Email (06/12/12) that eventually got the response letter below.

What we fail to understand is why this has still to happen?

Can it do so please or do we have to wait until more months pass by?

Why the delay and feet dragging – if you are going to ignore the views of more than two and half thousand citizens, that is your choice but at least have the guts to follow the Councils petitioners protocol and have a meeting as the rules say you should and do that in a timely manner.

It will be approaching six months since the petition was submitted next week.

Both Cllr Williamson and myself hope this matter will now be progressed as it should have been in the first place.

We await your response with interest as do thousands of Shaw and Crompton’s citizens and users of Shaw Baths.

People Communities and Society
Level 4, Civic Centre
West Street, Oldham

Tel: 0161 770 3184
Fax: 0161 770 1111

Dear Councillors Williamson and Sykes,

Re: Shaw/Crompton petition

I write to you following our meeting 14th November 2012 in relation to the progress of your petition through the petitions protocol.

We received your petition on 6th July 2012 and entered it in to the petition register where it was acknowledged by both constitutional services 7th July 2012 and the lead officer 11th July 2012, advising it would be reported to cabinet on September 2012.

We consider the meeting we had was an informal petitioners meeting and the action you requested was that we write to you with a response to the requests to reconsider the proposal to close Crompton Pool and replace it with a new pool in Royton Town Centre, and for the council look again at suitable sites within Shaw and Crompton and use one of those for the replacement pool.

A decision was made not to continue to operate the current Crompton Pool facility, due to the condition, age and running costs of the building. Cabinet considered the future of leisure provision in Royton, Shaw and Crompton at its January 3rd and January 30th 2012 meetings and agreed that a single, new build leisure facility will be re-provided within the leisure contract for the Royton, Shaw and Crompton District Partnership area. Cabinet received details of the robust site appraisal exercise undertaken and agreed that Royton Town Centre was its preferred location for a replacement facility.

Having reviewed the cabinet decisions we will not be reconsidering the outcome.

If you are not satisfied with this decision you can request a formal petitioners panel meeting, to be heard by Elected Members, by contacting Constitutional Services on 0161 770 5151, or via Email on

Copy of text of email 3rd December 2012

Dear Ms Kufeldt & constitution services (and Cllr McDonald),

Further to our recent meeting (14th November) and receipt of your letter dated 19th November (copy attached) which was actually emailed on Friday 23rd November at 4.58pm.

We do want a formal petitioners panel meeting or rather we want a petitioners meeting under the Council’s agreed protocols and have since we submitted the petition (in the summer and it was formally registered at the July Full Council meeting 11th July 12) on behalf of the residents of Shaw and Crompton (and users of the pool).

What we fail to understand is why this has still to happen?

Can it do so please or do we have to wait until more months pass by?

Why the delay and feet dragging – if you are going to ignore the views of more than two and half thousand citizens, that is your choice but at least have the guts to follow the Councils petitioners protocol and have a meeting as the rules say you should and do that in a timely manner.

It will be approaching six months since the petition was submitted next week.

Both Cllr Williamson and myself hope this matter will now be progressed as it should have been in the first place.

We await your response with interest as do thousands of Shaw and Crompton’s citizens and users of Shaw Baths.


Shaw & Crompton Parish Council have teamed up with Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale to host ten FREE events on green space sites across Shaw & Crompton. The aim of these events is to connect local people to their environment and encourage people of all ages to use their local green spaces.

Sunday 12th August 2012 (10:30am-3:30pm)
Valley Rise, off Trent Road, Lower Rushcroft OL2 7QF

Find out how footpaths are constructed and maintained and join a team to improve the path and steps down to the pond. Activities will include edging and cutting back vegetation.

Sunday 9th September 2012 (1-3pm)
High Crompton Park, Rochdale Road OL2 7PS

Create a splash of colour at High Crompton Park during spring by helping to plant native bulbs. Help to keep the park looking good and provide a resource for wildlife.

Sunday 14th October 2012 (11am-3pm)
Dunwood Park, Small Brook Lane OL2 7UQ

Come and explore the woods and discover what lives in and under the trees. Find out about this important habitat and take part in fun activities including insect and scavenger hunts.

Places limited for each event, please book a place in advance.
For more details or to book your place contact Suzanne Walton:
T: 0161 624 1444 or 07899 792 422

EDITOR Oldham Chronicle

EDITOR Oldham Chronicle – We write in response to ‘Oak Street Resident’ (Chronicle letters, ‘Future uncertain’, Monday, July 16).

Although members of different political parties in Oldham, we stand united in our response to the Shaw explosion and its aftermath.

We are joined in grief for the Heaton family and share a determination to continue assisting them – and the other residents displaced and affected by this tragic unforeseen event – with full and fair support.

We also share pride at the work undertaken by Council staff plus a range of partner organisations, including the Blue Light services, in response to this incident.

