Letter to Editor: Harlow Labour should have done its homework over council meeting and new hospital

Politics / Thu 9th May 2024 at 06:18am

Dear Editor,

I AM somewhat bemused by the comment of Labour councillor Tony Edwards on today’s (May 8) excellent YourHarlow news item titled ‘New hospital for Harlow residents may now not open until 2032’.

Councillor Edwards’ comment says in its second and final sentence: 

“How convenient for him that this information has been published after the District Council Elections!”

These sentiments were echoed by regular YourHarlow commentators Kim O’Connor and Nicholas Taylor on YourHarlow’s website and Facebook feeds respectively (screenshots supplied). I am sure many others think the same.

These comments could be construed as implying that there was a conspiracy to withhold information before the local elections, this requiring county council officers to be part of said conspiracy.

Fortunately, I can contradict the tin-foil hat brigade that no such conspiracy exists. The evidence is supplied by county council officer Ms Dignum,

who works in Democratic Services, in an email that was sent 45 minutes after my enquiry this afternoon. I have supplied the email to YourHarlow’s Editor. 

So when was PAH Director Michael Meredith’s new hospital update published on the Essex County Council website?

The answer from officer Ms Dignum: 

“In the case of the Health Overview Policy and Scrutiny Committee held today (8 May), the usual deadline for publication of the agenda and document pack would have been Tuesday 30 April.  However, this date was brought forward by one day (i.e. to Monday 29 April) due to the Bank Holiday on 6 May.  I can confirm that the agenda pack, including the report you mention concerning the Princess Alexandra Hospital, was published on that date.”

My calendar clearly shows 29th April occurs before 2nd May when the polling stations opened for the local elections!

The tin-foil hat brigade should ask themselves why representatives of Harlow Labour Party failed to discover this information prior to the local election, especially when there was a county council by-election in Harlow?

Also, Harlow Labour Party members may wish to consider that a small amount of research may have won them control of Harlow Council, especially if one considers the tone of more than 60 Facebook comments?

Likewise, Labour councillor Kay Morrison may have been victorious in the county council by-election if this information had been broadcast in April?


David Forman

Holmes Meadow

Sumners Farm


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34 Comments for Letter to Editor: Harlow Labour should have done its homework over council meeting and new hospital:

2024-05-09 14:45:11

Isn't it weird how all the "Letter to editor" published by Your Harlow are deeply critical of Labour despite the Council, County Council, MP and Government being Conservative. It's almost as if the paper wants to publish something more politically biased than normal and is phrasing it as just sharing a letter an anonymous member of the public has written. This isn't propaganda intended to sway public opinions, honest. Conservatives have been running the country for a decade and a half but it's all Labour's fault really.

David Forman
2024-05-09 15:06:56

Dear Norm, nothing anonymous about me as I included my name and address with the letter above.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-05-09 15:26:37

David, well it might have appeared on an agenda tucked away from 99.9% of the electorate, but the Tories kept up the pretence that a new hospital is on it's way in their huge number of pre-election leaflets. Even if this information had come to our attention on 29 April this would have been to late to get it to a wider audience. The main reason it was decided some 4 years ago that it should move from it's present site was that it would open a year earlier than if it stayed where it was, that is 2025. Which ever way you look at it, the Tories were pulling the wool over the electorates eyes.

Sharon Mackenzie
2024-05-09 16:41:08

The new Harlow hospital has just been rebuilt as was originally like this before okay from my long term memory

2024-05-09 17:01:53

2032!? We may need it quicker with the Tories allowing sewage into the Stort.

2024-05-09 17:16:03

Ah, it's all Labour's fault, stuck bleeding record!!

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-09 18:06:07

I think it funny that Mr David forman has only called my self and Mr Taylor out ,on this post. Did he see how many people complained about the hospital information. 😄 🤣 😂 never mind a

David Forman
2024-05-09 18:08:53

Dear Nicholas, 29th April may have been too late for the postal votes, but it certainly would have proved dynamite for those going to the polling station on 2nd May.

David Forman
2024-05-09 18:15:26

Dear Kim, if you read the fourth paragraph above you will see I said: "I am sure many others think the same." This clearly shows that I included many more people than just Kim O'Connor and Nicholas Taylor. By the way, Nicholas did not complain about being singled out because he took the time to read and digest my letter.

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-09 18:30:20

Oh I read it properly have no fear of that.. Any way hardly matters now does it.. Bit of a pointless post really. To late now

Nicholas Taylor
2024-05-09 22:19:22

David, at this time of year it took us over a week to get leaflets printed and sent to us, so I don't think anyone would have had time to get this message to the 14,000+ households in the four Wards we contested, let alone the rest of the town. It is clear to HAP that the matter of the rents and type of tenancy being given to those moving into the new flats at Burnt Mill has been withheld until after the elections, so keeping people in the dark is nothing new.

Godfrey the great
2024-05-10 01:47:38

Conservatives are a sinking ship run by headless chickens .. that said labour are equally as useless and twice as hypocritical..neither party has done anything for Harlow. both are useless at best .. commuter town that's literally impossible to get around in . Arguing over leaflets just about sums up modern politics

2024-05-10 04:56:33

M&S or a new hospital? Which one will come first?

2024-05-10 06:09:42

Well said Kim and Nicholas.

