Pendle councillor vows to explain 'slurs'

‘MISUNDERSTOOD’ Coun Ann Kerrigan

‘MISUNDERSTOOD’ Coun Ann Kerrigan

First published in Blacko Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A COUNCILLOR accused of labelling a group of villagers ‘elitist and racist’ at a public meeting has vowed to explain her comments.

Horsfield councillor Ann Kerrigan admitted using the words at Wednesday’s meeting of Pendle Council’s West Craven Committe when she spoke in support of a charity’s plans to continue test-riding motorcycles in a field off Gisburn Old Road, Blacko.

Marion Lang, a resident who was against Wheels Within Wheels’s application, said a number of objectors had taken offence at Coun Kerrigan’s comments and urged her to issue an explanation or apology.

Yesterday, Coun Kerrigan said her comments had been ‘slightly misunderstood’ and vowed to publicly issue an explanation, possibly in the form of an apology, in the next few days.

Wheels Within Wheels, which trains youngsters in all things cycle-related, has been using the field to test out mini-motos and quad bikes since 2003.

But residents’ objections to the scheme had threatened to stop official authorisation being given.

Mrs Lang described their concerns over the charity’s plans as ‘legitimate’ and said Coun Kerrigan’s comments had been ‘corr-osive, unnecessary and inappropriate'.

She said: “Presumably she thinks that anyone who lives in a nice area and who does not agree with her views can quite legitimately be branded elitist and racist.

“Comments such as these from an elected councillor are totally unacceptable.”

Coun Kerrigan said: “I think she slightly misunderstood what I said.

“I didn’t call them elitist and racist, but I did use those words.

"I will be making an acknowledgement through the council and will probably put it in the form of an apology.”

Committee members voted in favour of allowing the charity to continue using the field, providing activity is restricted to between 10am and 4pm.

However, a planning contravention notice will be issued, telling them to remove a portable toilet and cabin.

Speaking after the meeting, Nasser Mahmood, project manager, said: “We have never broken any rules or regulations.

“After speaking to these residents, a lot of them now realise how vital the work is that we do with young people in the community and they now support us.”

Comments (4)

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11:11pm Thu 9 Sep 10

pez63 says...

How can they carry on with the site without adequate toilet facilities for the children and parents to use,its obvious why they have ordered them to remove the toilet which then deems the site useless to the public so thats the end of that if someone complains that there is no toilets.Mrs kerrigan your not going to complain about the lack of toilets are you?
How can they carry on with the site without adequate toilet facilities for the children and parents to use,its obvious why they have ordered them to remove the toilet which then deems the site useless to the public so thats the end of that if someone complains that there is no toilets.Mrs kerrigan your not going to complain about the lack of toilets are you? pez63
  • Score: 0

11:14pm Thu 9 Sep 10

Horsfield Cllr says...

This is a response to a letter by Mr Holden. Mr Holden has complained about the contribution he alleges I made during the West Craven Area Committee on Tuesday 7th September. At that meeting I spoke in favour of the application by Wheels within Wheels to use Field No 4561 at Gisburn Old Road, Blacko.

For those who do not know, Wheels within Wheels is a project that is funded to educate young people. The young people involved in the project learn about respect for the environment, respect for each other and how to be good citizens. Whilst doing this they acquire qualifications, mechanical skills, references that will help them get jobs and they have some fun too. Wheels is a project that is strongly supported by many agencies working with young people and especially by local schools. There are few people with children going to school in Pendle, or who work with children, who do not know of their work. Wheels is a valuable project whose existence is wholly dependent upon the use of the field at Blacko. As a funded project, the loss of the field would lead to the loss of the funding. This could be disastrous for many of our young people.

Going back to the meeting at West Craven Area Committee it is probably important to understand why the Wheels project was being discussed at all. The reason is that residents local to the field in question were objecting to the presence of Wheels in that field and their objections forced Wheels to apply for retrospective planning permission. As a supporter of the Wheels project I went along to the meeting to appeal to the Committee for its approval of the application for planning permission.

During the course of my remarks to the Committee I stated that I hoped that the opposition to Wheels was not due to elitism or racism. I was very puzzled that a project that had been in existence for eight years was now being opposed. My comments were not directed at any individuals.

On reflection however it is clear that my comments have been misconstrued and in my understandable enthusiasm to support the planning application I have given offence to some people and for that I unreservedly apologise. I hope that it was clear that my only purpose in speaking was to ensure that I did as much as possible to support a project which I passionately believe is important.

Ann Kerrigan
Pendle Councillor, Horsfield Ward
This is a response to a letter by Mr Holden. Mr Holden has complained about the contribution he alleges I made during the West Craven Area Committee on Tuesday 7th September. At that meeting I spoke in favour of the application by Wheels within Wheels to use Field No 4561 at Gisburn Old Road, Blacko. For those who do not know, Wheels within Wheels is a project that is funded to educate young people. The young people involved in the project learn about respect for the environment, respect for each other and how to be good citizens. Whilst doing this they acquire qualifications, mechanical skills, references that will help them get jobs and they have some fun too. Wheels is a project that is strongly supported by many agencies working with young people and especially by local schools. There are few people with children going to school in Pendle, or who work with children, who do not know of their work. Wheels is a valuable project whose existence is wholly dependent upon the use of the field at Blacko. As a funded project, the loss of the field would lead to the loss of the funding. This could be disastrous for many of our young people. Going back to the meeting at West Craven Area Committee it is probably important to understand why the Wheels project was being discussed at all. The reason is that residents local to the field in question were objecting to the presence of Wheels in that field and their objections forced Wheels to apply for retrospective planning permission. As a supporter of the Wheels project I went along to the meeting to appeal to the Committee for its approval of the application for planning permission. During the course of my remarks to the Committee I stated that I hoped that the opposition to Wheels was not due to elitism or racism. I was very puzzled that a project that had been in existence for eight years was now being opposed. My comments were not directed at any individuals. On reflection however it is clear that my comments have been misconstrued and in my understandable enthusiasm to support the planning application I have given offence to some people and for that I unreservedly apologise. I hope that it was clear that my only purpose in speaking was to ensure that I did as much as possible to support a project which I passionately believe is important. Ann Kerrigan Pendle Councillor, Horsfield Ward Horsfield Cllr
  • Score: 0

8:42am Fri 10 Sep 10

pendlelad says...

As someone who lives in Barlick, I take offence at what this woman has said. She needs to be sacked by her Party to teach her a lesson. If a member of the public made these comments these people would have kicked them out of the meeting, one rule for all.
As someone who lives in Barlick, I take offence at what this woman has said. She needs to be sacked by her Party to teach her a lesson. If a member of the public made these comments these people would have kicked them out of the meeting, one rule for all. pendlelad
  • Score: 0

5:29pm Fri 10 Sep 10

swizz says...

Mrs Kerrigan has obviously not had a child that attended the so called "citizen maker" project. My son came back cold, filthy and with blood pouring from his knee where he fell off the bike but left unattended in the corner of a field. He never wanted to go back and neither did any of his friends. She shouldn't just read what wheels want her to see. Also, she should stand back and listen to other people and stop accusing them of raciscm for not holding her own particular view.
Mrs Kerrigan has obviously not had a child that attended the so called "citizen maker" project. My son came back cold, filthy and with blood pouring from his knee where he fell off the bike but left unattended in the corner of a field. He never wanted to go back and neither did any of his friends. She shouldn't just read what wheels want her to see. Also, she should stand back and listen to other people and stop accusing them of raciscm for not holding her own particular view. swizz
  • Score: 0

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