IN 2016, Gwen Swinburn made a submission to City Of York Council's Citizens Audit which exposed appalling failures by a senior officer to follow procurement rules where contracts and tenders were not issued for payments totalling of over £174,000 over a three-year period to a contractor.

This newspaper covered the story, which involved a thorough inquiry, and the officer subsequently left the council.

Gwen Swinburn has now been banned from attending council meetings for accusing another officer of not having a clue what they are talking about.

The saying, 'there is no smoke without fire' comes to mind.

Paul S Cordock,

Durlston Drive,



... CITY of York Council has sunk to a new low unleashing its security muscle to eject a female citizen who has been standing up to that authority for many years (Gwen Swinburn faces 3-month ban from York council meetings, The Press online, February 22).

The accusation against her of defaming an officer is patently absurd. What we have here is faux outrage used as an excuse to exclude the most effective critic of York council; a lady with impeccable qualifications and a proven track record of exposing serious failings.

The citizen in question knows more about local government in general and governance rules in particular than all council officers and members put together.

No doubt senior managers would love to have the powers of Putin and send her to Siberia but we are not in such an authoritarian society.

Not yet anyway, thanks largely to this people’s champion who has been successfully shining a light in dark corners at West Offices.

Long may she continue to do so.

Matthew Laverack,

Lord Mayors Walk,


... AS one of only a handful of local citizens that can actually be bothered to hold City of York Council to account for its many failings, public interest reports, and in my opinion, outright corruption, I’m appalled but not surprised Gwen Swinburn has been banned from attending future meetings.

Officers and the many councillors she has embarrassed over the years have been waiting for a long time to pull this kind of stunt and it needs to be foiled.

I hope this gets overturned by any legal avenue necessary and then the officers responsible for this blatant attempt at suppression of democracy are immediately fired.

Dr Scott Marmion,




'Neglected' Fishergate needs council attention

I AM pleased to read in The Press that Labour is arranging an ‘open public engagement’ to look at further improvements to the shop frontages in Acomb, including changes to the bollard forest that was planted by the previous Lib-Green council.

It would be great if a similar consultation could also be arranged to bring improvements to the neglected shop frontages in Fishergate, including removing some of the footpath blocking bollards.

Fishergate shops provide a vital service for local residents, but apart from the reputed £17,000 spent on installing the bollards, nothing has been done to make the area more attractive or to remove the tripping hazards.

Christopher Rainger,

Grange Street,

Fishergate, York


Fed up of repeats

AFTER watching very few TV programmes for a long time now I have reached the conclusion that if they stopped the licence fee and the BBC had to rely on pay-as-you-view it would be bankrupt within 28 days - especially with the mind-boggling salaries paid to people with no talent whatsoever. This applies to all aspects of their programmes.

TJ Ryder,