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Victoria Gardens Development FOI Request to Newton Abbot Town Council

with one comment

In the interest of transparency, this is the Freedom of Information request that I have today submitted to Newton Abbot Town Council. The Council is proposing to develop a small patch of land to include some trees and benches but, in its consultation, does not mention the cost. I believe that this is wrong and that the public has a right to know how much they will have to pay for this. Especially as the figures being put around are in excess of £500,000 over 40 years – representing a very significant chunk of the Town Council’s budget year on year and a very long term debt on local taxpayers.

I will post the response when it appears.


Dear Mr Rowe

I email with a series of requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The requests relate to the development at Victoria Gardens (“the Development”).

1- please confirm the amount budgeted by the Town Council for repayment of capital debt and interest of the Development in each of the financial years 2012-13 through to 2053-54. If there are years where there is no projected budget for this, please confirm the dates where this is the case.

2- please confirm the capital sum to be borrowed in respect of the Development.

3- please confirm whether the council is considering (or has agreed) a fixed interest debt instrument (or loan) or whether it is considering (or has agreed) a variable interest debt instrument (or loan).

4- please confirm the interest rates under consideration for the debt instrument (or loan) that is under consideration or that will be used for the Development.

5- please confirm the duration of the loan that is under consideration or that will be used for the Development.

6- please confirm the total projected to be repaid under the debt instrument (or loan) that is under consideration or that will be used for the Development.

7- please confirm whether any of the documents used for the public consultation on the Development had included the budget or cost for the Development.

8- please confirm the surface area of the Development site.

You will appreciate that FOI requests may be made by email and I am content for you to reply in the same way to *********. If you wish to reply by post, my address is **********.

I look forward to hearing from you within the designated timescale.

Yours sincerely

James Barisic

Written by James

September 21st, 2012 at 10:32 am

No to AV for an entirely undemocratic reason – to keep the racists away

with 8 comments

Leaving aside the merits (or demerits in this case) of the AV system as opposed to various other systems that are actually proportional, there is one very simple and entirely undemocratic reason why I will be voting No to AV – I really don’t like racists.  I know that that is entirely unfair of me but at least I am honest enough to stand up, say that I do not like them and that is why I do not want AV.

The way I see it, I have one vote and each racist in the country has one vote.  If I vote for a candidate in one of the ‘normal’ parties that vote is worth one vote.  If my candidate loses, I have to live with that because I understand that elections are a choice and sometimes my candidate will get less votes than someone else who is more popular – as grumpy as it makes me, that’s life.  It’s not a perfect system but it is simple to understand and put into action.

Let’s take another person and give him a fictional name – we’ll call him Mr White.  Mr White is a racist so he wants to vote BNP.  Clearly he’s an idiot but he has a vote and can exercise it.  He has spent ages trying to work out how to draw an X and what their symbol looks like so he can put his X next to the picture of the BNP logo.  He has one vote. Fortunately, there aren’t too many idiots knocking about so the BNP candidate does not win.  Yaay!

Right, so that is how first past the post works.

In AV, Mr White gets an extra vote because the racist parties like the BNP are more likely than any other to come last. It is not the sensible people like you and I who get the extra vote – it’s the hate mongers at the bottom of the pile.  Our candidates, towards the top of the pile, do not get their votes redistributed because our candidates are unlikely to get eliminated. The greatest fallacy of this whole debate is to suggest that votes for the main three parties are going to get redistributed – it will happen so rarely that it is not even worth thinking about.

So, what’s the effect of this?  Simply put, the mainstream parties will have to pander to the likes of the BNP/EDL/National Front and other assorted dross in the hope that they can pick up their second preference vote and I do not like the idea of that.

I can’t put it much clearer than that.  AV supports the views of extremists.  First Past the Post doesn’t.

It’s just that nobody else seems brave enough to point that out!

Written by James

February 15th, 2011 at 9:48 pm