Thursday 20th June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

PARNABY: A Problem Shared is a Problem Doubled

PARNABY: A Problem Shared is a Problem Doubled

  • an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, revealing the next move in the PARNABY end game.


Regular readers will be aware of the public allegations levelled against ERYC Leader Councillor Stephen PARNABY [Con.] by Cottingham developer Mr Peter ROBINSON. For those who are not, the full background is available here.

Central to the allegations is the Companies House documentation showing that Councillor PARNABY holds a directorship in Arvarto Government Services Ltd – a directorship that went undisclosed for around twelve years.

Following sustained efforts by Mr ROBINSON to have his allegations formally tested, and in response to legal advice from ERYC Monitoring Officer Mathew BUCKLEY, Councillor PARNABY has finally updated his Register of Interests to include Arvarto – no doubt in the hope that his declaration, however belated, will now put the matter to bed. One way or the other.

The Enquirer has now be made privy to correspondence between a Mr Richard WILSON and ERYC Cahir of Planning Councillor Phyllis POLLARD [Con.] and others. In essence, his latest communication (copied below) is nothing less than an invitation (do I mean challenge?) to the ERYC Planning nabobs to face the public, perhaps at the East Riding Theatre, in open forum, to provide credible answers to a growing number of questions.

An affirmative response is considered unlikely. At this stage.

The ‘Mr Menzies’ referred to in Mr WILSON’s  letter is Mr Alan MENZIES, the ERYC Director of Planning & Economic Regeneration, under whose purview a number of “unorthodox” (I quote) Planning Consents have allegedly been granted.

Mr MENZIES is presently the subject of a Formal Corporate Complaint in respect of matters arising from a breach (or breaches) of the Constitution on the part of Monitoring Officer Mathew BUCKLEY.

Chief Executive Officer and Head of Paid Service Mrs Caroline LACEY remains non-responsive on these matters, creating an abiding impression that drawbridges are being raised, ranks are being closed and ramparts are being manned. And womanned.

Mr MENZIES has been away from his desk for some weeks. As one Councillor would have it, Mr MENZIES, too, could be “right up Parnaby Street with the rest of them” – whatever that is supposed to mean.

Without further ado – Mr Richard WILSON’s email to Planning Chair Councillor Phyllis POLLARD [Con.], shared with the Conservative Party, the DCLG and local media, outlining his gracious invitation to face the public:

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Open land development around Beverley

Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2017 19:43:47 +0000 (UTC)

From: Richard Wilson

Reply-To: Richard Wilson,,,,


Dear Phyllis,

This is to alert  you to the arrival of various e-communications about the open land developments around Beverley since Mr Parnaby came to office.

I know you read things carefully, and I know you will these.

You will find that they ask fundamental questions about the whole direction of planning in the Beverley area while you have served on two relevant planning committees.

It is good to start in agreement about this matter:

  1. Government requires your Council to work constructively and effectively with adjacent authorities when preparing a Local Plan. The Hull/ERYC area working relationship is important.
  2. It is Government policy that councils may develop green belt land only in exceptional circumstances, and  priority must be given to developing brownfield  land in the area.
  3. ERYC’s SCI commitments mean exactly that the community must be involved in the planning process.

But from then on, there are a host of still unanswered questions, and neither Mr Parnaby nor Mr Menzies have offered any evidenced or relevant replies.

Many of those questions are listed in the emails that will reach you via the group office:

for example:

a) Why, after repeated questioning, has Mr Parnaby not cited any exceptional circumstances that might justify any of the developments he and your group have voted to allow on the open land around Beverley ?

b) Why build on open land around Beverley when brownfield sites, more affordable housing, more job vacancies, and an existing urban infrastructure are available in Hull? Siemens, bringing jobs, is investing in Hull, not in Beverley.

c) Can you explain why an ERYC plan showing flood risk areas leaves a void where the Barmston drain empties, the River Hull meets the Humber,  and where possible flooding, moving to the south of Beverley and Cottingham, might originate?

Will potential flood water magically stop at the ERYC/Hull boundary?

Or does this plan unintentially reveal ERYC’s mindset that everything immediately beyond ERYC’s boundaries is irrelevant to those in charge at County  Hall?


Please see  other emails.

Mr Parnaby is being uncharacteristically shy about appearing in public to answer questions like these, but you are the most senior decision-making person at County Hall with direct responsibility for these matters.

Would you please name some dates and times when you are available to explain in public the rationale for all these developments around Beverley ?

At the East Riding Theatre maybe, with a retired judge as moderator ?

I suggest late September when people are back from holiday ?

I realise that this may create a dilemma for you.

It may be impossible to devise an acceptable rationale to justify all that open land development, just as Mr Parnby has evidently found it impossible to cite any exceptional circumstances to justify any of it – in which case people will reasonably assume that the entire affair, since SP took office, is for the purpose of landlord and developer gain.

Equally, if you decline to appear, or if you ignore this communication, people will be fortified in their existing assumption that if  planning committee councillors are afraid to face public questioning about their decisions, it can again be concluded that it is all to do with developers and landlords.

I would welcome a reply, and sooner rather than later.

I am sure you will realise that this is not a trivial matter, and that I and others will pursue it with determination.

Yours, with memories of old times,


It is fair to advise you that this correspondence is being monitored.

You will see that it is copied for their information to GS,  Central Office, and to ERYC’s Customer Sevices – Mr Menzies is on leave – and a news outlet.

ERYC Leader Councillor Stephen PARNABY [Con.], pictured with Planning Chair Councillor Phyllis POLLARD [Con.]
(with kind permission of ERYC Councillor Andy STRANGEWAY [Ind.])


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