Gazette bid to see bus station closure agreement is rejected

Gazette: Got to go – the temporary Queen Street bus station in front of the the Firstsite gallery Got to go – the temporary Queen Street bus station in front of the the Firstsite gallery

COUNCIL bosses have refused to publish a legal agreement that will reveal why Colchester’s bus station has to close.

The temporary bus station in Queen Street is due to shut at the end of the year.

Campaigners are unhappy with the £2million replacement station being built in Osborne Street.

It has been claimed a legal agreement signed in 2006 to build the Firstsite arts centre includes a clause insisting the temporary facility must close by the end of the year.

Colchester Council has rejected two Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Gazette to view the agreement.

Firstsite, which opened last year, is partly built on the Queen Street bus station and the playing fields at St Thomas More’s Primary School.

Anne Turrell, leader of Colchester Council, said the Department for Education insisted the school received part of the remaining bus station site in return.

She said legal experts had told her the agreement gave bosses at Essex County Council and Colchester Council until the close of 2012 to find an alternative site.

Both Freedom of Information requests, First for the entire legal agreement and secondly just for the sections relating to the bus station closure, were rejected.

The authority said the public interest in publishing the information was outweighed by the potential damage disclosure could cause to the commercial interests of the parties involved.

Peter Simpson, a trustee of Age UK Colchester, said he could see no reason why the council should not be more open.

Opposition to its closure has grown as attempts to find a replacement grew more and more protracted.

Mr Simpson said: “The whole thing stinks. I think they should be more open.

“The arrangement at Osborne Street will have benefits, but it will not replace the bus station.

“There’s no way all the bus movements can be accommodated in Osborne Street.”

Mrs Turrell said since becoming council leader in 2008 she had made every possible effort to save the existing bus station, but without success.

She said: “I think we’re at the point of no return now.

“We have tried to get this changed, but none of us has been able to because it is tied up in this legal agreement.

“We have to accept what our lawyers tell us.”

Comments (29)

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5:13pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Field Marshal Sprocket says...

Colchester Council should honour the Freedom of Information requests made by the gazette.

Disgusting.
Colchester Council should honour the Freedom of Information requests made by the gazette. Disgusting. Field Marshal Sprocket

6:12pm Thu 20 Sep 12

jim_bo says...

Anne Turrel said it would damage the commercial interests of the parties involved?????

A charity paid for and run by the tax payer! A school...ditto and a council. Hmm something smells fishy here.

Perhaps Mrs Turrel is burying more council cockups!
Anne Turrel said it would damage the commercial interests of the parties involved????? A charity paid for and run by the tax payer! A school...ditto and a council. Hmm something smells fishy here. Perhaps Mrs Turrel is burying more council cockups! jim_bo

7:38pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Barside1 says...

The so called 'Freedom of Information Act' is a ******* farce and a waste of time pursuing in many cases.

As for the 'commercial interests', well, that is utter **** from the council.

BREAKING NEWS RE. FIRSTSITE - VISITOR FIGURES DROPPING.
The so called 'Freedom of Information Act' is a ******* farce and a waste of time pursuing in many cases. As for the 'commercial interests', well, that is utter **** from the council. BREAKING NEWS RE. FIRSTSITE - VISITOR FIGURES DROPPING. Barside1

7:46pm Thu 20 Sep 12

cavillas says...

What right has a publically elected body have to withold oinformation form the public that elected them? This seems very suspect and not in the spirit of democracy and freedom. This council is living in the past and it's time they were replaced by people that can be trusted.
What right has a publically elected body have to withold oinformation form the public that elected them? This seems very suspect and not in the spirit of democracy and freedom. This council is living in the past and it's time they were replaced by people that can be trusted. cavillas

8:46pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Sidney Harbour-Bridge says...

Why isn't Sir Bob shouting about this from the from the rooftops - it has a big impact on his constituents? Maybe becuase he can't blame the Tories!
Why isn't Sir Bob shouting about this from the from the rooftops - it has a big impact on his constituents? Maybe becuase he can't blame the Tories! Sidney Harbour-Bridge

10:45pm Thu 20 Sep 12

mechanic7 says...

Makes you wonder what the two councils are trying to cover up .
Maybe the imformation might reveal who got the backhanders .
Makes you wonder what the two councils are trying to cover up . Maybe the imformation might reveal who got the backhanders . mechanic7

11:48pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Reginald47 says...

Please will you all let me have details of all your private legal agreements if any. Thank you.
Please will you all let me have details of all your private legal agreements if any. Thank you. Reginald47

12:07am Fri 21 Sep 12

PROOFREADER says...

It is about time that old biddy Anne Turrell was given her marching orders.
It is about time that old biddy Anne Turrell was given her marching orders. PROOFREADER

7:36am Fri 21 Sep 12

Say It As It Is OK? says...

Reginald47 wrote:
Please will you all let me have details of all your private legal agreements if any. Thank you.
This is not or definately should not have been a private legal agreement!

The expenditure on this VAF folly came from the public purse, much paid by Colchester residents through their council tax. Therefore everything, including the legal arrangements that the council entered into, should be totally open to close scrutiny.

By refusing to grant Freedom of Information requests CBC are failing because unless we are able to know the details then the suggestions that "backhanders" and "brown envelopes" have been involved are always going to surface.
[quote][p][bold]Reginald47[/bold] wrote: Please will you all let me have details of all your private legal agreements if any. Thank you.[/p][/quote]This is not or definately should not have been a private legal agreement! The expenditure on this VAF folly came from the public purse, much paid by Colchester residents through their council tax. Therefore everything, including the legal arrangements that the council entered into, should be totally open to close scrutiny. By refusing to grant Freedom of Information requests CBC are failing because unless we are able to know the details then the suggestions that "backhanders" and "brown envelopes" have been involved are always going to surface. Say It As It Is OK?

