24 August 2007 17:03

Dear Mrs Oliver,

Thank you for your e-mail of 15th August.

I apologise for the delay in responding but I have been making a number of enquiries to enable me to become better informed about the overall circumstances before getting back to you.

I note your frustration concerning the ‘public questions’ and FOI enquiries difficulties you have had but I understand that these matters have already been reviewed by a very senior officer of the Council, and I do not think it would be appropriate for me as Chief Internal Auditor to conduct a further review of those matters, nor do I think that it is part of Internal Audit’s remit to do so.

I am, however, concerned about the suggestion in your e-mail that there is some form of corruption going on in that the Fir Tree site has already been sold to a builder. I can find no truth in this ‘allegation’ from my enquiries so far – in fact it appears that we are not yet anywhere near close to a position where this land would actually be available for development.

In the circumstances I cannot see that a meeting between us would help to take matters further, unless of course, you have more detailed information/evidence concerning the potential corruption which you would be prepared to share with me.

Unfortunately I am now going to be away on annual leave until mid-September, but I will be happy to reconsider the position then in the light of any further information which you might have.

Bob Wainwright

Chief Internal Auditor.

From: sheilaoliver
Sent: 15 August 2007 16:26
To: Bob Wainwright
Cc:; John Schultz
Subject: Harcourt Street

Dear Mr Wainwright

I am very, very concerned. Please may I have a meeting with you in the Internal Audit Office to discuss what has gone on regarding the proposed school on Harcourt Street.

Everything has been done to shut me up – I was humiliated and banned from asking Council meeting questions for 3 months. I was threatened with some sort of exposure in the local press. I was illegally denied the opportunity to put Freedom of Information questions, as was everyone else in the town. I was told it would take 84 hours for a council officer to read and “redact” the files before I could see them, so request refused. When I did get to see the documents it took me just 2 hours to read them. More lies. When the 60 day time limit imposed on me by the Council expired, lo and behold we were all still banned from asking FOIA questions. I have been denied access to what Donna Sager admitted to me was a public document – the minutes of the school organisation committee – and when I finally saw it it contained vital information for me. Even though I have not made a FOIA request regarding the safety of the Council’s new traffic proposals for a new school and how four year olds are supposed to navigate their way along a dangerous lane and a large school entrance, and I am being told they are treating this as a FOIA request (which will take between 20 working days and six months) and the planning decision meeting is next week. I have not made a written request and these are planning matters and should be in the public domain anyway. I only overturned by illegal FOIA ban by humiliating the Council at Westminster and my council question ban (which I believe was against my human rights to question elected representatives) by poking fun at the Council in the press.

I have been going house to house in the area concerned with the new school and the closure of the old one and time and time again local people tell me they suspect corruption – that the Fir Tree land has already been sold to a builder.

The proposal to build the school on the Harcourt Street site makes no sense at all – financial or otherwise. And why put two children’s centres in close proximity when a deprived area has the perfect site for a new children’s centre and certainly the need for one.

Something very, very odd is going on and senior council officers have been kept informed of my concerns all along and have done nothing to help and, in my opinion, have done everything to obstuct the truth coming out.

I exclude Mr. Steve Lamb, Head of Development and Control, who has been helpful and, in my opinion, honest in his dealings with the public over this issue.

Please listen to me.

Kind regards