"During times of UNIVERSAL DECEIT telling the TRUTH becomes a revolutionary act" GEORGE ORWELL
COATHAM - A COMMON CONCERN
A Pancrack / FOCC Co-Production © 2009
This is the story of The Friends of Coatham Common and their victorious campaign that stopped Redcar & Cleveland Council building 359 houses on covenant-protected seafront and common land at Redcar.
THE FILM THAT WAS SHOWN IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS NOW ON YOUTUBE
3 MARCH 2010: VICTORY!
SUPREME COURT RULES 5-0 IN FAVOUR OF THE FRIENDS OF COATHAM COMMON !
After 6 years of struggle against a hellbent and belligerent council, the people and common sense have won at last ! Redcar & Cleveland Council ‘s ‘botched’ housing development that has cost the tax payer around £4m is dead. The common is now a protected village green and the fences are being taken down!!!
CAMPAIGN LATEST: JAN 2010
FOCC GET SUPREME COURT HEARING!
THE FOCC have succesfully petitioned The Supreme Court to try and get the common protective village green status so dubiously denied them in the past. The issue hinges on the whether the Council can prove the public historically deferred to golfers using the common therefore negating the public always having full access to the land. A 20 year minimum of constant public use is needed to qualify for village green status. Legal aid is now reinstated and the hearing begins the 18th of this month. Watch this space for updates and for more details go to:
NOV 5th: FREE DVDS NOW AVAILABLE !
5th NOV 2010: COATHAM DVDs HIT COUNCIL
All 59 councillors and all the senior officers involved in the Coatham fiasco have had a dvd and letter hand-delivered by myself. Both Labour Mps Vera Baird and Ashok Kumar and the opposition, Paul Bristow (prospective Con candidate), Greg Clark (Shadow Minister for Teesside) and Michael Bates (Lord of Langbaurgh) have also recieved them at Westminster.
5th NOV: COATHAM FENCE STILL COSTING PUBLIC
I don’t like the Guantanamo Bay feel of it all” – Vera Baird MP, May 2007.
And we don’t like paying for it Vera – £48k and rising!
MAY/JUNE 2009: COATHAM FILM - NEW DATES !
Thur 21st May NEW MARSKE Club
Fri 29th May SALTBURN Community Theatre
Thur 4th June LAZENBY Club
Tues 9th June GUISBOROUGH Quoit Club
Wed 10th June REDCAR Priory Club
Thur 18th June MARSKE WMC
All 7.30pm – Admission free / donations welcome
11th MAY 09: NEVER MIND THE BAUBLES !
£125,602 a year Redcar MP Vera Baird makes national headlines trying to ponce the cost of Xmas trees and baubles from the public purse! Despite public outrage, she has refused to apologise to her constituents, many of whom are facing an uncertain future due to the recession and the additional shock news from Corus steel. Her arrogance is laid bare in this statement “In cases where you are not sure if the claim is acceptable or not, you put it in”. In other words, if you can get away with it, let the people pay for it! Vera, I don’t think the people of Redcar are gunna forget this one.
JUNE 09: PIC OF THE WEEK!
Undoubtedly the greatest sense heard in
Middlesbrough Town Hall since it was built…but sadly alas, not in the council chamber!
Tony Benn greeted his audience ON THE STREET with trademark cup of tea and pipe. His backpack-cum-foldy chair (his own invention he told us!) he declared the only safe Labour seat in the country! As he already has a copy of ‘A Century in Stone’, the least I could do was give him a ‘Bulldozing Democracy’ dvd and a Coatham flyer ! A brilliant, top bloke and national treasure.
6th May 2009: THE ANTI-TRUTH COALITION
“The leaders of all the political groups on Redcar and Cleveland Council have joined forces in condemning the tactics being used by a minority of protestors opposed to the Coatham Links re-development project. This follows the distribution of a leaflet and production and screening of a film by protestors” says Cllr. Abbott who also describes the protestors as ‘hateful’. Bigot Abbott you haven’t even seen the film ! And what tactics…the audacity to print a leaflet and make a film about how rubbish your coalition and your Coatham bungling was ??? Sorry mate it’s a free country and…THE LIGHT OF TRUTH WILL SHINE UPON THE SILVER SCREEN!
