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.
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.
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!