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 Ashton.Library@wlct.org or go the website on www.wlct.org./Libraries/ashton.htm

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?