Monday, 24 December 2007

A Happy Christmas and a Good New Year

I would like to wish all my readers a happy Christmas and a very good 2008 and hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and to my Chinese readers - nee how.

I leave you with another set of potential award winning pictures taken yesterday at Three Sisters. I think I will call them 'Winter Scene at Three Sisters' or 'Jim'

All the Best

Friday, 21 December 2007

Christmas in Ashton - part two.

A Christmas collage of shop windows in Ashton


Christmas in Ashton - part one

I attended the carol service and switching on of the Ashton Christmas tree which was very festive despite the weather. Congratulations to those who organised it and to the Trinity Girls Band who played on despite the cold. And thank you to Ethel for the cup of tea

CP Lee - a message for J

CP Lee was a member of Jacko Ogg and the Head People until they split up in 1967. He then formed Greasy Bear named after two songs by Jefferson Airplane, Greasy Heart and Bear Melt.In their time they supported Country Joe and the Fish, and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.Their drummer was Bruce Mitchell

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Ashton and Bryn township forum

At last night's meeting of the Ashton Bryn township forum I was elected chair of the forum. I have held this position before when the forum was first created until I lost my seat in the 2004 local elections. It was a bit of a surprise to be re-elected.

One of the main concerns about the forum has always been that local residents do not know what it does and who sits on it and why they are there. I would be grateful if my readers - yes they are now officially plural - could contact me to answer this question ' Do you know what the township forum does?'

I have also devised a poll at the side of this blog that you can take part in.


Apologies to the person who has voted - there seems to be a problem with the poll. Please could you vote again.

Monday, 17 December 2007

And the winner is

Once again at this time of year local Councillors were asked to judge the best dressed window at Christmas time in Ashton town centre. This year many more local shops had decorated their windows and the standard was much higher than the previous year.

After a lot of deliberation we decided to award the prize to Jackie Gordon of Fleur and Flair in Garswood Street for her excellent window display.

Pictured is the prize winning window display and Jacky with her certificate. Congratulations to Jackie and thanks to Emma Gaster from Wigan Council who arranged the competition.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Innuendo lies and hypocrisy

One of the things a Councillor has to put up with is being criticised for what he has done (or not) by members of the public or opposition politicians. This comes with the territory and personally I enjoy debate as long as it is based on fact. However, when opposition politicians use false insinuation to attack you it is a different ball game and I for one am not prepared to let it pass.

In October I had an article published in the Wigan Evening Post about whether Councillors should fund dead Christmas trees as opposed to live ones from their Brighter Borough funding. The paper then asked for people's opinion through their Wigantoday website.

One of the few respondents to the website was Leader of the official opposition in Wigan Council, Councillor Peter Franzen who wrote the following:

‘What hypocrisy. At least the Christmas festivities bring benefit and enjoyment to the people of Wigan. Unlike the freebies goiven out ad nauseum to Wigans New Labour Councillors. Just how much was spent on Councillor Ash's trip to New York and for what purpose and for whose benefit?’

This came as a great surprise to me because I have never been on an all expenses Council trip to America. There is no reason why I should. I suspect it would have come as a great surprise to both the leader of the Council and the Chief Executive because as far as I know Wigan Council has no official links with America.

I complained to the Wigan Evening Post about the comments and they withdrew the posting by Councillor Franzen almost immediately stating that the report was unsuitable.

Now when something like this happens a Councillor has various options. He could ask for an apology. He could go to the Standards Board of England to lodge an official complaint or he could seek legal advice with a view to suing.

I decided that an apology would be sufficient so I e-mailed Councillor Franzen on two separate occasions asking for an apology. As yet I have received no apology and he has asked me to stop e-mailing him on this matter.

This case also highlights another issue. Recently Wigan Council has been in the press for being the most complained about Council because of the number of complaints that the Standards Board have received from local Councillors about other Councillors. I did not want to add to the list.

And finally on the 31st October 2007 Councillor Franzen submitted a resolution to Council asking Wigan Council to put its house in order in view of the Standards Board's call to clean up politics in Wigan. He goes on to ask the Leader of the Council to cease the campaign of lies, abuse and smears against opposition Councillors.

