Police called in on potash planner TIM LAWN

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Police called in on potash planner TIM LAWN

Police called in on potash planner TIM LAWN

  • An update by Nigel Ward and Tim Thorne on the fall-out from the Real Whitby coverage of exposure of the undeclared interests of then-Chair of the North York Moors National Park Authority Planning Committee, former Scarborough Borough Councillor Tim LAWN


The Yorkshire Post has this morning – at one midnight past midnight (i.e. as soon as Polling Day was over – published a report entitled “Councillor probed on ‘failure to register company”.

The salient points of the article are:

  • POLICE have been called in to investigate the actions of a senior councillor who set up a minerals company in the wake of a planning application for a huge £1bn potash mine in North Yorkshire.
  • He (Tim LAWN) registered Hollybush Minerals with Companies House on October 5 but his financial interest in the company was not registered with the national park authority until March 12. Six days later Mr Lawn resigned from Scarborough Council which meant his membership of the national park authority – as a council nominee – also lapsed.
  • Lisa Dixon, Scarborough Council’s legal director, said: “The investigation into former borough councillor, Tim Lawn, relates to the failure to disclose a pecuniary interest. Although a member of the public referred this to us as a complaint, we were already taking steps in relation to the matter. However, the investigation has now been referred to North Yorkshire Police and we are unable to comment any further at this time.”

Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that Tim LAWN was a Conservative Councillor.

Our colleagues at the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column of PRIVATE EYE covered it on 4th March 2013 in an article entitled “Moor the Merrier”.

Tim LAWN resigned from SBC on 18th March 2013, in the immediate aftermath of the furore raised by Real Whitby in this article, on 8th March 2013: “From York Potash, With Love”.

Real Whitby reported on the Hollybush Minerals Ltd formation on 2nd April 2013 in his article entitled “From Scarborough Town Hall, With Anger”.

And yet here we are, ONE MINUTE into the day AFTER the election (when bad publicity for the Conservatives is no longer critical) and the region’s leading newspaper – the Yorkshire Post – is finally spilling the beans on a story that Real Whitby has been pursuing for months.

And regular readers of Real Whitby will immediately recognise that this same Lisa DIXON, quoted in the Yorkshire Post article above, threatened legal action (civil and criminal) against Real Whitby and the Corruption Busters on 28th March 2013, claiming defamation of elected representatives and paid public servants at Scarborough Borough Council.

It is interesting to note that at an SBC Cabinet Meeting on 23rd April – almost one month after Lisa DIXON’s threats of legal action against Real Whitby and the Corruption Busters – she told the Cabinet in relation to the threat of legal action that, “It was important that the work was undertaken thoroughly and not rushed”.

In other words, the threat of legal action was rushed, and subsequent events are proving that Real Whitby has been way ahead of the Monitoring Officer throughout. Fears expressed by several Councillors that Lisa DIXON was appointed prematurely to a position beyond her competence are looking increasingly well-founded.

In our view, that is fair comment.


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  1. James Miller May 3, 2013 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Ms. Dixon, how soon can Mr. Dillon expect your resignation?

  2. P A Morris May 3, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Don’t Johnson Newspapers own the Yorkshire Post and the Scarborough Papers and the Whitby Gazette?

  3. kathleen parker May 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    And so should the Police be involved,is Joe next? It should be! Well done Nige and Tim for being on the ball.

  4. Real Whitby Webmaster May 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    You need a proof reader guys.

  5. Gary Ludlow May 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    How soon can we expect SBC’s Chief Exec Jim Dillon’s resignation?
    He has achieved NOTHING other than heaping bad publicity time and time again upon our Borough Council.
    Given the monthly coverage in Private Eye I doubt Mr Dillon will be refered to as a Chief Exec every again.
    Come on Mr Dillon, you are just an expensive title and have ran our council down to the point where you are no longer required.

  6. Real Whitby Webmaster May 3, 2013 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Again, personally speaking and in my own opinion only, I think they should investigate top to bottom of everyone involved in this whole dreadful episode. Everyone at the National Park planning committee needs investigating. People buying land, people buying shares, people going out for meals and concerts with reps of potash companies, all those traders on the share dealing sites who arrive here on mass to rubbish every story we run, people on the payroll of mining companies coming on the site to start arguments and steer debate off target, people emailing me with threats, people telling me how to run the site, people harassing me by email. There is some bad things going on here, Ive also had a threat of legal action from a contributor on the potash stories. This whole thing appears rotten to the core.

    legal professionals should they seek to prosecute you as well as your “contributors” as you put it, and are carefully monitoring the situation at the moment.

