A complaint has been filed with Croydon Council over the conduct of Coulsdon resident Peter Morgan, accusing him of using multiple aliases and bogus addresses to register a greater volume of opposition to the recently conducted 20mph zone consultation.
Morgan is a member of the road lobby group the Alliance of British Drivers. He had his party membership of UKIP suspended – and eventually revoked – in part, at least, for running a string of Twitter accounts under multiple aliases, some ostensibly official party accounts, but without approval or sanction.
Previously, Morgan was kicked out of the Croydon Conservatives when he was discovered to be a member of UKIP, without declaring this split loyalty, breaking party rules.
Now Morgan has been accused of acting anti-democratically, by submitting multiple objections to the 20mph zone consultation using false identities or by impersonating individuals without their permission.
The complaint was filed with council officials by activists from the Croydon Cycling Campaign, strong advocates for better-policed speed limits on London’s roads.
“It’s not that anyone wants to deny Peter Morgan his say and opinion,” a source familiar with the situation told Inside Croydon. “But it is anti-democratic for one or two individuals to try to influence public policy decisions by lodging serial statements under bogus identities. It is simply dishonest.”
Morgan’s multiple identities have been unearthed by some patient digital detective work around the publicly available information on the 20mph zone consultation, related online petitions, Freedom of Information requests and message boards relating to the recent closure to motor traffic of Norbury Avenue.
One individual to have lodged multiple comments on Croydon road schemes is called Mark Black, giving an address in Norbury. A check of the electoral roll online shows that there is a Mark Black who has lived at an address on Newlands Road, Norbury, for seven years. So Mark Black may actually exist. Whether Mark Black of Newlands Road has posted comments on the Croydon road schemes knowingly, though, is less easy to determine.
The contact email address given by Mark Black is email@example.com.
The qxad.info suffix takes you to a web presence PJM2.net. PJM are Peter J Morgan’s initials.
Using the web tool whois reveals that PJM2.net is owned by someone called Dwayne Forsell. The address given for Forsell is exactly the same Newlands Road address in Norbury where Mark Black is registered as living. But a check of electoral roll information for Dwayne Forsell finds no one of that name registered at that address. Indeed, there is no one called Dwayne Forsell on the register.
The Dwayne Forsell recorded as the owner of PJM2.net may exist in virtual reality, however, since they provide a contact email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
The swr-uk.net domain is owned by Sense with Roads. Sense with Roads is well-known as Morgan’s anti-bus, anti-cyclists, anti-pedestrian organisation. The layout of the sensewithroads website is remarkably similar to that used at pjm2.net.
Google “Dwayne Forsell” and you get some interesting returns, including discovering that five years ago he was campaigning for a bypass in Boston, Lincolnshire, some 150 miles north of Norbury. A blogger there picked up the connections with the Association of British Drivers, Sense with Roads and Peter Morgan, and the odd interest of south Londoners in a road-building scheme hours away up the A1.
There are other names on the Boston blog page which crop up in recent Croydon road consultations, the likes of Femi Owusu, James Mason, Paul Morgan and Ishmael Bangura – all of whom claim to be members of Sense With Roads – as well as Peter Morgan, plus Stephen Ward, Mark Bristow, Kathleen Betts and Storm Dinsey.
The coincidences mount up: Morgan is known to operate a Twitter account and website supporting his campaign, under the slogan SayNoTo20. So far, so lawful.
The saynoto20.org.uk website address was included on stickers fly-posted – without permission and therefore unlawfully – around Croydon. The web address links to an electronic copy of the poster, at a pjm2.net-hosted location. The graphic design of the posters and that on the SayNoTo20 website run by Morgan are identical.
The fly-poster efforts drew a public reaction from Morgan, who in a round-robin letter to councillors and local media, including Inside Croydon, accused the council of sending out “stormtroopers” to remove the unlawfully posted stickers – which were cleaned up at considerable public expense.
Peter Morgan and Dwayne Forsell appear together supporting other road campaigns, too, their names listed along with others purporting to be Sense with Roads members. And James Mason.
Of course, there may be a real James Mason living in Croydon who backs Sense with Roads’ policies. The name of the late Hollywood actor also occurs on the petition against 20mph zones in Croydon that was raised by Vidhi Mohan, a Tory councillor in Fairfield ward – another ward unaffected by the proposals in the council consultation.
Also signed up to that petition is Janet Stollery (“Slow speeds cause pollution, wreck transport schedules and damage the economy,” is Stollery’s inexpert opinion). Stollery does actually exist, and her recent public actions have seen her regularly line-up behind her chum Morgan.
Like Morgan, Stollery was a member of UKIP but has recently parted company with that political party. She remains an official of the controversial Croydon Communities [sic] Consortium, where Morgan has been an active member involved with the organisation of some meetings. CCC claims to be an “apolitical” and “community” organisation, and it has provided a platform for Morgan’s SayNoTo20 campaign. In the meantime, CCC has refused to repay the unspent balance of a £5,000 council grant given to it in 2013.
Like Morgan, CCC’s Stollery lives in Coulsdon, well away from the proposed 20mph zones in the north of the borough; there are roads in Coulsdon which have operated 20mph speed limits successfully for many years, apparently without hindering the human rights of Stollery or Morgan.
Earlier this year, Stollery teamed up with Morgan to demand the prompt staging of a council by-election in another ward in the north of the borough – Selhurst – which as a result of their actions saw the poll staged at additional cost to Croydon’s Council Tax-payers, estimated to amount to at least £15,000. Stollery and Morgan’s UKIP candidate polled fewer than 150 votes.
Stollery is now the chairman of the previously well-respected Old Coulsdon Residents’ Association.
Although Stollery does exist, she appears to be less active on the road campaigns than Peter Morgan, Dwayne Forsell, or Mark Black.
Mark Black has most recently appeared lodging a Freedom of Information request with Croydon Council asking about the conduct of the 20mph zone consultation. If it can be proven that Morgan has placed this FoI request using someone elses’s identity without permission, he may have been acting unlawfully.
In its advice to local authorities, the Information Commissioners’ Office states, “To be valid under the Act, [a FoI] request must include the requester’s real name… You may decide to check their identity if it is clear they are using a pseudonym or if there are legitimate grounds for refusing their request and you suspect they are trying to avoid this happening, for example because their request is vexatious or repeated.”
Inside Croydon is keen to hear from Mark Black of Newlands Road, Norbury, to confirm whether the FoI request was submitted by him or with his full knowledge and authorisation.
Because Peter Morgan has been discovered to have used other addresses and identities without permission. One home address given by an apparent objector to a local road scheme has been discovered to be that of someone who describes themselves as a former family friend of Morgan. They say that they are “absolutely livid” that personal details have been abused in this manner without permission.
As a result of the mounting suspicions surrounding Peter Morgan and the digital identities which lead back to his websites, cycling campaigners have written to Croydon Council officials asking that a thorough check of the electoral roll is conducted against the identities and addresses used by those who responded to the 20mph zone consultation.
All of which will take additional time, and additional costs for Croydon’s Council Tax-payers. Much of that will be thanks, once again, to Peter Morgan.
- Inside Croydon Events: for dates and links to what’s happening in and around Croydon, updated daily, click here
Inside Croydon: Named among best regional media campaigns, 2014.
- Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 729,297 page views in 2014.
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at email@example.com