Saturday, 27 June 2015

Labour Cllrs use public money to pay for their election leaflets.

It is not only common sense but common knowledge that political figures cannot use taxpayers money from any kind Governments, local or national. It is common knowledge and expected that you cannot use taxes that are paid into local or national government.for political material or elections.

However, the Labour Cllrs on Shevington Parish, don't respect the law. Why do I say this because at last Thursday Parish Council meeting even one of them, whilst talking about this issue, said that there are ways around the law. Shocking. Obviously he thought this was one of them.

The issue is that last year the Labour controlled Parish Council gave money, in the form of financial aids, a number of time to Shevington Horticultural and Allotment Society ( Shevington H&A Society). Money that people have worked hard for and paid as their tax's. Then during the last Election Shevington H&A Society paid money for leaflets for all the Labour Candidates. This is illegal at this point. Now money that has been passed from the Council to the group have now been paid for political election leaflets and now active in political activity.

So can what I am saying be proved and how did we find out?

The first piece of evidence is the minutes from the Council showing some of the money that has been passed to the group here. Please scroll down to see the highlighted area.

After each election candidates that have been in the elections have to put in a return to show how many leaflets they put out, what they cost and that they have been paid. Reason to put a return is because there are laws to make sure that things are fair and equal. After the elections, you are given a number of days to put all the returns in and supporting documents. Once that last day to put your returns has passed the public can go and view the documents.

When I reviewed the candidates for the Labour Candidates for Shevington Parish Council Elections I saw a number of issues. First of all none of them had completed a section that says how many leaflets where printed and if they were paid for. Not to much to send them to jail for put raises alarms. Then one of the candidates hadn't signed her returns. Then I learnt that she actually hadn't put it in but the Parish Clerk, who is an employee of the Parish Council - who has to be political neutral - had.

Then bingo the chair of the Parish Council, Cllr Ira Whiteley, put on her form that the gardening Club (which was now the commonly known name for the Shevington H&A Society) had paid for her leaflets and the other Labour Candidates. The final nail in the coffin, so to speak. Below is her return and the evidence I have just talked about. Please scroll down to page 3 to see the underlined area.

What now?

What they have done and what we can demonstrate and prove is illegal and I have reported the matter to the Police to investigate. Also I will be reporting the Cllrs concerned to Wigan Council, the parent Council over Shevington Parish Council.

At the Parish council meeting I went allowed to present the evidence to the cllrs concerned and see what they say about this. What I heard was a disgrace. First of all I learn that the residents group want money again from the tax payers of Shevington, no doubt because they had paid for the election leaflets. One of them, Cllr John Ball, said there are always ways round the law. Shocking and disgraceful.

A number of residents have said that they are outrage an want them out. I can see why. A number have said a petition is needed.

We know the residents are getting outraged when they hear this and want them out for this corruption and if they don't resign then we will be looking to take the matter to legally.

Finally we are looking to deliver a ward why leaflet informing people about the matter and issue that their tax's have been used to pay for political leaflets.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Don't Blame the Council - you bet I will!

I am sure many of you will have seen the TV show or heard about it, Don't Blame the Council. What a mess. There a number of issues for me.

First who on earth signed this off to allow the Council to go and be filmed for this "fly on the wall" documentary, which is now being called a "mockumentary". Now with this "car crash" of a PR exercise some one high up obviously thought this was a good idea. They just thought, "O great we will be on tele and people will love us." They didn't look at the risk's involved in terms of what can go wrong. In the Press Office someone should have said this could be a great opportunity but things can go wrong, let's look at the risks involved. No one said hang on what message are we trying to say and will it be said in the right way? So which ever high ranking person, who signed this off, is incompetent and needs to go.

Next, and quite possibly more important, is forgot that this was allowed to be filmed but why have the Council been able to become this kind of organisation whereby it is OK to go home in the middle of your shift and then come back to clock off? Why is it that when you tell your manager about this he says - "Let's draw a line in the sand!" Anywhere else - there's the door don't let it hit you on the way out.

