Friday, 31 January 2014

Planning Applications in for Standish

At Thursday's night Save Standish meeting it was asked that a website should show all the planning applications in Standish and there status. It was agreed that I would put it on my blog so all can see where things are up too.

Below is a current list of housing developments and status. As you can see already the 1000 houses that the Council promised has been passed. They will have to start listening to residents and turning some of these down.

The row(s) in green are the ones that you can write to the Council and object. There will be a post with what you can object to and where to write to.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Why do both kinds of Government's not listen?

It is a question I am sure many ask but why do both national and local government's listen to residents. I hear that they know best but I wonder if they do. With all the floods in Somerset and other parts one request is why have they not been dredging the rivers? In Wigan we had floods some years ago and millions were spent when residents were simply asking for the River Douglas to be dredged but they were told that the Environment Agency on others knew more than them. It simply isn't the case every time.

You look now and the Prime Minister and Government are saying they will dredge rivers. Hope they do and they listen more.

If one thing that should be learnt is in what ever is happening the local and national governments listen more to residents and take their comments on board.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The week that ended.....26 Jan '14

Well the week started with what I thought was a wind up call from a reporter asking if I had been arrested by Police. After laughing I asked what for and the details, to which the reporter said, I guess this is a no then. After some digging around I found out that Standish Labour Cllr Emma McGurrin started the rumour. Apparently she told people that I had fallen out with police and Council officers on the large Cooperative Shop car park in Standish. Then I hit the police officer. Man who is this woman. Talk about a disgrace!

With her election campaign starting she choses by trying to discredit another Cllr with libellous Lies! Residents say I should sue - I say kick her out as she is a disgrace to be Cllr. After going into the paper saying that she welcomes the new houses that are to be built in Standish I guess she doesn't have a chance, as residents have wanted to get their revenge and in May they can do that, if they wish. What was nice was all the phone calls, emails and comments people have made towards me about this incident and they think it is disgraceful and they are fully behind me and the team. So thank you for al the comments.

Scrutiny Committee

On Wednesday night saw me return to Scrutiny Committees after my illness and the Chair welcomed me back with some nice comments. See us politicians can be nice to each other at times. If you want to read about that meeting see the link here.


I had a busy surgery yesterday in the Library. Residents complaining about the planning issues, which I certainly share their frustrations with. Also a number of people have visited the Planning Committee and are disgusted that the Chairman and his wife both sit on this committee and feel that she should not due to her husband being the chair. I believe that is also good Government guidelines and best practise but I guess Labour are not interested in this.

Meeting this week.

Also we are holding a Save Standish meeting on Thursday of this week and so I am preparing for that as there is a lot to talk about. I hope people from all over Standish will attend as we will be letting residents know about all the planning applications that are in and about to go in.

The meeting will be held at the Unity Club on Thursday 30th January 2014 at 7.30pm.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Confident Places Scrutiny Committee last night

At last night's Confident Places Committee meeting a couple of interesting things were discussed.

The first was the levy that Builders will have to pay the council when they builder houses. Currently the developers have to pay what is known as 106. This can be used for play areas and other things. This money is going to stop and the Council will put a new tax on property that are to be built. The Council say they want to strike a balance so that it is not to expensive that scares developers away and not too low were it is so low that developer cash in.

The Council want to charge a 3 tier system, so were developers do not want to build the new proposed levy will be low and were developers want to build the levy will be higher. However, I am worried that we might have our own Royal Mail scandal here, were the Council sell out to cheap. Standish, for example, will be charged about £65/£70 per sq metre for residential properties. However, I believe that this is to cheap, if they have to build then they should pay the correct rate. Setting the levy so low will only help developers cash in and profit more at the expense of the community.

When will the Council realise that they have to be accountable to the public?

Also the Council are looking at the problem of people parking on the pavement. Whilst it may be on an odd occasion were drivers have to park on the kerb with one wheel, it is something else, when mindless drivers park their cars on the pavement and block the whole pavement. This then make it difficult for people to get passed, especially ones with pushchairs or wheel chairs.

The Council are now looking to put traffic orders were by in cases they can go and put penalty notices on the vehicles that block pavements, rip up grass verges or damage the footpath flags. Normally I am all against action whereby Council's and Government agency's make money out of the easy target motorist, However, in this case I am all for it as I have had numerous residents complain about a small number of vehicles. Once these orders come in we can take action against them and stop them blocking pavements.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sportsman Dinner with Ray French as Guest Speaker

Time fly's and we are holding our annual sportsman dinner at Ashfield House Hotel again in March. The date is the 21st of March at 7.30pm. With all the past years being a sell out this year we are moving into the main function room.

Anyone who has been before will know what a great night these are and a good time is had by all. If you are interested tickets are £25 each.

Look forward to seeing you all there.

The week that ended....19 January 2014

Well after a tremendously hard time at the end of last year where I was knocked out of action for some time, I am back. So with that in mind I think I should get back to the usual weekly post.

I had a  busy week, not only did I return back to work but also I did my first Council meeting since my illness.

Planning issues.

As usual with all the major planning applications that are currently going into the Council, this is a major worry for residents, of which I am one too. We, Cllr George Fairhurst and myself, have decided, due to the high level of emails and phone calls, to hold a public meeting to update people with all the details. I must sincerely apologise to all the many people that have emailed, I simply have not had time to respond to all of them, hence the meeting. Hopefully, this will give all the information to the residents. One thing for sure when the Council say that over the next 5 years or so that there will only be 1000 houses in Standish built I say Baloney! It will be at least 1500 to 2000.


