Thursday, 30 May 2013

Tory MP says houses are better than fields.

I can't believe that any MP can come out with a statement saying that houses are better than  fields. Tory MP Nick Boles says that houses bring more pleasure than fields and that is why he will push forward for more houses.

Also he says that communities that are not willing to cooperate will lose amenities, like hospitals. Now the Tory's are bullying people to have houses built on their green fields.

Although he was talking about a national picture rather than a specific site, I am outraged that when we look at Standish he would argue that if we don't have houses we could lose amenities.

Over the last 2 decades Standish has had it's fair share of development because of the high prices for the developers and then the high council tax for the local council - Wigan.

If developments are needed then the first sites that should go are the ugly derelict brown fields sites, like abandoned buildings and factories. Only after all those sites have been built on should open green field sites be considered. This Government needs to get a grip on local communities and get their head out of the Westminster Bubble.

I will be writing to him with my thoughts and an invitation to Standish.

Next week will see me delivering a petition to Downing Street against Standish losing their open green fields.

The article in the Daily Mail is here.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Domino Pizza shop in Standish - problems

The new Domino Pizza shop has now opened a few days ago. When the application went in I complained about the traffic issues. I was told by the Council highways dept, I didn't know what I was talking about and what I said would happen wouldn't happen.

Well no one likes to brag but unfortunately I was right but the degree I was right was wrong as the problem is worse than what even what I said.

As you can see it is an absolute mess. The red car is not only blocking the pavement but on the road and a keep clear sign. Any people walking down the path will have to go into the road to walk past.
Also the car nearest to the Black Bull would have to reverse over the Zebra Crossing to get back on the road. This is dangerous to people on the zebra crossing.
I am now calling for the Council to erect barriers near the Zebra crossing to stop cars parking in front of the shop and look at the parking on the path.
On top of this the other takeaway shop on the same site has not opened yet, meaning that when it does the situation will get worse. This is a real dangerous spot now and I want the Council to act ASAP to stop anyone being knocked down or other accident.

More pictures below. As you can see a different day but same problems.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The week ending......26 May 2013.

Busy week as always. Where to start? Well planning is always a busy area that I am involved with, in a big way, at the moment, so let me start there.


The Save Standish campaign had a huge week this week when we hit our £2000 target for the barrister fee. This is for his opinion on how the consultation has been handled, the outcome and process and what we can do to try and stop this area. We hope to hear back in a week or two with his comments. I would like to say  a big thank you to all those that have contributed and all those that have been out door to door asking for donations, not an easy task at the best of times.

Also Himor, the owners of Bradley Hall Trading Estate have put in a planning application for Barrowcroft wood. area. You can see their plans here. This is yet another housing estate, which is not welcome in Standish. That now brings in the 4th big planning applications for Standish and no doubt more will follow as the wolf's come in. I have called all four applications in to go before the planning committee.

The first application for one of the Core Strategy sites, Old Pepper Lane, has now been asked for some more details as they have not submitted some important documents.

Council Meeting

This week saw the first Council meeting of our new year, the Council's year runs from May to May. This is because elections are held the first week of May and then you would need to vote who is going on to which committees etc. I have now secured more seats on some of the committees, including places and the new health committee.

The Council meetings are always interesting because of things that happen. This meeting was particular interesting because Labour Cllr Emma McGurring, who also represents Standish, hit out at Labour saying they are messing her about and will not allow her on any committees what so ever. I guess they are trying to force her to leave but I don't think this will happen. Whether she leaves or not she is promising to reveal some dark secrets, which if true will blow the lid of some issues. I wait to see if she does reveal the information and how Labour and the Council respond.

Street Scene Litter

Residents have made me more aware of street Scene litter. The kind of things they are talking about are Estate Agents signs and fly posting.

Whilst it is quite usual to have sign outside your house if you are selling it is not right when the estate agents are placing their signs streets away tied to street posts. With that in mind I have had them removed and if they persist then the Council will not only remove these fines but fine the estate agents and developers that out their signs on the Council's property without permission. Hopefully they won't do this again.