As a Council we have to not only look after the hard working staff, which many are, but look after the equipment. Then we get a Director of a dept riding around and messing about on a motorised grass mower, acting the clown. Where was the Health and Safety? Where was the respect for the equipment? Where was the respect for the job and the Council? Mind you this was the guy that sent an email out saying he was off on holiday when many had just lost their jobs, story here. Is this really the person to be running this multi-million pound dept? I know my answer.

Then with regards his dept and also trying to run this private business, Makerfield Group, how on earth can it make money. What was it 4 men, 1 supervisor and 2 trucks carrying out a job for 30 mins, collectively 2.5 man hours and then charge £15? That means to me that the taxpayers of Wigan are subsidising this loss making joke. They can't and shouldn't be trying to run a private business, it is obvious they can't run the Council never mind another company as well.

As a Wigan Councillor I am disgusted at what I saw and I have now put in a motion to the next Full Council meeting. This is first of all calling for an investigation on what is happening in this Council and what has happened with this TV show. Secondly, it calls for the Council to move away from this PR/ spin strategy and move to a culture of looking after the residents.

As we saw the Council was pushing their latest spin exercise, "The Deal". Millions have been spent on this and only 441 people have signed up to it. What a waste of yet more of hard earners tax payers money!

Finally, I call on the Leader of the Council, Cllr Peter Smith to resign, as he is obviously not the man for the job no more.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Response to Wigan Council's leaflets.

Today many residents in Standish will have received leaflets from Wigan Council. One of these is about the development that they have said Standish Voice is doing for the developments in Standish till 2026. We agree with many residents and say no more.

Alongside the leaflet is a letter from the Labour Deputy Leader about Ashfield. It is interesting that up until recently Wigan Council said that if Ashfield got a Village Green status then that would prohibit any improvements for Ashfield. As a member of the Open Spaces Society I asked if this was the case, they confirmed that this is not the case. A village green prohibits building houses and the like but if there was a plan to build changing rooms or even a pavilion then that would be acceptable. The key test is – it has to improve the recreation and sports on the Village Green.

Now that we have pointed out to Wigan Council their flawed argument they have toned down their statement. If you look at Q4 then they say it may restrict. Previously they said it WOULD. They know full well it wouldn’t though.

The first Q says is anything happening at Ashfield? They say no and the developer that was interested is now developing at the former Golf Course. That developer was ALWAYS developing the former golf course because they have owned it for 15 Yrs. They were only renting it out till such time they wanted it back. When they approached Wigan Council in 2011 the plans was to move the football pitches to the Golf Course site from Ashfield. Those pitches are still there on that plan. Why? Because they are waiting to see if the Village Green is successful!

The second question says not to donate money to the Save Ashfield. Their reason for this is quite simple they don’t want the campaign to get the best legal advice and representation as possible!
Finally on the Q &A – last one- says that a development plan would protect Ashfield till 2026. So are Wigan Council are saying that it is only safe with them till 2026?

Moreover you have to look at Wigan Council’s record on houses in Standish. How many times have they said they aren’t doing things? They said in 2012 that we wouldn’t be getting 2000 houses in Standish and now they have approach 1500 already. Between 2003 and 2006 they said Mere Oaks was not closing and the parents were scaremongering. Anyone seen Mere Oaks lately? Labour and this Council have lied and lied consistently to the people of Standish because they know they get the best and highest council tax out of houses in Standish, compared to areas like Norley Hall.    

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

And we're off.......

After years of waiting the Public Inquiry has been given it's date for the 4 days hearing. Although originally set for April Wigan Council cancelled those date because they didn't want anything controversial during the election.

After months of me trying to get new dates agreed Wigan Council have now agreed with my new proposed dates for 1 - 4 Sept 2015. Although they agreed with the dates they did not agreed the venue. I wanted Ashfield House hotel, I think that would have been a fitting too. However, Wigan Council don't want it there they have said it will be in Wigan Town Hall.

Now we know the dates things will move at a relative fast pace because it will soon come around.

