Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Coach to Wembley for Challenge Cup Final

If there is any on interested in going to Wembley to watch the mighty Warriors in the Challenge Cup Final on a family coach please drop me a line.

The coach is going from outside St Wilfrids Church. Price will be no more than £35 and quite possibly a few quid cheaper, depending on final numbers.

Health and Social Care Scruntiny Committee

Last night I attended the Health and Social Care Committee (Agenda is here). Another good meeting and some interesting points raised.

I guess one important point many residents want answering is, is Wigan A and E going to close? We had the head of the Wigan Wrightington Leigh Foundation Trust. I asked the question, given the speculation out on the streets. Andrew Foster confirmed that they are in talks with how they can work with Bolton on sharing services. He informed the committee that both hospitals would keep their A & E depts. but there could be there could be sharing of other services at night, like surgery.

One agenda item that I was interested in was No 11. This was about making play areas in Wigan Smoke Free. All seemed to agree with this, including myself, however I did say the obvious would happen, which is that people would just walk round to the other side of the fence and lean on the fence smoking. This was acknowledge but it was suggested that there was little that could be done. I then proposed that we have a an area around the play area fence to stop this, which was well received. The area would not be large enough not to allow supervision of the children.

Another good point was letting children design the signage that would go in. I also suggested that the children should also be the judges too. Hopefully this will happen.

There is currently a consultation being carried out on this matter and the link for that is here .Please get involved and let's get our play areas smoke free. I know we would love these in Standish.

There was no issue with anything in the committee and maybe the full Council should come and view these meetings as it seems to be a committee that is well behaved with no animosity.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The fortnight that ended....28 July 2013

This weeks post is covering two weeks as I went on holiday for a week last Friday.

I guess the most interesting part of the fortnight was the meeting of the Full Council meeting. To be fair to the mayor he had tried to bridge differences between Councillors to try and have a good meeting before the start of the meeting. Unfortunately, no fault of the mayor's, it probably wasn't one of the best. The issue is that the opposition, collectively, feel that certain officers of the Council are treating Labour Cllrs more favourably than opposition. This is not allowed under the code of conduct ( agreement that both Cllrs and officers agree too ). Until this situation is resolved I guess things will not get better soon.

For my part the whole issue started even before I was elected when just a few weeks prior to the election last year the Chief Executive gave Labour a letter and also put out a press release insinuating I was a liar on Ashfield. Proof that I wasn't is here where you can see in minute 13 that a Labour Cllr for Standish was updating the issue within the Standish Branch of the Labour Party. The interesting point here is that prior to an election there is a period called purdah. This is a period where government officers (both national and local) are not allowed to make statements that can give advantage or disadvantage to any candidates. When you see the Labour leaflet below it is clear that the Chief Executive broke the strict purdah rules.

What she should have done was keep out of politics and if Labour asked for the statement she should have refused, why she got involved I don't know. But that was the start and now she and Labour have brought new rules in at the last Council meeting whereby if the Chief Executive complains against a Cllr then that Cllrs Brighter Borough money is frozen. What on earth? Now the Council goes to new lows and goes against all English justice, which is everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but not at Wigan Council. It seems that now that Labour used their voting powers to bring in these new powers the Chief Executive can block funding to local community groups. Disgusting! I am looking at the legality of this as I am a firm believe that this is against English Justice.

So now I am back off my holidays I am working through a Tsunami of emails and messages and if you have emailed or left a message please bare with me whilst I work through these. I promise to answer everyone by Wednesday.

At today surgery it was busy. When I arrived there as several residents waiting and thank you to those for their patience for waiting. The issues ranged from planning issues to a number of residents complaining about the yellow school buses racing round the housing estates

BMX Event

Next Wednesday between noon and 3pm at St Maries Primary School on Avondale Rd there is a BMX event. This is where children can come, either with or without their bikes, and ride on the ramps. The event costs £2 so please feel free to bring the kids down and let them have a ride on the ramps.

OK so on a lighter note whilst out on holiday I was taking some time with a new hobby that I have gotten interested in, which is photography and one picture I am pleased with is the one below off a duckling scratching. Have a look and I hope you like it.

Well done to Wigan Warriors too for getting through to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Normal Service resumes

Well after a week off on Holiday I am back and will be doing the usual the week series tomorrow, which will include an update from last week's Full Council meeting plus how Labour and the Chief Executive are blocking funding to Standish residents, which is disgraceful!

Check back in tomorrow to read the post.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Haigh Hall....update

There have been lots of rumours in the press and out on the streets about Haigh Hall. I have learnt some interesting facts.

