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Melton Grove Scrutinised

Melton Grove - ScrutinisedIn 'A Shocking State of Affairs' we outlined the report of the Task and Finish Group appointed to look into the Scandal of Melton Grove.

As everyone knows, Melton Grove was established and maintained to cater for the needs of the worthy of meagre means who lived locally.

Certainly Fylde Council used to know that, because for many years, that's exactly how they managed it.

Folk like the late Councillor Bill Thompson knew what they were elected for - unlike some of the present incumbents who don't even want to attend meetings, let alone know what they should be doing.

So with all Fylde's recent trumpeting of the great and desperate need for more "Affordable Housing" our readers might wonder how it could be that, at a stroke, the Councillors who were directors of a company whose purpose was to provide and maintain affordable housing, a company that - (by admission on its own headed paper) was " Controlled by Fylde Borough Council" - managed to reduce the Council's stock of affordable housing as well as betraying the trust and future of the residents for whom they should have been acting as guardians or trustees.

The report of the Task and Finish (T&F) group was considered by its parent Committee on Tuesday and, whilst it may not be a report of the biggest disaster Fylde has ever made in terms of the number of people affected, it is, without doubt, the report that brings the most shame and disgrace onto those who would call themselves Councillors.

Those who supported this scheme are not worthy of that name.

Chief amongst these, as we will show, is Council Leader David Eaves.

Cllr Peter Woods  said during the meeting that David Eaves did not know he could have reversed the decision shortly after it was made. We accept that statement. It may well be that, as an individual, Cllr Eaves did not know the facts, or he did not know enough about the Council processes. It may be that other senior Councillors had kept him in the dark over what they were hatching with this plot - although we find that difficult to believe.

But this scandal arose on his watch.

He did nothing to stop it.

He was in charge of the Leading Group that were privately and secretly consulted on the sale by the 'Councillor Directors' of Melton Grove.

And it was Cllr Eaves who proposed, (and Deputy Leader Susan Fazackerley seconded), both the sale of Melton Grove, and the linking of that income to a grant to the Hall in the Cabinet meeting.

And, as we heard on Tuesday, even after the dreadful chicanery to prevent the Mayor having a proper debate of the matter at Council, and the decision had been made, Cllr Eaves could have reversed the decision to sell, but he did not.

Despite all the public outcry, he carried on regardless.

So we attribute the chief blame to the man at the top.

And we're deliberate in our use of the term 'hatching' - because this was undoubtedly a plot that was hatched and pre-planned.

It didn't just happen.

As we reported in Capital Funding Request - Lytham Hall  (Where we said "we believe this was all part of a plan hatched in late 2010, and we have some evidence to support that."), as early as December 2010, (which was weeks before the Chief Executive said the letter requesting a grant for Lytham Hall had been received at FBC), two separate councillors had told us that there was a very shadowy scheme being developed to link the sale of Melton Grove to a big grant for Lytham Hall, and to provide money for environmental improvements elsewhere, (Ansdell was specifically mentioned), in the run up to the election.

This same point about the Hall was made by Kirkham's Cllr Queen Elizabeth Oades at the Scrutiny Meeting - so we believe it was also common knowledge amongst leading Councillors as well.

And even more disgracefully, senior officers - who ought to have been independent of party politics - have been at least complicit in the plot, and in some cases they appear to have been driving it, manipulating the administrative arrangements in order to circumvent legitimate public concerns, and to avoid the non-Conservative members, (and even the Council's watchdog Scrutiny Committee) being able to provide the essential checks and balances.

Chief amongst these officers in our view is the Council's Monitoring Officer (Who was also the 'Company Secretary' to Melton Grove's Directors). The role of the Monitoring Officer is, as he himself described to us:

"To anticipate possible  breaches of the law and instances of maladministration by his local authority and to make a formal report to the executive or the council on those matters. The formal report has the effect of preventing the decision or action being implemented until the member body concerned has considered the report."

Now, whilst everyone at Scrutiny was at pains to point out that nothing that had been done had breached the law, the issue of maladministration in respect of the role of the Monitoring Officer has not been addressed at all.

Time and again the Chairman and others referred to a "failure of Governance" and said that "Governance had been, frankly, non-existent" in seeking to explain or excuse the appalling behaviour in the scandal of Melton Grove.

If an "absence of Governance" is not maladministration, we don't know what is.

