Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Year that was........2015

Following on from my theme that I do on my blog throughout the year of the week that was ...... So for this post, the last of 2015 I think it is appropriate to do this for the year. Seems a good idea.

In fact talking of good ideas my blog and the theme of the week this is now copied by the Labour Candidate of Standish. Funny how she calls me for everything but then follows my ideas, which I am not bothered about. Obviously another good sign people are looking and reading the blog. It is so funny when we speak with people and the like's of Cllr George Fairhurst tells someone something and they go I know I saw it on Gareth's blog.

Expenses Scandals

OK, let's get to it so the beginning of the year saw ex Labour and Tory Cllrs with fiddling their expenses conclude and update. The Ex Labour Cllr Emma McGurrin was jailed for her actions and whilst it was myself that reported her for taking freebie gifts and then that started her to be investigated.
 Then we learnt that Ex Conservative Cllr Judith Atherton had claimed for mileage to meetings she didn't even attend.
However, when she was investigated it was decided that she didn't have car insurance. the investigation concluded this because no insurance certificate was given to the investigator. So therefore under the rules you have to have a car, car insurance and a driving licence to claim mileage expenses. Even worse was she claimed for meeting that where in the future, then the Council paid those expenses and then she didn't attend the meetings. For example she put a mileage expenses in say for meetings in June/ July of that year and then she was paid by the Council in June, even though they didn't wait to see if she attended the meetings. Because of this massive issue she was told to pay the money back. It has been revealed that out of all of this she has only paid £48 back over  4 year period. Shocking!

Abuse Scandal in Wigan Children Care Homes

It was earlier in the year I sat in a scrutiny meeting and we were going through a report and I noticed that there were millions in a holding area. when I dug a little deeper it was because Wigan Council are away that in the past there are history of abuse to children in the care of Wigan Council. We all know about the Rotherham scandal.

Anyway for me it disgusts me that they know about it but don't want to proactively go and address the issue because it will cost them millions in compensation and instead they are just wait for the claims to come in.

Here is the blog post I wrote about it.


This issue had taken a large part of my life for 3 years and in January of this year it was decided that the public inquiry should be set for April. April is a busy month with it being an election period but the public and community of Standish had waited long enough so I agree to it, even though it would be very busy.

In February the Council then said that they wanted to cancel it and then after months of going back and forth it was agreed that the hearing would happen the first week of September. The public inquiry was scheduled to last 4 days but on the first day the Council's barrister said that for the most of the application they would not contest all our witness's. Therefore we didn't need the 4 days and we were able to complete the public inquiry in 2 days.

During the 2 days the main and only argument was whether the Council had given the people of Standish permission to use it for recreational purposes. For our argument it was discovered that years ago the Council only documented plan for Ashfield was to rent the fields out to football teams. And then I guess when there was no football match on then they were not bothered about the use. The difficulty came with if the council had given permission to use it for recreational purposes and at the same time rent out the fields then who would have the priority?

Once the inspector had heard both side of the argument it took him a number of weeks to conclude and he said that he was siding with the Council on a legal precedent case. Quite difficult to understand the legal case but I can say it was disappointing that we did not secure Ashfield future forever. However, the Council has said that they will not develop on Ashfield lots of time in the press and leaflets. But they said that about Mere Oaks and they sold that for houses, as we all know.

I would like to thank again everyone that helped over the years. We will have to wait and see if they do sell the fields off next year. If they do it will only be after May and the local elections.

House raided for Drugs

Police carrying out their raid.
In March of this year a house in the Ashfield Area was raided for drugs. The owners and occupiers where arrested and sent to court. After months of waiting the verdict came back and it was a community order and suspended sentence for the guilty parties. That original story can be found here and the verdict and sentences are here.

For me it is sad that in an area like Standish we have a drug house. People don't expect that here and nor should they. Where drugs are involved I have a firm belief that anyone making, farming or selling drugs should be sent to jail. We shouldn't be soft of this kind of crime.

Big Clean Up

Litter off the line litter pick. 
In March of this year the council organised a Big clean up. I often critise the Council for things like the number of houses and lack of money that comes back into Standish. However, I do believe this was one of their better idea and simple. Cllrs in each ward were asked to organise a Big Clean up. We got a skip in and did a big litter pick up along the line. It was amazing the people that attended and helped but also the rubbish we found. everything to the kitchen sink, literally. Here is that story if you missed it. I do hope the council organise another one next year. If they do I can assure you that we will be doing something, although many areas of walks will be covered by building works for all the houses that we are getting.

Houses for Standish

This is the biggest issue that Standish is facing now. Over the years the Council started in 2012 saying that they would not allow any houses in Standish. Then because of their weak plan this allowed developers to force through getting 1000 houses for Standish. The council said that was it, there would be no more. however, we know from this chart that we are now getting close to 2000 houses.

But the only traffic improvements that the Council are saying that they will do are traffic lights at Boars Head roundabout and Pepper Lane/ Preston Rd roundabout. Also we have recently learnt they are looking at putting traffic lights at Grove Lane. this, they say will allow the traffic to come out of the new houses estate at the bottom of Grove lane.

Standish could not cope with the houses that are coming, the schools, doctors and dentist will not be able to cope, never mind the road infrastructure. In 2016 we will be leading the way to objecting to the 2 latest planning applications that have come in. These two applications add another 200+ houses on to those that are already coming. Standish is well and truly full!!