7:56am Fri 21 Sep 12

Feisty CBC says...

For Colchester council to deny both Freedom of information requests made by the Gazette tells us all we need to know. Cover-up and poppycock, spring to mind.
For Colchester council to deny both Freedom of information requests made by the Gazette tells us all we need to know. Cover-up and poppycock, spring to mind. Feisty CBC

9:00am Fri 21 Sep 12

Barside1 says...

Slightly sidetracking here, but now the VAF and the Bus Park occupy the same space ( and in some kind of harmony ) it is a gross error that CBC were duped into the Cultural Quarter nonsense.

CBC must now realise that not only has Firstsite failed to deliver but it has caused further expense by pushing the bus park out and the need to build a new 'mini park' or whatever the **** it is in Osborne Street.

As I understand it, Rafael Vinoly who designed the VAF was more than comfortable for it to integrate with the existing bus park - I'm not at all sure if he believed in the 'Cultural Quarter' vision or thought it could work in a London overspill.

Well, it's some cultural quarter - drug selling and consumption on the streets, violence and drive by shootings.

Very nice.

CBC has some of the most stupid and ignorant people in its ranks.

The town is ( in the main ) run by idiots who would have no chance of making it in the real world of serious business and commercial enterprise.

Fair play to The Gazette for attempting to expose the dealings of a private members club.

Get some of these Town Hall dudes to speak off the record - but don't send a reporter, there are people who will get you any info you want.
Slightly sidetracking here, but now the VAF and the Bus Park occupy the same space ( and in some kind of harmony ) it is a gross error that CBC were duped into the Cultural Quarter nonsense. CBC must now realise that not only has Firstsite failed to deliver but it has caused further expense by pushing the bus park out and the need to build a new 'mini park' or whatever the **** it is in Osborne Street. As I understand it, Rafael Vinoly who designed the VAF was more than comfortable for it to integrate with the existing bus park - I'm not at all sure if he believed in the 'Cultural Quarter' vision or thought it could work in a London overspill. Well, it's some cultural quarter - drug selling and consumption on the streets, violence and drive by shootings. Very nice. CBC has some of the most stupid and ignorant people in its ranks. The town is ( in the main ) run by idiots who would have no chance of making it in the real world of serious business and commercial enterprise. Fair play to The Gazette for attempting to expose the dealings of a private members club. Get some of these Town Hall dudes to speak off the record - but don't send a reporter, there are people who will get you any info you want. Barside1

11:55am Fri 21 Sep 12

greenbroker says...

A lot of unhappy bunnies here. Why not accept the decisions made long ago? The current bus park was only a temporary measure. It's the only bus park I've seen where the entrance/exit are on the same road. It's a mess and needs to go. What does need sorting are the bus stops in the High Street and Station Approach.
A lot of unhappy bunnies here. Why not accept the decisions made long ago? The current bus park was only a temporary measure. It's the only bus park I've seen where the entrance/exit are on the same road. It's a mess and needs to go. What does need sorting are the bus stops in the High Street and Station Approach. greenbroker

1:19pm Fri 21 Sep 12

sandgronun64 says...

This story, whilst about the bus station and the Council's refusal to release documents they (but not local taxpayers) consider confidential, actually masks a bigger malaise in the local governance in the town; namely the councils refusal to meaningfully engage in public consultation.

The whole VAF fiasco, revealed an utter contempt and disregard for the feelings of locals.

Despite consultation and other local Fora, revealing an overwhelming opposition to the VAF project, the scheme was 'rail-roaded' through, regardless of this obvious and widespread local disagreemenent.

I am personally acquainted with one former council officer, that upon seeing how the local objections (that greatly outweighed letters of support for the VAF project) were dismissed without consideration, sought another post and left - in utter disgust at what he had seen.

The statement in the main article that "... the public interest in publishing the information was outweighed by the potential damage disclosure could cause to the commercial interests of the parties involved ..." is very revealing. Perhaps this intimation of business involvement could go a long way to shedding some light on all of the murky goings on around seemingly inexplicable and occasionally inexcusable planning decisions in the Borough?

Sydney Harbour-Bridge asks why "sir Bob" isn't asking questions. Perhaps this could be linked to his son being (I am told) a senior planning officer at CBC?

Whatever the reason, Colchester remains blighted to this day, by successive poor and ill conceived planning decisions; decisions more in tune with the aspirations of the social and economic 'elite,' than the real and actual needs of those (from whose hard eaned pay packets) the majority of the Council's income is derived.

If there is nothing to hide, then let's see the documents.

As to the what the local populace can do, the answer couldn't be simpler, nor more scientific.

It is a simple equation really:

Indolence + Voter Apathy = Bad Planning

NEXT TIME THERE IS AN ELECTION THEN, GET OUT THERE AND CAST YOUR VOTES!!!

