CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF BROXTOWE BOROUGH COUNCIL HAS LINKS TO EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE
RELIGIOUS GROUP ALSO CONTAINS REDEEMER CHURCH – WHO WILL BE HANDED TOWN HALL ON WEDNESDAY
NO RECORD OF CHIEF EXEC DECLARING CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SENIOR OFFICER, PART OF BID EVALUATION, PREVIOUSLY SHOWN TO HAVE LINKS TO EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE
BROXTOWE MUST HALT PROCESS IMMEDIATELY; CALL FOR INDEPENDENT ENQUIRY
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The efforts to flog the town hall have long been mired in controversy. It is an unpopular move to save a failing council at a time when their own financial mismanagement has slowly eaten away at reserves. However, the actual tendering process has raised serious questions about the council’s impartiality.
The Beestonian reported months ago on the close relationship between the Council Officer in charge of the sell-off and one of the bidders. That Council officer provided advice to all three bidders and provided a recommendation to the council despite being a member of a sister church in Nottingham, and having attended the missions of the Evangelical Alliance, a homophobic and misogynistic umbrella group that includes the group bidding on the Town Hall.
Whilst further investigating the Evangelical Alliance following last week’s comments from Jim Donaghie the Beestonian came across further evidence of their connections to the council.
We can exclusively reveal a leaflet from December 2015 released by the Evangelical Alliance featuring our very own Council Chief Executive, Ruth Hyde. Hyde appeared to help them pitch their new service to help you become a trustee of Christian Charities both in the UK and abroad suggesting that whilst a relationship may not persist they certainly felt comfortable prominently featuring Hyde in their magazine:
Was this link declared? As the buck stops at the council with Ruth, if she has not made her link to the recommended bid from the church, then this does not look good.
It should be made clear at this point that the Beestonian has no issue with Christianity. Our problem originates not with the Evangelical Alliance’s religion but with their approach to the LGBT+ community and women. One of our two major contributors, Tom Roberts, is bisexual and has had unpleasant encounters with the Alliance’s teachings. Ultimately Beeston prides itself on being an open and tolerant space and our civic buildings should not be sold on to a group that judges members based on their sexuality.
A tolerant, secular democracy is defined by a simple attitude to faith: there should be freedom OF religion; there should be freedom FROM religion. As the Town Hall is meant to be used for community usage, and the nature of the sale effectively subsidises the church. That’ll be with YOUR council tax.
This follows hot on the heels of the council dismissing one of its senior officers on charges that appear to relate to preferential deals (watch this space). This was the one successful outcome (out of four!) for the council from its year-long investigation into former council officers (see Beestonia passim)and suggests that the council takes potential misconduct very very seriously. We are sure they will apply this same scrutiny to those involved in the town hall sell-off.
What Can I Do?
We get this asked frequently: people feel powerless. The next elections are in May, by which time the Town Hall will be lost and Broxtowe if the experts at the LGA are correct, will be bankrupt and consumed by Nottinghamshire County Council, and local democracy further eroded. We can not wait. Here is what you CAN do:
- On Wednesday (17th October), at 6.45pm, the full council will meet in the very same Town Hall they are looking to sell. This meeting will see the councillors who represent you vote on whether to hand over the building to the church, rather than the strong, viable and truly inclusive community bid put forward at the same time as the Church bid. We want you there, in the public gallery. It’s free because it’s your democracy. At least for now.
- Add your name to this letter being put forward by Beeston resident: simply leave your details in the comments on this article, or email me confidentially and we will pass your details onto Ed: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also, if a member of the Beeston Updated Facebook group, ask to be included: https://www.facebook.com/groups/815338891820008/permalink/2112873665399851/
- Write to your councillor. THEY work for YOU. Put forward your concerns politely that the sale is flawed and a public, independent inquiry should be put in place before any sale happens. Who is your councillor? Armed with just your postcode, you can find out here, with contact details.
- Write to your MP. Yes, we have had our battles with Anna Soubry in the past, and she has been surprisingly taciturn on this issue, but we believe she would not like to see local democracy damaged and community ignored in the way the council are planning. Politely contact her on email@example.com.
- Don’t lose hope. We have this one last chance to ensure that the much-loved totem of local democracy stays in public ownership. We can do this.