Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Ashfield Village Green report is out.

This afternoon I got a call from the press saying that the council has sent out a press release saying that the Village Green Application was recommended by the Inspector not to be given. The press were keen for a comment. Given that I hadn't heard nor seen the report it would have been wrong for me to say anything.

Now that I have returned home I have seen the report. The Council, who were obviously keen to rush out without seeing the report in-depth, I want more time to look at it in depth and speak with the correct people, including our legal advisers.

I say this not to say that we will be rushing to court to challenge it immediately but we will look at the prospect of this and we have never ruled this out should we have a strong chance to win in court.

Given that the report is 43 pages of legal argument it is not a 5 minute read and will take a number of days to look at it and take what the inspector is saying. What I have found out the law is not right or wrong but based on opinions and interpretations. Once we have taken this in and discussed we will then take a view on next steps. They range from accepting the recommendation to challenging the decision. Village Greens are hard to win and we always knew this but we felt we had a strong chance.

One thing we did succeed in was stopping Persimmon getting their greedy mits on this prime land back in 2012. The Council says they never were going to sell it but the emails from their senior - gained under the FOI - prove it was only the play park and car park that was staying.

In essence there is nothing to stop the council selling the land off now to the developer. Given we are less than a year before a local election for 2 years I would strongly suspect that they will do this after May 2016. That way local people can't vote against against them till 2018. They will hope you have forgotten or those officers will have moved on.

Once we have reviewed the situation and come up with the next steps we will update the blog.

On the matter of the Council extending the historical parts of Ashfield this does not protect it like they say. All it does is push up the price the developers would have to pay.

This blog post is copyrighted and no republication is permitted by the press.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Aldi Car Park update on the new signs

Cllr George Fairhurst who first negotiated resident to park on Aldi Car Park. 
We all know that there is a serious shortage of car park spaces in Standish. Last month I wrote about the update on Aldi and their car park. Here is a link to that story.

Last week new signs have gone up and says the car park is for customers only and they can only park for 1.5 hours. Many believe that it is a public car park but it is not. Gateway when putting planning permission in all those years ago gave a verbal agreement that they would allow other shoppers to park there - this was because all the businesses where objecting and Gateway didn't want their application to fail. However, their agreement was verbal and no one knows the legality once the story was sold and sold again.

So to the present day position. Aldi area manager spoke with myself earlier this year and he was concerned that some people where parking there for hours. He told me that there is no way that they can see who are and who are not customers so that is not too much of an issue. However, the new signs are there to remind people about the 90 minute wait.

I have noticed that they have installed cameras that recognise your number plate when you go on to the car park and they will time you to see if you are there longer. It is important that you park there for 90 minutes are less, otherwise they will fine you and not overturn it.

I will be speaking with the area manager again this week to get an update and I will update the blog to say where we are up to on the matter.

Not enough school buses to College...

I have had a couple of parents contact me recently over the issue of not enough school bus places for students that attend Winstaney College.

Students are being left behind at the college and either have to get parents to leave home or work and collect them or they have to get a bus into Wigan and then one out of Wigan back to Standish. One concern that parents have raised, as well as the obvious, is the issue that this issue was not advertised by the college prior to the students joining the college. Had they had then they may have gone to another college.
Yellow school bus

The College inform parents to inform their MP, who as far as I know done nothing or very little. They have now contacted myself. I have written to the college to get the full picture and what they say. I know that they blame Transport for Greater Manchester as it is them that prove the buses.

I will be contacting them as well as the Council to find out what we are going to do about this as leaving students, especially when dark and cold nights are coming, is not acceptable for me.

I will report back once I know more but residents, parents and students can rest assured that we will be doing all we can to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Month that was........Sept '15

Normally the blog series is, "The Week that was...." However, this month has been such a busy and hectic month it is untrue and I have not had time to get on here and write a blog post. With that in mind and now I am thinking of a blog post I suddenly realise it is not the Week that was but probably the Month that was, is more fitting.


The Month obviously started with the Ashfield Village Green Public Inquiry. If you want to know more on that have a look here. With regards that matter the inspector reported to us that he was hoping to get his recommendation on whether Ashfield should become a Village Green or not by the end of the month. If he is able to do this then we do not have long to wait to hear. This is such an important issue for Standish.

