Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Turned out nice again. Will Johnny Deep visit Wigan?

Years ago I championed the cause of getting a George Formby Statue in Wigan George's home town. However, Labour and the Labour Leader Cllr Peter Smith were not impressed and didn't want it/ Even when I announced it in the Council Chamber that I think it was a good idea Labour Leader Cllr Peter Smith said, "We don't need to be reminded of that cloth cap idiot."

However, we, George Formby Society, Gerry Mawdsley and myself, battled on and we were able to secure the location, which was kindly donated by the Grand Arcade. So now we have the statue and it is a great attraction and talking point. Even today when I visited the Grand Arcade a granddad took a picture with his grand children and wife by George's side. We have also had Frank Skinner visiting the Statue, as he is a big fan too.

Now it is rumoured that George has another big fan - Johnny Depp. It is being strongly muted that he is looking to do a movie about George. I hear that he has the northern accent down to a tee and that he is honing his Ukulele skills.

I think it is time now that Labour and Leader of the Council apologise for their earlier comments about George, as I bet you bottom dollar they will try and cash in on it and we'll see in the Council's publication, Borough Life, the leader saying what a great thing it is, should it happen.

As for my comments, "I am thrilled that George's name and one of Hollywood biggest movie star's Johnny Depp in the same sentence. I know the President of the George Formby, Jerry Mawdsley is over the moon. All those years ago I knew that George was a big star in his day and still is - it is a shame the Council tried to block the statue.

If the rumour is true I am sure that Johnny will visit the home town and come to see the statue as well.

New Year's message

It's now officially the last day of 2013.. To reflect upon the year, many good things have happened and a few sad things too. Try not to dwell on the bad/sad and remember the good... I hope 2014 is a positive one for you all and let me wish you a happy new year when it arrives in 24 hours time as no doubt the internet will crash just like the phone networks will. Not like we have a new year every year is it..

Friday, 27 December 2013

Idea about changes to double time charges from Taxi's.

There is always talk about double time charges from Taxi drivers over the Christmas and New Year period.

One side of the argument it is a rip off and they are just cashing in on the period and the other side saying other people get paid double time so why not us. To be honest I think that both sides have a point and I think there is a solution.

To explain I will use a recent example of a taxi from Wigan to Standish. The normal fare is £10 and last night it was double so it was £20. So I can see why people think that this is steep. But surely it is fair that the driver of the taxi to get double time like other professions.

So here is my solution. Out of the £10 fare 40% of that is the wage part of the fare. This is £4. The other £6 is for petrol and other associated running costs. So it is unfair to ask a customer to pay double for the petrol, as that doesn't cost the taxi company double at the pumps. So double the wage part of the fare. This was £4 so that will make it £8 and then keep the £6 for the running cost the same, as there is no extra charge for the taxi company.

Under this solution the fare would be £14 instead of the £20 but still allows the driver to get double time. I believe this is a solution and I will be writing to the Council to ask about this proposal and if we can bring this in and be a leading Council in this area.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

To All

Can I take this opportunity of wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope Santa brings you all that you are hoping for.

All the best

Cllr Gareth Fairhurst

Monday, 23 December 2013

NHS - I don't understand people at times

As many of you who read my blog, or follow me, you will know I have recently had a major operation a few weeks ago and since then I have been back and forth in and out of hospital and I have just come back out of hospital after a few days in because of some complications that I am experiencing.

Just before I left tonight a young lad in his early 20's came in and he was in some serious pain. The doctor on the ward said he would need an operation in the morning to resolve the issue and then he would be in hospital for a few days after that, for a recovery period.

This kid kicked off because he would miss Christmas, which no one wants to be in hospital on Christmas Day, but then when the doctor asked what he wanted, as he could emphasise with him about Christmas but said he was in some serious pain which need to be dealt with. The lad answered, whilst raising his voice a bit about having the operation done right there and then, so he could get out for Christmas.

Here's the thing - he had had this pain for over a week and left it till now to go into hospital. Had he gone to his GP first he might have been able to get some treatment that didn't need an operation, he may have been sent to the hospital if he couldn't. I know most have said when we are in pain we will leave it for a day or two to see if it goes. But then to wait till two days before Christmas and trying to demand to have the operation there and then is ridiculous.

My point about this is not only did he wait so long but the tone and manner he was speaking with the doctor. His family was with him and trying to reason with him. If it had been me I would have said operation tomorrow and then stay in for 48 hours or you can leave now - especially whilst you are speaking to me like that when I am trying to help you.

On a slightly lighter note when you go into hospital they ask you standard questions like do you smoke and do you drink etc. I always smile when it comes to the drink question. 99.99% always say either no or only occasionally and not very much. They must think the doctors are daft.

I guess the message in this post is if someone is trying to help you they can only if you are willing to help yourself and work WITH them.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Wigan Council's dodgy deal.

For many years I have called Wigan Council corrupt. Labour have always denied this and said I am wrong saying this. Yet a report by the Local Government Ombudsman has now confirmed another case where Wigan Council has been called.

Here is the link to the report.

The Council has to pay £500 to a member of the public who wanted to tender for the land and wasn't allowed too. Also a Labour Cllr has been found guilty of leaking emails about the land to another group.

Wonder how Labour try and spin this one out? Simple truth is they have been caught out again. Surely someone should go over the matter.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Labour and nimbyism

Some Labour Cllrs have said that Standish residents are just Nimby's that do not want building in their back yard but we are OK with it in someone else's.

However it has been stated that when the Council were asked to look for another 2500 houses then the Council could have quite easily put 100 houses in each of the 25 wards that make up the Borough but Labour didn't want that.

The approximate 1000 houses that are being considered for Standish are all on Green open spaces, an important point for later in this post.

However this week European Metal Recycling asked the Council for planning permission in Ince on an industrial estate. However Labour said that the steel being unloaded would be noisy so they refused the application. This company would have brought new jobs to the area. I mean surely that's what Labour want - Jobs in an industrial park. Or maybe they don't Keep people down, keep them on benefits will suit their needs for them to keep voting Labour. Heaven forbid to try and give someone aspiration! They also said they had 40 objections letters.

Well in Standish we gave the Council thousands of objections to the thousands of houses being proposed but they did nothing there. Just demonstrates yet again how Labour play politics with people's lives. Yet another disgrace! 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Wigan Council - Housing is a priority in Standish

After all the hot air from the Council saying that they don't want houses in Standish there is an article in today's Wigan Evening Post on the allotment story below this post and the Council now say that housing is a priority in Standish.

Just goes to show that residents of Standish have been lied to yet again by Wigan Council.  Is it time that Standish breaks away from Wigan?  I wonder where they would get all their money from then?

Friday, 6 December 2013

Wigan Council look to cash in with more houses in Standish

With the shenanigans that has been going on over the last 18 months or so with the mass housing developments in Standish Wigan Council has now decided that they too want to cash in on it.

There is some land behind Wigan Rd and off Longridge Avenue which is meant to be play area. Some years ago the Council removed all the play equipment so they could put some huts and cabins on the land whilst they did the Council housing up in the area. They promised to put the equipment back. However they didn't! Then they have let the land go and now looking to sell it to a developer for houses.

However the residents, which include Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane, formed a group years ago to turn the land into allotments and all the plots had been taken up. But Wigan Council will not allow them to do this saying they need to do the right thing by the taxpayers and sell it for the highest price, which means houses. At first they did not say why they could not do the allotments, they kept running them around.

