Comments received by email
following the publication of Chevron in July 2017
These messages are ordered by the date and time of their receipt by the editor. They have not been edited, except to clarify layout.
This letter from the Stour Valley Education Trust was received as a PDF; the original headed version is available here.
Dear Cllr Bishop,
I was most concerned to read your letter printed in the latest edition of Chevron and wish to express the complete support of the schools that comprise the Stour Valley Educational Trust for the stance you are taking.
The Trust is responsible for the education in Clare of over 750 students ranging in age from 5 to 16 years. The Country Park, as it currently stands, is a frequently used resource for our student in all age groups. Primary children use the Park for a range of activities including nature investigations, exploration, local history and Forest School. The Park Trustees have also recently enabled an outdoor classroom at Clare Primary. Our older students undertake green space maintenance work, as well as history and geography projects.
Stour Valley Community School along with Clare Primary and six other local primary schools took part in the consultation exercise and expressed clear views on what should be included in the HLF bid which would be of direct benefit to the over 1,500 students for whom those schools are responsible. I am delighted to see that much of what was suggested by the schools, as a valuable educational resource, has been included in the current plans. Those schools have already started to make plans for how they will collaborate to take even greater advantage of what the Park has to offer now and in the future.
It is entirely unacceptable that a small group of individuals, some of whom are councillors, can be so destructive and have no other agenda than to attempt to upset the excellent work carried out by so many volunteers in Clare. It is equally unacceptable that such individuals can put at risk significant educational opportunities for the current and future generations of children from Clare and the surrounding villages.
You have the total and uncompromising support of Stour Valley Educational Trust.
I have copied this letter to our Borough and County Councillors, our Member of Parliament, to the Department for Education and to the Chair of the Park Trustees.
We are writing to lend our support of the views you expressed in the latest Chevron. I cannot understand what is the motivation of these few people other than to cause unnecessary trouble and unrest in Clare.
It does not project the town of Clare, of which we are all very proud, in a good light to anyone visiting the online sites and also creates feelings of unease among all Clare residents.
We would be very pleased to know that this minority has been stopped and that no further meddling will take place.
With all best wishes and thanks to you, the town council (majority of at least) and the park trustees for all they do.
Simon and Emily Anderson
I have read the piece which you wrote in Chevron referring to the malicious criticisms and activities of a small group in Clare who seem bent on undermining the very good work carried out by the members of the Clare Castle Trust committee and their efforts to secure the HLF grant. I too am at a loss to understand what motivates these people.
However be assured that you have my full support in whatever measures you can take to combat them
13 Hermitage Meadow
I want to let you know how pleased I am with the way you have handled the recent problem with the some of the Town Councillors.
Sometimes I stand back and reflect on what a brilliant place Clare is. This usually happens after I have been travelling and see some less fortunate people in this world. We are all so blessed with an abundance of facilities in Clare, most of which are free. I am amazed when we have residents who seem so destructive.
All communities need people who volunteer to make the places more pleasing and the park volunteers have been very good. I thank you for your contribution towards the Town.
Jan & I fully endorse your views in Chevron. The Park Trustees led by Geoffrey Bray are doing an excellent job and have our full support.
Paul & Jan Dunningham
I have read your comments under the heading “HLF Grant and the Country Park” and also your letter of 4 July to Derek Blake. I wholeheartedly support your and the CTC reaction to the small minority who, for their own selfish reasons, have unreasonably criticised the Trustees of CCCP, and also of the Playing Fields Association.
It angers me greatly that they disgracefully & dishonestly publish false information in leaflets and on Facebook. I cannot stand anyone who distributes misleading information in a leaflet and does not have the guts to sign it. It is particularly deplorable that a Town Councillor is the leading critic and his actions could put at risk the CCCP Trustees application for an HLF grant. The Trustees and Volunteers of CCCP spend a huge amount of unpaid time and energy and are doing a great job. They deserve our full support. Sensible and honest criticism, directed through the proper channels, is OK but any Town Councillor who does not behave properly should not be allowed to continue to represent the Clare Community on CTC.
Stour House, Stoke Road, Clare.
I have read your views in the latest edition of Chevron and I am writing in support of them.
I too have been aware of the activities of the individuals involved and find it very difficult to understand their motives.
We are a small community fortunate to have some talented and hard working members who freely give up huge amounts of their time to this project.
We should be pulling together and not wasting time refuting spurious comments and accusations from an apparently mischievous minority.
