Special Edition following the JPC Meeting
Why a special edition?
On Monday night around 50
residents attended the JPC meeting to listen to the debate on the
complaint about the behaviour of certain councillors in respect of the
curtain shop. During the meeting the parish clerk read out a statement
which she first said was on behalf of the Council but, when challenged,
said it was a personal statement on behalf of a Councillor.
The Chairman, Cllr L
Goodman, then held a vote on the motion to continue the debate in a
private session from which the residents would be excluded. The motion
to exclude the residents was passed, with the two councillors (Cllr C
Goodman and Cllr C Milsom) who were involved in the incident voting for
secrecy. If the councillors involved had not been been allowed to vote
by the Chairman, the motion would have been lost and the discussion
would have continued in public.
Most of the residents left
in disgust having expected that such an important issue would be
debated in public. It has been reported to Henley NEWS On-line
that 2 complaints have so far been sent to the Straford District
Council's Monitoring Officer for consideration by the Standards and
Ethics Committee. One of these complaints is reproduced below.
Read the full report by the News Editor of the Stratford Herald below.
Henley NEWS Online's POLL
"Do you approve of the JPC's conduct over the Curtain Shop?"
Provisional Results for the poll
I DO NOT APPROVE
Download a summary of the Comments
Dr Douglas Bridgewater,
former High Bailiff and independent scrutineer, will be validating the
poll on Friday 5th February. His report will be published in the next
LISTEN TO BBC COVENTRY & WARWICKSIRE
Featuring "The Curtain Shop"
Drag the player cursor to 2.19 for Linda and to 2.48 for one of the parish councillors.
MP Says Curtain Shop Row is Bad for the Town
Warwick & Leamington MP James Plaskitt – whose constituency includes Henley-in-Arden – told Henley NEWS On-line, he was dismayed by the Parish Council’s mishandling of the curtain shop row in the town. He was critical of the on-going argument, of the alleged personal comments, and of the secrecy surrounding the issue. He is calling on the parish council to bring the matter to a speedy conclusion to avoid further damage to the town’s image.
Mr Plaskitt said, “Personally, the frontage looks fine to me, but if some parish councillors want to make it a planning issue, then they should take it before the district’s planners and get it quickly resolved. As it is, all the innuendo and secrecy is just unpleasant and reflects poorly on the town.”
Mr Plaskitt says he will offer proprietor Zak Miah any help he can.
Mr Plaskitt added, “Residents seem to be understandably annoyed at the council’s antics. Members should heed that and clear the matter up swiftly. A local business doesn’t need this sort of hassle.”
Stratford Herald Reports
Council shuts down further debate on 'purple shop'
FRUSTRATED Henley residents left a meeting
of the parish council en masse on Monday night after councillors
effectively drew the curtains on any discussion on the town's
controversial "purple shop."
Some 30 residents turned out to the meeting of Beaudesert and Henley Joint Parish Council
on Monday evening, drawn in by the promised discussion on Bespoke
Curtains and Blinds of Henley. The 'purple shop' has been a hot topic
of conversation in the town ever since the Herald ran an article stating that the proprietors of the shop felt "ousted out of the town" by the parish council.
Some residents have even gone so far as to
say they believe the parish council's behaviour to be racially
motivated especially after Cllr Carsina Goodman declared to shop
proprietor Zak Miah that it was her town and he was not welcome here.
The parish council meetings usually attract a maximum of three or four members of the public.
All week, Henley News On-line has
been running a poll on whether residents approve of the parish
council's conduct over the curtain shop. The poll attracted well over
100 voters with only one vote in favour of the parish council's
behaviour. Those who voted were also allowed to leave a comment on the
website and the majority have been incensed by the behaviour of the
However, if the residents who turned up to
the meeting on Monday evening were expecting a full and frank
discussion on the shop, or in some cases, according to comments posted
on Henley News On-line, an apology, they were sorely disappointed as councillors voted for the discussion to continue in private session.
What the residents were given was a
statement read out by parish clerk Jenny Walsh, but even that proved a
source of confusion and provoked several mutterings about its
inadequacy from the assembled residents.
Initially, Ms Walsh declared this was the
council's statement in response to residents' questions at the last
meeting. However, on being called up by Cllr Bill Leech over the
statement which he said should have been circulated three days prior to
the meeting if it was to represent all the councillors views, Ms Walsh
then declared this was a personal statement from one councillor, which
residents could only assume was Cllr Carsina Goodman who has been at
the centre of residents' discontent.
