Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Week that ended....29 Sept '13

Last week of Sept. Where does time go. It only seemed yesterday that the kids were going back to school and already people are talking about half term and xmas.

This week has been a relative busy week. Monday say me attending the Call in meeting of The Pines Residential Care home. Full Story here. I still can't believe after the way that the Council handled Mere Oaks they still continue on in this way. Arrogance! All I can say to that.

Tuesday, I highlighted the fact that the Council are looking to lose the road outside the Globe pub as a road and allow it to be a seating area for drinkers. Whilst we have had a great summer, these are not often and even then not many people would want to drink outside on a regular occasion - so I can't see why this is being allowed. After all the situation has worked for many years so why change it?

Also I believe anti social behaviour will increase in the area too. For the full story see here. The Council say that they have a great outdoor seating area policy and pointed to Wallgate to me. I would say this is a disaster. I have had comments from people that walk up from the train station were the same people seem to sit outside all day drinking and smoking, and swearing is not uncommon too. Is this really a policy that the Council want to push and promote for a good image of the Borough?

Wednesday I attend the Confident Places Scrutiny meeting where play equipment was nearly discussed. I say nearly as the Chairman clearly didn't want Councillors to discuss this issue. He even said this to Councillors that belonged to his own group, which demonstrates how Labour likes to keep their minnows quiet. I suggested that if the Chairman wouldn't allow the discussion because he thought it was not in the report that we set up another meeting to discuss the matter, which seems to be taken up. Time will tell if this is the case.

Nominations closed for the Winstanley By-election. on Friday lunch time. There is 7 candidates in the election and it will be interesting battle. Labour will be confident but I am not sure they should be. UKIP in the last by-election had a good second place and then Community Action Party have a good candidate in Stan Barnes and he has been a Councillor for the ward before too, so he will have a good chance too. Some are now putting him favourite. For the full list of candidates see here 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Winstanley By-election Candidates

At noon today was the deadline for candidates to put their nomination forms in to be a candidate in the election.

In total there was 7 candidates that put their forms in. These are.

  • Stan Barnes - Community Action Party
  • David Bowker - Independent
  • Andrew Collinson - UKIP
  • Steven Heyes - The Green Party
  • Marie Morgan - Labour Party
  • John Skipworth - Liberal Democrats
  • Michael Winstanley - The Conservative Party.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

New Tool to compare Secondary Schools

As a parent I know the importance of checking out the best school for your child. Parents often compare schools and this can be time consuming now I have just been told about a new tool that is quick and easy to use to compare Secondary Schools. This is being provided by the Guardian Newspaper.

Here is the link to this new compare tool.

Great new tool.

Scrutiny Place meeting last night

Last night I attended the Overview and Scrutiny Confident Places meeting. Not too much going on but one report was the fact that the way money is spent on play equipment in the borough.

Currently when a builder builds houses in an area they have to give the Council some money per house that they build for play equipment in that area. The Council used to class an area as three wards. However going forward the Labour Controlled Cabinet and Council are changing this and saying the money can be spent anywhere in the ward, i.e. when they build all these 000's of houses in Standish the money the Council gets for play equipment can be spent in places Like Platt Bridge and Leigh. This is fundamentally wrong and should not be allowed the money should stay in the area where the houses are built. The only exception I make to that is in the case of Haigh Hall as I agree that each area within Wigan should provide a small contribution to those play equipment as we all use them. I say small because if ward of the Wards in Wigan contribute a small percentage then it will all add up to something large.

The other report was on waste. One thing that I wish the bin men would do is put the bins back where they came from and not through them all over the place and in front of drives. It wouldn't take that much longer.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Iain Dale idiot or marketing genius?

Who's heard of Iain Dale? Who's heard of Damian McBride?  If you follow politics then the chances are you have heard of them both. If you do not follow politics in the UK, you probably haven't heard of either of them. However, I bet many more millions of people around the world have heard of them now.

