Monday, December 03, 2007

Lib Dems: Green Light on Durham Green Park

A few days ago I received a back channel query over my assertion that it was the Lib Dem controlled Durham City Council that gave planning consent to the Abrahams Durham Green Business Park. The emailer suggested I was wrong and that it was Labour controlled Durham County Council. But I wasn't wrong at all. Guido and the other Tory muppets were wrong. It was without question the Lib Dems that gave the latest planning consent. Though, as the statutory Highways Authority is the county, it is quite true that officers at the county looked at the engineering detail. Involving much work to existing highways at the A1(M). To be designed and built to industry standards and best practice.

The BBC also say it was Lib Dems that did it. So did the Lib Dems take money from Abrahams too? Or is this in fact a case of a developer working through Traffic Impact-based objections, providing some redesign and/or new assessments, getting a more favourable verdict from the Highways Agency and Highways Authority and having "all their ducks in a row" as we say in the trade consequently obtained an uncontroversial planning consent from the Lib Dem-controlled City Council?

Chris Huhne should watch he doesn't drift into Guido Fawkes/Norman Baker fantasy/conspiracy accusation land.

The City Council, the Highways authority, the Government and the Highways Agency all seem to be saying that only Officers decided. This is credible for all these bodies as it is a purely technical access matter. But if any of these were to see Councillor involvement it would surely be the City Council? It's big news for them and a huge and presumably welcome investment decision. Whereas for the others it is of course small fry. But if they say it was officers across the whole piece I accept that.

But I would bet the farm if I had one that Lib Dem press releases and Focus leaflets were taking responsibility for bringing 5,000 jobs to the city ... before Mr Abrahams made the headlines at least.

Scans of Focus leaflets and party press releases along these lines most welcome. From 11 October 2006 to around 23 November 2007 is the "live" period for taking credit. Strangely there's nothing about it on the local party website. The City Council however issued a statement last Thursday (29 November). It says more than it needs to.

But the essence is that the original proposal for access was not OK. But that the new one was. According to the proper authorities. Guido Huhne needs to get some Highways Engineers on the case to explain why the submitted plans needed any "help" going through the formal planning process. Or otherwise withdraw what are unfounded and rather silly accusations.


Tapestry said...

Corruption is usually impossible to prove.

Why the false identities, illegal proxy donations, cover-ups and false denials if all was as lillywhite as CP would like it to be.

Huhne is only asking the question, that many would like answered. Power and money are being traded in secrecy. Why?

Chris Paul said...

What are you saying Tapestry?

Clearly Michael Ashcroft is a Tory supporter. He has had a Lordship off the state with a false prospectus. Undoubtedly having fibbed or conspired or been made fibbers by LA to get it Hague and the Tories should demand that Ashcroft returns the ermine.

He is seeking to influence the governance of this country even though he does not pay tax here or live here or have any confirmed status here.

He is a law maker - though not an assiduous one with four rather pitiful speeches of blether and three votes to his name in seven years - when he doesn't live here, pay tax here, or have any merits as a Lord apart from being a big money donor about to relocate onshore and pay his tax here.

He talks about "my" donations. But if you look up his name he is quite simply not in the Electoral Commission in his own name for five years. He has hundreds of companies and interests all over the world. He is a dollar billionaire toying with our politics with his loose change accumulated by asset stripping toilet cleaners.

And then there's Michael Brown batting for the Lib Dems, some say with the unwilling use of other people's money and certainly with a jail sentence behind him and more charges to face.

And there's taking the anonymised M.I.C. and other clubs and societies the Tory Party use despite lip service to transparency.

David Abrahams is clearly a maverick and a dangerous fellow to know. But the suggestion of corruption in the case of Durham Green Developments is going to be impossible to prove isn't it?

Because even the most cursory Googling for the facts finds that the planning consent Guido and Huhne are muttering about is a routine technical matter to do with highways design. Get the design right and you get the PP.

The method of determination is scientific and there are manuals and guidelines and standards and calculations and the rest of it.

Like you say Tapestry, corruption along with a good old conspiracy theory of a wilder and whackier kind is "usually impossible to prove". But if you cannot prove it and you nonetheless claim it is taking place - against all the readily available evidence - that is highly defamatory, swivel eyed, smearage and nonsense.

The parties Abrahams has used as agents for his donations are also connected to this development and to his companies. Quite a diversionary manouevre that is! Can you please explain to me how that works?

Abrahams is a prat. Anyone that has knowingly played along with his silly ideas is a prat too. But he hasn't had a Lordship on a false prospectus now has he?

That looks more like corruption than anything in this case. Ashcroft has had the benefit without keeping his part of the bargain.