Thursday, 22 January 2015

Why's people watching Ashfield Village Green?

Although locally Ashfield is a big issue to the community of Standish, it has an importance to the communities around the Country that have, or thinking about putting in a Village Green application.

Many of you will never have of the Barkas case but in Standish this has a big importance. This case was heard back in 2010 for a Village Green in North Yorkshire but they lost. They then appealed all the way to the supreme court and lost there too.   Just like Wigan, many Council's now reject Village Green applications on the Barkas case. The reason is that the Barkas case said if a Council holds land for residents under the housing act 1985 then they are giving people permission to use that site for recreational purposes.

When the Barkas case outcome came from the Supreme Court many heads went down and I can understand that. However, I recognise that each case is judged on it's merit and I firmly believe that Ashfield case is fundamentally different. For obvious reason I will reframe from publishing this at the present time. Here is a link to the outcome for Barkas, should you wish.

However, I have submitted my argument to people that have knowledge and some legal expertise of this area and they too think that Ashfield is a good argument and that should we win as a Village Green then that sets a precedent for future cases on Village Greens and where people and communities can try and get village greens in their area.

Whilst the Council will be saying in every other word Barkas case in the up and coming public inquiry I will be saying and demonstrating just why we are different. I am getting messages of support from around the Country and saying we are watching your argument and case and seeing if our case fits more with yours then the Barkas case.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Save Ashfield Public Inquiry Date is set

After much talk, much preparation, the time for the fate of Ashfield is now set.

The date was 31 March 2012 when I handed an application into Wigan Council to apply for Ashfield to be registered as a Village Green. There has been much said and much done over the last 3 years, I can't believe that it has gone on for so long. It seems an age ago. However, now the formal date has been set for Standish to get it's say on Ashfield.

Over the last few weeks there has been ongoing discussion between Wigan Council, the inspector and myself over tying up dates for the public inquiry. It was discussed that the hearing would take about 3 to 4 days. I had opted for Monday 20th - Wednesday 22 April. However, it has been concluded that because of the size of application, number of witness's and also complexity the hearing will last 4 days and start on Tuesday 21 April and concluded Friday 24 April 2015. Just happens to be my birthday.

The venue is now being discussed and I have put forward Ashfield House Hotel as the venue. It will be up to the person from the registration authority to visit the venue and discuss what will be required. I believe that they will be able to and I dearly hope that Ashfield is available and can accommodate the public inquiry. 

Failing that I would suspect the venue would be Kilhey Court as I will fight to get it in Standish and not in Leigh Sports Village as one Labour Cllr suggest, which is truly ridiculous. 

Now that the date is set the time for you to complete and return the witness statements is running out and I will be putting in an end date shortly, which will probably be at the End of February, so please download one here and return it to me.

Please keep watching for further updates as there will be many between now and the end of April. 

Let's make history - Let's make it together - Let's Save Ashfield

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The week that ended......18 Jan '14

Well what a week that was!  Not sure where to start, as you know most of my time is currently taken up with Saving Ashfield - which of course is what the majority of the people in Standish want.  We need to finalise the date of the Public Hearing, which is currently pencilled in for Monday 20th April 2015, and a venue must also be confirmed - I suggest that Ashfield House would be most suitable and appropriate.

Now, on to the Council meeting and what a farce!  The Independent Councillor for Hindley Green - Bob Brierley - wasted no time in tackling the Council and Labour over the appointment of another highly paid Officer. Labour tried to play this down by blaming the Government and that it was simply a matter of replacing one member of staff with another.  In truth, the person who had left the post had not left the Council's employ, but merely moved to a sideways position.  Rumour has it that the Chief Executive will be leaving the Council soon and until then, they have installed a person as Monitoring Officer until the current Chief Executive takes up her new post.

