Tue. May 28th, 2024

Ferret can confirm the following questions were submitted directly to Mr Jim Kenyon, Mr Ian Womersley and Mr Alan Draper on Sunday 10 October 2021 to be answered in the meeting on 12 October 2021.

Ferret has requested that all questions have a written answer provided. This is particularly important, if they decide to defer the answers to another meeting or they do not have the time to answer them all.

Dear Mr Kenyon, Mr Womersley, Mr Eccles, Mrs Eccles and fellow Councillors,

Openness and transparency is how we were assured, that this Council would operate when taking up their positions in 2019. As both truthfulness and honesty must be established before we can proceed to hear any reliable and believable answers to our questions:

Can and will the Chair – Mr Jim Kenyon, provide written proof of his many claimed qualifications?

Following the Frenkel report commissioned by this Council at a cost of £6000, that was only partially released following a Freedom of Information request, that found no reason for this Council not to sign off the previous accounts:

Will the Chair – Mr Jim Kenyon, now apologise publicly to all the people He has slandered and libelled over the last 10 years?

Will Hemsworth Town Council now release the redacted part of the Frenkel report? If not, why not?

Will the Chair – Mr Jim Kenyon now act with decency and morality and resign as a Councillor following the exposure of his lying?

Further questions

Why didn’t this Council keep its election pledge and refund £200000 to the precept payers in their first year in office?

During the Covid lockdown year, this Council suffered very little loss of income and it actually received more precept than in the previous year from the Community. Additionally, services were not provided and because of this, its finances became more stable following the losses in the first year. Why then did you again not use this money to refund the £200000 outstanding election pledge you made to the precept payers?

You must have read the legal advice by a specialist Queens Counsel, given to the previous council regarding the former Sports Complex off Kirkby Road, as the now Town Clerk – Mr Draper was a councillor then and is fully aware of it, having voted to follow it. So, why are you pursuing the litigation with Saul construction when you are very unlikely to win?

I believe, even your recent legal advice has given you very little chance of winning the case. Your costs for the hearing will amount to £105,000 not including the costs you have already paid to Richard Buxton Solicitors for their services so far. Do you believe this is the real reason they would like the litigation to continue?

Even if you win in the first instance, can you share with us the predicted costs that will fall on this Community should the highly probable restitution be awarded by the Court, payable to Saul Construction Limited?

Why did this council change from a predominately BACS payment system which is accountable and transparent to a system that has seen:

  • A dramatic increase in petty cash payments?
  • A dramatic increase in cash book payments?

Hemsworth Town Council previously he held “Quality Status”. Why did this Council lose quality status?

Is this because it required higher levels of accounting and auditing that could only be of benefit for the security of our Community cash and assets?

When the Lakeside Café Bar accounts failed to balance, why did Hemsworth Town Council change accountants to Mr Simon Knee?

Can you please explain the process behind how Hemsworth Town Council appointed Mr Simon Knee? The same Mr Simon Knee who was Secretary at A.G.& H.G. GROUNDWORKS LIMITED which is owned by Councillor Gordon Eccles and his wife Jean.

What is Hemsworth Town Council’s procurement policy?  Where is it published online? And if it isn’t Why not?

Why was the Plant Machinery (£42000) unlawfully purchased, bought and paid for, before authorisation by the Council?

Why did Hemsworth Town Council decide to buy, rather than rent, the plant machinery?

What is this machinery intended to be used for?

Who is driving the machinery?

How many members of staff at Hemsworth Town Council are fully trained in its use?

How much does this training cost per person?

Who approved this spending and who takes overall responsibility for it?

How was it decided that we would have the Vengaboys concert and how was it determined that the public you serve wanted it?

How much has been spent so far on the Vengaboys concert? Which source of funding has been used to pay for it?

How many tickets have been sold and what is the total revenue received so far?

How many tickets have been refunded?

How will all the added extras for the concert be financed?

Who has signed off on the financing of this concert and who takes overall responsibility for the success/failure and financing of it?

Why didn’t the Council put out the Vengaboys Concert for public consultation prior to booking the acts and employing an events manager, when the expense involved is enormous?

Why are the Precept payers being asked to pay twice for this Concert? Once by paying an estimated £80,000 for the Concert costs from their Precept and again by having to purchase a ticket at £32?

Why did this Council fail to put in place any form of Insurance for the Venga Boys Concert in case of cancellation etc.?

Why was the decision made to close the Waterpark to the majority of the Township during a holiday period?

Why did you have no Business plan, risk mitigation assessments or public consultation prior to the conversion of the Lakeside Café, which you instructed the Clerk to do at “whatever the cost”?

Why is the WhatsApp phone number registered to the Lakeside’s Facebook page the same as the one published on the Council’s website for security?

Why has there been a gate erected at the Hoyle Mill Road entrance to the Waterpark?

Was legal advice taken before the access highway to the Waterpark was gated? If so please release it.