One good bit of news is after nearly 10 years of campaigning to get rid of free food and drink in the Town Hall and cut down on money the Council have now decided to stop free food and drinks for evening meetings, which is a victory. However, it is not the success I would have hoped for as they are still continuing free food and drinks for day time meetings. The last time I asked how much it cost to feed Councillors I was told nearly £70,000. What a waste and it should stopped years ago.

Council Meeting

Wednesday saw me return to my first Council meeting after my serious illness. Some interesting and big topics were discussed. The first was my motion to have Council meetings recorded and put on the Council's website. Labour refused this on the grounds that the Town Hall was being refurbished at the moment and also on the grounds of cost. However, like Hindley Green Ind Cllr Bob Brierley said, Labour has found £17,000 for one of their Cllrs to join the Cabinet. Funny how they can find money for themselves. Also to me it would have been a perfect time to install the equipment whilst the Town Hall is being refurbished. After all you wouldn't get your kitchen fitted and then rip parts out to put in new plug sockets, you would do it at the same time. For me it is important to get the meetings recorded as this allows the public to see what their Cllrs do for them, or do not in certain cases, and also hear debates that they may be interested in.

Also another big debate was whether to allow Atherton a referendum on having a Town/Parish Council or not. Labour refused this. Now I agree with Labour on the fact that they cost more and are more bureaucratic however, because of the number that signed the petition I would allow a referendum and conclude whether to the people want one or not. This is the only way to conclude what is right for the people by allowing them the choice.

Resident Issues

I have been also dealing with residents issues on flooding and drain problems too which I hope to get resolved for them in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Free Food last!!!!

When I was first elected on to Wigan Council in 2004 I was horrified what the food and drinks bill, which was over £60,000. The last time I enquired it was nearer to £70,000. The meals range from Cllrs eating before a meeting to organised events.

I have always been against this. The reason is that Cllrs get an allowance, not expenses - they get them on top if they want, I have never claimed a penny in expenses. To me if someone goes to work they have to take a packed lunch or money to buy a meal, so why should Cllrs be any different?

Finally, the Council are stopping free food and drink after 5pm, which is a large number of meetings, so this will reduce the bill for free food and drink, which I welcome. Meetings taking place during the day will continue to get free food and drinks for Cllrs who attend and want them. Again there is nothing stopping Cllrs taking a packed lunch or nipping into the Town Centre to grab a bite to eat. Plus not many Cllrs are there for 7 hours a day. A meeting will only last a few hours.

I will continue to be against free food and drink during the day and hopefully we can get them stopped too.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Open and Transparent idea!

There are many times where the Council will look at doing a consultation. These could be on numerous issues and vary quite widely. However Labour always ignore the consultations and do what they want too. So why bother doing the consultation? Surely this demonstrates that they are just doing a tick box exercise.

The main reason why Labour say they can ignore consultations is because there is not enough people taking part and therefore they believe that the result is not reflective of the people. But people don't get involved because they know Labour and the Council simply ignore the result so don't bother with.

I firmly believe that the Council should be open and transparent in all they do including this area too. I think they can do this by saying that so long as 50.01% of the people take part of the consultation then the result will be carried out. That way people know that if they meet the threshold they their voice will be listened too. Also anyone carrying out the campaign know what they have to do and if they can't get 50.01% people interested to take part then their campaign will fail.

I believe this is a fair, open and transparent way forward and think the Council should be consistent. The question is does Labour and the Council want to be open, fair and transparent?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Planning Committee on Golf Course planning application

So last year Morris Homes and Persimmon Homes put in an outline planning permission to build on the former golf course on Rectory Lane. Because the Council took it's time over the Core Strategy saga the developers put in appeal to get the planning inspector to look at their planning application as the Council hadn't looked at it within the time frame that they should.

The appeal was scheduled for next week and the Council's planning committee held a special meeting to decide to vote on the proposal. Now correct me if I am wrong this is the same Council that said that they didn't want houses to be built here. This is the same Council that said that it was the Government making them do this. Yet it was a Labour Cllr, John Hilton, who said and I quote, "This is a good development." He also said that he and another Labour Cllr had worked with this developer in the past. My first point is he should not have been in the planning committee on this item as he clearly was prejudiced in my view and should have left the meeting. Instead he PROPOSED to accept the planning application. Disgrace, pure and simple!
When this application was first mooted the Council said that they would not allow an access at the bottom of Grove Lane. Yet again the Council have allowed this. This will now make a rat run for people to miss the cross roads out. Council's comment on this is that they will stop this if this happens. If it is that easy why haven't they stopped the rat run on Robin Hill and other estates? They haven't got a clue!

All that Wigan Council are interested in in Standish is Money! They get £5000 per house, which they do not charge developers in other areas of Wigan, so I am told. This just demonstrates the greed from the Council with regards getting money out of Standish.

Finally, the Council said to us that even though the Council had adopted the Core Strategy should the Traffic Survey come back with the fact that traffic cannot cope then that could stop house building in Standish. Sure as eggs are eggs the report said Standish cannot cope with this level of development but yet the Council has not stopped the development and application today.

In summing up the Council have lied to the people of Standish. They have spun a yarn and tried to blame the government yet here we have a Labour Cllr in a planning meeting saying that they had worked with this developer and they think it is a "good development" and then propose it to go through. I will be reporting this Cllr to the Standards Committee as this is clearly a breach of the code as he should have declared an interest, which I guess he did and then not take part of the discussion nor the vote! I think this also demonstrates that shear fact that Labour do not represent the local community but themselves.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Where should Johnny Visit in Wigan?

Following the story that Johnny Depp could be making a film about George Formby, story here, I have just been interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester and one of the questions was, if Johnny came to Wigan where would we take him.

Obviously the George Formby Statue would be one and Wigan Pier another. Where do you think we should take Johnny to help him with his research?