Well,I would suggest that Councillor Franzen should start by putting his own house in order before he calls upon others to do so.

Another confirmed reader

Last Saturday I met another person who confirmed to me that he read my blog regularly. I am so happy because this has doubled my readership.

So hello J from Bryn - and thanks for the party.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Seagulls acrobatic gymnastic club

Last night I attended the Seagulls gymnastic club's Christmas display on behalf of Ian McCartney.

The display was outstanding and at times breathtaking. It is so good to see so many young people of all ages taking part in something so positive and which gives so much enjoyment to other people. It is a nice counter balance to all the nasty things that you see in the media about youth today.

To reach the standard I saw yesterday takes a lot of very hard work and practice. This was summarized by a slogan on the wall of the club which said in large letters something like 'If you don't want to try hard, go home'

Congratulations to all concerned and especially to Jonathan Finch who was voted gymnast of the year at a North West dinner last Sunday.

Result of the Christmas Poll

The results of the Christmas poll are as follows:

70 people took part. Of the 70, 74% voted for less money being spent last year, 11% voted for more money being spent than last year and 10% the same amount.

Food for thought.

One Year Old - and a bit

I started this blog on 24th November 2006. In that time I have received 4776 hits. Apart from in this country my very intersting articles have been read as far away as China, Africa and the west coast of the USA. Oh and I forgot, Warrington.

The topics have ranged from the ruddy duck to rebuilt walls, clean ups, leaves with spots, completion of sewer works, my grandson, dog bins on Ashton Heath, recycling plastic bottles, Japanese knotweed and new bus stops. Who says that blogs are boring.

I would like to thank my reader for sticking with this blog. I am always looking to improve the quality of the reading material so I would welcome any suggestions you have to make it even more interesting

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


According to my computer that last posting was the hundredth since I began this blog.

And this is the hundred and first.

I would like to thank my reader for sticking with this blog for so long.

Ashton town centre - Gerard Street

The second phase of improving the town centre is now in progress. At the moment residents and shop owners from 7 to 19 Gerard Street are being consulted about their views regarding pedestrianising the area where at the moment cars are parking.

In the past the Council have received a large number rof personal accident claims from people who have fallen over in this area but because the ownership of the land has been in question it has been difficult to see a way of resolving the problem. In short nobody claims to own the land. It is, therefore,Wigan Council's intention to proceed with the scheme to pedestrianise the area.

Once the scheme has been completed the Council will adopt the area and will become responsible for its future maintenance. Naturally in light of this the Council would not allow cars or other vehicles to park on the pavements.

It is the Council's intention to programme the work for early next year as long as there are no legal reasons that the scheme cannot go ahead.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Danger wall made safe

One of the ways that the Brighter Borough funding can be spent is to help local groups improve the environment. I was recently asked by St. Oswald's Catholic and Social Club to help fund the re-building of the wall that runs along the footpath running from Liverpool Road to Old Road. Members of the club were so fed up of the state of the wall that they decided to repair it themselves. They held various events to help fund the repair and I was very happy to give a grant to the club towards the cost of the repair. As you can see from the photo the building work is coming on well and should be finished soon.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Plastic bags

At today's Environment Panel meeting I made a request that a retail area such as Ashton could be designated a plastic bag free zone. I have done some research on this matter and found the following facts:

1. On average we use each plastic bag for 12 minutes

2. Each one of us uses 290 plastic bags a year

3 This means that there are 13 billion bags in circulation every year

4. Bags comprise take up 11% of landfill

I also think that they are a major contributor to our litter problem.

So with all this in mind I asked Martin Kimber environment boss to work with me and retail outlets in Ashton to see if they are willing to reduce the number of plastic bags they distribute every year and possibly to find alternatives.

What do you think? Do you like the plastic bag or do you think we use too many and need to reduce their use?

Welcome to Stubshaw Cross

At the Stubshaw Cross residents meeting I was asked if it would be possible to have a sign welcoming people to Stubshaw Cross.

I have asked the Engineering Department of Wigan Council to look into this and will report their answer when I receive it.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Mobile Library Service Review

The Wigan Library Service is currently undertaking a review of its Mobile Library Service - the first for 20 years.Unfortunately,although highly valued by customers, it is currently suffering from declining issues, ageing vehicles and the effects of demographic changes.

