One early morning at Haynes Park Bedfordshire

0n the morning of Friday August 16th. The Panth Diaspora arrived at Haynes Park Central Bedfordshire. As the crowd accumulated. The Panth exchanged stories about their Journey’s to Haynes and about their intended routes home later during the day.

They were at Haynes to hear the teaching of Guru Gurinder Singh Dhillon also known as Baba Ji.

Guru Gurinder Singh Dhillon is the current spiritual leader of the Sikh religion across the world. 

Therefore, the significance of this gathering of Sikhs and what the Guru said should not go unreported. Also, local politicians should make an effort to welcome Baba Ji to Central Bedfordshire. Unfortunately, our MP’s for Luton North, Luton South, South West Bedfordshire, Mid Bedfordshire and North East Bedfordshire had failed to organise a welcome worthy of Guru Gurinder’s stature within the Sikh spiritual community. 

When asked to comment about why they thought Bedfordshire MP’S were absent on the 1stday of this significant gathering of the Sikh Panth Diaspora one Mid Bedfordshire constituent quipped. It Would appear our MP could not be bothered to extricate herself from between the legs of her latest ‘squeeze’ and make an effort to welcome Guru Gurinder! I am very annoyed about this as it reflects very badly on Bedfordshire’s standing within  the UK.

Musings on a Football Stadium for LTFC at Power Court

After the Pre-Submission Luton Local Plan (2011-2031) dated October 2015 was sent to a Planning Inspector for approval during an Examination in Public. Luton Borough Council changed their Local Plan by choosing to relocate a Football Stadium for Luton Town Football Club from M1 junction 10a adjacent to Newlands Road, to Power Court, a brownfield site, adjacent to St. Mary’s Church Luton.  

Since that time almost 4 years have elapsed and a legitimate question of public interest still remains unanswered. 

Who has benefited from Luton Borough Council’s football stadium relocation choice? 

Is the beneficiary:

  1. Luton Borough Council?
  2. 2020 Developments Limited, the owners of the Power Court site and the M1 J10a Newlands Road site?
  3. Luton Town Football Club who are also owned by 2020 Developments Limited?

Whoever of 1), 2) or 3), is the beneficiary, was the benefit a financial benefit?  

More On A Football Stadium for Power Court

Thank you for your prompt reply to my complaint which is yet to be resolved. I appreciate that the planning application in question(16/01400/OUTEIA)received a large volume of correspondence. One part of this correspondence was in the form of a petition from a campaign group called @saveourtownltn. Also, I appreciate that this petition and the other public correspondence was only one material consideration when the Council’s Development Control Committee decided to give its consent to the planning application16/01400/OUTEIA However, neither of us can know what weight each individual Development Control Committee member gave to this one material consideration when they voted to consent to planning application16/01400/OUTEIA. Hence the substance of my complaint is that public petitions should not be a material consideration in planning decision taking at all, because of of their obvious shortcomings that I set out in my letter of complaint to the Council. 
Further, Sandra I notice that in your reply to my complaint you have not yet acknowledged whether the petition’s signatories were old enough to consent to have their personal data, for example, their name address, and age, published in the reports pack given to members of the Council’s Development Control Committee prior to their planning decision taking. Also, I is not my job to read Committee reports to ensure they are legally compliant with Article 8 of the General Data Protection Regulations. It is the Council’s job as it is the body to whom the data was given. So please could the Council provide me with its assessment of whether all the public comments, including those made via petition, the Council has received are legally compliant?
  Best wishes,     


Dear Sir, I have been passed your complaint to respond to. Your complaint is:- “On the 16thJanuary 2019 Luton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee consented to Planning Application 16/01400/OUTEIA without properly considering the shortcomings of its own Development Framework that allows its planning decision-taking to be influenced buy Public Petitions that are in favour of a development as it is described in a planning application. The use of a Public petition is inappropriate for this purpose because they are not representative of Luton’s total population of 211228 people (ref: population Census 2011). And because there is no way of knowing whether some of the petition’s signatories were coerced or bribed to sign the petition! Also, there is no way of knowing whether some of the claimed 10000 signatories are representative sample of Luton’s total population. Finally, there is also no way of knowing the ages of the signatories or whether they are old enough to have consented under the recent General Data Protection Regulations GDPR, for their personal data to be published.” The recently determined planning application was the subject of significant public consultation where interested parties were able to raise their concerns and the Local Planning Authority received a large volume of correspondence during this process and this was only one material consideration. A copy of the Committee report is available to view on the democracy pages of the Councils website which sets out what the planning considerations were. If after reading the report you feel that concerns you raised during the process have not been taken into account, please feel free to provide me with a copy of your original comments and identify any issues you have in order that I can respond. RegardsSandra RichardsonTeam Leader, Planning ApplicationsDevelopment Control01582 546317 


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Think Green

Before printing, please think about the ENVIRONMENT!

On a Complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman about a Football Stadium at Power Court

On the 16thJanuary 2019 Luton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee consented to Planning Application 16/01400/OUTEIA without properly considering the shortcomings of its own Development Framework (a Council’s Development Framework sets out the parameters of planning decision-making) that allows its planning decision-taking to be influenced by a Public Petition that was in this instance initiated by @saveourtownltn.

The use of a Public Petition is inappropriate for planning purposes because there is no way of knowing whether the petition’s signatories were coerced or bribed to sign the petition. Also, there is no way of knowing whether the petition’s claimed 10000 signatories are representative sample of Luton’s total population of 211228 people (ref: 2011 population census).

Finally, there is no way of knowing the ages of the petition’s signatories and therefore whether these signatories are old enough (currently General Data Protection Regulations Article 8 says signatories should be 16 years of age and no younger than 13 years of age), to have consented to have their personal data published.


More on My Week So far and LocalGovernment.

What a special weekend. After walking the dog within the grandeur of the North Chilterns AONB, we met Isobel and Ron on Saturday, while their granddaughter was fine tuning her maths skills in Sainsbury’s at Bramingham Park. It was good to see Ron had begun to recover from the unforeseen health events he has experienced recently.

On Sunday the Stonnell Family gathered for a Chicken roast. After lunch we reviewed some pictures that were taken over the Christmas period. I was especially proud of pictures of family members who were born with the surname Stonnell and of family members who had either become a Stonnell by marriage or by partnership.

Also, I was grateful for the messages and FaceTime chats with Family and Friends about the health events I had experienced at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge recently.

There are interesting times ahead concerning Local Politics in Bedfordshire as Bedfordshire Council’s are up for re-election during 2019. Hopefully, the usual politicians will be swept from office and replaced by politicians who are better able to deal the problems we face in the 21st Century rather than the problems we faced in the 20th Century.

My message to the Bedfordshire public is that it is at election time when you should appreciate that you are most influential. So consider very carefully whose name you put your mark against and focus on the Local issues that are important to you, your family and friends. For example, the environment and housing you live in and the quality of the social healthcare you receive, whatever your stage of life, and  the quality of schooling you and your family receive.

Is The UK Government failing to look after its people?

Today, the BBC reports about shortages in NHS drug treatments due to the Brexit debacle.     The probable consequences of this circumstance have been on the Government’s agenda  for a long time. But as yet, due to Brexit politicking the Government’s response to drug treatment shortages has been woeful.

It appears to the thoughtful members of the public that just because Brexit politicians are incapable of cooperating in any way with the European Union we will all have to suffer the consequences, of which shortages in NHS drug treatments, are but one example.

Clearly our Government is failing to look after its people. But what parliamentary political group is looking out for the public? The Labour Party NO! Both Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, and that useless Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who always seems to be absent from the centre of the stage, promised a General Election if our Government lost a Parliamentary vote of no confidence. However, it has been obvious for a long time that Labour would never be able to deliver this promise. As fundamentally the Labour leadership has been wedded to the notion of leaving the European Union for a long time, but for political reasons they have felt unable to communicate that fact to their party members and the public as a whole.  Essentially, their prescription to remedy the Brexit debacle has been a set of sophisticated arguments centred on the theme of an as yet undisclosed better Brexit settlement.

