Tuesday, 13 December 2011

New Police number - dial 101

The police now have a new non emergency number - it is 101.
For genuine emergencies you can still dial 999

Monday, 12 December 2011

Signs of the times

I learnt the disappointing news last week that the Ashton Branch of Argos is due to close in January when their lease expires

I also read that Peacocks, the ailing fashion retailer, is considering closing up to 200 stores, as it seeks to reduce its debt burden. The group, which has 611 Peacocks stores and 394 BonmarchĂ© shops, has debts of £240m with a syndicate of banks, including Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland. A Peacocks spokesman said: "We continue to progress our restructuring discussions and plans, with no decisions taken at this point.Peacocks faces a huge rent bill on 25 December. Hopefully the Ashton store will stay open.

At the same time Amazon sold 3 million items in 'Cyber Monday' frenzy last Monday making it the firm’s busiest day ever and John Lewis, recorded sales of £113.6 million in the week to December 3, a 9.6 per cent increase on the same week last year and a 15.1 per cent rise on the previous week.

I would welcome readers comments about what is happening and will happen to shops on the high streets, especially in small towns such as Ashton.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Frequently asked questions

Having listened to residents' comments about the proposed Community Health Centre there seem to be common questions which I try to answer here. I am happy to answer other questions about the proposed centre as I have been doing since Monday both on the phone and at the consultation meetings.

1. Why is the PCT looking at the Town Hall site?

The PCT, through Foundation for Life (FfL), Wigan’s LIFT Company, wishes to have the new facility in Ashton town centre. The Council are prepared to consider selling the Town Hall site which would make it more affordable for the PCT as well as using an existing publicly owned site.

2. What criteria are used to decide on a particular site?

The PCT must meet a range of criteria for a new scheme to be approved. These are mainly determined by the Department of Health and include:
• The development must be affordable for the PCT
• The site must be accessible to all
• The development must offer facilities for local community use as well as for health services
• Where possible, existing public sector assets should be used

3.What other sites have been considered?

A range of sites have been considered within Ashton town centre and surrounding areas over the past 5 years. The reasons for not considering them or why the development did not progress include:
• The site did not meet the accessible criteria
• Land conditions made the scheme unaffordable eg contaminated land, flood plain
• Land price made the site unaffordable – this was mainly when the site was in private ownership

4.Why is the PCT not developing the existing Ashton Clinic site?

The site is too small for the development and would require taking part of the George V playing fields which is not appropriate.It is likely that Queens Road would not be deemed fit to take the extra traffic attracted by the new centre. In addition, it does not meet the criteria for allowing appropriate access for a range of community services. It is also less accessible for people without cars as very few buses run down Wigan Road. The cost of providing temporary accommodation for the clinic whilst the new facility was being built would make the scheme unaffordable for the PCT.

5.What parking arrangements will there be with the new centre?

Once it is clear that the Town Hall site is the preferred option, FfL will work with the Planning and Highway departments to agree a Travel Plan for the development. In the meantime, FfL have commissioned a full traffic survey of the area.
The Planning process will identify the number of car park spaces we will have to provide as part of the development. The PCT recognise that this is a major concern but until a site and the draft design of the centre have been agreed, it is difficult to be more specific at this stage

6.Will the field and bowling green behind the Town Hall be used for parking?

Neither of these facilities has been considered as part of the development.

7.Will St Oswald School be moved to another location?

No. This has never been considered as part of the development and it is not within our remit to consider it.

Ashton Community/Health Centre - more consultation dates

As part of the PCT’s community engagement programme for the above development, there will be two Public Exhibition and Drop In sessions, one in Bryn and one in Ashton. Details of the sessions are as follows:

Tuesday, 6th December – Venue: YMCA Children’s Centre, Hilton Street, Ashton, WN4 8PD. The session will start at 6-30 until 8-00 and light refreshments will be available.

Wednesday, 7th December – Venue: Our Lady Immaculate School, Downhall Green Road, Ashton, WN4 0LZ. The session will begin at 6-30 until 8-00 and light refreshments will be available.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ashton Health / Community Centre Questionnaire

If you want a copy of the questionnaire you can now log on to http://www.alwpct.nhs.uk/ and download one from Ashton Wigan and Leigh PCT web page.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New opening times for Ashton Library

When Ashton library re-opens after the Christmas holidays,it will be a Library Local. The opening hours, starting 3rd January 2012, will be:

Monday 9.30am – 7.00pm
Tuesday 9.30am – 5.00pm
Wednesday 9.30am – 7.00pm
Thursday 9.30am – 5.00pm
Friday 9.30am – 5.00pm
Saturday 9.30am – 3.00pm
Sunday Closed

Please note, that the last Sunday when the library will be open is Sunday 18th December 2011.