Council Meetings

We have had the Full Council and at this month's meeting Cllr George Fairhurst put forward a motion for the Council to look at ALL options that are available to them for a by-pass. Both the Labour and the Tories voted against this but Labour put forward an amendment to just look at a new junction on the M6 as it goes over Springs Rd. This decision would be up to the Highways Agency. So if they say no then the Council can say well we looked tried but it's them that said no. This is typical that this Council try and blame anyone but themselves.

Clean Up.

Sept also saw the beat it team in Standish. This is a team that do general tidy up. We, Ward Cllrs, gave them a list of areas to do. Some seem to have been done and some not. But they were only in the area for a week. However, for me the frustrating thing is that areas are left to get in such a state and then it takes a lot to get them back. Wigan Council and the Labour Candidate want to introduce the deal in Standish. This is where they ask residents to do their work for them for free. My issue is why should we pay the high Council Tax that we do and then the Council fail to do what they should do and then ask residents to do the work for free? Labour and the Council blame the cuts imposed on them from Central Government but yet spend millions on stupid PR exercises and just short of a Million quid to an employee for them to leave the Council and not speak on the matter. Some may call this hush money! The Council say this figure is incorrect but fail to tell me the figure. Wonder why that is? Because it is right or it is higher?

More to do.

Even though we are going through a hard time with a personal issue there is lots going on and I will write about these in the coming days. For those that have contacted us and passed on your kind comments - thank you.

Monday, 21 September 2015

What would you call streets??????

OK so we know that the developers have got permission to concrete over our lovely green open spaces. The Wainhomes site on the Line have now had names proposed. These are :-

Almond Green Avenue – Continuation of existing name Almond Brook.

Almond is the name of a species of tree and is also the name of the

edible seed of this tree. The fruit of the almond consists of a green outer

hull and a hard shell with the seed inside, hence ‘Almond Green’

Rosebay Gardens – named after biological species found on nearby SBI 

Foxtail Meadow - named after biological species found on nearby SBI 

Sorrel Close – named after biological species found on nearby SBI 

Willowherb Pastures - named after biological species on nearby SBI 

Broadleave Crescent - named after biological species on nearby SBI 

Damselfly Meadow - named after biological species found on nearby SBI

Lady Fern Field - named after biological species found on nearby SBI 

Ramshorn Close - named after biological species found on nearby SBI

Quite often names are suggested by developers and I thought this was the case here. However, it has transpired that it is the Council who have come up with these names.

The three Standish Independent Cllrs have formally objected to the names on the basis that they are insensitive to what we have now and they are getting rid of. The Council have come back and said that's why the names have been chosen to remind people what were there before. How kind of them - not!!!

Anyway they have asked us the 3 Ward Cllrs to come up with the names. Given that we opposed them the names we would consider would probably not be suitable.

Over to you

Now it gave me an idea what names do the people of Standish want. As Ward Cllrs who have now been asked you can put your suggestions, if you want, to us and we can put them in on your behalf.

So what street names would you like for the Wainhomes site on the line?

Email you suggestions to me at garethfairhurst@gmail.com

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Apart from houses what are people complaining about in Standish??????

In the last few years Standish has been under attack from developers fighting to get their greedy mits on our green open spaces. Both this Labour Council have allowed over 1000 in Standish and then the Tory's planning inspector has allowed nearly 500 more. But at the same time of these attacks Standish, along with other areas have been under attack from something else. This was WEEDS!!!!!!

The amount of people that come to us for help in this area and ask if we can get things sorted and the weeds busted? As well as Standish other areas like Shevington, Orrell and other areas have been under attack too.

Wigan Council no doubt blame the Government cuts because of this. Yes the Government has made cuts and whether they are right or not is not important too much at this time because Council's up and down the land have to make decisions on they finances and how to control this. Whilst the Wigan Council has made front line cuts. For me when you see the programme, "Dont't Blame the Council" you can see how much they waste. They try and run this company which is quite evident a cash sucker. I say a cash sucker because the Council is losing money over fist and should stop this nonsense immediately. One thing that really gets up my nose with this Council is their attitude. They say their moto is believe in this Council. I think it is quite easy to say that Wigan Council's moto is - it's easy wasting other peoples money.