Claim Colchester back for yourselves and your own needs!
This story, whilst about the bus station and the Council's refusal to release documents they (but not local taxpayers) consider confidential, actually masks a bigger malaise in the local governance in the town; namely the councils refusal to meaningfully engage in public consultation. The whole VAF fiasco, revealed an utter contempt and disregard for the feelings of locals. Despite consultation and other local Fora, revealing an overwhelming opposition to the VAF project, the scheme was 'rail-roaded' through, regardless of this obvious and widespread local disagreemenent. I am personally acquainted with one former council officer, that upon seeing how the local objections (that greatly outweighed letters of support for the VAF project) were dismissed without consideration, sought another post and left - in utter disgust at what he had seen. The statement in the main article that "... the public interest in publishing the information was outweighed by the potential damage disclosure could cause to the commercial interests of the parties involved ..." is very revealing. Perhaps this intimation of business involvement could go a long way to shedding some light on all of the murky goings on around seemingly inexplicable and occasionally inexcusable planning decisions in the Borough? Sydney Harbour-Bridge asks why "sir Bob" isn't asking questions. Perhaps this could be linked to his son being (I am told) a senior planning officer at CBC? Whatever the reason, Colchester remains blighted to this day, by successive poor and ill conceived planning decisions; decisions more in tune with the aspirations of the social and economic 'elite,' than the real and actual needs of those (from whose hard eaned pay packets) the majority of the Council's income is derived. If there is nothing to hide, then let's see the documents. As to the what the local populace can do, the answer couldn't be simpler, nor more scientific. It is a simple equation really: Indolence + Voter Apathy = Bad Planning NEXT TIME THERE IS AN ELECTION THEN, GET OUT THERE AND CAST YOUR VOTES!!! Claim Colchester back for yourselves and your own needs! sandgronun64

8:09pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Boris says...

greenbroker wrote:
A lot of unhappy bunnies here. Why not accept the decisions made long ago? The current bus park was only a temporary measure. It's the only bus park I've seen where the entrance/exit are on the same road. It's a mess and needs to go. What does need sorting are the bus stops in the High Street and Station Approach.
It seems you haven't lived here long, greenbroker. The current bus park has been there for 51 years and was only declared "temporary" about six years ago. For its first 45 years it had two entrances/exits, and worked very well. Why do you call it a mess? Of course it is not as good as it was, but given its present condition it works pretty well, and far better than what we can expect in Osborne Street.
[quote][p][bold]greenbroker[/bold] wrote: A lot of unhappy bunnies here. Why not accept the decisions made long ago? The current bus park was only a temporary measure. It's the only bus park I've seen where the entrance/exit are on the same road. It's a mess and needs to go. What does need sorting are the bus stops in the High Street and Station Approach.[/p][/quote]It seems you haven't lived here long, greenbroker. The current bus park has been there for 51 years and was only declared "temporary" about six years ago. For its first 45 years it had two entrances/exits, and worked very well. Why do you call it a mess? Of course it is not as good as it was, but given its present condition it works pretty well, and far better than what we can expect in Osborne Street. Boris

8:29pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Boris says...

Barside1 wrote:
Slightly sidetracking here, but now the VAF and the Bus Park occupy the same space ( and in some kind of harmony ) it is a gross error that CBC were duped into the Cultural Quarter nonsense.

CBC must now realise that not only has Firstsite failed to deliver but it has caused further expense by pushing the bus park out and the need to build a new 'mini park' or whatever the **** it is in Osborne Street.

As I understand it, Rafael Vinoly who designed the VAF was more than comfortable for it to integrate with the existing bus park - I'm not at all sure if he believed in the 'Cultural Quarter' vision or thought it could work in a London overspill.

Well, it's some cultural quarter - drug selling and consumption on the streets, violence and drive by shootings.

Very nice.

CBC has some of the most stupid and ignorant people in its ranks.

The town is ( in the main ) run by idiots who would have no chance of making it in the real world of serious business and commercial enterprise.

Fair play to The Gazette for attempting to expose the dealings of a private members club.

Get some of these Town Hall dudes to speak off the record - but don't send a reporter, there are people who will get you any info you want.
You are right, Barside1. Mr Viñoly declared publicly that he would have designed just as good a VAF for the originally-designate
d site, where the ex-Keddies building still stands. But the council told him to look round and see if there was another nearby site which would suit him better. He had a look, and said: what about part of that bus park, could I build it there? CBC said yes, if you'd rather build it there, go ahead. A prime example of the ineptitude and bad faith of our local rulers, past and present.
You are right of course that there is some harmony between the VAF and the residual bus park. The BBC critic said looking down from the VAF terrace at the buses manoeuvring was the most interesting part of his visit, and that people would miss the buses when they were gone. How right he was.
[quote][p][bold]Barside1[/bold] wrote: Slightly sidetracking here, but now the VAF and the Bus Park occupy the same space ( and in some kind of harmony ) it is a gross error that CBC were duped into the Cultural Quarter nonsense. CBC must now realise that not only has Firstsite failed to deliver but it has caused further expense by pushing the bus park out and the need to build a new 'mini park' or whatever the **** it is in Osborne Street. As I understand it, Rafael Vinoly who designed the VAF was more than comfortable for it to integrate with the existing bus park - I'm not at all sure if he believed in the 'Cultural Quarter' vision or thought it could work in a London overspill. Well, it's some cultural quarter - drug selling and consumption on the streets, violence and drive by shootings. Very nice. CBC has some of the most stupid and ignorant people in its ranks. The town is ( in the main ) run by idiots who would have no chance of making it in the real world of serious business and commercial enterprise. Fair play to The Gazette for attempting to expose the dealings of a private members club. Get some of these Town Hall dudes to speak off the record - but don't send a reporter, there are people who will get you any info you want.[/p][/quote]You are right, Barside1. Mr Viñoly declared publicly that he would have designed just as good a VAF for the originally-designate d site, where the ex-Keddies building still stands. But the council told him to look round and see if there was another nearby site which would suit him better. He had a look, and said: what about part of that bus park, could I build it there? CBC said yes, if you'd rather build it there, go ahead. A prime example of the ineptitude and bad faith of our local rulers, past and present. You are right of course that there is some harmony between the VAF and the residual bus park. The BBC critic said looking down from the VAF terrace at the buses manoeuvring was the most interesting part of his visit, and that people would miss the buses when they were gone. How right he was. Boris

9:06pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Boris says...

sandgronun64 wrote:
This story, whilst about the bus station and the Council's refusal to release documents they (but not local taxpayers) consider confidential, actually masks a bigger malaise in the local governance in the town; namely the councils refusal to meaningfully engage in public consultation.