These changes are part of the implementation of the ‘Next Chapter’. You can read more about this at: www.wlct.org/nextchapter.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The proposed Health and Community Centre - have your say

There is a proposal currently being considered to build a new Health and Community facility on the site of Ashton Town Hall on Bryn Street. It is intended that the new building will have GP provision and wider health services as well as a range of community services. It is also envisaged that the services currently being delivered from this building will continue to be delivered from the new facility

Over the next few weeks there will be a consultation process which will aim to find out what residents of Ashton think of the proposals and what they would like to see in the proposed centre. The consultation will be done by means of questionnaires and events held on Ashton market and the Gerard Centre. Local community groups will also be distributing the questionnaires to residents in their area.

Below is a list of dates and places where members of the public can pick up and hand in their completed questionnaires and talk to members of the Health Team and councillors about this project

Ashton Library
From Sunday 20th November Ashton Library there will be questionnaires available to the public in Ashton library. A member of the Health Team will be on hand to answer questions on Monday 21st from 9.30 to 12.00 pm, Wednesday 23rd from 2.30 to 5.00 pm Friday 25th from 12.00 to 3.30pm

Monday 21st November

Questionnaires will be in Ashton Town hall, Ashton Surgery 233 Wigan Road, Medicentre185 Wigan Road, Ashton Clinic, Queens Road. A member of the Health Team will be on hand to answer questions between 9.30 -12:00pm

Tuesday 22nd November Ashton Market
Members of the Health Team will be present to answer questions and give out questionnaires from 10am to 4pm.

Gerard Centre Saturday 26th November
Members of the Health Team Representatives of the PCT and Councillors will be present to answer questions and give out questionnaires from 10am to 4pm.

All questionnaires are to be returned by 7th December either in the envelope provided or in the box at the following venues: -
Ashton Town Hall
- Ashton Library
- Ashton Surgery, 233 Wigan Road
- Medicentre, 185 Wigan Road
- Ashton Clinic, Queens Road

I hope that you will take this opportunity to have your say in what could provide Ashton with both a much needed community centre and a state of the art medical facility which is fit for the 21st century. Please contact me with your views.

If you need any more information about the proposed plan or need a questionnaire please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Not so friendly Friends of Ashton

I attended a meeting of the Friends of Ashton on Friday night with the intention of discussing the proposal for the new Lift centre in Ashton and to listen to local residents' views.

The meeting started well enough with Cllr Paul Tushingham explaining that the Friends of Ashton was a non political group who welcomed everybody regardless of their political views. He then gave a measured outline of the proposal for the proposal, why the town hall was the favoured site and what disadvantages there were to the site - ie lack of parking. A discussion then took place between residents and councillors. So far so good.

What happened after that was extraordinary. The vice chairman Cllr Don Hodgkinson launched what I can only describe as a vicious tirade against Wigan Council and the Labour Party saying in effect that they cannot be trusted. The chair Paul Tushingham did nothing to control this - so much for it being non political - and eventually myself, Cllr Ann Rampling and three other residents saw no point in being there and walked out. I learned later that other members of the public did the same after we left. So in the end probably half the audience of at 20 at most had left the meeting before it ended.

Now I have no problem with being slagged off by opposition politicians. But what I do object to is the sheer hypocrisy of this group who pretends to be non political trying to masquerade as something else. When you have the Chair and Vice Chair who are members of the Independent group, the official opposition on Wigan Council, using this meeting as a platform to criticise the Labour Party and the Labour controlled Council then the only conclusion an objective person can come to is that this is a political group.

And if it is a political group then I have to ask why is it allowed to meet in a room owned by the Council and if it receives money from the Council, why. I have today asked Council officials to look into these two issues and will report back their findings in this blog.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Extended Licence for off licence in Bolton Road part 2

I note from the Wigan Evening Post that the new owner of the store wants to work with the community.