Please come back for more information.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Yet more truth about Ashfield

There has been much talk of Ashfield and the Village Green Application. This has been going on for over 3 Yrs now. Wigan Council has said that they have to oppose the Village Green Application because if Ashfield got Village Green status then they would not be able to develop Ashfield for any recreational/ leisure use. However, I am a member of the Open Spaces Society, and I have asked them if Wigan Council's concerns are justified? Here is their legal officers response.

A village green is subject to protection under section 29 Commons Act
1876 and section 12 Inclosure Act 1857. The protection is wide and includes
damage and enclosure of the land as well as actions which interrupt the rights
of local people ( once the land is registered) to use the land for recreation.
Land is protected from development but no offence under the Acts are committed
if an action /works are taken which are for "the better enjoyment of the green".
In general facilities to assist recreation would not be in breach of the
legislation and neither would the erection of a small pavilion/changing rooms
directly related to use of the land. There should therefore be no reason why
improvements cannot  be made.

So as you can see Wigan Council has no reason to worry about not being able to develop it for leisure or recreational purposes as it is clear that you can. After all the Legal Officer of Open Spaces Society has no interest in Ashfield so their advice is independent and valid. Hopefully Wigan Council can rest at ease and remove their objection to the Village Green.

So with this in mind I have written to Wigan Council with this information and ask them now to remove their objection.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Cllr Challenges his own Council

Wigan Council say that they have to oppose the Village Green for Ashfield. I believe this is wrong, however, I am not unreasonable and if they don't want to sell Ashfield playing Fields for houses there is another way. Have a look at the Video and find out what I challenge Wigan Council to - to save Ashfield.

Also Wigan Council say they have never considered selling Ashfield yet we have seen the emails from them to persimmon homes including the one of the 25 November 2011 were they it looks like a good idea but yet we have never seen any letters from the Council to Persimmon Homes saying Ashfield will not be sold.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Can we trust Labour on what they say?

Obviously Wigan Council are saying Ashfield is safe in their hands. they are saying that Ashfield is safe and not being sold for Houses.

Below, I have published a leaflet that Labour put out with what the Council was saying on Mere Oaks special school.

Not the best scan, I agree, but if you look at what Labour and the council say on Falsehood 2. In their response they say that Mere Oaks is safe and children can still attend. This leaflet was done in 2003 and it closed it doors in 2006 for the final time. Also look at falsehood 1 where they say no houses are coming to next to the Line. This was just behind the Shamrock. Guess what? They said no houses but yet we have houses!

So what is the reason to publish this old election leaflet from Labour? It is to demonstrate that Labour and this Council cannot be trusted, they said Mere Oaks was safe, we now have houses on the site. They said no houses where coming to the Line, we have houses. Now they say Ashfield is safe. Do we believe them? Not a chance!

On a final note I have seen on the internet a lady saying, after reading the emails between then developers and the council, why won't the Council show us the letter to Persimmon Homes saying that they will never sell Ashfield for no money?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Ashfield - THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!

Wigan Council are obviously getting desperate. They have issued a press release saying that the Village Green Application is based on False Information. This is not true and here's why.

Below are the emails that I got from the council under the Freedom of Information. In the emails it is quite clear that Persimmon Homes submitted a pre planning application to build on Ashfield. As part of that Pre Application a detailed plan was submitted. I say this because in the emails it discusses and mentions it. In the emails you see the then Director of Planning, Steve Normington, saying it was a good idea to move the football pitches to the former Golf Course site.

All this is not subjective nor me just saying this, should you read the emails you can see the threat to Ashfield is real. Don't take my word for it see the emails and see for yourself. Don't forget to start at the bottom and read up as that how they are dated. Again these are the Council emails with Persimmon Homes.

Now Wigan Council are urging people not to subscribe to the Legal Battle Fund. Why? Because it is unlawful? NO, because the barrister that we have is one of the most highly respected in the land and they know that they will have a fight on their hands. Every penny can be accounted for and I have even mentioned to the Police that their are liars out there saying that it is a dodgy campaign.

As someone has said  when they have just rang me  - Labour Lie they even put out a leaflet saying Mere Oaks was safe just months before they announced they were closing it. That leaflet is being scanned and sent to me and once I have it I will upload it on here.