The aim of the review is to promote participation and widen access to the service by providing a flexible, quality and customer focused Mobile Library Service which will meet the need of local Wigan communities in the 21st century. The Library intend to identify new stops and routes while continuing to consult with communities and customers.It is hoped to update the service on the 14th January 2008.

If you use the service or know anyone who does and wish to take part in the consultation please contact me and I will pass on your comments.

Ashton Library - a success story

I have received this week the latest figures for people using Ashton library. Over the last three months that figures are available for the total number of visitors has nearly doubled.

So since 2006 when the Library was re-vamped by Wigan Culture and Leisure Trust to provide up to date facilities for local residents local people have been attracted to it in increasing numbers.

The re-vamp included :

A new children’s library

Special provision for teenagers

Improved internet access through a brand new IT suite

The opening hours were also been extended to include Sunday opening which has proved very popular with families.

If you need to contact the library to see what they have on offer then you can phone them on 727119 e-mail or go the website on

Monday, 12 November 2007

Remembrance Sunday

Last Sunday I attended the Remembrance Day march from the cenotaph on Wigan Road to St Thomas church for the service.

Every year when I attend Remembrance Sunday I always consider myself to be very fortunate because I never had to fight in a war. Certainly during my lifetime there have been wars but conscription had been abolished by the time that I was old enough to fight and I was never the military type in my youth

Compare my non experience of war with my father in law - pictured in this blog.
In 1939 he was in the Territorial Army and was called up into the regular army. He was evacuated from Dunkirk and then was shipped off to the Far East where he was captured by the Japanese in Singapore(some people have all the luck.) He spent three and a half years working under the Japanese including on the Burma railway. Remarkably he survived,returned to Blackpool,got a job as a bus driver and brought up three children. Of course many of his friends did not survive.

As I get older I realise more and more how important is to have Remembrance Sunday and to pay our respects to the many brave men like my father in law and the millions of others who did not survive fighting for our country.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Thought for the week

A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden. - Buddha

Monday, 5 November 2007

Stubshaw Cross Residents Group

Last week members of the Stubshaw Cross Residents group gave up a considerable amount of their time cleaning up the waste land behind Barton's off licence - the results can be seen in the photo. Wigan Council cleansing department played a part in this successful operation by coming quickly to the area and removing the considerable amount of rubbish cleared by the residents.

In addition to the work done to improve the area the residents group also planted daffodils on this land. I will take a photo of the results in spring

Things you learn

On Thursday I took part in a tour of Jubilee Park with the Friends of Jubilee Park led by an arboriculturist who pointed out the different types of trees in the park and their characteristics. The Friends of Jubilee Park are aiming to create paths around the park with the help of the arboriculturist highlighting the different trees there.

One thing I did learn was that the black spots on the sycamore leaf - see picture - would not have occurred when the air was dirtier in previous centuries because the sulphur that was present in those days would have eradicated the spots. So because the air today is much cleaner the sycamore leaves are full of black spots.
Fascinating isn't it?

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

The Town Green project

Last Friday I was one of the invited guests to watch Ian McCartney plant a living Christmas tree on Town Green. Children from St. Thomas CE primary school and representatives of the Rock FM bus were also there to witness the event. Ann Rampling, one of the leaders of the group, is hoping to ask children from St Thomas's to decorate the tree using designs that they have ceated themselves.

Christmas is coming

The Wigan Evening Post published an article on Tuesday about my views on spending money for Christmas trees and calling for a public debate. In brief I am asking local residents to tell me what they think of spending £1600 of Brighter Borough money - which is public money - on a Christmas tree for the middle of Ashton which will only last for four weeks. I personally would be happier spending money on living trees for example the one in Town Green which was planted by Ian McCartney - see picture.

I have asked for people's views on this subject and I welcome any comments the reader of this blog may have.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Clean up and the spare land on Bolton Road

As part of the Labour Party's clean up campaign we spent last Saturday morning cleaning up the spare land on Bolton Road between near Stubshaw Cross Labour Club. In all we collected something like 26 bags of rubbish. The picture shows the entrance to what was (I think) a garden which became a lot clearer after our clean up.