20mph zones

The Council are looking to make all the streets in Standish, with the exception the main A roads, 20mph. I have objected to Old Pepper Lane and Pepper Lane becoming 20mph. The Council have now agreed that it would be inappropriate to do this and have now taken them of the list to become 20mph. I have asked them to look at Avondale Street, except near the primary school at school times, and a couple more roads.

Whilst I agree that some rat runs should have 20 mph I do not believe that most do not need to become 20mph and the Council tell me that if a road has an average 24mph or higher then they should not become 20mph. If this is the case why should make roads with average speeds of 23mph or lower 20mph? It seems that this is a lot of expense and trouble for 3 mph.

Time off

So with a bank holiday upon us I hope you all have a great weekend. For me this has meant for a BBQ with friends today and I had the great pleasure of watching Meat Loaf last night for his very last concert. It was amazing. But one thing I liked was when he sang Heaven can wait and dedicated it to Lee Rigby, the off duty soldier, who was killed. I would love for him to re-release this and the funds go to help the heroes cause. It was a horrible and senseless murder. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

The weather is looking OK for the morning and if this is the case I might try and sneak a game of golf in and then in the afternoon I am starting to prepare for next week.

Next Week

I am helping a number of residents with some small issues and I will be talking at the planning committee on Tuesday against a small development off Bradley Lane.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Labour show their ignorance to disability!

It is a great shame that Labour have yet again shown their ignorance to the disability, Dyslexia.

It is well known that Hindley Independent Cllr Bob Brierley has dyslexia. But after a bit of a heated debate yesterday in the Town Hall's Council Chamber, Labour Cllr Jim Talbot wrote to Bob Brierley after the meeting about one of his letters he has sent, saying who wrote this for you as it wasn't you as there are no spelling mistakes in it.

I think this is an absolute disgrace that yet again a Labour Politician has shown their ignorance and disrespect for this disability, first time was ex Labour MP Neil Turner who wrote back to a constituent with corrections on a letter sent to him. Here is a report on this.

Many people do not fully understand what Dyslexia is and all the different things that come with it. Most people think it is you can't read or write.

I have written a letter of complaint to the Labour Cllr in support of Hindley Independent Cllr Brierley and saying that he should apologise to him for this outburst. Maybe a course on learning what this disability is too might help.

Monday, 20 May 2013

20mph zones

You may not be aware but the Council is currently looking at making all roads that are not trunk or major roads a 20mph speed restrictions. Me personally think it is a crazy idea. I understand roads near schools or estates which have rat runs on but to make EVERY road 20 mph will delay traffic.

The reason why I think it is crazy is because just because a road is 30mph doesn't mean you have to do 30mph. For example I live in a cul-de-sac and you couldn't do 30pmh, so why waste money turning it into a 20mph.

But there are some roads which have rat runs and cars fly through a couple of estate to try and beat traffic congestion and that is right that look at turning them into 20mph but don't turn all roads because of some that need doing. To me it is using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

However, anybody that knows Pepper Lane in Standish will know that this is a major through road to the motorway and this road is part of the consultation that the Council are carrying out. Here is the link of all the roads. If this goes through it will slow traffic down so much that divers will use the already busy congestion crossroads.

Pepper Lane which is being turned into 20mph
I have contacted the Council on this ridiculous idea and asked them to take out Pepper Lane and Old Pepper Lane. They say they will look at this and I will update you when they say they will or will not do this.
If you want to see more details on the scheme please click here.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Estate Agents blight road sides.

It is common place when putting your house on the market to sell to have an estate board outside your house.

It is great marketing if you are an estate agent to have your boards all over the place free advertising and it shows that others have confidence in you. However estate agents are trying to market themselves more and more and now their signs are popping up next to roads streets away from the actual house which are for sale. I have residents complain to me about this and I agree that it is a menace.

Here are a few shots of the mess these and other signs have.

I have contacted the Council before and they promised they would remove them but it is clear that they have neither removed them but also the number of signs are growing. I will be contacting the Council and asking this to be put as urgent as this menace must be stopped. The strange thing is the Council could fine these people and make some money. With money being tight you think that they would jump at this.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Council should have a plan for bring employment into the area.

