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Kay Powell

BTNP meeting

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I bumped into Paul Harries in town yesterday. He told me that there is a Barton & Tredworth Neighbourhood Partnership meeting this coming Wednesday (28th) at the Trust Centre in Conduit Street at 6.30pm. I haven't seen it advertised anywhere else. 

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Barton & Tredworth Neighbourhood Partnership always seem to be enshrouded in mystery. Very odd imo

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You're right about that, Eddie. The word on the street is that this is the AGM, and it hasn't been advertised DELIBERATELY so that people who might ask awkward questions can't turn up and ask awkward questions. The BTNP is supposed to represent all of the residents and businesses of the Barton & Tredworth ward, but it doesn't listen to anyone who has a contrary view, preferring to label them troublemakers. If I didn't have choir practice on Wednesday, I'd turn up myself and prick their bubble. 

Eddie likes this

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It seems that complaints about the lack of advertising for the AGM have resulted in a somewhat belated advertisement on a noticeboard today. That doesn't conform to the requirement to advertise the AGM 14 days ahead of the meeting, but they'll go ahead with voting for themselves to stay in charge for the next year, no doubt. 

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4 hours ago, Eddie said:

Did you go Kay ?

No, unfortunately Wednesday nights are choir practice nights for me. Joe Kilker went, though, and his report was interesting, to say the least. Firstly, they wouldn't let him into the room where the AGM was obviously going to be taking place, and claimed that it was to be in a different room. He posted a short video on YouTube which documents this. Time passed, and he was kept waiting in the lobby area, while some sort of meeting went ahead, but it wasn't quorate. They didn't like the fact that he was hanging around, so they called the police to try to get rid of him - deja vu all over again! Remember, this was supposed to be the BTNP AGM, open to all residents. He left with the impression that the group may be dissolved. 

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Joe seems to think that apathy won in the end, but I feel that the partnership was destroyed by aggression and secrecy. Little dictators couldn't stand being challenged or contradicted, so eventually they excluded all of the residents who would have been willing to help to run the group. It was the same with the old Tredworth Residents' Association. 

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Good lord. This area does seem to have these problems more than most. It all looks very dodgy

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Hi

JK had already been banned from our meetings some time ago.

Unfortunately, too many people leaving the committee to continue under our current constitution. We had only two people put themselves up for election of the four needed (myself as Chair, one other as Vice-Chair. We still needed a Secretary & Treasurer).

We did have another nomination for a non-executive committee member.

Personally, I think this is a shame the BTNP is closing.

First - the people of Barton are losing a voice they once had with the local police/council. (Whilst Tredworth still have TETRA).

Secondly, this was the last community organisation I was directly involved with. (I left GOPA earlier this year when I had that really bad chest infection. GOPA's AGM is at 2.30 pm Monday 24th October at Kingsholm Stadium. I may rejoin the committee then).

As for the advertising - it was posted on the board on Barton St & Tredworth High St. Also posted on the Facebook page. It costs too much to advertise in The Citizen.

 

There is a Community Development Officer for our area, who could help us if we had enough people wanting to recreate the partnership, but the other bad news is that GAVCA (who provided training & support for community workers/organisers etc,) has also folded when the Govt funding ended in March.

Obviously, if people do want to put something else in it's place, contact me via email & we'll see what we can do, in what format.

Thanks

(Disappointed)

Paul Harries

 

Eddie likes this

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Sent this to Simon Limbrick, for the perusal of Lorraine Mutty. If there is any chance of returning a right to be heard to Barton residents, after it was taken from them three or four years ago, they will have to act fast, which didn't happen when the BTCT was closed down (or was it?), or the Tredworth Residents' Association folded:

 

Quote

 

JK had already been banned from our meetings some time ago.
 
Informed by letter, some three years back, that I (and Rachel, who did nothing worse than to stand up for me while a committee member, being subjected to far worse abuse from Pat Hurley and Phillip Lowery than I have ever spoken at a meeting. Rachel was given not even the pretence of an opportunity to defend herself) was not allowed to attend partnership meetings. Despite this, I have attended every AGM, EGM and open meeting since that 'ban' began. I would have attended this one as well, if Ismael Rhyman, seemingly with the collusion of the committee (apart from Lorraine Mutty, who hasn't apparently been notified of dates for meetings or given minutes or other documents for well over a year now) hadn't bent over backwards to make it the lamest excuse for an AGM, and then pretended this ragged, one day's notice gathering justified the dissolution of a ward-wide organisation residents were repeatedly told to go to with all their issues. Now, can they even go to a police meeting, since the police claim they can't afford to hold these? Do the Friends of St. James' Park, if they still exist, never mind the Street Reps, still hold meetings?

