We need facts, not fiction . . .

Sir—I must correct the inaccurate statements of Robin Stonebridge (see Advertiser letters, January 21).

If one is going to write to the letters page, one should produce facts and not fiction. Here is my factual reply.

1 “Oppose expansion into Anston’s Green Belt.” At every opportunity during LDF discussions I have spoken up in my opposition to building houses in the green belt areas around Anston. Members of the Labour Party have always been in favour of housing on our green fields.

2 “Investigate why Anston has the highest local Tax.” Time and time again I have questioned the financial decisions of Anston Parish Council, I have formed the opinion that as a council we have a very poor understanding of how Budgets work. Our “so-called" discussions on the precept this year proves my point.

3 “Ask the awkward questions that the parish council do not want to answer.” Boy oh boy have I done that. The majority of councillors have sat and squirmed in their seats this year. They dislike the questions I ask and in turn dislike me, so I must be doing a good job for Anston as a whole.

4 “Ensure the parish council is more open and honest in its dealing with the public.” The allotment holders will back me up in the issue of being more open with the public. Some members now have difficulty in hiding things from the public. This “culture” of not talking to the people still has along way to go.

5 “Stop the current culture of parish council secrecy.” Since the good people of Anston elected me to the council, the number of “secret sessions” where the public are excluded has dropped dramatically. The days of making personal comments about the public while they are not present is a thing of the past.

6 “Stop excessive spending on land grabbing quarries and empty fields.” When I was elected the parish council were in the process of trying to purchase empty quarries, with no access, to the tune of thousands of taxpayers pounds. I and my colleagues put a stop to this and saved the people of Anston another probable tax hike.

7 “Find out where the missing £50,000 of parish money has gone.” They don’t like this one coming out. The parish council was involved in a court case with a parish resident, a case they were advised that they were unlikely to win, but they carried on anyway. Mr Stonebridge was chairman of the parish during this case and it was decided to raise the money to defend the action through the precept. The council lost (surprise,surprise) costing us, the taxpayer, around £100,000.

The year after, the council did not reduce the precept by £50,000, as it should have, so the question is, Mr Stonebridge, where is the £50,000 and why did you and the Labour-dominated council at the time keep it?

It was my letter regarding the poor choice of candidate for Anston, Cllr Dalton, that sparked off Mr Stonebridge’s outburst. Well, guess what, Cllr Dalton was present when it was decided to keep our £50,000.

When she knocks on your door asking for your vote, ask where the £50,000 is and ask for an explanation of why our precept is nearly the highest in Rotherham.

Finally, I and my colleagues rallied around in 2008 and helped oust Mr Stonebridge from his position as councillor.

His letter and inaccuracies are those of a bitter man and probably just a case of sour grapes. We need facts not fiction.

S. Thornton, The Oval, North Anston.