Saturday, 31 March 2007

Improvements of the Ashton sewer system -update

United Utilities have finally vacated the Town Green area - see photo - and will now be working on Princess Road. The work has been delayed until the 26th April when Princess Road will be closed for 12 weeks. The delay to this part of the project is due to ongoing gas works.

The area in the picture is now going to be improved by the Town Green Residents association in conjunction with the Groundwork Trust. United Utilities will be funding the whole scheme.

A long time coming

Over a year ago the bus stop by Bartons off licence on Bolton Road was destroyed in a car accident. A temporary stop was eventually erected but was very unsatisfactory for two reasons. The bus drivers could not see the sign and often would not stop and to get the buses to stop passengers had to walk into the middle of the road.

Mary Peet of Bolton Road first drew my attention to this problem about six months ago and since then I have been pestering the Council and GMPTE to have a proper bus stop erected. And finally last week this was done. The picture shows Mary and friends at the new bus stop.

I am now asking the GMPTE to put markings on the road to further highlight the bus stop.

Hello my Warrington reader

This week I met somebody from Warrington who says she reads my blog regularly. Not only that she was able to quote directly from one of the entries.

So greetings to you, H from Warrington - hope you find these latest additions up to the same riveting standard that you have come to expect.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Unadopted roads and the Brighter Borough scheme

Unadopted roads are a cause of many complaints from the public to local Councillors

For historical reasons, often long forgotten, these roads have not been adopted by Wigan Council and as a result they are unmade or in a poor condition and cannot be maintained to any standard. Residents of these roads are understandably annoyed because they pay the same Council Tax as everyone else but do not get the same services. For its part Wigan Council will not maintain these streets because by doing so would set a precedent costing the Wigan council tax payer millions of pounds.

In the past I have tried to help residents of unadopted roads by funding materials used to fill in potholes from my Brighter Borough funding.

One such group is featured in the photo above.It shows a group of residents in Ladysmith Avenue in front of a large pothole full of water - one of many in their street. In the near future these residents together with their neighbours will be filling in the potholes with materials funded from my Brighter Borough money.

I hope to have an 'after' photo when the work is completed.

Toilets in Princess Road

Over the past few months I have had a lot of complaints about the condition of these toilets. I presented a petition to the Environment Panel two months ago following a very successful campaign in Ashton town centre organised by local Labour Party activist Ann Rampling.

I was, therefore, delighted to learn at the last Panel meeting that the Council is considering the following improvements:

1. Installing a baby changing table
2. Installing a new hand drier
3. Installing a sanitary disposal/nappy bins
4. Installing a soap dispenser
5. Providing hot water

The Council are also considering extending the opening hours. A daily checklist is to be filled in by the attendant covering general cleanliness and provisions.

I would like to thank Ann Rampling and Barbara Green of Bryn for their work highlighting the poor condition of these toilets and hope that they and the visitors to Ashton town centre will see improvements in the near future.

Good news about green bins

At last week's Environment Panel meeting it was announced that 16,000 new green bins were going to be provided in the Wigan Borough from April. This should mean good news for all those residents of the Belvedere Road estate who contacted me about this issue.

Ruddy Ducks - special Council meeting

Last week I attended a special meeting of the Council called by the Community Action Party and their allies to discuss the cull of the ruddy duck. It was a one item agenda and we were there to debate four motions put by the official leader of the opposition Councillor Peter Franzen. The opposition were objecting to the fact that Wigan Council were allowing Defra, a government agency, on to their land to cull the ducks.There was an announcement before the meeting that the cull had been postponed until September. Despite this the meeting went ahead and it was agreed by all parties to support the postponement. Councillor Franzen then went on the final motion which asked Defra to confirm or deny a report that he had received from an unknown source high up in Government that a deal had been done by the British Government with the Spanish Government to cull the duck in relation to the Iraq war. This was voted down and had the result of uniting the Labour and Tories in their opposition. The meeting lasted about two and half hours.

I did not receive one single comment from residents of my ward about this matter.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Flooding problems behind Windsor Road

I have been working with residents of Windsor Road who have been having trouble with flooding in the alley behind their houses which, they claim, has never happened before the new housing development on the old factory site was built.

I have tried several times to find a solution to this problem. At first McInerney Homes said that they would fix the problem through some sort of drainage system - that was last September. Now recently I read in the press that they have totally washed their hands of the problem, claiming that the area has always flooded when it rains heavily. Well that is not what the residents are telling me.

What I will be asking McInerney Homes is:
What has happened between last September and now?
Why have they changed their attitude to this problem in six months?

I will report on any progress made with this issue in a future blog.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

The Red Duster Veterans Badge

A reader of this blog noted that I was advising how ex-service men and women could apply for a Veterans Badge . He himself had served in the Merchant Navy for many years and was proud to have received the unique "Red Duster " Veterans Badge. He goes on to say that there must be a number of 'old MN salts' living in the Ashton/Wigan area who might qualify for the Red Duster Veterans Badge

Anyone who has had MN service ( with proof of sailing on a ship or ships that serviced the HM Forces ie Troop / Supply Ships ) before 1969 may apply for the badge to the following address:

The Merchant Mariners
16 Glebe Road
PE28 4PH

or phone 01480 412958.

Japanese Knotweed

Recently I have been a member of a committee looking in detail at the problem of Japanese Knotweed and the problems it can cause.

Introduced to the UK in the 19th century as an ornamental shrub its spread across the borough has been spectacular in recent years. It can grow up to 2cm a day and can penetrate the hardest of materials. We saw an example of Japanese Knotweed growing behind a radiator inside a house after it had grown through the foundations.

Among the recommendations of the committee were a single point of contact in the council for all advice and information, a set of criteria and priorities for deciding which sites should be tackled first and agreement on the most effective method of treatment. We would also like to see the Council working in partnership with other big landowners such as Railtrack and give better advice to householders.

The final report has now been referred to the Cabinet to consider the recommendations.

If you would like any more information about this issue please contact me.