Saturday 20th April 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

As regular readers will know, Registers of Interests are always intriguing reading, but the full facts are obscured as relevant information is often altered or omitted.

Given the willingness of Local Authorities to support York Potash’s dig on the North Yorks Moors, let us firstly have a dig into the information about the Chairman of the Planning Committee at North York Moors National Park Authority.

Councillor Tim Lawn, Planning Committee Chairman at the North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority, and also a member of Scarborough Borough Council, currently declares that he accepted Theatre Tickets from one W Woods’, in June 2011.

Further inspection of his historical Register of Interests reveals that the tickets were accepted for the Elton John Concert at the Open Air Theatre on the 5th June 2011 and they were gifted by William Woods & Co Ltd, Bowforth House, Welburn, Kirbymoorside, YORK, YO62 6HJ’, but this comprehensive information was deliberately obscured.

  • Register Entry removed 13/07/2012:
  • 05/06/2011 – William Woods & Co Ltd, Bowforth House, Welburn, Kirbymoorside, YORK, YO62 6HJ – Open Air Theatre Tickets x 2
  • Register Entry added 13/07/2012
  • June 2011 – W Woods – Theatre Tickets

A few cursory checks reveal that William Woods is a director of York Potash and is listed as the ‘Development Manager’. You can confirm Woods’ links to the above address here and here.

I wonder if the Elton John Concert tickets were the ones bought by Jim Dillon on his Council Credit Card? When asked if the tickets in question were bought for people who were related by blood or marriage to employees, officers or Councillors of Scarborough Borough Council Jim Dillon’s response was that they were sold to a member of the public and he was unable to comment on their guests.

Having established a relationship between a director of York Potash and the Chairman of the Planning Committee of North Yorks Moor National Park Authority, one wonders how far back that relationship extends?

Digging a little bit deeper on Councillor Tim Lawn’s Register of Interests, we find that he has sizable land holdings. Since Councillor Lawn’s first recorded Register of Interests, his land holdings have doubled from five parcels of land to ten in the last four years.

All those parcels of land are in the Sneaton/Littlebeck area, which surrounds the proposed York Potash minehead site – rather fortuitous business decisions on the part of Councillor LAWN, since the closer your land is to the minehead, the quicker you’ll receive money from York Potash for Mineral Rights under your land.

One of the parcels of land is listed as Raines Lane, Sneatonthorpe’ which was added to Councillor Lawn’s Register of Interest on 29/07/2011. There is no Raines Lane in Sneatonthorpe. There is, however, a Raikes Lane in Sneatonthorpe, which happens to be the site of the new minehead!

Perhaps York Potash should employ Councillor Tim Lawn as he seems adept at digging holes!

Timeline of Events
  • January 2011 – York Potash formally open discussions with North York Moors National Park Authority about developing a Potash mine
  • June 2011 – Councillor Tim Lawn accepts the gift of two Theatre Tickets from William Woods, Director of York Potash
  • July 2011 – Councillor Tim Lawn adds land on Raikes’ Lane (first listed as ‘Raines Lane’), Sneatonthorpe, to his Scarborough Borough Council Register of Interests
  • July 2012 – Changes made to Councillor Tim Lawn‘s SBC Register of Interests in an apparent attempt to obscure the identity of the person who gifted the tickets (see links above)
  • September 2012 – York Potash announce location of the proposed minehead, on land between the B1416, Raikes’ Lane and Sneatonthorpe Lane

Article first posted to Real Whitby on March 8 2013.

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