Cllr Gareth Fairhurst said, " This is a disgrace. It was only a few months ago the Council was saying we don't want houses in Standish and he they are cashing in with their greed. They say they need to get the highest price for taxpayers well what about doing the right thing for the taxpayers? This would mean allowing allotments for Standish and not yet more houses. This demonstrates that Wigan Council don't care about Standish with the exception of squeezing as much money out of it as possible."

Last year the Council did look at build some council houses on the site but decided against this in favour of selling it to a developer.

What a disgrace!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Retirement age going up......AGAIN!!!!

In the 2011 Autumn statement by the Chancellor George Osborne he announced that retirement will be going up to 67. Whilst some may have thought this was bad and it was wrong I think most thought this was OK, as it was only 2 extra years plus people are living longer and also people like to go to work.

However, it is widely expected that the retirement age will go up again today in the Autumn Statement by the Chancellor George Osborne. It is again expect to raised to the age of 70 years of age.

My question would be are we now expected to accepted the retirement age to raise ever 2 years under this Chancellor? If so why are NI not reducing for people. I say this last part because the pension will be the same , if not less and if you are working 5 yrs longer you will only get the same, so in reality people have longer to pay in which should mean lower NI contributions.  

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Energy Debate

With so much debate going on at this time about energy, I am surprised that millions of barrels of oil are being transported from the North Sea to South Korea, Chile, Canada. Four very large oil tankers took 6 million barrels of oil from the North Sea to South Korea last month. This is due to the fact they want to get away from their dependency on oil from the Middle East.

Yet, we, in this Country are also importing oil from other parts of the world and one reason I have heard why we pay so much for our energy is because of transporting that energy. My simple question would be why are we paying for transporting oil when their is energy and oil on our door step? Surely if we used this oil in the North Sea rather than selling it to the other side of the world that would lower our energy bills, which are becoming a problem for a number of people.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Comments in Manchester Evening News

I was quoted in an article in the Manchester Evening News. Here is the article. What is wrong and shows how much the Labour Leader is out of touch is when he says that Ind Cllr Bob Brierley doesn't understand politics. I would put it that it is the leader who doesn't know what politics is about because I am sure it is not telling people to go and take more tablets!

No wonder Wigan Council is in the mess that it is.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Standish report on housing

Wigan Labour control Council are now proposing to allow 1000 new homes in Standish. After over a year of go and back and forth the Council said that the Government had told them to do this, which is incorrect, then the Council said that they would do a traffic survey and if that said that the roads couldn't cope then the 1000 houses wouldn't go ahead.

There report is now out and here it is. The report says the roads can't cope but guess what? The Council are still going to allow the houses. What a let down again on the Council!

The report basically says that residents of Standish will have to cut their use of their cars or get used to longer delays. The question that I have to the Council is why should they?

The plan that the Council are looking at is 500 houses on the line. That will go from behind Robin Hill and Almond Brook hotel all the way past Standish High school to the new estate behind the beeches. Then 300 houses would go on the land at the front of golf course and some land opposite. Then finally there would be 200 houses would go on the back of the golf course on the opposite of the railway line. Access would be off Chorley Road.

We are holding a meeting at the Unity Club on Monday 2nd December 2013 at 7.30pm. This is to update people with the plans of the Council and see what action people want to take.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

NHS - my thoughts including the £10 per night

In today's media there is talk about charging £10 per night for hospital stays. As I have just spent 10 nights in hospital due to a medical condition I was going to write about my thoughts on the NHS, now that the £10 charge has been announced today, I will include my thoughts on this too. Prior to my own experience I had heard about people being kicked out because of shortage of beds to weekend shut downs.

First of all it all starts with A and E. I have spent a number of hours there and whilst many, including myself, complain about waiting hours it is obvious that there are many people that go there when they don't need to. Sometimes I know we try and get into our GP's but their system means that you have to wait days before an appointment comes free, so people might then go to A and E. This is wrong and putting a drain on A and E. However, I can see the frustration if you can't get in your GP. So there should be open surgery every morning at every GP's. That way you can always go in a  morning. Next is the drunk. After seeing what I have seen it actually makes me mad. When youngsters, and I was one too, go out on a Friday and Saturday night you are responsible for yourself. If you go and get wasted then that is your own doing. But when you get in a state and then need medical attention because of your recklessness then you should pay. I mean either out of your own pocket or night clubs and bars in Town Centres should be charged a tax to cover the extra burden. I have suggested this in the past that some kind of treatment area be set up at the top of Wigan and the drunks be treated there. When I have seen people queuing waiting for a cubicle I just can't believe it.

Next I have been admitted for A and E. It is amazing some of the staff that we have. But there does seem to be a different culture between week and weekend teams. I have heard before about the fact that hospitals shut down a little at weekends and it certainly does seem the case but I am not sure why. Surely there should have enough staff to work 24/7. I think the government are looking to address this and if they can do this and it is successful that will stop people staying in hospital longer than what they needed to plus they will be getting better soon. Got to be a win win situation.

The first time I was admitted it was obvious that people where shipped out of hospital to free up beds. The doctors were waiting for something for me, however, after a couple of days they said I was OK to leave. They prescribed me some medicine and then sent me home. I was clearly not ready to go home and the medicine they put me on sent my condition a lot worse. The next morning I had to go back through again through A and E. That night I was in theatre for a 5 hour operation. Had I not been release the night before then that would not have put a strain on A and E the following morning. I found out that the day I was released the hospital was short of beds and it was a code amber, meaning we need beds. Sending people home only for them to come back the next day is not only wrong for the patient but it is a false economy.

The big issue is consistency! I have experienced some amazing teams who have worked the unworkable shifts to teams that are ok. the level of treatment you can receive can be down to pot luck. I am not having a go at the front end staff as some shifts may have more nurses than others but, like in every way of life, some do need to keep up with the rest. I don't know if there is some kind of mentoring system in place but this could help. Some night staff, single digits here, see it as an easy shift where others are doing loads. One young nurse was busy all night checking on every one, I couldn't sleep numerous nights, and I could not believe how busy she was. She is ambitious and this could be a key to her as she wants to strive forward all the time.


So in the media we hear that hospital are considering charging £10 per night for helping to cover the cost. I think that unless all other issues are looked at and resolved to make the NHS more cost effective then it is a damn cheek to ask people that have already paid their National contributions for more money What they are saying is, " pay for our incompetence." It doesn't make sense.
The one charge I do think that we should be open up too if people go out and deliberately get drunk. I do believe that this should be addressed and that hopefully will make people drink responsibly too.


Monday, 18 November 2013

I'm back!

As you can see I have not been online for a number of days. This is due to me being in hospital for 10 days. I am now home and on the long road to recovery.

One thing that popped up last week is a developer wanting to put in a planning application for 500 houses on the land on the line. The developer is Wainhomes and I will be speaking with the planning dept tomorrow about this and all the other major applications that are in and coming in.

There is a traffic survey report coming out on Wednesday which will identify the number of cars Standish can accommodate. I am hoping this is zero as I do not believe that Standish can cope with anymore.

We are looking and planning a residents meeting too, probably next week.

I like to thank everyone that sent in well wishes messages, it meant a lot, thank you.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Overview of last night Full Council meeting.

After so many years on the Council I shouldn't be surprised at the new lows Labour will go to.

The first thing I want to highlight is the despicable person - Leader of the Council - Cllr Peter Smith.  The situation was that Hindley Green Ind Cllr Bob Brierley was standing, the Mayor asked him to sit, but he said he had a medical condition and the mayor said ok. Then Cllr Peter Smith stood to speak about what ever the item was and started by saying he and the other Labour Members knew that Cllr Brierley was on tablets and in their view he should take more tablets. This could have serious implications. What a despicable man! He should quit as Leader of the Council and possible his Council seat too. No wonder the Council is the worse behaving Council when it is lead by such a horrible person.