2024-05-10 07:55:37

The principles governing the behaviour of the Councillors and Councils are based on fair and equal treatment of the electorate / voters. Like a court case where it's illegal for the prosecution to withhold relevant evidence there's a responsibility to disclose relevant information to the electorate by a sitting Council. It's clear the Cllr? Foreman and the encumbant Conservative administrations at district, county and national levels knew about this information buried away in for what most of the electorate is a obscure report, it's clear that a decision was made no to be transparent, give it light and publish. The Harlow Council newspaper carries propaganda mixed with grand political announcements (which is really a misuse of public funds) on behalf of the party in power but there was no mention there, nor in the election propaganda leaflets that also conveniently did not inform the electorate that Cllr Leppard was suspended and was unable to stand as a Conservative candidate, a action that materially skewed the electoral process. No wondered that people have no trust in politicians and about 72 % of the electorate didn't vote. Our Council is in power but clearly do not have a mandate from more than 72% of voters.

David Forman
2024-05-10 09:37:55

Dear Nostradamus, I am not a councillor and the information was published on a public website in accordance with the Council's standing orders and statute law. The role of the official Opposition is to scrutinize and oppose. This requires some research. Current county councillors and all prospective councillors in the county by-election should have had the common sense to examine upcoming business of the county. If they don't know where to look and are incapable of working it out for themselves, then it only needs an email or phone call to county hall to receive advice. Really simple, if you don't know just ask.

David Forman
2024-05-10 10:07:01

So that everyone knows the standing orders and law. Firstly, I will deal with the statute law: "Local authorities are already required to make their Constitution available for inspection at their offices under section 9P of the Local Government Act 2000. Local authorities must also, under this Code, publish their Constitution on their website." See paragraph 50 of Local Government Transparency Code 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-government-transparency-code-2015

David Forman
2024-05-10 10:09:46

Secondly, the Constitution of Essex County Council. Access to Agenda and Reports for public meetings is on Page 138 of Essex County Council Constitution: At least five clear working days before the meeting the Council will make copies of the following documents available for inspection by members of the public at County Hall, Chelmsford, and publish these documents on the Council’s website: (i) the agenda for the meeting; and (ii) any reports which are to be made available to the public in accordance with these procedure rules. See link https://www.essex.gov.uk/running-council/our-constitution

David Forman
2024-05-10 10:15:13

For completeness, where you can read PAH Director Michael Meredith's new hospital update. See item 4 of agenda of Health Overview Policy and Scrutiny Committee via the following link: https://cmis.essex.gov.uk/essexcmis5/CalendarofMeetings/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/410/Meeting/5399/Committee/34/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

David Forman
2024-05-10 10:30:37

To make it simple for Labour politicians to find information at County Hall it can be done by entering the search term 'Essex County Council meetings' into Google. The top search item is 'Get Involved: Council Meetings'. Click on it and look for heading 'Council Meetings'. Under that heading find link 'council meetings calendar' and click on it. If you have done it correctly you will see the page as per this link: https://cmis.essex.gov.uk/essexcmis5/CalendarofMeetings.aspx

View from Afar
2024-05-10 15:14:05

Ref the comment above from Nostradamus why is there still no answer on the suspended Cllr Leppard. Is Dan Swords hoping everyone will forget about it?

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-10 18:44:56

Dear oh dear oh dear Mr David forman. Thank you for teaching us so much, permission to leave the room now. I've got a life to get on with.

2024-05-10 19:15:01

Bet he wishes he'd never written that letter now.

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-10 19:19:07

😂 😆 😂 Resident.

2024-05-11 09:15:37

Where is our outcome over the suspended Cllr? "within days" Dan Swords said to this newspaper.. over a week now.

2024-05-13 07:33:44

Kim , Are you sure he wasn't being sarcastic of you? Just wondering.

2024-05-13 07:40:24

Kim . I was talking about resident, should have mentioned that in previous post. As you said you have a life to lead , do you think Labour had that same attitude that they could not be bothered to do their homework as David Foreman has. I imagine if he did it others can. But obviously they have lives to lead like yourself, which cost them winning the election.

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-13 08:28:45

Turkey how many times do you need to be told, I'm not Conservative and I'm not for Labour.. who actually cares now, the post is pointless as I said.. Oh by the way ,what a very poor turn out for Conservative up and down this country. 😄 🤣

David Forman
2024-05-13 09:26:27

Turkey's comment is correct. If I could do my homework then Labour councillors who wanted to gain control of Harlow Council should have. This same reasoning applies to other opposition parties. If Labour had done their homework, then they would now be in charge.

David Forman
2024-05-13 09:30:57

Kim O'Connor's last comment conveniently avoids clarifying her political allegiance. She fails to mention she stood as a Green candidate in Netteswell in last year's local elections. She received 107 votes. So, where does she stand politically now? The evidence can be found at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2023_Harlow_District_Council_election

David Forman
2024-05-13 09:33:48

Sorry Kim, a typo error: you received 103 votes which was 7.6% of votes cast in that ward.

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-13 09:49:39

I think most people would know I was a green candidate last year Mr foreman. And if you really kept up to speed ,you would know I'm no longer a candidate or a member for the green party for personal reasons...I don't know what your trying to achieve by your last comment s,,, but one thing the green party don't do is tit for tat. And considering we have only had a green party in Harlow for the last couple of years, they didn't expect miracles... You can check as much as you like,, there's nothing hidden by the green party... Unlike labour or Conservative.

David Forman
2024-05-13 11:01:57

Kim, so do you still vote Green even though you have left the party?

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-13 13:54:32

Not that it's any of your business, but yes I will all ways vote green... And for the simple reason is,, we desperately need a green councilor sitting on our council ..