Sunday, 31 March 2013

Tidy up

Each Ward has the Council beat it team coming into it at various times throughout the year. The beat it team come for one week at a time and do general tidy up. They can clean graffiti, cut cross, as well as do a litter pick and cutting back hedges.

The team are in Standish week after next. So if you know an area in Standish that needs a tidy up please let me know and I will put it on the list for the tidy up.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Residents vent anger at Labour Cllr

Standish Labour Cllr Emma McGurrin has come out and said that she is not only in favour of building 1000 homes in Standish but also she has been helping and working with a developer on the idea. This is crazy and as I have said many times before, a Cllr should work for the residents not developers.

This admission by the Standish Labour Cllr has outraged, not just myself, but residents and many are now taking to emailing her directly and venting their anger at her. I know this to be true as the residents are copying me and other cllrs into the email.

I think this shows the level of feeling not only to Labour Cllr McGurrin but also the idea of more houses in Standish.

Friday, 29 March 2013

New Online Petition goes Live

The first part of the phrase two of Save Standish Campaign has now started. This began yesterday evening with an online petition to object to the 1000 new homes being proposed in Standish green open spaces.

You can click the petition here .

We are aiming to get 1000 names online as soon as possible. We hope you can go to the petition and sign the petition and leave any comments too.

Don't forget that the more signatures the better chance we have.

We will be holding a Save Standish meeting next week and then the following week we will be holding the public meeting. Time and Venue to be confirmed.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Lisa Nandy is against Building in Standish

I am hearing that Lisa Nandy is against houses being built on the former Golf Course site in Standish and now is looking to get a petition going.

As many of you know, from reading our facebook pages, tweets and this blog,we have been against this since last year. We have been organising demonstrations and meetings for residents on the subject for months.

In the interest of residents of Standish I have now contacted Lisa Nandy's office saying that we are happy to work together on this matter, so that either effects are not divided.

We wait to see if she is will to work on a non partisan basis on this matter.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Labour working with developers!

This is outrageous. Standish Labour Cllr has now come out again and publicly supported more houses on two green open sites in Standish. A Councillor is meant to work for residents and not for developers!  This Councillor lives in Ince and it is clear she has no idea what residents of Standish want.

She is calling for a referendum to show that residents will vote for more houses in Standish. We have just had the Core Strategy, where thousands of residents of Standish voiced their concerns. Why does she think people have changed their minds?

Here is the full story, so you can see for yourself.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The week that ended.......24 March 2013.

Planning Matter
Another busy week. I went on a site visit to support residents on a planning matter. This is an application for houses to built in basically a back garden. The main concern is that the development is surrounded by bungalows, so these houses would be out of character and overpowering. The residents are not just saying, "we don't want anything to built", but they don't want anything overpowering and also fits in with the area. I fully support their views and now we have put the case to the Council's planning Dept, we shall see if they agree.

Places Meeting
Tyldesley Call in
I also attended the Places meeting, that I sit on. The main business was a call in, which I supported. A call in is where a number of Councillors can collectively question a decision that the Cabinet has agreed. This particular one was about Tyldesley's  new road layout. The local  Councillors had concerns that the proposals where not safe and also that the consultation had not been carried out correctly.

They had a number of other concerns too. The three ward Councillors are 2 Lib Dems and one Labour. The presentation was done by Lib Dem Cllr Paul Valentine. I have to say his presentation was the best I have ever seen and he had put much thought into it. I am not sure if he does this for a living but it was done brilliantly.

I proposed to send the decision back to Cabinet to be relooked at. Conservative Cllr James Grundy supported my proposal. Unfortunately all the Labour Cllrs on the committee voted top let the decision stand.

New Works Dept
The new works depot is the old Asda George warehouse in Ince. The Council,s idea is to shut and sell off all three of the old sites then add £2.5 million to them funds which will pay for the site. Given the Council has no money, supposedly, they sure are finding a lot of cash from somewhere.

I fully understand about consolidation and that might make sense to save money but to add £2.5 million to the funds of the disposed three old sites is crazy. I knew something was amiss. When I dug it came out that the Council are looking to run this site as a business and from April  they will be trying to find work all over the northwest. This is crazy! The Council should be looking after Wigan's interest, not running a business. The evidence is clear they can't do this. It was only a few years ago that they lost over £500k on the pop concerts at Haigh Hall ,in one year. The Council should let business's be run by private companies and not by them.

Wigan Culture Leisure Trust
Wigan culture and leisure trust are a company that is owned by the Council. They run and operate all the leisure facilities for the Council, including Parks and Library's. They where set up as a separate company because they could save VAT, and here is me thinking that Labour opposed people using loopholes to avoid paying tax! The fact remains they are making a mess and losing money hand over fist and so the Council are now bringing in Consultants to tell the trust how to operate better and also move things into the hands of private companies. I firmly believe things like Library's and Parks should remain in the hands of the Council for the interest of Residents of Wigan.

I proposed that if we need consultants to advise on how to better run services then the facilities should be brought back in house and done that way. By doing this in this manner would mean we save vast amounts of money. Labour voted to let more and more private companies come in to run these facilities over the next years. More examples of Labour selling off the family silver.