Next trick that Labour did was talk seats that didn't belong to them. After the Council is formed each Yr, after election, the seats are divided politically to represent propositionally the Council, i.e if Labour has 75% of the seats on the Council they get 75% of the seats on committees. Nothing wrong with that. However, in our case we had Cllr George Fairhurst who was on the regulation and licensing committee due to an disability that he has, and as such just had an new hip operation, we took him off the committee because he was unable to attend for a short time whilst he recovered. The Council knew that once he was back on his feet he would return but Labour used some rule that said because it was vacant they could have it. The thing that was even worse was Cllr George Fairhurst is now recovering and on the mend so we informed Council that he is OK to go back on the seat which had been allocated to us. Labour voted against this and voted their person on. They did this will all other vacant opposition seats too.

The Council talked about standards but I guess with comments like Cllr Peter Smith making that there is massive improvements need there and we are a long way from sorting this out until he goes. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Well done and well deserved

Some of you might remember this story here. I hear on the grapevine that today these residents will be awarded the police Commanders award for bravery. I think it is great that they are being recognise this award and well done to you all, each and everyone of you as it is well deserved.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Victory for Standish residents !!!!!!!

Good news for residents experiencing problems at the crossroads in Standish will be glad to know that it will be going back to normal tomorrow.

After Cllr George Fairhurst and myself contacting the Council they have agreed to remove the system ASAP.

The Council say that they have tried a couple of new systems and that they have not work so there is nothing left for them to improve the traffic lights.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Crazy idea - needs to be returned back!!!

I think any one who has been to Standish, today or yesterday, will have witnessed the craziness what the Council has done. Yes, I get it that they thought they were trying to resole the situation but who in their right mind would put a car head on with another car? I am no expert in traffic management but my knowledge is that when passing, you go driver to driver.

Cllr George Fairhurst has had an emergency meeting with engineers today, and I have written to the Council this evening to support his comments and some of my own too and that is this system is not going to work. It is dangerous and whilst we need to look at trying to improve things at the crossroads, this is not the answer. Hopefully the Council will agree with both Cllr George Fairhurst and myself and that is the crossroads is dangerous and not going to work.

You can rest assured that we will be working to resolve this matter as a matter of urgency.

I have got loads of messages to respond to, and I will try and get through them all, and phone calls to return too. Let's hope we can get the Council to remove this ASAP. Thanks for everyone for getting in touch too.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

How Corrupt is Wigan Council?

I have learnt that the LABOUR Cllrs below did not register free gifts/ hospitality. Earlier this year all Cllrs where asked if they wanted two free tickets for the Wigan Jazz Festival, via their Cllrs email account. This is not uncommon. As I am a keen jazz fan I took up the offer, like the Labour Cllrs. However, when I registered my interest with the Council, I noticed that the Labour Cllrs below that also took up this offer did not register the gift/ hospitality.

I reported them to the Council for failing to register their interest and therefore broke the Council's Code of Conduct. The Council have come back with some crazy excuse saying that it is a personal gift and not made to a Cllr. I strongly disagree as this offer was made to Cllrs email address's and they responded via their Cllrs email and therefore they were under the Cllrs rules. The Council claim that Cllrs only have to register gifts that a rise from Council meeting.

Have you heard anything so mad? So if a Cllr was going to get a back handed under the rules that the Council are saying, as long as it is not done in a meeting then they don't have to register the gift/ hospitality - which surely can't be right. The whole purpose of a register of gifts/ hospitality is to be open and transparent.

They now say that they intend to change the rules so Cllrs have to register gifts any time now. They say they are doing this because I have raised this. The rules have already there - it is called the law!

One of the real main worries is if these Cllrs haven't registered 2 tickets of £32 in total, then what other higher value gifts have they not registered as they believe they have received them as "personal gifts"?

I believe that this is also a criminal offence and will consider whether to report it now to the police.

I wonder if it is because they are Labour Cllrs and that's why the Council are not investigating?

The LABOUR Cllrs who failed to register their gifts are:-

Bill Clarke
Keith Stitt
Janice Sharratt
Eunice Smethurst
Pam Stewart
Clive Morgan

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Planning update on applications and appeals.

So with all the issues with housing in Standish I am just giving people the heads up on where things are up too.

Persimmon Homes have now asked for another date for their appeal for the golf course. This was due to take place this week. I believe this is because they are missing information and probably not hopeful. The new date will probably be in January next year. However, they have also put another application in for actually for the same development. We believe they are doing this because of they will probably withdraw their planning application appeal at some point soon.

The planning application on Old Pepper Lane has now gone to appeal, no date has been set yet. They have appeal on the grounds that the Council have not determined their application.

No further applications have come in yet however the Council are still mindful that two will come in for the area called the line, behind Almond Brook.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Legal advice for new houses.

Many know that we asked a leading planning expert to look at if we had a challenge to the new houses for Standish. The barrister has now looked at the process and says that we do not have a legal challenge, although he recognises the act why residents feels upsets.

We are now waiting for the Council's traffic survey to see what the findings of that survey is.

Disappointing news!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Landfill for Standish

I have received a letter about a proposed planning application for a new landfill site in Standish. The site is Stars Brow. This is just past the Severn Stars pub at the bottom of Preston Rd. It is just before you go into Coppull.

The site is a former sand quarry and landfill site, however, the owners think there is 3 years of more use in the site. They claim that it will stop flooding, however this is a green open space now and a secure site.

They plan to have 31 lorries per day going into the site Mon - Fri 7am - 6pm and 7am - 1pm on Sat. This is a huge about of traffic and will create hundreds of more lorries in Standish village. Obviously the smell will be an issue at times too.

Let me know what you think. I know one thing I guess the developers will have problems selling their new houses they want to build in Standish.

As soon as the planning application is in we will let you know.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Residents fights planning application

Five Star Homes have put in a planning application for new flats on Chorley Rd, Standish.

Residents fought this developer before with the Rowton Rise development, just off Chorley Rd. That battle last 5 years. Now with a small part of the land left the developer wants to demolition one part of a semi-detached house and then use that land plus some land next to that house for the flats plus access to the property.

This access has been turned down 3 times previously so I am not sure why the developer thinks they can do get this passed. However, the next door neighbour is upset that his house could be effected. Also other neighbours surrounding the plat are upset at the fact that this area was meant to be left clear of houses, never mind flats and here is another example that a developer wants to ignore the planning conditions.

Residents from Chorley Rd and Rowton Rise will know fight the application.  This will be on the grounds that the access is on a blind bend, the flats will be over powering on the next door neighbour. Also it is not in keeping with the area.

The people that have bought the new houses behind Rowton Rise are upset too as the developer said the area concerned would not be built on. Goes to show you can't trust developers!

The planning application is here.

The Week that Ended.....6 Oct '13

This week has been relatively quiet.

I have attended Standish High Schools governing body meeting on Wednesday night. This was the first meeting of the school year. It is interesting the issues that schools face and do. The school had some great results in the summer.

Thursday night I attended the Community Centre committee meeting. The centre is planning a number of great events, as well as renting the rooms out to groups. One of the events that the centre is planning is a Children's Christmas Party. This is being planned for December, date to be confirmed.

Surgery had a number of residents in and I will be going doing a site visit with some of them in a short while and then doing a couple of home visits too with regards a planning issue. I am planning to do a story on the blog later on this so please keep watching the site, as this is really interesting.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Labour block communities money

Wigan Councillors get a little over £6000 per year to use on environmental or community projects in their wards or for the people of their wards. This money is called Brighter Borough. However, labour and Wigan Council have now made it to blackmail voters by saying, if you vote for someone we don't like then we will stop that community from getting their own money back.