    All I can add to the above Glen is that if this happens it won’t come in the form of some amateurish letter from a local authority solicitor but some of the finest legal people that money can buy.

    For what it’s worth Glen I think it’s extremely commendable, but misguided of you in aligning yourself with some of the opinions of your writers who are going to be the biggest recipients of any legal action (if and when) it comes.

    I even think Lisa Dixon should be investigated, a big part of me wonders how much of this is linked to threats of legal action and threats of criminal proceedings against myself and many others from Dixon and SBC. I mean who would threaten legal action and suggest someone is a criminal without actually saying what it is they are supposed to have done. Something is afoot at SBC, they tried to get us of the scent.

    The police also need to be very thorough because all eyes are on this story, and many of the other stories at Real Whitby. Im not saying too much but national press and national tv organisations are watching all of this very closely. Some have been for our evidence and are running it through their own legal departments. I think this and other stories including the attempt to silence us, are going to be national news really very soon.

    I dont trust anyone involved in this and I also dont trust the polic to investigate thoroughly given who ran the police up untill recently.

  7. Yorkie Gull May 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    With this new Tim Lawn exposé plus recent scurrilous statements & double dealings that a number of Scarborough councillors/officers have been involved in, I would think Scarborough Borough Council will have now have improved on its old position of second rottenest borough (After Doncaster) to an all time achievement. Top of the league table NUMBER! 1! . No doubt the cretin-us individuals who are responsible will be treating it as some sort of wondrous achievement. (Yorkie Gull)

  8. kathleen parker May 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    All the bloody lot need investigating, they’re all part of “YOU SCRATCH MY BACK” brigade!

  9. Gary Ludlow May 4, 2013 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Whitby Cllr Joe Plants involvement in the £113,000 MeToo Voucher scheme should also merit a criminal investigation…….READ ON

    Cllr Plant THIS IS SICKENING……

    Joe Plant and MeeToo rip off really does make sickening reading.

    Is it true that you as a County Councillor and Chair of a Childrens Committee covering the entire area of the County of North Yorkshire, chased up a payment in another Councillors Ward and paid out £113,000 to a tiny business, with whom you had connections, taking part in a County Council Childrens scheme called Me Too

    That’s twenty six thousand individual childrens activities at £5.00 per activity.

    In just your tiny weeny area alone in this remote corner of the whole of North Yorkshire, the largest county in the United Kingdom, someone (whom people say you personally know really well, like really well) invoiced the scheme you were head of as an NYCC committee chair, for a total of ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS and YOU did not question it even though the brains and management of NYCC did.

    £113,000 claimed when people working for North Yorkshire County Council are being laid off??

    And you approved, some say took an active part in assisting, oiling, in fact demanding, in the North Yorkshire County Council CHAMBER in a County Council meeting, to ensure the provider of the childrens activity, the one tiny business, was paid out £113,000 after serious concerns were raised by NYCC mnagement, thereby delaying the payment.

    Despite the fact that NYCC really struggled to find the money allocated for the scheme. Your family contact had brought the scheme to the point of total collapse & disrepute with just one invoice.

    DO YOU REALISE THAT is 22,600 CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES……. at £5 per activity…

    One Activity enjoyed by TWENTY TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED CHILDREN at £5 per activity.

    What was that activity and Where did the twenty two thousand children come from?

    NYCC Councillor PLANT’s Declaration was fourteen months late, having been delivered only at the urging of an (unidentified) NYCC “legal officer”.

    Councillor PLANT now amends the allegations he made in his formal Declaration, stating that they were “from people on the street how true it is I don’t know” – i.e. mere hearsay.

    Councillor PLANT refers, for the first time, to criminality – i.e. forgery and fraud.

    Councillor PLANT refers to having “brought to the attention of the council” the outstanding invoices of providers – including the business in which he had a duty to declare a personal interest (but did not – for fourteen months, plus), namely. Esk Leisure, i.e. Mini Monsterz, in Ruswarp, which is not situated in Councillor PLANT’s division – Whitby Streonshalh).

    Councillor PLANT now corrects his omission, in his formal Declaration, that one of the as-yet unpaid providers was the one in which he held a disclosable personal interest.

