Sunday, 4 October 2015

The week that ended....04 Oct '15

So another week has passed and we are now getting into October. Soon be..... no I'm not going to say it. Many may be trying to stop smoking with the Stoptober campaign and any one doing, or trying that, good luck to you.


So the week didn't start off that great for Standish with the news that the inspector, who over saw Ashfield Village Green, has recommended not to register it as a Village Green. We have a small number of months now to review, in detail, that recommendation and see if we want to appeal it. A tough challenge but one that we need to review.

Wigan Council said that they never intended to sell Ashfield and this was all a waste of money and time. They said that they are looking into put the area into the historic part. That does not in anyway protect Ashfield. The only thing that does it make the value of the land go up, and then who benefits from that ? The Council when they sell it. 

I don't believe they will sell it yet. With the last local election next year for 2 yrs they will probably wait till after then and do it shortly after because there will not be a chance for people to forget, or get used to it not being there. 

Labour has said that it cost the Council £32,000 and this has put a strain on the budgets for vulnerable children in the borough. Fistly, I will be the last person to take that from Labour after they closed Mere Oaks Special school and putting the most vulnerable children in our borough lives in chaos, and I saw this. Next does Wigan Council really believe that people will believe that £32,000 will put budgets at risk? In fact the true cost of the Village Green is nearly £70,000 because over the years the council didn't want to get to a public hearing. 

I would like to thank everyone that has emailed,spoken or called me with their comments of thanks. As many say at least we stopped them in 2012 from building and if and when they come back we will stop them again. A small comfort but yes the email from the Council proves and demonstrates, especially the bit where the Council says to Persimmon Homes that the car park and play area has to stay, allowing houses on the playing fields, the bit we were trying to save forever, that they were planning on this.

I quite often put links on to the story but with Ashfield I have written to such I would recommend you type in Ashfield in the search box in the top left hand corner of the page and hit enter to see them all.

School bus service improved.

Last week members of the public contacted me over Winstanley school bus service that was not good enough and there were students being left behind. I am pleased to say that I was able to step in and get the Council to work on our behalf with Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and now they have agreed to put more bus places on and this will mean that no student is left stranded again. Good Result. Here is that story.

New Labour Leader

So the new left wing socialist leader has said a speech this week that people shouldn't accept what they are given. I do believe he was talking about the cuts the Tory Government is making. Not sure of he wanted the Country to do a mass walk out, which would never happen, but the point of people not accepting what they get from government is interesting. Given that Wigan Council is a Local Government then I wonder what the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, suggest with all these houses that we are being told by this Labour Council we have to accept?

On Labour it is interesting that the Labour Candidate for Standish who has come third for the last 2 years is praising the Tory this week. And now she is copying me by having a blog. So after all her mouthing off she has no ideas of her own but praises the Tory's and copy's my blog. I guess if she is selected again next year another third place she will get. Although, the tory's are trying to get her not to stand and therefore not allow any splitting of any anti Fairhurst vote. For me I sit back and smile. Labour would never step down and allow that! We live in democracy and let 2 or 22 people stand in the election and let the people decide.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Great outcome for students

Last week I wrote about students that live in Standish and attend Winstanley are being left behind because there was not enough bus places. Here is that story.

Parents were getting sick of no action and they decided to contact me and ask me for help. I am pleased to announce that after I wrote to the Council about the matter and say how disgusted I was that students were being left behind and this was not acceptable to me. Also with the cold and dark nights coming up fast I wanted an speedy resolution to the matter.

I am pleased that the Council got on it straight away and contact Greater Manchester Transport, who supply the yellow buses, and then they agreed to put on more extra places so that no student is left behind again.

I am glad that I was able to get a quick and satisfactory resolution to the matter and I know that parents have been told too and many have contacted me and said thanks. Glad to help. Hopefully GMPtE will keep all the bus places on and not reduce them.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Bloor Homes pulling out of Standish

With all the developers getting their way recently with all these houses it is interesting to have been tipped off that one of them has now decided not to build them it would seem but put their site up for sale.

Here is a picture of Construction News and you can see that Bloor Homes have put their site on the market for £22.5m. Whilst it is not clear why this is one could wonder if they think that all these houses may struggle to sellf or they don't want to take this risk. Maybe they have found a better site or it could well be the old pit shafts could be a problem.

What is interesting are the questions it raises. First of all before either Bloor or Wainhomes can build their houses on the Line site they had to put the link road in, or sorry Wigan Council don't like that after the anger - they call it an estate road. We would call it a rat run. Anyway if Bloor homes have put the site up for sale it could well be that they will not build their half of the road. That would stop the others going up. Well stop them until a buyer is found but it is clear it may not be as fast as first thought.

Whilst it may not stop the houses coming it certainly puts a question mark over the speed at what they may come and if this is the case a bit of good news is welcome.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Ashfield Village Green report is out.

This afternoon I got a call from the press saying that the council has sent out a press release saying that the Village Green Application was recommended by the Inspector not to be given. The press were keen for a comment. Given that I hadn't heard nor seen the report it would have been wrong for me to say anything.

Now that I have returned home I have seen the report. The Council, who were obviously keen to rush out without seeing the report in-depth, I want more time to look at it in depth and speak with the correct people, including our legal advisers.