The whole VAF fiasco, revealed an utter contempt and disregard for the feelings of locals.

Despite consultation and other local Fora, revealing an overwhelming opposition to the VAF project, the scheme was 'rail-roaded' through, regardless of this obvious and widespread local disagreemenent.

I am personally acquainted with one former council officer, that upon seeing how the local objections (that greatly outweighed letters of support for the VAF project) were dismissed without consideration, sought another post and left - in utter disgust at what he had seen.

The statement in the main article that "... the public interest in publishing the information was outweighed by the potential damage disclosure could cause to the commercial interests of the parties involved ..." is very revealing. Perhaps this intimation of business involvement could go a long way to shedding some light on all of the murky goings on around seemingly inexplicable and occasionally inexcusable planning decisions in the Borough?

Sydney Harbour-Bridge asks why "sir Bob" isn't asking questions. Perhaps this could be linked to his son being (I am told) a senior planning officer at CBC?

Whatever the reason, Colchester remains blighted to this day, by successive poor and ill conceived planning decisions; decisions more in tune with the aspirations of the social and economic 'elite,' than the real and actual needs of those (from whose hard eaned pay packets) the majority of the Council's income is derived.

If there is nothing to hide, then let's see the documents.

As to the what the local populace can do, the answer couldn't be simpler, nor more scientific.

It is a simple equation really:

Indolence + Voter Apathy = Bad Planning

NEXT TIME THERE IS AN ELECTION THEN, GET OUT THERE AND CAST YOUR VOTES!!!

Claim Colchester back for yourselves and your own needs!
Sadly it is not just a matter of more people getting out there to vote. I vote every year, as does everyone I know who is over 18. But we still get rubbish councillors. The problem is the total stranglehold held by the three main parties. The Greens mean well but they will not get elected here. So it is down to the following:
.
Lib Dems - responsible for the inept management of the current mess.
.
Labour - complicit in ineptly managing the current mess.
.
Tories - created the current mess (it was they who voted to destroy the bus park when they controlled the council).
.
But of course they all dance to the tune played by the senior council officers, who are the ones who really run the show. I think I know the good officer that you mention, an honourable exception to this rule.
[quote][p][bold]sandgronun64[/bold] wrote: This story, whilst about the bus station and the Council's refusal to release documents they (but not local taxpayers) consider confidential, actually masks a bigger malaise in the local governance in the town; namely the councils refusal to meaningfully engage in public consultation. The whole VAF fiasco, revealed an utter contempt and disregard for the feelings of locals. Despite consultation and other local Fora, revealing an overwhelming opposition to the VAF project, the scheme was 'rail-roaded' through, regardless of this obvious and widespread local disagreemenent. I am personally acquainted with one former council officer, that upon seeing how the local objections (that greatly outweighed letters of support for the VAF project) were dismissed without consideration, sought another post and left - in utter disgust at what he had seen. The statement in the main article that "... the public interest in publishing the information was outweighed by the potential damage disclosure could cause to the commercial interests of the parties involved ..." is very revealing. Perhaps this intimation of business involvement could go a long way to shedding some light on all of the murky goings on around seemingly inexplicable and occasionally inexcusable planning decisions in the Borough? Sydney Harbour-Bridge asks why "sir Bob" isn't asking questions. Perhaps this could be linked to his son being (I am told) a senior planning officer at CBC? Whatever the reason, Colchester remains blighted to this day, by successive poor and ill conceived planning decisions; decisions more in tune with the aspirations of the social and economic 'elite,' than the real and actual needs of those (from whose hard eaned pay packets) the majority of the Council's income is derived. If there is nothing to hide, then let's see the documents. As to the what the local populace can do, the answer couldn't be simpler, nor more scientific. It is a simple equation really: Indolence + Voter Apathy = Bad Planning NEXT TIME THERE IS AN ELECTION THEN, GET OUT THERE AND CAST YOUR VOTES!!! Claim Colchester back for yourselves and your own needs![/p][/quote]Sadly it is not just a matter of more people getting out there to vote. I vote every year, as does everyone I know who is over 18. But we still get rubbish councillors. The problem is the total stranglehold held by the three main parties. The Greens mean well but they will not get elected here. So it is down to the following: . Lib Dems - responsible for the inept management of the current mess. . Labour - complicit in ineptly managing the current mess. . Tories - created the current mess (it was they who voted to destroy the bus park when they controlled the council). . But of course they all dance to the tune played by the senior council officers, who are the ones who really run the show. I think I know the good officer that you mention, an honourable exception to this rule. Boris

9:31pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Barside1 says...

There is a gentleman who worked many years for CBC and he has written details and dates of some of those who were taking bungs - many thousands in some cases, and who they were taking them from.

This goes back to the years between 1988 and 2002.

I've no idea if anything untoward happened surrounding the Visual Arts Facility, but without a shadow of doubt illegal financial transactions were common place during the years mentioned.

Some of these transactions were by way of a 10% to 25% commission of contract price.

In one case the 'commissions' amounted to £87,462 of tax payers money over a two year period.
There is a gentleman who worked many years for CBC and he has written details and dates of some of those who were taking bungs - many thousands in some cases, and who they were taking them from. This goes back to the years between 1988 and 2002. I've no idea if anything untoward happened surrounding the Visual Arts Facility, but without a shadow of doubt illegal financial transactions were common place during the years mentioned. Some of these transactions were by way of a 10% to 25% commission of contract price. In one case the 'commissions' amounted to £87,462 of tax payers money over a two year period. Barside1

10:52pm Fri 21 Sep 12

sandgronun64 says...