As residents of Clare we were so pleased to read your views regarding the above in the latest edition of ‘Chevron’. We wholeheartedly agree with your comments and deplore the actions of those who apparently seek to undermine activities aimed at improving Clare for the good of the community. Many people obviously spend considerable time and effort in trying to make Clare a vibrant and forward looking town and it is sad if a few individuals attempt to negate their work. One wonders what their rationale is and what they propose instead.
We are pleased that the majority of our representatives on the Town Council support the Park Trustees and their efforts as do we.
Tim and Jane Forsey
20 Pask Way, Clare CO10 8FJ
Dear Mr Bishop,
Thank you for having the courage to write openly in Chevron about the ongoing problem relating to the actions of some people in undermining the hard work of all those involved in taking over and maintaining Clare Country Park.
I am a just a volunteer at the Park working parties but I have become increasingly concerned about the impact of these negative behaviours on those people who are trying to create something positive in our community
The park represents to me something very important about life in Clare, it is a place in which that I can exercise and relax, enjoy observing nature, it gives me the opportunity to contribute to my community and meet people and work together for the common good.It is somewhere which enhances my general wellbeing. I have seen first hand the huge amounts of time and effort put into the park by the Trustees and volunteers and I too find it baffling and increasingly distressing to hear about the actions of some people who seem fixed on making what should be a positive place, into a source of division and strife.
If it is town councillors perpetrating this sort of behaviour I cannot understand why this is tolerated.
Reading the Code of Conduct for councillors it seems to me that it could be argued that the following guidelines are being flaunted
- Accountability to the public and Openness – e.g the covert/ anonymous nature of mis information spreading, lack of proper evidence and misleading nature of communications via Facebook/leaflet
- Leadership – e.g. surely these people are not setting a good example of this by undermining hardworking volunteers, making personal attacks on trustees and other councillors
- Bullying others – Facebook entries and personal attacks
- Disclosing information without consent – back chat to HLF which could lead to the failure to win funding to support further development of the park
- Actions to bring the office (of councillor ) into disrepute – . see above examples
Personally I think people should be able to express differences of opinion but there are appropriate ways of making ones feelings known, and it seems that this is not happening despite frequent opportunities to air ones views in public meetings. The covert and anonymous approach does not serve any constructive purpose. It just confuses and divides people and has a corrosive effect on individuals and the community.
I note that those who criticise are not present at the coal face, getting jobs done, moving things forward, they hide in the shadows and stir up bad feeling. I feel that these individuals need to be held to account for their behaviour and attitudes
I would suggest that the situation has gone too far and that some sort of independent mediation is needed to help resolve issues rather allow this sorry state of affairs to continue. .
Those of us who live in Clare are so lucky to have found such a haven ,there are many places in the world where conflict and strife are rampant and, I for one, know in which sort of environment I wish to live. I hope others reflect on whether their current course of action benefits the community in which we all live.
Please do not feel you have to respond to these personal reflections, I am sure you are very busy.
Thank you for all the work you do for the Clare community.
Saddlers Cottage, Clare
Clare Castle Country Park
I think it despicable that two members of Clare Town Council should involve themselves in trying to undermine all the good works being undertaken by The Trustees of the Country Park and their many volunteers and I applaud the action you have taken in highlighting this in the latest edition of CHEVRON.
What has been achieved in terms of overall improvements to the Country Park in a relatively short period of time is amazing and Clare residents are the beneficiaries. How lucky we are to have people in Clare who are prepared to dedicate so much time & effort for the benefit of the residents of this wonderful Town.
Christopher & Jean Hodson
We completely support all you wrote about those that wish to make trouble for those running the Country Park. It is a complete disgrace that these few people are causing such nuisance and distress to those of you who take the time and trouble to run the Town Council and Country Park.
You have our support and backing and grateful thanks for all that you do.
John and Jane Glennie
Larks, Malting Lane, Clare
Dear Mr Bishop,
I refer to your recent article in Chevron
I am totally in support what you have said. I am very appreciative of the work Geoffrey Bray and his team are doing for our lovely Country Park.
9 Church Street, Clare, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8PD
I support your view in the article in the chevron as a volunteer that has been involved in the park from the beginning.
These people have nothing better to do than cause trouble for the trustees. I know who they are. Some sort of action should be taken against them.
All trustees and volunteers have put in a lot of hard work to improve the park. May it long continue.
I was delighted to read your thoughts on the disruptive element in Clare.
I can only say that their comments are poisonous and absolutely negative, and I believe that the great majority of Clare dwellers would think this, once they realise that the accusations spewed out on social media are a tissue of lies. It is so essential that those of you who are involved stand up to them- and possibly resort to the law-or they could do irreparable damage to the town.
