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 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:

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.