Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Walk around Standish

I have been getting a number of residents contacting me over litter, dog fouling and litter bins recently. Whilst it was a sunny day I decided it would be great to go out and have a walk and look at the issues.

What I found is worse than what I thought. Doug fouling is one area where I will be contacting the council to try and do something about the issue and I don't just want them to paint white paint of the words, " No dog fouling", on the footpaths. Why do they do this? Surely they know dog's can't read. But on a serious note this issue needs tackling as I agree with the residents that have contacted me on this matter.

Secondly, I have worked the full length of the line this morning too. It is a  complete disgrace behind the Coop. Below is a picture of the state of the area.

Walking down the line you see that quite a lot of litter has blown into the bushes. Below is an example of this.
When you get to the other end near the hotel you can see plastic garden chairs and even shopping trolleys littering the place. The chairs have been carried someway and hen thrown into some bushes. The shopping trolley has just been left at the side of the path and no doubt taken by teenagers.

These pictures show not only the blight that is happening on the line but also things that can and will effect wild life.
I will be contacting the Council to do a tidy up of the area. After that I hope people will not drop litter or fly tip. If they do I will push for the full penalties to be imposed on them. This can't be allowed to carry on.

I will also be looking to get a litter bin place near the track that leads from Green Lane to the Lodge Gates. Hopefully the bin will be located near Green Lane as there is two near the lodge gates.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Haigh Hall debate

I mentioned in my blog post Week ending 28 April 2013 that at the Full Council meeting there was a discussion about Haigh Hall. Hindley Independent Cllr Bob Brierley put a motion to the Council calling for all the profits to be ploughed back into the facility. This is because the state of the Hall and area is a disgrace. Cllr Bob Brierley is passionate that Haigh Hall and that it should be a great attraction, not only for the local residents of Wigan, but also others that come to Wigan and visit and he is quite right too. He states that the Council have left the hall to fall into this state of rack and ruin and this was similar to the old swimming baths. The Council never spent any money on that. I was happy to second the motion to try and Save Haigh Hall and also speak about the matter too in the Council Chamber.

The Council have made millions over the years, only for them to be squandered. This should not be allowed to carry on and also investment is needed in the facility. I fear that the Council will either sell it or, more likely, lease it to a private company. This could leave restrictions on the local residents using and accessing the facility, which would be wrong.

If the Hall and site is going to be saved it needs the Council to invest in the site and before the Council says, "we have no money", I would ask where have they gotten all the money to buy the Pier nightspot and other sites around Wigan?

I hope that we can save the Hall before it gets to late.

Labour voted against the proposal put forward by Cllr Bob Brierley and myself saying they have other plans. To date they have not disclosed this.

Save Standish Demonstration March

This Saturday from noon residents will come together to walk from the former site of Standish Golf Course to St Marie's Car Park.

This demonstration march is in protest of having 1000 houses imposed on them by the Government planning inspector. These houses, if allowed, will go on green open fields. This will erode the green open spaces in Standish.

The start of the march will be from the former golf course site because this is one of the sites under threat.

The march will start from noon on Saturday 4th May 2013. We hope to see as many of you there as possible.

Please make banners and bring them along too.

See Save Standish website here

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The week that ended.......28 April 2013

This was going to be a busy week. First of all it was my birthday week. On the day of my birthday (24th) it was the full Council's meeting too. But before that the week started off with me dressing as St George in the full armour and visiting a local primary school. All the children where fascinated with the armour and feeling how heavy it was, even just the gloves where heavy. Some of the children had their picture taken with the helmet on, although a teacher was holding the helmet due to weight of it. The children loved it. I think it is important that we try and promote St George's day as much as possible and this is my way of trying to do my bit. A picture was on the previous post

The reason why I did the school visit on Monday, the day before St George's day, was because I was attending a good friend 's funeral on the Tuesday. This person was a special person to so many in Wigan. His name was Ken Smalley. I met Ken when we both served on the Save Mere Oaks committee. I was the spokesperson for the group and Ken was the chairman of the group. His wife asked me to do an eulogy at the funeral. I have never spoken at a funeral before and whilst I am quite comfortable at public speaking I found this particular hard, as it was about a great man. Ken also helped other groups that where involved in disabled children and that is why he touch so many hearts across the borough.

