evening without any further mention of Cllr Hodge. This I felt showed disrespect for a man who has dedicated his life to local politics. I was surprised also that no other Councillor took the Chair to task about it.
My opinion is that the Parish Council has become a case of "them and us" and that the Chair will be rubbing his hands with glee at the thought that there is now a vacancy on Parish, District and County Councils.
Yours faithfully,
David Rydings, 22nd December 2004

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