So what Political group are in the the best position to save us from the Brexit debacle? Perhaps it is the Green Party who are diligently cooperating with those in Parliament who wish to remain in the European Union to secure a ‘People’s Vote.’


My Week So far

We arrived at Cambridge last Sunday evening after a drive from Central Bedfordshire. After an evening meal at the Greene Man we returned to our hotel, The Anstey Hall.

The purpose of my visit to Cambridge was a visit to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for Righthand Temporal Lobe brain surgery. The surgical team, that included Clinicians who worked in the hospital’s MRI Scanning facility and at the hospital’s Neuro oncology unit performed the procedure of brain tumour removal  with skill and thus they achieved  the best surgical outcomes possible.  As well the post operative aftercare provided by the nursing staff was attentive and caring.

As I write this blogpost I am experiencing the known effects of Temporal Lobe Brain Surgery, that manifest themselves as misinterpreted sensory inputs. For example, at this movement I can see a variety of fern like plants suspended in front of my face and other apparitions moving across my Apple Mac bluetooth keyboard as I write.

Whilst recovering from surgery I talked with a man who lived in Peterborough, who was a Badminton Coach before he became ill. He had been working with Peterborough youths to help them improve their badminton skills, by using funding he had gained from the European Union. Our conversation covered the contribution migrants had made to the communities we had both lived in. We also talked about his interest in migrant populations which had involved him chronicling the economic contribution of the first Asian man to have made a life for himself and his family in Peterborough.

Finally, there was good news for Luton Town FC Supporters yesterday as the football club’s planning application to build a new stadium at Power Court was approved by Luton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee. Clearly this decision helped to alleviate the Council’s culpability in relation to the adhoc brutalist development of Luton Town Centre and the proposed developments in the North Chilterns AONB in the area North of Luton and around London Luton Airport for which the Labour Council have been responsible for many years now.


The Favourite

It is the 18th Century and England is at war with France. Queen Anne’s, (Olivia Coleman), court is based in a Country House, presumably in Oxfordshire, as during the film a reference is made to the proximity of Blenheim Palace that is in the early stages of its construction.

Queen Anne shows the symptoms of Bulimia, she suffers from gout and gorges herself on copious amounts of cheese and other foods. Her court primarily consists of women, the Country House they live in is a matriarchal society, within which the women behave like the men of that time would do on their country estates. For example, They hunt and kill game. The women are also not averse to providing the Ambassadors of potential allies with sexual favours to gain their support against France.

Because of her illness Queen Anne becomes increasingly reliant on her Favourite, to act as her agent when dealing with matters of state, Lady Sarah, (Rachel Weisz), with whom the Queen has a lesbian affair,

The war with France at this time is not going well. This is manifest in antipathy between the landed gentry whose estates are funding the war and the merchants who are profiting from the war. England is divided, therefore the Queen seeks to heal this division by proposing to increase Land taxes. The leader of Her Majesty’s  Parliamentary Opposition, Harley, (Nicholas Hault) is against increases in Land taxes. Therefore he exploits the relationship between the Queen and her Favourite to further this cause.

The content of the film continues along this line. The intrigue between the women heightens when it is supplemented with manipulatory stratagems devised by the women who would wish to become the Queen’s new Favourite.

The film gives insights into what would seem normal life for the servants who work in and around a Country House of the period…..


More on theTruth is more interesting than a Lie

In my last blogpost I wrote about about how a lie was used by Tony Blair as a justification for supporting the United States of America’s war on Iraq.

The argument I set out cursorily, that is, without noticing the details, covered the the role of some Parliamentarians who I think in retrospect probably supported the Iraq War because they were primarily personally concerned with weapons of mass destruction being deployed by the Iraqi Government against its own people, some of who were discontent with their Government’s running of their country.

In this blogpost I shall continue arguing that the truth is more interesting than a lie by writing about how some crafty politicians exploit the publics tendency to believe false information rather than consider whether that information is reliable.

The tone of the most recent referendum on whether to remain or leave the European Union according to media accounts seems to have been based on public sentiments towards migrants. Indeed if media pundits comments are correct then it was this issue that swung the vote in favour of leaving the European Union.

The public who are under the time pressure of dealing with everyday life, for example, taking their children to nursery or school before  going to work and planning their day to achieve their objectives, such time for leisure activities and preparations for meal times, understandably have very little time left in their day to test the reliability of the information provided to them by politicians through multiple media channels. As a consequence the public tend to be satisfied with their belief that unreliable or false information is in fact true.

Crafty politicians who I consider to be responsible for orchestrating the tone of the referendum often do not want to publicly disagree with their electorates because of the personal electoral damage such disagreement may cause them personally, find it easier to let the public continue to believe in false information rather than criticise the reliability of this information because it supports their overall justification for leaving the European union, that was, probably their dislike of the trans European Government the European Union had become.

So in conclusion the truth is clearly more interesting than a lie or to what I have referred to in my blogposts as false information.

The Truth is More Interesting than a Lie

Truth is information and a lie is Fake information. One of the biggest lies I have ever heard in my lifetime was used by Tony Blair as a justification to support the United States of America’s Iraq War.

Blair claimed Sadam Hussain’s Government had weapon’s of mass destruction that could be used either against his own people our against the USA and its allies.

Although at the time there was much Parliamentary discussion about what kind of weapons of mass destruction could be immediately deployed by the Iraquis to thwart  the USA and its allies. Parliament decided that the United Kingdom should support the United States of America in its war against Iraq.

A report, also known as the ‘dodgy dossier’ was produced by the UK’s intelligence services. The report set out what were the weapons of mass destruction and included an assessment of the probability of their deployment against the USA and its allies, the United Kingdom for example. It was this document that was used by Blair as justification for war against Iraq.

After the war had ended the Chilcot inquiry was launched to establish the reliability of the information in the ‘dodgy dossier’ as in the run up to the war there were mass protests against the war across Europe. Particularly here in the UK people were opposed to the war and therefore there was much political controversy. Therefore, the need for an inquiry to establish the reliability of the justification for the war was a necessary means of blaming someone for what turned out to be a calamitous aftermath. So calamitous it can be argued in one way or another that it pathed the way for the rise of ISIS across the Middle East and beyond.

I think it is fair to say that Chilcot’s conclusion was that Tony Blair had known that there were no weapons of mass destruction ready for deployment despite the fact that the ‘dodgy dossier’ said there was’. Thus the justification for the Iraq War was a lie.

Will Luton’s Closeness to London Affect Its Social Life?

Luton Borough Council has fanfared the benefits of living in Luton. One benefit of living Luton it is claimed is that its closeness to London means Luton is accessible to London by railway, motorway, bus & coach. A second benefit of living in Luton, is that house prices are relatively cheaper than in London, and people from London seeking to live in Luton will be able to benefit from a lifestyle similar to that of London. This is because of Luton Borough Council’s, Galaxy Centre and Mall shopping Centre and the continuing development of its Guilford Street ‘Hat Factory area’ cultural hub, and new Sports & Leisure facilities.  All these developments being coupled with an objective to improve Luton’s retail and restaurant offerings with plans in the pipeline for a new football stadium and retail and food facilities at Power Court and a new retail park at Newlands Road.

On Saturday 5th January, we took advantage of the benefit of accessibility to London and beyond afforded by a train journey from Harlington, trough Leagrave and Luton, Harpenden,ST Albans and onto London to Gatwick Airport and Brighton . We travelled to London Blackfriars from where we walked to the Barbican Centre beyond St Paul’s to see Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’.

After a conversation with people in the Barbican Centre’s bar area about what a bad thing Brexit would be for the United kingdom, we entered the theatre to hear how the play came to be written. Queen Elizabeth1 was a fan of Sir John Falstaff and as a consequence commissioned Shakespeare to write a play with the proviso that Sir John played the leading role. So ‘ The Merry Wives of Windsor ‘ was conceived.