Iain Dale is the publisher of Damian McBride's book. This is about his memoirs as a civil servant and special advisor/ spin doctor to the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The book is a bit controversial and has had a bit of news coverage lately, but when a protestor was standing at the back of Mr McBride holding a placard up Mr Dale thought that this protester was a distraction for the interview. So what does he do? Goes and wrestles him.

Here is a clip.

The thing here is, if Iain Dale seriously thought that getting into a scuffle with this protestor was going to remove the distraction he was right, but if he thought the attention would go back on the interviewee then he was wrong, as everyone looked and watched the scuffle. You can hear people laughing at the situation.

But by the fact that he did this it got the clip on all the TV news stations and in all the papers. So I guess from a marketing stand point it has raised the profile of the book that they were promoting. Genius or not?

Others didn't do badly out of it too with ITN being promoted on the clip. Also the protestor will no doubt be getting some news coverage about his experience. Is this a win win for all concerned or was it stupid to try and drag the man away.

The Pines call in

If the Council takes a decision that a number of Cllrs do not like or feel that it should be scrutinise then they can trigger a process of what is known as a call in.

Labour Cabinet member Keith Cunliffe took the decision to close the resident care home called the Pines, which is in Pemberton. This home is for residents that have learning difficulties or disabilities.

A number of Cllrs felt this was not right for a number of reasons. I was one of those. Collectively, we called the decision in and on Monday Night we had the call in meeting at th,e Town Hall.

The reasons why we thought the decision was wrong was the residents in the main thought as themselves as a family. Now they will all be split up. Also the building does need updating no one can deny that, but the Council is spend £6 million to update the Town Hall for the employees, so why is it unreasonable to expect the Council to undate the home of these residents?

The reason here to me is money! At present the residents are classed as - residents. When they are moved out they become tenants so they have to pay rent for their accommodation. Labour say don't worry they can claim housing benefit off the government. Is this a scam to you? It is to me. Then the council can then sell the land to a developer. This is not to dissimilar to the Mere Oaks issues a number of years ago. labour always prey on the weak and vulnerable.

After the debate and questioning Labour voted not to change the decision. Weak and pathetic! Labours motto has to be, "stuff everyone else look after ourselves. Charity begins at home!"

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Road to be lost for drinkers?

Just outside the door of the Globe Public House there is a small road that goes between High Street and then Cross Street. Currently the Globe has some benches outside where drinkers on a sunny day can sit outside or if there are smokers can sit whilst having a cigarette. But even though there are a few benches outside there is still room for a couple of cars to park for the local shops are neighbourhood. Also this is where the delivery wagon off loads too.

Now the landlord of the Globe wants a beer garden and is applying to the Council to change it from being a road to an outside drinking area, all sectioned off. He is not wanting to buy the land but merely use it for free. So the tax payers lose an amenity and get no capital for it. Crazy world!

However, this area is next to the cenotaph in Standish and drinkers who have to much will be all over that respected land, which should not be allowed. Children will think it is a free for all and I have even heard the suggestion that one thing that can be done is to fence to cenotaph off. We don't want things blocking off, we need to keep them as they are.

I believe that should this proposed scheme should not go ahead as there will be a rise in anti social behaviour and also when the  dray wagon is carrying out it's delivery there will be a new danger on the A49 as the bus will have trouble getting out of the bus stop and then there will be a wagon blocking the highway for cars anyway.

The system that we have had in that area has worked for decades why change it now? There is a parking area for a few cars and they have some benches outside. This works quite well so why change it? Pubs shut all to often these days, which is a shame - but it is reality,  but should this one close then we have closed this area that has a couple of car parking spaces for the other local shops for nothing.

If you feel the same then you can see the plan below and write to the council to object. The reference number is RD/LR/JOH/N22/700-/N-002987. Or you can forward them on to myself and I will make sure they get to the Council.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Week that ended.......22 Sept '13

Bit of a quiet week. Started with Monday and attending Ex Cllr and Friend Henry Cadman's funeral in Swinley. Henry Cadman was a Cllr with me for the Wigan Central Ward between 2004 and 2010. Back in 2001 when I first decided to run for a Cllr Henry was a great help. He had been a family friend for over 40 yrs. He was a great Cllr for the Wigan Central Ward too and I know he will be missed by family and friends and the community.