Councillor Brierley delivered a knock-out blow at the end of his speech by declaring that the people of Wigan Borough want front-line services and staff - not over-paid staff who are paid a great deal of money and for what exactly?   Ah yes, to hold more meetings - it is so true and it certainly knocked Labour off their feet, after which they found it hard to regain their stride, or find any solid ground.  As a result, the meeting was doomed - and Labour would look to any excuse for which to have the meeting brought to a close as it was obviously not going to be their night.

Next came an item which was of particular interest to me - Labour wanted to discuss their Kangaroo Quango the 'Standards Committee' to which I had previously accused the Chief Executive of being a liar who demonstrated political bias towards Labour - a claim I stand firmly behind to this day.  On the same item, Councillor Brierley, who at the last election had publicly supported another candidate, informed the meeting that I - Councillor Gareth Fairhurst - was in fact a good councillor, and that during a visit to Standish at the last local election he could see quite clearly that the residents loved me and were appreciative of the many hours of hard work I put in here in Standish.

Well, if anything ought to set the red lights flashing and alarm bells ringing loudly in Labour's ears it was this.  The Mayor moved to silence Councillor Brierley who declared that it was his right to speak - at which the Mayor insisted that he not be heard again!  Labour passed this and then voted to have him removed from the Chamber.  Having experienced this type of behaviour at the hands of Labour before I advised Councillor Brierley that he had done nothing wrong and was constitutionally, well within his rights to stay. 

Labour declared that they would telephone the Police - despite no crime having been committed - in order to have Mr Brierley removed from the meeting.  So out come the Police, who on hearing our (Independents) side of the story, during which I informed them of a Councillor's Rights, and the fact that no crime had been committed - they acknowledged that they could see no reason for which he be removed.  Several newspaper articles have apparently reported that Councillor Brierley had been removed - but I can confirm that this is not the case - he in fact remained in the Chamber.

This appeared to leave the Labour Leader Councillor Peter Smith at a loss as to what to do next, so what do you know he decides that the meeting be closed down.  Before he could put this to the vote however, I rose to my feet and proposed that the meeting be allowed to continue, after all we represent the people and we owe it to them not to shy away from the hard issues - for which I received a round of applause.

Labour having closed the meeting down demonstrates a complete lack of discussion and democracy - it also reveals a huge waste of public funds and services - what with the police having been called and remaining for 2 hours until the Town Hall had been closed - how ridiculous is that?  There was a lot on the agenda that didn't get discussed and will not now be heard - including the Leigh Guided Busway and Town Centre Development Plan.

I will be writing to the Chief Constable regarding this matter as it is a clear and blatant waste of public money!  Since Wednesday evening I have contacted Labour Leader Councillor Smith and requested a meeting with a view of resolving these issues before the next meeting.  Councillor Smith insists that this is not possible and therefore has no wish to resolve things.  I think he ought to be ashamed of himself, and of course all this just demonstrates the bad attitude which we have come to expect of Labour.

It is less than 4 months until the General Election, it is only right and fair that we open the public's eyes to the antics of Labour in Wigan.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Ex Standish Conservative fails to pay back expenses!!!!

In light of the recent court case which resulted in the conviction and subsequent imprisonment of disgraced ex-Labour Councillor Emma McGurrin - for fraudulently claiming child-minding expenses - you would think that Standish has had it's fair share of expenses scandals!

Remember the former Mayoress and ex-Conservative Councillor Judith Atherton who claimed mileage expenses whilst not even owning a car?  Under Council rules at the time, if you claimed mileage expenses, then you had to provide the council with evidence that you owned a car and insurance certificate for business purposes.  An investigation revealed that she had been asked to provide this information, and initially she agreed to this - but then obviously failed to do so.  It would have been highly embarassing for the Council with Judith Atherton being a former Mayoress, as it was the Labour quango committee found her not guilty of bringing her office into disrepute, however they insisted that she must pay the money back.

Judith Atherton and Wigan Labour Council state that she has paid the money back in full, but this is WRONG!  I can exclusively reveal that she has not repaid the money, and what is more the Council have failed to take the appropriate steps to recover the money owed to them.  She has in fact paid back less than 20% and so I have raised serious questions with the Council - I want a full and thorough investigation and for the Council to insist that she pay the money back and failing this, then they must take legal action against her.

