What laws are NOT enforced by police in Richmond?

It’s a question posed by councillors at this week’s full council meeting. Richmond west councillor Stuart Parsons claimed some laws were simply not being enforced and he wants North Yorkshire police tackled about the issue.

But the 20mph speed limit through town won’t be one of them. You can hear why in this video clip of the debate.

Video: Disabled visitors to face ‘Tory toilet tax’

Residents and visitors to Richmond will face a 20p charge to use the toilets in Nun’s Close car park from July – even for disabled users.

During a heated meeting, Richmondshire District Council agreed to pilot the charges in selected places across the district before a decision is taken on whether to roll out the charge to all public toilets.

Several amendments were put forward by councillors on the Independent group in a bid to prevent the charge being applied to disabled users.

Richmond west councillor Stuart Parsons pointed out that disabled users already had to pay for access to the designated toilet by purchasing a radar key which costs about £5.

And, together with Richmond central councillor Clive World, he called on the ruling Conservative group not to impose a ‘Tory toilet tax’ which he claimed would be unpopular with local residents resentful of extra charges being imposed on services.

But his objections were somewhat poo-pooed by some of those supporting the move.

Councillor Jamie Cameron was one of the most outspoken accusing objectors of being ‘pathetic’ by discussing such a small increase and spending so much time on the issue over several meetings.

The pilot scheme was approved by a Conservative majority with an amended proposal which will mean further consultation with Parish councils and other groups which have an interest or will be affected.

You can watch the full meeting on video here.

Video: Richmond MP joins bus protest

Richmond MP Rishi Sunak says he will fight to keep a shuttle bus service which takes patients between the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton andJames Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

The free weekday service was introduced 18 months ago when children’s and paediatric services at Northallerton were downgraded but is due to end on March 31. The deadline  has been extended one month while the review is completed.

On Monday, Sunak travelled on the bus and spoke to protestors who had gathered outside the Friarage Hospital to make their views clear.

Council accused of ‘taking from the poor to balance the books’

At last week’s meeting of the full council, the amount of assistance people can claim to help pay their council tax was significantly reduced.

Before the final vote was taken, a number of councillors – including the two Richmond west ward councillors Linda Curran and Stuart Parsons – urged the council to look again, claiming the change would hit the most vulnerable more harshly than people who were better off.

Reducing the benefit in order that people will now pay at least 15% of the full council tax charge is expected to earn the council almost £20,000. It was one of a raft of increases to fees and services which the Conservative administration believe necessary in order not to raise the overall Council Tax figure throughout the coming year. The strategy is referred to in the clip as 0%.

You can hear the arguments for and against the change in the video clip above. What do you think? Is having a 0% increase in Council Tax important to you? Share your thoughts via the comments below.

Video: Storm Desmond and the River Swale

Storm Desmond tore through the district over the weekend. With the River Swale looking its highest for a long time, the dramatic scenes have been captured on camera for seemingly every angle this weekend.

There was even two drone cameras filming at the Falls this afternoon as the water started to subside.

Here’s just a couple of the clips we’ve spotted from YouTube user Adventure Craig.

If you’re the drone photographer – we’d love to see your footage too.RichmondNoticeboardATgmail.com

Who was that at the door? Oh, just one of the world’s richest businessmen!


On camera: The interview with Rishi Sunak as the Indian PM touched down

While Prime Minister David Cameron greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London this week, Richmond MP Rishi Sunak was interviewed by India’s leading business news television channel about his work.

And during the interview with CNBC-TV18 on parliament green he revealed the surprising role his father-in-law, the Indian tech titan Narayan Murthy, had played in the election campaign – posting leaflets through people’s doors.

Murthy – valued at $1.8 billion by Forbe magazine – was apparently pounding pavements in the constituency in the run up to the election in May. Murthy has been listed among the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time and is regularly described as the Father of Indian IT sector.

He told the presenter, Shereen Bhan that it was an unusual job for the industrialist.

“He is my number one supporter. He flew in just in time for the elections and, in a rare change for him, he was just told what to do. We gave him a bag with some leaflets and basically he just had to deliver the leaflets and be polite to everyone.”

During the interview, Sunak is also asked whether his ethnicity had been a problem for voters in the constituency and a rather odd question about ‘owning his ethnicity’ which he said he didn’t fully understand.

You can view the video interview in full here.

How will Richmondshire respond to the refugee crisis?

Council leader Yvonne Peacock was asked how the district council is going to respond to the refugee crisis. As we’ve reported here previously on this issue, all local authorities are being asked to draw op responses to the current crisis and assess the housing provision available.

Speaking at Tuesday night’s full council meeting, councillor Peacock said the response would be detailed at a meeting next month. Hear her full response via the video clip below.


‘Fascism’ row engulfs district council’s constitutional changes

The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.” Adolf Hitler.

In what is undoubtedly the first time Hitler’s words have boomed across the council chamber at Mercury House, the Conservative-led administration were accused on Tuesday night of ‘fascism’ and undemocratic behaviour.

William Heslop, the councillor for Gilling West made the reference to Mein Kampf in a stinging attack on proposals which mean members will be unable to add issues for debate onto council agendas without the approval of the chairman of the appropriate committee.

The debate on the controversial move started quietly enough thanks to a member of the public. After complaining about the facilities provided for public speaking – a microphone facing a wall set away from the councillors – Mark Whyman was invited to address the chamber and delivered this devastating assessment of councillors’ plans.

“Are members away that the proposal will be construed by the general public as a restriction on democracy or even the first steps towards fascism.”

But talk of ‘fascism’ was never going to pass unchallenged and councillor Jamie Cameron led the fight back for the Tories.

“Facism is a world evil. I think it was wrong of Mr Whyman to use the term fascism.”

Constitutional issues arose several times throughout the night and provoked angry responses from former council leader John Blackie and other independent councillors who see the move as an attempt to muzzle opposition and debate.

But the make-up of the council means there was little doubt the change to the rules would be approved. The final vote – recorded to ensure that the way individual councillors voted is kept on the minutes from the meeting – saw 24 of the 34 councillors vote for the change.

You can see more of the debate from the council chamber via the video clips here.