Sunday, 19 August 2012


Motto : don't have your roof stripped to be fixed just before an enormous downpour

And in better times :

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Jesmond/Shepherd Towers

I've been watching with interest the planning application concerning the development of the old La Sagesse school.  There is a short video showing some of the buildings when it was  about to close as a school( 2008) , on the BBC news website.

A google search also has quite a few pictures of the house and the site

The Jesmond Action Group  website has updated information  about the  planning application to build 60 houses  and convert the building to 10 Apartments in a gated community.

The Chairman of Jesmond Action Group has written an open letter to the Councillors.
As its open and its been sent to the local paper , I m sure he wont mind it begin reproduced here

Dear Councillor

Let us imagine that I,  along with others, participated in local fund-raising, and that the money I helped to raise was used to entirely fund the successful election campaigns of a number of independent local Councillors.   Let us further imagine, that  some of those Councillors are now on the Planning Committee.  If I were to now submit a controversial (and highly profitable) planning application for an extension to my house, would those same Planning Committee Councillors have a conflict of interest?  Should they declare that interest, and decline to participate in that particular planning meeting?  I think that 99% of the population would agree that the answer to all of those questions must be a resounding, yes!

As you are aware, the Shepherd Offshore Planning application for the development of the La Sagesse site in Jesmond is due to go before the Newcastle City Planning Committee on 10th August 2012.

The Planning Committee consists of 8 Labour Councillors and 4 Liberal Democrats.  5 of those Labour Councillors received all of their funding for their 2011 or 2012 election campaigns from The Labour Party in its various guises; the majority from local Labour Party sources.  The records from earlier elections have been destroyed, so I am unable to comment upon the other 3 Labour Councillors who are on the Planning Committee. No impropriety is suggested by this; two of the Liberal Democrat Councillors on the Planning Committee had their campaigns funded by the Liberal Democrats!

However, you will be aware that it has been widely reported in the press that the Shepherd family are local Labour supporters and have had involvement in fund-raising for the Labour Party.  If funding by benefactors, even indirectly, has assisted you to win your seat, surely you should not take part in a process that could bring a financial windfall of many of millions of pounds to one of those benefactors. 

I therefore urge you to consider your own position.  The quorum for the Planning Committee is 4,  so a decision can still be made by the Committee even without your presence.  It is therefore an easy decision for you, if you feel it appropriate, to declare any prejudicial interest , and to leave the meeting at that point.  The democratic process will continue seamlessly without you, and your absence will cause no harm.  

I would be grateful to learn your intentions, and whether or not you feel that you have a prejudicial interest.