One thing for sure is Labour has let Haigh Hall fall into a diabolical. This Labour run Council is now saying it needs about £10 million to bring it up to spec again. The issue for me is they have let it get in this state by not spending any money over the last decades, so why are they so surprised now that they need £10 Million.

So they are looking for private company to come in and put the money in and that company will get to run the Hall as a way for them to get their money back plus profit too.

However, they know that is a tall order, so they are looking for grants for up to £10 million and then get a private company to run the Hall, so the company will get an up to date business with minimal investment.

One thing that they are looking at is turning the Hall into a Hotel. The thing is that they will want to build more bedrooms so at the back of the Hall the hill could be removed and the new bedroom block there. I think this will change the whole area and character of the Hall.

Another idea could be a garden centre too.

The one thing that worry's me is every time Labour do something they mess it up. There is nothing that they haven't touch that has worked out. We will see how they go with this but one thing that is for sure they can't be allowed to mess this up.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Week ending.......14 July 2013

Bit of a quieter week this week but had some great high moments. Also one where Music is the theme.

On Wednesday I was fortunate to attend Standish High Award Ceremony for Yrs 7 and Yr 8. I attended not only as a school Governor but as a parent too. The awards where for a variety of things including attendance, highest achievers and highest improver. I was particular proud when my eldest son received his award, so well done to him and also all the other students. What was really good about this ceremony was the fact it just wasn't watching students get their awards but also to get a flavour for the talent at the school. This included music performances (Which truly where mind blowing,, public speaking ( which was very good ), dance (which was out of this world ), drama groups ( which was brave using real teachers for examples - but there was some very funny and good scenes with them ) and then cheerleading ( which were death defying with their high throws and falls ). There is more on the event here.

Later that day I attended a meeting with leaders of political groups on Wigan Council and the Mayor. This was about trying to improve things in the Council Chamber, as it can be very bad in there at times. I do believe the Mayor genuinely wants to improve things, but it is up to the Leaders of all groups to do it. I put some of my thoughts in there and we will see if that has much of an impact on Wednesday, when it is the Full Council meeting. I am not holding my breath as I am sure the Leader of the Labour party likes his members making personal jibs at opposition members, including someone's disability - Dyslexia - which I feel is shocking behaviour.

That evening I went along to Robin Park to support the students from Standish High in the Wigan Schools Pop and Rock festival. This was such a good event and really well organised. From the following day, at the same venue, was going to be the Wigan Jazz Festival, so with a professional stage and lighting set up, the schools where able to send one band to perform 3 numbers in a professional environment. The other students that went to watch could also attend a festival like venue listening to their band and other bands from other schools. I think it is fair to say all that attended thoroughly enjoyed it and again more talent from Wigan coming through. Again more about the event is here.

Thursday night I went along to the Wigan Jazz Festival opening night and watched the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, which I was once a member, and the Doncaster Jazz Orchestra. It was a really good concert and it was good to catch up with some old friends and watch the up and coming musicians from Wigan.

Many people know that Wigan creates some great Rugby stars but what might not be so widely known is that Wigan creates some amazing and talented Jazz musicians. The list is endless but includes people like Andy Prior, Malcolm Melling  Ashley Frohlick, David Hitchen, Richard Halliwell and the list goes on and on. But one of those particular talents was back in Wigan on Friday. I decided to take a few hours off and go and watch Georgina Jackson. George has to be one of the talented people I know. She is an amazing trumpeter player but also out of this world singer too. Check out her website here. It was good to see a student from Wigan doing so well.

Hopefully Wigan can continue to nurture these amazing talents.

Friday saw the Save Standish Car demonstration and it was good to see a well spirited event. With cars honking their horns and waving to the cars around was great. It is known that many drives stayed clear of the area knowing that it was going to be busy. Time spans where about 35 mins - 40m mins to travel from the bottom of Rectory Lane to the centre and also from the Almond Brook Hotel to the Centre. These times will be a lot longer if the proposed houses are built in Standish, food for thought. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Georgina Jackson - great talent from Wigan

This afternoon I took a few hours off and headed off to Robin park to listen to the jazz sensation - Georgina Jackson. Many will know that I played in many bands in my younger years, including the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra.

In the band there was loads of talented musicians. One of those talents was Georgina Bromilow. I played along side Georgina first in the swing band and also then the Wigan Youth jazz orchestra and the Northern Jazz Orchestra. Also I was in the same class as George, given that she is just a day younger than myself.