    Remaining silent is speaks VOLUMES about you Cllr Plant. What was the activity? How many Children were involved to rack up a bill of £113,000?
    Why did you chase up the money even though the business was NOT even in your Council Ward ????
    We the public should be told and it is your duty to explain exactly what the £113,000 payment was for?
    What did some local kids to to rack up a bill of £113,000? Please Cllr Joe Plant tell us….

  10. Tim Thorne May 4, 2013 at 10:46 am - Reply

    I see that neither the Scarborough News nor the Whitby Gazette are covering this story which made the front page of the Yorkshire Post.

  11. Andrea Smith May 4, 2013 at 11:39 am - Reply

    I was told yesterday that a prominent local rang the gazette about this and was told by a gazette reporter that they had spoke to Scarborough Council Over a month ago, only to be told the register of interests was all legal and as it should be. If this is true Will the Gazette be publishing a story about how they were lied to ?

  12. Rupert Ferguson May 5, 2013 at 7:57 am - Reply

    The basic problem is that even before Poulsen Planning and corruption always went hand in hand!


  13. Tom Brown May 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    What a story yet only Real Whitby and Private Eye seem to find any interest in it.David Cameron and all the Conservative party and one of which I can think of in Whitby must think it perfectly all right and to make a quick buck or a million is normal and should be encouraged.
    We have a corrupt Borough, County and State. Its all down to COMMON PURPOSE (GOOGLE IT)its not a conspiracy theory its just a conspiracy and a world wide one at that.

  14. Richard Ineson May 8, 2013 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Local government has always had a very dubious reputation. Charles Dickens was one of its most fervent critics, epitomised by his depiction of the ‘Eatanswill’ election in his ‘Pickwick Papers’and that was in the 1830s. Locally, our, Councillors and senior Council staff have not given the electorate any cause to have confidence in them, the blatant and disgraceful fiscal mismanagement of the finances by the North Yorkshire Police Authority,under the Chair of Miss Kenyon – the famous £28,400 shower, the £500,000 spent on luxury cars for senior police officers; then the casual manner in which the colossal waste of public money is regarded by both Councillors and Council staff – the £250,000 wasted on the cutting down of the ‘Irton Tree’ the £3.8 million shortfall on the sale of the Highways Depots, the £415,000 already spent on the Whitby park and ride scheme with not a blade of grass cut to show for it, the £66 million sea defences scandal, the £4 million overspend on the Scarborough park and ride scheme, the £300,000, Whitby, ‘Beach Management’ centre scandal,the £15,000 ‘Bollard which never rises’ the waste of £16,000 on the 2006 east side car parking public consultation, the results of which were completely ignored. Then there is the manner in which local government is conducted in this area – the notorious STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUP system, for one example, by which anonymous, unmandated, unelected, and unaccountable groups of people are allowed to make decisions (made in secret meetings)which are then rubber stamped by the Council. This, all coupled with a level of Council tax which is at least double that which is paid by the citizens of Westminster (average weekly wage £650.00)and all SBC can think about is closing down the voice of the public, i.e. Real Whitby, where these perfectly legitimate concerns are aired. What does this say about the leadership of the various Councils in this area ? Lisa Dixon’s letter commences, ‘I am a solicitor’ she may not realise this, but this is not the kind of thing of which anyone should be boasting, it is the equivalent of announcing that you are an ‘investment’ banker or an estate agent or a friend of Fred Goodwin or Sir Mark Thatcher, or Jeffrey Archer, all things better kept under the hat, when dealing with the general public,in my view.

  15. Richard Ineson May 8, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    This latest ‘Tim Lawn affair’ and the equally dubious ‘Me Too affair’ have done nothing to add any lustre to the already badly tarnished, even by local government standards, reputations of our local Councils. We need some strong leadership here, someone who, instead of remaining silent and hoping that their comfy and lucrative seat on the Council will remain intact despite the appalling and blatant mismanagement of local government finances and administration, which is taking place in front of their eyes, will take the bull by the horns and chuck out the rubbish and instil some sense of civic duty and integrity into the Council members.

  16. Richard Ineson May 8, 2013 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Not to mention the Whitby Traffic Partnership.

  17. Walker May 12, 2013 at 12:03 am - Reply

    How deep does this go?

  18. Vanda May 12, 2013 at 8:36 am - Reply

    “Now senior Conservatives have admitted they are nervous that a key investor – Hitachi, which is building a train-assembly factory in County Durham – has been offended, after being dragged into the row. ” mmmm wonder how ‘offended’ Sirius would feel if their application is delayed by further undeclared interests …


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