In short, the statement read that the matter
of the curtain shop was about the contravention of planning regulations
and was therefore nothing to do with being "ousted out of the town."
It continued that when Cllr Mrs Goodman said
it was her town this referred to the fact she had been born and bred in
Henley and at this point she had been talking as a private resident.
The statement added that the claim Cllr Mrs
Goodman had said that Mr Miah was not welcome in the town has been
refuted by Cllr Mrs Goodman and Cllr Chris Milsom, who was also at the
meeting where the comment was allegedly made.
During the public participation section of the meeting two residents rose to Cllr Mrs Goodman's defence.
One said that Cllr Mrs Goodman had done more
for the town than others and had worked tirelessly and relentlessly for
many hours outside of council meetings to help residents with their
Another resident seemed to be speaking for
the majority of the assembled residents, judging by the cheers that his
comments received, when he said he had been so ashamed to read what
Cllr Mrs Goodman had said. He asked councillors what they were going to
do to address the ill feeling and bad image generated by her actions.
He continued that there was no point spending money on the town's
tourism and trade if all Cllr Mrs Goodman was going to do was "kick
them out when she doesn't approve."
Cllr Roger Hubbocks called for any
discussion of the curtain shop to continue in private session. The vote
was carried by three votes totwo. At this point around two-thirds of the residents who had turned out for the meeting got up and left.
Report by Philippa Mingins - News Editor - Stratford Herald
Henley NEWS Online is most grateful to the Editor of The Stratford Herald, Chris Towner, for allowing us to reproduce this report.
Complaint to Standards & Ethics Committee of Stratford District Council
Re: Alleged Breach of the Code of Conduct by Cllr Carsina Goodman
by Mr. John Latham
Having lived in Henley for
more than 40 years and having served the community in many roles
including High Bailiff and chairman/president of several organisations
it is with some dismay, disgust and desperation that I resort to
sending this formal complaint to you in the hope of getting some
justice and democracy back in to the governance of our community.
The situation concerning the
behaviour of Cllr Goodman towards the proprietors of Bespoke Curtains
and Blinds is well documented but I include 3 articles by the News
Editor of the Stratford Herald to remind you of the history of the
problem. The articles are authenticated by several witnesses including
your own SDC enforcement officer.
I went along to the JPC
meeting last night (Feb 1st.) to observe how the Council were going to
deal with some sort of disciplinary action, even suspension, of Cllr
Carsina Goodman for her disgraceful behaviour whilst representing the
JPC in a public place ie the High Street of our town. The meeting was
packed with other members of the public equally unhappy with what had
gone on and anxious to make sure some sort of justice was done both for
the owners of the shop and the self respect of the town.
What happened was a disgrace
and prompts me to write to you and ask if you have any powers to make
sure justice is done. After 2 ladies read out statements asking for
mitigation (not condoning) of Cllr Goodman’s’ actions I
spoke as did Mr Zak Miah (the shop owner) asking the JPC to take some
action to discipline/censor their member. Our spontaneous words were
greeted with loud applause from the crowded meeting suggesting we all
did really need the JPC to take positive action.
The response was pathetic. A
statement was read out by the parish clerk ignoring the facts and
suggesting that the JPC were completely happy with what had gone on.
After questioning it transpired that these were not the collective
views of the JPC but her own.
A discussion then took place lead by the chairman of the JPC, Cllr Carsina Goodman’s husband, Cllr Les Goodman, in
which it was agreed that a discussion should take place. It was agreed
by a vote of 3 to 2 that the debate should be in private. Amazingly the
casting vote was by Cllr Goodman.
she should not have been allowed to vote on this motion. But of course,
if she hadn’t voted the casting vote would have been with her
husband. What has happened to democracy in Henley?
In the matter of the
possibility of racism being a factor in this dispute I look at a
photograph taken from across the High Street of the Curtain shop
sitting so minutely between Somerfield’s and One Stop’s
ghastly frontages, to say nothing of the fish and chip shop further
along the street, and think this cannot possibly be just about
aesthetics and whether purple is a less suitable colour for a shop
front than the variety of garish colours used by these other shops.
One final point which I
asked the JPC to consider was whether they could justify a budget of
many thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to promote trade and
tourism in the town if one of their members had their own agenda of
driving out businesses which don’t fit in with her perceptions of
good retail marketing. Surely words like “If you don’t like
it clear off” and “it’s my town you’re not
welcome here” to someone who has just invested a lot of money in
the town cannot be statements which will attract new investors and new
jobs which the town so badly needs.