Boris wrote:
sandgronun64 wrote:
This story, whilst about the bus station and the Council's refusal to release documents they (but not local taxpayers) consider confidential, actually masks a bigger malaise in the local governance in the town; namely the councils refusal to meaningfully engage in public consultation.

The whole VAF fiasco, revealed an utter contempt and disregard for the feelings of locals.

Despite consultation and other local Fora, revealing an overwhelming opposition to the VAF project, the scheme was 'rail-roaded' through, regardless of this obvious and widespread local disagreemenent.

I am personally acquainted with one former council officer, that upon seeing how the local objections (that greatly outweighed letters of support for the VAF project) were dismissed without consideration, sought another post and left - in utter disgust at what he had seen.

The statement in the main article that "... the public interest in publishing the information was outweighed by the potential damage disclosure could cause to the commercial interests of the parties involved ..." is very revealing. Perhaps this intimation of business involvement could go a long way to shedding some light on all of the murky goings on around seemingly inexplicable and occasionally inexcusable planning decisions in the Borough?

Sydney Harbour-Bridge asks why "sir Bob" isn't asking questions. Perhaps this could be linked to his son being (I am told) a senior planning officer at CBC?

Whatever the reason, Colchester remains blighted to this day, by successive poor and ill conceived planning decisions; decisions more in tune with the aspirations of the social and economic 'elite,' than the real and actual needs of those (from whose hard eaned pay packets) the majority of the Council's income is derived.

If there is nothing to hide, then let's see the documents.

As to the what the local populace can do, the answer couldn't be simpler, nor more scientific.

It is a simple equation really:

Indolence + Voter Apathy = Bad Planning

NEXT TIME THERE IS AN ELECTION THEN, GET OUT THERE AND CAST YOUR VOTES!!!

Claim Colchester back for yourselves and your own needs!
Sadly it is not just a matter of more people getting out there to vote. I vote every year, as does everyone I know who is over 18. But we still get rubbish councillors. The problem is the total stranglehold held by the three main parties. The Greens mean well but they will not get elected here. So it is down to the following:
.
Lib Dems - responsible for the inept management of the current mess.
.
Labour - complicit in ineptly managing the current mess.
.
Tories - created the current mess (it was they who voted to destroy the bus park when they controlled the council).
.
But of course they all dance to the tune played by the senior council officers, who are the ones who really run the show. I think I know the good officer that you mention, an honourable exception to this rule.
Boris, on the recent showing at council elections, (somewhere around 35% turnout at best) not everyone votes - hence voter apathy. Whilst I am hardly surprised that you vote, as I remain sure that many other commenters here do also, many people do not.

What is worse, is that the votes of a good number of those that actually turn out for council elections, are cast on the basis of national political lines; not acording to genuine local needs. If there was a true, vibrant and discerning voting public, one that turned out in their droves at local and coouncil elections, Colcestrians would have the necessary power to encourage the interest and appointment of genuine independent candidates (not UKIP, BNP et al.), that are not shackled to the political doctorine or dogma of national party politics.

Sadly Boris, your tone seems to suggest that we should blame anyone but ourselves whilst accepting that things are 'less than ideal.' I am sure you don't mean this ... surely a regular commenter such as yourself cannot be so defeatist?
[quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sandgronun64[/bold] wrote: This story, whilst about the bus station and the Council's refusal to release documents they (but not local taxpayers) consider confidential, actually masks a bigger malaise in the local governance in the town; namely the councils refusal to meaningfully engage in public consultation. The whole VAF fiasco, revealed an utter contempt and disregard for the feelings of locals. Despite consultation and other local Fora, revealing an overwhelming opposition to the VAF project, the scheme was 'rail-roaded' through, regardless of this obvious and widespread local disagreemenent. I am personally acquainted with one former council officer, that upon seeing how the local objections (that greatly outweighed letters of support for the VAF project) were dismissed without consideration, sought another post and left - in utter disgust at what he had seen. The statement in the main article that "... the public interest in publishing the information was outweighed by the potential damage disclosure could cause to the commercial interests of the parties involved ..." is very revealing. Perhaps this intimation of business involvement could go a long way to shedding some light on all of the murky goings on around seemingly inexplicable and occasionally inexcusable planning decisions in the Borough? Sydney Harbour-Bridge asks why "sir Bob" isn't asking questions. Perhaps this could be linked to his son being (I am told) a senior planning officer at CBC? Whatever the reason, Colchester remains blighted to this day, by successive poor and ill conceived planning decisions; decisions more in tune with the aspirations of the social and economic 'elite,' than the real and actual needs of those (from whose hard eaned pay packets) the majority of the Council's income is derived. If there is nothing to hide, then let's see the documents. As to the what the local populace can do, the answer couldn't be simpler, nor more scientific. It is a simple equation really: Indolence + Voter Apathy = Bad Planning NEXT TIME THERE IS AN ELECTION THEN, GET OUT THERE AND CAST YOUR VOTES!!! Claim Colchester back for yourselves and your own needs![/p][/quote]Sadly it is not just a matter of more people getting out there to vote. I vote every year, as does everyone I know who is over 18. But we still get rubbish councillors. The problem is the total stranglehold held by the three main parties. The Greens mean well but they will not get elected here. So it is down to the following: . Lib Dems - responsible for the inept management of the current mess. . Labour - complicit in ineptly managing the current mess. . Tories - created the current mess (it was they who voted to destroy the bus park when they controlled the council). . But of course they all dance to the tune played by the senior council officers, who are the ones who really run the show. I think I know the good officer that you mention, an honourable exception to this rule.[/p][/quote]Boris, on the recent showing at council elections, (somewhere around 35% turnout at best) not everyone votes - hence voter apathy. Whilst I am hardly surprised that you vote, as I remain sure that many other commenters here do also, many people do not. What is worse, is that the votes of a good number of those that actually turn out for council elections, are cast on the basis of national political lines; not acording to genuine local needs. If there was a true, vibrant and discerning voting public, one that turned out in their droves at local and coouncil elections, Colcestrians would have the necessary power to encourage the interest and appointment of genuine independent candidates (not UKIP, BNP et al.), that are not shackled to the political doctorine or dogma of national party politics. Sadly Boris, your tone seems to suggest that we should blame anyone but ourselves whilst accepting that things are 'less than ideal.' I am sure you don't mean this ... surely a regular commenter such as yourself cannot be so defeatist? sandgronun64