How are they doing this? In my opinion an illegal and political act! The process is, if a Cllr gets a complaint made against them by an officer of the Council then automatically as soon as that complaint comes in the Cllr's Brighter Borough money is stopped. Regardless of whether the complaint will go to investigation or if it even is a proper complaint. However, if a member of the public complains about a Cllr that does not make that Cllrs Brighter Borough money stop. So the first point where is the consistency? Why do Wigan Council Executive think they are above members of the public? Surely if it was fair then no matter who complains then the money is stopped. In my opinion Labour know that their Cllrs get more complaints made by the Public, and found guilty, by the public and they do not want to effect their Cllrs.

Wigan Council says that they have to do this because a few Cllrs behaviour is disgusting and they need punishing. However, to date, since I was elected last year, no Cllr has been found guilty of misbehaving. So therefore when you read the reason why in the Wigan Evening Post by the Chief Executive she is merely giving an opinion rather than reporting fact.

But if a Cllr is found guilty in the future how does this punishment punish the Cllr because it is not the Cllr who is being punished but the Community that elected them? That then brings this to an illegal and political act!

As a Cllr I have asked for the legal dept to go and get independent legal opinion on whether this is legal or not for the two reasons that I have given, plus a couple more, but they refuse, merely saying that it is the Labour ruling Cabinet decision and that's it. That then demonstrates that this is a political act, which the Council should not allow, as they are meant to be impartial.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Week that ended....29 Sept '13

Last week of Sept. Where does time go. It only seemed yesterday that the kids were going back to school and already people are talking about half term and xmas.

This week has been a relative busy week. Monday say me attending the Call in meeting of The Pines Residential Care home. Full Story here. I still can't believe after the way that the Council handled Mere Oaks they still continue on in this way. Arrogance! All I can say to that.

Tuesday, I highlighted the fact that the Council are looking to lose the road outside the Globe pub as a road and allow it to be a seating area for drinkers. Whilst we have had a great summer, these are not often and even then not many people would want to drink outside on a regular occasion - so I can't see why this is being allowed. After all the situation has worked for many years so why change it?

Also I believe anti social behaviour will increase in the area too. For the full story see here. The Council say that they have a great outdoor seating area policy and pointed to Wallgate to me. I would say this is a disaster. I have had comments from people that walk up from the train station were the same people seem to sit outside all day drinking and smoking, and swearing is not uncommon too. Is this really a policy that the Council want to push and promote for a good image of the Borough?

Wednesday I attend the Confident Places Scrutiny meeting where play equipment was nearly discussed. I say nearly as the Chairman clearly didn't want Councillors to discuss this issue. He even said this to Councillors that belonged to his own group, which demonstrates how Labour likes to keep their minnows quiet. I suggested that if the Chairman wouldn't allow the discussion because he thought it was not in the report that we set up another meeting to discuss the matter, which seems to be taken up. Time will tell if this is the case.

Nominations closed for the Winstanley By-election. on Friday lunch time. There is 7 candidates in the election and it will be interesting battle. Labour will be confident but I am not sure they should be. UKIP in the last by-election had a good second place and then Community Action Party have a good candidate in Stan Barnes and he has been a Councillor for the ward before too, so he will have a good chance too. Some are now putting him favourite. For the full list of candidates see here 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Winstanley By-election Candidates

At noon today was the deadline for candidates to put their nomination forms in to be a candidate in the election.

In total there was 7 candidates that put their forms in. These are.

  • Stan Barnes - Community Action Party
  • David Bowker - Independent
  • Andrew Collinson - UKIP
  • Steven Heyes - The Green Party
  • Marie Morgan - Labour Party
  • John Skipworth - Liberal Democrats
  • Michael Winstanley - The Conservative Party.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

New Tool to compare Secondary Schools

As a parent I know the importance of checking out the best school for your child. Parents often compare schools and this can be time consuming now I have just been told about a new tool that is quick and easy to use to compare Secondary Schools. This is being provided by the Guardian Newspaper.

Here is the link to this new compare tool.

Great new tool.

Scrutiny Place meeting last night

Last night I attended the Overview and Scrutiny Confident Places meeting. Not too much going on but one report was the fact that the way money is spent on play equipment in the borough.

Currently when a builder builds houses in an area they have to give the Council some money per house that they build for play equipment in that area. The Council used to class an area as three wards. However going forward the Labour Controlled Cabinet and Council are changing this and saying the money can be spent anywhere in the ward, i.e. when they build all these 000's of houses in Standish the money the Council gets for play equipment can be spent in places Like Platt Bridge and Leigh. This is fundamentally wrong and should not be allowed the money should stay in the area where the houses are built. The only exception I make to that is in the case of Haigh Hall as I agree that each area within Wigan should provide a small contribution to those play equipment as we all use them. I say small because if ward of the Wards in Wigan contribute a small percentage then it will all add up to something large.

The other report was on waste. One thing that I wish the bin men would do is put the bins back where they came from and not through them all over the place and in front of drives. It wouldn't take that much longer.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Iain Dale idiot or marketing genius?

Who's heard of Iain Dale? Who's heard of Damian McBride?  If you follow politics then the chances are you have heard of them both. If you do not follow politics in the UK, you probably haven't heard of either of them. However, I bet many more millions of people around the world have heard of them now.

Iain Dale is the publisher of Damian McBride's book. This is about his memoirs as a civil servant and special advisor/ spin doctor to the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The book is a bit controversial and has had a bit of news coverage lately, but when a protestor was standing at the back of Mr McBride holding a placard up Mr Dale thought that this protester was a distraction for the interview. So what does he do? Goes and wrestles him.

Here is a clip.

The thing here is, if Iain Dale seriously thought that getting into a scuffle with this protestor was going to remove the distraction he was right, but if he thought the attention would go back on the interviewee then he was wrong, as everyone looked and watched the scuffle. You can hear people laughing at the situation.

But by the fact that he did this it got the clip on all the TV news stations and in all the papers. So I guess from a marketing stand point it has raised the profile of the book that they were promoting. Genius or not?

Others didn't do badly out of it too with ITN being promoted on the clip. Also the protestor will no doubt be getting some news coverage about his experience. Is this a win win for all concerned or was it stupid to try and drag the man away.

The Pines call in

If the Council takes a decision that a number of Cllrs do not like or feel that it should be scrutinise then they can trigger a process of what is known as a call in.

Labour Cabinet member Keith Cunliffe took the decision to close the resident care home called the Pines, which is in Pemberton. This home is for residents that have learning difficulties or disabilities.

A number of Cllrs felt this was not right for a number of reasons. I was one of those. Collectively, we called the decision in and on Monday Night we had the call in meeting at th,e Town Hall.

The reasons why we thought the decision was wrong was the residents in the main thought as themselves as a family. Now they will all be split up. Also the building does need updating no one can deny that, but the Council is spend £6 million to update the Town Hall for the employees, so why is it unreasonable to expect the Council to undate the home of these residents?

The reason here to me is money! At present the residents are classed as - residents. When they are moved out they become tenants so they have to pay rent for their accommodation. Labour say don't worry they can claim housing benefit off the government. Is this a scam to you? It is to me. Then the council can then sell the land to a developer. This is not to dissimilar to the Mere Oaks issues a number of years ago. labour always prey on the weak and vulnerable.

After the debate and questioning Labour voted not to change the decision. Weak and pathetic! Labours motto has to be, "stuff everyone else look after ourselves. Charity begins at home!"