It has always been a great mystery why the Council has the strategy that people should live in Wigan but then travel to other areas for employment. Yes, cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Preston will have people working in there that lives elsewhere like Wigan, but you have areas like Warrington who have employment hubs in their areas too. I won't think for one moment that the people that live in Warrington all work there but there is more opportunities for people to work in one of the local cities or in their local area.

If Wigan developed a strategy of bringing in new business's into Wigan that will create more employment opportunities for the local residents.  If more people had a great opportunity that would mean that on the law of probability more would be in work. That then helps people to buy houses, and supports local business's too.

On this last matter it is clear that Wigan Town Centre is a disgrace with all the empty shops and buggers on the street. The area is going to the dogs, so to speak. Many residents have commented how they go elsewhere to shop now as they do not like how the Town Centre is going.

The Council needs to address this area too but if more people in Wigan had employment then they could help keep open the local shops and also bring new business's into the area.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Labour costing taxpayers thousands on their dirty tricks.

They always say that politics is a dirty game. In Wigan this is particularly when you strongly oppose Labour, like I do. However, the tax payers should not pick up the bill for these dirty tricks.

At the end of last year me as an individual post a clip of a video. It was to many a very funny clip. The topic however was immigration in the UK.  Two people complained to the Council, I believe a Labour Cllr and I know a Labour supporter. The Chief Executive who does not like me neither rang the Police to try and get them to investigate. They initially said they didn't want to as it was an internal matter and it seem there was nothing wrong. I was told that the Council asked them to go and get a second opinion because they thought the police was wrong. Given that it was the Chief Executive of the Council they did and sent it to the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). After some time they agreed with the police and said I had done nothing wrong or illegal.

After yet more time the internal Standards Committee has had to concede that I had done nothing wrong.

The thing that gets me is that all this fuss as cost the taxpayers over £10 000.AND WHY? Because Labour wanted to try and damage me politically. Yet they have failed again but cost tax payers thousands. This is a disgrace and the Chief Executive and the Labour complainants should foot the bill.

Here is a link to the local paper article on it.

Basics matter!

As an elected member of Wigan Council I am frustrated at the very simple things that Wigan Council can't get right. If they can't do this what chance do they have on the more complex issues.

For example, I always ring the central number when I am calling an officer, as I find this easy than carrying all their individual numbers around. However over recent times the lines are often closed during the working day with the message that it closes at 5pm but yet it is 14.45, like yesterday.

The other week the operator told me that the officer I was trying to get through to was on the phone and I couldn't hold and I had to ring back. When I asked why she told me in a stroppy voice, "Because you are blocking a line" I mentioned I had held many times before and she replied that there are now only one person on the central number. 350 000 residents in Wigan and only one person answering the phone for their local Council. How ridiculous is this?

Money is tight, we all know, but things like this just demonstrates that the Council are cutting front line staff but yet still waste millions.

I am of the firm belief that the either or both Labour and Chief Executive cannot deliver any kind of service, never mind a first class service, that Wigan residents deserve. If the Chief Executive can deliver a first class service but it is the Labour cabinet that  won't allow her then she must stand up to them!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

I have been asked to post this poster. If anyone has any information please get in touch and let's try and reunited this pet with their owner.

Big Well Done to Latics

Yesterday was such a magical day for so many, including no doubt the Chairman Dave Whelan. No doubt with his FA cup history it truly was finishing the unfinished business. My Grandad, who sadly is no longer with us, was a massive fan and he always said that just one day Wigan could win the cup. He believed in Wigan years before so many. I saw on the TV recordings today that when Dave Whelan took over the club he said, "10 years and I want Wigan in the premiership." He too believed and has backed Wigan all this time.

So many around the world didn't believe that Wigan could do it, but they did believe and came out straight away and played their hearts out. All ninety minutes Wigan where the better team. The whole town was behind them and the message "believe" was the right word for it.