The worrying thing is developers are still looking at putting more and more planning applications in and because the Conservative Government planning inspector and rules in favour of the developers and not local communities. Had the Council a stronger core strategy then it would be harder for these developers to get permission. But then again Wigan Council like blaming the Tory government and then getting the houses because they get more council tax out of Standish than any other area. we are just seen as a cash cow for Wigan Council.

Immigrants at the Britannia

Another big story that has hit the headlines are the growing number of immigrants at the Britannia Hotel at Almond Brook. The loony left always shout the racist card because then you get some raving right wing extremist trying to exploit the situation.

Local residents have a genuine concern over this issue and just because they moved into a white hard working class area then the Lefties try and make them feel guilty by calling the racist card. People should be allowed to live in the areas that they choose for the reasons that they want. Standish is a community of hard working people that have good strong community beliefs and do not want the area to change.

There are also issues over safety especially when students are getting off St. Peters bus and the immigrants follow the students direction on their way home. whilst they do not follow them to the door a number of parents have raised concerns with us and we have passed those genuine concerns to the Police.

Aldi Car park

Over the year as Standish is getting busier and busier and car parking is now a major issue. Gateway, Somerfield and the Co-op all allowed non shoppers to park on the car park. Aldi moved in and they have signs that say that it is for their shoppers and limited to parking just for 1.5 hours.

This is Aldi's official policy but the area manager has said non shoppers can park there but the 1.5 hours is not up for discussion. It became apparent people were parking there all day. Here is the story about the issue in more detail.

Internet Trolls

Years ago a good friend of mine was thinking of standing to be a Cllr. They would have made a great Cllr had they stood and won. However when it came to it they decided to not go through with it. When I asked if there was any one reason for it? They replied it was because of the public name calling Cllrs get. And it is true whatever your colours, or party you stand for they will be people that call you names. There will be people that challenge your decisions and to be fair that goes with the job I guess and there has to be a bit of tough skin you need to be a Cllr. If you someone like me that openly challenges Labour and this Council's policies in an open and hard hitting way. But there has to be a line where that has to stop. Just being a Mp or Cllr does not give you the right to go and put libelous, evil and twisted things on the internet - all behind fake names to hide. And why because they are cowards!

Some may remember that in May two fake twitter accounts were set up pretending to be me and saying I had done things with Jimmy Saville and what he has become to be known for of late. Those crimes are the most heinous ones and those issues cannot go unchallenged. I had to call the police and solicitors in. Here is the story. I did say that I had to allow the police do their work before I could name the two main suspects behind these fake accounts.

Then Rebecca McCarthy, maiden name Rebecca Chadwick of the Chadwick butchers, still goes out of her way to spread her evil lies around. These include that the money we raised to pay for the barrister who drew up the legal argument for Ashfield Village Green, that this was all a lie and I pocketed the money. On the basis the Public Inquiry has all the evidence in, including the name and chambers of the Barrister that drew the argument. Now I am told that she has recently put out that I only win elections by going into nursing homes and fill out their postal votes. These kind of things are not only lies it goes to show what evil I have to put up with. Not sure what this woman's and her friends problem is with me as she doesn't even live in Standish. Although at a recent meeting Chadwick's did say they would sell their field for car parking to Wigan council for £3.5m. this is because Wigan council has said they will use £5m  of the money from all these houses. it would appear that her issue is because I stand up for Standish resident, good value for money and 70% of the pot of money going to their family would not be, and finally because we win.

It seem because she doesn't work for the family butchers no longer and works in Manchester she is taking her attack out of Northern Rail, so maybe a bit of a rest bite for I doubt it.

But I stand up to bullies and these people should be exposed for what they are evil trolls.

Election Win

As I have stated the opposition don;t like that we win and no one like losing. But the steps they go to is too far and I know that the residents of Standish don't like these kind of people neither.

However this year say two elections on the same day, national and local elections. When there is a national election the turnout goes from about 30% to over 60%. Obviously the 100%+ increase is because people are voting for the main election but they will then just vote for the main parties in the local election too. this being the case the two main political parties make the biggest gains on those day and it was the case in 2010 that Labour got the disgraced Ex Labour Cllr Emma McGurrin elected. But because of the hard work that all the Standish independent Cllr's do and especially Cllr George Fairhurst he was able to do something that not many independents do when there is a General election on the same day and he won! Although the 2 main political parties increased their votes, for the reasons set out, in the end it didn't matter. For that we thank the residents of Standish for the loyal support.


It is interesting that early in the year we had the eclipse and I know a number of people and school children wanted to see it safely and there was much exciting about it. Here is my picture of the eclipse.

Then just a few weeks ago we had Tim Peake go up into space and the international space station for 6 months and again the excitement about space is growing again.

Don't Blame the council - but we so do - especially now!!!!!

Wigan Council has become known this after this TV show.
I couldn't finish the year's blog post without not mentioning the infamous TV show that the Council did. Now first of all the Council just believe in spin. In fact there is so much spin in the Town hall I am sure I will bump into Alistair Campbell soon. :-) .  They are obsessed with PR stunts like believe this believe that and then they thought wouldn't it be good to have a TV show on us. Then we got a true insight into the Council People being lazy, people bunking off and going home and then come back at clocking off time and then tell their boss and they don't fire them. Shocking. No wonder the Council is in the mess it is with people like that. No I must say that many front line staff are not like that and many work hard especially now as the Conservative cuts have taken a massive hit to the number of staff there. It always interests me how people can earn over £100,000 - £200,000 and they never seem to get hit like the front line staff. Labour say they represent the working people. Given these huge salaries many resident that I speak to believe they are are only interested in their own pockets and not serving the hard working communities in Wigan.

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