The Council's watchdog - when asked why he did not bark- appears to have answered in effect, I'm a watchdog, I watched. If you wanted me to bark as well, you should have told me so.

Pathetic.

Fylde may want to be more 'civilised' than to wash it's dirty linen in public, but we suspect this watchdog will not remain at Fylde, and when the present hiatus has died down, there will be another restructure or early retirement, and he will be gone, just as the Chief Executive - who, in the words of the Scrutiny Chairman "took control" of the process to dispose of Melton grove - is going shortly.   We predicted his demise in 'Extra Ordinary Council Meeting' back in July when we said "one way or another we don't think the Chief Executive can survive the damage he has done to himself with this scandal." 

He lost the trust of many of the Councillors, and now, given the "complete failure of corporate governance" repeatedly referred to by the Chairman, we have to wonder about the position of the Monitoring Officer and perhaps the Director of Corporate Governance as well.

So what did the Scrutiny Committee find and decide?

Well, at the start of the meeting it was unusual to see both the Leader, David Eaves and Deputy Leader, Susan Fazackerley seated in the front row of the public gallery.

This usually happens when such folk want to intimidate or stiffen the backbone of those on their own side.

Certainly that was one of the favourite ploys of the former leader who we dubbed the Commissar.

(It couldn't simply have been that the Leader and Deputy were there to find out what had actually happened, because they were in charge of it, and were being confidentially consulted by the Councillor Directors of Melton Grove as part of the process, so they ought to know more than most)

The public gallery was full of observers when the Chairman said he would not be accepting any questions from members of the public present, but he would take questions from Councillors who were not members of the Scrutiny Committee.

That's not a good start.

Scrutiny is encouraged to involve the public in its deliberations, and can even co-opt members of the public onto its committee if it chooses. But the decision is in the gift of the Chairman and he decided not to allow public to speak.

Overall, we got the impression that he'd had a very difficult path to tread. He depends for his position as Chairman on the willingness of the leading Conservative Group to keep him there, so - as he will understand - there are limits to how far he can push.

It seemed to us he had overseen a thorough job in the investigatory phase, but his aim had been to produce a factual report that did not seek to apportion responsibility. We thought he saw his role as providing the ammunition for others to take up, load and fire. He took quite some flak for adopting this stance, and it remains to be seen whether the ammunition is used or not.

Rather like the toothless officer-watchdog, his findings and answers, whilst damning of what happened, stopped short of the hammer blow that you felt was needed.

Several times we thought there were attempts by some Conservatives on the Committee to muddy the water.

Cllr Tim Armit in particular seemed to be trying to throw spanners into the works by questioning the meaning of the wording of some of the recommendations and provoking debate on them (in which he generally did not succeed). He also appeared to try to cut short the questions from other members of the Scrutiny Committee when, right after the first or second question he said he wanted to ask "Why are we here" and whether the evening was going to be a re-run of the last 10 weeks.

We thought that was bit rich coming from someone who, (according to the T&F report) had been appointed as a T&F member but "was unable to attend any of the group meetings or interviews because of other commitments..."

Queen Elizabeth Oades did a sterling job exposing the issues with her incisive questions - Q: "Who took control of the process" A: Ian Curtis was in control, but Mr Woodward took control as he assumed ownership of the process.

This showed it was Mr Woodward who led the Directors along the path, (when he was not even an officer of the company) and, given the number of times Scrutiny questions were stonewalled with statements like  'it was a private company outside the Council so we have no say in what it did' you have to wonder why he - who could only have been acting as a council officer - took control of the process, when it already had a senior council officer as the Company Secretary and the Councils Head of Finance as its finance officer.

The extent of the personal influence exercised in this matter by Mr Woodward is, in our view, unusual.

Queen Elizabeth also wanted to know about changes to the sale agreement. The Chairman said Windmill had made numerous requests for changes change the sale terms, most of which had been allowed. But from his point of view, part of the job of the Surveyor engaged by the Directors had been to negotiate the sale documents, and that's what he did.

She also wanted to know who had decided which consultants to use, and she was told "The Board" made that decision.

Whilst strictly that is correct, one of the first things Mr Woodward did when he took control in March 2009 was to advise the Board to appoint external consultants, and to "delegate all matters of detail arising between now and the next meeting of the Company to the Chairman.”

In fact this meant that in reality Mr Woodward would be in control of the process and the Chairman (and later the Board) simply accepted what he recommended and rubber stamped it. So technically they did approve the decisions.