8:26am Sat 22 Sep 12

jim_bo says...

Barside1 wrote:
There is a gentleman who worked many years for CBC and he has written details and dates of some of those who were taking bungs - many thousands in some cases, and who they were taking them from.

This goes back to the years between 1988 and 2002.

I've no idea if anything untoward happened surrounding the Visual Arts Facility, but without a shadow of doubt illegal financial transactions were common place during the years mentioned.

Some of these transactions were by way of a 10% to 25% commission of contract price.

In one case the 'commissions' amounted to £87,462 of tax payers money over a two year period.
Thats a very serious allegation Barside do you have any proof of the 'bings'?
[quote][p][bold]Barside1[/bold] wrote: There is a gentleman who worked many years for CBC and he has written details and dates of some of those who were taking bungs - many thousands in some cases, and who they were taking them from. This goes back to the years between 1988 and 2002. I've no idea if anything untoward happened surrounding the Visual Arts Facility, but without a shadow of doubt illegal financial transactions were common place during the years mentioned. Some of these transactions were by way of a 10% to 25% commission of contract price. In one case the 'commissions' amounted to £87,462 of tax payers money over a two year period.[/p][/quote]Thats a very serious allegation Barside do you have any proof of the 'bings'? jim_bo

1:12pm Sat 22 Sep 12

greenbroker says...

Boris wrote:
greenbroker wrote:
A lot of unhappy bunnies here. Why not accept the decisions made long ago? The current bus park was only a temporary measure. It's the only bus park I've seen where the entrance/exit are on the same road. It's a mess and needs to go. What does need sorting are the bus stops in the High Street and Station Approach.
It seems you haven't lived here long, greenbroker. The current bus park has been there for 51 years and was only declared "temporary" about six years ago. For its first 45 years it had two entrances/exits, and worked very well. Why do you call it a mess? Of course it is not as good as it was, but given its present condition it works pretty well, and far better than what we can expect in Osborne Street.
I've probably lived here longer than you Boris. I used the bus park when it was in St. John's Street and can still remember the teddy boys gathering in the 'Pink Basin' milk bar. What nostalgia! When I stated temporary, I meant the bus park in it's current configuration. I do wish anti VAF supporters would give up. It's here. Forget the politics, it's history. I'm sure some want to see it fail to satisfy their own little egos.
[quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]greenbroker[/bold] wrote: A lot of unhappy bunnies here. Why not accept the decisions made long ago? The current bus park was only a temporary measure. It's the only bus park I've seen where the entrance/exit are on the same road. It's a mess and needs to go. What does need sorting are the bus stops in the High Street and Station Approach.[/p][/quote]It seems you haven't lived here long, greenbroker. The current bus park has been there for 51 years and was only declared "temporary" about six years ago. For its first 45 years it had two entrances/exits, and worked very well. Why do you call it a mess? Of course it is not as good as it was, but given its present condition it works pretty well, and far better than what we can expect in Osborne Street.[/p][/quote]I've probably lived here longer than you Boris. I used the bus park when it was in St. John's Street and can still remember the teddy boys gathering in the 'Pink Basin' milk bar. What nostalgia! When I stated temporary, I meant the bus park in it's current configuration. I do wish anti VAF supporters would give up. It's here. Forget the politics, it's history. I'm sure some want to see it fail to satisfy their own little egos. greenbroker

8:44pm Sat 22 Sep 12

jim_bo says...

It's already failing Greenbroker the question is how long will the funding last before the plug is pulled.

Then the question will be what to do with the £29 million golden banana?
It's already failing Greenbroker the question is how long will the funding last before the plug is pulled. Then the question will be what to do with the £29 million golden banana? jim_bo

3:21pm Sun 23 Sep 12

partyplanner says...

I simply can't believe Greenbroker's comments on this - what utter drivel. It obviously derives from his own "big ego". Colchester needs a bus station and it is our only one, we do not need a second rate arts facility where there are a few token exhibits on display. The bus station is an extremely useful part of everyday life in Colchester whereas the VAF is little used and appears to be there to massage only a very few large egos. Here to the little people who manage to keep their "little egos" under control.
I simply can't believe Greenbroker's comments on this - what utter drivel. It obviously derives from his own "big ego". Colchester needs a bus station and it is our only one, we do not need a second rate arts facility where there are a few token exhibits on display. The bus station is an extremely useful part of everyday life in Colchester whereas the VAF is little used and appears to be there to massage only a very few large egos. Here to the little people who manage to keep their "little egos" under control. partyplanner

9:25am Mon 24 Sep 12

Sdapeze says...

