Williams protected mason James Blackburn. He said as he did not think the rest of the Hetton-le-Hole Town Councillors would say what they had seen of the assault on me, he was not going to take any action on the matter.

The Superintendent,                            16A The Lyons,

Area Command,                                     Hetton-le-Hole,

Washington Police Station,                        Tyne-Wear, DH5 OHT.

Tele. 5264555

October 19 1995.

 Dear Sir,

I  wish  to report to you the following,  and  request your help with the matter that I report. I summarise events prior to what I believe is common assault upon me by three Town Councillors  who sit upon Hetton Town Council. I am a new  member  of this Town Council.

A few years ago I became aware that an Easington Lane Councillor owned  an area of land at Easington Lane. This stretches to  some several acres. I became aware of the ownership after a statement was made to  me by the father of the Councillor after I had complained  to him about things that had been done when my wife opened a  small business. Around that time Mr S. Blackburn made a statement to me about the possibility of his son becoming a "very rich man" if he could  obtain planning permission for land that he owned. We  had objected  to housing development near to the area where  the  his son, Councillor James Blackburn, owns the land. Our objection  to a  planning application by the nearby owner of land  was  upheld, and  the reason that I gave for the objection was printed in  the local press.

I joined the local Labour Party shortly after this  time. Relations with  the Blackburn family have been strained since that time.  My  opposition to Freemasonry became the subject  of  some heated  discussions  at the Local Labour Party  meetings.  I  had became  aware  of membership of the Masonic  movement  by  James Blackburn.  I  also had reason to believe that Mr  Clem  Simpson might also be a member of the Freemasons. Later, James  Blackburn confirmed  his membership of the Freemasons at a meeting  of  the Local Labour Party. Councillor Clem Simpson told me a few  months ago that he had been a member of the Freemasons but was no longer a  member of them. I am aware that being a member of the Freemasons is not unlawful, but I am also aware that some members of the  Freemasons do not like being exposed to the public as being members of that movement.

Mr Clem Simpson's wife, daughter of Councillors Samuel and  Joyce Blackburn, was nominated and seconded to be another member of the family  to  become a Councillor after a vacancy arose for  a  new member of the Council for the Easington Lane Ward. I expressed my concern to a number of people about the possibility of  Easington Lane having five out of the six of its Ward Councillors all being members of the same family. Samuel Blackburn the father of the Councillor who owns the land, who, along with his wife, Joyce and his Son in Law Mr Clem Simpson all sit upon the Hetton Town Council and represent the Easington Lane Ward. Some days before the Council Election nominations were due to close this year I received a telephone call from Councillor James Blackburn of 55 Lillywhite Terrace, Easington Lane. He asked if I  would  have an interest in becoming a Town Councillor. Given  the situation  that exists I told him that I did have an interest in it.

On the evening before nominations were due to close I received another  telephone  call at around nine twenty pm.  I  was  asked again  if  I  was interested in becoming a  Councillor. Again I confirmed my interest. I was told that someone would call upon me later that evening. At around ten twenty five pm the Secretary of the Local Labour Party,  David Tate, called at my home. I had been  nominated  and seconded by Councillors Samuel and Joyce Blackburn to be a Councillor for the Ward. Their daughter had withdrawn her interest in becoming  a  Ward Councillor. The seat was not contested as had been believed, and I became a new member of the Council representing the Easington Lane Ward.

In the course of Council duties I examined the new Unitary Development Plan for the City of Sunderland. I became aware of some large  area's  of land at Easington Lane which  have came  under proposed  housing  development. I was unaware of any declared interest  in  one area of the proposed housing development land which I firmly believed was owned by Councillor James Blackburn. I wrote and distributed the letter of which a copy I enclose to all members of the Hetton Town Council. Though there was obvious concern by some Councillors that I should distribute this letter at the Town Council meeting of October 2 1995, I was not deterred because  of my concern at what had taken place. I raised objections and forced a special meeting to discuss the Unitary Development Plan. This meeting took place on the evening of Thursday  October 12 1995. It was myself who also forced a proposed Public Meeting at the Hetton Lyons School which was planned to take place after the Council meeting on the UDP Plan. I was very concerned when it was apparent that Public representation on the Plan would close on Monday October 16 1995. I  expressed my concern but there was no action to attempt to  hold  a  Public meeting before the representation date expired.