George was a fantastic lead trumpet player and then a vocalist. This afternoon she performed at the Wigan Jazz Festival. What a great way to spend a Friday lunch time, listening to George and the trio backing her. I have not seen George for a few years in person but I keep in touch with facebook messages. But it is good to see she is still the same hard working musician and not changed as a person. But she is a great leader too and how she handles the audience is great to see, including funny moments when someones phone went off just as she was about to play a Duke Ellington piece and she said that must be Duke Ellington saying he is stuck on the M1 and sends his apologises for not getting here. Also sharing some of her stories being in London.

It is really good to see how George has flourished into a jazz musician, both as a vocalist - capturing the right tone of the music and era and also as a trumpeter - still hitting the high notes. She sang numerous songs including some from her hew album. It is really good to see a local talent doing exceptional well in their field. We know Wigan has many Rugby stars but what might not be widely known is Wigan has produced some great Jazz musicians - including George.

To learn more about this local lass visit her web site here.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

MP's pay - It just doesn't make sense.

It is now being talked about MP's getting a pay rise. This would increase it by aprox £10k per year. There is much criticisms about this, rightly so, but hat is clear is that they are saying we will give them a pay rise but we will reduce some of their perks, including cutting meal expenses after 7.30pm in the house of commons

The whole issue is more of insulting because what IPSA, the independent remuneration body, is trying to do is the public doesn't like all these expenses so we will appease them by cutting this but at the same time we will give the MP's a pay rise so it  

I think that IPSA are really not only missing the point but also missing the public views and what they want.

I guess if someone is working in a high pay job and are working late they will either pay for their own meal or eat when at home. They wouldn't turn round to their employer and say we want a pay rise to pay for our evening meal. So why should MP's be different? As a Cllr, we too are entitled to an evening meal if we attend a meeting at night. I have never agreed with this and never taken one either in all my years as a Cllr. This should stop as well as MP's.

Surely MP's do the job because they want to do some good or put something back but to have their meals paid for is just wrong. No one in the public or private sector get this so why should they? Nor should they get a pay rise because they are losing some perks. The PM said we are all in this together and families have lost more than perks so why can't MP's lose their perks and come in line?

Wigan Schools Rock and Pop festival

Last night I had the good fortune of attending the Wigan Schools Rock and Pop festival. This was held at Robin Park and each high school sent a band to the event to play 3 numbers.

The setting was professionally done and it gave all bands a taste of being a pop/ rock star, which is great experience. It was a good atmosphere and all the students where well behaved and was credit to Wigan.

On the bands, all bands where really really good and some great talent was displayed and we could well have seen a new band of the future.

I was there as a school governor supporting the highly talented band from Standish High school and the band performed exceptionally well.

Well done to all the students that performed and to Wigan Music Service for putting the event on.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Standish High Pupils awards

I have attended Standish High School award ceremony for Yr 7 and Yr 8.awards this morning. I would like to congratulate all the pupils that received an award. Now that you have got there I am sure that your peers will be coming hot on your heels for these awards next year.

Also during the morning ceremony where some amazing performances. From music students, which truly where incredible and you will hopefully be learning more about that in the near future, to cheerleaders. There was the drama performances too and I guess full marks go to them for their bravery by using current teachers name for characters.

Also included was a section on students giving public specking. These were incredible where the students didn't use any notes. As an experienced public speaker myself it was good to see how other people do it and to see how a younger generation do it was inspiring too!

The cheer leaders group also did a performance which was mind blowing. The dedication from them during the performance was awesome. They have just come fourth in a national competition too which was a fantastic achievements. The high throws and death-defying drops show how much trust they place in each other.

As a Local Councillor you always want the best in your ward, the best roads, the best community and the best schools. Standish High has always been a good school and now that I have seen more as a local Cllr and a LEA governor it is clear that Standish is one of the best in the Borough, if not the best.

Well done to all the students at the school and the teachers and support staff.

Royal Mail sell off is wrong!

Today, the Vince Cable is expected to announce the privatisation of the Royal Mail. This is wrong, in my opinion.

Whilst I am not against government's selling off assets that are non essential for day to day life, like airlines, I do believe that things that effect people's lives everyday should be owned by the public.

The Government have said that it will open up competition for postal services but that can't be said and demonstrated for the utilities companies like gas and electricity. So the Government would need to put forward a convincing argument why that has failed but this will work.

However, the world is changing and how many people send letters in the new electronic age? You only have to look at how much these prices have gone up for these services.

Whilst we might be OK in Standish some other rural areas will not have the competition as we might get here. That then makes it a postcode pottery for if people can get a good service for a good value. And whilst it doesn't effect delivery's in Standish area, I wouldn't have thought, if I am sending a letter to a friend in another part of the country that could mean my letter is effect if they live out in the sticks.

What seem to me to be the driving force is the Government can have a quick £2.5bn. Whilst the economy needs fixing and public finances need to be sort too it should be done at any cost to some vital services.