We are equally united in our rejection of the claims and personal attacks contained in the anonymous letter on Monday and will again put the record straight.

It is easy to attack the Council and speculate on matters because we are not allowed to publicly comment on individual cases and claims due to data protection issues. That confidentiality is something that we must – and will – respect for affected residents.

Everyone has the right to an opinion about how the Council and others responded to the incident: that is their right. But it is also wrong for ‘Oak Street Resident’ to misrepresent facts and attack individuals in such a misinformed way.

Reading that letter it would be easy to conclude that everyone within the 175 properties originally evacuated is fighting hard against an unfair council that doesn’t understand the problems people are facing.

This is simply not true.

Firstly, it suggests that people have been told they need to pay for their own demolished properties to be cleared away.

This has been addressed before. It is normal that costs associated with demolition in an incident like this are recharged to insurance companies. We continue to assist people who weren’t insured to address these concerns and support them through any legal procedures or financial hardship.

A second ‘untruth’ is to suggest that money from the Distress Fund is being offered as loans, not grants. Again this is untrue – and has already been made clear.

The original ‘Crisis Loans’, issued the day after the blast, were just that.

These were emergency funds to support people until the Oldham Distress Fund was set up. This is a totally separate fund, to which people and the Council donated – and no payments from the Distress Fund are repayable.

Trustees must ensure that funds are given appropriately and are working hard processing applications daily to ensure people are treated with due dignity and confidentiality, and fully supported throughout the process.

We know that for some people this has been a life-changing event and emotions have obviously run high at times.

Where we have made mistakes we will hold our hands up and accept criticism where there has, for example, been slow communication or a lack of clarity.

However, we wholly reject the personal criticisms made of Councillor Jean Stretton and Shaw Ward Councillors, Howard Sykes, Rod Blyth and Mark Alcock in this letter.

As the responsible Cabinet Member, Jean Stretton stood up to be counted in a crisis situation. She showed leadership, humanity and strength in a very difficult situation and continues to do so in her work on the Distress Fund.

The Shaw ward councillors were also actively involved in the Council response and the Distress Fund. They continue to work alongside residents and offer support to anyone who needs it.

The local community in Shaw is recovering and we are determined to assist that process.

We stand proud of the way that people and partner organisations pulled together in these extreme circumstances.

As a group we remain resolute in our determination to continue doing whatever is necessary to help.

Howard Sykes (Opposition Leader and Shaw Ward Member)
Jim McMahon (Oldham Council Leader)
Councillors Jenny Harrison, Mark Alcock, Abdul Jabbar and Steven Bashforth (Oldham Distress Fund Trustees).

Distress Fund Update

Oldham Council has set up the Oldham Distress Fund to support the residents affected by the explosion in Shaw on Tuesday June 26.

The Oldham Distress Fund is a Registered Charity (registered charity number 225145) which is independently audited and will discharge all money raised to those residents affected by this incident.

Any administration costs will be borne by the Council and will not come out of the Distress Fund.

Trustees of the Oldham Distress Fund are also meeting regularly to act on new applications as they are received.

Oldham Council has donated £100,000 to the official Distress Fund.

The Local Authority has agreed to inject this money from its revenue resources to help alleviate the immediate distress and hardship which the affected residents are experiencing.

An award of £125,000 has been made to Oldham Council from the Greater Manchester Disaster Relief Fund through Forever Manchester.

To date we have also received about £8,000 in public donations.

To date around £63,000 has either been dispensed in cash advances or agreed in principle as payments to be made from the official Oldham Distress Fund.

Oldham Council is also pursuing applications to other funding sources to build the level of emergency financial assistance.

So far the response has been truly inspirational.

Thanks to everyone for all your help.

Cash advances
Cash advances totalling £7,000 were made in immediate aftermath of the explosion to residents.

These are interest-free but repayable.

The Distress Fund was not incorporated as a charity at that stage and this money came from Council revenue resources.

These advances were made in order to help people get quick and easy access to cash and tide them over in the short-term.

The Council has committed to being very flexible regarding the repayment of these funds. We will not place affected residents in further hardship.

Distress Fund
The Distress Fund is there for anybody affected to make a claim who has suffered loss as a result of the explosion.

To date (Friday, July 13) we have approved to pay out £63,000 direct to applications received to the Distress Fund.

The vast majority of these payments will be in recipients’ bank accounts by close of play today.

These are grants – not repayable loans.

Trustees are meeting daily to consider and act upon new applications as soon as they are received.

Oldham Council donated £100,000 to the Distress Fund to ensure funds were in place immediately to assist those facing hardship.

Forever Manchester has also donated a further £125,000.

To date we have also received about £7,000 in public donations.