The play was extremely entertaining as it benefitted from the use of contemporary language spoken by a multicultural cast rather than, Shakespeare’s interesting but sometimes abstruse arcane language, and by audience participation in a rendition of the Welsh National Anthem! Some of the bosomy wives were depicted in leopard print clothing, relaxing in beauty parlours, chatting to one another about their relationships with their partners and paramours. Whilst the tour de force Sir John ambled across the stage, with his wide girth and erect codpiece on show, rambling on about his love for one of the merry wives. A particular amusing moment was the decanting of Sir John into a Pink Wheelie bin.

On contemplating this experience in Cote Brasserie at Ludgate Hill. I wondered whether Luton’s proximity to the undisputed cultural assets of London was a good or a bad thing. Unfortunately, for some Luton people, I concluded it was probably a bad thing. Over the past few decades Luton Councillors have lost confidence in their Borough, principally because Luton has been often been perceived by comedians as a dilapidated badly developed town. However, unlike Luton Town Councillors, principally, Cllr Sian Timoney @sj luton. Luton’s topophiliacs, who have always Loved Luton because they were born there and always lived there, unlike the new commuters who would wish to refashion Luton to resemble the places they chose to live in London, at the expense of Luton’s intrinsic assets. For example, Luton’s accessibility to the grandeur of the North Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), at the North of Luton Borough, and open countryside at Peters Green, Tea Green, Breachwood Green, Lily and Offley adjacent to the ever expanding Airport and its associated transport facilities.





The circumstances of the death of Patrick Neil Woods at The Luton & Dunstable University Hospital

The following is based on publicly available Regulation 28 reports and the responses to these reports.

During June 2017 the Acting Senior Coroner, for the Coroner area of Bedfordshire & Luton concluded an investigation into the death of Patrick Neil Woods aged 45 with an inquest.

An inquest is different from other types of court hearing because there is no prosecution or defence. The purpose of the inquest is to discover the facts of the death. This means that the coroner cannot find a person or organisation criminally responsible for the death. More information about the Coroners Service can be found here; guide-to-coroner-service .

Patrick died at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Lewsey Road on the 15thFebruary 2016. The primary medical cause of Patrick’s death was Hypoxic brain injury which results from a lack of oxygen. Oxygen is needed for the brain to make use of glucose, its major energy source. If the brain is deprived of oxygen for approximately four minutes Hypoxic brain injury occurs. As the brain controls the functions of a body’s major organs for example, the heart and liver, brain injury will cause these organs to fail. Hence the secondary medical cause of Patrick’s death was multiple organ failure.

The conclusion of the inquest was while being treated for pneumonia, Patrick required treatment with an anaesthetic machine. The hospital provided a machine which could falsely appear to be delivering fresh oxygen. The hospital failed to ensure that the machine could only be used by those clinicians that had been trained on it and failed to ensure that clinicians had been trained on all the machines they were likely to come into contact with. The clinicians attending to Patrick’s needs did not notice the deteriorating readings of FiO2. FiO2 is a measure of the fraction of Oxygen in the total volume of inspired clinical gases. Essentially, the lower the FiO2 reading the smaller the fraction of the total volume of inspired clinical gases is Oxygen. In the Coroner’s opinion Patrick’s death could have been avoided if the machine had been identified as one that the clinicians had not been trained on.

After the investigation and inquest concluded the Coroner produced two reports (Report A & Report B). These reports were produced to fulfil the obligations placed on all Coroners by Schedule 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and regulations 28 and 29 of the Coroners (investigations) Regulations 2013. The purpose of these regulation 28 reports is to prevent future deaths and as such they contain the outcomes of the investigation and inquest. These outcomes are summarised in one report (Report A) as a list of matters of concern. These matters of concern are as follows:

  • The extent of the equipment portfolio held by the hospital seemed to be unknown
  • Without knowledge of the equipment held, no potentially dangerous equipment can be identified
  • Without knowledge that there is equipment that could potentially kill a patient, no risk assessment can be undertaken
  • Without a risk assessment, no action can be taken to prevent further injury to patients or fatalities.

The other report (Report B) although identical in content to Report A differed in that it included a new matter of concern as follows:

  • The evidence of 4 Clinicians at the inquest would suggest that the training by Draeger Medical UK limited the manufacturers and distributors of anaesthetic machines, was not effective.

The Coroner then sent these Reports (A&B) containing these matters of concern to the Chief Executive of the Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust, Draeger, the Chief Coroner and other interested parties for example, Patrick’s relatives and, the legal representatives of the hospital and the anaesthetic machine manufacturer and distributor. The reason for sending the report to the hospital and the manufacturer and distributor of the anaesthetic machine used by clinicians to treat Patrick was because Coroners have a statutory duty to inform those parties who in their opinion have the power to take action to remediate matters of concern about the circumstances of a death a particular coroner may have in order to prevent future deaths.

The hospital produced two responses to the Coroner’s reports one response to Report A and another to Report B. Both responses were dated 18thAugust 2017. The response to report A directly addresses the Coroner’s reported matters of concern set out above. The hospital states in this response ‘It is unfortunate that it was not made clear at the time of the inquest that the trust does hold a register of all equipment and its location within the Trust.’ The hospital goes on to explain the detail of information in this electronic register about each piece of equipment it holds. This detail consists the service, repair and maintenance history, and the equipment’s risk category on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the requirements of the uses the equipment is put to. Also, the hospital states; ‘There is a Training Need analysis (TNA) record for each location/ward held by the Trust in a non-electronic database managed by the Clinical Devices Trainer’.  The hospital goes onto explain the details of information in the TNA database. This detail consists a list of equipment held at each location/ward and the devices each Clinician has been trained upon and alerts the expiry of clinicians’ competency. This TNA is distributed every other month to Ward managers and Matrons for them to check its accuracy and to follow up on any discrepancy if necessary. The Clinical Devices trainer along with the Clinical Educator offer a regular training session for Health Care Assistants, Registered Nurses, Assistant Practitioners, Student Nurses and doctors on their request. The hospital goes on to explain what additional actions should be undertaken to develop the TNA database and the operation of these systems; i.e., the electronic equipment register and the TNA database.

The Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust responded to Report B by claiming that it should be impossible for an anaesthetic machine to deliver a lethal level of NiO2, i.e. below15% of the total volume of inspired clinical gases. Although the machine issues an alarm and an”0xgen Sensor Failure” message on the machine’s alerts screen when this level of NiO2is reached busy clinicians felt they were justified in ignoring the alarm because although the machine reported the sensor that activates the alarm was faulty clinicians falsely believed it would be impossible for the machine to deliver a lethal level NiO2 in this circumstance. Also, the hospital responded to Report B by Setting out a process whereby any piece of equipment entering the hospital would have its default alarm settings reviewed by the hospital’s Clinical Director who would ensure the equipment’s default alarm settings were set to safe levels during the process of the machine’s commissioning.

Draeger Medical UK Limited responded to Report B with this statement; ‘Draeger recognises as a crucial priority the importance of optomising patient safety through optomising clinician competence regards the functionality of the machine’. Draeger goes on to list actions it has and will take to prevent future deaths from the use of its machinery by clinicians whose training had not been effective. The most significant of these actions being:

  • A Workbook, which is and has been provided and will continue to be provided to trainees for self-guided use to be completed by the trainee with the help of a Draeger trainer. This workbook covers specifically what to do in response to machine alarms and messages.
  • A basic skills check list, which is and has been used in user training and will continue to be used in user training which the trainer and the trainee must both sign when training is completed.

On Waste Plastic

Recently there have been many comments in the media about how to deal with waste plastic. China’s refusal to process more of the UK’s waste plastic has led our Government toward considering who to send what it calls a ‘valuable resource’ to instead of China. Currently our Government’s decision is to send our waste plastic to other countries who are ill equipped to deal with it.

There seems there is a general consensus building that waste plastic is damaging the global environment, although there are still some people who continue to deny waste plastic is a global environmental problem for a variety of spurious reasons.