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Road to be lost for drinkers?

Just outside the door of the Globe Public House there is a small road that goes between High Street and then Cross Street. Currently the Globe has some benches outside where drinkers on a sunny day can sit outside or if there are smokers can sit whilst having a cigarette. But even though there are a few benches outside there is still room for a couple of cars to park for the local shops are neighbourhood. Also this is where the delivery wagon off loads too.

Now the landlord of the Globe wants a beer garden and is applying to the Council to change it from being a road to an outside drinking area, all sectioned off. He is not wanting to buy the land but merely use it for free. So the tax payers lose an amenity and get no capital for it. Crazy world!

However, this area is next to the cenotaph in Standish and drinkers who have to much will be all over that respected land, which should not be allowed. Children will think it is a free for all and I have even heard the suggestion that one thing that can be done is to fence to cenotaph off. We don't want things blocking off, we need to keep them as they are.

I believe that should this proposed scheme should not go ahead as there will be a rise in anti social behaviour and also when the  dray wagon is carrying out it's delivery there will be a new danger on the A49 as the bus will have trouble getting out of the bus stop and then there will be a wagon blocking the highway for cars anyway.

The system that we have had in that area has worked for decades why change it now? There is a parking area for a few cars and they have some benches outside. This works quite well so why change it? Pubs shut all to often these days, which is a shame - but it is reality,  but should this one close then we have closed this area that has a couple of car parking spaces for the other local shops for nothing.

If you feel the same then you can see the plan below and write to the council to object. The reference number is RD/LR/JOH/N22/700-/N-002987. Or you can forward them on to myself and I will make sure they get to the Council.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Week that ended.......22 Sept '13

Bit of a quiet week. Started with Monday and attending Ex Cllr and Friend Henry Cadman's funeral in Swinley. Henry Cadman was a Cllr with me for the Wigan Central Ward between 2004 and 2010. Back in 2001 when I first decided to run for a Cllr Henry was a great help. He had been a family friend for over 40 yrs. He was a great Cllr for the Wigan Central Ward too and I know he will be missed by family and friends and the community.

On Wednesday the By-election was called for Winstanley Ward. This was after the death and funeral of ex Cllr Rona Winkworth. She was a Labour Cllr and it is fair to say we didn't get on but it is sad when anyone dies and my thoughts are with the family.

I guess people say they come in three's and later in the week a community activist Syd Hall died at his home in Scholes. Syd was 77 and I hope I have his energy at that age. When I was elected for the Wigan Central Ward he was soon on the phone. In fact he was always on the phone night and day, trying to get this and that. Also if there was a problem he would let me know and also try and help. Syd was a serious pain in the backside at times and this was not because he wanted to be but because he was passionate for his community and the people that lived there and that is not a bad thing. I have many memories of Syd but one thing that I will cherish was his cheeky nature and smile. At times he would ask for things that just weren't going to happen and when you say to him, "Come on and be real." He would give you his cheeky grin and say well you don't know if you don't ask. So true. RIP Syd you will be sorely missed.

Now the dust is settling on the fact that the Council have adopted the Core Strategy it is clear that many residents are upset, frustrated and feel let down by this Labour controlled Council. One resident wrote to the head of the planning Dept and the Chief Executive with his thoughts. Here is a link to that post, I suspect others have written too and will be telling them what they think of them.

Also during the week a report came out about the death of Daniel Pelka's death. Here is the thread for that post. In this day and age there needs to be more accountability and if those that fail children then they should resign or be sacked and not be able to pass the book or just come out with words like, sorry or we will learn from this. Actions speak louder than words!

As a Cllr I get requests for info that we don't know about or things we wouldn't think we would get asked for. One resident came to me over the issue of Burial fees and the fact that when you bury someone's ashes in the memorial garden you are paying for a lease of 25 yrs. After that time you have to pay to renew. The issue here is that should the person that buried the ashes have moved, which could well happen or that person dies then the Council doesn't seem to look for the next of kin. If no renewal fees are paid then they can exhume the ashes and scatter them on another part of the cemetery. This issues needs to be resolved before that happens and I have written to the Council to say they need to put things in place now, like using tracing agents to try and find the family before they exhume any ashes. Here is more on that issues plus all the fees.

This week we have had a strange danger alert in Standish when a man approached a student of Standish High. Well done to Standish high for getting the message out quickly and alerting parents to this. Also later in the week we had a violent man on the run, I hear that he had robbed the large Coop in the village, police were alerted as were Woodfold primary school, as the man was seen running up school lane. The school stopped any student leaving on their own and contacted all parents saying if they did let their child either walk home on there own or part way on their own that there would not be able to that day and all parents had to pic their child up. This is another good example that good communications is key to keeping us all safe. The police later caught the person and is now in custody.

The week coming up is going to be a busy one with a number of meetings coming up.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Burial fees and rules

It has been raised about the fact that when you bury a love ones ashes in the memorial garden in a cemetery by the Council you are only paying for leasing the land for 25 years. After that time you have to renew the lease again. This was something that I didn't realise and I agree with the person that raised this issue with me, a lot can happen in 25 years and how can you know where you will be living at that time.

I didn't realise that when you are buried in a cemetery under the control of the Council you are only leasing that for 99 years. After the 25 years for the ashes if the renewal fee is not paid the Council can exhume the ashes and scatter them in another part of the cemetery. They can exhume your body after 99 years, not sure what they will do with that then.

So the issue is if the Council cannot find a relative after the 25 years, for ashes and 99 years, for burials, the Council can exhume the body. I think that the Council should at least use tracing agents to try and get in touch with relatives to see if they want to renew before they exhume any ashes or body.

So is this right because land is at a premium or is his the Council just trying to make more money out of this situation.

I have put all the fees and charges below for everyone to see and view.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Residents tell the Council what they think of them!

Over the last 18 months the major issue for Standish has been mass housing building on our green open fields.

Last week Wigan Council disgracefully voted to allow 000's of houses to be built on the green open fields in Standish. This is even when they have no idea what they will do about the traffic problems we have at this present time nor have they got a plan when these houses are built.

One thing that they have said is for ever 1000 houses to be built, they will receive £3m in a levy tax that they are proposing to put on each house built. But this Labour control council have said that out of the £3m raised only 15% (£330,000) will stay in Standish, as that is the legal minimum. The other 85% can go to other areas, no doubt Labour will put it in their "areas of deprivation."

However, residents are not lying down and taking it, as one resident, who has asked for their name to be withheld on the blog, has taken it upon themselves to write to the head of planning and Chief Executive about the whole affair. Here is their letter,

Mr Normington,
This is a genuine communication from a borough resident, who pays the highest band of council tax, is an educated professional, contributes positively to the local area and, sadly, one who wishes to convey the most abject dismay and frustration over your departments handling of the government’s core housing strategy. I am absolutely seething over the situation you have inflicted upon us.

It all emanates from within your department, who have completely mismanaged the entire process. Initially being bullied and embarrassed by house builders, then 'turned over' by the government inspector Kevin Ward (who has no affiliation/interest for the local impact of his decisions) and then, finally, by Wigan Council who voted in his appalling recommendations and run around 'celebrating' the result as if you had achieved something! What?? You absolute bunch of fools!

How on earth you have chosen to single out Standish and effectively 'dump' an extra 1000 homes (minimum) in an area that is already at breaking point is beyond comprehension. Have you driven through the crossroads at busy times of the day? Why drop all the houses in one single area when you have the entire borough to choose from? The answer is for pure short term greed on behalf of the Council, underpinned by ill thought out strategic planning.