Issues which do bear raising, but not with residents, apparently, or at least, not 'the wrong sort of residents', for which read, the ones that do give a damn, amongst thousands who do not.
 
Unfortunately, too many people leaving the committee to continue under our current constitution. We had only two people put themselves up for election of the four needed (myself as Chair, one other as Vice-Chair. We still needed a Secretary & Treasurer).

That's a testimony to how badly the partnership has been run for the past four or more years since I was dismissed as secretary, for not being willing to co-sign cheques for a fair, because I felt nothing was being done to bring back the Barton Fayre. Someone else could have been found to sign them in my stead, but this declination, though perfectly within our rules, infuriated Tony Ward, and he ignored the Codes of Conduct on disciplinary matters to kick me out. I can't help thinking that when you go to that much trouble to get rid of one honest person, you're not going to be left with much in the way of integrity. For example, at the 'crunch' meeting four years back, it was asked how Tony Ward's resignation letter was 'leaked' to the press, but he emailed it to committee members, councillors, Richard Graham, Barry Leech, and Sally Pickering, of GAVCA, so it's a little late to be coy about it. 
 
We did have another nomination for a non-executive committee member.
Personally, I think this is a shame the BTNP is closing.
First - the people of Barton are losing a voice they once had with the local police/council. (Whilst Tredworth still have TETRA).
Secondly, this was the last community organisation I was directly involved with. (I left GOPA earlier this year when I had that really bad chest infection. GOPA's AGM is at 2.30 pm Monday 24th October at Kingsholm Stadium. I may rejoin the committee then).
As for the advertising - it was posted on the board on Barton St & Tredworth High St. Also posted on the Facebook page. It costs too much to advertise in The Citizen.

It was selotaped to the outside of the High St board the day before the meeting (bizarrely, put inside it, the day after the meeting, and it may still be there now), and the poster on the three-sided board in Sinope St carpark (which I intended to suggest be renovated with new plastic sheets, so that residents could use it, since BTD Ltd don't), was left facing away from Barton St towards the carpark. There was another poster outside One-Eyed Jacks, though I'm not sure how many would have read that if they hadn't been specifically looking for it. Again, these were all put up the day befor meeting. Ismael Rhyman claimed, on the previous Saturday, that advertisng had been put up using 'all the usual channels'. He wouldn't expand on that, and I challenge him again to specify.

Nomination papers were not left at the city farm, or the police station, as is usually the case. Nor, seemingly, at the High St post office, but Jasminder Gill has still not replied to my email. I have no idea if the constitution has been revised again, and it wouldn't surprise me, in any case, if there turned out to be no rules about the length of time AGM/elections have to be advertised (though there are for TETRA), but even without strict rules about such things, Ismael Rhyman's behavious has been shoddy.

And does the Citizen actually charge people when it carries reports of upcoming meetings in its community pages? As soon as Kay told me of her chance encounter with Paul Harries, I tweeted the Gloucester Live account with the alleged details. As usual, it seemed that any news about Barton & Tredworth was deemed to be no news, and resumably, no reporter attended? The 'communications officer' the partnership said was needed ('crunch' meeting) might have had something to say about that.

 
 
There is a Community Development Officer for our area, who could help us if we had enough people wanting to recreate the partnership, but the other bad news is that GAVCA (who provided training & support for community workers/organisers etc,) has also folded when the Govt funding ended in March.
Obviously, if people do want to put something else in it's place, contact me via email & we'll see what we can do, in what format.
Thanks
(Disappointed)
Paul Harries

We need to know the details of this Development Officer. Is it Verona Vidal? Previously, the Barton & Tredworth Community Trust folded with indecent haste, to avoid criminal charges for fraud against Mahmoud M Patel, for letting cronies use rooms for free, for example. Then the Tredworth Residents' Association was regarded by Tony Ward as not worth continuing with, due to 'lack of interest' by residents (this may have been something to do with the fact that he kept changing the dates and times for meetings, but not advertising them to the public). I can see this happening all over again with the partnership, because no-one wants fresh eyes, unconnected to questionable procedures, going over documents.

