Meet the mystery man who drops unsigned leaflets through your door
The mystery man who has been distributing unsigned leaflets calling on residents to reject Marlborough town council’s revamp plans for the town hall has been identified as Steve Pascall.
I tracked him to a house on The Green after he popped one of his misguided leaflets through my letterbox claiming to represent the views of an anonymous organisation called Marlborough Concerned Citizens but giving no contact details for himself or the group.
He can now be revealed to be the former chairman of West Berkshire Council, a former member of the Lib-Dem party from which he has quit because it has “lost the plot”, and a defeated candidate in a Marlborough town council by-election last year.
And he admitted: “With hindsight, it would have been a good idea if we had signed the leaflet. I agree that we could have put an address on it so that people could make contact.”
Will he do that in future?
“I am not going to tell you what our future plans are,” he insisted. “It is our intention to find out exactly how many people in Marlborough know what is gong on. And as a result of that we shall probably call a public meeting, whether the town council like it or not.”
That is despite the fact that a four-day consultation exercise on the £1 million project was staged at the town hall last week and since then every household has received a detailed multi-coloured leaflet with complete architectural drawings and costings.
While Mr Pascall, now retired from the property maintenance company he ran for 30 years, demands that the town council be open and accountable, he refuses to reveal the identity of some 20 “concerned citizens” who make up his group, which he accepts has no constitution or officers.
He appears confused in his mission, refusing consent for me to photograph him, and failing to offer any phone number or email address for future contact.
Nevertheless, he says the group is getting “a good result” by posting the leaflet but gives no indication as to how that is possible without any identification of Marlborough Concerned Citizens.
Former Marlborough mayor Andrew Ross, a retired qualified accountant who chairs the council’s finance committee, ran after Mr Pascall after he saw him put one of the leaflets through his letterbox.
“I chased him up the street and confronted him,” Councillor Ross told Marlborough News Online. “I said, this leaflet is absolute rubbish and I demand you stop telling blatant lies.’
“He said, ‘ There’s no fire escape.’ I said, ‘We have an architect working on the improvements, there will be a fire escape.’ Then he said, ‘Get a better architect’ and walked off.”
Mr Pascall accuses the town council of deliberately keeping residents “in the dark” about its plans but refuses to “name names” of those responsible for this policy, and claims the council has consistently rejected demands for a public meeting to be held.
Yet no such demand has been made at any of the full council and committee meetings I have attended over the past six months, during which Marlborough News Online has reported on the town hall scheme at least five times.
When asked if he read the Marlborough News Online website, which has 1,400 unique visitors a week, he at first said “No”, then claimed he was aware of its coverage of a number of major issues affecting the town.
But then he persistently changed the subject when asked detailed questions, apparently unaware too that the town council, which has an annual budget of £400,000 compared to Wiltshire Council’s £800 million, has few executive powers to tackle some of the town’s problems.
He denies that his leaflet is in any way misleading or inaccurate, declaring: “People don’t know about the proposals. I have made it my business to see that they do.”
He describes Marlborough, where he and his wife, Jennifer, first moved to 10 years ago, as “a fantastic place”, but sees the town council as “something like the Vicar of Dibley”.
He declares: “Now I’ve lived amongst it, I have realised it is not fun or entertaining,” but adds: “There are aspects of the town hall plans that are positive.”
“After all, we have been desperate for public toilets for years. We need public toilets here. But that’s not going to cost a million quid and put the residents in debt.”