Friday, 19 December 2014

Forth coming Roadworks in Standish

I am introducing a road work post within the blog. This will hopefully help keep you informed when they are coming so you can take alternative routes if you need to.

The first one to tell you in on Preston Rd near to Ludlow Street. This will take place between the 5 - January 2015. Temporary traffic lights will be installed when the works will be carried out. These are at off peak times. the work is being carried out by United utilities.

The second one to tell you about is being carried out by BT and they are one the same day as the above, 5 - 7 January 2015 at off peak times. These will be near the junction of Chorley Rd and Red Rock. Again Temporary lights will be installed.

Hope you find this new section useful over the coming weeks and months. I know it would be better with no road works before any one says that :-). As they say don't shoot the messenger. :-)

Boars Head petrol station incident update

I have seen on numerous posts about an incident that happened last night, Thursday 18/12/14. Allegedly a man was refused to be served for wearing a help the hero T-Shirt. Given the seriousness of that I have visited the station today and been told, by a member of staff that openly admitting not being on duty last night - so he said this is what he has heard.

The version of events from the petrol station, at the minute, is that a man asked for cigarettes and he was asked for ID. He did not have any, therefore he was refused to be served cigarettes because he had no ID. The owners have said if a time is given to them they will review the CCTV.

If this version of event is true then if someone has no ID then the shop worker can refuse to serve them. Now I know some may say that he was asked for ID because he was wearing the T-Shirt, that is something we wouldn't know unless we see the CCTV and see if the person does look young.

I hope we can get a time and review this matter.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Parents concerned on children Education

I think it is great that we have 3 great primary schools in Standish. I think we have a wonderful choice from all demographics. Just recently Woodfold regained their outstanding status from Ofsted. However, parents are coming in increasing numbers and commenting to me about the situation at Woodfold primary School. This is because of the strange situation when the head teacher handed in her resignation at the beginning of the school year. This then meant that the governors had to try and get a head teacher to start at the beginning of the year 2015.

I think many will be aware of the parents that recently raised safeguarding issues at  the school and many will have seen the Youtube video with the distraught child in the play ground and/ or seen the leaflets that the parents have passed out. I do believe that all of us would do the same if we had the same safeguarding concerns like those that parents.

Many parents feel that the situation with the parents have put in have probably made the head teacher come to the decision to resign at the beginning of the educational year  rather than at the end of the year, which most head teachers would do if and when they retire.

Moving on it is very disappointing for many parents now that the Governors have failed to appoint a head teacher and the Governors have now appointed a temp head until they can hopefully get a full time head teacher for the start at the next education year. Many parents are concerned that the education will suffer as the school have a temp head teacher. I think many parents will share my liking for the temp head, parentsas a person and teacher parents want direction and leadership and not for things to be put on hold for 6 months. The fact that the governors can't get enough applicants to apply for an outstanding school does raise some concerns, as you would think many would jump at the opportunity. Questions would and need to be ask why are they not? We can only hope, and it is again disappointing that we have to hope for children's education, that the education of the children at Woodfold Primary School, Standish will continue at the high level that we have come to appreciate and love.    

On a positive note I, as a parent myself, went to Key Stage Christmas performance and the teachers have done a great job in putting the show on and it was fantastic to see that they have finally gone with a traditional show.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Confident Council Meeting - Ashfield, Haigh Hall and Libraries


So last night I attended the Confident Council meeting, whatever that name means. Many people ask and I have no clue, it’s just some subliminal nonsense that is meant for some stupid marketing ploy. On the agenda was Wigan and leisure Trust (WLCT). This organisation is historical a company that was set up by Wigan Council to pay less tax and they have the cheek to call celebrity’s that use tax loop holes when they do it themselves and have done for years.
Moving on the Council initially only wanted to talk and discuss Library’s and Haigh Hall. Two great topics that need discussing but given that the organisation, (WLCT), look after all leisure and open spaces! Radar should be picking up as Ashfield is an open space that is looked after by (WLCT).

