Russ the Fuss 1043
Bash the Bishop 1046

Age Concern 1048
Wonderland 1 1049

Winter Warmer 1051
Marty Pants 1058

Tory's Too 1063
Ah Sole 1068

Aidan Abetting 1073
Wonderland 2 1077

Doncaster Races 1079
Cherie on Top 1082

Educashun Newz 1092
Car Wars 1093

Awards 2003 1096
Eye Earner 1099

Cole not Dole 1102
Corden Blue 1106

Dole not Cole 1102
School's Out 1111

Rule of Law 1116
Awards 2004 1123

Grovelling 1134
Fiddlers Free 1127

Regeneration Game 1147

Donny Déjà Vu 1151
School's Out 2 1152

Rave On 1153

Beyond The Law 1169
Tal Story 1170

Wragge Head 1172
Riches To Wragges 1174

Awards 2006 1175
Winter's Tale 1176


Back in 2001 Doncaster Mayor Martin Winter told Eye that he wouldn’t waste time talking to us because “my energies are used more productively leading Doncaster council on an extremely demanding regeneration agenda”.

Central to that agenda were his plans for the so called Glass Park project, which aimed to transform the site of a former Pilkington glass factory in the town into a “community” organic farm, enterprise centre, craft workshop, café, composting scheme, riding stables, garden, microbrewery and, er, fish farm.

In March 2002, we wrote: “So far… the transformation is all in Cllr Winter’s head. The site currently consists of a stagnant pond full of old tyres and milk crates next to the factory’s former dump, where shards of glass poke through the thin soil and weeds struggle to grow in the contaminated ground” (Eye1049).

Nearly four years on, that’s exactly how the Glass Park still is. The only difference is that even more British and European taxpayers’ money has been swallowed up – around £2m so far in regeneration grants and “106 monies”, the proceeds of (legal) bungs to the council from developers.

In June this year the district auditor issued a review of the Glass Park projects which was promptly sat upon by Donny council’s manager, Susan Law. Happily a copy has found its way to the Eye.

The report, couched in the considered language of the DA, is a sorry tale of mismanagement, misinformation and possible fraud. One scandal concerns so-called “matched funds”, in which a Glass Park subsidiary would claim that funding had been obtained or guaranteed, thereby receiving considerable “matching” funding from various departments of Doncaster council. No questions were even asked as to the existence of these “matching funds”, which the auditor discovered usually not to have existed. No steps were taken by the council to recover money misplaced as a result of such misrepresentations.

Projects were “promulgated to meet the needs of the local community”, but much of the supporting evidence didn’t stand up. The council, noted the DA, had no mechanism to check if claims were fraudulent.

The audit found that at the end of many grant funded projects “significant” items of equipment such as a digital camera [cost £2,857] and IT equipment [a printer costing £2,500] were left in the possession of employers. A whole range of expensive electrical products vanished.

The auditor also complains that the schemes were generally not in compliance with Inland Revenue requirements on the payment of tax and NI, that administration costs were excessive, taking up to 67percent of grant aid received, and that there was weakness in the registration of members’ interests in council-funded schemes.

The original Glass Park Development Company was registered with Companies House in the name of Martin Jon Winter [company secretary] and Elizabeth Jeffress [director], Winter’s fellow  councillor. Winter was succeeded as secretary by his wife, Carolyne Hunter. Neither is currently on the board, but both still take a close interest in Glass Park affairs, so dedicated are they to the “regeneration” of Doncaster.


Private Eye No 1147 9th December 2005