Sunday, 27 January 2013

The week that ended.........27th January 2013.

Weather (part one)

The week started with snow turning up on Monday. The schools then closed just after dinner. This created havoc. Tuesday saw Standish High closed on Tuesday as well, which was difficult for some parents as they had young children going into primary school but their older children not going in, if they went to the High School.

Parking issue

Tuesday saw me meeting a Council officer (traffic section) this was over parking on Preston Road near  to the Junction off Kenyon Road. They are wanting to put double yellow lines down all over the place. There has been a problem with identified with flow of traffic because the Council saying parents are parking dropping off their children and this is blocking the flow off traffic. I disagree and residents must not be penalised and I believe there is a way forward, so long as the Council are willing to listen!

Places meeting

On Monday night I attend the Confident Places meeting at the Town Hall. Where do they think of these names? It wasn't a bad meeting but there was some elements I don't like. The Council are talking about putting some roads in to get traffic moving, which I like the idea off. However, one of these roads will lead to the roundabout at J26 off the M6. This will bring extra traffic there and I believe that a new slip road should be built off the M6 on directly onto the M58. This will stop traffic queueing up on the M6 to get off. The Council have said they will look into this and will carry out a study.

I have some concerns on some of other issues like when Labour Councillors keep going on about building more Council Houses. Also Haigh Hall came under fire a bit, including the 9 hole golf course. As a Golfer (Well I try) I can't understand why the 9 hole is closed so soon because of a planning restrictions. I have asked for the Council to get this lifted to allow golfers to play a bit later. After all it is in the middle of nowhere. This is another example of the Leisure trust mismanagement and I believe that a study should be looked at to see if they should be brought back in house. I am told this will be done and I will report the findings once I have some information.

Sickness has gone through the roof and way to high. Labour cllrs say staff are losing their jobs so going off on stress. It is a hard fact that all services across the country are having cuts and jobs are being lost. I have been made redundant twice in my life, so I know a bit of how it feels. But just to allow staff to go off sick because of this should not be allowed but what should happen if full support be given! I know that not all sickness are because of redundancy so there might be areas where the Council can do reasonable adjustments to allow staff members back sooner. This area is costing the Council a lot of money.

Pre Budget meeting

Also this week I had a meeting with the head of Finance to discuss what is being looked at with regards the budget. The options on the table looks like a council tax freeze but the Council will need to look at a further £1.5 m cuts or they can rise Council Tax by 2%.

I have asked for some details to look at and once I have been able to look at that I can review whether there can be savings without cutting front line services. Another words are the Council still wasting money and I believe they are. Plus also there are a number of areas where they are taking some huge risks.

Weather (part two)

Friday saw Standish and Wigan get a snow bomb. This is a new terminology. It is where a large amount of snow comes down in a short space. The M6 was closed and drivers had to be rescued by mountain rescue. Then some drivers had a snowball fight. I heard it was northbound against the south bound carriage ways and some built snow men.

The snow has disappeared nearly has fast as it came down and things should be back to normal. However on Saturday morning I had to take the unusual step of cancelling the surgery at the Library because of the 8 inch's of snow.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The week that ended.......20 January '13

Full Council meeting
This week was the meeting of the full Council on Wednesday night. It seems that Labour are getting into a habit of blaming the Government for all these nasty cuts and none of them are their fault. The cuts are hurting families in Wigan that is true but cuts are needed, given the almighty mess that Labour created and then left. Whether the cuts are the right or wrong cuts will be down to peoples own opinion and views but for Labour just to try and dismiss all of the blame is weak.

One thing that Labour isn't shouting about is the fact that some of the cuts are being brought into Wigan 6 months earlier than other areas because this Labour Council are in partnership with the Government and being a pilot scheme for some of them. To me this is hypocritical calling someone for things they are doing but behind the scenes being a partner with them. Disgraceful!

Another thing that came out of the meeting is how Labour are closing doors so opposition Councillors cannot find out information. They have done this by changing the rules so that opposition councillors can have information only if they think they need it. Here we are living in the 21st Century where open and transparent governments ( both national and local ) should exists but not in Wigan apparently. No doubt they don't want people to find out things like Ashfield and other such schemes that they are planning.