It is also criminal that those Standish residents (who actually find the drive through the village a stressing experience already) will see a pittance of the overall revenue that this 'selling off' of our Greenfield sites will yield as the Council seek to penalise Standish and attribute the monies elsewhere for others to benefit. We are the ones who have to live daily with these ruthless decisions being made.

The whole situation is a farce and you are directly responsible for the outcome of this. As a high council tax payer, I have the right to express my opinion on your performance, which is quite frankly diabolical. The private sector would not tolerate such incompetence.

You are effectively stealing my money each month as you have done absolutely nothing to represent my interests or those of thousands of others living in Standish. You have abused and insulted us. I am sure you will agree, that is appalling and not how council members should behave.

As a direct consequence of Wigan Council actions, my partner have discussed the situation and will be looking to move back out of the borough once this obscene housing development commences. So, having succeeded in attracting desirable, high income, working couples into the area, you have effectively driven us back out again. How ironic.

I accept that there is no reversal of this calamitous situation and nor do I want a response from you (I have no respect for your opinion or further deceit) but you and your entire team need to conduct a serious appraisal of how you managed to get this totally and abhorrently wrong.
Absolute brilliant letter and I think this letter is typical of what residents in Standish think and I am sure that this wouldn't be the last letter sent to the Council.

In my surgery, last Saturday, many residents commented to me about how disappointed they were about the Council.

Any way let me know what you think to this letter and also if you want to write to the Council please do.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Daniel Pelka - Where are the sackings?

The findings of the death of Daniel Pelka is out today. I wrote about this case in August, here is the story if you did not see that.

What gets me is no one has either had the decency to resign nor have there been any sackings. In the case of Baby P we know there were sackings there and no one bothered about that. Probably because that was right. But here in this case the head teacher said she is sorry. She was in charge of the school were a child came to school with numerous injury's, going through bins for food, weight loss and more. How many signs did she and others need. She should be sacked!

The sackings should not stop there, social workers and even police should have some too as they were all aware of this little boy. I am just listening to the independent chair person on the safe guarding board in Coventry - she obviously failed monumentally in her role. Safeguarding board - obviously a joke and needs to be overhauled.

I am surprised why any parent would send their child to that school as they is no safeguarding there in my opinion.

Whilst the social workers, head teachers and others are coming out saying how sorry they are - of course they are because they failed in their job and been caught - do the right thing and resign or they should get sacked.

We hear in these cases where people missed things and yes, things do need to change in Coventry but not with them so called professionals.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Jeremy Clarkson to stand for Parliment?

Jeremy Clarkson tweeted that he is thinking of standing for Parliament in the next General Election 2015. He said this would be in Doncaster North where he is from, should he decide to do it. He would stand as an independent.

I for one hope he does and knocks Ed Miliband out, as he is the current MP for that seat. Ed is not only a person that was involved in getting the Country in the mess that we are in but also a weak leader for the Labour Party and I ask does he truly represent them? Ed Miliband and Ed Balls should not be allowed to stand given their involvement in getting us in the mess that we are in.

But the question is being asked should more people who have connections in their local area stand for their MP seat. They would know more about the area and what the people stand for, need and want. I know too that many asked me at the last General Election to stand, which I decided not too, but they now want me to stand at the next General Election in 2015. For any one to stand is a huge commitment, to do it properly, and it would be interesting if more and more people have now switched off from the large political parties.

Food for thought! 

The Week that ended....15 Sept '13

The main issue this week was the full Council meeting on Wednesday. The full story is here. It was interesting from that residents are up in arms from the fact that Labour are asking the whole residents of Wigan, all 330 000+ if they can have a referendum to have a Parish Council and I can see why too.

Residents are absolutely outraged at the decision Labour has taken to allow 000's of new houses to be built in Standish. So much for the Council and Labour saying that they are fighting for them. Weak and crumbled!

For residents that viewed the council meeting it was clear that they are so disappointed how the Council was ran and also is run. Even when I asked for a name vote on the Core Strategy the Mayor said we had 9 votes and we did not have the 10 needed to trigger this. We challenged that decision and he asked for the hands again to be put up and there was 10. The Mayor said well I saw 9 before so I am not allowing the name vote. This, they think, stops us naming Labour Cllrs for voting for this disastrous policy. If Labour vote one way or another they should have the conviction to stand by that. But they don't because they want to try and hide behind closed doors.

I have had a number of local issues from bins and street lights which I am dealing with this week.

Cllr George Fairhurst is in hospital after having a Hip operation and will be out soon, I hope, as the other Cllr for Standish, who is Labour, does not only do nothing but doesn't even attend the most important issue for Standish for years and she doesn't even come to Standish. Next May she is up for re-election and we will be fighting strong to rid Standish of this Cllr, who has done nothing for Standish but gone in the paper and said I have worked with developers to get more houses. Shame on you - you should represent the people who elected you - not yourself!

Our next newsletter is due out shortly and I am putting some finishing touches to it.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Lisa's expenses are in

The expenses of MP's has now been published for 2012/2013.

With the highest claim for expenses was Ian Paisley with a total expenses totalling over £232,000. Our Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan is the 80 worst MP for claims. Her total expenses was £176219.39. Out of them there was office expenses totalling £131167.95.Travelling was £3065.37 and accommodation bill was £22,655.64.Staff cost was just £320.00 and no misc expenses.

Yvonne Forvargue is not far behind neither and Andy Burnham was higher at £176527.79.

Worth their money?


Parish Council Debate

On Wednesday night Wigan Council started the borough wide consultation on whether the people of Atherton should have a parish council, that story here. Now the debate rages on whether the whole borough should be consulted on the issue rather than just the people it effects. This was caused by enough people in the effect area signing a petition asking for a referendum.

Wigan Council argues that should a parish council be set up in the future then the whole borough would have to pay for it. However the cost of setting up a Parish Council is nominal, source Wigan Council - they only have to publish an order. 
So with that now clarified the next point is, after the Consultation the Council will decided whether to allow the residents to have a referendum on whether they themselves would like a parish council or not. To me it would be less bureaucratic to miss out this consultation and just go to the referendum and let the people of Atherton decide for themselves. This would not only save time but money too. I am not bothered about the very minimal amount it would cost to set up as it is less than 1p to my Council Tax. What I would like to have a consultation is whether the Council should spend £70 000 on feeding Cllrs?
If the Council decides after the consultation that there were not enough people that wanted it then that will be the end of that. No other petition for a parish council can come in for another 2 years. Should the Council decide to allow a referendum it will then be a binding vote whether to have a Parish Council or not. Should the vote be to have on then an order, which Wigan Council will pay for, will be published and an election to elect the new Parish Councillors will happen. The newly elected Cllrs will then meet and set the precept and that will come into force and will be added on to their Council Tax. If they vote not to have a parish council then that will be the end of that - again for at least for 2 years.
My issue with how Wigan Council is doing this is, they are trying to rig the vote so they do not have to give the people a referendum. They are doing this because the issue of whether Atherton simply doesn't really effect them so they will not respond to the Consultation and then when it comes back to the Council, Labour will say only a small part of the people responded so it is not worth doing.
So why does Wigan Council not want a Parish Council? They think if Atherton has one they wouldn't get their people in there and control it. I qualify my remarks by Shevington has a Parish Council. Labour controls that one. The average band D property pays over £22 extra. Labour has 6 Cllrs on there and Shevington Independents - who want a referendum to abolish it and lower the tax  - has 3 Cllrs on there, but yet even at the last review for them it was overwhelming that the residents of Shevington wanted a referendum to abolish it but Labour wouldn't allow this. This demonstrates that Labour are not consistent with their policy on this matter and just do what they want rather than let the people decide - so much for democracy!
So where do I lie in this debate? For me I am against Parish Council as I believe in lower tax and cutting the level of bureaucracy, however, should residents of an area disagree with my views and want a parish council just let them vote on whether they want one or not, saves time, saves money but more important it is more democratic!        