She also wanted to know why Progress Housing (a proper registered social landlord) had not been invited to review their offer after the terms of the sale had been changed to allow a non-registered social landlord (Windmill) to bid.

The best answer the Chairman could give was "Good question. We struggled in a lot of ways to get at the details"

As to why someone who was not a registered social landlord was invited to bid in the first place, and why officers had not advised the board that Mr Whitehead's Windmill Group was not a RSL,  the answer was that  in the first instance, it seemed the Consultant (from Rochdale-based Morris Dean) thought the Windmill Group was, in fact, the Windmill Housing Association (which is a RSL), and only later realised it was not the same entity.

Pressing various points here Queen Elizabeth elicited the response from the Chairman that "A registered social landlord was nowhere on the horizon." and "I can't speak for the trustees, but governance was none existent"

Asked why only one non-RSL was allowed to bid, the answer was "Barry Dean (the consultant) said he had talked with other developers, but the caveats requiring the scheme to be social housing meant it wasn't viable for bigger companies", and the Directors either were not advised to, or did not think, to go back to the open market after the decision to allow a non-RSL to bid was made.

Asked if the Board had looked into tenant protection in enough detail, the Chairman's response was a simple "No"

He added that there had been a "general intent to protect tenants, but there had been no 'win win win' as had been claimed. He concluded "We certainly haven't got protection for tenants".

Queen Elizabeth then asked if postponing Directors meetings in order to take the views and opinions of the ruling group was an abuse of power.

The Chairman started to answer but was clearly on tricky ground, and he wanted to be somewhere safer, so he switched to saying "At the interviews, responses from (The Melton Grove) Directors had been totally and utterly different and, quite honestly, they beggared belief. We were aghast. I can't comment on the cancellations and the views of the Conservative group but the view of the Task and Finish Group was that it was very concerned."

Asked why keys to properties had been given to Mr Whitehead before the sale was concluded, and whether consultation with tenants had been adequate, the Chairman said councillors had been told there was consultation. A letter to Emma Duffy had said so. But all the Task and Finish Group said it had been totally inadequate. And as to the issuing of the keys for property, he could only give the facts, he couldn't give the reason - but "if they (the person who provided the keys) were in my employ, they would have been sacked."

Queen Elizabeth also asked if the Portfolio Holder (Cllr Trevor Fiddler) knew enough about the facts before he made his decision to sell Melton Grove, the Chairman said "No. He didn't even scratch the surface"

One of the recommendations proposed by Scrutiny was that in future, Portfolio Holder decisions should be backed up by a rationale. We thought that was a bit of a waste of time really. Cllr Fiddler has already provided the perfect reasoning for his decision (and for why he made it without knowing any of the details). It will shock many, but it was revealed at the earlier Scrutiny Call-In meeting where he said that he absolutely supported the decision to sell Melton Grove because it was a political decision that reflected Conservative thinking.

Yes Really!

One of the most surprising and new-to-us issues to come from the investigation was when Cllr Oades asked whether the Leader of the Council could have had the decision revoked after it was made, and she was told that 'for a short period' after the decision was made, the Leader could have chosen to revoke it, but he did not do so. This was quickly qualified by saying that it was not being suggested that Cllr Eaves knew that he could have done this, but it was nevertheless an action that had been available to him, and one that would have allowed the full council to debate the matter before the sale was finalised.

Then there was the issue of former Cllr Fulford Brown who, along with other members of his family, shared directorships of another company (unrelated to housing) with Peter Whitehead, and who had declared a prejudicial interest in an earlier planning meeting but had not declared it at the Council meeting where one vote swung the recommendation to sell Melton Grove (to Mr Whitehead).

The Chairman said Cllr Fulford Brown *should* have declared an interest and "had the Standards Board still been operating we would have reported this to the Standards Board". "We are critical of it" "I was disappointed with the advice from our legal officer at the time but I was told that nothing could be done."

Cllr Mrs Oades continued her questioning.

She said understood the Cabinet had met with people from Lytham Hall in December, and she asked for details of what had taken place at that meeting. Cllr Mulholland sidestepped and said he didn't think it was part of their brief to look at that aspect.

Asking whether the decision to dispose could be reversed in any way, brought the answer "No"

So as far as the Council is concerned, the residents of Melton Grove are cast adrift.

We think that was the wrong answer. If there was the will, there is a way that it might be reversed using the courts, but it's not one this Council is ever going to take of its own volition, so in practical terms the answer was right.