Core Strategy
After months of opposing the idea of having any more mass housing on green open spaces in Standish, the Government's planning inspector has come back with his initial thoughts. In the draft proposal he is thinking of allowing 1000 houses to be built on green open spaces in Standish. Both Cllr George Fairhurst and myself will be meeting the head of planning to see how we can fight these draft proposals? The first thing is the Council has to write back to the Government's planning inspector with their thoughts on his proposal.

What is worrying is Standish Labour Cllr Emma McGurrin has now come out and publically stated she has been helping the developers to get more houses in Standish. She should be run out of office next year, when she is up for re-election. She is meant to work for the residents of Standish not the developers!

Once we know more how we can fight this proposal we will be calling a public meeting. Here is how the Wigan Evening Post reported the story. Have a read.

Wish FM also carried the story and did an interview with myself.

Compromise From Council.
The Council where looking to put double yellow lines all down the Preston Road , on both sides, near Standish High. The reason behind this was the Lollipop lady was having safety issues with cars parking, mainly at night, to pick their children up. The scheme, had it been carried out, would have meant all the other times residents would not have been able to park when they came home from work. After much work with residents, the Council has now come back with a compromise, this is a single yellow lines and to stop parking between the hours of 8am to 9am and 3pm -4pm. This will mean greater safety for children and the lollipop lady but will not restrict residents, living in the area, that much. Residents are happy with the compromise from the Council but thought the process could have been handled much better. I agree!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Update on Core Strategy Proposal

As many will know from my twitter (#cllrgwfairhurst) feed and Facebook page ( that the Government planning inspector has come back with a draft proposal on the Council's Core Strategy. The crooks of it is he thinks that there should be 1000 houses built in Standish. I say rubbish!

The planning inspector has not said where these houses should be built and that has left the Council with a decision on how they want to proceed on the planning applications that the developers have put in and will put in now over the next few weeks. The Council have said they will not determine any applications until the matter has been resolved.

The situation is serious and the Tory lead government should be ashamed of this decision and the Labour controlled council should be fighting this proposal all the way. Both Cllr George Fairhurst and myself will be. We have not got meetings with senior officers of the Council, including the head of planning next week. As soon as we know more I will update the blog.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The week that ended.......3 March 2013

This week was another really busy week. It started with the traffic lights being changed back on Monday. This was because the Council had changed the sequence and timings of the lights at the back end of last week and we got this reversed on Monday, due to the heavy problems that it was causing. One thing that this did show was any little change on the roads of Standish just cripples Standish. Food for thoughts, as these developers are trying to get their greedy mitts on building more houses in Standish.

Wednesday was the full Council's meeting plus also the budget meeting, combined. In recent years the Council held two separate meetings in March this year they didn't. They put them together. In the Council budget part the Council could have taken the option of taking a freeze for Council Tax from the Government and to do this all they had to do was to find £1.5 million savings. The Council refused this and instead raised the Council Tax, next Financial Year, by 2.5%. This will come in April 2013. Previously Cllr Debbie Fairhurst had proposed to save £1.2 million but the Labour Leader said that the Council needed to save pounds not pennies. So if the kind of things that she proposed, which were getting rid of Borough Life, Getting rid of free food and drinks for Cllrs and bring the WLCT back in house, are pennies why could the Labour leader not save pennies? To me he just wants to raise tax and say it is the Government's fault. These kinds of political games that he plays are disastrous for residents of Wigan, which pay this tax.

He then said that the mess that we are in is not down to the Last Labour Government but the bankers. This is crazy as it was the Governments fault. The investment bankers and their financial instruments that helped create this mess where all agreed by Gordon Brown, who was the Chancellor and Prime Minister. Yet he did nothing but Labour now berates the Investment Bankers that they once got friendly with.

I also put a motion forward at the meeting too. This was about Universal Credits. The Council are carrying out a pilot scheme. This means that these cuts will come into force 6 months earlier than everywhere else in the Country. The strange thing that I can't understand is that Labour had spent over an hour calling the Government and these cuts, including the Universal credit, but here they are bringing in this cut 6 months early. If that is not crazy I don't know what is. I asked for a name vote and Labour Councillors all voted to bring these cuts in 6 months early.

On Thursday afternoon I attended the Core Strategy meeting with the Government planning inspector at Leigh Sports Village. During the meeting developers, a few residents and Cllrs, including myself, had a discussion on the issue. The main item was obviously traffic concerns. It was ridiculous to here that one developer suggested to improvement the traffic in Standish at the Traffic Light they could knock buildings down. I got the comment in, “I thought we built communities - not rip the heart out of them!" The simple truth is that the traffic lights section cannot be improved due to the constraints of available space there.

The developers tried to come up with some other suggestions like people can use their bikes more and to get a bus to Gathurst Train Station. This showed to me the desperation that some of these developers will go to just for their profits.

One thing that I was proud off was when a member of the public that listened to the debate said after that Standish had done everything to stop these pieces of land being developed on. I think that is a fair assessment, from the initial meetings to demonstrations at the Council's Consultation to all the thousands of letters of objections that were sent in.

On the developers residents in the vicinity of Old Pepper Lane and the Golf Course might have received letters saying a planning application has been submitted for building on the areas of land, respectively. You can send objections letters into the Council, should you so wish, but the Council will not be determining whether to grant or refuse these planning applications until the Planning Inspector has reported back on the Core Strategy. We will be monitoring the situation.