This land was the subject of an earlier blog about the efforts of the Stubshaw Cross residents association to find out who owned the land so that they could begin to improve it.

Well, I believe the group has received some good news recently - the owners of the land have given permission for improvement work to be done on the land.Let's hope that work can now begin to restore this area.

Ashton Festival

Last week I attended two excellent events in the Ashton festival.

On Thursday night I went to the Brian Boru club where Helen and I really enjoyed the music and especially the Irish 'orchestra' and on Friday I went to see the exhibition of gymnastics/acrobatics put on by the Seagull Club. As someone who finds it difficult these days to bend down to tie up his shoes I was really impressed by the athleticism and suppleness of the participants in the exhibition - some of their acrobatics were breathtaking.

I would like to put on record my thanks to Jack Sudworth and his team for organising another successful festival.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Multi million pound project celebrated

The picture in this article is of Ian McCartney,Ann Rampling, myself, members of the Ashton sewer flood forum and representatives of United Utilities celebrating the end of the scheme to improve the sewer system in Ashton

Engineers have spent the past 18 months upgrading the sewer network to try and prevent a repeat of the flooding which hit parts of the town five years ago after exceptionally heavy rainfall.

Ian McCartney and United Utilities worked closely together to lobby the water industry regulator Ofwat for funding to carry out improvements.

Residents also played a big role in getting the work underway and regular meetings were held with the Makerfield Sewer Flooding Forum to keep them up to date with developments.

Ian McCartney, MP for Makerfield, said: “ I take great satisfaction that this project has finally been completed. I saw at first hand the devastation and misery that the flooding of 2002 brought to local people’s lives and I was determined then to bring about massive improvements to the sewer system. Together with local residents I have worked hard to ensure that United Utilities made the necessary investment to upgrade the sewer system so that local people should not have to experience the misery caused by the flooding five years ago. The culmination of that work can be seen today with the completion of this scheme. This is a very good day for Ashton. ‘

Charlie Cornish, United Utilities managing director, said: “We’re delighted that this work in Ashton has been completed and dozens of families should never again have to face the awful experience of sewer flooding.

“Preventing sewer flooding is a major challenge for United Utilities. We’ve spent millions of pounds on stopping flooding in recent years and want to spend even more in the future. “

The Ashton sewer improvements were designed to take into account proposed new developments, the impact of commercial premises and the physical geography of the area.

United Utilities has made tackling sewer flooding a priority and is spending £140 million from 2005-2010 across the North West.

Monday, 8 October 2007

New arrival

In the photo is the latest welcome addition to the family - Michael, son of Andrew and Emma.This means I am now a grandfather. I personally think I am much too young to be called grandad - but others disagree.

At three days old Michael has already joined the Labour Party and is a Liverpool season ticket holder. As you can see from the photo he is blissfully unaware of having taken these these major steps in his life.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Another thought

One day you are 17 years old doing what 17 year olds do and the next minute you are a grandfather with the mind of a 17 year old.

I must stop reading these books.

Thought for the week

We imagine that waking-life is real and that dream-life is unreal, but there does not seem to be any evidence for this belief. Chuang Tzu, in the third century B.C., put it in an amusing way; having dreamed that he was a butterfly flitting from flower to flower, he stated that he was now wondering whether he was then a man dreaming he was a butterfly or whether he was now a butterfly dreaming he was a man. - Wei Wu Wei "Fingers Pointing Toward the Moon"

Monday, 24 September 2007

Beat it Team

The Beat it team will be coming to Ashton between 15th and 19th October. If you know of any area that needs tidying up please contact me.

Zebra Crossing on Bolton Road

Following complaints about the crossing on Bolton Road the local Labour Party organised a petition asking for the crossing to be upgraded. People's concerns were that because it is in a dip motorists are not aware of it and at night it is poorly lit. Over 300 people signed the petition which was handed to me by Ann Rampling - see picture.

This week I will be presenting the petition to the Ashton and Bryn township forum and the Council's Environment Panel for consideration.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Litter pick - Hilton Street area

The members of the local Labour Party carried out a litter pick last Saturday morning in the Hilton Street area. It is part of an on going scheme to keep rid certain areas of Ashton of litter. We intend to do more litter picks around Ashton over the coming weekends.