Cllr Kath Harper argued (as we have argued) that the original 2007 decision of the Council said “That if the Directors of Clifton Lytham Housing choose not to dispose of the Association to a registered social landlord that the Council no longer supports the administrative costs to the Association" and this meant that it was not an instruction to sell, but a decision to recoup all the Council's administrative costs from tenants if there was no decision to sell to a RSL.

Such is the disingenuity of the Chief Executive, we were told that he had interpreted that decision as meaning that if the Association was sold to a RSL the Council might continue to support the administrative costs, but if it was sold to a non-RSL, they would not continue to support such costs.

Quite frankly this interpretation flies in the face of everything that followed and is best described and beginning with B and ending with ollocks.

What we think it shows is the twisting, squirming lengths that some people will go to in hiding their true intention.

The Task and Finish group heard Mr Woodward's answer and they recorded his view, but were unable to adequately challenge it.

Saint Paul Hayhurst of Elswick spoke to say he was absolutely appalled at what he had seen. He said "We [FBC] have covered the admin, with our own staff minuting meetings haven't we, and it's public money isn't it?"

The Chairman tried to disagree, saying that they were not Fylde staff when they were working for the Company, and it was a private company.

There followed a warm exchange between them, which St Paul finally got the better of, when the Chairman had to agree that the money for the sale had come into the Council's coffers and it was public money and it was the people of Fylde who ultimately owned that money, hence it was public money.

St Paul wanted to know if the poor minute-taking that the Chairman had alluded to was an aberration in recent times, or had the Councils staff always kept poor records of the Company's decisions?

"Has it been a  shambles all the time, or is it only since the decision to sell Melton Grove?" he asked. There was no answer.

Quite a debate developed around whether Barry Dean ('of Morris Dean' the consultant engaged to advise the Board) has in fact been instructed to sell to a registered social landlord..

The Task & Finish report says on this matter "At his interview, Mr Dean insisted that he was never instructed only to sell to an RSL, although this would seem to be contradicted by the Option that the Board chose."

But in his note for the Board dated 13 September 2010  at Paragraph 26, Barry Dean says "Instructions from the Board and Trustees was to seek disposal to a Registered Social Landlord possibly linked to the sale of 'a number' of bungalows in the open market."

That seems pretty clear to us.

Pressing his argument about what he (and we, to be honest), saw as the failure of Council officers to maintain the Council's interest when they were "working for" the Company, Saint Paul was rebuffed by the Chairman who said they were working for the company not for the Council.

Having opened the trapdoor, St Paul then asked "So the officers were working for the company against the interests of the Council were they?"

There were gasps from the public gallery (and some from round the Scrutiny table at this comment), and a quick denial by the Chairman.

However, we believe St Paul was right. The officers were being paid by Fylde Council.

They were not remunerated by the Company.

The company's own letterhead said "The Clifton (Lytham) Housing Association Limited is a company controlled by Fylde Borough Council”,

The money from the sale is public money, as was the money that paid for the building in the first place.

These people are not straightforward company staff. If they were, then things would be different ,and they WOULD have a completely separate responsibility to the Company.

But things were not different. This company was 100% owned by Councillor shareholders who were 100% appointed and dismissed by the Council.

That is, until - hidden by the officers failure to report the matter to the full council - the Directors (presumably advised by either Mr Woodward or their Company Secretary) declared UDI, changed their own articles, and awarded themselves power to appoint and dismiss their number.

We understand that in this matter, officers might have been working to the (unspoken) instructions of the Conservative majority group, but they were not employed by the Conservatives. They should not have been beholden to them. Their responsibility was to the full Council and, in allowing what has happened to take place, they have undoubtedly put interests other than those of the Full Council, first.

And we believe they set about engineering that outcome from the very early days of this scandal.

And at this point, questioning by Scrutiny Committee members ceased and other Councillors were allowed to ask questions.

Undoubtedly, the best questions of the evening came not from the Scrutiny committee itself, but from Cllr Charlie Duffy.

He first took the Committee through the process, saying that the Clifton (Lytham) Housing Association has always been, and still is, the owner of Melton Grove.

He said there had actually been two completely separate transactions.

The first was when the Councillor Directors each sold their share for a nil consideration to the Council, (which in this case was represented by a single Councillor - Cllr Trevor Fiddler acting alone as the Portfolio Holder for Planning).

