Thursday, 20 August 2015

Aldi Car Park and parking there.



When the Cooperative sold the larger of their two stores in Standish to Aldi last year, many residents were worried about parking there, even non customers. At the intervention of us, the Ward Cllrs, we were able to work with Aldi and secure that non customers could park there too. They did this on the hope that people would get comfortable with Aldi and come in their shop and buy some goods there. I know this is working as the store is popular within the village.

Recently a number of residents have gone over the 90 minutes allowed stay on the car park. A number of people are saying that the Community Forum are informing people that people can stay 3 hours. This is not the case and the maximum stay on the Car Park is 90 Minutes (1 1/2 Hours).

Whilst we have been able to successfully help a number of people get tickets overturned Aldi are wanting to keep working with the community and allow parking on their car park, but are asking that people respect the 90 minutes.

To try and stop any confusion Aldi will be installing some large banners around the site, including that back fence, just to give people a gentle reminder of this.

I know that should any of you have any confusion this blog post, along with the banners will stop that and continue parking for all - for 90 minutes.

I am thankful for the continued dialogue and working relationship that we have with Aldi.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Don't Blame the Council fall out continues

It has been reported in the Wigan Evening Post that a member of staff has been sacked at the Council over the Don't Blame the Council TV Programme. (http://www.wigantoday.net/news/local/don-t-blame-the-council-sacking-identity-revealed-1-7409926)

It seems that his boss, is still suspended and another member of staff, the head of PR, has been suspended too. The Chief Executive has said that the focus is now on how the council got portrayed in this way. Number of issues with that, which I will come to in a bit.

We all will remember the howler where the staff member said that he finished his job then went home and then came back to clock off to his manager - who did little but say let's draw line in it. So many people have said why wasn't that member of staff sacked and then the manager who let him off sacked too? Well I have heard why on the street. The problem was that the member of staff, along with others, had a contract that said it was job and finished. These were quite common years ago but have slowly been changed over the years - just obviously not with the Council. But when the new dept was opened that site had it's own policy where people that worked on site had to clock off on time. So in theory the staff had their contracts that said job and finish - which they did but then this other contract for the site they worked at saying they had to clock off on time. So what that member of staff did wasn't technically wrong and that's why he couldn't be sacked. Shocking if true!

Back to the comments that the leader of the Council and Chief Executive are carrying out an investigation. Thing for me they shouldn't - it should be someone independent because I do not believe for one moment that they did not know about the programme and I hear too that it was one of them that signed the contract for this programme. So they are implicated too and now they are carrying out the job of trying to blame someone. Their behaviour and involvement should be looked at too.

But the fact they are investigating how the council was filmed in this way is wrong for me - the question is how has the council been left to become run in this way? Because we all saw it so it is being run in this way.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The week that ended......09 Aug '15

It has not been the best week from the local and national news. At the beginning of the week we heard about the little lad in Standish that got attacked by a dog, whilst playing on a trampoline. It seems he is doing better now and is recovering well and I am sure we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Then we heard about Cilla Black passing away, RIP Cilla.



From my point it has been a bit of a busy one. Had an audit scrutiny meeting which wasn't the best. To be fair this committee does get along well and we seem to get things moving but this week I was disappointed. Fraud was talked about on a couple of items and the Council wanted to put out a statement that they have a zero tolerance approach on Fraud. Great I'm with this but when I probed a little it seems they are zero tolerance where it suits. One area that I was dead against is that, it seems - I say seem because I didn't get an answer but an indication - that if a fraud claim is put in and then the person who has put the fraud claim in then withdraws the claim, the council drop looking at the fraud. This is wrong! It should continue and if proven that the application was fraud then it needs to be recorded on the applicable fraud databases so the people cannot try it elsewhere. I have asked for this to be changed and to be fair again to the committee it seems they have taken it on board but until it has changed we cannot say we have been taking a zero tolerance approach on board.

Also it seems we don't know the amount that is lost to fraud each year. For example if we know there has been a fraud committed and then we try and recover the money, let's say from a business that goes bust, we don't record that money as lost and write the money off. Now there is little the Council can do to recover that money, especially in this example where the company has disappeared or gone bust, but we should be recording the data to keep track of how mush we have to write of. this surely is an account process too.

Ashfield Village Green hit a milestone too. This week we got the evidence from the Council, the sole objector. It is interesting what they say and what they don't say, after all what they have put out in the press I wonder how much of that is not discussed at the hearing? I am unsure if the evidence that we have exchanged is public now or if we have to wait for the inquiry but I hope as many of you that can attend do. Given that it is my belief that both the council and myself agree on a number of points I wonder if the length of the inquiry is reduced by a day or too?


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Wigan Council hold back residents email.

Regular visitors to this blog will see how Wigan Council illegally intercept emails that are sent to me from residents. I have no idea why they do this apart from trying to see who are emailing me and what I am doing to help residents.