Wednesday, like I have already mentioned, was the meeting of the Full Council. This was the meeting where Labour removed their Standish Cllr not only from the Planning Committee but suspended her from their group as well. At the meeting Labour voted against having the profits from Haigh Hall be put back into the facility to bring it back up to standard. We asked for the figures for WLCT, as it is funded by taxpayers, yet again Wigan Leisure Culture Trust and Labour refused to disclose the figures. Millions are wasted here and the organisation should be brought back in house.

Also there was a plan which I think all Councillors agreed with the spirit of proposal but it did not have any meat on the bones. Myself and other opposition asked for the policy to be deferred until we could see the meat on the bones, Labour refused this and voted it through. This know allows them to turn a policy which is well spirited into a right mess.

Another thing was clear the Mayor and Labour simply make the rules up as they go. Officers of the Council simply roll over and do not enforce the constitution like they should in a non political way.

I held my weekly surgery on Saturday and that was well attended with issues ranging from planning matters through to social care and environmental protection issues. I have already written to the Council on these matters and hopefully be resolving them shortly.

I intend to do a review of clubs, facilities and others in Standish each week. This will allow residents to see what is going on in Standish and what they can get involved with, should they wish. I intend to start the first of this series this week, so keep tuned. If you want your club or facility to be mentioned please let me know.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A simple blog this morning.......Happy St. George's Day


Happy St. George's Day.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Blog Comments

I never used to know how much the blog served the public, until recently, when I started to dig into the stats. Averaging about 100 hits a day, quite consistently for some time now so it seems that people find it useful.

Also the about of people that have contacted me recently and said I saw it on your blog, from times of my surgery to phone number and getting information on stories. What is interesting is the fact that I broke the story that Labour Cllr Emma McGurrin was being removed from the planning committee. That day there was a massive spike with just over 300 hits that day alone. 

Rather than replicating all the same stories on here, my twitter page and facebook page I put a strategy in place which was on my blog I use it for the week that was ......... This was to update residents what I have been up to each week. This seems to be popular with people recognising that most Sunday's I post the week's events.

Why not let me know your views on the blog and if you found it useful or not. I have given the colour scheme a bit of a makeover too from the plain light blue.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The week that ended....21 April 2013

What a week! Well to be fair, what a fortnight. Obviously, the main topic of focus this last week has been the Save Standish campaign.

We had a massive turnout at the Unity Club on Monday night. A full house!. Hopefully those that were able to attend are informed of the goings on. Here is a quick overview.

After the 2500 houses consultation at the end of last year the outcome was we are not getting 2500 houses. However, the planning inspector did feel that Council's argument for putting everything in Lowton was "unsound". He now feels that the houses could be split between Standish and Lowton. He is thinking of allowing 1000 houses in Standish. So the planning inspector will open another consultation, just for Standish, from the 29th April. This consultation will run through to the end of May.

We are going to hold a demonstration march on Saturday 4th May 2013 at noon from the Former Golf course site to St Maries Church. We know some people will be away, given it is bank holiday weekend.

Also we have now opened a fund to pay for a barrister that specialises in planning matters. The cost of this is aprox £2000. Any donations or fund raising events are welcome.

The next meeting will be on Monday 29th April 2013 at the Methodist Church at 7.30pm. Again, we are expecting a full house. This meeting is so we can give people an update of where things are up too and also collect any letters that people will have sent in.

We have now got teams out collecting door to door for any donations and thank you to those that are covering their areas and then those that have donated already.