Well I think the first thing he could do is to close the store at 11 pm and not keep it open until 3 in the morning. That will go a long way to promoting community harmony.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Extended Licence for off licence in Bolton Road

Last Friday I attended the licencing meeting at Wigan Town Hall to support local residents in their objections to an application for an off licence on Bolton Road - formerly Hughes the Booze - to extend the opening hours from 6am to 2am from Monday to Friday and 7am to 2am at the weekend. From 11pm the store will serve customers through a hatch for security measures.

I was amazed that that the committee gave the go ahead for this application and not at all surprised that local residents are furious with this decision and intend to fight to overturn it.The police also are very much against this application.

Of course I will continue to support the residents in their campaign to overturn this surprising decision.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Community/Medical Centre for Ashton

Readers will no doubt be aware that there are plans to build a community / medical centre in Ashton. I must emphasise that this centre will not just be a medical centre - it must have other facilities that will serve the community of Ashton.

The scheme is now at Stage 1 which means putting the business case together for the Board of the PCT. This will be a detailed document identifying the site, the size and cost of the scheme backed by detailed analysis of the health needs of the residents of Ashton and other services that the could be provided from this new facility.

I am a member of the patient/public community group which is looking to reach as many people in Ashton as possible in order to ask them what they would like to see in this centre. As part of this process representatives of local groups have already been made aware of the plans for this centre. The aim of the consultation process which will begin in earnest at the beginning of November will be to inform local residents of the plans for the centre by contacting them directly,by holding exhibitions and open days throughout the area. Details of the consultation process will be given as soon as they are finalised by the committee.The results of the consultation will then be taken to the board of the PCT.

The preferred site at the moment for the new building is Ashton town hall.Other sites have been looked at - one reason for the delay in beginning the scheme - but have been rejected for reasons such as land costs, access to the sites and land conditions.In the current climate the Government has made it clear that it expects public bodies to work closely together to ensure the best value for money. This has been happening in Wigan under the Capital Asset Pathfinder programme. Using a site owned by the Council which could be soon surplus to the Council's requirements will ensure that a public sector owned asset is used appropriately to support a new public sector scheme. It will also help towards regenerating Ashton town centre.

I will give details of the consultation process in this blog. I would be very interested in any ideas readers have for services that could be included in this centre - remember it will be a community centre as well as a medical facility.

Please contact me if you require any further information.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Bay Horse - part 2

On arriving home I found a letter waiting for me from Spirit Pub Company making the following points:

1. An apology from the company if local residents and myself were unhappy with the colour. The orange colour is a part of the distinctive decoration associated with the 'Flaming Grill' brand.

2. In light of my comments a review of the paintwork has been carried out and as a result of comments made the firm will be painting the front bay windows in cream but the gable end will remain orange to stay in line with the brand specification.

3. The works will be completed before the opening date of 15th October

4. Spirit Pub Company will welcome any further comments I may receive into the improvements they have made.

All comments welcome.

Bay Horse Orange - update

Following residents' complaints made to me about the new colour of the Bay Horse pub I contacted the Flaming Grill company last Tuesday to ask if they would change the lurid orange to a more neutral colour. I also pointed out that having looked on their web page I noticed that not all of the pubs in their chain were painted in this shade of orange.

I am delighted to announce that I have just contacted the Flaming Grills press office today and have been advised that as I write this blog they are toning down the lurid orange colour - I will publish a photo of the new scheme on my blog soon.

Monday, 15 August 2011

New proposals for waste collection

Wigan Council’s Cabinet will this week (18th August) consider proposals to modernise the borough’s refuse collection and recycling services.This is a response to the demand from Central Government that it has to make £66 million of cuts in the next four years. The following will be considered:

1 Black bins would be emptied one week, and food and garden waste the next from all properties, all year round. Householders would also enjoy greater choice in recycling services. Residents will have the option of using their black bin to recycle food waste if they so wish - see para 3

2.Following a successful trial involving 7,500 households, the council will soon roll out improvements to its paper collection service by providing all households with the option of a blue bin which will also take cardboard and drinks cartons. This will run on a four-weekly collection.

3.Under the arrangements being proposed, green bins will be collected fortnightly all year round rather than a break for winter, and take green waste and food waste. Households with green bins would be given plastic caddies and compostable caddy liners to put their food waste in before transferring it to the green bin.

4.Disposing of food waste through the black bin means it is going to costly landfill and the council will be urging residents to put all their food waste in their green bin/food caddy to save money and reduce greenhouse gases.