Core Strategy
An important scheme scheme what people are concerned with is the Core Strategy. This is where the Council consulted on allowing 3 green sites to be built on in Standish or not last year. It now looks likely that the meetings with the planning inspector will take place early in March. I will be attending along with Cllr G A Fairhurst fighting for no more mass house building in Standish for the reasons we have given many times before.

Ashfield Village Green hearing
I have still not heard from the Council about a date for the Village Green hearing for Ashfield. I am beginning to think that the Council are not wanting this to go ahead. Dates where given for February but the Council said they could not attend so a new date would be needed to found in March. Given that some time has slipped this may be in April. I have sent an email into the Council pushing for a date.

Residents issues
I have also been dealing with a number of residents issues that residents have raised with myself, including double yellow lines on Preston Road. This is for safety reason so say the Council. They say parents are blocking the road and stopping the flow of traffic as they drop their children off in the rush hour. Putting double yellow lines there will not stop this. To me they are using a sledge hammer to crack a nut. I have asked and been agreed a meeting with a Council engineer this coming week. Hopefully we will be able to see the situation first hand and resolve the issue, if there is one, without heavy handing tactics that will make the residents lives a nightmare.

Obviously the cold weather has now arrived and the main roads have been kept open, which is good news, but side roads need care.

Co-Op robbery update
Finally and not least on Thursday the robbers that were caught by residents on December 30 2012 whilst they tried to rob the Co-op on Pole Street where sentenced to 2 yrs and 4 mths for one of them and the other one got 3 yrs. Neither one of them gave the name of the third robber who got away and to me they should share his sentence. This would give them some reasons to give him up if they had to do his time for him. Also one of the robbers was released out of jail early and whilst out on licence he carried out this robbery. The Judge even wanted him to go back to carry out his time for his earlier offence and then start his 3 yrs but the law does not allow this. I think this is crazy and I will write to the home office for their comments on situations like this. If you are let out of jail early but then commit another offence you should do your remaining time first then start your sentence for your latest offence.

Given that they really did scare the staff tremendously the sentences are quite light for my liking and I would have hoped for 4 - 5 years. Me personally think these offenders could be the robbers from other Co-ops in Wigan over the weeks before the one in Standish as the descriptions are quite similar and I hope the police carry out some further enquiry's to see if this is the case. Either way a good job for the residents that went to help the staff and catch these robbers. As a direct result of their actions they put two scumbags behind bars!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Week that ended......13 January '13

It has been a busy week this week and Christmas is now a distance memory in the past.

Monday night saw bothCllr George Fairhurst and  myself hosting another residents meeting at the Unity Club in Standish. This was to inform residents of the work that we and the group Save Standish have completed and planning to give to the planning inspector in March of this year, when he comes up. Just a headline overview. The Council has now agreed with us that the three sites in Standish ( the Former Golf Club, the land opposite the Golf Club and the Line ) should not be built on. This was being consider in the Council's Core Strategy Policy.

Now the Government Planning Inspector will come to Wigan to either agree or disagree with the Council's plan. I know at the meeting on Monday some residents did not trust the Council and when it comes to building in Standish and the passion that some residents showed it was clear that residents and ourselves do not want any more mass housing in Standish. I kow some residents don't trust the Council I normally agree but the Council voted in November to say that the three sites are not to be built on til 2026. When the Planning Inspector comes to Wigan in March the Developers will be saying the Council and ourselves have got it wrong and the sites can be built on. I will be at the meeting and fighting along side the Council. This is quite unusual that me and the Council are on the same side but it shows that we put our argument in a strong way to the Council last year and they now agree with us. I will keep the blog updated with developments.

During the week a number of residents have commented on the scheme that the Council are looking into doing in terms of making most of the roads in Standish 20mph. Included in the scheme is Pepper Lane and Old Pepper Lane. This is a major through road from Preston Road to the motorway via Shevington Moor, which will also be 20mph. I would ask that the Council try and drive at 20mph on some of these roads and they will see that this is an ill thought out plan. The idea of trying to save lives is always a good one and one that should be applaunded but then you then have to look at what are the Council planning to do and make sure it is appropriate. I would agree with making 'Rat Runs' 20mph but once you make any number of roads a slower speed you then have to enforce it and this can be achieved in a number of ways. Some residents are saying that the Council just want to make all these roads 20mph so they can get private companies in to catch people speeding as it will be easier with a 20mph set on the roads. To be fair I can see why some people think this and I agree. If the Council seriously wants to be proactive in saving lives they should be doing something at the crossroads in Standish as this is still a dangerous area.

