Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas

I would like to wish my reader a happy Christmas and a good New Year.

Joyeux Noel und frohliche Weihnachten for my European readers.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Local Councillors help spread Christmas cheer.

The Ashton in Makerfield Rotary club built a new float last year and it was used for the first time last Christmas. It helped raise in the region of £6,000 over the Christmas period, all of which is given to local charities.
Just after Christmas it was stolen. It was reported to the police and in the local press, but it was never seen or heard of again. This was a severe blow to the Rotary club. It meant that money was required to buy a trailer on which a new Santa workshop could be built.
 Ashton's three councillors myself,Bill Clarke & Joel Hadley came to the rescue donating £500 each from their Brighter Borough Fund which enabled Rotary to buy a new trailer on which to build a new workshop. This new trailer has been out on the streets and outside supermarkets this year helping to again raise money that will go to help a number of charities.It was also a main feature of the Ashton Town centre switch on earlier this month.
I was  delighted to help the local Rotary Club rebuild the float. I know from when my own children were small the pleasure that this float has given to thousands of local children when it toured the area before Christmas. Also we must not forget the tens of thousands of pounds that the Rotary Club collected for local charities over the years and which will be sorely missed'.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

More Christmas switch ons

I have attended two other switch ons in the ward - at Golborne Road park organised by Stubshaw Cross Residents Association and on Bolton Road  organised by the Town Green Residents Association. The  Mayor of Wigan Myra Whiteside attended this event and we were serenaded with Christmas songs  by the Milltown Sound ladies choir

Both were affected by the rotten weather but despite that they were well organised and enjoyed by those who attended.

Sorry there are no pictures of the  Stubshaw Cross event - my camera failed. If any one would like to send me photos I will put them on the blog.

The Mayor with Father Christmas at Town Green Switch on

Christmas Switch on

Trinity Girls Band

For the switch on ceremony this year local councillors worked with Wigan council and the staff of Ashton library to make the event an all day affair. Children were welcomed into the library from the morning where Christmas activities were provided  by the library staff and Santa Claus was there too.
The switch on in the evening was different from previous years. The event was led by  compere Paul Dee and the crowd was entertained by the Trinity Girls Brass Band, our very own Councillor Joel Haddley on key boards with Ed Feery singing Christmas songs.  Father Christmas was again in attendance on the float provided by the local Rotarians. Young Connor - see picture below - drew the lucky raffle ticket and he was delighted to switch on the lights.
After the switch many of the audience went for a hot drink and minced pie served in the library.  

I would like to thank Emma Gaster from Wigan Council and all the staff in Ashton library to make this a memorable occasion which was enjoyed by hundreds of people throughout the day. 
Joel and Ed


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wigan Council - hardest hit by the cuts

Wigan council is one of the local authorities hit hardest by Government austerity measures.

A national analysis of local authorities revealed that that there was a reduction of £108.40 in spending per head of population. Nationally the average spending reduction is placed at around £61 per head with significantly more Tory councils cutting less than the national average.

David Cameron's local authority  of West Oxfordshire loses only £34.33 per head

Friday, 7 December 2012

We're all in this together and other nonsense

Lord Snooty Cameron and his millionaire Tory and Liberal chums keep trotting out the  slogan 'We're all in this together'  in a desperate bid to convince us that the rich are being hit as much as the poor under the cuts.

What utter rubbish.  Let's look at some facts

  • According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies the poorest 30% of households have borne the brunt of the measures introduced by George Osborne.
  •  Families with children have been hit the hardest of all with a one earner couple with two children losing £534 a year on average by the end of this Parliament
  • A couple out of work with no children has lost 11 per cent of their income
  • The richest 10 per cent of households have lost £8.00 a week which represents 0.48 per cent of their income.
  • More than half a million disabled people will lose up to £400 over the course of the next three years. Baroness Grey Thompson, the Paralympic gold medallist and disability campaigner has recently said 'The people who can least afford appear to be getting hit again'

Isn't it about time this coalition run by millionaires consigned this nonsense to the dustbin of history together with the other failed idea of the Big Society?

Friday, 30 November 2012

Wigan schools - best in the country

The head of Ofsted has singled out Wigan as an example to other local authorities in his latest annual report on education standards. Sir Michael Wilshaw said Wigan primary and secondary schools are some of the best in the country.

For the first time, local authorities have been ranked in league tables according to the performance of their primary schools and Wigan is placed in the top category.

Secondary school students have produced the most improved results in Greater Manchester and the fourth most improved in England.

I would like to pay tribute here to all the hard working staff in our schools and within the local authority team who have made this success possible.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ashton Switch On

A splendid time is guaranteed for all 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Road news

.There will be traffic disruption in  Riding Lane, Ashton in Makerfield when
Electricity North West need to carry out work to their overhead cables on this road. To carry out the works safely the road will be closed for 1 day between Rose Farm and Locker Lane on Tuesday 27th November 2012.

The diversion route will be via Bolton Road, Golborne Road.