Libraries
On the first issue of Library’s it was important to use an example that I have was recently when I was signing out of the Library on a Saturday Morning a father came in with his daughter who was about 5 or 6. He encouraged her to approach the lady assistant and ask if they had any books on Rupert the Bear. The librarian said that they don’t have any of those books in. The disappointment on that little girl was so heart wrenching. Her dad asked if she wanted to look for another book, which she didn’t and they left. It can be hard enough to get children to read but when they are keen like this then we should be able to help. If it was a book that no one has heard of, fair enough but these are children’s classic. We have asked if we can buy the Library a set of the Children’s Classic. We were told we couldn’t because if we did they would go to any Library. As Cllr’s we wanted the Library to have a set of classic and the Council don’t allow this – crazy!

Haigh Hall
So the Council announced in the paper that Haigh Hall was going to be leased to a Hotel Chain and it will be turned into a 30 bedroom Hotel. The Council said it was a £30 Million deal. People thought this how much the investment would cost. But this is the figure is how much the Council will be brought back in to the local economy. They don’t say how many years this figure would take to happen, so for me there’s the first question.
The Council say this is a great deal. The cost to Wigan Taxpayers is about 50/50 with the hotel chain. This is about £5m - £6m. The second question is of course the private sector does not want to have 100% of the risk but does 50/50 represent a fair deal for both? Second question! Next is how long will the lease be for the hotel group? Another way is how long will they have the hotel for? The Council say this has not been worked out. So how on earth can a deal be good and considered to be fair when a crucial element like term of lease has not been agreed. If it is for 1 year then we are putting a lot of risk in because what happens after a year. But if the term is for 100 years then that would be too long and we would not be getting value for money. So you can see why it is crucial that this is answered. The Council must know approximate what length they are considering. I hear in the corridors of power is 5 – 10 years that are being looked at. Yes the Council need to have space and items would need to be kept confidential for commercial reasons and so they don’t hinder negotiations, however elected members from all parties need to be kept informed. But the Council refuse to recognise the democracy system that we have in this country, This should change!
One thing that I am worried about is that the Hotel chain will want to have as much as possible. One  area that they can manage out Wigan Residents is to change the pricing on the Car Park. The Council confirmed last night that pricing is being looked at and some areas will be reserved for the Hotel and also they could be a price for a short stay and a price for a long stay. If the price is to high then people will simply not go and the Hotel gets a better deal. This is a real issue for the Council to stop people going without saying you are not allowed in.
I have asked for all the details that the Council has on this so I am able to see if this is a fair deal for the people of Standish, that I represent, and also the other residents of Wigan too. This could be a good and fair deal but we need to know and understand it for ourselves.
Another example that the Council does not recognise the democracy system that we have in this system is that I have heard Labour Cllr’s had a private meeting on this issue and were told about it. I hear that some opposition Cllrs heard a bit about it but those that do scrutinise and challenge were simply left out.

Ashfield
 OK so here we are at a topic close to not only my heart but most of the residents of Standish. The situation is that in 2012 Persimmon homes asked to move the football pitches to the Gold Course. Then they could build houses on Ashfield. The Council have since tried to retract all the information that is openly available in the public. The worry here is the Council want ALL sites to be self-funding so they do not cost the Council money. They also recognise that some parks may suffer. If the Council want to try and tell us a lie is here. They know that Standish won’t and can’t have and accommodate two large parks, Ashfield and the new development at the Golf course. So one of them should and has to go. If the council allowed and asked Persimmon Homes to forget the football pitches at the Golf Course I maybe I will then start to believe them that they don’t want the pitches at Ashfield for houses.  
What is important to understand is that there is a field in Bryn that has Village Green Status on it. I asked with the Council to a model of zero subsidiaries to parks how that park will work in Bryn. The Council simply didn’t have the answer. An answer that needs to be answered!

As you can tell this is just a snippet of the meeting but some important points that as Cllrs we need to address for residents.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Labour Cllr found guilty

Today a former Labour Councillor for Standish was found guilty of falsely claiming expenses. There were a total of 8 charges. When found guilty she was told that she will be sentenced in the New Year. A source close to the former Labour Cllr's camp said that she has been warned by her own legal team to look at 12 months imprisonment.