On Wednesday the By-election was called for Winstanley Ward. This was after the death and funeral of ex Cllr Rona Winkworth. She was a Labour Cllr and it is fair to say we didn't get on but it is sad when anyone dies and my thoughts are with the family.

I guess people say they come in three's and later in the week a community activist Syd Hall died at his home in Scholes. Syd was 77 and I hope I have his energy at that age. When I was elected for the Wigan Central Ward he was soon on the phone. In fact he was always on the phone night and day, trying to get this and that. Also if there was a problem he would let me know and also try and help. Syd was a serious pain in the backside at times and this was not because he wanted to be but because he was passionate for his community and the people that lived there and that is not a bad thing. I have many memories of Syd but one thing that I will cherish was his cheeky nature and smile. At times he would ask for things that just weren't going to happen and when you say to him, "Come on and be real." He would give you his cheeky grin and say well you don't know if you don't ask. So true. RIP Syd you will be sorely missed.

Now the dust is settling on the fact that the Council have adopted the Core Strategy it is clear that many residents are upset, frustrated and feel let down by this Labour controlled Council. One resident wrote to the head of the planning Dept and the Chief Executive with his thoughts. Here is a link to that post, I suspect others have written too and will be telling them what they think of them.

Also during the week a report came out about the death of Daniel Pelka's death. Here is the thread for that post. In this day and age there needs to be more accountability and if those that fail children then they should resign or be sacked and not be able to pass the book or just come out with words like, sorry or we will learn from this. Actions speak louder than words!

As a Cllr I get requests for info that we don't know about or things we wouldn't think we would get asked for. One resident came to me over the issue of Burial fees and the fact that when you bury someone's ashes in the memorial garden you are paying for a lease of 25 yrs. After that time you have to pay to renew. The issue here is that should the person that buried the ashes have moved, which could well happen or that person dies then the Council doesn't seem to look for the next of kin. If no renewal fees are paid then they can exhume the ashes and scatter them on another part of the cemetery. This issues needs to be resolved before that happens and I have written to the Council to say they need to put things in place now, like using tracing agents to try and find the family before they exhume any ashes. Here is more on that issues plus all the fees.

This week we have had a strange danger alert in Standish when a man approached a student of Standish High. Well done to Standish high for getting the message out quickly and alerting parents to this. Also later in the week we had a violent man on the run, I hear that he had robbed the large Coop in the village, police were alerted as were Woodfold primary school, as the man was seen running up school lane. The school stopped any student leaving on their own and contacted all parents saying if they did let their child either walk home on there own or part way on their own that there would not be able to that day and all parents had to pic their child up. This is another good example that good communications is key to keeping us all safe. The police later caught the person and is now in custody.

The week coming up is going to be a busy one with a number of meetings coming up.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Burial fees and rules

It has been raised about the fact that when you bury a love ones ashes in the memorial garden in a cemetery by the Council you are only paying for leasing the land for 25 years. After that time you have to renew the lease again. This was something that I didn't realise and I agree with the person that raised this issue with me, a lot can happen in 25 years and how can you know where you will be living at that time.

I didn't realise that when you are buried in a cemetery under the control of the Council you are only leasing that for 99 years. After the 25 years for the ashes if the renewal fee is not paid the Council can exhume the ashes and scatter them in another part of the cemetery. They can exhume your body after 99 years, not sure what they will do with that then.

So the issue is if the Council cannot find a relative after the 25 years, for ashes and 99 years, for burials, the Council can exhume the body. I think that the Council should at least use tracing agents to try and get in touch with relatives to see if they want to renew before they exhume any ashes or body.

So is this right because land is at a premium or is his the Council just trying to make more money out of this situation.

I have put all the fees and charges below for everyone to see and view.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Residents tell the Council what they think of them!