Assuming that the 'AGM' was quorate (not hard to achieve in itself, after the qualifying attendance was reduced from 20 [to ten?], the disgraceful lack of notification for an annual general meeting should have made it unavoidable to offer a second, properly advertised meeting, to give residents a real chance to challenge the dissolution. Suspicion would fall upon any organisation that didn't do so.

The partnership model has evidently failed, in light of the city council withdrawing all funding for it. Moreland (the feted 'exemplar') and Elmbridge's are both gone, and the others all seem to be hanging on by a thread. Residents' Associations, by contrast, are well supported by Gloucester City Homes, who were able to borrow like mad when the council handed them its housing stock. GCH have claimed it doesn't manage enough properties in Barton to justify contributing to a new Barton Residents' Association*. When we see the last set of accounts for the partnership, maybe we can find a funding solution for that. We have to try, even if the committee won't.

I look forward to developments.

Joe Kilker  
 

*When I first attended a Tredworth Residents' Association meeting, Don Jones, the then chairman, was quite happy to let a Barton resident attend, in the absence of a BRA. Tony Ward, after Don's heart attack and move to Tuffley, was not. A little more leeway on that score, if not extending TETRA to the whole ward, would save a lot of trouble, if TETRA can be run properly, and attract residents to its meetings (hint: residents' associations don't hold 'committee' meetings residents are barred from attending).

 

Does anyone who was a committee member truly believe the claims of Ismael Rhyman that the AGM wasn't cooked up in a few days, after being delayed for nearly four months (last year's was on June 10th, and the one before that was in April)? It was held the very day before councillors were going to ask a lot of hard questions about the state of Barton & Tredworth, though in the event, no-one really said anything of substance. But at least there was no longer anyone to point the finger at, when we used to be told, as I've said above, that the partnership was the place to go with concerns about the ward.

This shouldn't be the end, but when the former Colwell Centre has been left unlocked since September 13th, and perhaps far longer, and the councils both ignore the problem, despite several reminders, maybe we are all wasting out time. Even the BTNP Facebook page hasn't mentioned the 'dissolution' yet...

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Hi

The AGM wasn't cooked up in a few days - i'd been asking about meetings for months before. I also pointed out that an AGM was needed.

In addition to places I pointed out, the AGM date etc was published on the Facebook page & advertised on GFM. (I didn't know about the GFM ad until later. I don't listen to the radio).

I agree with the concerns re a local voice in our wards and the lack of funding. I was a Board Member of Community Counts which was well organised. We even had events where developers came to meet local residents, regular meetings with local police, etc.

I have seen what a coordinated community organisation can do. Even been involved in them myself. That makes the lack of them much harder to bear.

As for Gloucester City Homes I heard that they scaled back their support some time ago. Didn't they stop overtime for local officers to attend community meetings out of hours? I was told that over a year ago when I asked why Lynn Scudemore (not sure of spelling) stopped attending meetings.

What's even sadder, is that without a local community organisation, our communities miss out on resources that local charities can offer.

Eg. When I was a Trustee of GOPA, I offered some finance to BTNP from Age UK to host an event for older people. BTNP turned it down, but the police who were at that meeting took up our offer and we supported a number of Police events for older people around the county.

Without the networking local communities lose out.

Paul Harries

 

 

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2 hours ago, PaulHarries said:

the AGM date etc was published on the Facebook page & advertised on GFM. (I didn't know about the GFM ad until later. I don't listen to the radio).

Not terribly impressive Paul

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The AGM was advertised on the Facebook page on the 26th of September, at 10:05pm, just less than 26 hours before the day of the AGM, and not even as a main article but on the sidebar. Lorraine Mutty thinks the lack of proper notice should invalidate the AGM but, as difficult as it is for me to obtain any up to date partnership documents (I would have asked for a copy of the current constitution at the AGM, but I wouldn't have been in the least bit surprised to be told there wasn't one to hand), I've seen no proviso about a minimum period of notice. That doesn't alter the fact that the date of any AGM should have been discussed at the previous committee meeting, if not earlier, to ensure adequate publicity for the event (when I encouraged Louisa Jones of the Review to attend an AGM, I suggested that she might fill the roll of communications officer, and she did indeed join the committee, but I have never seen a single article about the partnership since, from her or anyone else. Nothing about the dissolution in Friday's issue, either, but the same article about Cllr Richard Cook, on page 4 and 9).

