Monday, 30 June 2014

Tweetgate helps change the law of the Land

Many will remember Tweetgate as it has become known as. Here is the story if you want to view it. Whilst the Daily Mail did a big story on it, for which I am grateful for because they highlighted it nationally, it had a more serious implication. I said at the time that the action of Cllr Peter Smith, the Labour Leader on Wigan Council, brought the actions of the Council into disrepute and he probably said it was me that did that. Two different opinions but it seems that Parliament has now come on the side of mine, which is one of being open transparent and making democracy accountable (more on on this later). These things I would have hoped we all hoped for.

I am sure that now time has passed Cllr Peter Smith, Labour Leader on Wigan Council regrets his actions. I would therefore welcome him not to barr any more actions of using digital or social media in the Council chamber. Time will tell if he does - but if he doesn't then it could be opposition, the press or members of the public calling the police as it is no being talked about such action that Cllr Peter Smith did would become a criminal offence. And for those that took time trouble to write phone or send messages the way that you did in support of my actions. Just goes to show stand up to bully's pays and democracy will come to Wigan whether Cllr Peter Smith likes it or not. If he can't maybe it is time for him to stand down as Leader of Wigan Council and let another Cllr from his party take over and move the Council on.

Back to what parliament thinks of the actions of Cllr Peter Smith click here and see the parliament document and see section 4. Given that Cllr Smith is also a Labour Lord I am sure that when he has been to the House of Lords he will have been given a ribbing about his actions. What is truly remarkable is Labour MP's will not be opposing the bill of allowing people to record, tweet or video meetings and for those that try and ban it a criminal offence, so Labour MP's agree with me tweeting too. I guess it is truly lonely for Cllr Peter Smith on this matter.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The week that ended.....29 June 2014

Back to my series of the week that ended...... this week has been a busy one. For one, all the election returns had to be filed at the Council for the last local Election in May. Any one wanting to view any candidate returns are able to do so at the Town Hall. This is where you can see who spent what on what. If you want to view them you need to make an appointment with the Council. Their number is 01942 244991 and ask for the elections office.

For meetings I have met with a number of residents on a number of matters which I am dealing with now. One of them being that the meat in our schools is Halal meat and the residents are against their children having this. I am making some enquiries into this.

Tuesday I attended the Confident Places Scrutiny meeting. This is where anything to do with buildings are discussed. Obviously the recent issue with houses in Standish is of great concern but at this meeting the proposed charge to developers was discussed and we were told that the Cabinet will be asked to hold a consultation on the charges and other matters. My concern with this element of the houses is that the Council are saying that they only have to put back 15% of any money raised in an area back into that same area. For example if the Council got £1 million for houses in Standish, they will get more than this for Standish but this is just for example purposes only, then the Council only need to put back £150 000 back into Standish and no doubt they can go and spend the other £850 000 in their heartlands, o sorry "Deprived areas". What a disgrace!!!!!

Also on Tuesday earlier was the Planning Committee who voted for 600 more houses in Standish. Full Story here. Not one member of the committee voted against the houses especially the Conservative Cllr who sits on the committee. So when at the last election the Conservatives said they were against the houses just proves they will say anything to try and get elected but when it comes to the crunch they don't back residents - disgrace !!!

Also mentioned was flooding and it is surprising that the Council do very little on this matter. Granted it is the Environment Agency that address's this matter but I would have thought the Council would want and should do more. The best they can do is tell residents that it is their responsibilities to stop the water. Well if the Council keep allowing inappropriate buildings then it should be the Council. Around the streets of the DW Stadium and Robin Retail Park streets get flooded. Of course they will the Council should have known this would happen. The area being Marsh Green land. That areas was designed to flood and that would protect the area but as soon as you pour concrete on it the water will run off to the streets. The post on this matter is here.