Over the last 18 months the major issue for Standish has been mass housing building on our green open fields.

Last week Wigan Council disgracefully voted to allow 000's of houses to be built on the green open fields in Standish. This is even when they have no idea what they will do about the traffic problems we have at this present time nor have they got a plan when these houses are built.

One thing that they have said is for ever 1000 houses to be built, they will receive £3m in a levy tax that they are proposing to put on each house built. But this Labour control council have said that out of the £3m raised only 15% (£330,000) will stay in Standish, as that is the legal minimum. The other 85% can go to other areas, no doubt Labour will put it in their "areas of deprivation."

However, residents are not lying down and taking it, as one resident, who has asked for their name to be withheld on the blog, has taken it upon themselves to write to the head of planning and Chief Executive about the whole affair. Here is their letter,

Mr Normington,
This is a genuine communication from a borough resident, who pays the highest band of council tax, is an educated professional, contributes positively to the local area and, sadly, one who wishes to convey the most abject dismay and frustration over your departments handling of the government’s core housing strategy. I am absolutely seething over the situation you have inflicted upon us.

It all emanates from within your department, who have completely mismanaged the entire process. Initially being bullied and embarrassed by house builders, then 'turned over' by the government inspector Kevin Ward (who has no affiliation/interest for the local impact of his decisions) and then, finally, by Wigan Council who voted in his appalling recommendations and run around 'celebrating' the result as if you had achieved something! What?? You absolute bunch of fools!

How on earth you have chosen to single out Standish and effectively 'dump' an extra 1000 homes (minimum) in an area that is already at breaking point is beyond comprehension. Have you driven through the crossroads at busy times of the day? Why drop all the houses in one single area when you have the entire borough to choose from? The answer is for pure short term greed on behalf of the Council, underpinned by ill thought out strategic planning.

It is also criminal that those Standish residents (who actually find the drive through the village a stressing experience already) will see a pittance of the overall revenue that this 'selling off' of our Greenfield sites will yield as the Council seek to penalise Standish and attribute the monies elsewhere for others to benefit. We are the ones who have to live daily with these ruthless decisions being made.

The whole situation is a farce and you are directly responsible for the outcome of this. As a high council tax payer, I have the right to express my opinion on your performance, which is quite frankly diabolical. The private sector would not tolerate such incompetence.

You are effectively stealing my money each month as you have done absolutely nothing to represent my interests or those of thousands of others living in Standish. You have abused and insulted us. I am sure you will agree, that is appalling and not how council members should behave.

As a direct consequence of Wigan Council actions, my partner have discussed the situation and will be looking to move back out of the borough once this obscene housing development commences. So, having succeeded in attracting desirable, high income, working couples into the area, you have effectively driven us back out again. How ironic.

I accept that there is no reversal of this calamitous situation and nor do I want a response from you (I have no respect for your opinion or further deceit) but you and your entire team need to conduct a serious appraisal of how you managed to get this totally and abhorrently wrong.
Absolute brilliant letter and I think this letter is typical of what residents in Standish think and I am sure that this wouldn't be the last letter sent to the Council.

In my surgery, last Saturday, many residents commented to me about how disappointed they were about the Council.

Any way let me know what you think to this letter and also if you want to write to the Council please do.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Daniel Pelka - Where are the sackings?

The findings of the death of Daniel Pelka is out today. I wrote about this case in August, here is the story if you did not see that.

What gets me is no one has either had the decency to resign nor have there been any sackings. In the case of Baby P we know there were sackings there and no one bothered about that. Probably because that was right. But here in this case the head teacher said she is sorry. She was in charge of the school were a child came to school with numerous injury's, going through bins for food, weight loss and more. How many signs did she and others need. She should be sacked!

The sackings should not stop there, social workers and even police should have some too as they were all aware of this little boy. I am just listening to the independent chair person on the safe guarding board in Coventry - she obviously failed monumentally in her role. Safeguarding board - obviously a joke and needs to be overhauled.

I am surprised why any parent would send their child to that school as they is no safeguarding there in my opinion.