It appears to be one rule for one, and one for another.  It is no secret that Emma McGurrin was a thorn in the side of Labour, especially by going public about the fact that she helped to get houses that Standish didn't want.  The Council dealt with her accordingly, which begs the question why have they not done anything to recover the money still owed by Judith Atherton?

It is a disgrace that both Labour and the Conservatives have had expenses scandals in Standish!  The Standish Independents DO NOT claim any expenses, and so residents can rest assured that with 3 Standish Independent Councillors serving Standish that there will be no more expenses scandals in Standish.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Labour Call Police again to Council meeting

At last nights' Full Council meeting Labour for the 2nd time in less than 10 months. The meeting was discussing an item that Labour had put in about their quango committee trying to call me. This was because I said that the Chief Executive of Wigan Council is a liar and she is political biased towards Labour. However Cllr Brierley, who is a Cllr for Hindley Green and does not sit in our party got up and joined in the debate.

Cllr Bob Brierley said that, "Gareth Fairhurst is a good Councillor and I have been in Standish (when he was helping another candidate to win against us at the last local election) and when I was there I learnt that the people of Standish love him. At this point he was stopped and silenced because Labour did not like what he said. When he said that he is allowed to join in the debate he was voted by the majority of Labour Cllr's to be ordered out.

Cllr Bob Brierley refused by saying he had not done anything wrong and is because Labour did not like what he said and there was an issue about him next and he would be speaking on that too. When he refused to go on the grounds that he did not recognise their authority or reason the Council called the police yet again.

When the police came they asked Cllr Bob Brierley to leave the meeting he said that he had broken no law and that he was an elected representative of Hindley Green. They agreed that he had not broken any law and there was nothing they can do. Then after wasting police time and money the Council asked the police to stay in the meeting, which they did and sat at the back of the meeting. Really? It wasn't like there was fighting or he was kicking off. If he had they could have arrested him for that. Labour and the Council wasting taxpayers money.

Then you ask why did they do this? It was purely because he said something that Labour didn't like and because the BBC were there filming they did not want it be seen that other Cllrs from other sides praise me. Even when the police came and the Police were talking to Cllr Brierley the BBC were recording the Council officers asked them to stop recording, which they did. Again what's wrong with open and transparency.

Hopefully the Council will put the full unedited video on the web and people can see for themselves, should they want too. Put yet again Wigan council will be compared to North Korea for the lack of wanting be open and transparent and most importantly allowing free speech. Labour and Wigan Council should recognise that the People have put Cllt Brierley in that chamber and just because they don't ,like him they can't keep this bullying and hate crime up against him!


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Pedestrians nearly run over video

Pedestrians where nearly run over. For years we have complained that the Council does not do enough for people's safety. We are told so often about people turning at the lights wjere they shouldn't be.

In the Video you will see two people crossing on a green man and someone turns left from Market Street into High Street. Any one know the reg plate? Is it a local?
video


This is just one example and the lolly pop man says there are lots of occasions that this happens too.

The event was yesterday, Monday 12 January 2015, at 18.35. Do we know who the two people are crossing the road.



Sunday, 11 January 2015

Shaun Wane visits Ashfield


Earlier today Shaun Wane kindly took time out of his busy schedule to visit Ashfield. Here I met with him to let him how the campaign started and what's been happening and also what will be happening over the next few months, in terms of getting ready for the public inquiry.

Be a Standish residents and living not too far from Ashfield he told me about how, just like so many other parents, he has enjoyed the park over the years and he taught his children to ride their bikes here too.

It is always kind when celebrities support any campaign but here it shows that Shaun not only supports the campaign , the public hearing but he also cares.

I would like to publicly like to thank Shaun for his support, time and caring and hopefully when the Warriors  win the Challenge Cup (fingers crossed) you never know he might come back down with a few of the lads and the cup.