Wednesday, 26 June 2019

The Castleview Mystery : Part 1

An everyday tale of suspected corruption at Slough Borough Council

  1. In 1997 a land-locked agricultural field, in the Castleview area of Slough, was purchased for an extravagant £8 million by a Ireland domiciled Irish citizen called Michael Daly. Mr Daly has since gone bankrupt, but that is a story for Part 2.
  2. To make the farmer's field a commercially viable and profit-making housing site, the new Irish owner needed a proper road access from Upton Court Road, through the publicly owned Upton Court Park.
  3. During the 4 years from June 2004 to May 2008, when a Liberal, Independent and Conservative coalition ran Slough Council, the Irish owner offered Slough Council £10.2 million if the Council would sell-off part of Upton Court Park as an access road. The non-Labour councillors refused despite massive pressure on them from senior council officials.
  4. On Monday 19 November 2007, despite the non-Labour council coalition agreeing not to sell-off any part of Upton Court Park, Slough Council officials took all the council's official files on the Castleview affair to the offices of very expensive Estate Agents known as Drivers Jonas Real Estate Property Advisers.

  5. Incompetently or deliberately Slough Council officials retained no copies of the important council files - not even a list of documents was made.
  6. The Slough Times thinks the taking of all Castleview records to an Estate Agent, employed by council staff, where all those official records mysteriously get lost is highly questionable because:-

    • the elected councillors running Slough Council had decided not to sell-off part of Upton Court Park for an access road into the Castleview field; and
    • the Castleview field was privately owned (not council owned),
    There was, in the Slough Times opinion, no lawful reason for the entire collection of Slough Borough Council's records to disappear without trace from the council's safe-keeping.
  7. For what legitimate purpose would an expensive firm of Estate Agents, employed at the public's expense by unaccountable and unelected council staff, require the council's entire collection of the Castleview files ?
  8. The Castleview happenings make worrying reading which suggests the possibility of a secret, and therefore unauthorised by the councillors running Slough Borough Council, plot by council staff to deliberately undermine the official and well-known policy of the elected councillors not to sell public park land to a property speculator.
  9. If there was a secret plot, who was involved in it and what did the plotters hope to gain? The obvious gain, in the opinion of the Slough Times, was money - loads of it.
  10. Some police officers instantly say, without a moment's hesitation, Corruption is endemic in local government but Thames Valley Police generally prefer to be the 'buddies' and social acquaintances of senior council officials rather than to behave at all times as detached professional upholders of the law for all persons regardless of personal friendships.
  11. The Slough Times concerns are:-

    • All the council's files were taken out of the council's premise by council staff
    • Surprisingly the council staff kept no copies
    • Astonishingly the council staff did not make even a simple list of the documents
    • Who gave full lawful authority for all the council's records to be removed from the council's premises?
    • Why are there no records about any aspect of the documents disappearance from the council's official and lawful collection of public records?
    • For what purpose were all the documents removed from the council?
    • Who at Drivers Jonas Real Estate Property Advisers had lawful custody and control of the council's only copy of official council records?
    • Why did Drivers Jonas Real Estate Property Advisers permit the entire collection of official Slough Borough Council documents to become 'lost' ?
    • Slough Council staff have never ever provided any understandable explanation about the strange affair. It seems to the Slough Times a concealment of important facts happened deliberately.
    • In the public interest the Slough Times would welcome a robust police investigation in to this continuously worrying matter.
  12. In 2008, in less than 3 weeks after Labour won the local elections in Slough, Labour had delegated to Drivers Jonas, apparently without any substantive documentation and without any council involvement, the task of selling-off, or leasing, part of Upton Court park to the property speculator/developer.