You have my absolute support, and if I can help in any way, please let me know
Dear Mr Bishop
We agree with your article in the Chevron newsletter and would like to give you our full support.
Pascal & Elizabeth Kivotos
Just a note to say that I was surprised to read your article/letter in Chevron and what has been going on. I fully support your stance. I think your words were very restrained in the circumstances but well chosen.
I have every faith in you and the Park trustees. I have no faith in people who would behave in such a negative fashion, particularly when the Trustees and helpers are volunteers who should be supported.
Best wishes to you and the responsible members of The Town Council as well as the Park Trustees.
Good evening Paul
I just wanted to write and share my disappointment that current actions of a small minority of people and a town councillor are undermining the work of a number of community groups in Clare. In particular the Park Trustees and associated volunteers who are all working so hard to revitalise the park are not being supported but actively criticised by this same group of people.
In my view this group does not represent the views of the majority of people.
However their posts on Facebook present Clare as a community that is divided.
As an active member of Clare community I can’t bear to read the divisive comments posted on various websites. I worry about how these comments portray Clare to potential visitors.
I wonder whether they will be ‘put off’ visiting our lovely Town. I do hope that the Town Council are able to work together to repair some of the damage lately……
The party in the park showed the strength of our community.
Hopefully we can draw on this strength now to enable us to move on.
Plans for Clare Country Park
Happy to support your plans in what we can as now “visitors” to the park after moving to Bury St Edmunds, 18yrs of living in Clare. My husband generationally comes from Clare and I have seen all it has to offer.
(Email address withheld)
Clare Town Council: Support
Keith Haisman has passed the comments from Geoffrey Bray to me in the hope that I shall reply. I do so now and I hope you will excuse the length of my reply. Before I do, you should know that I have already completed the survey/questionnaire on the Country Park from Geoffrey and received his acknowledgement and thanks.
I moved here in February, 1983. In 1984 I joined the former Clare Community Association. It did not matter what the CCA organised for the BENEFIT of Clare residents, there were always a few objections and criticisms. As I recall, none of those who criticised never volunteered to help out and put their comments into practice.
When the CCA folded to make way for Clare 2000, Celebrating the Millennium, in 1997, there were much the same comments and criticisms. Whether these were from the same people or those whom they had carefully taught I do not know. Clare 2000 continued for some years after 2000 in order to finalise and complete the projects which had begun in 1999. There were criticisms and some of those were quite personal, accusing some of the nicest and most helpful people in Clare of actions which, from my personal knowledge, they would never have contemplated committing.
After 2000, some of those involved in the concerts which Clare 2000 put on during the run up to 31 December 1999 diverted their attention to Clare World Music Festival. This ambitious project, of which, like Clare 2000 and the CCA, I was a committee member, also received criticism. Basically, the critics wondered why a small place like Clare should try to put on something which was more suitable for a large town. The answer is simple. Attract outsiders. The CCA did that. Clare 2000 did that. CWMF did that, even making a national newspaper and ‘Look East’ at one time.
As with the Country Park, there will always be critics. Their motivation is quite unclear although it may simply be that they criticise simply because they can. That has always been a destructive reason. It becomes much more serious when such negative people broadcast lies and attempt to wreck the future of Clare as a vibrant community by contacting outside forces to propagate their lies. Unfortunately, such people will continue to be disruptive and therefore you should be prepared for more of the same. Fortunately, it would appear that the HLF is well-acquainted with such people and, through their requests to The Trustees of the Country Park for further information, indicate their provisional support for the planned projects.
In politics, and local politics is perhaps the worst offender, there will always be dissenters of council decisions. Whilst this is acceptable and even necessary, if a rural dictatorship is to be avoided, such dissenters should support the majority decision. They should NOT make their contrary views known publicly and most certainly should NEVER go behind their fellow councillors in order to undermine their authority and spread lies and deceit. Such people have no position on Clare Town Council and I hope that those people, who have yet to be named officially, are dismissed from the council with immediate effect.
To summarise, raspberries to all your critics and keep up the good work. You have my support, for what it is worth.
23 Clarence Road, Clare, Suffolk CO10 8QN
Pledging my support
I am writing on behalf of myself, my husband & our two teenage children as committed Clare residents. We wholeheartedly support the proposed plans for improvements to the Country Park, including the play area. We have voiced this openly to Geoffrey Bray, Derek Blake & others at events such as Party in the Park & Clare Priory Craft Fair. The plans are innovative yet realistic & are clearly grounded in evidence of how they will enhance the attractiveness of facilities in Clare for residents & visitors alike.