Clearly the problem of waste plastic can be solved by Government and Local Government providing they have the will to do so. Two solutions to this problem are:

  1. Use legislation and its assiduous enforcement to stop plastic use. However, Government’s efforts on the legislative front have been thwarted by clubbable people who operate syndicates to protect their own interests.
  2. Increase recycling of waste plastic. However, Local Government have failed to educate their citizens as to what waste plastic can be recycled and to provide the facilities to process the waste plastic that can be recycled, preferring instead to incinerate it rather than recycle it. As waste plastic is oil based then incinerating it leads to air pollution and increases in the consumption of energy necessary to incinerate the waste plastic. So although a preferred solution of some local governments, incineration damages the global environment and therefore the public should protest against the use of incineration to deal with the problem of waste plastic.

As I stated earlier the problem of waste plastic is the responsibility of Government because if the public said to plastic producers stop producing plastic the producers would ignore the public in order to continue to perpetuate their interests i.e, their investment in plastics production facilities.

So Government get on with the job of solving the problem of waste plastic rather than playing politics with such an extremely important global environmental issue.



Another Newspaper for Luton

On November the 23rd Twitter was used to disseminate a new development in Luton culture. Luton Free Press, a community interest company, announced it would produce a newspaper. The newspaper will be paid for by advertising and by as yet unidentified members. The newspaper will be edited by David Landau and Jeremy Williams.

David is a broadcast journalist, proof reader and community activist and Jeremy is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about sustainability, climate change, post-growth economics, and what it means to live well in a consumer society.

David and Jeremy promise the newspaper will contain stories that reflect life in Luton town. David and Jeremy say they are inspired by and learn from the work of The Tottenham Community Press, The Lewisham Ledger and The Waltham Forest Echo.

The announcement of a newspaper for Luton town was heralded on Twitter by Luton Labour Councillors, who evoke in my mind this quote from George Orwell’s polemic fable ‘Animal Farm’; “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which”.

Because Luton Labour Councillors may view the publication of the newspaper as an opportunity to promote and justify their decisions and a means to dispute evidence based criticism of their policies that have had or will have detrimental effects on Luton’s built, natural and social environments, it is important that strong editorial control of the newspaper’s content is applied to ensure it does not become, a means of spreading Luton Borough Council propaganda.

Is slavery happening where you live?

I found the drama ‘Doing Money’ informative and profoundly disturbing. The forceful abduction of Ana the protagonist, who is an Eastern European migrant. The confiscation of her glasses, money and passport and her incarceration within properties of multiple occupancy, are examples of the destabilising actions of the men and a woman who were controlling Ana’s behaviour for their own financial gain.

Restrictions on the movements of Ana, she was ferried from here to there across the UK by her abductors and exchanged for money. The use of her identity to amass loans and credit from which her captors benefited and of which she had no means of paying back, were more examples of her lack of control of her situation that amounted slavery.

A disturbing quality of the drama was the gullibility of the sad men who found creating meaningful and loving relationships so impossible they felt the need to pay for the ‘girlfriend experience’, without giving thought to their role in perpetuating Ana’s exploitation by wicked men and women. And of the self-obsessed public, desensitised by soft pornography and prurient stories from magazines about the lives of minor celebrities, who did not notice the restrictive and heartless behaviours of Ana’s enslavers.

The dispassionate professionalism of the police as portrayed in the drama was, although understandable, lacking in the empathy needed to help Ana feel less isolated and more a part of a caring community, perhaps more similar to that she had left behind in Romania.

After watching the drama I was left wondering whether there are women like Ana enslaved at locations within Bedfordshire and I felt uncomfortable because I may have missed the now obvious signs of womens’ enslavement and domination.

To whom it may concern

Thoughts on publishing briefing notes through print media and electronic media and blog posts through electronic media.

Often there are processes involved with the things we write briefing notes and blog posts about. For example, property and business ownership. When we write briefing notes and blog posts their factual accuracy depends upon what point along each process’s timeline they are written and what particular source we used as a fact base.

We have written independently of one another about company ownership using different sources as our fact base and at different points along the process timeline. You used a company’s website to source your facts and I used Companies House to source my facts. As a consequence, our fact-based opinion as expressed in your briefing note and my blog post contradicted one another. Contradictions can be exploited by cunning people, some some of whom are politicians, and gullible people who believe the cunning people. Who may both want to undermine our campaign and personal credibility.

However, it can be reasonably argued that both of our reports were correct at the time each of them was written. Therefore, apart from a judgement as to whose fact source is more reliable, (webpages are transient) we should always give reference to our fact sources and at what point in time that fact source was accessed so that any criticism centred upon our contradicting fact-based opinion can be refuted.

On Central Bedfordshire Air Pollution

According to the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), in their report ‘Abatement cost guidance for valuing changes in air quality’ (May 2013). The costs of reducing illegal levels of particulate matter (excluding other pollutants, for example, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Ozone and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), is £16 billion a year. Further, DERA’s report ‘Valuing the Overall Impacts of Air Pollution’ (March 2010) sets out estimates of reductions in life expectancy for population cohorts due to Illegal levels of harmful Particulate Matter (PM 2.5). One particular population cohort i.e., children born in 2008, the average loss of life expectancy is estimated to be 6 months. Also, the total reduction in life expectancy measured in loss of life years across the UK population is18.2 to 32.4 million life years lost.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s 2018 Air Quality Annual Status Report (dated June 2018) is currently unavailable on the Council’s website (as of 24thOctober 2018) and is 4 months overdue. Therefore, the Council is in breach of its legal obligation under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 and the public of central Bedfordshire who work or live in Central Bedfordshire’s Air Quality Management areas, for example, Dunstable Town Centre are unable to know whether their Health is being affected by illegal levels of pollutants. Further, the public consultation promised in the report on the Air Quality Action Plan for Ampthill and Sandy is also months overdue.

The Annual Monitoring report states; Currently nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is the major pollutant of concern within Central Bedfordshire and is monitored throughout the district utilizing 36 diffusion tubes” and “Given the health impacts of smaller particles, focus has been directed on PM 2.5. Central Bedfordshire Council has been monitoring this at the automatic real time monitoring station in Sandy (adjacent to the A1) since 2013. As can be seen by the results discussed later – levels of PM2.5 monitored have slightly dropped year on year since monitoring began in 2013. However, the 2017 result of 11.62 (annualized) μg/m3, showed a slight decrease from last year. The PM 2.5 proposed EU Emission Limit Value of 25 μg/m3 has not been exceeded”.

There are several points to note when judging the significance of these statements; 1)Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) is only being monitored in the Sandy Air Quality Management Area and not in the Ampthill and Dunstable Air Quality Management Areas. The Ampthill and Dunstable sites are the responsibility of Central Bedfordshire Council. 2)There is only one automatic monitoring site in Central Bedfordshire and that is in the Sandy Air Quality Management Area. This site is the responsibility of Highways England. 3)The precise locations of non-automatic monitoring sites that only measure Nitrogen Dioxide, cannot be determined from the Status Report therefore the public cannot judge upon whom the adverse health effects impact and whether appropriate mitigations are in place, nor whether they should take personal measures, for example, use face masks to protect their health. 4)The European Air Quality limit and target values for the protection of human health cannot be found within the Status Report, therefore the public cannot assess the Council’s progress towards achieving the target 20% reduction in PM 2.5 by 2020. 5)Other pollutants impacting on Human health are not being monitored, for example, Sulphur Dioxide.