If you would like to help us or you know of an area that needs cleaning please contact me on 07981509709 or e-mail

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Working to win Wigan West

I have spent a lot of my free time recently in the ward of Wigan West helping the Labour candidate Phyll Cullen. Naturally very pleased with the result - Labour won by just under 400 votes. The result in full is as follows:

Phyll Cullen Labour 837
Trevor Beswick Liberal 464
Susan Mather BNP 264
Jim Carmichael Prince CAP 219
Syd Hall Independent 72
Norma Stout Green 60

After this excellent result we will be going on to Wigan Central to fight another by-election and are hopeful of similar result which would be a Labour gain

Monday, 17 September 2007

The weekend -part two. The Ashton Community Cup

Spent a very pleasant few hours watching the first game ever of the Ashton Community Cup. The game was between Greater Manchester Police ( managed by Dave Whelan) and an Ashton Youth Team ( managed by David Johnson Liverpool FC Legend) and was played at the Robin Park Arena.

The game itself was most entertaining. The teams contrasted each other. The Ashton Youth team who were mostly 16-19 year olds were quick and at times very skillful and the police team were - well - bigger and more physical. It looked as though the police were going to be beaten at one point but they hung in there and just won it in the last minute 5-4. The team sheets for both sides are in the photo

Again congratulations to Wigan and Leigh Community Safety Partnership ,the Greater Manchester Police, the JJB and especially Andrea Pilling for organising this event. I hope it will be a regular fixture in the future

This weekend - part one - Byrchall High School

I attended the Byrchall Festival on Saturday which was celebrating the school's gaining maths and computing specialist school status.

I was very impressed with the events that had been organised by the school which included among other things a netball competition, a maths competition, a live band from the school, an Army assault course and dodgem rides.

The one thing that caught my attention was the display of owls, eagles and hawks on the football field. A very unusual sight.

I hope everyone who attended enjoyed the day and congratulations to the school for organising the event.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Can't get no satisfaction

I am a member of a small group of Councillors and officers who are looking at the reputation of Wigan Council and what opinion the public has towards the organisation.

One very interesting issue arose from the following statistics.

In 2006 3000 residents were asked about satisfaction levels with the Council generally and particular services. Here are some examples of the statistics from the survey:

90% were satisfied with the standard of the refuse collection - provided by Wigan Council.
70% were satisfied with satisfied with the recycling programme - provided by Wigan Council
84% were satisfied with the way planning applications were handled - a service provided by Wigan Council.

And yet only 50% thought that Wigan Council was doing a good job overall.

So the question is: Why are people very happy with the individual services that Wigan Council provides and yet when residents are asked to comment about Wigan Council overall the satisfaction rate plummets?

I would be interested in any views my reader may have about this issue.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

No comment

On a flying visit to Ashton the Dalai Lama decides to try the local cuisine and goes into a fish and chip shop on Gerard Street. He orders fish, chips and peas and gives the young assistant a £20 note. The young assistant puts the note into the till. After a minute or two the Dalai Lama, knowing that fish and chips cost less than £20 says ' Where is the change?' To which the young assistant replies enigmatically ' I thought you of all people should know, o great one, that change comes from within'

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

At last - new bins for Ashton Heath

When I was re-elected as Councillor in May 2006 one of the first things I requested was dog bins on Ashton Heath on behalf of the Ashton Heath Residents Association

Today they have been installed.

I would like to thank the Residents Association and dog users on the Heath for their patience.

Stubshaw Cross residents meeting

One of the main issues to come out of tonight's meeting was the group's aim to transform the derelict land on Bolton Road by the Labour Club into what it was like years ago ie a park with a garden for residents to use and even erect a Stubshaw cross.

This project highlights how frustrating things can be for Councillors and residents when they want to improve their environment. The land in question is overgrown and an eyesore. There is a group of residents backed by myself who are keen to improve it. One resident in particular has found funding sources to see these improvements happen. However,the group has been waiting for a reply from the landowner's agents as to who owns the land for about a year now but has heard nothing. The group has even asked MP Ian McCartney to intervene. The problem is that the landowner ( or who we think is the landowner) has not yet given permission for any work to take place and until this permission is given no funder will touch this project.