Also discussed at the meeting is the fact that the Council have 7 officers now employed to get business into Wigan and also retain those that are looking to leave the area. I am pleased that the Council are now looking at this matter as this is key to residents and the Council should do more,to get employment in the area. Discussed was some funding that could be made available - this is not a matter of the Council funding private business's - but helping where it can. There are areas that the Council can do but as well as funding it needs to sort out the road networks because if emplyers can't get in and out reasonably then they will go to other areas. It was strange to hear a Conservative Cllr calling business Vultures though. I always thought they wanted to support business?

I also know that Cllr George Fairhurst and Cllr Debbie Fairhurst are both organising Summer activities for children in the Summer Holiday and once I know the full details I will publish them on here.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Flood issue

This week has been a busy week and one of the meetings that I attended was the Confident Places Committee. One of the items on the agenda was flooding. The long and short of it is that the Council does very little for this as the main agency for this issue is the Environment Agency. One issue that the government is bring in, possibly next year, is when new developments are discussed at planning stages then more thought about flooding. With the vast number of houses coming to Standish I wish the Council would be more proactive in this area as the drains will not be able to cope.

Back to flooding defenses the Council are saying that it is pretty much up to people to:-

a) know if they are in a flood area and

b) stop the flooding to their houses.

Whilst it is not possible to micro manage the situation in terms of protecting every houses but when they allow mass housing estate and no or little thoughts about the issue then residents should have more protection from the Council.

If you want to know where flood risks are and if your house is in one click on this link and search.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Wigan Council pass another 600 houses for Standish..

At today's planning committee they passed the Bloor homes application behind Pepper Lane and also Wainhomes Application behind Cat in the Window. Each planning application had 300 houses each. There is no word yet on the additional 100 that Wainhomes are also trying on.

The voting was All the Labour Councillors and the Wigan Independent Network Cllr Bradbury, who was an Ex Labour Cllr all voted for them and the Conservative Cllr also did not vote against the application. So when the Tories in the last election were saying they were against the houses and they would vote against them - I guess they lied! No surprise there then.

Apparently there was some debate from the Committee Cllrs but residents thought the answers were weak and the cllrs could have challenged more especially when they were told we haven't thought about how we will resolve the school places shortage etc.

Labour say it is all the Tory Government fault although I guess they haven't realised that the government is a coalition and it is true that the Government planning Inspector could have done more rather than just sitting back but Wigan Council have failed Standish residents yet again.

What is important is these applications were just for outline and they will both have to come back to the planning committee as a detailed plan at a later date. Hopefully the Cllrs on the committee will be scrutinising these more and voting against them.

There were over 400 0bjections and I would like to thank everyone for their support.

Friday, 20 June 2014

......Breaking News......Cooperative store to close.....

It has been rumored for some time now about the large Cooperative store in the centre of Standish and it's future. I have learnt today from staff that they have been told that they are to close the store at the end of September and then Aldi will be then buying the store. There is no date when the store will open again under it's new name.

Some staff had hoped that their jobs would transfer over to Aldi but they have been told that will not happen and they are to be made redundant. Having been made redundant myself my heart goes out to the staff and hopefully the Cooperative will do all it can to try and find jobs for the staff or help them through the time.

This will be a coup for Aldi as this is deemed to be a prime site and Lidl will be a little upset at this as Aldi is a major rival and now they are entering the village and getting the better of the sites that they have.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Defeater to Labour

In today's Wigan Evening Post Cllr Frank Carmichael  has defected from being an independent Councillor to a Labour Councillor. In the article it says that Cllr Carmichael blames me. After speaking with Cllr Carmichael earlier he says that he did not name me. He did however say at the April meeting he didn't agree with the tweeting but that's his opinion and it was more to do with the other Cllr for Hindley Green, Cllr Bib Brierley actions. What puzzles me no matter who he wants to blame why if it happened in April did he wait till June, after the elections? One may say that he realises his seat is up next year and he wants to try and be the Labour candidate. I think this is a bit short sighted as I hear that have chosen a woman already called Maxine.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Site up for sale for houses.