Whilst the social workers, head teachers and others are coming out saying how sorry they are - of course they are because they failed in their job and been caught - do the right thing and resign or they should get sacked.

We hear in these cases where people missed things and yes, things do need to change in Coventry but not with them so called professionals.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Jeremy Clarkson to stand for Parliment?

Jeremy Clarkson tweeted that he is thinking of standing for Parliament in the next General Election 2015. He said this would be in Doncaster North where he is from, should he decide to do it. He would stand as an independent.

I for one hope he does and knocks Ed Miliband out, as he is the current MP for that seat. Ed is not only a person that was involved in getting the Country in the mess that we are in but also a weak leader for the Labour Party and I ask does he truly represent them? Ed Miliband and Ed Balls should not be allowed to stand given their involvement in getting us in the mess that we are in.

But the question is being asked should more people who have connections in their local area stand for their MP seat. They would know more about the area and what the people stand for, need and want. I know too that many asked me at the last General Election to stand, which I decided not too, but they now want me to stand at the next General Election in 2015. For any one to stand is a huge commitment, to do it properly, and it would be interesting if more and more people have now switched off from the large political parties.

Food for thought! 

The Week that ended....15 Sept '13

The main issue this week was the full Council meeting on Wednesday. The full story is here. It was interesting from that residents are up in arms from the fact that Labour are asking the whole residents of Wigan, all 330 000+ if they can have a referendum to have a Parish Council and I can see why too.

Residents are absolutely outraged at the decision Labour has taken to allow 000's of new houses to be built in Standish. So much for the Council and Labour saying that they are fighting for them. Weak and crumbled!

For residents that viewed the council meeting it was clear that they are so disappointed how the Council was ran and also is run. Even when I asked for a name vote on the Core Strategy the Mayor said we had 9 votes and we did not have the 10 needed to trigger this. We challenged that decision and he asked for the hands again to be put up and there was 10. The Mayor said well I saw 9 before so I am not allowing the name vote. This, they think, stops us naming Labour Cllrs for voting for this disastrous policy. If Labour vote one way or another they should have the conviction to stand by that. But they don't because they want to try and hide behind closed doors.

I have had a number of local issues from bins and street lights which I am dealing with this week.

Cllr George Fairhurst is in hospital after having a Hip operation and will be out soon, I hope, as the other Cllr for Standish, who is Labour, does not only do nothing but doesn't even attend the most important issue for Standish for years and she doesn't even come to Standish. Next May she is up for re-election and we will be fighting strong to rid Standish of this Cllr, who has done nothing for Standish but gone in the paper and said I have worked with developers to get more houses. Shame on you - you should represent the people who elected you - not yourself!

Our next newsletter is due out shortly and I am putting some finishing touches to it.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Lisa's expenses are in

The expenses of MP's has now been published for 2012/2013.

With the highest claim for expenses was Ian Paisley with a total expenses totalling over £232,000. Our Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan is the 80 worst MP for claims. Her total expenses was £176219.39. Out of them there was office expenses totalling £131167.95.Travelling was £3065.37 and accommodation bill was £22,655.64.Staff cost was just £320.00 and no misc expenses.

Yvonne Forvargue is not far behind neither and Andy Burnham was higher at £176527.79.

Worth their money?


Parish Council Debate

On Wednesday night Wigan Council started the borough wide consultation on whether the people of Atherton should have a parish council, that story here. Now the debate rages on whether the whole borough should be consulted on the issue rather than just the people it effects. This was caused by enough people in the effect area signing a petition asking for a referendum.