Wigan Council cannot be trusted as we all know and there is more to come.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Public Inquiry for the two housing appeals

Persimmon Homes, who have permission for 250 houses on the former Golf Course site, have put in a further application for a further 250 houses - this was called phrase 2. this was refused. Also Jones homes put in an application for just under 150 houses, that too was refused and they again have appealed.

I can announce that these two appeals will be heard on the same starting the 14th July 2015 at the Community Church on Pottery Road, Wigan.

People of Standish will no doubt be at the very least disappointed that it is not being held in Standish. The Council they could get a venue in Standish but they where to expensive. This is ridiculous the Council waste money like it is going out of fashion and now they say they are watching the purse strings. I would suspect they will try this for the Ashfield Village Green Public Inquiry later in the year.

For me this speaks volumes that the council do not want the people of Standish to hear what is going on and the reason is, I believe, they are going to lose and they don't want the people of Standish to see their argument.

The people of Standish wouldn't mind the cost of a venue in Standish, after all they put more in the pot than any other area. To be treated in this way and manner just shows their lack of respect for the people of Standish.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny meeting last night

And they're off. Last night was the first meeting for me and other Cllrs for the first Committee meeting of this Council's year.

Last night was a pretty long meeting and for a number of reasons. This committee is there to look at the health aspect of the people of Wigan. The way that the local Government framework is set up is a few Labour Cllrs in a Cabinet make the decisions. The Scrutiny Committees are there to hold them to account and in all my years they have never gone against a decision of the Cabinet. Just goes to show that they don't work because over the years the Cabinet have made some howlers.

Anyway moving on so last night first item was about the Devo Manc where 6bn of funding is coming to the 10 local authorities that make up Greater Manchester. I have a number of issues with what we have. First and foremost where did the 6bn arrive from. Did someone sit down and say these services will cost 6bn? Or did they they say 6bn will be enough to fund everything in this plan? I would guess not. The figure was arrived at by the Government and said you are getting 6bn to run the services. The NHS cost a lot and I am unsure if this figure will come with the NHS in the area and social care, another expensive area.

Secondly, I want to see and understand re-admissions. Now I might have an interest in this because I was set home out of hospital myself in 2013 so that they freed up my bed. Prior to this I say them going round the ward saying right send  him home. Not, they are well enough now so you can release them. However, the number of re-admissions is high and last yr I learnt that Wigan has the highest re-admissions. For me the most cost effective way to way to treat someone is get it right first time!

Fundamentally, there is no plan B if this 6bn is not enough or it goes wrong having the 10 Greater Manchester Authorities run them. One Labour Cabinet member said last night that doing it ourselves cannot get be any worse! Really? So they have done this deal that effects us so much just because they think they can do better - but have no plan or idea how or why they can do it better. O dear we are now getting fag packets out and drawing plans on them now. Doing things this way is a disaster waiting to happen.

Whilst I am not totally against doing things locally I do think they need to be thought out and worked first. For example if someone was setting up business and worked out a business plan and then found they needed £x to make it work. They wouldn't just start without working out what they needed and how it all worked.

Another item on the agenda was Dementia and I think the key thing that I took out of this was we need to stop the stigma people have with Dementia or even the illness. I agree and it will be interesting some of the work that is being done and I wish the team well and look forward to seeing how they achieve getting better in this area.

Finally, there was an item about living well and it is about if someone keeps coming back for Food Parcels we need to know why and get to the root problem. This is just one example there are many more. I agree with this area we simply can't just be a net to life off we need to understand how we can help and where we can help. That way it is better if we can learn more and then help them people to help themselves. It would help their confidence, their way of life and so much more. One of the interesting things that I saw in the presentation was that a large majority hit this team they had been in the system, asking for help, but then going round and round, only them to hit rock bottom and for me one of the first things that needs to be done - which has been identified, is for teams to work together. That way people don't go round and round and then get worse. Hopefully this will get resolved and that will reduce the number of people hitting the crisis team.