I urge the Standards and
Ethics Committee to take this matter seriously and not allow the
factions that control the JPC to get away with sweeping this matter
under the carpet to rear its ugly head and cause more harm to the town
in the future.
Certain Members should resign and allow the residents of Henley to have a contested election.
As Cromwell said in 1653, "You have sat here too long for the good you do. In the name of God, go!”
JPC Clerk says "Don't Read Henley NEWS Online"
the Council Meeting on 1st February 2010, the Clerk, Jenny Walsh
pictured right, made some most forthright comments as the 'Responsible
Officer' about the Henley websites.
It should also be remembered that the clerk
has no executive authority to make policy decisions and is a servant of
the Parish Council, principally responsible for administration and
minute taking. It was totally inappropriate, judging by the derision
shown from the floor to her very personal public attack on a Parish
Councillor, who is also the Editor of HNOL.
Unfortunately there is no body, not even the JPC, to which residents can complain about her conduct.
Public servants, at both national and local
government level, are not supposed to make political comments and are
expected at all times to remain impartial.
The Clerk's functions are:
Clerks provide the information and help
needed to enable Parish Councillors to make decisions. They may manage
projects, carry out research etc on behalf of the PC but only at the
specific, minuted, request of the PC. Clerks often manage the finances
of the PC but they have no power to spend unless authorised by the
Councillors and that authorisation is minuted. The Clerk has a duty to
advise Councillors if they are about to do anything illegal.
Clearly, the Clerk was acting illegally in
that there was no specific, minuted request from the JPC for her
research into the Henley websites and her making recommendations to the
residents at a public meeting.
The Chairman, Cllr Les Goodman, should
have stopped the clerk from making such a statement and by his omission
to do this he was probably in violation of the Parish Councillors' Code
of Conduct - "Bringing your authority or office into disrepute" (Para 5
of the code). The Stratford District Council Standards and Ethics
Committee will be asked to rule on this matter.
Henley NEWS Online has been provided with the notes she used for her forthright statement.
The black marks are from the highlighter used by the clerk.
Response by the Editor of HNOL
In my opinion, the parish clerk's statement
to the residents at the JPC meeting contained a number of serious and
- Henley NEWS Online is not aware of any errors in any of its editions or on the Town website.
- The JPC website cannot be regarded as
an trusted source as it is so often out of date. It also omits
important information such as the complaints procedure relating to its
- The links about Code of Conduct in the last edition of HNOL went directly to the Stratford District Council website, which is the responsible authority and is therefore accurate.
- The polls in recent editions were
requested by a respected member of our community to gauge public
opinion. The results speak for themselves.
- Henley NEWS Online has been
advised of two separate complaints to the Monitoring Officer in respect
of the conduct of one of the members of the JPC.
- The Council Tax payers of Henley, who have paid for the video
to which she refers, expect Henley's most popular websites to be first
with local news. No request for an embargo was received from the JPC.
- The Henley Tour video resides on YouTube. According to the YouTube licence no permission needs to be sought.
Following a Freedom of Information Act
request last year, the clerk had to admit that she was unable to
provide any information about the number of visitors to the JPC
At the time of writing the Agenda and Minutes Archives are not up to date. The last added docs are for 15th September 2008 and 1st June 2009 respectively. The Forthcoming Events page only lists one event, which was on the 25th of last month.
The JPC's new Trademarked logo, adopted last year, does not appear on the website
is a specialist provider of websites for parish councils. It only
charges £150 for development and £100 for annual hosting.
The JPC's website budget is circa £800 pa. The Chairman was
recommended to investigate this site last year but it appears this
substantial cost saving has not been implemented.
In February 2006 there was a poll on whether
HNOL or the JPC should run the town website. The result was 88 to 1 in
favour of HNOL. At that time the following letter from a resident was
would like the JPC to know that I and many others support an
independent Henley web presence not dominated by the JPC. The JPC does
a good job in many other ways representing Henley's interests, but when
it comes to a community website they need to humbly reflect on their
reasons for wishing to be so controlling.
people of Henley love the town, are passionate about its activities and
people and are proud of the way that they are currently afforded access
to free speech. We don't all agree with what each other says but we
defend each other's right to say it! There will be no confidence in a
JPC controlled website, although the JPC have of course a part to play
(along with other town clubs and groups) in contributing to an
Independent Henley web presence. There is a great fear that opinions
which don't toe the party line will not be included, and that a JPC
gloss will be applied to all controversial issues. Whether or not this
is true, justice should always appear to be being done. A JPC dominated
website is already an unpopular choice, a lost cause with precious
website is already fine! - don't fix what isn't broken. The JPC
alternative is viewed as controlling, which won't earn you love or
respect. To acquiesce to the feelings of the townspeople you represent,
would not be seen as weakness but true strength... that is, you have
the power to forge ahead with your original plan, have the courage not
to use that power!