Wigan Council argues that should a parish council be set up in the future then the whole borough would have to pay for it. However the cost of setting up a Parish Council is nominal, source Wigan Council - they only have to publish an order. 
So with that now clarified the next point is, after the Consultation the Council will decided whether to allow the residents to have a referendum on whether they themselves would like a parish council or not. To me it would be less bureaucratic to miss out this consultation and just go to the referendum and let the people of Atherton decide for themselves. This would not only save time but money too. I am not bothered about the very minimal amount it would cost to set up as it is less than 1p to my Council Tax. What I would like to have a consultation is whether the Council should spend £70 000 on feeding Cllrs?
If the Council decides after the consultation that there were not enough people that wanted it then that will be the end of that. No other petition for a parish council can come in for another 2 years. Should the Council decide to allow a referendum it will then be a binding vote whether to have a Parish Council or not. Should the vote be to have on then an order, which Wigan Council will pay for, will be published and an election to elect the new Parish Councillors will happen. The newly elected Cllrs will then meet and set the precept and that will come into force and will be added on to their Council Tax. If they vote not to have a parish council then that will be the end of that - again for at least for 2 years.
My issue with how Wigan Council is doing this is, they are trying to rig the vote so they do not have to give the people a referendum. They are doing this because the issue of whether Atherton simply doesn't really effect them so they will not respond to the Consultation and then when it comes back to the Council, Labour will say only a small part of the people responded so it is not worth doing.
So why does Wigan Council not want a Parish Council? They think if Atherton has one they wouldn't get their people in there and control it. I qualify my remarks by Shevington has a Parish Council. Labour controls that one. The average band D property pays over £22 extra. Labour has 6 Cllrs on there and Shevington Independents - who want a referendum to abolish it and lower the tax  - has 3 Cllrs on there, but yet even at the last review for them it was overwhelming that the residents of Shevington wanted a referendum to abolish it but Labour wouldn't allow this. This demonstrates that Labour are not consistent with their policy on this matter and just do what they want rather than let the people decide - so much for democracy!
So where do I lie in this debate? For me I am against Parish Council as I believe in lower tax and cutting the level of bureaucracy, however, should residents of an area disagree with my views and want a parish council just let them vote on whether they want one or not, saves time, saves money but more important it is more democratic!        

To complete the survey here is the link. For me as it doesn't effect me in Standish but I would like democracy to prevail I have said no to both question 2 and 3 and missed out 4. The questionnaire should have one more question, should the people effect have a vote? 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Full Council last night

What a night last night was. If someone asked for one word to describe it that one word would have to be farcical.

I'll start with 6.20pm with resident starting to turn up in the heavy rain with banners and protesting outside. Speaking with Cllrs going into the Town Hall they asked them to vote no to the Core Strategy. It was soon evident that there were a lot more protesters than seats in the public gallery. With another big issue being held on the same night, Save the Pines Group, the seats were being taken up. I asked the Council because there were more people that wanted to go in the Public Gallery than seats available could some residents wait in the lobby of the Town Hall, because of the rain, and when the pines item had been heard and then those people that attended for that item would then leaving the public gallery, I had checked this was happening, and then allow the people in the lobby to then take up those empty seats in the gallery? At first we were told they had to wait outside in the rain but thankfully after taking the matter higher they were allowed to wait in the lobby. All this demonstrates that the Council should video the meeting and put it on their website so that when issues come up and people want to attend the public gallery but can't because there is only a small number of seats available then they can at least view it at home on the internet. But Labour doesn't want the wider community of Wigan knowing what goes on and how they act in the chamber.

I think it is important to note that Labour have restricted Full Council meetings to just 3 hours. The reason why I mention this will become clear later in this article.

Council use 1/3rd of their time to discuss death

The Mayor at the beginning of the meeting mentioned that Cllr Rona Winkworth had died and also that a former Cllr had sadly passed away. Then Council went on to let other Cllrs discuss this matter which took over 50  mins. That is nearly a third of the time to discuss the matter. Then when 3 hours has passed the meeting gets closed, even though there was a number of items to be discussed, including motions. Residents that attended were disgusted that Council can use so such of the time to discuss this matter only then not to extend the meeting to discuss normal business. I think whilst it may be right to pass on our condolences it is important that we do not use a third of the business time to discuss this. I have now suggested that we allow 5/10 mins of normal business time for any item like this and should it go on any longer those minutes are then added on to the end of the meeting. I think a sensible idea and we will see if Labour will agree with this.