Finally, claims by local politicians concerning the Air Quality benefit of the New A5-M1 Link Road and the Woodside Link Road on the Dunstable Air Quality Management Area are dubious as a Central Bedfordshire Council Spokesperson stated on the 23/10/18; when discussing with me the content of the 2018 Annual Status Report,“It was very difficult to assess the direct impact from the A5-M1 Link Road, on air pollution concentrations within the Dunstable Air Quality Management Area and in the wider environs in a percentage figure, as a great many other factors were also going to potentially have an impact – i.e. the addition of the Woodside Link road, proposed development around this area and proposed changes to Dunstable town centre. By using the figure of 1% reduction of NO2 within the Air Quality Management Area was to acknowledge that the Link Road would likely take traffic from the town centre /Air Quality Management Area and therefore improve congestion and air quality, but that there were other factors that had not been fully assessed for the impact on air quality. Modelling is useful but does have limits and depends on many unknown factors and therefore has a level of uncertainty. Therefore monitoring continues and levels of pollutants will be reviewed carefully to ascertain the likely impact of these changes and then we can ascertain the true percentage of reduction of NO2 as a likely result of the new road network and changes to the town centre”.

On Luton Air Pollution

Luton Borough Council is obliged under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to review, before the expiration of a period of 12 months, Air Quality. The last report ‘2016 Air Quality Management Status Report’ published by the Council on its website was dated June 2016. Therefore, it appears no report was published during 2017 and the publication of this year’s June 2018 report is now 6 months overdue. Clearly without these reports it is impossible for the people of Luton to know whether their health is being affected by illegal levels of pollutants and what measures the Council are putting into place to reduce pollution levels to the National and European Union targets by 2020, nor are they able to protect their own health by choosing to wear a face mask filter, like the people who live in the towns and cities of China and Japan, when they enter areas in Luton where they are at a high risk.

According to the 2016 report, Air pollution is monitored at sites in Luton within Luton Borough Council defined Air Quality Management Areas. One of these sites commenced monitoring on 30th October 2014. This site’s location is on the Dunstable Road(A505) near ‘Super Tyres’, midway between Leicester Road and Atherstone road. The site has two analysers: Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is monitored using a Thermo Scientific 42i analyser and particulates are measured in micrometres using a FIDAS 200 which records, Particulate Matter (PM) values; PM10, PM4, PM2.5 and PM1are measured separately. The FIDAS analyser was installed at the end of December 2014. The nitrogen dioxide analyser is calibrated every 2 weeks by Luton Borough Council officers. The FIDAS analyser requires no regular calibration other than that provided during service and maintenance. Air Monitors Limited have been contracted to service and maintain both analysers. Monitors are serviced on a 6 monthly basis and maintenance is undertaken as required.

The Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) publish National air quality objectives and European Directive limits and target values for the protection of human health. The National legal limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms per cubic metre as an annual mean. The legal limit for PM2.5 is less than2.5 micrometres. The National Target is to reduce this pollutant by15% to less than 2.125 micrometres as an annual mean by 2020. The European legal obligation is to reduce this pollutant by 20% to less than 2 micrometres as an annual mean by 2020. Also, DEFRA publishes other legally binding objectives, limits and target values of pollutants for the protection of human health. For example, Ozone, Sulphur Dioxide and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. So far, the Council has chosen for reasons known only to itself, not to manage these pollutants by measuring them separately and mitigating their adverse health impacts, despite mounting legal and public pressure to do so.

According to a report ‘Doctors call for ban on schools being built in pollution hotspots’by Kat Lay in the Times newspaper page 11 October 2018. High levels of Nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas, can cause asthma attacks, coughing and difficulty breathing. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter of less than 30% of the width of a human hair and has been linked to lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Children are thought to be particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe in more airborne particles relative to their lung size and body weight compared to adults, and because their tissues, immune systems and brains are developing.

Less than 0.2 miles East of the ‘Super Tyres’ air pollution monitoring site is Chaul End Community Centre, with its Five-a-side football pitch and a children’s play area. Services provided at this centre include a Nursery on Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 6pm and on Thursdays a NHS Breast Feeding Clinic. The community centre’s Nursery is at the front of the building close to the road and during this summer’s warm weather I witnessed, when visiting the NHS centre, children playing and eating their meal outside in the sunshine. Also, children and mothers were making full use of the play area at the centre. At peak journey times at around 8am and 6pm mothers collect their children from nursery before driving or walking them home.

The traffic flow past the centre is similar to that passing the monitoring site. The community centre, children’s play area and Five-a-side football pitch have no discernible mitigations in place to protect children, seniors, some of whom have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), those people needing respite care, and the centre’s staff from air pollution. According to the Times Newspaper report. Many schools are installing “green screens” or ‘hedgerows’, of plants such as Ivy around playgrounds near roads, which research suggests can reduce transport emissions by nearly a quarter.

On Rivercove, Houghton Regis North site 2 and Sundon Rail-freight Interchange

Rivercove Limited versus Van Winkelen, at the England & Wales High Court during November 2012, sought to determine whether Van Winkelen’s contractor ERL was responsible for polluting with oil the River Stour Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or whether the oil pollution was historic and occurred whilst Rivercove owned its source. During the hearing it was established, that Rivercove Limited (formerly known as Epsilon Limited) Epsilon:Rivercove Certificate of Incorporation March 2007 was an ‘off the shelf’ Isle of Man trust company set up so corporation tax payed on its profits in the United Kingdom could be avoided by paying its profits in the Isle of Man instead, where corporation tax is currently 19% less than it is in the UK.

During the proceedings it emerged that Rivercove’s beneficiary is the Kelly Family Trust and that the Kelly Family through the directorships held by family members James and John Kelly controlled two other companies involved in the case, land developers the St Francis Group Limited, and land remediators Demolition Services Limited. During the hearing the judge expressed surprise and dissatisfaction that the dubious conflicting interests between the ownership and control of Rivercove, St Francis and Demolition Services Limited did not emerge until cross examination, when James Kelly agreed that St Francis Group Limited and Demolition Services Limited were run by the same people, i.e. himself and his brother John Kelly.  In conclusion the judge found that ERL were not responsible for the oil pollution of the River Stour (SSSI) and that this pollution was caused by the historic condition of the site during the time it was owned by Rivercove.

Rivercove Limited are still an ‘off the shelf’ tax avoidance instrument Rivercove Annual Return April 2018 who have been involved in land dealings at Houghton Regis North site 2 comprising of land at Bidwell West and who now currently own land on the north west side of Sundon Road, the proposed Sundon Rail-Freight Interchange site. Rivercove were until 18thJanuary 2018 a director and shareholder in Bidwell West 1 Limited Bidwell West 1 Limited application for incorporation January 2018 and Bidwell West 2 Limited Bidwell West 2 Limited application for incorporation January 2018 along with these companies’ other directors and shareholders, David Edmund Fensome of Thorn Farm, Dunstable, LU5 6JH and Mark Irving Robinson of Lugden Hill Farm, Kings Lynn, PE31 8PG. Rivercove purchased the Sundon Rail-freight Interchange site valued at between £500 001 and £1 000 000 on the 27thApril 2011 Property Title BD212626 for Sundon RFI Land .

Because the allocation of sites during the development of a Local Plan and the subsequent approval of planning applications to develop these sites inevitably increases their value. The following are legitimate questions of public interest:

  1. Did Cllr. J Nigel Young the political architect of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Strategy/Local Plan 2011-2031, who can be seen on the Council’s webcast site persuading the Council’s Development Management Committee (DMC) to approve planning applications, because the Council did not have a 5-year land supply, benefit from HN2 land dealings subsequent to the approval by the DMC of planning application CB/15/00297/OUT on 18/11/2018 (reserved matters still outstanding)?
  2. Will Cllr. J Nigel Young or any other CBC councillor, for example, Cllr. Jamie Jamieson, who are politically responsible for the current Local Plan 2015-2035, benefit from the sale of Sundon Rail-freight Interchange land to Prologis UK Limited who according to this land’s title have an interest in the land?
  3. Will Central Bedfordshire Council benefit from an increase in the value of a quantum of land it has an interest in, in the area adjacent to the Sundon Rail-Freight Interchange site due it allocating the proposed Sundon Rail-freight Interchange site for development?
  4. Will the abstraction of water to support the operation of the proposed Sundon Rail-Freight Interchange site affect the adjacent Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) whose designation is predicated on the water dependent wildlife living within the site?

On Correspondence with National Infrastructure Planning, Temple Quay, Bristol.