Thank you for listening.
A Resident of Henley-in-Arden
This letter could have been written today after the outburst by the clerk, but it was written 4 years ago in February 2006. Does nothing change!
Let's hope the JPC will admit before May
2012, the date of the next election, that it's time to accept the will
of the residents. Also, let's hope the clerk does not continue with her
Bill Leech - Editor
John Love - Chief Photographer
As for telling people what not to read, they will be burning books next!
The European Convention of Human Rights, as recognised in Human Rights Act, gives us the freedom of expression.
Henley Resident who has suffered from aggressive correspondence from the JPC
John Garner's Business Column
Business in Henley
a business column in this special issue? Because I am becoming very
concerned about what I’ve seen and heard which I think is
detrimental to local businesses.
I attended Monday’s JPC meeting (and
one in December) and witnessed the strength of feeling in support of
the Curtain Shop and against the way the JPC has behaved. Some members
of the JPC did not seem to me to take much notice of the criticism,
which I find disturbing.
The JPC has produced a video which, I
presume, is intended to attract visitors to the town. Why?
Presumably so they spend money and support local shops including,
I hope, the Curtain Shop.
The Parish Clerk publicly chastised the
Editor for “downloading this podcast” via Henley News
Online “without permission”. It’s a video not a
podcast and it hasn’t been downloaded. By putting it on YouTube
the JPC has automatically put it in the public domain. So let’s
get our facts straight.
But if it’s trying to attract people
to the town surely the JPC would want everyone to see it? They
should be grateful to HNOL for bringing it to people's attention.
Have they publicised it elsewhere? How much did it cost us
council tax payers? A little more transparency would be welcome.
I’m worried that some councillors may
not understand business. I do hope that’s not the case but, if it
is, Henley could soon lose its character and become just another
The above reports have been prepared by an editorial team of 6 reporters
Henley Diary Dates
Articles and news stories for Henley NEWS Online should be sent to the email@example.com at any time. Future diary dates should be notified to Diane Bayley at 6 Nightingale Close, Great Alne, B49 6PE. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HENLEY AND BEAUDESERT SOCIETY
Our next meeting is on Thursday 18th February at 8.00 pm in the Baptist
Church Hall. The speaker will be David Howe on “Prime Ministers
and The Midlands”. Visitors and new members are very welcome.
Further details from Pat Kench on 795419.
ULLENHALL GARDENING CLUB
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 23rd February in Ullenhall Village Hall,
7.30 for 7.45 pm. Our speaker is the author John Trinder on “The
Iris Year”. Visitors are welcome (£3).
Details of all the local cinemas, theatres and exhibitions can be found on The Henley Town Website
HENLEY IN ARDEN TENNIS CLUB
members (juniors and adults) of any standard. Full time coach. 7 courts
open throughout the year mean that there is always a court available.
No need to book. Club and American Tournaments held during summer
months. League matches summer and winter. For details of
membership please contact Judith Mathias 01564 792378
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN EVERGREEN CLUB
are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Parish Hall,
Beaudesert Lane at 2.15pm. The Club has around 80 members and organises
a varied programme together with various outings. If you are interested
in joining please contact Gordon Trinder
|THE ROTARY CLUB of HENLEY-in-ARDEN|
Meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm.
New members are always welcome.
Please email Robin Freeman <email@example.com>
Download Henley Rotary Club calendar
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN FLOWER CLUB
Are you interested in gardening and flowers or just spending a pleasant
evening watching a demonstrator arrange foliage and flowers? We
meet on the second Tuesday each month at 7.30pm in The Memorial Hall,
Station Road, Henley-in-Arden so why not come along and see for
yourself? Visitors are always welcome £3.00. You do not have to
be an active flower arranger to enjoy watching our demonstrators but if
you do feel you would like to 'have a go' we hold occasional workshops.
For further information contact Secretary - Annette Walker - 01564
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN ALLOTMENTS & GARDENING CLUB
The Objectives of the Club are:
- To maintain and develop facilities for gardening and allotment sites.
- To enable members to enjoy the activity of gardening and allotments.