It is a question of watch this space.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

I have just been reminded at tonight's meeting of the Stubshaw Cross residents group that I have not posted a blog for some time. I could give many reasons for this - I have been on holiday, the cat's been ill, I have lost the use of both hands etc. But in the end the real reason for a blogless month is pure laziness on my part.

So that was the 56th blog this year.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Community Fun day on Jubilee Park

I attended a fun day on Jubilee Park yesterday (Sunday 29th July) It was very well organised with stalls from various groups within the community including Friends of Three Sisters, Surestart and the Home Watch scheme,promoting the work they did within Ashton and Bryn. There was also an impressive climbing wall - which I did not try.And just for a change recently the sun shone all day.

The Children and Young Peoples Service together with the Youth Action Group who organised the event must have been very pleased with the day and should be congratulated for their efforts.

The picture is me and a member of the Friends of Three Sisters at their stall

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Lots to do this summer for children and young people

As the summer holidays are now here I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the activities that Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust are putting on in the area for children and young people.

This list only shows what there is to do in the Ashton and Bryn area. There are lots more further afield in the Wigan area.Please contact me for more details

Ashton Library 01942 727119

Regular Events

Wednesday: Under 5s session - 10.30am - 12.30pm

Summer Holiday events

The Big Wild Read will take place every Tuesday 2.00pm - 3.00pm at Ashton Library starting on Tuesday the 24th July 07. These will be fun packed events with crafts and stories. Places are normally in high demand and it is better to book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets are £1.00. For ages six years and above.

Crafty Clay Event

Children will have the opportunity to attend Ashton Library on Friday 10th August 07 – 1.30pm – 2.30pm for a crafty clay art session with artist Brian Rollins. Tickets cost £1.00. Places are normally in high demand and it is better to book early to avoid disappointment. For ages six years and above.

Parks and Countryside Activities

All children up to age 15 years are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult or carer.

Tue 17th Jul, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Three Sisters Recreation Area, Ashton. Have you ever wanted to go on safari? Join the Rangers on this mini safari around Three Sisters to see what amazing creatures we can find. Meet at the visitor centre. Booking essential. For further information and to book telephone 01942 720453.

Wed 25th Jul, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Three Sisters Recreation Area, Ashton. Come to Three Sisters and help us make a massive picture on the hill. Using materials from around the park we will transform the field for all to see. Meet at the visitor centre. Booking essential. For further information and to book telephone 01942 720453.

Thu 26th Jul, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Jubilee Park, Ashton. Join the Rangers for an afternoon of fun activities in Jubilee Park. For further information telephone 01942 245369.

Sports Development

Multi Skills Club – Ashton Leisure Centre – September 07. Times dates to be arranged

Community Sports Sessions

Tuesday Evenings - 6.30pm – 9.00pm - Jubilee Park. – Andrea Pilling 01942 404984

Wednesday Evenings – 6.00pm – 8.00pm – Ashton Leisure Centre – Andrea Pilling

Thursday Evenings – 6.00pm – 8.00pm – Landgate Park, Bryn – Andrea Pilling

There are lots of events happening nearby.For more details please contact me.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Big prize for local Tories

I read the following on the Community Action Web site


Conservatives rewarded with Deputy Chair of the Bus Shelters Sub Committee

Wow, that's some reward

Pavements in the town centre

In the time I have been a Councillor the state of the pavements outside the Nat West Bank and Quality Save shop has been one of the main sources of complaint from local residents.

Therefore,I was very pleased to learn recently that Wigan Council have approached the owners of these two establishments to ask for approval to improve the footway.If approval is given then the full width of the footway on the south side of Gerard Street from the junction with Warrington Road down to and past the entrance to the Nat West Bank would be block paved.

Captains Lane

During the recent works to improve the sewer system in Ashton, the road surface in Captains Lane was damaged by excess use of cars and heavy vehicles. Following a meeting with Ian McCartney MP and representatives of Wigan Council and United Utilities residents were delighted to learn that United Utilities agreed to undertake to repair the road. The work is now complete and has greatly improved the road.