I travelled down there in the car with my eldest Son, who just loved it. At the end he just didn't want to leave the Stadium because he kept saying it was history, and he was so right. The town will not forget this performance and result.

After seeing the semi final with fans in the Millwall end fighting it was testament that in our section, for some reason, where City fans. They sat there and shouted their team on and never got upset with Wigan fans showing their excitement and at the end shaking hands with us and saying well done. Also on the way home at the motorway services we where out numbered by city fans by about 10 to 1 and loads of them shook our hands and said we where the best team on the day and we deserved it. My son was amazed by the generosity and kind words. Thank you to those fans you did not only do your club proud, you did football proud!

OK, after that performance we need it to more times and also after that performance so many thousands of people believe that we can do it.

Well done Wigan.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

The week ending...........5 May 2013

The week began with a meeting on Monday night at the Methodist Church on the Save Standish consultation and the next steps. The meeting was well attended and some interesting views where shared by those that attended.

On Tuesday I had a walk around the village and some areas that some residents had concerns with in terms of litter and dog fouling. I quite agree. I have now contacted the Council and they are looking to resolve this but I suspect that I might be organising a litter pick on the Line, if anyone is interesting in joining me. I will get all the equipment, bags, gloves and litter pickers, from the Council. Keep watching for more on this or just email me if you want to get involved. I did do a post on the matter this week too, with some pictures. Here is one of those pictures.

Litter on the line behind the Large Coop Store
Thursday the Government planning inspector opened up the new consultation for the proposed new houses for Standish. So get writing all your objections in and before the 14th June.
The rest of the week I dealt with some residents concern over issues from allotments to smaller planning applications. On the allotments the Council say they don't want any more houses in Standish but yet they are looking to sell some land to a developer for building houses. I think the Council need to get their message consistent. The residents want to lease the land of the Council for allotments, which I fully support for so many reasons.

The long line of protesters on the demo march, young and old coming together for the village

Yesterday, was the demonstration march from the former golf course to near St. Maries church. It was a nice day for a walk and the event was well attended. A big thank you once again for all those that turned out and there where some great banners too. At the event we released our official poster that people can download off the website. If you have any problems just email me and I can send you the poster for you to print off and display in your house window. Let's see if we can get hundreds of these out there. Here is the poster too.
New Save Standish Poster

Using the internet is a tool that I like to use to try and communicate with residents and I have just read a great book about online content called, "The New Rules for Marketing and PR". The author is David Meerman Scott. If you are in business and looking to use the internet I would fully recommend reading this book. I was so impressed by it I emailed the Author with some kind words. The result of that was we had some email pinging back and forth and he did a piece on me on his blog. He is a link to it Article of Gareth. Thank you to David for this and the kind words he gave back to me in his emails. Some interesting new techniques in the book that I will be using soon.

Today is a bit of down time and recharge the battery's.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Why are there no local elections in Wigan?

One question that I have been asked today is, why are there no local elections in Wigan?

There are a number of different ways local elections are run. In Wigan there are 3 Councillors per Ward. When elected they are in office for 4 years.

So the first Councillor is elected in year 1 and their term of office will run till Yr 5.
In Yr 2 the next Councillor is voted in and their term of office will run till Yr 6.
In Y 3, you guessed it, the third Councillor is voted in and they wil stay in office till Yr 7.
In Yr 4 there are no elections.
In Yr 5 the first Councillor 4 Yr office term is up so the cycle starts again.

We are in Yr 4 of the cycle and that is why there are no elections till next year, when the cycle starts again.

Hope this helps and explains it a bit more.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

New Consultation for Standish begins.

Well we knew it was coming and it has come today. The start of the new planning inspector's consultation has began today. Here is the link to see the page on the Council's website with all the information.

The quick look at it is that Standish will possible have

200 dwellings by 2016
950 dwellings by 2021
and 1000 swellings by 2026.

So the fight has begun and we now know what we are fighting. Hopefully with teams out collecting tonight we should know if we are any closer to instructing the barrister. I do feel we need this help now to try and fight this.

I hope to see you on the demonstration march on Saturday at noon from the old Golf Course.