So what would you lot do with the information if it were to be revealed. Mrs Turrell has stated that it would harm the business interests of third parties by revealing the documents. Are you saying she is a liar? We voted for this council. We must therefore trust them to do what is right. Personally, I hate the bus station and am fully in accord with its removal to a place outside the Heritage Core, ie outside the town walls. I would go further and ban all buses from within the walls, and any other diesel powered vehicles. Noise and pollution in a city centre should be eliminated. The bus station is only a layover anyway and could easily be placed at North Station. I fully support the council with what they have done in Osborne Street but would go further and stop buses from staying for long periods there.

...and as for those still whining about the cost and the ploitics of the VAF, be careful. The so-called community stadium was also a very dodgy deal and seems, to me, to be a very failed and flawed project. Why has the Colchester tax payer bought a stadium for a private limited company? At least the VAF is being used by the community and is achieving great things.
So what would you lot do with the information if it were to be revealed. Mrs Turrell has stated that it would harm the business interests of third parties by revealing the documents. Are you saying she is a liar? We voted for this council. We must therefore trust them to do what is right. Personally, I hate the bus station and am fully in accord with its removal to a place outside the Heritage Core, ie outside the town walls. I would go further and ban all buses from within the walls, and any other diesel powered vehicles. Noise and pollution in a city centre should be eliminated. The bus station is only a layover anyway and could easily be placed at North Station. I fully support the council with what they have done in Osborne Street but would go further and stop buses from staying for long periods there. ...and as for those still whining about the cost and the ploitics of the VAF, be careful. The so-called community stadium was also a very dodgy deal and seems, to me, to be a very failed and flawed project. Why has the Colchester tax payer bought a stadium for a private limited company? At least the VAF is being used by the community and is achieving great things. Sdapeze

10:40am Mon 24 Sep 12

greenbroker says...

Sdapeze has made some good comments, especially about the current bus park. It really has to go. It really doesn't compare with facilities found elsewhere.

It appears that one of my posts has gone adrift. Basically, I stated that the arts/museums are not meant to make a profit. They are there for all to enjoy.
Sdapeze has made some good comments, especially about the current bus park. It really has to go. It really doesn't compare with facilities found elsewhere. It appears that one of my posts has gone adrift. Basically, I stated that the arts/museums are not meant to make a profit. They are there for all to enjoy. greenbroker

11:47am Mon 24 Sep 12

jim_bo says...

Good point Sdapeze, why has the tax payer brought a stadium for a Ltd company?

No one else can use it so it's not a community stadium?

Perhaps this is more evidence of council incompetence?
Good point Sdapeze, why has the tax payer brought a stadium for a Ltd company? No one else can use it so it's not a community stadium? Perhaps this is more evidence of council incompetence? jim_bo

5:28pm Wed 26 Sep 12

historyman22 says...

Sdapeze wrote:
So what would you lot do with the information if it were to be revealed. Mrs Turrell has stated that it would harm the business interests of third parties by revealing the documents. Are you saying she is a liar? We voted for this council. We must therefore trust them to do what is right. Personally, I hate the bus station and am fully in accord with its removal to a place outside the Heritage Core, ie outside the town walls. I would go further and ban all buses from within the walls, and any other diesel powered vehicles. Noise and pollution in a city centre should be eliminated. The bus station is only a layover anyway and could easily be placed at North Station. I fully support the council with what they have done in Osborne Street but would go further and stop buses from staying for long periods there.

...and as for those still whining about the cost and the ploitics of the VAF, be careful. The so-called community stadium was also a very dodgy deal and seems, to me, to be a very failed and flawed project. Why has the Colchester tax payer bought a stadium for a private limited company? At least the VAF is being used by the community and is achieving great things.
MMM, some rather unbalanced comments here I think. Time I added my bit then!
When you (sdapeze) say we voted for this council, to whom does we refer? Not I, nor many others I suspect among those that bothered to vote.
As for us all having to "...trust them to do what is right..." that is the weakest load of old toadyism I have heard in a long time. Even if you vote for someone, you should always watch what they do. If they don't meet up to expectations tell them. If they still don't listen after that, vote for someone else!
The last, truly unbelievable comment however is in relation to the Community Stadium. Let me see if I have this straight then. Don't moan about the dodgy dealing surrounding the VAF deal, as the Community Stadium deal was also dodgy?
Do two wrongs suddenly make a right?
Do you mean "look here common plebs, the highbrow VAF might have been wrong but we like it; we don't like your vulgar stadium and if you know what is good for you you'll just say no more.
Quite honestly, both facilities are minority interests, attract an unreasonably large amount of unwarranted media attention, serve the interests of investors but not necessarily the 'intended' user groups, and both are THIRD DIVISION in terms of national importance and achievement.
If either are the product of corruption then it deserves to be exposed, along with any 'private interests' that were involved along the way.
Next thing sdapeze, you'll be telling us to trust the banks! After all, we gave them the money ... presumably we must trust them to do what is right?
Anyone got anything sensible to say?
[quote][p][bold]Sdapeze[/bold] wrote: So what would you lot do with the information if it were to be revealed. Mrs Turrell has stated that it would harm the business interests of third parties by revealing the documents. Are you saying she is a liar? We voted for this council. We must therefore trust them to do what is right. Personally, I hate the bus station and am fully in accord with its removal to a place outside the Heritage Core, ie outside the town walls. I would go further and ban all buses from within the walls, and any other diesel powered vehicles. Noise and pollution in a city centre should be eliminated. The bus station is only a layover anyway and could easily be placed at North Station. I fully support the council with what they have done in Osborne Street but would go further and stop buses from staying for long periods there. ...and as for those still whining about the cost and the ploitics of the VAF, be careful. The so-called community stadium was also a very dodgy deal and seems, to me, to be a very failed and flawed project. Why has the Colchester tax payer bought a stadium for a private limited company? At least the VAF is being used by the community and is achieving great things.[/p][/quote]MMM, some rather unbalanced comments here I think. Time I added my bit then! When you (sdapeze) say we voted for this council, to whom does we refer? Not I, nor many others I suspect among those that bothered to vote. As for us all having to "...trust them to do what is right..." that is the weakest load of old toadyism I have heard in a long time. Even if you vote for someone, you should always watch what they do. If they don't meet up to expectations tell them. If they still don't listen after that, vote for someone else! The last, truly unbelievable comment however is in relation to the Community Stadium. Let me see if I have this straight then. Don't moan about the dodgy dealing surrounding the VAF deal, as the Community Stadium deal was also dodgy? Do two wrongs suddenly make a right? Do you mean "look here common plebs, the highbrow VAF might have been wrong but we like it; we don't like your vulgar stadium and if you know what is good for you you'll just say no more. Quite honestly, both facilities are minority interests, attract an unreasonably large amount of unwarranted media attention, serve the interests of investors but not necessarily the 'intended' user groups, and both are THIRD DIVISION in terms of national importance and achievement. If either are the product of corruption then it deserves to be exposed, along with any 'private interests' that were involved along the way. Next thing sdapeze, you'll be telling us to trust the banks! After all, we gave them the money ... presumably we must trust them to do what is right? Anyone got anything sensible to say? historyman22