Was a Court Order applied for and granted to enable the closure, if so by whom and when?

Was legal advice taken on the suitability of a Councillor being the Key holder especially when he has a vested interest? If so please release it.

Was Legal advice taken before community funds were spent on:

  • Land at Kinsley (formerly the Farmers) now owned by Councillor Eccles?
  • Councillor Hardacres’ Garden?
  • A laptop bought by precept money for Councillor Jean Eccles? – What is this used for?
  • Maintenance work on the stream adjacent to Craven House, which is the responsibility of the adjacent land owner Councillor Eccles?

Has legal advice been taken on the use of Councillors’ companies for the provision of items and services? If so please release it. If not why not?

Why did Councillor Eccles charge for car parking on the farmers’ site that had been cleared by Hemsworth Town Council and in doing so break the agreement made at the Policy and Planning Committee Meeting on 2 October 2019?

Why are Hemsworth Town Council not using this site, now the main car park is out of action?

Why did Councillors Womersley and Kenyon lie to their community as to their knowledge of the development next to the Woodlands estate in the meeting on 5 August 2021 at Hemsworth Community Centre?

Who took the decision to hold a further meeting on 28 September 2021 without advertising it to all residents in the Township?

Why are the Council proposing to set up lay people groups to oppose the development, when they should be aware that only recognised planning objections will succeed and the best way to ensure that happens is to employ Planning experts with the qualifications the courts will recognise to explore every available avenue? There are planning experts as near as Pontefract.

Why is there a reluctance to do this, but the Council can throw endless money at solicitors for their own purposes?

Why did this Hemsworth Town Council remove the safeguards that had been put into the standing orders by the previous council, where assets of value would have to undergo public consultation and a public referendum to which they would agree to be bound by the result, before they could be disposed of?

The old peoples centre at Fitzwilliam, was taken over by the last council from the previous trustees who were WMDC. It was taken over due to the condition it had deteriorated into through insufficient funding and to bring it back to the community, who originally bought and financed it from stoppages from their wages at Hemsworth Colliery. Hemsworth town council itself became the Trustees with agreement from WMDC and the N.U.M. Hemsworth Town Council became the registered owners at the Land Registry on its transfer. A management committee was formed consisting of the councillors. The management committee report back to the Council who then approve or otherwise any decisions they have made. The Council remains in control financially and every other way, of the centre even though it is in a Trust. Hemsworth Waterpark is now owned by the people, run for the people, and financed by the people through the council, who are answerable to the people. Anyone who promises outside funding will be available should be treated with the contempt they deserve and their words put with all the other broken and false statements that we have heard from this council.

So, when there has been no known attempt since its creation to dispose of the Waterpark, except one current councillor who has stated he wants it. What benefit is there in giving away the park to a trust, even if one set up in the same way as the Fitzwilliam centre, when the Waterpark is under full council control now?

Why after all these years has the idea of a trust for the Waterpark suddenly emerged?

What are you doing to support the needy in our immediate area? How are you supporting them, in addition to Easter eggs and selection boxes for the children and the very few meals you provided during lockdowns?

Which food banks have you supported as a Council and how?

Which charities have you supported as a Council and how?

How do you as a Council decide which causes to support?

Can you provided us with a list of all the causes you have helped since taking office in 2019 and the amounts awarded to each?

How have you designed appropriate engagement activities to get to know your whole community, and to communicate effectively?

How have you sought the views of the whole community and how has this input shaped projects?

How have you been creative in deciding the best ways to gather community input?

In what ways have you made sure you understand your whole community i.e. to encourage them to express their experiences and opinions?

How have you made sure everyone (and anyone) can participate in engagement activities, and made to feel that they can share their views and concerns without fear, and that their views are valued?

Specifically, how have you engaged with those in the community who are not the ones you are very familiar with? 

What barriers have you considered which could prevent people from attending council engagement events and how have you tried to remove these barriers?

How has modern technology been best used to facilitate council activities, communicate with the community and gather information?

It’s clear you have the technology and the audience to screen meetings online – last time there were 60 viewers at one point – So why are all Hemsworth Town Council meetings not streamed online and recorded?

The Council reviewed and adopted the Equality Statement at the Annual Council Meeting in May 21, without any discussion or changes.  Councillors have since attended an Equality and Diversity training course. Considering the councillor’s obligations under the Equality Act 2010:

Do Councillors believe that the current Council’s Equality Statement captures enough of their legal duties and is effectively applied in all Council matters, to avoid legal challenges?

Can you please provide us with some examples of changes you have made following your training to ensure you meet your obligations to both your employees and the public under the Equality Act 2010?

Why have certain Councillors, Mr Womersley being one example, chosen to remove their online presence (Facebook) and actively worked to delete their posting history?

Does Hemsworth Town Council condone bullying of employees in any shape or form?

What is the procedure if a member of staff reports they are being bullied by another member of staff or a Councillor? Is this in a Policy?