The Pines

The first big item on the agenda was whether it is right that the Council should close the Pines. This is a home for the vulnerable in our community. The Council want to close this and move the residents out into other accommodation. The issue is the vast majority of residents don't want to leave or be split up as they have spent many years together. Yes the building needs modernising but this is peanuts in the grand scheme. The Council is spending £6m on tarting up the Town Hall but can't upgrade this facility. Shame on them! But another important item to recognise that because in this facility people are called residents they don't have to pay but when they get moved out then they will become tenants in the new accommodation where they will have to claim the £80 p/w housing benefit to pass on to the Council. To me this shows this decision is about money.

Then Labour voted through to change a constitutional item on call in's. This is process is where Cllrs can call in a decision by the Cabinet and scrutinise decisions that they have taken. Obviously Labour don't like their decisions being scrutinise and they don't want the public to know all their decisions.

Core Strategy

The big item of the night was the Core Strategy. This is where the Council are going to allow 000's of new houses to be built on Green open spaces in Standish. The Council says that they have no other choice but it is the Government's planning inspector that has imposed this on them. This is simply not true. Yes, it can create difficulties but if the Council did not adopt the Core Strategy then the rules for planning applications would be under the National policy Framework. Labour says if this was the case then Builders can be build anywhere. This is a lie! Under the national policy framework you still can refuse a planning application because of traffic infrastructure cannot cope. We all know this to be true of Standish and therefore there would be a genuine legal reason to refuse applications.

One Labour Cllr who was lobbied by residents and myself last night said Standish was one great big field anyway. Just goes to show the contempt that Labour show towards Standish. Also shows that that Cllr has been to Standish for 30 years too.

It is the Standish Labour Cllr that has publically said that she has worked with developers to get more houses in Standish. Now she is up for re-election  next May, she is trying to back track. She didn't even stay in the Council meeting for the debate and speak against the Core Strategy.

It is clear that Labour and the Council want to try and blame someone else for the mess but yet they don't have the guts or the convictions to stand up for the residents that they should serve!

Atherton Consultation for Parish Council

One last item to mention is that residents of Atherton have signed a petition and got the right number of signatures to get a referendum. Now Labour are asking the whole borough whether Atherton can have a referendum for a Parish Council or not. Labour said if the residents decide to have a Parish Council then the residents of the borough would have to pay to set it up. The cost of this consultation is more than having a referendum, so why on earth would anyone not let them have the referendum.? It is quicker and cheaper just to let them have a referendum.

The real answer is Labour doesn't want Atherton to have a Parish Council as they feel that they would not get control of it. The labour leader said last night that all this was to massage a Cllr ego (Reference to Atherton Independent Cllr Bradbury who is championing this cause). He even said that if it went through then resident of Atherton would pay more, which is true. However, why does Labour not let Shevington have a referendum to abolish their Parish Council, that is what residents want? Answer because Labour controls this, just, and they don't want that to get rid of themselves. However  Shevington Independents have 3 out of the 9 Parish Cllrs and they support a call for a referendum and next Parish Elections they will stand again and try to get those 2 extra seats to get rid of this quango.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Save Standish Protest - Wigan Town Hall

On Wednesday 11 September at Wigan Town Hall, Wigan Council will be voting whether to build thousands of new houses in Standish over the next 13 years.

At the last Save Standish meeting it was decided to get residents to protest outside the Town Hall for 30/ 40 mins and to ask the Cllrs to vote NO!

The meeting starts at 7pm and we are asking people to be there from 6.20pm till 7pm, as the Councillors go into the Town Hall. If anyone then wants too they can go into the public gallery and listen to the debate during the meeting. If you can't or don't want to go into the meeting we ask that residents come to the protest outside for 30/40 mins.

If you want to make and bring banners - no problems.

This could be one of our last chances at trying to stop 000's of new houses being built on our open green spaces.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Wonga make more Wonga!