6th/7th/8th May 2009:
COATHAM FILM SHOWN TO 600 IN CHURCH
Despite Vera Baird calling the church warden and the parish dean to cancel the show, the show went on – for 3 nights – and to 600 people. Neither she, nor Ashok Kumar nor any of the 59 councillors attended as per usual…and we reserved front row seats every night for them too.
5th May 2009:
COATHAM FILM SHOWN AT PARLIAMENT
A 42 min. edit of the Coatham film was shown at 1 Parliament Street via Robert Goodwill MP for Scarborough to around 20 people including Paul Bristow, the prospective Tory candidate for Ashok Kumar’s seat, plus representatives from The Environmental Law Foundation and The Open Spaces Society. Directly after the screening, Mr. Goodwill remarked that he felt decieved by us for showing a different and longer film than the one we had showed him in Scarborough. For the record, the film we showed was only 7 mins longer than the one showed in Scarborough and was largely the same film. There was also never any clear stipulation made in Scarborough about showing that exact same cut in Parliament. A group discussion followed the screening in Parliament and Mr. Goodwill stated that he couldn’t stay too long as he had a meeting. But he stayed for the whole duration, an hour and 20 minutes, and was very much engaged throughout.
Vera Baird did not attend but we believe did send associates who promptly left as soon as the film finished. A statement by Vera Baird claimed that the film contained ‘nasty allegations’. These ‘allegations’ are not nasty but are in fact accounts and opinions s of members of the public exercising their democratic right to ask questions of their MP and council. They feel, like Vera Baird once did when Labour were in opposition, that “there was something sinister going on” within the council over the Coatham scheme. Mr Goodwill also issued a statement that he did not endorse these allegations and following a discussion with Vera Baird was ending his involvement with the FOCC. He did nevertheless think the content of the film was serious enough to set up the Parliament screening and did state that there were lessons to be learned for the council over their handling of the Coatham scheme. This was elaborated upon by Paul Bristow (pictured below) who thought the Coatham affair was astonishingly poor and as he stated on camera, serious questions quite rightly needed to be answered.
All in all, the Parliament show was a step into the unknown for all of us and good to do. It was disappointing not to get any national press but what chance did we have with the MPs expenses scandal featuring our Vera breaking the same week ! Meanwhile back at home…the campaign by film was only just beginning
10th FEB 09: SCREENING EVENT
ECO-CAMPAIGN FILM SHOWCASE & SPEAKERS
1 OCT 2007: PREMIERE OF ROUGH-CUT PACKED & BOYCOTTED !
Some 400+ people show up to watch the Coatham rough-cut but Redcar & Cleveland’s 59 councillors are ALL conspicuously absent. This could only be a blanket boycott by the council but they were keen to see it as their press office called me for a copy the very next day. They didn’t get one as there will be plenty of opportunities to see it in the near future at public screenings across the borough. Meanwhile the trailer clocked over a 1,000 views in its first few days and was even on PRISON PLANET website of cult US Talk Radio Presenter & Filmmaker Alex Jones.
SEPT 2007: COATHAM: A COMMON CONCERN
For 2 months I’ve been making a short doco with Chris McGlade and ‘The Friends of Coatham Common’ who are fighting Redcar and Cleveland Council plans to build 359 houses on the entire seafront car park and the last green space in Coatham. I believe the scheme will be detrimental to the enjoyment of not just local residents but the tens of thousands of visitors from all over who will encounter log-jammed roads and lack of parking that may well put them off altogether. I got involved after hearing about local man Jimmy Willis who started a protest camp on the common after the council erected a 7-feet perimeter fence around the site to keep the public off. With no building work set to go ahead for a multitude of issues to be featured in the film, why are the public being denied a basic freedom enjoyed for hundreds of years?
ROUGH CUT PREMIERE COMING SOON !