Review of 2022: Trial dates, Prison Sentences, Financial Irregualrities and Damp & Mould

It’s been a tumultuous year by anyone’s standards. A war in Europe, a cost of living crisis, the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; Liz Truss lasting just 45 days as Prime Minister and the death of Pele.

But here in our district, much has happened as well.

Beginning in Jan 2022 we revealed 127 people owed £164,498 for 1,667 unpaid Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) more commonly known as parking fines.

In Feb there were more confabulations by Cllr David Monk regarding the development of Otterpool Park, when he stated that “the Otterpool scheme isn’t costing us money today.”; which of course  was then and is now untrue. We also revealed KCC Cllr Andy Weatherhead had belonged to the facist New British Union and nobody batted an eyelid.

March was a busy month for the team, reporting on the neglect of the Princess Royal pub. Parish & Town Cllr Russell Douglas Tillson (72) appeared at Sevenoaks Magistrates court, 22.03.22, and was charged with – 5 counts of historical sexual abuse which relate to reported incidents involving boys in Tonbridge between 1984 and 2001.

Then we confirmed once again that residents in our district would have the highest council tax in Kent for the nineteenth year in a row.

We will be reporting residents of our district will have the highest council tax of any district in Kent for the 20th year in a row in March 2023. We wish it wasn’t the case.

In April evidence of neglect by the owner the Princess Royal pub was confirmed by the Council. Later in the year he would confirm he “took his eye of the ball” regarding the ruination of the heritage asset.

Also in April, following a brief hearing at Maidstone Crown Court on April 19th, a trial date was set for  Councillor Russell Tillson (72) on June 19th 2023. Tillson had previously pleaded not guilty at Sevenoaks Magistrates court on March 22nd  on five counts of historical sexual abuse covering reported incidents involving boys in Tonbridge between 1984 and 2001.

Then in a six month investigation with the Bureau Local we revealed that Special Education at KCC was on its knees.

In May after seven years of reporting on Michael Stainer, we begun reporting on his trial at Southwark Crown Court. Mr Stainer was found guilty by a jury after 14 days of evidence with the Judge stating

‘Your sentence will take place then on the 8th of July as you heard. I am going to ask for a pre-sentence report. You should be under no illusions as to what the likely outcome is.’

It was also the month we began revealing the contract and financial irregularities at our Council.

In June we further reported on the contract and financial irregularities at the Council which led to four officers being suspended.

Also we revealed that Sunningdale House Developments Ltd had “acquired” the land at Princes Parade and revealed their filleted accounts.

In July Michael Stainer was sentenced to three years in prison with the judge stating:

The fact you committed fraud against your own employees is an aggravating factor in this case.

Also in July it came to light that Cllr Wimble’s Looker Magazine had received £19,000 and the awarding of the money was taken by Cllr Monk alone, who made the decision under “the advice of officers

Then of course there was the sorry saga of the Council’s procurement card data.

In August the council put lives in danger after a significant data breach. Then who could forget Michael Stainer’s call from behind bars to the Old Timers Rally in August.  Then we the Shepway Vox Team set out how our District, Parish and Town Councils, could reduce your Council tax in 2023/24.

In Sept the Council failed to open their accounts for public inspection. The four officers who were suspended in June, because of contract and financial irregularities, left the building. We name five of the seven developers for Otterpool Park and at the end of the month watch the first installment of lock stock and two smoking Farrells.

In Oct images emerged of a clamped Council van in South Rd Hythe which showed the council had failed to tax the vehicle.  Then we revealed more financial and contractual irregularities at the council, along with the fact temporary staff costs would rise above a million for the third time in the last five years.

In Nov, Hope Not Hate released the story around KCC Cllr Andy Weatherhead being a former member of the facist New British Union. Cllr Weatherhead went onto to step down from his position  a week or so after the story broke. However, we had pointed out, in Feb 2022, Weatherhead’s involvement with the NBU, and nobody cared. Why nine months later was it suddenly a story?

Then it came to pass that a look at just twenty contracts (the council had 424 contracts at the time, with an estimated value of £247m) by the independent East Kent Audit Partnership, showed £1,452,646 was spent in 2021/22 on suppliers without a CSO compliant contract, of which £650,000 was spent using expired contracts.

In Dec there were Oscar winning performances from Chris Farrell and Cllr J Martin. The Council choose to press on with the Leisure Centre development on Princes Parade, and we finished highlighting damp and mold issues in both public and private rented sectors.

2023 brings the May elections where you the residents of the district will once again be allowed to use your vote to decide on how the Council will look. But before that, Cllrs will decide at full Council in Feb/March, to keep your Council tax, the highest of any Council in Kent for the 20th year in a row.  Remember that when you go to vote in May.

The Shepway Vox Team

Peace Love & Rock N Roll

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5 Comments on Review of 2022: Trial dates, Prison Sentences, Financial Irregualrities and Damp & Mould

  1. Well done, Shepwayvox! Keep digging in 2023. Happy New Year.

  2. Thank you for your excellent reporting and analysis. It is much appreciated by local residents apart from David Monk and his lackeys and also the senior officers of Folkestone & Hythe District Council. Keep up the good work.

  3. Keep up the good work and a Happy 2023

  4. Another excellent year for the Shepway Vox .
    is it too much to ask going forward into the New Year that we get rid of this bunch of incompetents and have a team of Councillors that care for the public they serve ?

  5. Thank you for all your detailed work on the councils. If you didn’t tell us, who would? Roll on all elections. Best wishes to you for a successful 2023.

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