At the back end of the week some idiots or should I say 'morons' dragged some Christmas Trees, that have been dumped at Ashfield, under and around some play equipment for disabled children at Ashfield. The two pieces of play equipment have now been removed from the area and some of the play area at Ashfield has now been closed. These mindless morons have now spoilt it for others and Christmas has just got more expensive for us as the Council will have to replace the equipment. I struggled to comprehend these idiots when residents in Standish are fighting to Save Ashfield these idiots are helping to get rid of the play equipment. I know I have asked for information to come forward to catch these people responsible and I am asking the Council to allow me to use some of my brighter borough money as a reward for information to catch these idiots. If we catch these people it will be money well spent as I will be asking for the full theforce of the law to thrown at them. Information has started coming in and some people who do not want to talk to the police are sending some info in and I thank you for the help. If you do have any info please let either the Police or myself know.

Equally though the people that fly-tipped their trees at Ashfield instead of going to the tip at Coppull have their part to play in all of this too.

A number of Standish residents use Gathurst train station and the footpath under the bridge that walk under when they get off the platform coming home and this is a mess with mud. I know this is not in Standish Ward but it is clear that residents are impacted and I am asking the Council to clear it up and also stop the water running under the footbridge carrying the mud so it does not happen again.

As for the rest of the weekend I will working on papers for next Week Council meeting on Wednesday and visit a some residents that have an issue local to them.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Meeting Last Night - Update on Core Strategy

Last night we held another residents' meeting about the core strategy and thanks for all those that turned out.

The main purpose of the meeting was to first and foremost update residents with the work that the group has done. The first part of this was the document that we showed last night. If anyone would like a copy please email me at . I will then send one over to you. I will try and up load a copy on the blog later or my facebook page so please feel free to revisit to try and download one if you do not want to email me.

The meeting was interesting because to me it demonstrated the confusion with all of this and many people thought that once the Council had said at the end of last year that no house building in Standish they meant that they will not be proposing to allow house building on three sites till 2026. These are the former Golf Course site, the land opposite and also the line, which is behind Standish High School. Around 2026 I guess we will be going through the same process as we have done recently.

It is good news that the Council for once have agreed with us and the residents that Standish should not allow housing building on these three sites. Because it is a legal ruling the Government have to agree with the plan and also approve the plan formally. This will take place in the format of a planning inspector coming to Wigan and reviewing the Council's plan and listening to Councillors and residents in March. But also he will listen to developers who will try and argue that the Council and us have got it wrong and Standish can  have more housing. We believe now that the Council is on our side we are in the strongest position for the planning inspector meeting for him to agree with us.

The situation mentioned above on the three sites come under the "Core Strategy". The Core Strategy only looks at the three green field sites mentioned above. There are other sites which will come under different policy names and it is important that we remember that some of these will have plans put in, which we should all fight too. We hear about the owners of Bradley Hall Trading Estate are looking to build a massive housing estate on half of that site. This will not come under the Core Strategy but a brown field site, although it is class as an employment area. When that application come in, which we hear will be in April of this year, we will fight that application too.

Thank you all for your support and if you have any information that you feel is important please ring, email or visit or Surgery and let us know about the information.

Together we can win!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Co-op Robbery

Many will know that on Sunday 30th Dec 2013 three masked men went into the Co-op on Pole Street and demanded cash and cigs. However one member of staff managed to escape and raise the alarm with the pub across the road, the bull, and police were called.

Also members of the public drinking at the pub went to assist and caught two of the three robbers. Them two men where in Court on the 1st January 2013 where they were remanded in custody and sent to Liverpool Crown Courts on the 16th January 2013.

I would like to thank all those that helped to catch these robbers and help the staff.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

I would like to wish you all  a Happy New Year.