- To enable a healthy and rewarding past time enriching people's lives.
- To preserve local green spaces for the community of Henley-in-Arden.
- To foster an allotment and gardening spirit.
- To create synergies and alliances with other like minded organisations.
- To create a network where
members can communicate with each other in order to exchange ideas,
exchange produce and flowers, share equipment, seek advice and help.
The HAAGC is open to everyone with an interest in gardening and membership is FREE. Click Here for Application Form
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN BADMINTON CLUB
Meets every Friday and Sunday evening from 8pm at the Memorial Hall,
Station Road, Henley-in-Arden. The season runs from mid September to
end April. A warm welcome is extended to all badminton players who may
be interested in joining the club. Visitors welcome. Please contact the
Chairman, Alan Barber, on 01564 793320 for further details.
HENLEY CRICKET CLUB
Henley Cricket Club fields two
teams in the Cotswold Hills League on a Saturday and two teams in
friendly fixtures on Sundays from mid-April to mid-September. We are
always on the lookout for new players, irrespective of age or ability.
Anyone interested in joining our club should contact Kevin O'Brien on
HENLEY-in-ARDEN BOWLS CLUB
meets on Monday evenings from
April to September at 6.30pm and plays until it is dark. The club is
situated next to the Tennis Courts at the Sports and Social club ground
on the A3400 just outside Henley. The Club welcomes new members,
whether beginners or established players. For further information
contact John Townson 01564 792407.
Jollytots meet every Tuesday morning during term time between 10am and
11.45am in the Church Hall on Beaudesert Lane, Henley. It is open
for all under 4 year olds and costs only £1.50 which includes a
drink and a biscuit. There are toys, games, arts and crafts and
singing. Any questions please ring Rachel on 01564 794470.
There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Coordinators. If you are aware that your area is
not covered or you are willing to be a coordinator, please contact
Annette Walker on 792837
THE WARWICKSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB
Holds its monthly
lunchtime meeting on the third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to
2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session
followed by a quality lunch and an informative speaker on a business
topic. Full details at www.swbc.co.uk
|TAI CHI in HENLEY
Thursdays, 11am at the Baptist Church Hall. Age, health or
fitness no barrier. £5 per session – no termly fees. For
further information contact Debbie Wild on 07773 318830.
Full details at: www.swantaichi.co.uk|
WOOTTON WAWEN FOOTPATHS GROUP
Meets the last Sunday of
the month at Wootton Wawen village hall at 2.15pm for a conducted walk
of about 5 miles over the local and surrounding area footpaths. The
Group welcomes all walkers. There is no subscription. More
details from Denis Keyte on 01564 792872.
THE PROBUS CLUB OF BEAUDESERT
Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month. Membership
consists of retired professional and business men residing in the
vicinity of Henley. Visitors are most welcome and for further details
please contact the secretary Andrew Yarwood on 794079.
DE MONTFORT LODGE OF FREEMASONS
De Montfort Lodge is the only freemasons’ lodge meeting in
Henley. It was established in the town in 1930 and holds meetings in
the Guild Hall. Anyone interested in freemasonry should contact John
Pollard on 0121 603 8577 for further details.
WRVS LUNCH CLUB
The WRVS organise a lunch club for the elderly of the district at Dell
Court every Tuesday at 12.30pm at a cost of £3.10. For
further details contact Christine on 01789 209210.
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN BRIDGE CLUB
Plays Duplicate Bridge of
intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel
and usually finds time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our
play!! Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8
tables and the club does not issue master points.
For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.
Each month the Henley Focus contains plenty for everyone with local
business advertisements, reviews and community information. The Henley
Focus could be helping you to promote your business or service to local
people at affordable prices and also offers a range of design services
at very reasonable rates. The publication is very happy to promote
community and charity events free of charge.
Please call Karen on 01564 774748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Details about tourist attractions and neighbouring villages can be found on The Henley Town Website
From our own Correspondents
Henley NEWS on-line is
looking for additional correspondents to send in stories and pictures.
Why don't you become one of our correspondents and send in stories
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The Warwickshire Rural Community Council (WRCC)
helps and encourages people living in rural areas to develop their
communities. By aiding locally led and run projects it also hopes to
strengthen social ties within Warwickshire's villages and small towns.
Henley NEWS Online was the outright winner of the Village Ventures competition 2007.
Bill Leech - Editor
Henley NEWS Online is published as a Community 'Not For Profit' On-line Newsletter
The views expressed in these stories and articles do not necessary match the views of the editor.