Emma is the last person to represent Labour in Standish and previously I had reported her to the Standards Committee because she had publicly said that she had been working with developers to get houses on Green Open spaces in Standish. This was whilst she was on the planning committee. It turned out that she had been offered hospitality at high profile political dinners by developers. She was also found guilty of that too.

This is proof for me that Labour don't care about Standish. How on earth did they select her to be a candidate in the first place? Why did they dump her on Standish when she lived in Ince?

One thing for sure she won't be turning up in Standish any time soon and certainly not welcome for all the harm that she has done to the area. For Labour they should apologise to the residents of Standish for having such a disgrace of a person as their Cllr for the area!

Emma is not the first Labour Cllr to be jail that is connected to Standish. Former Labour Cllr Joe Shaw was found guilty of having indecent pictures of children on his computer and processing a gun and ammunition without a licence.



Thursday, 27 November 2014

Wigan Council does deal on Haigh Hall

Wigan Council has done a deal with Contessa Hotel. The Hall will remain owned by Wigan Council but the Hotel group will make it a 30 bedroom Hotel complex with Spa and Fitness facilities. The Council says it will boost the economy by £30 million and attract 500,000 visitors per year. Other claims are that the Council will love for you to believe is that it will save the Council £8m over the next 10 years. However, the £12m deal means that at least £4m is coming from you the taxpayers over the next 18 months. So straight away before we need to dig the saving by Wigan Council is only £4m because to save £8m over 10 years we have to pay £4m in a year.

The hotel chain will put in £6m to renovate the hall. What the Council doesn't say is how long the lease of the building is. For example if it is for 10 years that could be fine because the savings that the Council would like us to believe is for a 10 year period. However, if the deal for the hotel is 25 years then what is the cost to taxpayers over the last 15 years?

The total funding is £12m and we know £6m is from the hotel chain and £4m from the Council. The other £2m is a mystery. The Council says that Wigan Leisure Trist will find or fund that, but yet that is owned by the Council meaning we as taxpayers could be funding this even further than what the Council are telling us. Again if this is the case then the savings will reduce to just £2m over 10 years.

I am not a socialist but equally not a capitalist neither and I believe there are some things the Council should be looking after and the jewel in the crown is one. Until the Council give FULL disclosure on ALL the details then we will not know whether this is a good deal or not for Wigan but Labour can''t blame for privatisation, as they seem to do it as well and more so, in some cases!


One question that needs asking - why did Labour and the Council let it get into such a state!


Are Labour Hypocrites?

With the goings on with Dave Whelan and now being charged by the FA for his comments, Labour have now said that the Tory's should hand back all the donations that he has given them. This amounts to about £1.5m.

Obviously Labour want to try and give them the best chance in next years' General Election but are they shooting themselves in the foot?

They are trying to say that the Conservative Party should not have anything to do with Dave Whelan suggesting, to me anyway , that should the PM not give the money back he is therefore condone Dave Whelan comments but if he wants to wants to condemn the comments then he should give the money back. However, what the Labour MP, Karl Turner, doesn't realise is that Labour controlled Council, Wigan Council, Gave Dave Whelan the freedom of the borough. Therefore will the Labour MP be writing to Labour Council Leader, Peter Smith, asking him to remove the freedom of the borough award because if the Labour MP wants to put the condone or condemn the comments the same need to be applied to Wigan Council and Labour. That is unless they are hypocrites!

Here is a link to the award for Dave Whelan by Wigan Labour Controlled Council. http://www.wigan.gov.uk/Council/Mayoralty/Honorary-Freemen.aspx

My Opinion

For my knowledge I bet that the Wigan Council Labour Leader will not be thanking this MP for this stunt that he has done as I believe this is what Labour are trying . Trying to score some points on this issue without and working through the whole picture. Dave Whelan, like him or not, has a lot of dealings with the Council and probably the Council need him more than he needs them so therefore I bet Wigan Council will not take back the Freedom award and if they don't then they can't expect the Tories to give back the money that he has given them.