Before this meeting of the Council commenced, I indicated to Councillor James Blackburn that it was my intention to hand out a letter  regarding my concerns about the housing proposals to all members at that meeting. He became very agitated and said that  I could do nothing about the housing as it had already been decided

upon. He said that should I act outside of the Group then I would be ejected from it for disobeying the rules. I argued back that I would not remain silent at what was taking place. I approached the Sunderland Echo reporter Mr Horn with some of my concerns about what was taking place. I begged him to have  some thing placed in the newspaper about the very extensive  proposals at Easington Lane when I became aware that most of the  Easington Lane community  were unaware of the proposals.  I  believe  that those  who  were  aware of housing proposals  thought  that  they related  to redevelopment of the Forrest Estate, or Cosy  Estate.There was nothing reported in the newspaper. I think it  possible that two rows that I had with Mr Horn over the years about  wrong information that was published about me in the Echo did not  help my situation.

When I arrived at the Hetton Town Council Chambers on the evening of  Thursday October 12 Mr James Blackburn was  already  present. While we waited for other Councillors to arrive, he asked me if I owned my own home. I replied that I did. Councillor Chris  Nairns was present when the question was asked. I made a remark to  himabout  the  question that James Blackburn had asked me.  At  that time  I was puzzled by Mr Blackburns question to me. He declined to give me his reason for asking the question.

During  the Special Meeting of the Council that evening  Mr  Horn and a member of the public were present. I became aware that there  was still no declaration of any interest by any of the Easington  Lane Ward Councillors with reference to the area of land which is included in the housing proposals for Easington Lane. Councillor  Clem Simpson spoke in support of the housing proposals. Councillor Joyce Blackburn also spoke in support of the housing proposals. I was very concerned as it became very apparent that the Blackburn family would not raise any concerns about the development, as it would not be beneficial to Councillor James Blackburn. I was further concerned when I became aware that other Councillors showed no concern over the housing proposals for Easington Lane. I was satisfied that they also knew that it was not likely that the Blackburns, including Councillor Clem Simpson were unlikely to express any concerns on the UDP Plan relative to the housing proposals. The only other Easington Lane Ward  Councillor Mr A. Maddison was not present at that meeting.Out of my concern at what was taking place, I made the statement in the full Council meeting that I believed that it was unlikely, because of possible interests by some fellow Easington Lane Councillors, that they might not agree with my observations and that in effect I was a lone voice on my objections to some aspects of the proposed  housing development land, should the plan be  approved, and  implemented. I had already decided that the area of  the proposed housing development had very serious  flaws. I have expressed these views in a comprehensive objection to the

Sunderland Planning Authority.Councillor Clem Simpson immediately rose to his feet and called for  the meeting to come to a close and asked that the press and public  should be asked to leave. The meeting carried on  when  I made no further mention of interests.

As the meeting was closing, Councillor Clem Simpson, asked the Chairman  to  allow the Councillors present to remain  after the press and public had left. This was allowed.

Immediately Mr Horn and the member of the public left, Councillor Clem  Simpson commenced to shout at me expressing his concern  at the  statement that I had made about possible interests.  It  was said  that I had acted outside of the rules when I had  made  the statement regarding interests. Councillor J. Steel decided that this meeting was out of order and said he was leaving. I told him that I was also leaving the meeting.When  I  made my way to the exit door from the Council  Chambers Councillor James Blackburn blocked my way and commenced to  shout abuse and bad language at me. He pushed me back from the door. He made  the statement that he now knew I owned my house  and  something to the effect that damages for what I had said  would be involved. As he did this his parents Councillors Samuel and Joyce Blackburn  then came to me and also commenced to shout  abuse  at me. They commenced also to pushed, and prod me. Councillor Samuel Blackburn  took hold of my jacket. I warned them twice that  they were  assaulting  me. On my third warning to them I said  that I would make a complaint to the Police should they continue to push me  and  prevent me from leaving the Council Chambers.  I  became aware  that  Councillor James Blackburn was setting  himself  to punch  me.  I  saw the Labour Group  Chairman  Councillor  George Wandless  take hold of Councillor James Blackburn and attempt  to push  him  away  from me. He managed to push him  away  into  the corridor leading to the Chambers. During this time other Councillors were hurrying away.