5 Households without green bins would be given the same kitchen caddy and liners as green bin households, plus a larger outdoor caddy to put their food waste out for collection. These properties would have their collections using the same crew and vehicles as those with green bins, with collections every other week.

6.The brown bin service would continue as present. This service already provides a greater opportunity to recycle more plastics than the majority of neighbouring authorities which only collect plastic bottles for recycling.

7. As I understand it these proposals will be reviewed after a year

I would be interested in any comments you may have about these proposals.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Paul Tushingham - CAP defector

I believe that local Councillor Paul Tushingham has defected from the Community Action Party and joined the Independent group. I am not surprised at this. Paul Tushingham is following a long line of local Councillors who were once in CAP and are now Independent, including Councillor Don Hodgkinson who has been a member of three parties in his time including the Labour Party. These Councillors also share one thing in common - they never told the electorate that they were leaving the party they stood for at their election.

The Community Action Party has now just one member left in the Council chamber and is finished as a political force. Given the pathetic campaign they ran in Ashton and the consequent drubbing they received from the local electorate Councillor Tushingham has clearly jumped ship because he knows that he has no chance of being re-elected while standing for CAP.

This is pure political opportunism and the voters of Ashton will see this as such at the next local election

Great night for Labour in Ashton

May local election result

Joel Haddley Labour 1595
Walter Carney Independent 710
Leanne Brotherton Community Action Party 626
Marie Winstanley Conservative 344.

Labour gain from Independents

I would like to thank everyone in Ashton who voted Labour and elected our new councillor Joel Haddley.

It was a good night for Labour throughout the Borough – we gained six seats and now have 58 out of 75 seats in the Council.

I would also like to thank Walter Carney the losing candidate for the honourable campaign he fought and would like to wish him well in the future.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Camapaigning against AV

Picture above shows the Labour Team campaigning against AV in Ashton town centre last Saturday. It was very noticeable that the majority of people agreed with us.

A lot of people were simply swayed by the fact that Nick Clegg supported AV,saying 'if he is for it then I am against it'.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

AV - the debate continues

No doubt some readers will be voting for or against fundamentally changing our voting system on May 5th. My recent canvassing experience has come up with the following reactions on the doorstep:

1. Is there a referendum?
2. Why is there a referendum?
3. What is AV - alternative voting?
4. I will be voting at the local elections but not the referendum because I don't know what it is.

One woman asked me for my opinion and when I said I was against it she said 'that's good enough for me - I'll be voting against it'

Another man quite rightly pointed out that despite there being several choices on a ballot paper a person can still vote for one person and does not have to use the other preferences.

As I have said I am dead against AV but in the interest of fairness I attempt to explain what AV is below.

There are different versions of AV, but it boils down to redistributing votes until one candidate achieves more than 50% of all votes cast.

Under the Alternative Vote System, voters run down the list of Candidates, ranking them in their order of preference by physically writing 1, 2, 3 etc.

Once all votes have been cast and counted, if any one candidate polls over 50%, they are elected and there are no additional rounds, but if no candidate achieves the magic percentage, the candidate who polls the least votes is eliminated, and all the second and third preferences (and so on) are redistributed to the remaining candidates.

This process continues until someone achieves over 50%, even if only two candidates remain until the end. That’s how you get your winner, moreover, the successor can be said to have been voted for, in one form or another by the majority of voters in percentage terms.

Simples isn't it?

Now I have tried to go through this explanation on the doorstep but I noticed people's eyes glazing over halfway through and then the inevitable questions - why are we changing the present voting system and how much is this costing?

If you like me are against AV make sure you vote No on May 5th - don't abstain and let the Yes vote win it.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Petition handed in to Council

Following the very successful day in Ashton Town Centre where hundreds of residents supported our campaign to keep Ashton Library open we have now submitted all the petitions we have received including the on line petition started on this blog to Wigan Leisure Trust. Above is a picture of myself and Trevor Allen presenting the petitions to Councillor Brian Baldwin, Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture. Cllr Baldwin said he was struck by the strength of support to retain the library and by how much local people valued the services offered by the library.

The result of the consultation should be known at the end of June.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Save our Library campaign continues

Campaigners Joel Haddley and Trevor Allen together with local MP Yvonne Fovargue at the Gerard Centre last Saturday.