As a Council do you actively use Social Media to gather evidence against employees when they are signed off sick by their Doctor?

In a recent tribunal case “Sharon Holmes vs Hemsworth Town Council” which Hemsworth Town Council lost, the Chair – Mr Jim Kenyon submitted as evidence photographs of Mrs Homes he had taken from her Facebook page. Mrs Holmes was signed of sick at the time by her Doctor. Can Mr Jim Kenyon explain why he felt it was appropriate to comment to fellow Councillors and a Barrister “Does this look like a woman who is depressed to you?”.

It is clear there is a lot of worry in the community about how Council business is being conducted. How do you intend to address this?

If we as Precept payers in the Township remain dissatisfied in both your conduct and continuing poor decision making who can we contact externally to report this?

By Ferret

17 thought on “Questions for Hemsworth Town Council Extraordinary Council meeting Tuesday 12 October 2021”
  1. There is a furry beastie on FB claiming:-
    Yet as chair of finance councillor Jean Eccles stated at the last finance meeting HTC has £970,000 in cash and reserves in the bank.
    More than labour run HTC ever had.

    I would like to know more about this “claim”

  2. good questions ferret and the comunity ..looking forward to the reply to all questions put forward ..Specifically, how have you engaged with those in the community who are not the ones you are very familiar with? only time spoken to was when voting took place in pub were all independant councilors sit and watch …..intimidating

  3. Is it true that Gordon Eccles charges rent for most of his property in Kingsley and takes cash not declaring for tax purposes and you Jim Kenton know about it ?

  4. Well done ferret. Forgive if these questions have already been answered.
    Is there a time scale in which these questions have go be provided?
    Are they legally bound to answer?
    Also do they need to provide evidence, where available to back up their answers?
    Finally if they refuse to provide answers, what is the next step?

  5. Anyone is able to send in a Freedom of Information request to clerk@hemsworthcouncil.co.uk . The Clerk is legally obliged to answer and provide you with any relevant evidence. Feel free to send in any or all of my questions plus any of your own. If you send any responses to Ferret I will then publish them on this site.

  6. Forgive my ignorance Ferret but do you think you’ll get a reply to these questions via your page or does it need to be a resident asking? They are all brilliant questions but I wonder where you stand legally getting a reply when they don’t know who they are replying to if that makes sense?

  7. wow in cash ? something not sitting right there what not going threw the books to have that much cash available were is it from some more questions to be asked..and town council money as to be seen were spent to who what for and to who and what for ..they could say its petty cash thou lol

  8. Hi Sharon, During the year of Covid all Council facilities were closed which will have meant massive financial savings on outgoings. HTC main income from the Precept has remained the same. They have also claimed Furlough and Government grants. As a result their actual income will have increased compared to most other places. Their spending should also have been reduced due to everywhere being shut down. So as a result of all this and not through any business or financial planning they should have actually increased assets during this time.

  9. Hi,
    Many thanks for doing all this work for our community.
    Let’s just hope some good comes of it.
    We can’t change the past but the future HTC decision need to be for the benefit of the whole community, with the community backing, and totally in accordance with any laws, rules, policy, procedures, best practice guidance etc.
    Let’s make Hemsworth the best place to live, for everyone.

  10. Cash amounts being the norm is certainly not the norm more so in local government petty being petty not amounts running into the thousands standards such as this fall well below good practice and are force to raise eyebrows and a tawdy image of Del boy shenanigans whether there is or isn’t. Plus there quite frankly is no need of them in this age of one click and instant payment by Bacs. I looked upon the previous councils transactions and for the most part they were electronic payments and this information is open to all and in the public domain and of course was available to the newly elected intake of 2019 yet they insisted on a forensic audit which was always going to prove nothing because simply put there was nothing to prove a conclusion no doubt soon arrived at by Frenkels accountants. The only forensic achievement that such a silly needless pointless act provided was us the precept payer well and truly having our pants pulled dow and receiving a good six grand spanking with a thank you card saying please come again next year. Those that agreed to this action in the very least should collectively pay that money back. I’m sure there are many poverty stricken food banks and clothes banks that could make good use of six thousand pounds.

  11. According to badger’s latest post, he is insinuating that the people following ferret are unemployed with nothing better to do. 😂😂😂. Also insinuates that the majority of Hemsworth residents look up to HTC and the chair. 😂😂😂😂 The jokes keep coming.

  12. HTC don’t even pay no where near £6,000 for their routine audits so why did they accept a quote for this amount for a one off deep dive? This could employ a qualified accountant full time for 2 months. And, had they found anything, what then, yet more litigation costs out of the HTC funds ie our money?! It’s probably time our HTC Councillors started building bridges and stronger positive relationships with all concerned. There’s just far too much unhealthy conflict, building up over the last few years. Let’s make peace and make Hemsworth great again, for everyone, with every penny well spent.

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