Areas, like Standish are being let go by the Council by not addressing simple issues like this. We are writing to the Council and asking them to step up to the plate. People in Standish pay the highest amount of Council Tax and should have the services they are pay for. Now the Council will say, no doubt, that people of Standish will have to do the clean up themselves. The Council say this is another hair brain scheme that this Council waste money on. How much of these PR spins will Wigan Council continue and waste money when that money could be better spent on front line services?

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Road Closures coming up

We have a couple of important road closures and temp traffic lights going on over the next few weeks.

Have a look and please note the Sunday closure ones for School lane.

1/ Temp traffic Lights
Bradley Lane, Standish
Outside Douglas Mill
Monday 7 Sept 15 - Friday 18 Sept 15

Electricity North West carrying out cable re-enforcement. Temp traffic lights will be in operation.

2/ Road Closure
Almond Brook Rd/ School Lane, Standish

Sunday 20 Sept 2015, Sunday 27 September Sunday 4 October
From Beacon View to 65 School lane
Wigan Council will be carrying out resurfacing works on the road. There will be a diversion be via Standish lower Ground. However, it is easier to just go up Pepper Lane why the council are sending people all round Wigan not sure but just pop up Pepper Lane, easier.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Labour and Tory's vote against looking for the best option for by-pass

At last nights Full Council of Wigan Council, Cllr GA Fairhurst had a motion to look at trying to find the best option of the by pass for #Standish. This simple worded motion should have been the easiest thing to vote through.

I didn't think it was too controversial and would go through. However, Labour were simple in the opposition because my dad had this pledge in his election leaflet they deemed it political and therefore couldn't vote it through.

A number of things with that. Yes, my dad had this pledge in his election leaflet, secondly he won the election, in part to that pledge as people want it. He won his election in the hardest of circumstances when a General Election - when local independent Cllrs up and down the Country lose their seats because the General election is held on the same day.

So if a person stands for an election, says something that they will fight for, then wins - surely it would be right and appropriate for the Council to respect the wishes of the voters and have a look at the feasibility and options available. By voting against the motion for the reason that they give demonstrates the lack of respect that they have for the electorate. Disgraceful!

Labour pushed through an amendment that only the highways agency would look at. This is the new junction of the M6, however that narrows the remit and the idea of the orginal motion by Cllr George fairhurst is there to look at ALL options. But by the Council pushing their amnedment through they can say it is not use that said no to a By-Pass, it's the highways agency. They are just trying to push away their responsibility and try and blame someone else when they say no to the one option.  

What is equally shocking is, is the Conservative's also voted against trying to find the best option for Standish and Wigan in this matter.

Finally, the Labour leader failed to say that all the £25m plus, that will come in from all these houses, will stay in Standish. They are sticking to just the 106 monies, which is just one pot of the money of £5m, will stay in Standish. So where is the other £20m + going?

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Will Immigrants issue lead us back to War?

The question is whether the immigrant issue will lead us back to War?

It is a question that may be on our leaders mind now. Normally military are normally used to save lives and national security. On the basis that are way of life is being threatened by the huge influx of immigrants into Europe the issue has to be to resolve the matter - ISIL has to go. That way it will help stabilise the situation in Syria and Iraq.

Yes, military action will have a cost but so is keeping fighting the immigrants that are wanting to get into the Country, then there is a cost once they get in. So no doubt the two costs will have to be compared.

Simply allowing the Middle East to be destabilised by ISIL cannot be allowed to continued and if military action is not taken then what is the answer? The answer is there is not much more left.

If military action is taken then when would this be taken? Time will tell.

Obviously going to War would be contentious with the fact that us going to War in the first place quite possibly helped us get in this mess in the first place. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi the way we did was probably a mistake. Although undoubtedly they were bad dictators. It was not that long ago that Bashar al-Assad, Syria's President, was considered to be a liability and had to go. Now the west has backed off. Probably because he is the best of the two options.

What ever the answer I think we have to think that war of some kind will break out again.    

Friday, 4 September 2015

Legal Argument for Save Ashfield Village Green

Now that the Public Inquiry has concluded and the Independent Inspector is now considering the evidence I did say that once we got to this stage I would publish the Skeleton Legal Argument that we had prepared by our legal barrister, Miss Ruth Stockley.

Below is the document.