Since moving to Clare 11 years ago we have seen a clear & steady deterioration in the Country Park, followed by a recent rejuvenation thanks in no small part to the efforts of many committed & enthusiastic volunteers who give their time so freely. This is a real pleasure for us to see, as users of the park for things like nordic walking & teenage meet ups. We are following plans to attract more walkers to Clare with a particularly keen interest.
Clare has a vibrant feel about it right now – it feels similar to that time of great hope & excitement when Stour Valley Community school opened its doors to students some years back. That was a community-led effort then, & it is pleasing to see how others are displaying a similar level of enthusiasm & commitment to the HLF bid.
I am happy to be contacted directly & please also feel free to quote this message if appropriate. We wish you well & will follow progress with great interest.
Suzanne Culshaw & family
1 Townsend, Snow Hill, Clare CO10 8QE
Pete and I fully support you in your comments in Chevron regarding the Town Council. As we are closely associated with the Park conservation volunteers, although unable to take part recently, we are fully behind the aims and objectives of the trustees of the CCCP
Town councillors need to have the opportunity to voice opinions. Local democracy will hopefully ensure that fake news will always be found out!
I would also like to respond to your comments regarding inconsiderate parking in the town. Whilst I appreciate your appeal to people’s better nature, in reality the only way to address these dangerous and illegal strategies is to ask our local traffic police/ St Edmundsbury to assess the situation and issue fines accordingly.
Since the town is determined to encourage even more visitors, it is essential that illegal parking is controlled and adequate parking for all is provided.
Pete and Nickie Carpenter
15, Market Hill, CLARE
Dear Cllr Bishop
It was with a great deal of sadness and frustration that I read your letter in Chevron.
I know from personal experience the hours and hours of work, effort and dedication which have been put into the development of the Clare playing fields and Clare Country Park. It is beyond my comprehension why a small group, some of whom are councillors, should continually try to undermine the wonderful work done by others for the positive benefit of Clare residents and visitors.
It is a disgrace that councillors cannot be called to account for their actions when they so frequently breach the Town Council’s Code of Conduct.
Good afternoon Cllr Bishop
I would like it to be noted you have my full support with your recent thoughts as voiced in the recent addition of the Chevron. It is quite apparent there are a small handful of Clare residents who are intent on putting the 1.5 million HLF at risk and I’m saddened to see this small handful includes some of our elected Cllr’s.
The Cllr’s in question, appear to be determined to show continuous discontent with the work the Trustees are doing in our Park. It’s a very sad state of affairs to see the town being divided in such a way. In 21 years I have been a resident in Clare I have never felt such a divide in the town and I can only hope in the near future this is resolved.
Please accept this email as an appreciation of the good work you are doing as Chair of Clare Town Council.
Dear Mr Bishop,
We are emailing you to offer our support to you and your fellow Town Councillors for the comments made by you in the latest Chevron article. We find it difficult to understand the motives of the small number who wish to undermine the efforts to of the majority of residents who we are sure feel what has been done so far at the park is a great asset to Clare.
Carry on the good work.
Bryan & Wendy Williams
25 Clarence Road, Clare
I read with great interest your letter in the recent Chevron publication and would like to agree very strongly with your comments. Like you I cannot possibly begin to understand the reasoning for some people’s constant sniping and negativity concerning the trustees of the park, the park and the HLF bid. I am astonished that one of your council members seems to be constantly involved in this. I feel that his position is becoming untennable. Surely open discussion is the way to go forward. As you know the trustees have worked so hard giving up many hours of their time to bring this wonderful project to where it is now and where, hopefully, it will go in the future for the benefit of everyone in Clare and visitors to the town.
Roy and Christine Williams
I have read the Chevron newsletter with details of the country park and the HFL Bid and would like to say that as a resident and business owner I fully support what is proposed.
The excellent work carried out so far by the trustees of the park and volunteers has been hugely appreciated by almost all of the community and I look forward to enjoying the park in the future with the new plans.
Baker & Baker Furniture Ltd
Dear Paul Bishop
I have recently read your comments in the latest edition of “The Chevron” and am in agreement with your comments. As a former resident of Clare (20yrs.) and a former business owner in the town, and now since moving to Bury St. Edmunds a frequent visitor to the park I was concerned to hear what you have said.