According to the constitution as last read by me, any resident can request, from committee members, the minutes for partnership meetings, not just AGMs/EGMs/open meetings, but committee meetings, too. Of course, the committee, as chaired by Tony Ward. Phillip Lowery, Pat Hurley, and Ismael Rhyman, would surely argue that I'm excluded from making such requests*, but in the spirit of openess, and perhaps to rouse residents from their apathy, I would hope that any points raised at committee meetings about the lateness of the AGM, and answers given, would be published now.

As I said, I look forward to developments. It can't be acceptable that in Barton, a vacuum now exists, with no RA, no councillor surgeries, no police meetings, no street reps, no walkabouts, just an apparent presumption that residents deserve no better, and if they don't demand better, great, another 'economy saving' on the road to the perfect economic model. So I fully expect some kind of alternative to be presented in the local press in the next few months, or even weeks. I even have a pretty good idea who will be behind this alternative, saving us from the apathy we will all supposedly, without exception, feel about (anti-)social issues in the ward. It would be tragic if we let that happen again, and instead of a residents' association, hosted for free, in a church if necessary, being open to the whole community, with no-one being barred from Facebook groups and all documents and newsletters available online, we went back to this bargain bin illuminati who value no-one's opinions but their own. If something gets sprung on us without any more notice than the AGM had, we'll know that's probably what we're getting, though.

 

*on the basis of a motion raised by a non-resident, Brendan McInerney, at the 'crunch' meeting which turned out in hindsight to be a public meeting (chaired by a councillor, in violation of the constitution), though my requests to the city council's Tessa Liebscher, among others, for details were ignored, so that I wasn't there to defend myself (a 'right' Magna Carta supposedly guarantees). Careful control of information was a thing, even four years ago, and the first chair, Gordon Barrington, who wanted residents to be able to attend every partnership meeting, originally, did not demur.

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II simply can't understand the claim that the AGM was advertised on the BTNP Facebook page. I couldn't find it before, and I can't find it now. The last post on that page is from 22nd August. Can anyone else find the AGM advert and post a link to it?

I also agree that Joe attended meetings while supposedly banned. I even went to one of them myself, but no one asked him to leave. I'd love to hear an explanation of why Rachel was also banned. Guilt by association, perhaps? 

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The event's there, Kay, but unlike all previous events, it's in the sidebar on the right, posted by someone calling themselves 'Barton Resident', who has no information whatsoever in their profile. Typical of the partnership's attitude to communicating with residents. I understand that Marilyn Balderstone managed the page, which is disappointing, because she blocked me from it simply for expressing the view that the partnership could have done more to promote the Gloucestershire Bike Project. I'm told that she quit the group to give more care to her husband Barry, whose [Parkinson's Disease?] has worsened. I guess that means the FB page is unmanaged now, which explains how the AGM was 'advertised' on it. Since Paul Harries has failed to elucidate on what response he got to 'asking about meetings for months', we probably won't get answers about anything now, although he's not the only [now ex] committee member on these boards.

As I said, Rachel was given no opportunity to defend herself, although in browbeating her, Pat Hurley lied in claiming she hadn't been present at the meeting Philip Lowery arranged with me to 'move forward', when Hurley actually read out at that meeting the agreement we were supposed to have reached, but the partnership failed to honour, even to the extent of putting a poster up in the community centre window for the general meeting a few days later, as I'd requested. Afterwards, Sam Mutty, Lorraine's son and then treasurer, who was dragooned into attending a secret meeting Lorraine wasn't informed of, said that he didn't think Rachel should have been banned from the committee, but he'd been pressured into voting the same way as everyone else, for that crucial 'unanimous vote', no doubt. Just as Tony Ward tried to pressure me into signing cheques. If anything does rise from the partnership's ashes, some guidelines on bullying of members will have to be agreed, to end the culture of compliance. 