We should make clear at this point that Saint Louis Rigby the Magnificent's 'blocking' share was removed from him by the other Directors in the most underhanded way, when he would not vote with them for the disposal nor would he voluntarily surrender his share.

But when the eventual share sale happened, the Council itself became the direct owner (and sole shareholder) of all the shares in the company.

Then, Cllr Fiddler - acting within the authority granted to him by Council Leader David Eaves and his Cabinet - sold those shares to Peter Whitehead's company, without exposing that sale process to competition.

When the shares were sold, Peter Whitehead owned the company

The decision to sell the company rather than the land and buildings was on the advice of accountants, because selling the land would attract a tax charge to the Company, but selling the shares would not.

Also, selling the shares directly from the Company to Mr Whitehead would mean VAT was payable on the transaction, but if the shares were first transferred to 'the Council' VAT was probably not payable. (Because for much of their operation, Councils are exempt - or at least zero rated - for VAT)'

The sale of the shares from the company to 'the Council' was under company law. But, as Cllr Duffy pointed out, for the period during which 'the Council' was the owner of the shares (i.e. between the Company and Mr Whitehead), the Council was (or should have been) bound by its own Constitution in disposing of assets.

A section of Fylde's Constitution called the 'Land Transactions Protocol' sets out some strict requirements for disposing of assets, and those requirements were not followed in this case.

Cllr Duffy said he understood it was not land that was being disposed of, but the shares in the company.

However, the Land Transactions Protocol defines what is to be included within the term "land" - and, as well as property and physical land, it includes "Any interest in land"

Cllr Duffy said the company and/or its shares constituted 'an interest in land' because the land was automatically included in the transaction as part of the assets of the company, and therefore the Council had acted improperly in the disposal because it had not complied with its constitutional procedures for  'land' transactions.

We know the Council's solicitor has been tested on this point before and has expressed the view that whilst that view was probably right "substantively",  he thinks that legally it may not be the case.

The Chairman told Cllr Duffy he had taken advice on this matter which said  that in law, the 'interest in land' definition did not apply so the Council, in selling the land, did not have to comply with the safeguards and rules that it set for itself.

But the Council's solicitor is also the Council's Monitoring officer and the Company Secretary for the Directors of Melton Grove, so he's hardly likely to report himself to the Council for failing to follow his own procedures, is he?

Cllr Duffy put two further, and equally searching questions, but it was to no avail. The Chairman's mind was made up. Yes, there had been shortcomings, but the Task & Finish Group had not set out to correct what had gone wrong, only to identify it and make recommendations so it didn't happen again.

Cllr Duffy's performance was, we thought, first class. Especially so for a relatively new councillor. He had obviously thought the matter through carefully and logically. He  had a clear grasp of very complicated facts, and he presented them in a calm, even, but firm, manner.

We were very much reminded of the style of the late Cllr Bill Thompson whose shoes he seeks to fill, and which he looks set ably to do. We think that with a bit more experience he will make one of the best Councillors Fylde has seen, and if he stays in the Council, we see in him potential as a future leader.

Of course, we always expect to see the skills and experience that were displayed by the likes of Queen Elizabeth Oades and St Paul Hayhurst, but we were also quite impressed by the contribution of Cllr Peter Wood who, although he didn't say a lot, seemed to have a good grasp of what had happened, and did not appear to be afraid to speak his mind (and that's a rare thing amongst Conservatives these days). We will watch his progress with interest.

So there we are.

The final decisions of the Scrutiny Committee were to approve (more or less) the wording of the recommendations in the T&F report (despite several attempts to muddy those waters).

We're not going to go through them here, readers can follow this link and see them at the start of Fylde's agenda item on this matter.

Essentially, the recommendations say we should do it differently next time.

Motherhood and apple pie.

We can all vote for that.

But it won't make any difference (at least not in public), because there is no other social housing that Fylde owns. But based on the absence of proper governance, and the way matters were twisted by officers to circumvent the will of the whole Council, we do expect to see some more staff changes in the future.

The final debate at Scrutiny was where to send the report.

It was either direct to cabinet (who will make the final decision) or to Council for their endorsement or alteration before Cabinet have the final say.

This of course is a travesty of what should happen.

Administratively, this should go to the full 51 elected members for a final decision.

It is the DREADFUL cabinet system in Fylde that - as we have said so many times - concentrates too much power into too few hands, that is at the root of all that has gone wrong at Fylde in the last ten or fifteen years - and there is a lot that has gone wrong.