Mobile masts in Ashton town centre

Plans have been put to the Council to erect two mobile antennae ( overall height 11.2 m from ground level) and one wall mounted antenna ( overall height 9.6 m from ground level) together with three associated equipment cabinets on the top of of the Greensway shopping centre.

While appreciating the need for new antennae and as a mobile phone user myself I have nevertheless objected to the installation of these antenna in the town centre because they do not fit in with the street scene. I have asked for the issue to be considered by the planning committee at their next meeting with a view to a site visit in the near future.

On the subject of the antennae in the town myself and Ian McCartney are still campaigning with local residents to remove the hideous antennae from the roof of the building in Hilton Street.

If you have any comments about the proposed antennae in the town centre please contact me.

No cold calling zone - Crossway Close and Linkway Avenue

Every year in the Borough unwanted and uninvited callers approach people in their homes offering goods and services or trying to trick their way into their houses. Ashton suffers from a particularly high rate of this kind of con trick.

In Wigan the Police,Trading Standards, Age Concern, Victim Support and other agencies take this matter very seriously and Wigan Council's Environmental Services are organising a campaign to stop it happening in the area of Crossway and Linkway.

With residents' agreement they are looking to erect street signs telling people that they are entering an area where residents do not buy from uninvited sales people. Wigan Council is consulting with residents at present with a view to a full presentation of the scheme at the end of July.

If you have any comments about this scheme please contact me.

Beat it team returns to Ashton

For the third time this year the Beat it team will return to Ashton in the week beginning the 16th July. If you know of anywhere in Ashton that needs a really good clean up then please contact me before the 16th and I will inform the Council.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Labour Cabinet decide not to sell land for planned factory megasite

Last Thursday the Labour Cabinet decided against selling 1.6 acres of council owned land to Patrick Properties. who wanted to build industrial units there. This will effectively freeze any further development on the South Lancs Industrial Estate.

I always maintained from the moment I first saw this development that it was inappropriate for the people of Ashton. It would have done nothing for the area except to cause more congestion and pollution in return for a few jobs.

The M.A.D. group must be very pleased with this decision. They have spent a year campaigning,organising public meetings in Ashton and Bryn and standing in Ashton town centre Ashton every Saturday to convince residents to oppose this development.

I would like to think that we can now move forward and find some other use for the land that would be beneficial for the whole community

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Miners march through Ashton

While I was doing some research for Ian McCartney to commemorate his twenty years as MP I came across this photo of miners,trades unionists and members of the public marching through Ashton to stop the pit closures proposed by Michael Heseltine in the late eighties. I found it interesting because as well as being a good photo it captured a moment that will never be repeated. As I remember it the march ended up in Stubshaw Cross Labour Club.

Were you or members of your family in this photo? If so I would like to hear from you

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Did you go to Captains Lane when it was a youth club?

At last month's AGM the trustees decided to rename the Captains Lane Youth and Community Centre. It will now be called Captains Lane Community Centre to reflect more accurately its present function of offering a facility to the whole community.

During the meeting it was suggested that we hold a reunion for young people - as they then were - who used the centre when it was a youth club.

If you are interested in having such a reunion please contact me on this blog phone Dave McKendrick on 712385.

News from Captains Lane - Part one

Members of Captain's Lane Centre met on Wednesday last to mark the
contribution of a Jack Sudworth to the work of the Centre.

Jack joined the Management Committee of Captain's Lane Centre in 1998, and
was elected Chair in 1999, continuing in office until 2005, and retiring as
Trustee earlier this year. Throughout his tenure he has been a key influence
in the development of the Centre from its earlier years as a Council-run
youth club, to its present position as an independent community centre
serving the people of Ashton-in-Makerfield.

He has combined his work as Trustee with roles in other community
organisations in Ashton and Wigan, notably the Ashton Community Forum, Wigan
Council for Voluntary Youth Service, and Ashton's Festival Committee.
Because of the latter, it was felt appropriate to present Jack with a
portrait of Ashton Library, painted by Chris Ball , a member of Ashton
Art Group.

The substantial contribution made by Jack to the management of Captain's
Lane Centre will be missed, but fellow Trustees wish him well and hope his
valued leadership of the Festival Committee will long continue.