To complete the survey here is the link. For me as it doesn't effect me in Standish but I would like democracy to prevail I have said no to both question 2 and 3 and missed out 4. The questionnaire should have one more question, should the people effect have a vote? 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Full Council last night

What a night last night was. If someone asked for one word to describe it that one word would have to be farcical.

I'll start with 6.20pm with resident starting to turn up in the heavy rain with banners and protesting outside. Speaking with Cllrs going into the Town Hall they asked them to vote no to the Core Strategy. It was soon evident that there were a lot more protesters than seats in the public gallery. With another big issue being held on the same night, Save the Pines Group, the seats were being taken up. I asked the Council because there were more people that wanted to go in the Public Gallery than seats available could some residents wait in the lobby of the Town Hall, because of the rain, and when the pines item had been heard and then those people that attended for that item would then leaving the public gallery, I had checked this was happening, and then allow the people in the lobby to then take up those empty seats in the gallery? At first we were told they had to wait outside in the rain but thankfully after taking the matter higher they were allowed to wait in the lobby. All this demonstrates that the Council should video the meeting and put it on their website so that when issues come up and people want to attend the public gallery but can't because there is only a small number of seats available then they can at least view it at home on the internet. But Labour doesn't want the wider community of Wigan knowing what goes on and how they act in the chamber.

I think it is important to note that Labour have restricted Full Council meetings to just 3 hours. The reason why I mention this will become clear later in this article.

Council use 1/3rd of their time to discuss death

The Mayor at the beginning of the meeting mentioned that Cllr Rona Winkworth had died and also that a former Cllr had sadly passed away. Then Council went on to let other Cllrs discuss this matter which took over 50  mins. That is nearly a third of the time to discuss the matter. Then when 3 hours has passed the meeting gets closed, even though there was a number of items to be discussed, including motions. Residents that attended were disgusted that Council can use so such of the time to discuss this matter only then not to extend the meeting to discuss normal business. I think whilst it may be right to pass on our condolences it is important that we do not use a third of the business time to discuss this. I have now suggested that we allow 5/10 mins of normal business time for any item like this and should it go on any longer those minutes are then added on to the end of the meeting. I think a sensible idea and we will see if Labour will agree with this.

The Pines

The first big item on the agenda was whether it is right that the Council should close the Pines. This is a home for the vulnerable in our community. The Council want to close this and move the residents out into other accommodation. The issue is the vast majority of residents don't want to leave or be split up as they have spent many years together. Yes the building needs modernising but this is peanuts in the grand scheme. The Council is spending £6m on tarting up the Town Hall but can't upgrade this facility. Shame on them! But another important item to recognise that because in this facility people are called residents they don't have to pay but when they get moved out then they will become tenants in the new accommodation where they will have to claim the £80 p/w housing benefit to pass on to the Council. To me this shows this decision is about money.

Then Labour voted through to change a constitutional item on call in's. This is process is where Cllrs can call in a decision by the Cabinet and scrutinise decisions that they have taken. Obviously Labour don't like their decisions being scrutinise and they don't want the public to know all their decisions.

Core Strategy

The big item of the night was the Core Strategy. This is where the Council are going to allow 000's of new houses to be built on Green open spaces in Standish. The Council says that they have no other choice but it is the Government's planning inspector that has imposed this on them. This is simply not true. Yes, it can create difficulties but if the Council did not adopt the Core Strategy then the rules for planning applications would be under the National policy Framework. Labour says if this was the case then Builders can be build anywhere. This is a lie! Under the national policy framework you still can refuse a planning application because of traffic infrastructure cannot cope. We all know this to be true of Standish and therefore there would be a genuine legal reason to refuse applications.

One Labour Cllr who was lobbied by residents and myself last night said Standish was one great big field anyway. Just goes to show the contempt that Labour show towards Standish. Also shows that that Cllr has been to Standish for 30 years too.

It is the Standish Labour Cllr that has publically said that she has worked with developers to get more houses in Standish. Now she is up for re-election  next May, she is trying to back track. She didn't even stay in the Council meeting for the debate and speak against the Core Strategy.

It is clear that Labour and the Council want to try and blame someone else for the mess but yet they don't have the guts or the convictions to stand up for the residents that they should serve!

Atherton Consultation for Parish Council

One last item to mention is that residents of Atherton have signed a petition and got the right number of signatures to get a referendum. Now Labour are asking the whole borough whether Atherton can have a referendum for a Parish Council or not. Labour said if the residents decide to have a Parish Council then the residents of the borough would have to pay to set it up. The cost of this consultation is more than having a referendum, so why on earth would anyone not let them have the referendum.? It is quicker and cheaper just to let them have a referendum.

The real answer is Labour doesn't want Atherton to have a Parish Council as they feel that they would not get control of it. The labour leader said last night that all this was to massage a Cllr ego (Reference to Atherton Independent Cllr Bradbury who is championing this cause). He even said that if it went through then resident of Atherton would pay more, which is true. However, why does Labour not let Shevington have a referendum to abolish their Parish Council, that is what residents want? Answer because Labour controls this, just, and they don't want that to get rid of themselves. However  Shevington Independents have 3 out of the 9 Parish Cllrs and they support a call for a referendum and next Parish Elections they will stand again and try to get those 2 extra seats to get rid of this quango.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Save Standish Protest - Wigan Town Hall

On Wednesday 11 September at Wigan Town Hall, Wigan Council will be voting whether to build thousands of new houses in Standish over the next 13 years.

At the last Save Standish meeting it was decided to get residents to protest outside the Town Hall for 30/ 40 mins and to ask the Cllrs to vote NO!

The meeting starts at 7pm and we are asking people to be there from 6.20pm till 7pm, as the Councillors go into the Town Hall. If anyone then wants too they can go into the public gallery and listen to the debate during the meeting. If you can't or don't want to go into the meeting we ask that residents come to the protest outside for 30/40 mins.

If you want to make and bring banners - no problems.

This could be one of our last chances at trying to stop 000's of new houses being built on our open green spaces.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Wonga make more Wonga!

Wonga has just announced that their profits are up 36% from last year and their profits have been £1m per week.(Source Sky News)

The issue is that the people that have to use these kinds of companies probably can't use high street banks due to them not having a high enough credit score. With companies like Wonga making these kinds of profits that just demonstrates that the high street banks are out of touch on their lending, otherwise companies like Wonga wouldn't be making these kinds of profits.

It is important to remember that these kind of companies charge higher APR than high street banks and some are exorbitant high and the high street banks rates would be lower than these but there is nothing stopping the high street banks lending at a higher rate than their usual rate to people that don't fit their main criteria.

To me I do believe that the banks should listen to people's situations first before deciding to lend or not. People can have lower credit score a number of reason, including never borrowing as they have always saved up for things.

The people that these kind of companies are people that need more help and should be taken advantage off! In the current situation I guess it is better for people who can't access main street banks to use companies like this rather than loan sharks.

News story here

Monday, 2 September 2013

Car Parks opening early on Sunday

There has been a lot about the car parks not opening early on Sunday for the Wigan 10k race. I have just contacted the Council and they have informed me that car parks will be open from 8.30am.

I know some of the staff have told car park users that it is normal opening time, but this is not the case.