Old Road, Ashton in Makerfield

This road will be closed from Bryn Street to Morden Avenue on Friday 7th December 2012 between 17:30hrs to 19:30hrs for the switching on of the Christmas lights.

A local diversion route will be in operation.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Another shambles from this shambolic Government

In case anyone noticed there was an election yesterday for Police and Crime Commissioner. This election cost the country £100 million. The turn out in Wigan was 11% and without the postal vote it would probably have been half that.

Now normally I would bang on about how everybody should vote in an election because unlike many countries in the world we are privileged to live in a democracy. However, on this occasion I am siding with the 89% who didn't turn out. Very few people knew who they were voting for and what a Police and Crime Commissioner does. My mother  who is 89 has always voted and asked me where she could find the names of the candidates. I told her to look on the net. But she does not have the net like many people of her age. She  was so disgusted with this lack of information - not surprisingly  she does like to  know who she is voting for - that for the first time in years she did not vote.  Her feelings were replicated up and down the country.

This shambles is typical of this Tory led Government. They have a policy, work it out on the back of a fag packet and then watch as it goes belly up. David Cameron  who called this election has shown an utter contempt for the electorate and they have in turn given their verdict.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Councillor Gareth Fairhurst

I am sure that right thinking people will be appalled that a representative of Wigan Council is giving validity to the far right. For the full story go to the Wigan News links on this blog.

Beware of Parcel Scam

Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam

A card is posted through your door from company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 which is a premium rate number This is a mail scam originating from Belize. If you call this number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £315 for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details , you should contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655. See also www.crimestoppers-uk/crime-prevention/helping-prevent-crime/scams/postal-delivery-scam

Monday, 5 November 2012

I hope this event will be well supported.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Road upgrade Heath Road (Warrington Road to Haydock Street)

Much needed road works have commenced in Heath Road on Monday 29 October 2012.

The contractors, Bardon Contracting Ltd, have programmed the works over a two week period.

 Due to safety reasons it is considered impractical to attempt to carry out these works and still maintain a safe flow of vehicular traffic. It is for this reason that a road closure incorporating a local diversion has to be implemented during the contractor’s presence on site.


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Major Awards for Local Community Groups

Judging the competition
Award winners in Southport
Well done to the Town Green Residents Association, Stubshaw Cross Residents Group and Friends of Ashton for being presented awards at the prestigious North West in Bloom finals held in Southport. Both groups won praise and prizes from the judges for the work they have done on their gardens.

North West in Bloom is run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). It assesses areas based on a series of criteria including community involvement and participation, landscape improvement and presentation. Volunteers across Wigan Borough, with the help and support of the council, have transformed their environments. A special celebratory reception for all the volunteers will be hosted at Wigan Town Hall later this year.

 The Official North West in Bloom 2012 results included

 Level Four – Thriving Neighbourhoods:

 Stubshaw Cross Heritage Garden

Liverpool Road Community Garden, Ashton-in-Makerfield

Highly Commended Award:

 Town Green residents Association. This group were also won a National Award for their garden their represntatives have recently been to Guernsey to receive this award from the RHS.


Monday, 22 October 2012

New Crossing Patrol

Following the incident in which lolly pop lady Karen Littler was knocked down by a motorist while  holding up traffic at the busy Warrington Road/ Liverpool Road junction both myself and Bryn Councillor Ann Rampling voiced our strong concerns to Wigan Council about the potential dangers of this junction.

We are delighted that these concerns have been listened to and now we have an extra patrol at this very busy junction

Beat it Team

The following areas were tidied up earlier this month by the Beat it Team.

1 Peter Street - gated area
2 The strip of land behind no 20 + 22 Princess Ave
3.Area behind 4A Hilton Street there is a strip of land that was made into a garden
4. The footpath from Captains Lane to Princess Rd
5.The footpath from Ashton Health to Golborne Rd
6. The footpath along the edge of the Town Green Garden then behind houses leading to Captains Lane
7. The footpath on Ashton Heath 8 Main Pathway (length of Heath) - this was partly tidied up.
If you know of any area in Ashton that need cleaning up please contact myself, Bill Clarke or Joel Haddley.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Defend the NHS - act now

David Cameron has always said that the NHS is safe with the Tories but fewer and fewer people believe him as the Tory led Coalition Government’s plans to shake up the Health Service in this country become clear. Even the former chief of the NHS has called this bill a mistake and confused. This bill aims to privatise much of the NHS and is diverting billions of pounds away from patient care.

If the bill is passed in Parliament within the next two or three weeks the NHS as we know it will disappear and the profit motive will be introduced into the health service.

Already we can see the effects of the Tory Lib Dem Coalition Government's plans are having locally on our health provision. The new guidelines will force the local NHS to put aside £22.1million from their budget this year and next to pay for a costly NHS restructure that David Cameron repeatedly ruled out. In Wigan and Leigh 200 health jobs could be shed over the next year and 70 beds – three complete wards - could also be lost. From May 2010 to August 2011 there has been an increase of nearly 70% in the number of people in Wigan and Leigh who have to wait 18 weeks for treatment. This is despite Cameron's promise that the NHS is safe with the Tories.