The Save Standish website has gone live now too and an online petition there too. So, when you have a free moment, why not have a look at it.

This next week we are going to have a window poster designed and available to download.

This coming week as well as all the Save Standish activity I will be attending Woodfold school on Monday, with St George. Then I will be going to the Community Centre meeting on Tuesday night. Wednesday night I will be at the Full Council meeting. I have a couple of residents appointments on Thursday, so another busy week ahead

OK, back out door knocking.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Labour Cllr is removed from planning committee.

A few weeks ago Standish Labour Cllr Emma McGurrin publicly came out and said that she had been working with a developer to get more houses in Standish. This was whilst the Council was undergoing a public consultation on whether to build or not in Standish.

At the end of the consultation there were over 2500 letters of objections from residents in Standish. Not 1 resident wrote in to support building  the 2500 houses in Standish. Residents were outraged by Cllr Emma McGurrin comments and actions, as were I.

I sent a letter of complaint into the Council and asked for her to be investigated and for her to be removed from the planning committee. I learnt other too wrote in and complained to the Town Hall. I also hear that she is now being investigated too.

I have now received my papers for next week Full Council meeting and I have learnt, from reading the papers, that she is being removed from the planning committee. This is a great scalp that we have taken off the planning committee, because as she had been working with developers, her words, then if they put an application in front of the committee then she would have obviously voted for it, in Standish. She should have removed herself from the committee but she didn't and we had to force them to remove her, which we did!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Death Of Jimmy Collins - Artist.

It was sad news to see an article in this week's Observer about the death of Jimmy Collins. Jimmy was an artists who live on Wigan Lane, Swinley.

Jimmy was a good friend. I had met Jimmy after he wrote to me. He had learnt about me via the news paper reports and my political activities. I met him at his flat where we discussed local politics and then his love of painting.

Jimmy knew that I had been to Japan numerous times and my love of the Country. He then gave me one of his paintings, which was a huge honour.

Jimmy was a really nice gentleman that I was privileged to meet

Here I am with his painting that he gave me.

RIP Jimmy Collins

Save Standish website goes live!

The Save Standish website has now gone live, which is great. news.

On the site you can see all about the campaign and why it was started plus you can see what people are doing and what you can do to help too. Also on there is an online petition where we are trying to get 1000 signatures to present to Downing Street, so why not help and sign that too.

Thank you for all your support and the fight has begun.

Save Standish Web Site

Save Standish Website

After a highly successful meeting last night, well a few hours now, I am currently testing all the links for the Save Standish website and I am hope full this will be fully operational in a few hours.

The web site address is www.savestandish.org.uk

Thank you for all the support for residents last night.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher death

It is sad news that the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died yesterday. Whether you agreed with her or not, one thing that stands out is the fact that you knew what she stood for. Popularity was not important to her - getting the job done was much better. Now we have MP's who say these are my policy's but I have more if you don't like them.

I know many talk about the poll tax, but that was at the end of her life as PM and the thing that brought her down, but look what some of the things and issues that was at the beginning of her time, as PM. The country was a mess! Rubbish was not being collected and piling high in the streets. Unearned interest was at 98%. Yes 98%. In simple terms, if you earned £1 of interest on your bank savings or investments, 98p went to the tax man. You couldn't bury the dead, people worked a three day week to save on fuel. You could go on. To be honest who would want to really try and sort that kind of mess out? She did and whether you love her or loath her, when she left Downing street you didn't have the number of issues that where issues when she started her time.

People say she was only out for the rich but yet she broke up the Financial Markets (city). This was where your old school tie got you a job. After she did that anyone could enter the market and earn a living in the industry, rather than having a closed shop. This was replicated throughout other industry. Work hard and you could achieve things.

Obviously, the Falklands War was a huge issue and she fought back all attempts that tried to broker a deal, including America. When US President Regan called her to try and get a deal done, she answered him back by saying no and what would he do if someone invaded Alaska? She wasn't afraid to stand up to the most powerful man in the world or anyone else.