Wonga has just announced that their profits are up 36% from last year and their profits have been £1m per week.(Source Sky News)

The issue is that the people that have to use these kinds of companies probably can't use high street banks due to them not having a high enough credit score. With companies like Wonga making these kinds of profits that just demonstrates that the high street banks are out of touch on their lending, otherwise companies like Wonga wouldn't be making these kinds of profits.

It is important to remember that these kind of companies charge higher APR than high street banks and some are exorbitant high and the high street banks rates would be lower than these but there is nothing stopping the high street banks lending at a higher rate than their usual rate to people that don't fit their main criteria.

To me I do believe that the banks should listen to people's situations first before deciding to lend or not. People can have lower credit score a number of reason, including never borrowing as they have always saved up for things.

The people that these kind of companies are people that need more help and should be taken advantage off! In the current situation I guess it is better for people who can't access main street banks to use companies like this rather than loan sharks.

News story here

Monday, 2 September 2013

Car Parks opening early on Sunday

There has been a lot about the car parks not opening early on Sunday for the Wigan 10k race. I have just contacted the Council and they have informed me that car parks will be open from 8.30am.

I know some of the staff have told car park users that it is normal opening time, but this is not the case.

Hope to see you all there. :-)

Council sells your personal data

It has been released today that Councils are sending your personal data. I have just looked at the report and Wigan Council has sold the electoral to 3 companies including what I believe a developer and a data company, who may sell the data on or use it or marketing purposes.

I am strongly against this and Council's should not be allowed to sell your data.

If you are interesting in reading the report here it is REPORT .

To be fair to the Council they have to sell the data if they are asked for it and legislation needs to be changed to stop this practise. If you look at the report Wigan Council has one of the lowest requests for this data and some other Council's have made a lot of money out of this scheme.

If you want to opt out of the edited register you can use the letter here . I know I have opted out of the edited register some years ago but I wonder how many people don't realise their data is being sold by the Council.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Week that ended.......1 Sept '13

Wow, Sept already! No doubt many mums out there will be breathing a sigh of relief knowing that their little cherubs will be going back to school in a few days time.

I know I have seen a couple of mums who are on count down now :-).


The week started with the Save Standish meeting on Tuesday. We moved it from our traditional Monday because it was a bank holiday this week. Thank you to the Unity Club for once again letting us use the club and to all those that attended. We gave the latest update and the fact that the Council are now looking to allow approx. 1000 houses on Standish green open spaces but yet they haven't done the plan to see if the roads can cope! How on earth you can say build approx. 1000, which we all know will be nearer to 1250, and then not have a infrastructure plan completed is beyond me. The Council have made a complete hash of this process and if I was the leader of the Council I would want to know why.

This is a worry to have these houses but the biggest worry is in 5 years time the developers will be back again! Why? Because the Council are allowing flexibility in part of their plan that says if after the developers have built in Standish they do not build in other areas of Wigan, like Platt Bridge and Abram (which they won't because they want Standish) then they can allow more land to be released in Standish. So what's the line with all of this?


I say their greed because the Council is worried that if they don't do this they will lose the chance to charge developers up to £3000 per house for a levy. So 1000 houses in Standish will raise an additional £3,000,000 but the Council has said that only £330,000 will stay in Standish and the rest will go to other areas.

I published a post on my blog here earlier in the week.

Ramp Riders Event

On Wednesday saw the last of our Ramp Riders event for BMX bikes and skateboards at St Maries. This was an event that we have organised and funded over the summer and children have enjoyed it. We hope to do the event again next year.

We are now looking to put an event on at Xmas and that is looking exciting so keep checking the blog for more details nearer the time.

Again here is the post I published about the Ramp Riders event earlier in the week.


Yesterday's surgery was busy and a number of residents came in with issue, I am currently working through those issue and I did a number of house visits yesterday, Where people had asked for them. It is always nice to meet more residents. One thing that came out was the fact that Standish residents are sick of this Council and how they do nothing for them, which I whole heartedly agree with.  The support for both myself and Cllr George Fairhurst is nice and we enjoy representing and working with residents for a better area.