The document was paid for by the donations that the People kindly donated to the Legal Fund. For these donations I would like to thank you for the kind donations. This was the Council didn't want, this is why they where trying to stop people from donating because it is prepared and written by an expert and also gives the inspector the evidence he needs when referring to different cases.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Inspector thanks Gareth Fairhurst for his conduct

If you listen to Wigan Council I'm this bad lad. they are constantly saying in their kangaroo court called the Standards Committee that I have no respect, nor how to handle myself. I have always said that this is rubbish and the Council and Labour just hate being challenged.

In the Save Ashfield Public Inquiry that concluded this week the Inspector thank both myself and the Council's barrister for our submission but went further and commented on how I have conducted myself and my conduct. Have a look at the video clip and see for yourself what an independent person says.

For me I would like to thank the Inspector for his time in hearing the inquiry. I would also like to thank him for saying that a Public Inquiry was needed and also his comments about how he has thought this was useful. The council had previously said it was a waste of money and needless. Shame on them and they should apologise to the independent Inspector for their comments.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Line blocked off

A resident contacted me earlier today with concerns over the line. This is the track from the Britannia through to Standish, passed Standish High. The resident was concerned that it had been blocked off  by workmen. when they asked who had given them permission to block it off the workmen said the Council.

The concerned resident is right in what they say when they say that this area is used by lots of people, including children walking to school.

If you enter the land from the hotel side you can see from the picture that the diggers are moving in. After a little further down you can see that the vehicle and trailer is completely blocking the line. With the state already, a bit of rain and it will soon be a quagmire. This land is in the ownership of the Council and both myself and Cllr George Fairhurst have now completed a site visit and raising this with the Council as we have concerns that people are being blocked off. Obviously this work is for the link road, O sorry the council doesn't like that phrase, estate road. This road will go from opposite the Charnley through to Pepper Lane. Another rat run!

Residents can rest assured that we are working to get this path unblocked and not let the path get into such a state that people can't use it.

Save Ashfield Public Inquiry has now concluded

The Save Ashfield Park has now concluded. It had been penciled in to last till the end of the week. However, yesterday the sole objector, Wigan Council, conceded two areas of the application. They were then only opposing it on one technical question - did we have permission?

Because of the fact that we had a number of residents that were going to attend today but, given that the Council had conceded that we had been using the area for recreational use then we did not need to call our witnesses. A couple of them did turn up just to view the proceedings.

So the technical question is a hard one to get your head round, I won't try in this post to explain that, but it was quite clear from yesterday's evidence from the Council that their view was not consistent. There was so many flaws in it, in my opinion it wasn't hard to pick holes in it. Hopefully me being able to identify these and point them out will only help our case.

The Inspector has said that he will try to get his report back to the Council by the end of the month. This will be an interesting time and the time before then will no doubt be a nervous one. Once the report comes back it will have a recommendation whether the Council, who are also the Registration Officer, to either register it as a Village Green or not. That report should go to the legal dept, as the objector and also to myself at the same time. Hope my copy doesn't get lost in the post.

Anyway once that recommendation is back it will go before the regulation committee and if the recommendation is to register it as a Village Green they will consider that. Should they choose to ignore the Independent Inspector recommendation they would have to have a strong case otherwise we would challenge that in the courts. To be fair very few, if any, go against the recommendation and as much as I may call the Council I doubt this would be the case where even they ignore it.

In today's paper the Council Deputy Leader saying that I have wasted 000's of pounds on this public inquiry that wasn't needed. Let's address this.

Today I have formal asked that the Council apologise to the Inspector for their comments. I say this because even though they think they are having a go at me (personally) the fact is during the last three and a half years the council have asked the inspector to kick out the application. He hasn't. In the end and at the last time they attempted this he sent out formal directions to go to a public inquiry and it was therefore him that called this public inquiry. He did this not because he liked me or not because he didn't like the Council. He did this because the application was valid and needed to be determined and therefore when the Council say that this public inquiry has wasted money they are actually calling him - and for that they should apologise because I do not believe that he would wast 000's of pounds.

Also in his summing up he even said the public inquiry has been extremely helpful and he has learnt more. I hope that helps us and our case. Also he thanked myself for my conduct during the whole process. Funny the Council just say that I am this bad lad but yet others can see through their spin.

Just finally the Council say that if the area doesn't get Village Green status then they will look to make it part of the historic gardens. Guess what? That doesn't stop houses in any way it only makes the land more valuable, so they would win by getting more money from the developer, should they sell now that they have been exposed.