Here is a link where land that is own by Himor is up for sale. This land has just recently been approve to have 150 houses on it. The land is on Rectory Lane opposite the old Golf Course. This land has just recently been granted planning permission for the houses.

Given that Himor is run by Mr Ainscough Jr and Wainhomes is run by Mr Ainscough Snr I don't think we need to guess who will be building here.

Thought of the Day.

So after yesterdays going on at the Council with the independent Cllr Bob Brierley refusing not to stop taping the meeting and then Labour just voting everything through without any discussions one must think about things.

Some may say that this gave Labour the perfect excuse to not debate things and allow the opposition to discuss things but others may say that Labour are hiding things and if Cllr Brierley needs to record the meeting then what's the problem.

It is proven that the council know that a judge has allowed Cllr Brierley to tape record meetings and when that was grant the Council had 3 months to challenge it in the form of a Judicial review, but they didn't. So once this happened Labour change the rules of the Council and they believe that their rule overrules the judges.

So what should happen to try and resolve this otherwise we will have this going on time and time again. Labour need to stop being dictators and saying we are doing what we want and the council should go and get independent Counsel's opinion on Cllr Brierley case. Now we know that the advice will all depend on the question but if the Council and Labour says to Cllr Brierley we will go and get independent legal opinion and show the question that they are asking and make sure he is happy with that and then they should both go by the advice that comes back.

For me the stupid thing is here that the Government have a draft bill in which is going through to make it law that anyone can record the meetings, so in the end Cllr Brierley, like everyone else will be able to record meetings, so why don't they just allow it now?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Labour just don't want to opposition.

At today's Full Council meeting Labour came to new heights in trying to stop the opposition. At the last Full Council meeting they called the Police to ask me to leave because they didn't want me to expose and speak about the behavior of the Mayor where he had been found guilty of passing confidential email on to his son, who was bidding on a community asset. Also I had a motion in about the houses and the Council didn't want that debate before the election.

However today an independent Cllr was recording the meeting. He was up front about it and wasn't trying to record in secret. But when he refused to stop taping the Labour Leader put a motion forward to accept all the reports without debate and then close the meeting. Obviously Labour has the most Cllrs so they voted for it and that was it. No debate, no discussion.

Labour have to recognise that there are opposition Cllrs elected by residents and they have to respect that and not simply just block all attempts to talk about Council business. For me I am not bothered about someone recording me because I would stand by what I say, it seems that Labour don't want to be recorded so the Question would be - What have they got to hide?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Save Ashfield playing fields

So where are we up too with this issue? I know it has been some time and things have been quiet but we have been waiting for a supreme court decision on another case. Why? Because the QC who is handling the Village Green inquiry for Ashfield wanted to know which way that decision went so he knew how to handle this case.

In a nut shell the village green application is to allow us register the land as a village green and that will safe guard it forever for the residents to use. The crucial thing is have we been going on to the fields and getting permission from the Council or have we been just using it without their permission. The case that the QC was looking at was how permission can be given.

We now have some time to put any more responses in. The QC has already said that we should have a public hearing to see if Ashfield should be a village green. There was a caveat that he could change his mind, which I don't think he will as we have a strong case. I would expect the village green to be a strong case and if we win this then will be historic. Should any more people want fill in a witness statement you can click here to download that. WARNING, please also download a map here and mark on the map where you live and sign the map on the back. Download the map here. Once you have completed the statement and marked the map please email me at and we will arrange to collect it or you can drop it in to the surgery on a Saturday morning in the Library between 10am and 11am. Finally you can call 01257 42 32 12 and we can arrange to pick it up. If you have filled in one before you don't need to fill another one in.

We are now moving into the final stages of the Village Green and the Save Ashfield committee will be meeting soon to make sure we have the case in the best light possible.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Save Ashfield Update

It was over 2 years ago since the Save Ashfield campaign was launched and with it going quiet most people will think we have won. However I will be releasing important news and an update on Thursday about this matter. Things are moving at a fast pace again and it will soon becoming to ahead.