Question 1: Who in the context of London Luton Airport passenger capacity expansion is the Applicant who is legally responsible for commissioning and consulting on evidence that justifies London Luton Airport expansion and its environmental impacts. London Luton Airport Group Limited, London Luton Airport Limited, London Luton Airport Holdings 1 Limited or Luton Borough Council who have a 50% shareholding in London Luton Airport Limited?

Answer 1: Anyone wishing to construct a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project must apply from the appropriate Secretary of State to do so. It is for the Applicant (developer) to confirm who they are and who will be submitting an application for an order granting development consent. It is expected that the person who carries out the required pre-application consultation about a proposed application will be the same person who submits the application. Part 5, Chapter 2 of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) provides the legislative framework for the pre-application procedure. It states that the Applicant is the person who proposes to make application for an order granting development consent. It also sets out in section 42 the Applicants duty to consult, which includes the duty to consult the relevant local authorities. In the case of the proposed London Luton Airport expansion no application for an order granting development consent has yet been submitted.

You state in your answer above “It is expected that the person who carries out the required pre-application consultation will be the person who submits the application”.

Question 2: Does this statement apply to the person who carries out non-statutory pre-application consultation or the person who carries out statutory pre-application consultation?

Answer 2: Non-Statutory pre-application consultation is generally undertaken to inform statutory pre-application consultation. We would therefore also usually expect non-statutory consultation to be carried out by the same person who carries out statutory consultation, and in turn submits the application.

Question 3: What weight does non-statutory pre-application consultation carry when the Secretary of State for Transport decides whether to approve a draft Development Consent Order?

Answer 3: By way of clarification, the Secretary of State for Transport does not take any decisions in respect of the pre application procedure: which includes pre-application consultation. At the end of the statutory process, he or she will take the final decision about whether or not  development consent should be granted in this case. It is the Planning Inspectorate, which decides whether to accept an application for examination. In taking that decision the Inspectorate is required to consider, amongst other things, the adequacy of the pre-application consultation undertaken by the Applicant; having regard to any Adequacy of consultation representations received from relevant local authorities, and the consultation report submitted with the application.

With respect to Question 1: and its corresponding answer. National Infrastructure Planning’s answer is equivocal as it does not state which of the four legally distinct entities mentioned in Question 1: is the Applicant. National Infrastructure Planning merely expresses its expectation that the developer, consulter and Applicant are one and the same. Also legislation assumes the developer and consulter are the Applicant where in this specific instance potentially they are not. Therefore, any campaign group may like to consider whether it is worthwhile applying for a Judicial Review with the object of identifying who, the legal Applicant may be.

With respect to Question 3: and its corresponding answer. Clearly the pre-application non-statutory consultation undertaken during June 2018 carries no weight in the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision taking regarding whether to consent to an application to expand London Luton Airport passenger capacity. Further, publicly available information from Luton Borough Council here at does not distinguish between non statutory and statutory consultations and their significance. Therefore, any campaign group or member of the public should respond to the next round of consultation that is scheduled to take place during mid year 2019 if they wish their views to have an affect on National Infrastructure Planning’s judgments on the adequacy of public consultation.

On London Luton Airport Expansion

Here are four documents: 1) Luton Borough Council and London Luton Airport Limited; Questions & Answers LBC-LLAL QandA 2) London Luton Airport Holdings 1 Limited Financial Statements December 2017 Londondon Luton Airport Holdings 1 Limited 31 December 2017 3) London Luton Airport Limited Financial Statements March 2017 London Luton Airport Limited Financial Statements 31 March 2017 and 4) Planning Act 2008 Guidance on the pre-application process Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects Pre Application Guidance March 2015 These documents show the relationship between three legally sperate entities and the process steps required to ensure proper public consultation on London Luton Airport expansion and development options.

London Luton Airport Limited recently finished pre-application non-Statutory consultation on options for the expansion of London Luton Airport. The Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the pre-application process, explains the role of the applicant during the pre-application process. According to documents produced for the purpose of non-statutory consultation London Luton Airport Limited has assumed the role of applicant. But is London Luton Airport Limited legally the applicant, responsible for applying for a Development Consent Order to expand passenger capacity at London Luton Airport, or is the legally responsible applicant, London Luton Airport Holdings 1 Limited who are the company who control London Luton Airport Limited, or is it Luton Borough Council who own a 50% shareholding in London Luton Airport Limited?

On the malaise effecting Local Governments

Begum & Anor v Luton Borough Council, England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court), 4th May 2018.

Subject: Appeal against a judgement made by Judge Dodd at Milton Keynes Crown Court, (9th June 2017)

The Respondent, Luton Borough Council endeavoured to serve information to Luton Magistrates Court on the last day of the 6 month period allocated by section 127 (1) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980. Luton Magistrates Court had been closed some months previously. The information was left with a sub-contracted court security guard at the magistrates’ court. By the time the information was passed to the court’s administrative staff, the information was out of time.

The basis of Mr Justice Sweeney’s judgement on this matter relied upon the answers to two related questions;

  1. Whether a sub-contracted court security guard was a court officer with implied authority to accept the information, within regulation 4.3(1) (e) of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015?
  2. Depending on the answer to question 1), whether the information was laid in time?

The respondent, Luton Borough Council’s answers to these questions was yes and the appellants, Begum & Anor’s answers to these questions was No.

After hearing the rival arguments put forward by lawyers representing Luton Borough Council and Begum, during which there was no dispute that the information could have been laid by emailing it to the court. Mr Justice Sweeney stated in his judgement that “leaving the laying of an information until the very last day is necessarily fraught with risk”.

In overall conclusion Mr Justice Sweeney’s formal answers to the questions posed by the case are as follows:

  1. No
  2. No

So the appeal was upheld.

Luton Borough Council failed to lay information with the court within the specified time limit. Also, their judgement as to whether they should respond to the appeal was flawed resulting in the Council Tax payer indirectly paying the costs of court fees and the costs of employing a lawyer, Ms Rao, to respond to the appeal.

Therefore, legitimate questions of public interest are. 1) Were these circumstances symptoms of a malaise within Luton Borough Council and Luton Magistrates Court caused by Government cuts? and 2) What will be the effects of Government cuts on the provision and operation of Council services in the future?

Letter to the Editor of The Luton News

Hi Lynn

Here is Just Giving’s response to an email I sent them regarding whether Save our Town complies with Just Giving’s crowd funding guidelines. As you can see Just Giving have not addressed this matter as yet.

However, the email contains information about how Just Giving collects and distributes money raised for a cause. It appears that Save our Town has chosen to use Just Giving’s crowdfunding option rather than an option that applies to charities who want to raise donations. I have drawn this conclusion because I can find no evidence that Save our Town are a charity, or have they answered my direct questions about whether they are a charity or a business.

The crowdfunding option is of less benefit to Save our Town than the charity option because crowdfunding donations are not eligible for gift aid. Additionally, the crowdfunding option incurs a 5% processing fee that is deducted by Just Giving at the time it sends funds to Save our Town. Also, if the donor pays by debit card, credit card or PayPal the donor incurs card fees of either 1.25% or 1.45%. Therefore a £10 Pay Pal donation will cost the donor 14.5 pence.

Most donors will donate through Save our Town’s website as Save our Town publicity posters direct potential donors to this site to get more information about their cause and to access their crowdfunding page. Further, if Save our Town were to request all of their declared funding target i.e. £10000 from their crowd funding account they would only receive £9500 to spend on their cause.

Save our Town and its supporters seem overly sensitive to any inquiry into their operations and are becoming increasingly irrational and disproportionate in their response to criticism intended to assist Save our Town, their donors and potential donors, in their understanding of how donations are being used, and the financial consequences for the donor and the cause to which they are donating.

For example, as you will be aware through social media, Save our Town supporters are asking the public not to buy the Luton News. As for Luton Town FC supporters and Save our Town followers, these groups both seem to think anyone criticising Save our Town is against a football stadium at Power Court, retail development at Newlands Road and are receiving back handed payments form Capital and Regional and thus they respond abusively to the critic.