Europe was an issue that she fell out with some of her cabinet members. She was didn't want Europe state. Now you look at what Europe has become and she was right all along. Now we have UKIP coming second in a number of seats across the Country and recently in a by-election in Wigan. On Europe she went to them and got some of our money back.

Unions and others like them call her but this was always going to be the case. Prior to her coming to power they ran the country and now they don't. They lost the argument and battle but then to add insult to them they were beat by a woman. Back then it was big deal for a woman to tell a man what to do.

To me she was the best PM since Churchill!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The week that ended........7 April 2013

Well the week started off with April's fool and a number of residents tried, unsuccessfully, to wind me up. My eldest fell for a xbox points wide up...lol.

Anyway back on Councillors work. Had a number of media exposure this week with the first being a letter in the Wigan Evening Post, saying that if Lisa Nandy is serious about trying to stop the housing being built in Standish, she can support us. At the time of writing we had not heard form her office. Since the letter was published we have spoken with her office and we are being told that we will have an answer by next Tuesday, if she will support us or not. This letter was sent in because I had read an article that she was concerned that she did not want Standish greenbelt being built on. The issue is the three sites that are currently being proposed are not greenbelt, but safeguarded land. Safeguarded means it is being safeguarded for building in the future. The developers are wanting to build on the land sooner.

Save Standish campaign - we have now called the meeting for Monday 15th April at the Unity Club
on Cross Street. Here we will be updating resident where we are up too and the next steps we are proposing. We are also delivering leaflets to all residents this week and with that in mind we are expecting a huge turnout, so turn up early. This will be published in the local press next week and we had a photo taken on the former golf club site for this article. A big thank you for all those that turned up.

We have the beat it team in the Ward next week and I have asked for residents to give us updates where they want to have cleaned up. Thank you for all those that have tweeted, put comments on facebook and emailed me.

Sad news came in the week, when we had an elderly lady was knocked down on Wigan Road, just in front of the old Horse Shoe pub. I believe that this was serious and the lady was rushed to Salford Royal and we hope she recovers soon. Wigan Road was closed off at the Traffic Lights, in the Village Centre, through to Ashfield Park drive for a number of hours.

Also in Wigan there was a by-election in Pemberton Ward. Labour won this, unsurprisingly, but what was clear was that they vote decreased from 80% of the vote to 57%. The first reason why this could be was that there was more candidates. Then one of the party's standing was the Community Action Party. They lead an attack campaign on Labour, which could be another reason why Labour votes decreased but what was interesting was that they then didn't pick those votes up and instead they went to UKIP. I have heard also from UKIP that the members that they have picked up have all come from Labour and not right wing groups. This must be a real concern to Labour for future where their majority is small.

Finally, I heard that a good friend of mine Ken Smalley died too. I met Ken when I was on the Save Mere Oaks committee and he was the chairman of the group. He was such a gentleman and will be sadly missed. Even after the campaign was over for Mere Oaks he was active with a number of other groups that help children with Special needs. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Photo opportunity for all

We are holding the public meeting, as in the previous post on the blog. The Observer have kindly said they will publish the story next week about the meeting and to give maximum impact we are asking people to turn up to the former Golf Course on Rectory Lane on Sunday at 12.00 (noon) for a photo shoot this will show the level of support for the fight that we are about to take on.

Please spread the word and I hope to see as many of you there with your neighbours, family and friends. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Public Meeting called about Core Strategy proposal.

We are calling a public meeting about the new draft proposal that the Government's planning inspector is proposing.

The meeting will be held at the Unity Club on Cross Street, Standish. The date for the meeting is Monday 15th April 2013 at 7.30pm.

At the meeting we will be updating residents to where we are at and what we are proposing for the next steps.

I hope that as many of you can attend as possible and please get there early as we are expecting a full house.