Mr Cameron wants to legislate to turn our NHS into a free market. He needs to be reminded in no uncertain terms that he does not have the public's permission to do this. Nobody voted for this re-organisation and Mr Cameron promised it would not happen.

Most health professional bodies representing thousands of workers in the NHS are opposed to this bill. Here's what some of them say:

Faculty of Public Health

"Our latest survey of members found that 93% of those responding said that the Health and Social Care Bill, if passed, will damage the NHS and the health of people in England. Three quarters of our members called on FPH to demand the complete withdrawal of the Health Bill."

Royal College of GPs
'Competition, and the opening up our of health service to any qualified providers will lead not only to fragmentation of care, but also potentially to a 'two tier' system with access to care defined by a patient's ability to pay."

Royal College of Anaesthetists
"Unfettered competition is likely to harm the provision of comprehensive integrated care, affect clinically indicated changes to service provision, widen health inequalities and may impact adversely on the education and training of tomorrows doctors. The proposed changes are likely to be costly and will distract the NHS from meeting the proposed quality improvements for patients."

Royal College of Ophthalmologists

"The key areas for concern and risk are - unhealthy and unfair competition, conflicts of interest of key stakeholders, compromised education and training of doctors, fragmentation of care, a shift from patient-centred to organ-centred care and inequalities in health care."

Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health

"We've never supported this bill, but we have engaged with the government to try and make the best of it.

"But we're a membership organisation and paediatricians views have changed and hardened considerably. We've surveyed our membership and their view is that we should now call for withdrawal of the bill."

Royal College of Pathologists

"We are not convinced that there is enough operational detail in the current or in the proposed commissioning process.

"And we are extremely concerned about the current and future impact of the combination of the changes this bill brings, the current manner and pace of reconfiguration of services, including managerial, and the arbitrary removal of 20% from NHS spending on pathology services."

Royal College of Physicians of London
"We will continue to work with government, parliamentarians and all other stakeholders to improve the existing Health and Social Care Bill. We have remaining concerns with the reforms that the government must address."

Royal College of Psychiatrists
"The bill is fundamentally flawed and will not improve the health and care of people with mental illness.

"The college is therefore not able to support the bill as it currently stands."

Royal College of Radiologists

"Given our widespread concerns over many serious and as yet unresolved issues, we cannot support, and must continue to oppose, the passage of the bill in its current form."

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Oversees training and practice in obstetrics and gynaecology.

"We have been reassured by the amendments and the emphasis on competition being focused exclusively for improving the quality of women's healthcare.

"There are still outstanding issues such as the development of women's health networks and national leadership. "

If you want to tell David Cameron to Drop the Bill and stop the privatisation of our National Health Service you can join the many thousands of people who have already signed the online petition at /2670 or write to David Cameron directly.

Monday, 13 February 2012

News from the Police

Below is information I have copied from from a recent Newsletter issued from the local police.

Shoplifting, Ashton Town Centre.

There has been a recent increase in shoplifting in Ashton Town Centre. It appears that there are two main offenders that have been targeting the Town who have both been identified by the local PCSO’s. Both arrests are currently pending.

Counterfeit Notes.

PCSO’s have visited Shops in Ashton to make staff aware of an increase in counterfeit notes. These are both English and Scottish notes. Please be vigilant so they don’t end up in your hands!

You said we did

Youths were gathering and being rowdy outside KFC min Gerard Street.

We did

Whilst on patrol any youths seen gathering at the location were advised to move on

You said

People were riding scooters on footpaths between Bransdale Drive and Walford Road in the early morning

We did

Patrols attended the locality to catch the offenders.

Neighbourhood officers hold surgeries on a regular basis.Here you can discuss any concerns, meet local officers and find out what is being done to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in your area. The next surgery in Ashton is as follows:

Date: 28th February 2012
Times: 11.00am – 12.00pm

There is also the Ashton Police Post in Ashton Library
Mon: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Tues: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Wed: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Thurs: Closed
Fri: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Sat: 9.00am – 12.30pm
Sun: Closed
Bank Holidays: Closed
Disabled Access: No
Enquiry Desk: 01942 728114

And finally useful numbers:

Hindley Neighborhood Policing Team Tel: 0161 856 7436

To find out who your local officers are go to

For non-emergency calls or to report a crime call 101 or
Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Use 999 only in emergencies where there is a threat to life or
crime in progress.

Fire Stoppers: 0800 923 9999

Environmental Services Helpline (to report anti-social behaviour):
01942 404021

Wigan Council main switchboard: 01942 244991

Areas cleaned by Beat It Team

1 The alley between Hampson Close and Flora Street. Litter picked and area tidied

2 The market steps. Litter picked and area tidied.

3 The spare land behind Bartons Off licence in North Street. Litter picked the area tidied and fly tipping removed

Please let me know if you know of any other area that needs cleaning and tidying.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Beat it Team

The Beat it team is coming to Ashton next week. This team will clean up litter and sort out other grot spots in the Ashton ward.

If you know of any areas that need cleaning up please let me know by contacting me on this blog or phone me on 736216.