Our Save Ashton Library campaign took another step last Saturday when we held a street stall on the Gerard Centre. We were delighted with the response - nearly 500 people signed the petition. So far 70 people have signed the on line petition which can be found on http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveashtonlibrary/

We will be presenting these two and other petitions which other people have started to Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust at the end of this month.

As from February 2011 the number of questionnaires issued by and returned to Ashton library stands at 250. This is the 4th highest number in the Borough - Atherton, Standish and Shevington have submitted more questionnaires than Ashton

Monday, 21 February 2011

Can you participate? Cancer Patient and Carers Partnership Group

The Cancer Patient & Carers’ Partnership Group has been established since February 2006, and serves the borough of Ashton, Leigh & Wigan.

The group is open to participation from anyone with an interest in improving and developing the provision of cancer services in the local area or within Greater Manchester.

National statistics state that 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer within their lifetime, and the group is eager to recruit new members.

Many people are affected by cancer, not only the person diagnosed but also close relatives, friends and neighbours.

With a population of approximately 310,000 Ashton, Leigh and Wigan has a significant number of patients suffering from the four main cancers - breast, bowel, lung and prostate – as well as the less common types of cancer.
‘CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?’ The group meets monthly to work in partnership with professionals to discuss improvements and developments in the provision of cancer services. Your views are needed to improve, develop and expand services for the people who live in your community.

If you would like more information please contact:

Val Gough

Ashton Leigh and Wigan Community Healthcare.

The provider arm of NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan

Chandler House,

Worsley Mesnes Health Centre,

Poolstock Lane,



Tel: 01942 481578

Fax: 01942 481494

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A new word

I have heard that young people now use a new verb - to clegg. It means to say one thing and do totally the opposite.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Big Society - Big Con

I see David Cameron is trying to relaunch his idea of the Big Society. I think the fact that he has to re-launch it in the short time after the last general election speaks volumes.

Clearly he should start by telling his own party what it is because judging from their comments they have no idea. A former Cabinet Member recently asked an interviewer not to ask him to explain the Big Society because he had no idea what it was, describing it as a lead balloon. Tory MP Mark Reckless said that most Tory MPs had no idea how to explain it on the doorstep at the last election and another Tory MP said that it was example of the party’s leadership trying to be too clever by half.

I have my own theory how it came about. In 1997 the Tories were soundly beaten by Labour and for the next thirteen years did not look like they would be in Government – in fact they are only in Government now because of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Their polls told them that one of the reasons people did not vote for them was because they were perceived to be the nasty party. So in the thirteen years that they were not in power they had to come up with some more fluffy voter friendly policies and the Big Society was one of them. It sounded good and had the added advantage of countering Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement that there was no such thing as society. Unfortunately like all good political sound bites it is exactly that – a sound bite with no substance.

The problem with the Big Society was that it was launched at the same time as the Coalition Government were making the most draconian cuts to local services ever. David Cameron’s much vaunted project is being undermined by these cuts which are in fact destroying volunteering.

Dame Elisabeth Hoodless - dubbed recently as the mother of the Big Society after serving 40 years at the top of the voluntary sector - was recently a big supporter of the concept when it was first announced last year but now has changed her mind. She told the Times newspaper that the Government had failed to provide tangible opportunities to do more in their communities. In some cases massive cuts imposed on local councils had actually taken them away.In an interview with the Times she said –‘ Does one hand know what the other is doing? ‘

Dame Elisabeth also makes the very valid point that once you close a library there is nowhere for a volunteer to help because very few people want to be in charge of running the library. Most people want to feel there is an expert on the premises. They are quite happy to issue and re-shelve books but taking the final responsibility is more than most people want to do.

The majority of people questioned about the Big Society in a recent poll said they thought it was just a Government ploy to hide the effects of the cuts and that it would not work.

If the Big Society is just about people volunteering more I really don’t think that Ashton needs any advice from David Cameron. In this town we have five residents groups, various sports and leisure clubs, the Brownies, Guides and Scouts , the Boys Brigade, football and rugby teams catering for all ages, mother and toddler groups and a community centre. All these are run by hundreds of individuals who are giving up their time for no pay and who are making Ashton a better place to live in.