Initial emergency payments from the Distress Fund were made to residents in affected properties. These were allocated on six ‘zones’ decided by:

• The estimated timescales for residents being able to access their homes;
• The extent of damage to their property;
• The length of any stay in temporary accommodation.

This was to ensure that distribution was fair to all and enabled another quick short-term payment that residents could use for any purpose.

These interim payments are not repayable.

It is important to note that anyone who received one of these payments can apply for further payments from the Distress Fund.

The Trustees are also committed to the following:

• 100 per cent of the money given to the Distress Fund will be used to support the people affected in Shaw;
• The money will go directly to where it is needed;
• No money will be taken by the Council for administration costs;
• No money will be removed or transferred to other funds
• The cost of the clean-up and recovery will not come from the Distress Fund.

Accountability and transparency:
The Distress Fund is a registered charity and will have to submit annual returns to the Charity Commission, which will also be published in full on their website for transparency.

All financial transactions will be audited by the Council’s auditors. Any suggestion that these funds could be misused is clearly false.

The Council is also actively seeking other funding sources to further support the Distress Fund.

The Trustees of the Oldham Distress Fund are:

Councillors Abdul Jabbar, Jean Stretton and Howard Sykes. Substitute Ward Members – Jenny Harrison, Mark Alcock and Steven Bashforth – will attend if any of these are unavailable.

It is important to note that individuals with insurance are allowed to apply to the Distress Fund – and should do so immediately.

However, if you do have insurance you need to take care to not make a claim that could invalidate your insurance. To clarify, you cannot claim from the insurer and the Distress Fund for the same items or costs.

However, the Distress Fund is there to assist you with any hardship not covered by your insurance but incurred as a result of the explosion. This includes, for example, the Distress Fund paying your insurance excess for you.

Applications for Oldham Distress Fund
The Distress Fund is actively inviting applications to be made by anyone affected by the Shaw explosion.

To do this, either speak to your Support Worker or contact the Rest and Advice Centre at Shaw Lifelong Learning Centre on 0161 770 7770.

Staff are on hand at the Advice Centre on Farrow Street and will help affected residents to complete the application forms for monetary support. We hope to arrange payments of monetary support granted by early next week.

Staff will also arrange for immediate financial support where required.

You can also access a range of other advice on housing, welfare benefits, plus insurance and finance advice.

As part of this process we will be coordinating items, for example, beds, sofas, cookers and white goods that residents might need and arranging for donated items to be delivered / collected for residents.

Affected residents will need to have registered at the Rest Centre at the Lifelong Learning Centre prior to applications being received.

Non–monetary Donations
Following the explosion in Shaw, there has been an incredibly generous response by members of the public who have donated clothes, food, bedding, toiletries etc.

Currently we have more than enough of these items to meet immediate need and are focused on managing the storage and distribution of these donations. As we identify further needs in the coming days, we will appeal for specific items on this website.

The funeral of Jamie Heaton to be held at Noon on Thursday 19 July at East Crompton St. James Church

It is also expected traffic in other areas in the locality will be disrupted, which is understandable due to the numbers of people expected at the service.

Temporary road closures for Vicarage Street and St. James Street, Shaw will be in place on the day.

I am sure all our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this difficult time – Cllr Howard Sykes.

Thank you for the petition regarding Shaw and Crompton Pool

10th July 2012.

Thank you for the petition regarding Shaw and Crompton Pools.

This petition has been forwarded to the Executive Director – Economy Place and Skills and the Executive Director, People, Communities and Society.

You will receive a response from officers in due course, however, if you have any queries in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me.

I have forwarded copies of the petition to the relevant Cabinet Members and to your follow Shaw and Crompton Ward Councillors. I have also attached a copy of the petition electronically for your records.

Lori Hughes
Constitutional Services Officer
P O Box 160
Civic Centre, West Street
Oldham, OL1 1UG
Tel: 0161 770 4716

Police hand over cordon around blast houses

Greater Manchester Police is handing over control of the cordon around houses damaged in an explosion in Shaw to Oldham Council.

Crime Scene Investigators have concluded their investigations and police formally handed control of the scene to Oldham Council at 11am this morning, Thursday 5 July 2011.

Several properties have suffered significant damage, including numbers 7, 9 and 11 Buckley Street, which are all but demolished.

Divisional Commander of Oldham, Chief Superintendent Tim Forber, said: “The police investigation at the scene is now complete and we are handing over control of the cordon, which surrounds the most severely damaged properties, to the council.

“I want to reassure residents that this does not signify the end of our involvement in this incident. We have made a commitment to do all we can to help displaced residents and those most affected and that very much still stands.

“While we will no longer have officers on the cordon we will continue to have a presence in the area and will be working closely with the council to keep residents and property safe.

“It is important to stress that a number of houses remain structurally unsafe and dangerous and anyone found trying to gain access to those houses within the cordon will be dealt with by the police.”