I have seen the amount of work that has taken place since the park was handed over to the Trustees. Volunteers have put a great amount into improving the surrounds which makes the park such an attractive destination to visit for all ages. It is such a shame future involvement of reçruiting volunteers may be hampered.
I was sad to hear also that the entire group of Trustees for the Playing Fields have resigned. my husband was a Trustee whilst we lived in Clare so I saw first hand the amount of work undertaken to make the pavillion and the playiñg fields a success particularly for young people with regards to football. my son developed his love of this sport playing league football for Clare town Lions and first started with the training sessions. It was to the Trustees credit that the funds were secured to develop the Pavillion. The Trustees played an integral part to maintaining the high standards of the management of the playiñg fields and I only hope this will continue under new management in these future.
I hope in the future there is a resolution to the current conflicts you describe and that there can be some more positive outcomes rather than the current situation that exists.
Dear Mr Bishop,
I am disappointed to read your article in Chevron. One can only assume from what you say that those involved in the rival bid are behaving like bad losers and the others who just like to criticise do so from their armchairs without facts and perhaps because some of them have lived in Clare all of their life and don’t like it when new blood comes in and changes things, even if for the better.
I don’t go on Facebook but have heard that unpleasant and unfair comments have been made. This is cowardly. If people have any criticisms or gripes they should contact a park trustee and discuss matters face to face.
I wonder if there is anything to be gained from trying to have meetings with the individuals who have written to HLF/consultants or commented on Facebook?Whilst writing, I also understand that the actions of at least one Town Councillor has resulted in the Trustees of the Playing Fields Association resigning en masse and passing the running of it back to the Town Council. I don’t know anything about this matter but logic suggests that if all the trustees are resigning then the Councillor in question must have behaved in an entirely unreasonable manner. If this is the case, then the other Councillors should have the power to force their co-Councillor(s) to step-down.
No doubt there are many in Clare who feel like me but who will either not have read your article or who just do not consider any merit in letting their feelings be known to you.
I wish to raise some concerns we have regarding the Clare Country Park and the way that some members of the Town Council have been acting at this time.
The Country Park has been an emotive topic over the last few years with a number of competing parties with different agendas trying to control the park. We now have a forward thing group who are trying to develop the park to its full potential for the residents of Clare and visitors. This also attracts people to Clare to visit which is good for the businesses of Clare and consequently keeps Clare as the town it has become.
There is no ONE attraction or business in Clare that can survive without the others and we need to make sure that everyone is as successful as possible. We need to maintain and develop the critical mass to survive and this means we need to work together.
Our elected Town Council are entitled to have differing opinions, and have the forum to put these forward at the appropriate meetings. However, it does not allow them to make personal attacks, or use new media sources to deliver miss-information or stir up contempt and trouble. This is a breach of the trust and responsibility that has been placed appoint them as elected representative. Some of the Town Councillors have stood on the anti-establishment ticket, and while this may be something they feel is an easy way to get elected, they need to work with the Town Council now they are elected to improve Clare, it’s services and it’s environment and leave it a better place than it was when they started.
With respect to the Grant. As a business – NO ONE in their right mind would grant £1.5 million without the legal frame work to make individuals responsible and accountable for this money. AND have some way of ensuring this public money is retrievable should there be occasion to do this. So, this stipulation from them to allow the Grant to be made make complete sense, and if the Trustees are happy to take on this risk to themselves then we should be supportive once the due diligence has been completed to a satisfactory level.
If individuals have an alternative plan as to how they are going to develop the Country Park and how they are going to raise £1.5 million then they should be asked to detail this in a paper of the same calibre and detail as the current extortive plan that the Trustees have completed. We can then make an informed decision as to whom we trust and believe. If this mud slinging is purely “sour grapes” as they are not on the board of Trustees, then they may want to review their own actions and see why people do not want to work with them.
I watch with dismay at the use of Facebook, Twitter and Leaflet with opinion rather than ACCURATE facts which tars Clare, the residents of Clare, Town Council and themselves in particular, as parochial, small minded, puerile and childish to the outside world. This will put people off visiting and moving to Clare to live. The vast majority of us in Clare as residents and Businesses, just want to get on with everyone, and make Clare the great place it was and hoped it would continue to be to live and work in.
If they do not want to work to this end, then it may be appropriate that they step down as councillors. We support your letter in the Focus and the good work that the Council have done especially yourself, Gail and Phil and the Plan put forward by the current Park Trustees and the work they have already completed.
31 High Street, Clare, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8NY
as of 18:25, 20th July 2017