In this latest incident a resident emailed me last Thursday with an urgent appeal for help. This person, who I am not going to identified, was asking for urgent help as they had recently been left in a situation with no money. this was not their fault and they wanted to see if I could help get their application for help processed quicker as they had no money.

Today the Council sent me an email saying by the way an email came to you last Thursday and here it is, like they have done nothing wrong. This is a week later!!!!! This is not the actions of a responsible Council, forget that they don't like me, not like that bothers me, but them doing this is hurting residents. The resident in question needed help last Thursday not this week.

Fortunately, the person also emailed the two other Ward Cllrs and we were all over this last week. We worked with the relevant Council dept and they were helpful and this helped the resident. But had the resident only emailed me then this would not have been the outcome because they are intercepting emails for me. Wigan Council hierarchy should be ashamed of themselves.

Therefore, I always recommend that if you want to get in touch with me email me at garethfairhurst@gmail.com . That's an email that the Council cannot intercept.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Dog attack on young child

Many of you will have heard about the attack on a 4 Yr old yesterday in Adelphi Street. The attack was by a dog. 2 people, one man and one woman, both aged 45, have been arrested today for having a dangerously out of control dog.

Obviously, I know this street well and live not to far away and walk up and down the street regularly.

Whilst there are rumours out there with what happened and what type of dog it is I thought I would write what I am hearing, from a good source. The children where out playing and having fun in the garden on a trampoline and when one of the children was called in the house and the back door was open that is when the dog got out and ran straight for the trampoline and carried out the attack. The child was doing nothing wrong but just having fun on a trampoline.

The Police have not confirmed yet if the dog is banned breed and we will have to wait for them to say one way or another. But there are asking for people to come forward with any information. You can call them on  or crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.

For me the important issue is for this little lad to get better soon. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Labour's Party Leaders row

Any one who is remotely interested in politics may have seen the Leader contest for the next Labour Leader.

The row is, should the centre ground candidates control the Labour Party or should it go back to it's roots? Historically, the Labour Party has been a socialist party but it seemed to have been hijacked by Tony Blair in the 90's. This moved the party to the centre ground and left behind it's roots. Some loved this, for me I think they loved the fact that after so many years of losing they had won. But soon after the traditional party members realised what had happened. Many saying to me that Tony Blair wasn't Labour, just a Tory in disguised. Interesting thought!

Back to the current situation with the centre ground candidates saying that should Jeremy Corbyn win the leaders contest that they will go back to the 80's. This may be the case but maybe it is just Labour returning to it's roots and taking control back off the people that hijacked the party in the first place. 

Should they go back to a socialist party then it will be their members choice and these central ground hijackers should respect that. After all the Tony Blair and the centre ground candidates are of no substance, but just PR and spin. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

Save Ashfield Update - Evidence Delivered.


The last weeks or so have been busy, confirming, collating and printing all the evidence that we have collected over the last three and a half years. Obviously the Save Ashfield campaign started back in early 2012. Much has been said and done over those three and a half years. 

Today was the recommend date set by the independent inspector for both myself, as the applicant, and Wigan Council, the sole objector, for the Ashfield Village Green Application. However, this was only a recommend date because the hearing is classed as a "non statutory" hearing, meaning that the registration authority - which is also Wigan Council, organises the hearing after getting recommendations from the independent Inspector. In fact should we be successful in the Village Green Public Inquiry it will be a recommendation made by the Independent Inspector and then the Council themselves will either make the order to make Ashfield a Village Green or deny it. However, whilst this may cause concern that the Council can ignore the recommendation made by the Inspector they would have to have a very good reason otherwise they leave themselves open to a legal challenge. 

Back to today, this was the day recommended for both sides to hand over their evidence to the other side. The Council earlier this week confirmed the date had moved to next Tuesday at 4pm. 

Whilst we had arranged to go and do the exchange today when we arrived the Council, again as the objector wasn't ready with their evidence. So after arriving with 8 large lever arch files with 000's of pages of evidence and the Council wasn't ready with theirs I left - with all the evidence and I will hand over only when Wigan Council have theirs ready.
Whilst Wigan Council has tried so many times over the last few years, and certainly over the last few weeks, to try and discredit the campaign it shows today with all our evidence, they have failed - monumentally. The residents have helped with 00's of witness statements and also rallied to help fund the skeleton legal argument that is in the bundles too. 

However, with the deadline for the evidence to be exchanged moved to Tuesday it now gives anyone that was thinking of doing a Witness Statement the last chance to complete one. Should you want to help and give your voice and backing to the campaign and join the 000's that already have please just email me at garethfairhurst@gmail.com .

After the deadline has passed there will not be another chance to put in your witness statements. They only take a few minutes to download, print out and then fill out. We can come and collect them from you too. Then from Tuesday we will be working with the people that have agreed to speak at the public hearing and working on our case that we will be presenting at the Public Inquiry.