Thanks, Mike

To: Michael Sep 8, 14:52 BST

Hi Michael,

Thanks for getting in touch.
Here at JustGiving we have two platforms that were built to help raise money for good causes.
Our charity fundraising platform allows you to raise funds for a registered charity. These fundraising pages can be open indefinitely, and all donations made to the page from UK taxpayers are eligible for 25% additional gift aid at no extra cost to the donor. Furthermore, the donations are transferred across to the charity on a weekly basis.
Setting up a charity fundraising page on JustGiving is quick and easy, just click on the link below and follow the instructions:

Our Crowdfunding platform allows you to raise funds for a good cause that isn’t necessarily covered by a registered charity. The pages work a little differently to charity fundraising on JustGiving, as we’ll be sending the funds directly to a UK bank account of your choice, rather than directly to a registered charity. You will have up to one year to raise the funds you need (you can start withdrawing funds after 2 weeks), and we’ll send the funds to you minus our 5% fee and processing costs. For more information on Crowdfunding fees you can follow this link:

To get started, all you need to do is head to click the ‘Get started’ button and then follow the steps through.
I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any further questions at all.

Thanks, Hannah

From: Michael Stonnell Aug 31, 16:22 BST

Hi Hannah

I am considering donating to Save Our Town via their crowdfunding page.

Save our Town’s about page connects through embedded links to their crowdfunding page<>. These pages appear to set out different aims/purposes.

Also according to Luton Borough Council’s planning application webpages planning permission for a football stadium at Power Court.    and planning permission for Newlands Road. are imminent.  The regeneration of Luton Town Centre is about to start as it has been designated as a Business Improvement District Therefore, Save our Town’s aims/ purposes have in effect been achieved. Also, their website presents a biased view of Capital and Regional.

Further, Save our Town as yet have failed to answer these questions which I put to them on the 22nd August.

1) Do you have management structure?

2) Do you publish your accounts?

3) Do you return any unspent donations in the event of winding up?

4) Do you publish a calendar of meetings that donors can attend?

5) Are you a charity or a company?

I have visited the Charity Commission’s and Companies House websites. Save Our Town do not appear to be a charity or a company.

On reviewing these pages and the Save our Town website; Do you think that Save our Town have breached your guidelines?

Thanks, Mike

Power Court, Newlands Road, 2020 Developments and Save our Town

Here is the outcome of further research on Power Court Stadium development. If you follow the link you will see the Power Court Stadium Planning application This application was submitted during August 2016. On studying the application, you will see there was only 1 public comment supporting it. This comment was from the Luton Town Supporters Trust here at (This information is accurate as of 3:45pm on Wednesday 5th September 2018).

However, on Monday 3rd September 2018 I received the following  from an unnamed Council spokesperson (dated 28th September 2018), from commenter called Chris Lines.

“Please note that due to the significant number of public representations received in connection with the applications 16/01400/OUTEIA and 16/01401/OUTEIA submitted by 2020 Developments, the normal details/information will not be published at this time. Once all the relevant details have been recorded, the information will be made available on the Council’s website. Following the deadline for making representations  the Local Planning Authority has received just under 11,000 comments made in respect of one or both sites. Work has begun on recording the details of those who made comments, but given the number received, this will take some time to complete. Part of the recording process will be to identify whether there has been any duplicate and/or anonymous comment and to amalgamate those comments received from one household.” (the planning application’s agreed expiry date is 31 July 2018)

This quote together with the evidence I have cited in the first paragraph of this blog post disproves the following claim; “11000+ people support plans for a stadium and other developments at Power Court, and developments at Newlands Park”.

Save our Town appear to be misleading the public, by seeking crowdfunding from the public by providing it with inaccurate information. Because the quote provided by Chris reveals that less than 11 000 people commented on the planning applications, and after the Council has eliminated, duplicate and anonymous comments and amalgamated those comments received from one household, the number of comments yet to be uploaded to the Council’s planning website (This information is accurate as of 5:00pm on Wednesday 5th September 2018) could be considerably fewer than 11000+ comments Save our Town claim.

There has been a planning application and consultation on proposals for developments at Newlands Park here at . The application was also made during August 2016 as you can see there have been no public comments and the application has yet to be decided by the Council’s Development Control Committee.(This information is accurate as of 4:00pm on Wednesday 5th September 2018.) So, any comments already made that in part support Newlands Park can carry no weight whatsoever in any future planning application decision-taking concerning Newlands Park.

2020 Developments Luton Limited own land at Power Court, purchased from Power Court GP Limited during December 2016 (purchase price unavailable) Land at Power Court RegisterBD209585 and Newlands Road purchased during November 2015 for £10m Land at Newlands Road RegisterBD214216. Therefore, by not approving the Newlands Park planning application Luton Borough Council have effectively stalled the development of a football stadium at Power Court by at least 2years.

But why has Luton Borough Council so far not approved plans for Newlands Park? Perhaps 2020 Developments have been unable to convince the Council there is a development Management company out there that has the resources to pay 2020 Developments the £10m+ asking price for land at Newlands Road, attract developers who are willing to implement Newlands Park plans, and take on the unviable planning obligations imposed on the development. All within the context of post Brexit business environment and reduced consumer enthusiasm for shopping offline. Or is it because even with £10m+ in their back pocket 2020 Developments will not have enough resources to implement its plans for Power Court and pay the costs associated with running an ambitious Football club? Or does this lack of progress mean 2020 Developments are content with the Council’s decision not to approve plans for Newlands Park and are happy to continue on at Kenilworth Road for the foreseeable future?

Finally, are 2020 Developments seeking a cheaper alternative location in Central Bedfordshire? Recently a development management company approached Harlington Parish Council to get their support for a stadium at M1 J12 Toddington. Local Authorities are becoming increasingly competitive in trying to attract development into their jurisdictions because of cuts in their budgets imposed by National Government and increasing demand for the services they provide.

Post Script

According to their Annual Report and Accounts (March 2016), Power Court GP Limited Accounts Year Ending March 2016 Power Court GP Limited’s parent company is BL Intermediate Holding Company Limited and according to this company’s Annual Report and Accounts (March 2016), BL Intermediate Holdings Company Limited Accounts Year Ending March 2016 their parent company is British Land PLC a FTSE100 company. I am certain that if British Land thought their property interests were under threat they would hire barristers to represent their interests at a Local Plan’s public examination as Capital & Regional did. Save our Town’s dislike of Capital and Regional seems hypocritical when considering profit arising from the sale of Power Court to 2020 Developments will ultimately find its way to British Land PLC who the trusting millennials who support Save our Town may mistakingly think are a big bad multinational property-owning company, like they think Capital & Regional are.

Donation Based Crowdfunding Regulation; Does it Require Strengthening?

#saveourtown  are campaigning against Capital & Regional https://capreg.comowners of the Mall On their website #saveourtown states; ……… “#saveourtown is an independent campaign backed by Lutonians and people who care about Luton, to support plans to regenerate the town with a new gateway project at Junction 10 and a new football stadium at Power Court. The single main objector to the plans is Capital & Regional, a London and Johannesburg based property company which is trying to block the project to protect its monopoly on retail in Luton. We want to ensure that the record 11,000+ voices who sent emails and letters to Luton Borough Council, and all the Luton communities who support the plans, are heard and listened to – not drowned out by the Capital & Regional PR machine.”

This is a typically one-side Momentum driven Corbynite agenda if ever there was one and a kind of Socialist Conservatism for the 21stCentury if there was such a thing. It ignores the benefits the Mall brings to the Town, for example, jobs, and the location of the NHS’s Luton Sexual Health Service is on the first floor of the Mall.

Despite the fact #saveourtown say they are independent campaign they do not say from what they are independent. Could the people behind #saveourtown be members of Jeremy Corbyn’s Momentum, the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, the United Kingdom Independence Party, etc.? There are pictures of people on the #saveourtown website. But there is no textual evidence in the site’s content of who all of them are. So, donors and public considering donating have no knowledge about the people who are running #saveourtown, if they only visit the website to use its content to decide whether to donate to the #saveourtown cause.

