Wednesday, 29 July 2015




critics get

thrown off

This awful summer weather...good for ducks, bad for holidays and bad  for  donkeys at the seaside.  What  about donkeys at the riverside? Or to be more precise, donkeys at Riverside?

To be even more precise ...what about donkeys at Riverside Housing Association, the giant Liverpool  property development organisation, owner of 50,000 homes, many of them in the Carlisle area? What has the awful summer weather been like for Riverside donkeys?

The awful summer  weather has not been good for Riverside donkeys,  a bit stormy, in fact. The storms have blown in from the many critical people who say that  these donkeys are too quiet and docile...spend  too much time nodding.

Naturally , Riverside defends its  donkeys and says  such talk  of nodding is insulting. 

More than that, says Riverside,  talk of nodding donkeys might  make Riverside react and do some talking its solicitor!

That is precisely what seem to be happening, with hints  of Riverside legal action against some of the outspoken critics of the nodding donkeys. These outspoken critics have now been blacklisted by Riverside. Yes, blacklisted!.

Blame this blog for the blacklisting. The otspoken critics  used the blog to  make the critical nodding-donkey comments. Readers of the blog may  remember  the comments, a week or two ago. They were made by Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation, which incidentally owns the blog.

Today, the Federation, now  newly-blacklisted, publishes  in full Riverside`s answer to its nodding donkey criticism.

The answer is an email from Mr Dean Butterworth, Riverside`s Carlisle Regional Director, which was sent to the Federation on July 9.

The email is printed  below.

The Federation considered  Mr Butterworth`s  email deserves an answer.

That answer- a letter to Mr Butterworth sent on July 27- is printed in full below  the email.

Email dated July 9 from  Mr. Dean Butterworth to the Secretary of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation

“I formally acknowledge receipt of your email of the 24th June, however Riverside will not be formally responding to your request. ( For the starting dates of two promised Riverside forums, for tenants and for leaseholders).

“While I accept that your organisation will target me via Community Voice Carlisle, which reports the views of your Carlisle Tenants and Residents Federation, I draw the line at the unacceptable and disrespectful language used to describe members of the Riverside Cumbria Scrutiny Panel, and I quote from the blog article of the 28th June 2015 ‘Riverside Disrespectful Donkeys Fail To Get The Nod’.

”This incorrect and disrespectful rhetoric is unacceptable for a group of tenants who work tirelessly to try to improve the services that Riverside provides to all its customers. I will also support the Scrutiny Panel should they chose to seek legal advice to get redress for these comments

“Therefore, Riverside will now not recognise the Carlisle Tenants and Residents Federation, with immediate effect. Regards, Dean Butterworth”

Letter dated July 27 to Mr Dean Butterworth from the  Secretary of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation

Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation at its meeting on July 16 discussed your email of July 9 in which you stated that Riverside, with immediate effect, will not recognise the Federation. I was asked to reply.

The email was in response to a letter from the Federation asking for the starting date of two new Riverside forums which had been promised i.e. for tenants, and for leaseholders.

You will be aware that a Riverside non-recognition decision is nothing new to the Federation. The Federation was the subject of previous almost identical Riverside decisions, together with other similar arbitrary and authoritarian decisions during the time of your predecessor, Mr Patrick Leonard. Some of these arbitrary and authoritarian decisions are listed below.

Mr Leonard, you will recall  stood as a party political candidate in the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner election, then stated that if elected he was prepared to do the two jobs together continuously  i.e. that of commissioner and that of his then current job of regional director of Riverside. Most people considered this proposition to be ridiculous.

You will also be aware that the Federation was also the subject of false allegations, instigated by Riverside, which resulted in the city council arbitrarily cutting off email correspondence with the Federation. This decision by the city council was deplorable.

You will also be aware that the Federation has also been the subject of a Riverside decision that the Federation will “cease to exist.” (This decision is recorded in the minutes of the city council Community Overview and Scrutiny Panel). Riverside had neither the power nor the authority to make such an outrageous claim. Riverside`s action in this case, again was deplorable.

You will also be aware that the Federation was  more than once the subject of an obnoxious Riverside procedure, namely the Persistent Complaints Procedure while it was engaged in the democratic process of a  taxpayer`s right to participate in  the proceedings of the city council`s Community and Overview and Scrutiny Panel. Riverside`s action in this case, in addition to being ultra vires, was also an  outrageous gross interference in the democratic process and again, was deplorable.

You will also be aware of what the Federation considered to be a Riverside campaign of hostility to the Federation  which lasted for several years. Riverside`s actions in this instance were, once again, deplorable.

All of the above deplorable decisions and actions have been the subject of written protests by the Federation but none has been explained by Riverside. Nor have they been the subject of an apology. As far as the Federation is concerned they are still extant.

 It is therefore difficult to understand your non-recognition decision in the context of Riverside`s still outstanding decision to make the Federation cease to exist; or to understand your non-recognition decision in the context of the decisions of the still  outstanding Riverside`s Persistent Complaints Procedure; or to understand your non-recognition decision in the context of  the still outstanding Riverside`s campaign of hostility to the Federation.

Perhaps you will therefore please further explain these conundrums to help the understanding of the Federation.


Turning now to the contents of your email.

I refer to your comment that the rhetoric used in the Federation blog is incorrect, disrespectful and unacceptable to describe your Scrutiny Panel,  which you describe as “a group of Riverside tenants who work tirelessly to try to improve the service that Riverside provides for all its customers.”

The Federation comment on this is that these tenants, I feel certain, work no harder than members of the Federation. But your tenants are fortunate in having the protection of a massive organisation which allows them to escape such outrageous arbitrary and authoritarian treatment as that listed above. This treatment can only be described as Riverside bullying of  the comparatively tiny Federation which has no such protection.

The Federation makes this further comment: in the light of the comments of the chairman of the city Overview and Scrutiny Panel on April 9 about the absence of independence of the Riverside Scrutiny Panel, and in the light of the Federation`s experience of six years of working with Riverside at meetings up to four times month, the Federation blog was correct in that it was fair comment on a matter of public interest.

(The six years of meetings referred to in the previous paragraph – the meetings were badly organised and badly run - ended when the Federation was dumped by Riverside. Throughout the six years, Riverside was only  interested in the views of  its nominees, what the Federation would describe as its nodding donkeys. Riverside consistently rejected any views of an independent nature.)


In conclusion, the Federation regrets that Riverside continues to reject views of an independent nature and continues to make  arbitrary and authoritarian decisions, such as the non-recognition decision contained in your email.

The Federation hoped that with your arrival in Carlisle about a year ago, and  with your  stated  aim then to  make changes and improvements in relations  with other organisations there would have been a new beginning for Riverside.

Your two meetings with myself as representative of the Federation were constructive and helpful, particularly when you stated that the Federation would be invited to
become a member of the Riverside Carlisle tenants` forum which was planned.

The Federation urges you to revert back to your initial policy of a year ago.  This initial policy would be to the  benefit of your tenants and leaseholders  and to all other Carlisle and district 

Community Voice Carlisle is the blog of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation. Information  about the Federtion is available on 01228 522277 or 01228 532803. 

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