It’s got messy, but then there always was the possibility it would.
The Save Princes Parade has lost its latest and last appeal, while Hythe Town Council’s expenditure is now only for those things it is obliged to pay, due to a forecasted deficit of £50,000.
On the 2nd May, the people of Hythe, elected seven Tory Town Cllrs, six green Cllrs, two Hythe Town Alliance Cllrs, One Liberal Democrat and one Independent Cllr.
Hythe Town Council (HTC) is led by a Green Coalition. The current Mayor of Hythe is Naomi Slade of Hythe Town Alliance, elected with 321 votes.
The elected chair of the Finance and General Purposes committee is Cllr Martin Whybrow, elected with 762 votes. (Cllr Whybrow is also a KCC Cllr). The Green Coalition has been in power for 20 months.
Cllr Whybrow was the founder of IBS Intelligence back in 1991. IBS Intelligence was the trading name of IBS Publishing Limited – (Company no. 5365737), which ran out of 11 Mount Street until 2007 before moving on to 8-12 Stade Street, Hythe. The company specialised in publications and intelligence for the Banking Sector and provided briefings to venture capitalists. So Cllr M Whybrow is numerate.
The budget of any Council, be it Parish, Town, District or County, is an essential tool for controlling its finances and demonstrates that the Council will have sufficient income to meet its objectives and carry out its activities.
Income for HTC has been generated from sports revenue. However, its total income from its total assets are still below expectations HTCs only guaranteed income remaining for 2020/21 is from the income from land rental of £7,403.
The total income received to date by HTC is £400,123 and its expenditure to date is £258,256, leaving £149,270 to cover £225,634 of the remaining budget. Resulting in a deficit of £76,364. The Responsible Financial Officer of HTC anticipates savings of approximately £26,139 could be made on expenditure leaving £50,225 that may have to come from reserves at the end of the financial year should extra income or more savings on expenditure not be generated. Reserves would fall to approx £70,000, the lowest they’ve ever been.
Cllr David Owen (Con) raised the issue of tightening the council belts as things look grim. Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem) prattled on about guidance, guidance and more guidance; and that it wasn’t statutory, but the RFO firmly reminding him, it was good practice to keep 3 months worth of reserves.
But what do Lib Dems know about “good practice” or financial stewardship, as it was they, who, when in power in 2004, hiked Council tax up 29%; which is the genesis, the seed, of why we have the Highest Council Tax rates in Kent.
The RFO also speculated about how a third lockdown would decimate the budget for 2021/22 and potentially the reserves as well.
After 25 minutes of debate, it was agreed all unnecessary expenditure be stopped. This meant the request by Longbridge allotment holders failed to get their tree works they’d requested from HTC. And that works at Eaton Lands & Twiss Rd allotments were refused their request for works to be undertaken as they were not necessary expenditure.
HTCs money flow has gone from gushing to a dribble, in an attempt to set a balanced budget. But it is looking grim. The reserves will dwindle, but by how much, the residents of Hythe will only discover when HTC announce its precept rate for council tax in Feb 2021.
Now you may well have heard that Save Princes Parade have lost their appeal. “Lord Justice Newey upheld the previous judgement of Mr. Justice Dove – refusing the appeal and upholding the judicial review proceedings in their entirety.” But lets not forget Cllr Ray Field’s treachery in the Save Princes Parade fight
One of the founder members of the Save Princes Parade campaign was district Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Green), (Cllr M Whybrow’s spouse.). Cllr L. Whybrow is a qualified chartered accountant. She and her husband, co-owned IBS Publishing Ltd; which they sold a few years ago.
Cllr Jim Martin, HTC and FHDC (Green), was the previous Chairman of SPP, until he and Cllr L Whybrow were elected on on May 2nd 2019.
The battle they begun; and left others to continue, has been lost emphatically. The Council will now build a Liesure Centre, plus 150 homes on the plot owned by the district council, lead by the four times failed double glazing salesaman, Cllr David Monk.
Back in July 2020, Transparency International released Permission Accomplished which details how individuals and companies may seek to corrupt major planning decisions through generous gifts and hospitality, lobbying key members in secretive closed-door meetings, and hiring serving councillors with inside knowledge to help secure development consents.
Cllr L. Whybrow’s Green Colleagues, Cllr J Martin and Cllr G Treloar sit on the district council planning committee. In Oct Cllr L. Whybrow appeared in a Transparency International webinar.
In the meeting she briefly shared her experiences on how she is working to tackle corruption in local planning decisions.
Does she think the Folkestone & Hythe planning committee is corrupt? Does she think the Royal Victoria Hospital site planning permission was corrupt? Or the meeting which did, then didn’t approve the land adjoing 86 – 88 Tontine Street?
Does she think the Princes Parade planning decision made by FHDC was corrupt? If she does, her lips are firmly sealed, preventing her from saying anything. We’d ask if the cat’s got her tongue!
Cllr L Whybrow is cabinet member with an environment portfolio. She Chair’s the Climate & Ecological Working Group. All these meetings go on behind closed doors. (We wonder what Transparency International would think about that?) She is also responsible for air quality in the district.
The meetings she chair’s discuss environmental information. Article 7(2) European Directive 2003/4/EC makes it clear, she as a Cabinet member and a Cllr must ensure the Council “take reasonable steps” to organise the environmental information, so that it may be disseminated to the public in a proactive and systematic way.
Alas, the environmental information in the Working Group she chairs, which happens behind closed doors, cannot be proactively shared. So much for sunlight being the best disinfectant.
The Shepway Vox Team
Being Voxatious is NOT a Crime.