After a niggly debate during which several, (but not all), Conservatives sought to have it sent straight to Cabinet, there was a majority vote to send it to Council first.

We suspect that might be delayed a bit to let the matter die down if the establishment gets it's way. But if they think it's going to die down, they have another think coming.

We'll let our readers know when it's allocated a time slot in a Council meeting.

Politically, when it eventually arrives at Cabinet, those responsible for, and those involved in the decision to dispose and to link the funding to the grant to Lytham Hall, should grovel and beg for the forgiveness of the residents of Melton Grove that they have so callously abandoned in their party-political driven, asset stripping greed.

And yes. We are very angry at what the incompetents and shysters have done in our name to those residents.

We can't think of anything better to end with than the copy letter we acquired from those beleaguered residents of Melton Grove.

When  you read it, you can just feel the hurt oozing out all over you.

The people who caused this to happen are a disgrace and, as the letter says, they should be ashamed of themselves.

LETTER FROM MELTON GROVE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

"Dear Councillors

We are writing to you ahead of the Community Focus Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday evening where the task and finish group will be presenting their report on the Sale of Melton Grove.

Residents who are unable to be heard at the meeting want it to be known that they feel that although we appreciate the many voluntary man hours and effort the councillors on the T&F have spent scrutinising the procedures that led to the debacle that was the sale of our homes they were never going to have the power to uncover what we always suspected were underhand dealings and although we have respected the importance of the investigation and remained inactive since July we will now be proceeding with legal action in the hope that those Councillors and Officers who pushed this sale through will be held to account.

We will not give up until it is public knowledge

Who invited Windmill to bid when he wasn't a registered social landlord and kept him abreast of negotiations

Which Councillor had enough vested interest to have the sale proceeds tied to the donation to Lytham Hall.

How Councillors Aitken and Redcliffe were allowed to write and distribute a leaflet on behalf of Clifton Lytham Housing Association without all the Directors knowledge

How Councillor Aitken can get away with reading out a letter which he clearly stated was written by exactly half of MG residents at the March full council meeting supporting the sale when there was in fact no such letter and he was only speaking on behalf of three residents who were actively for the sale, while we the majority against the sale, sat in the gallery unable to speak up in our own defence. It was that speech that resulted in a conservative majority of one vote for the sale. That one vote was made by Mr. Fulford-Brown who had previously declared an interest because of his involvement with Windmill and should not have been counted.

Why the Chief Executive pulled out all stops to delay a full council debate and did all he could to have the sale completed before a debate could take place

Why the Chief Executive wrote to the ruling group excluding any non-conservatives before their group meeting showing political bias and the tracking on his chronology showed he had removed all mention of "Social Landlord" when referring to the intentions to sell MG.

How officers can continue to claim that CLHA was an arms length company and out of their control when all CLHA correspondance clearly states "under the control of Fylde Borough Council" and the inexperienced Directors were not only all Councillors but acted on and put their trust in the advice given by the Company Secretary who was Ian Curtis, the Councils Legal Officer.

Why did the leader of the Council after all the press coverage, hearing Councillors concerns, seeing hundreds of names on the petition on Fylde Borough Councills "listening" website not visit the residents of Melton Grove (within his own ward) and ask them what their concerns were?

Why were proper investigations and checks not made into Windmills "experience and expertise in managing social housing" (FBC spokesman, LSA Express June 2nd 2011) when it became clear he was not registered and the homes of 26 elderly residents were about to fall into his hands for a pittance?

How can a developer buy a £4 million+ town asset without credentials or even a deposit for little over a quarter of the price?

There are hundreds more questions that the report does not answer although we have no doubt they were asked by the T&F group but went unanswered.

Hopefully Councillors and Officers memories will be restored if the people asking have the force of the law behind them.

We are now subject to huge rent increases when we were promised we would see "no change but ownership" and the stress and upset of the last nine months is taking its toll on our health and happiness. We have been sold out by the very people who promised we were secure in our homes and every day is a battle to protect our trees, our homes, our limited money and our futures.

We will continue to fight because we have no choice and no where else to go.

Even those few residents taken in by all your promises and supported the sale are changing their minds.

Fylde Borough Council Officers and every Councillor who supported this sale through greed or ignorance have neglected us and let us down badly.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Melton Grove Residents Association."

Dated:   11 November 2011


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