Tuesday 27th February 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

NYC Planning Portal Ban – Claim Debunked

NYC Planning Portal Ban – Claim Debunked

Campaigner ANDY STRANGEWAY has encountered a ‘strange loop’ in North Yorkshire Council’s ‘cyber security defence’ package that is causing grave interference to Planning Applications – with no Local Plan expected until 2028.

Andy reports from Katmandu, Nepal.

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North Yorkshire Council (NYC) has confirmed that they have banned me and others from their Planning Portal and believe that their actions are lawful.

I refer to the Court of Public Opinion and encourage the downloading of North Yorkshire Council Planning Portal Ban Confirmed

Although I can debunk more of the claims by NYC in North Yorkshire Council Planning Portal Ban Confirmed, I will focus on just three but reserve my right to refer to others in any future Court of Law.

Claim 1 – Security Reasons – Debunked

“Our current NYC geo-blocking list includes Nepal. Our security posture is to maintain a level of information and cyber security defence that is proportionate in terms of effective security controls delivered against an acceptable level of business risk… we have resolved not to remove Nepal from our geo-blocking list…We have previously advised that an option would be the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) from Nepal. This was set out in an email from Ann Rawlinson to you dated 28 September 2023.”

As the official explanation for banning Nepal is ‘cyber security defence’ and the way around this is via a VPN, I refer NYC to the Kathmandu Post 20 November 2023 Internet traffic grows sharply in Nepal after TikTok ban

“Most TikTok users have installed virtual private network (VPN) apps that allow them to bypass local censorship”

  • Debunked – This 100% negates the NYC Planning Portal ban in Nepal for ‘cyber security defence’ reasons.

Claim 2 – Reasonable Efforts To Send Documents – Debunked

NYC has previously promised to send me the documents to which they have blocked my access to. But now claim:

“We had hoped that we would be able to send the documents … to you by email … due to the number and size of the associated documents, the current limits set within the Council’s mail system will prevent this from being sent as a single email”

“For completeness Ann Rawlinson’s email dated the 28 September highlighted the use of NYDrive. This is the normal route we would take when trying to share files that exceed the email limit. NYDrive is similar to services such as Dropbox or GoogleDrive but is hosted on the NYC network. Unfortunately, because NYDrive is hosted on our network it is also subject to the geo-blocking policy in place so it is not an option in this case.”

“…and have made reasonable efforts to provide you with requested documents”

  • Debunked – Reasonable efforts for documents to be sent via Dropbox or Google Drive.

Claim 3 – Planning Portal Functioning Correctly – Debunked

“Having investigated the concerns you raise regarding your client being unable to access the council’s online planning register, we are confident that this has been functioning correctly. However, we have observed that on occasion when users attempt to download individual documents the system can take a little time to respond causing the web interface to timeout and display the error message. Should this happen, if the user refreshes the web page or clicks the link a second time then the document loads successfully. A current upgrade project for this system is expected to resolve this issue.”

  • Debunked – NYC claims the Planning Portal is functioning correctly but can timeout and an upgrade is due? NYC debunk themselves!

Court of Law

Ultimately, the claims of NYC will have to be defended in a Court of Law. Once it loses in such a case, I see a stack of cards crumbling.

To spare the embarrassment of the Judge, who will hear the said case, and their own embarrassment, I recommend that NYC Chief Executive Richard Flinton, and NYC Assistant Chief Executive Legal and Democratic Services Barry Khan, give careful reflection to their stated position.

Respect To Nepal

It is an insult to Nepal that NYC/United Kingdom claims Nepal to be a security risk. I consider Nepal to be the most supportive country of the UK in the world. NYC needs to be mindful that:

  • My father-in-law served in the SAS and was a member of the Gurkha Rifles. He was war-blinded and spoke highly of the Gurkhas.
  • The second most popular first language in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire is Nepalese. This is probably due to the number of Gurkhas who serve with the British Army at Catterick Garrison.
  • The British Army provides the UK with security thanks to a significant number of Gurkhas.
  • Many residential homes in the UK rely upon Nepalese staff.
  • I have many friends in Nepal.

FOI – NYC and UK Banning

Despite my request to be informed which other countries are on the “NYC geo-blocking list”, this has not answered my simple question.

I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to NYC to be advised of this as this will be of great significance to many who work remotely or work while overseas on holiday.

Considering that I believe NYC is not the only Council with such bans in place for Nepal and other countries, I encourage others to request the same information from other Local Authorities.

Email To Richard and Barry

Dear Richard and Barry,

Could I please refer you to NYC Planning Portal Ban – Claim Debunked (LINK)

I have cut and pasted the post below.

FOI Request – Despite my request to be informed which other countries are on the “NYC geo-blocking list”, this has not answered my simple question. As per the FOI Act could I request to to be informed which other countries are on the “NYC geo-blocking list”?

I highly recommend that you revisit the ban in place and give full consideration to the implications of the ban to date.

Kind regards,

Andy Strangeway

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