I hope either the Government changes it mind or some other force stops this from happening

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Week that ended........7 July 2013

This week started with our residents meeting on Monday night at the Unity Club. More details about that night can be read here on a previous post. One thing for sure is residents are still up in arms about the situation and are now looking to start some direct action. If you want to know about the car demo please view the post here about it. We need as many residents to come out and drive round the village roads to create more chaos and show what our roads could look like. If any one doesn't want to drive they can come and stand by the road side to support the drivers going round. Please email info@savestandish.org.uk if you are going to come and support the demo, just so we can manage numbers.

It is not only the major roads and junctions that are congested drivers are doing rat runs and trying to beat congestion and there is a great example here where cars are queued all the way down James Sq. These cars have cut through the estate so they can miss the busy congested junction at the top of Avondale Rd and Preston Rd.

Also another thing that came out of the meeting was residents wanted to be able to download the Save Standish poster and display it in their car windows and house windows too. They also wanted to download the response that we have put in for the consultation. I am pleased to announce you can do both on the home page of Save Standish website. So please feel free to print off a poster and display it.

Another step we have taken is trying to link up with other similar groups around the country, who are fighting similar campaigns. If we can get enough signatures we can try and get a debate in the house of commons to try and make policy to build on brown field sites before green open spaces and greenbelt land. You can sign the petition here.

Saturday morning saw a few residents meet at our surgery to discuss the demo and also a couple of people came in with personal problems which we will be dealing with.

Anti social behaviour is increasing in our area and this is getting worrying and I will be looking at ways to tackle this but one case of anti social behaviour has now been resolved and the person responsible dealt with by police. We will not tolerate anti social behaviour and will stamp down hard on this.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Save Standish Car Demo

At a recent meeting of residents it was decided to show the Council, the Government, planning inspectorate and residents what extra traffic will look like and the effects of this.

So between 4.30pm and 6pm on Friday 12th July residents are asked to jump in their cars and drive round the village centre roads or vice versa.

We are asking for people to email info@savestandish.org.uk if you are going to join in. This is so we can manage numbers. If you don't want to drive why not come and stand along the roadside and support the drivers. If you are going to come and stand along the roadside why not make a banner and bring it with you.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Traffic back log on smaller roads

We all know that the roads are backed up at key junctions in and around Standish but here is another example how drivers are trying to do rat runs side roads to avoid the traffic.

Here is James Sq. Traffic has come through the estate to miss the junction at Avondale Road. The traffic is backed up round on Greenwood Road.

Campaign goes national

The Save Standish campaign is going national and hoping to link up with up similar groups around the country. Why is this being done? It is obvious if we want the government to change their policy on building on green open fields when there are other brown field available.

So with that in mind if the Save Standish group and residents link up with other groups we can try and open a debate to change the policy. One way we are doing this is my starting an e-petition on the governments website. We will then be asking other residents around the country to sign the petition and if we get the required signatures then a debate will be held in parliament.

The petition is here if you want to go and sign it. Please sign the e-petition and then ask family and friends to sign the petition, now matter where they live in the country as this petition is to try and change government policy on building on green open spaces and moving them to brown field sites.

Some may say we need new houses built for the population growth and also to help the economy. If these statements are true we are not against this but just saying they should be built on brown field sites first before we erode the green open spaces within our communities.

Please remember even if there are no developers looking to developer open green spaces in your area today they could be tomorrow!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Save Standish downloads

If you want to download a Save Standish Poster you can do that here .

and also if you want to downloaded a copy of our response to the consultation for 1000 houses you can also do that here .

Last night Save Standish update meeting

Last night saw an update meeting for Save Standish.

At the meeting we told residents that it is a bit of a waiting game in terms of the core strategy consultation. We are now waiting for the planning inspectorate's final recommendations. That is a key word it is only a recommendation but it is up to the Council to decide whether to accept them or refuse them or even tweak them. If they do the last option the planning inspectorate would have to approve if the plan is sound or not.

Some interesting comments and discussions where made last night. If the Core Strategy plan is either classed as unsound and cannot go ahead or something else happens to make the Council not have a plan the word on the street, by the Council, is that we go to the national planning guidelines however the safeguarded land will remain safeguarded till 2016 as the current LDF plan. That means whilst developers can have planning applications in and have them determined they wouldn't be able to build on them till 2017, by which time the Council will have sorted this mess out.

Residents decided the wanted to raise the profile of the campaign and on Friday 12th July 2013 between 4.30pm and 6pm residents will be travelling round the roads of Standish and this will probably cause disruption to cars travelling through.

Another thing is we have an inner group of residents who will be organising events in the future too.