Are other supporters and donors to #saveourtown Luton shopkeepers who are promoting and protecting their interests just like Capital & Regional?

Could #saveourtown be inadvertently taking donations from the right-wing activist Thomas Yaxley Lennon, who may want Luton Town FC’s ground to stay embedded within the Black and Minority Ethnic community in Bury Park? It has been reported Sweet wants Luton Town FC fans to stop singing in support of Tommy Robinson.

Without proper information to hold members of #saveourtown to account and access to public meetings, donors and public simply have no way of knowing what is going on at casual meetings in the back gardens of the people that control #saveourtown.

Currently, #saveourtown are using a donation/trust based crowdfunding platform raise money to top up the funding of their cause.

The Financial Services Conduct Authority (FCA) according to its Financial Services Register regulates Limited the operator of the platform in these specific ways:

  • Issuing and/or acquiring of payment instruments
  • Executing payment transactions (no credit line)
  • Services enabling cash withdrawals from a payment account as well as all the operations required for operating a payment account.
  • Services enabling cash to be placed on a payment account as well as all the operations required for operating a payment account.

However, the FCA does not regulate the financial conduct of the recipients of crowdfunding, for example, #saveourtown. But perhaps the recipients of donations should be regulated more closely?

If #saveourtown were a company, there would be many regulatory requirements placed on it. For example, it would have to name its directors and provide their contact details, file audited financial statements and hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM). If #saveourtown were a charity it would have to fulfil the regulatory requirements of the Charities Commission. For example, #saveourtown would have to name its Trustees, file audited accounts and hold an AGM.

The #saveourtown website states; ………“That’s why, as a committee, we’ve made the decision to double the fundraising target.” “We are spending those funds very wisely and every penny contributed will be fully accounted for.” and“As a community and volunteer campaign any residual funds remaining when the battle is won will be donated to Luton-based charities.”

The members of this committee are anonymous as the people written about and pictured on the #saveourtown website are not identified as committee members. #saveourtown has not published its accounts. #saveourtown does not hold an AGM and it does not give its donors the opportunity to decide what charities they would like to donate any unspent funds to, on the winding up of #saveourtown.

So why are these issues important?

Once upon a time a man walks into a pub where a woman is vamping ‘Red Sails in the sunset’ on an upright piano. The pub is crowded out with people singing along with the music. The man moves amongst the crowd asking people if they can spare a shilling for the piano player. He collects £5 and walks out of the pub never to be seen again. Without regulation this is what modern-day donation/trust-based crowdfunding could look like.

A contemporary example of a crowdfunding scam concerns a couple who spent £105 000 of crowdfunding donations meant for a war veteran,

Regulation brings responsibility, due diligence, conformance, transparency, carefully considered decision- taking and overt political neutrality. All qualities that according to its website, #saveourtown do not appear to possess.

The #saveourtown website with its fussy embedded links within ‘read more’ buttons, that to the inexperienced browser are tedious distractions, does not give the website controller’s contact details, and the date, time and location of meetings donors and the public can attend. These embedded links could potentially reveal useful information that could be used by donors to hold to account the people behind #saveourtown. For example, I was told by Lauren Archell on Thursday 24thAugust via twitter that questions I had asked could not be answered as a #saveourtown committee meeting was about to start. However, this meeting was not advertised on their website.

Current donation/trust-based crowdfunding regulation is weak as it allows unscrupulous scammers to use web-based platforms to separate the public from its hard-earned cash. Other regulatory regimes could be applied to the operations of crowdfunding recipients. But if recipients choose not to become companies or charities then donors and public have no rights to information about their operations and therefore no means of holding recipients to account. Charites are often criticised for not spending all of their public donations on their intended beneficiaries. But charities have to bear the costs associated with fulfilling the regulatory requirements placed on them unlike ad hoc groups who benefit from crowdfunding yet have no regulatory requirements to adhere to.  Clearly, crowdfunding regulation requires strengthening. If you agree then please contact your Member of Parliament to make your views known. Please refer this report to your friends and family to raise their awareness about the potential for fraud when using crowdfunding platforms.

What benefit are the people of Luton gaining from increases in passenger capacity at London Luton Airport?

London Luton Airport Limited a company owned, according to its Twitter feed, by Luton Borough Council, is currently consulting on expanding passenger capacity from 18m to 36m passengers. When justifying the doubling of passenger capacity Luton Councillors claim the people of Luton will benefit from increased job opportunities. However, increased job opportunities are not the only benefit. Other benefits are increases in donations by London Luton Airport Limited to charities based in Luton and the surrounding area, who provide services that would in the past have been provided by Luton Borough Council, and the potential to reduce Council Tax.

Nevertheless, analysis of publicly available planning applications, financial statements, Government Council Tax statistics and ONS Labour Market statistics show that since doubling passenger capacity from 9m to 18m passengers in 2013, London Luton Airport Limited’s profits have increased, donations to local charities have decreased, Council Tax has increased, and the job opportunities created have not necessarily been taken up by the people of Luton.

According to London Luton Airport Limited Financial Statements in 2013 London Luton Airport Limited Financial Statements 31 March 2013 donations to charities totalled £15.995m, and company profit was £10.995m and in 2017 London Luton Airport Limited Financial Statements 31 March 2017 donations to charities totalled £10.326 m, and company profit was £46.927m. Therefore, profits due to doubling passenger capacity, from 9m to 18m passengers rose by £35.932m and donations to charities reduced by £5.669m.

Further, Government Council Tax statistics Band D Council Tax Statistics show in 2013 Band D Council Tax excluding precepts was £1207 per year and in 2017 Band D Council Tax excluding precepts was £1356 per year, an increase of £149 per year.  Also, ONS Labour statistics Labour Market Statistics show in 2013 there were 8900 people aged16 years and above classified as Economically Active and 2017 there were 6000 people of 16 years of age and above classified as Economically Active, amounting to a reduction of 2900 people aged 16 years and above gaining employment. Clearly this downward trend in unemployment reflects the national trend however it is not possible for any Councillor to justify that all or any of these 2900 people have been employed as a direct consequence of expansion in London Luton Airport passenger capacity.

More On London Luton Airport Expansion

The last time London Luton Airport increased passenger capacity was in 2013 when it was increased from 9m to 18m. A source explained that this 9m increase was to avoid Secretary of State involvement in decision taking as a 10m increase in passenger capacity would trigger the SOS’s involvement.

The current plan is at the post consultation stage so the final plan could be modified to keep the expansion below 10m passengers bringing the overall capacity to around 27m passengers rather than the current proposed capacity of around 36m. This would make political sense to Councillors/London Luton Airport Ltd. as the consultation has identified environmental concerns amongst the public and campaign groups who responded. Then during the next stage of the application process, prior to decision taking, or at sometime in the future when things have quietened down, London Luton Airport Ltd/Luton Borough Council could make up the difference in capacity of 9m passengers. This means the environment looses out to the economic benefit that is claimed increased airport capacity will bring.

Also the Government document I published on this blog airports-nps-new-runway-capacity-and-infrastructure-at-airports-in-the-south-east-of-england-web-version , appears to absolve the SoS from taking these politically contentious decisions. So the above approach means a political win for all concerned except the people of Luton who think the 2013 expansion has already provided enough benefit and environmental campaign groups.

On the prospects of LTFC moving to Power Court

This link is to a report about the prospects of LTFC moving to Power Court.

If these concerns are addressed by changes to LTFC’s Power Court plans and the Plans are agreed by the Luton Borough Council, then a new football ground at Power Court is a certainty. However the key determinant now is whether there is anyone interested in buying land at M1 Junction 10a from its owners 2020 developments (Luton) Limited RegisterBD214216 and paying a development management company to develop Newlands Park in a post Brexit economic climate and declining consumer interest in shopping offline.