In reply to Cllr Chandran’s letter, ‘Facts do not cease to exist because you ignore them’. I could not agree more because Cllr Chandran has at last got something right.
In his article, Cllr Chandran totally ignores events prior to when I became Leader of the Council in 1991. Cllr Chandran appears to have selective memory loss from his time as a councillor from 1983 to 1991, when not only was he a councillor but for four years Deputy Leader of the Council.
On becoming Leader in 1991, I was faced with Council debts of £632,500, with varying high interest rates of between 9.6% and 14.1% and annual repayments of £41,506.
At least £266,500 of loans were taken out during his time as a councillor prior to 1991. Cllr Chandran is correct that during his Chairmanship of the Policy and Resources Committee from 1994 to October 1995, he did not take out a loan at 17.5%. On the 2 June 1995, he did however take out a loan of £125,000 at 8.12%.
At the time of writing, the Council has now paid off most of the loans and have a loan debt of £112,429 and annual payments of £7,193. During my period of leadership, we have therefore reduced loan debt of £520,000 and annual annuity of £34,313.
Some of the points from Cllr Chandran’s letter:
1. He states he resigned in October 1995, when he left the parish for a short time. What he omits to say was that he did not become an elected member again until May 2013, an absence of 17 years. He points out that he has copies of the Council’s agendas (these are available to any member of the public who has the time and inclination to obtain them). All that the minutes record are the decisions made at Council meetings. It gives no information on the background material or the debates that took place.
2. Councillor Chandran refers to the fact that he proposed me for Honorary Freeman of the Parish. The decision to make me Freeman was a unanimous decision of the Council.
3. As for being friends, I try to treat all in a friendly and polite manner and I do have a number of close friends. Arun could never be a close friend. A true friend does not make covert tape recordings of your conversations and you cannot trust their ulterior motives, now or in the future.
4. Arun is already on the campaign trail for the elections in May 2021. He is already accusing the Labour Party of dirty tactics but you have only to look at the way he attacks Cllr Blenkinsopp, another Independent member, in his letter to see the kind of dirty tactics he is already taking.
He is going to drain the swamp next year. Good luck to him, he may drag up more than he wants to – not many of us have haloes and wings.
I will not be replying to any letters for the coming weeks as I will have more than enough problems to address due to the probable Coronavirus epidemic, but I hope, God willing, to be able to address other issues in due course.
Cllr Bob Fleming
Chairman of Policy
and Resources Leader of the Council