When I was eventually able to get out of the  Council Chambers into the rear car park, the Blackburns continued to shout abuse at  me. They told me that I had a very bad reputation and that  I was  a "soft bugger". James Blackburn repeated again a  statement that he had made while we were in the Council Chambers which  was that  they had done me a favour by enabling me to become a  Councillor. He said that they did not want me in the Council, andnor did  the "others". He also said that they did not want me in  the Local  Labour Party either. I was called various names and I  was very  aware that their attempt to provoke me was continuing  when they  said  that I was a "soft bugger", and "shit". I had been called  this latter name by Councillor James Blackburn while  we were  in  the Council Chambers. He had placed his face close to mine and yelled this name at me twice while we were in the Chambers. I did not want to be left alone in the car park and it was apparent that almost everyone else had left. I returned to my home.

When  it became apparent at the Town Council Meeting of Monday October  16 that the Chairman regarded the incident as closed, I attempted to have the matter more fully discussed. He said that I had  been  given a book of rules when I became a  Councillor  and implied that I should not have brought up the subject of interests of Council members during the meeting of the full Council. I  was aware of rules binding me to secrecy about discussions that  take place during "Group Meetings" which take place before the  full Council Meeting. Councillor Wandless expressed his concern at the none  declaration of interests and made statements to the  Blackburn family about it. He then inquired to Councillor James Blackburn that he believed that he had now declared an interest. I did not hear the reply to this question, but I was  aware that no interests had been disclosed in the Council Meetings where interests have to be declared for the benefit of disclosure to the public.  I do not regard interests as declared unless they  were declarations to the public.Councillor Wandless told me that if I wished to continue with the matter then I must do so outside of the Council.I  visited H.M Durham District Land Registry to obtain  proof  of title to the land in question. Confirmation was given by them  of the owner of the land as Councillor James Blackburn and his title number which was TY143607. I read out Councillor James Blackburn's  Land Registry Title number of his land and, confirmed to the "Group Meeting" prior to the meeting of the full Council last Monday that this land was included within the housing proposals. I also became aware that the statement that I had made  regarding possible interests of some Easington Lane Councillors during  the Special  Meeting of Thursday October 12 had not been included  in the minutes of that meeting.

As  I  had  become aware that there was to  be  no  action  taken against the Councillors involved, upon further thought I decided to  report the matter to the police. I thought that as the subject did contain my statement about Freemasonry I would only feel reasonably  confident by speaking to Detective  Constable  Storey who was stationed at Houghton-le-Spring. I had discussed with him previously my concerns of Freemasonry especially of membership of it by police officers. I learned from Houghton Police that D.C. Storey had been promoted to Sergeant and was now stationed at Southwick. I telephoned  the Southwick  CID  office on Tuesday morning and  learned  that  D.C Storey was now a uniformed Sergeant and could not act outside  of his immediate area of concern.

In  a long conversation with the person who I believe was  a  CID officer he suggested that I direct my complaint to the Superintendent. It was said that there is a "grey area" about the declaration of interests in respect of Council Members. It was  said that unless there was some financial gain obtained arising  out of none declaration of interests then it would be purely a matter for Council disciplinary procedures. There  is  little doubt that should the  housing  proposals  for Easington  Lane be approved, then the value of the area  of  land which  is  owned  by Councillor James Blackburn  will  rise  very substantially  and as Councillor Samuel Blackburn had said to  me some years ago, his son would become a very rich man.I am not too concerned about who becomes rich, but I am concerned at the circumstances of how it is being possibly obtained to  the probable  detriment of the people of Easington Lane who I firmly believe  would  suffer greatly should the  housing  proposals  be approved and implemented.

There is an attempt by some Councillors to regard the affair that I report as a private matter between Councillor James  Blackburn and myself. I am extremely concerned at this due to my action  in being able to identify the area of land concerned as being  owned by  Councillor  James Blackburn, and that it is included  in  the area of land for housing proposals. I would suggest that my statement that Councillor James Blackburn is a member of the Freemasons had the effect of making some other fellow  Councillors  fear possible consequences arising  if  they should  come  to my help in whatever way that they could.  I  can confirm a general fear as to the power of the Freemason movement. Though  again I do not imply that membership of Freemasonry is  a relevant matter in the affair, I would say that fear of the power of that movement may silence some as to what they heard and saw after the Special Council Meeting of October 12.

Yours sincerely

Councillor M. Kellett


The above complaint was handled by Superintendent Williams then of Washington Police Area Command. He said that as he did not think the rest of the Hetton-le-Hole Town Councillors would say what they had seen of the assault made upon me in the Council Chambers he was not taking the matter further. It is reasonably clear that he did not interview any of the Councillors but had spoken to former Council Clerk Mr. J. Hibbert about the assault on me. I understand that Superintendent Williams went into retirement not long after my complaint to police.


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