What this space on Thursday for the update.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

School kick me off School Governors for political differences!!!

Last July I was appointed to Woodfold Primary School as a LEA governor. What was interesting as a new Governor I asked to see the minutes for the governors meetings for the last 12 months. What was shocking was on the December 2012 minutes it was recorded and minuted we need to keep Gareth Fairhurst of the Governors. The reason was because of political differences and this is written and recorded in the minutes. However a school and it's governors should not be political in my view. I brought it up in a governors meeting and the then Chairman was made to apologise for his comments that he made at December 2012 meeting. I felt it wasn't a genuine apology but I accepted it in good faith for the benefit of school, so that governors could move on.

I have never been reported for my actions at the school for being a governor and considered myself a good LEA representative.

Last January it was agreed that the school would be reconstituting and going from 3 LEA governors to just one. It was also agreed that Tom Morris, the then Chairman who had made them comments to keep me off the governors was going to be the LEA governor, as for myself I would then go as a co opted governor.

Then the Governors decided to have a governors meeting on the day of the election to finalise the reconstitution. Obviously with it being on the day of the election I sent my apology as the election was taking place. Since the election no one from the school had told me about the meeting but I learnt from a parent on the playground that I had been kicked off the school governors. I chased the school on this and the LEA and I have learnt from the Council that I have been kicked off with no reasons whats so ever apart from they had forgotten that in January we had agreed that I was going to be a co opted governor and they filled that place no doubt with one of their people.

So this comes back to the governors and it is clear that they all have a hidden agenda to get rid of me. I put this down to the fact that there are two Real Labour supports on their and one of them was the Chairman up until recently.

What is nice is the parents have come to me and given me their full backing and I have made it absolutely clear I will be running as a parent governor next time and I am confident that both myself and Diane Kay, who was also suspended because the governors didn't like her, will be elected. Diane Kay, although suspended, is still a governor at the school and she is suspended until the 10th June of this year. I have full confident that on her return she will be addressing how the school governors are acting and their behavior. If you want to read about her suspension here is the link to that story.

To sum up it is clear that the school governors are political and have hidden agendas that they do not want challenging people on their or exposing what is really going on and only want people that they can "control" or "is one of them". However, I believe that the parents will be backing me and Diane at the next parent governors elections.

As the governors have not had the decency to inform me about what has happened, they still haven't come to me, should they wish to write a response I will publish on this blog, as it will be interesting to see their feeble excuse. But that way you will be able to see my view and theirs and then you can make your own mind up.


...Breaking News...Attack in Standish....

It is being reported that a person was attack last night about midnight at the side of Tim's takeaway on Collingwood Street. I am hearing that the person was attacked by being hit by a brick. The area was cordoned off by the police and they have just recently left. It is being reported that they had the number markers on the ground, so that would tell me they are taking it very seriously and it must have been a bad attack. When I learn more and the full facts, I will let people know on here.

On a separate note I can't remember anything like this happening in Standish before but one thing that I have seen is more scroates being moved into Standish. Now I am not saying it is one of them that has either been attacked or indeed did the attack but I am making an observation here that some less desirable s are being moved into the area and I people are reporting this to me as well. The drug problem in Standish is growing and the Police are now doing an operation to target people in a certain area with drugs, again something that I can't remember has happened again. The reason why some of these people are being moved in is that the Council and the housing unit for the Council say that if these people are moved into a nice area like Standish then they will act better. That is not true they bring their druggie friends into the area and make the area worse.

I know me and the other Ward Cllrs will be asking for a meeting with the Council, Wigan and Leigh housing and the Police to discuss this growing problem.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Food Caddy bags available in the Library

During the election a number of residents complained that the food caddy bags needed for the food recycling are not available in Standish and they either have to travel to another area to get them or have to buy them. After contacting the Council and discussing this issue they have now put the caddy bags in the Library.

Should you wish to go into the Library you can have one roll each time.

Here is the Council's link about other locations .