PETITIONERS COMPLAINTS DILUTED
In 1997 as a result of accumulated complaints of a serious nature directed at Wealden District Council's planning, enforcement and legal departments, a petition was lodged by 12 independent signatories asking for an independent investigation.
This was never to be. The council took the sting out of the Petitioner's tails by holding an internal inquiry - where more properly the matter should have gone to an outside organisation such as the Local Government Ombudsman, or Parliamentary Ombudsman via the Wealden MP Sir Geoffrey Johnson-Smith.
SIR GEOFFREY JOHNSON-SMITH - Conservative MP for Wealden
A panel of three die-hard officer's men were selected to look at complaints through a mesh so fine, the panel were not empowered to investigate any on the matters put before them. Before looking at any evidence, the panel members said they were right behind the officers - hardly an open minded approach. The panels was chaired by Lord Richard Newton, with Jack Gore and Eddie Powell.
After much ceremony, the panel gave their colleagues a clean bill of health, except only that serious issues (the subject of the complaints) were supposedly handed over to the Police - this act in itself is an admission that there were matters to be looked at that were too hot to handle at the misfeasance level.
The remaining serious matters were handed to the Police, who failed to conduct any investigation but simply bundled the petitioners complaints on to the CPS, who in the absence of any investigation results looked the other way. The Police then allowed the then Council's chief executive, to write a letter to the council on headed paper. This ruse convinced members they were looking at the result of an full investigation. However, the Police later admitted there had never been one. Later still when the truth was discovered, the replacement chief executive (the former CEO, Derek Holness, having made a get away on an enhanced pension) refused to allow Petitioners sight of the suspect Police letter.
Ex Cllr Lord (Richard) Newton - we could not find a single photograph of the gentleman anywhere in the media, Jack Gore and Eddie Powell, also a mystery man off the grid as it were and are former members of Wealden Council.
Why was Derek Holness given an enhanced pension. Was the extra money a payoff to keep silent and not reveal the truth of the so-called police letter. The fact is that if the Sussex Police don not open a file and interview any of the complainants, then they can gather no evidence. If they gather no evidence, then the CPS cannot entertain any prosecutions for lack of evidence.
If the bonus paid to Mr Holness was to get him to sign a non-disclosure agreement as to the conspiracy between Wealden and the Sussex Police, then that money would qualify as proceeds of crime. Surely, the circumstances surrounding Derek's enhanced pension is as much worthy of an investigation as the failure of the police to open a file for the 12 witnesses to give their evidence.
The next CEO, Sheelagh Douglas did not last very long once she found out about the alleged fraudulent letter. She saddled up and high-tailed it out of town as fast as she could go.
Kelvin Williams, Victorio Scarpa, David Whibley, Julian Black, Daniel Goodwin
Christine Nuttall, David Phillips, Douglas Moss, Ian Kay, Charles Lant