I say this not to say that we will be rushing to court to challenge it immediately but we will look at the prospect of this and we have never ruled this out should we have a strong chance to win in court.

Given that the report is 43 pages of legal argument it is not a 5 minute read and will take a number of days to look at it and take what the inspector is saying. What I have found out the law is not right or wrong but based on opinions and interpretations. Once we have taken this in and discussed we will then take a view on next steps. They range from accepting the recommendation to challenging the decision. Village Greens are hard to win and we always knew this but we felt we had a strong chance.

One thing we did succeed in was stopping Persimmon getting their greedy mits on this prime land back in 2012. The Council says they never were going to sell it but the emails from their senior - gained under the FOI - prove it was only the play park and car park that was staying.

In essence there is nothing to stop the council selling the land off now to the developer. Given we are less than a year before a local election for 2 years I would strongly suspect that they will do this after May 2016. That way local people can't vote against against them till 2018. They will hope you have forgotten or those officers will have moved on.

Once we have reviewed the situation and come up with the next steps we will update the blog.

On the matter of the Council extending the historical parts of Ashfield this does not protect it like they say. All it does is push up the price the developers would have to pay.

This blog post is copyrighted and no republication is permitted by the press.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Aldi Car Park update on the new signs

Cllr George Fairhurst who first negotiated resident to park on Aldi Car Park. 
We all know that there is a serious shortage of car park spaces in Standish. Last month I wrote about the update on Aldi and their car park. Here is a link to that story.

Last week new signs have gone up and says the car park is for customers only and they can only park for 1.5 hours. Many believe that it is a public car park but it is not. Gateway when putting planning permission in all those years ago gave a verbal agreement that they would allow other shoppers to park there - this was because all the businesses where objecting and Gateway didn't want their application to fail. However, their agreement was verbal and no one knows the legality once the story was sold and sold again.

So to the present day position. Aldi area manager spoke with myself earlier this year and he was concerned that some people where parking there for hours. He told me that there is no way that they can see who are and who are not customers so that is not too much of an issue. However, the new signs are there to remind people about the 90 minute wait.

I have noticed that they have installed cameras that recognise your number plate when you go on to the car park and they will time you to see if you are there longer. It is important that you park there for 90 minutes are less, otherwise they will fine you and not overturn it.

I will be speaking with the area manager again this week to get an update and I will update the blog to say where we are up to on the matter.

Not enough school buses to College...

I have had a couple of parents contact me recently over the issue of not enough school bus places for students that attend Winstaney College.

Students are being left behind at the college and either have to get parents to leave home or work and collect them or they have to get a bus into Wigan and then one out of Wigan back to Standish. One concern that parents have raised, as well as the obvious, is the issue that this issue was not advertised by the college prior to the students joining the college. Had they had then they may have gone to another college.
Yellow school bus

The College inform parents to inform their MP, who as far as I know done nothing or very little. They have now contacted myself. I have written to the college to get the full picture and what they say. I know that they blame Transport for Greater Manchester as it is them that prove the buses.

I will be contacting them as well as the Council to find out what we are going to do about this as leaving students, especially when dark and cold nights are coming, is not acceptable for me.

I will report back once I know more but residents, parents and students can rest assured that we will be doing all we can to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Month that was........Sept '15

Normally the blog series is, "The Week that was...." However, this month has been such a busy and hectic month it is untrue and I have not had time to get on here and write a blog post. With that in mind and now I am thinking of a blog post I suddenly realise it is not the Week that was but probably the Month that was, is more fitting.


The Month obviously started with the Ashfield Village Green Public Inquiry. If you want to know more on that have a look here. With regards that matter the inspector reported to us that he was hoping to get his recommendation on whether Ashfield should become a Village Green or not by the end of the month. If he is able to do this then we do not have long to wait to hear. This is such an important issue for Standish.

Council Meetings

We have had the Full Council and at this month's meeting Cllr George Fairhurst put forward a motion for the Council to look at ALL options that are available to them for a by-pass. Both the Labour and the Tories voted against this but Labour put forward an amendment to just look at a new junction on the M6 as it goes over Springs Rd. This decision would be up to the Highways Agency. So if they say no then the Council can say well we looked tried but it's them that said no. This is typical that this Council try and blame anyone but themselves.

Clean Up.

Sept also saw the beat it team in Standish. This is a team that do general tidy up. We, Ward Cllrs, gave them a list of areas to do. Some seem to have been done and some not. But they were only in the area for a week. However, for me the frustrating thing is that areas are left to get in such a state and then it takes a lot to get them back. Wigan Council and the Labour Candidate want to introduce the deal in Standish. This is where they ask residents to do their work for them for free. My issue is why should we pay the high Council Tax that we do and then the Council fail to do what they should do and then ask residents to do the work for free? Labour and the Council blame the cuts imposed on them from Central Government but yet spend millions on stupid PR exercises and just short of a Million quid to an employee for them to leave the Council and not speak on the matter. Some may call this hush money! The Council say this figure is incorrect but fail to tell me the figure. Wonder why that is? Because it is right or it is higher?

More to do.

Even though we are going through a hard time with a personal issue there is lots going on and I will write about these in the coming days. For those that have contacted us and passed on your kind comments - thank you.