In short the idea of the Big Society will end up in the dustbin of previous political initiatives where it will join John Major’s Back to Basics and the Cones Hotline

Monday, 7 February 2011

You couldn't make it up

Hindley Green Councillor Bob Brierley has left the Independent group. He now calls himself an Independent Independent.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Campaign against unfair cuts

I have copied below an article from the Manchester Evening News opposing the unfair Condem Government's cuts in the North West.If you agree that these cuts are grossly unfair there is a petition you can sign on the front of the M.E.N or online.

I wonder if our local paper the Wigan Evening Post is considering a similar campaign.

The M.E.N. today calls on the people of Greater Manchester to stand up against unfair spending cuts.

We revealed how our region is bearing the brunt of massive reductions in council grants – while rich southern shires escape relatively unscathed.

Vital services to vulnerable communities will be slashed and thousands of jobs lost.

Today, we team up with senior politicians to demand the government gives us our fair share.

We are calling on communities across the region to sign the biggest petition Greater Manchester has ever seen.

Comment: How can the cuts be deemed fair?

Manchester council, which is suffering a massive £110m budget cut, will this week launch the petition. Other town halls have already lent their support – and pledged to follow suit.

Council % cut
Manchester 21
Rochdale 20.5
Salford 19.6
Oldham 18.9
Bolton 18.3
Wigan 17.3
Bury 16.6
Tameside 16.5
Trafford 15.6
Stockport 13.8

The table shows the percentage cut in central government grant over the next two years.

The M.E.N. is backing the petition because of the scale of the injustice facing our councils.

Over the next two years, councils nationally will lose an average 15.2 per cent of their grants.

But NINE of the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester are losing more.

Only Stockport has done better than the average – and then only just – while affluent regions face much smaller losses.

The cuts will lead to nearly 6,000 job losses, despite Greater Manchester having some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country. Salford will have to lose 800 staff, Rochdale 300, Oldham 800, and Bolton 1,500.

Cash-strapped Bury council will lose 184 jobs, while Stockport and Trafford will lose 250 and 150.

The petition will be launched in Manchester after a full council meeting on Wednesday.

Jim Battle, deputy leader of the council, said: “It will be the biggest petition that Manchester has ever seen. It will be online and in shopping centres.

“We will be going into streets, communities and churches to encourage people to stand up and fight for Manchester.”

Many town hall leaders across the region say they will introduce similar motions.

John Merry, leader of Salford, said: “It is important for everyone, regardless of political persuasion, to stand up against these unfair cuts which hit people in our area harder than anywhere else.”

Tameside’s leader Kieran Quinn said: “It’s something that we absolutely support and we will make enquiries to have a similar motion in our council.”

But Tory-led Trafford Council, which has to shed £15.2m by 2013, say they will not support the motion. Leader Matt Colledge said: “It isn’t something we would put our names to. We are concentrating on finding solutions to the problem.”

How can the cuts be deemed fair?

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Public meetings to discuss library service

A SERIES of public meetings regarding Wigan and Leigh’s Library Service will take place throughout January and February.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, who manage libraries on behalf of Wigan Council, is currently conducting a four month survey in order to gather as much information as possible to help shape future library provision.

Following the government’s spending review in October Wigan’s library budget is facing a 25 per cent cut of £1.1m as Wigan Council looks to make savings of £55m over the next three years.

This consultation will play an important part in any future decisions on the service.

The reduction in library service budget will mean change in the scale and way library services are delivered. But at this time no decision has been made on the number and location of libraries that will close.

Consultation is also being carried out through a range of mechanisms including questionnaires, focus groups and public meetings and ends on 31 March 2011.

Further information on the consultation can be found by visiting your local library or by going on line and visiting www.wlct.org

All of the following public meetings will take place between 7pm and 9pm in the evenings.

Monday 24 January
Venue: Wigan & Leigh College Parson's Walk Wigan
Car parking is available in nearby streets and the college is a short walk from the bus station. There is no car parking at the venue itself.

Wednesday 26 January
Venue:Platt Bridge Community School Rivington Avenue Platt Bridge
Free car parking is available at the school, which is also located on bus routes.

Tuesday 8 February
Venue:Atherton & Tyldesley Botanical Gardens Association 232, Tyldesley Road Atherton
Free car parking is available at the rear of the building, which is also located on bus routes.

Wednesday 9 February
Venue: Leigh Sports Village Leigh Stadium Sale Way Leigh
Ample free car parking is available on-site.

Thursday 10 February
Venue: Westfield Community School Montrose Avenue Pemberton
Free car parking is available at the school, which is also located on bus routes.