6:27pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Sdapeze says...

How did our council get into power then Historyman? You seem to have some skewed logic. It's called democracy, so I suppose you must be some sort of anarchist. Also, there's nothing highbrow about Firstsite. You need to work on your low self-esteem mate, get out a bit more and enjoy what Colchester has to offer.
How did our council get into power then Historyman? You seem to have some skewed logic. It's called democracy, so I suppose you must be some sort of anarchist. Also, there's nothing highbrow about Firstsite. You need to work on your low self-esteem mate, get out a bit more and enjoy what Colchester has to offer. Sdapeze

9:37am Thu 27 Sep 12

historyman22 says...

Oh dear sdapeze.

It is not 'my' logic that is skewed, but your understanding of what has been said.

The fact that I, and many others did not vote for this current council does not confer the status of 'Anarchist' on us. we simply took part in a democratic process. The fact that one side gained a majority, and so the right to govern, does not confer the status of unaccountability on them as a consequence. If I was (an anarchist as you accuse), then why would I even vote? The term 'Anarchist' necessarily implies that proponents of this disposition would not vote. Perhaps you want to look into what the term means but for quick and easy reference, Just for reference, Anarchists advocate a communal society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between workers. The Idea of a council would be alien to them the. I do not advocate such a position.

In respect of your comments that "... there's nothing 'Highbrow' about Firstsite..." - I COULDN'T AGREE MORE! It is hardly a patch on the many other art galleries/museums that it has been my pleasure to visit over the years. Perhaps it will improve over time, but has not lived up to its hype as yet. Nice facility though. Perhaps a paradigm shift in its overall purpose is what is needed?

As for (my alleged need) to get out and about more, I have visited every museum, every park, and indeed every publicly funded visitor attraction in Colchester. Not only that but I have visited plenty of publicly funded projects across the whole of the UK; both those that are free to enter and those that require pay on admission. Add to that, that I have travelled to over 40 countries, on all the Planet's continents (excepting alas, Antarctica) where I have similarly made such visits. How much more should I get out?

As for low self-esteem - you might well know more about know about these things than I.
I personally prefer not to indulge in such obvious psychological projection when examining the facts.

Glad to see that you didn't resort to making this personal though!

Ridere Clara Voce!!!
Oh dear sdapeze. It is not 'my' logic that is skewed, but your understanding of what has been said. The fact that I, and many others did not vote for this current council does not confer the status of 'Anarchist' on us. we simply took part in a democratic process. The fact that one side gained a majority, and so the right to govern, does not confer the status of unaccountability on them as a consequence. If I was (an anarchist as you accuse), then why would I even vote? The term 'Anarchist' necessarily implies that proponents of this disposition would not vote. Perhaps you want to look into what the term means but for quick and easy reference, Just for reference, Anarchists advocate a communal society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between workers. The Idea of a council would be alien to them the. I do not advocate such a position. In respect of your comments that "... there's nothing 'Highbrow' about Firstsite..." - I COULDN'T AGREE MORE! It is hardly a patch on the many other art galleries/museums that it has been my pleasure to visit over the years. Perhaps it will improve over time, but has not lived up to its hype as yet. Nice facility though. Perhaps a paradigm shift in its overall purpose is what is needed? As for (my alleged need) to get out and about more, I have visited every museum, every park, and indeed every publicly funded visitor attraction in Colchester. Not only that but I have visited plenty of publicly funded projects across the whole of the UK; both those that are free to enter and those that require pay on admission. Add to that, that I have travelled to over 40 countries, on all the Planet's continents (excepting alas, Antarctica) where I have similarly made such visits. How much more should I get out? As for low self-esteem - you might well know more about know about these things than I. I personally prefer not to indulge in such obvious psychological projection when examining the facts. Glad to see that you didn't resort to making this personal though! Ridere Clara Voce!!! historyman22

10:12am Thu 27 Sep 12

The REAL Norm says...

http://www.ico.gov.u
k/complaints/getting
.aspx

C'mon Gazette cubs. Time to appeal. It's in the public interest, involves public funds and we need to lift the lid on the dodgy deals...
http://www.ico.gov.u k/complaints/getting .aspx C'mon Gazette cubs. Time to appeal. It's in the public interest, involves public funds and we need to lift the lid on the dodgy deals... The REAL Norm

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