Hope to see you all there. :-)

Council sells your personal data

It has been released today that Councils are sending your personal data. I have just looked at the report and Wigan Council has sold the electoral to 3 companies including what I believe a developer and a data company, who may sell the data on or use it or marketing purposes.

I am strongly against this and Council's should not be allowed to sell your data.

If you are interesting in reading the report here it is REPORT .

To be fair to the Council they have to sell the data if they are asked for it and legislation needs to be changed to stop this practise. If you look at the report Wigan Council has one of the lowest requests for this data and some other Council's have made a lot of money out of this scheme.

If you want to opt out of the edited register you can use the letter here . I know I have opted out of the edited register some years ago but I wonder how many people don't realise their data is being sold by the Council.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Week that ended.......1 Sept '13

Wow, Sept already! No doubt many mums out there will be breathing a sigh of relief knowing that their little cherubs will be going back to school in a few days time.

I know I have seen a couple of mums who are on count down now :-).


The week started with the Save Standish meeting on Tuesday. We moved it from our traditional Monday because it was a bank holiday this week. Thank you to the Unity Club for once again letting us use the club and to all those that attended. We gave the latest update and the fact that the Council are now looking to allow approx. 1000 houses on Standish green open spaces but yet they haven't done the plan to see if the roads can cope! How on earth you can say build approx. 1000, which we all know will be nearer to 1250, and then not have a infrastructure plan completed is beyond me. The Council have made a complete hash of this process and if I was the leader of the Council I would want to know why.

This is a worry to have these houses but the biggest worry is in 5 years time the developers will be back again! Why? Because the Council are allowing flexibility in part of their plan that says if after the developers have built in Standish they do not build in other areas of Wigan, like Platt Bridge and Abram (which they won't because they want Standish) then they can allow more land to be released in Standish. So what's the line with all of this?


I say their greed because the Council is worried that if they don't do this they will lose the chance to charge developers up to £3000 per house for a levy. So 1000 houses in Standish will raise an additional £3,000,000 but the Council has said that only £330,000 will stay in Standish and the rest will go to other areas.

I published a post on my blog here earlier in the week.

Ramp Riders Event

On Wednesday saw the last of our Ramp Riders event for BMX bikes and skateboards at St Maries. This was an event that we have organised and funded over the summer and children have enjoyed it. We hope to do the event again next year.

We are now looking to put an event on at Xmas and that is looking exciting so keep checking the blog for more details nearer the time.

Again here is the post I published about the Ramp Riders event earlier in the week.


Yesterday's surgery was busy and a number of residents came in with issue, I am currently working through those issue and I did a number of house visits yesterday, Where people had asked for them. It is always nice to meet more residents. One thing that came out was the fact that Standish residents are sick of this Council and how they do nothing for them, which I whole heartedly agree with.  The support for both myself and Cllr George Fairhurst is nice and we enjoy representing and working with residents for a better area.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Syria - my thoughts

So with another conflict on the horizon the debate is should we intervene or not?

It is obvious that many don't want us to get involved with another conflict, especially after the lies that we were told over Iraq and the duration of the Afgan War. And for those reasons you can see why people are hesitant to get involved.

However, just because we were told lies over the reasons to go to War in Iraq because of the Dodgy Dossier that shouldn't mean that we shy away from conflict on the fear that the Government is lying to us or they don't know the full facts. In the case of Syria we have seen the evidence that chemical weapons are being used. Last night's vote was only to ask Parliament to vote on the principle of war, should it be needed. It wasn't a vote to take us to war. Given that Prime Minister had agreed a second vote to go to war would happen after more proof had been collated from the UN inspectors then that was a fair thing to do.

Now with Parliament voting no war this send s a signal to Syria that chemical weapons can be used and the British Parliament is not going to bother to stop that. Labour have played with politics last night and if chemical weapons are used again in Syria it is because of Labour that the British will not stop them attacks - which is a disgrace!

We would only do air strikes on targets where they make or store chemical weapons - no troops on the ground.

For the record I was in favour of the Afgan War as that was a clear security issue, had we not gone after Bin Laden, Iraq was completely different and I was strongly against going into Iraq as there was no proof, not like Syria!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Ramp Riders

Over the summer holidays both Cllr George Fairhurst and myself funded and organised some events at St Maries Primary School.

These were BMX and Skateboard ramps. These events were held most Wednesday and we had loads of Children turn up to the events have some great fun. We had some amazing stunt being done - next Tony Hawks could have started here.

We look forward to holding these events next year and we are now planning some events for later in the year too.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Save Standish meeting last night

Last night was Save Standish meeting, which was held at the Unity Club.

At the meeting we updated people where we are at. The main points:-
  • The Council are looking to adopt a weak Core Strategy plan, which allows approx. 1000 houses in the next 5 years. Then more possibly after that.
  • There is no plan to improve the traffic infrastructure in Standish.
  • Out of the £3,000,000 that will be raised because of these house in Standish, the Council will only keep £330,000 in Standish. The other 85% will be spent in other places in Wigan Borough. Yet again another example of Labour stealing money off Standish for their areas of Deprivation!
  • After the approx. 1000 houses have been built in Standish if developers don't build in other areas of Wigan then this plan allows them to come back and have look to build more houses in Standish.
Residents were left bewildered why the Council will not stick up for the residents of Standish? If some developer wanted to demolish Marsh Green I am sure Labour would be upset then! Yet more arrogance from Labour and this Council.

Residents have decided to:-
  • Hold a protest outside the Town Hall on the 11 Sept 2013. That day is the Full Council at 7pm and residents will be lobbying Councillors to stick up for Standish
  • Some will then go up into the Public Gallery to view the proceedings and hear the debate.
Please come along to the demo on the 11th. We are asking people to get there for 6.20/6.30 as Councillors will be arriving then. Even if you don't want to stay for the meeting if you can give up 40 minutes to show your disgust at this idea.

Legal Challenge

We now have our legal team looking at this Core Strategy to see if there is a legal challenge we can start against the Council's Core Strategy. Keep looking at the blog and more will follow on that soon.

Thank you for the support.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Week that ended.....25 August 2013

So at the end of last week the Government planning inspector's report was published here  With the residents meeting on Tuesday, more details about that here, it was a busy week preparing to get to grips with the detail of the report and speak with Council officials about the report too. This is an important issue for residents and we don't want any more mass houses estates in Standish never mind several. I hope to see you at the meeting.

Another big issue this week was the fact the Labour and the Council have decided to use tax payers money to train Cllrs on how to use and write their own blogs. What a waste of tax payers money! It is inconceivable to think that any sensible person would think this is a) acceptable and b) what tax payers would want their money being used on, especially when so many people are losing their jobs in the Council. Here is the full story. What is so interesting about this issue is that since I have been blogging since 2009 Labour have called me for blogging and now here they are following my lead, yet again, now they know how successful it is.

Another issue that has annoyed not only me but others in the community too is the fact that the Council have laid off thousands of people and now it has been disclosed that the Council has paid out £2.5m in overtime. It is normal that O/T is paid at time and half, so the time that has racked up the £2.5m could have been lower by the Council had they not laid so many off . This would mean a saving of nearly £1m but also the saving of people's jobs too. Just another example of this Labour Controlled Council not caring about people.

An issue that is on the increase in Standish, is anti social behaviour. Over the last few weeks we have been asked more and more to help residents resolve anti social behaviour issues. This is something that is not acceptable and we are working hard to eradicate this issue. If you experience this please get in touch so we can stamp this out.

Finally a big well done to all Students that got their GCSE results this week and also to Wigan Warriors for winning the Challenge cup for a record 19 times.