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8 hours ago, Joker said:

Typical of the partnership's attitude to communicating with residents.

I suppose I should take this back. If it's 'unlike all previous events', it can't be 'typical'. More like a worsening of the partnership's attitude to communicating with residents, coupled with its disintegration as an organisation.

Just had an email from Jasminder Gill today (finally!), which came across as faux apologetic, completely failing as it did to answer any of the questions I'd put to her. I must have rattled the county council's complaints department, though.

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Hi

Joker - there are other people on that so called board too. They will NOT be getting any of the BTNP funds as we close down.

Paul Harries

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Any discussion of the 'so-called board' should be set aside for a new thread, which I suppose I will have to start.

Do you have anything more to say about how members resolved to 'close down' the partnership? Were there no discussions about what might replace the organisation, 'going forward' (as people like to say, these days)? Or how this decision might be announced to the residents of Barton & Tredworth? Or if the 'AGM' was legitimately entitled to make that decision? 

Or even just specific details from partnership minutes about how you asked 'about meetings for months before', and what responses you got?

Can you even say if the AGM actually took place upstairs, after the 'private' meeting downstairs (30-40 minutes late, if so), as 'Elder Saunders' claimed, or if that was untrue?

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Hi

1) The meeting took place downstairs & was quorate.

2) Since there were not enough nominations for the four executive posts it was decided to wind the Partnership down as per the Constitution. (There were nominations for Chair & Vice Chair, but not Secretary & Treasurer). I was one of those who did put my name forward.

3) There has been a subsequent meeting to confirm the dissolution. Some discussion of how to share the remaining funds.  A few of us are staying on until the remaining funds are given to projects within our ward. None of us are getting any personal gain from this and all the money has to remain within the ward. Special notice was given to 'Ring Fenced' project monies.

4) Private emails are just that - though I can point out that I asked a number of times since (I think March)? for a meeting. Please note that I was ill for much of the first six months this year with a serious chest infection, so even if there was a meeting I wouldn't have made it. 

5) One of the ideas was to fund 'seeding projects' where we can support local residents start up projects helping local initiatives. Eg. Luncheon Clubs etc. So if you know of anything meeting that criteria please let me know.

6 I'll post specifics when they have been decided. (That includes how we're going to let people know the Partnership has shut down & what's happening to the finances).

Please also note that I would love to see the Partnership continue, but that many of the (current) committee would be unable to continue and so valuable experience would be lost. Like I said, I did put my name forward.

Thanks

Paul Harries

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So you were short of someone prepared to act as secretary, while I was prevented from attending the public AGM, for the first time ever, by 'Elder Saunders' and someone claiming to be the owner of the building, and that is why the partnership had to be dissolved? And the 'subsequent meeting' was not advertised to the public, I assume? But of course not, it will have been advertised everywhere, just not where anyone could actually see the information. Sadly, if people choose to behave like this, there is absolutely nothing we residents can do about it, since the council stopped funding it (Lorraine Mutty claims they still are, and I wouldn't be surprised, since they can argue that black is white when they want to).

I would have told you, as I told Lorraine, that just speaking to other committee members like Hansdot, Gifford and Hurley, especially as bluntly as she claimed to have done, is no substitute for speaking at a meeting, and making sure it is minuted correctly. If you can't produce minutes to support your side of the story, it's just hearsay. No surprise if the people who control the partnership's documents had a free hand in dictating the narrative. The minutes for last year's AGM were truly 'just notes', as Philip Lowery dismissed my most comprehensive ones in 2011*, and I haven't seen seen minutes for the so-called 'EGM' they referenced. While you're 'staying on', you might want to look at sharing those with the ward.

 

*which committed the real sin of noting that the AGM of May 9th had actually been inquorate, drawing a distinction between residents and non-residents, and so could not be recognised by Lowery and the board. http://bartred.webs.com/minutesconstitution.htm

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Hi

Thanks for the info. (I lent them to Simon).

Paul Harries

 

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You still haven't answered my questions (pertinent to anyone in our ward who even gives half a damn about local democracy, Magna Carta and all that) about whether the 'subsequent meeting' was advertised, or who is in charge of whatever's left of the partnership?

We just have to accept this dearth of information, three weeks after the meeting?

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