View more tweets

SHAW BLAST UPDATE – DECEMBER 2012

Over recent weeks, we have been putting insurance companies under pressure to agree the repair works to individual properties and this has resulted in works starting to quite a few houses and some owners moving back in. However, some owners have still to provide the necessary estimates, which is holding up progress. In the meantime, we have maintained tight security on site to reduce the likelihood of homes being broken into.

Oldham Distress Fund

All money donated to the Oldham Distress Fund will be used to directly benefit residents affected.

A full list of donations made to date can be found at www.oldham.gov.uk

To date £300,000 has been donated. Around £230,000 of this has already been committed to affected residents. Applications to the distress fund, continue to be approved by Trustees and paid quickly to ensure repairs can be made.

So far the fund has successfully helped 91 households to cope with the impact of the explosion and we have received a lot of positive feedback on how the situation was handled.

Demolition/site update

Numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and13 Buckley St. have been demolished. They were either dangerous and unsafe or beyond reasonable repair. Some of the owners of these homes have now settled with their insurers and moved to other areas. We wish them well in their new homes.

Insurers are still considering the future of some the remaining properties. If they decide that more demolitions will take place, the insurance company will inform the home owner.

Any further demolitions will be organised by the insurance company who will appoint their own contractors.

What will happen to the cleared site?

The site freeholder is waiting to see what happens with the remaining homes. Once that situation is clear, we will engage with him to share his views with residents on his plans for the site.

Round the clock security remains on site. We are reviewing the need this security as some residents are moving back and we need to make the site more accessible.

COUNCIL MOTION CONDEMNS LABOUR FOR OPPOSING PROPOSAL IN LORDS TO HELP OLDHAM’S POOREST

At today’s full Council meeting (12th December), Leader of the Opposition and Lib Dem Group, Councillor Howard Sykes, will propose a motion expressing Oldham Council’s disappointment that the Labour Party in the House of Lords opposed a cross party proposal that would have helped protect Oldham’s poorest citizens from cuts to Council Tax Benefit.

Every council is now required to agree its own local Council Tax Benefit scheme by 31st January 2013. However local authorities are allowed a lot of local flexibility within the law.

The cross party proposal was to change the law to allow local councils (if they wished) to reduce the Single Person’s Discount from 25 to 20%, for non-pensioners.

In Oldham, this measure would have generated £970,000 of extra income per year.

“Local authorities should have regard to the most vulnerable in their area when drawing up their scheme,” stated Councillor Howard Sykes. “It is right for local councils to take account of the local circumstances in their communities and to draw up a scheme that they believe is appropriate for them”.

“Oldham’s Liberal Democrats would have liked the opportunity to have proposed this measure for approval as part of our alternative local Council Tax Benefit scheme,” stated Cllr Lynne Thompson. “In hard times, this would have freed up almost £1 million to reduce the Council Tax bills of the poorest households in the Borough.”

“By opposing this measure in the Lords, and so bringing about its defeat, Labour has inflicted greater financial hardship on those local citizens who are least able to bear it,” said Councillor Sykes.

“Hopefully Labour locally in Oldham will join us in condemning this move and put the interests of citizens of this Borough first and politics second (something they are quick to accuse the Lib Dems of not doing) and back our motion. We shall see what they do over this key local issue and if their rhetoric on such issues is just that!”

Copy of Motion

“This Council expresses its objection to the cuts made in the Council Tax Support Scheme and reiterates its intention to attempt to protect those low-income households in Oldham who would be most affected.

Council welcomes all-party initiatives by the Local Government Association (LGA) which have succeeded in improving certain elements of the scheme, including securing a transitional grant, which in Oldham’s case amounts to £461,000.

This Council also notes that one of the measures proposed by the LGA to allow Councils to be more flexible was a proposal to reduce the single person discount for non-pensioner households from 25% to 20%.

In Oldham Borough, it is estimated that this could have made an additional £970,000 a year available to help less well-off households.

This proposal was supported by the LGA Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent Groups. An amendment to introduce it was moved in the House of Lords on 23rd October.

This Council notes with disappointment that the Labour party in Parliament issued a three-line whip instructing its members in the Lords to oppose it, ensuring that it was defeated. Council believes this was an action of political opportunism driven by the belief that without lower income families feeling the pain, Labour would not get any electoral gain.

Council notes that the only Labour Member of the House of Lords with the courage to stand by his principles, defy the whip and support the amendment was the Leader of Wigan Council and Chair of both the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Lord Smith of Leigh.

Council resolves to instruct the Chief Executive to:

• Write to Lord Smith to congratulate him on his principled stand in supporting the less well-off in Greater Manchester;

• Write to the Local Government Association expressing the Council’s support for the proposal and to urge all parties on the LGA to continue to press Government and the Opposition on this matter.

Proposed: Cllr Howard Sykes
Seconded: Cllr Lynne Thompson

Shaw Site Update – copy of info distrbuted to local residents last week

November 2012

Dear Resident,

We thought it would be useful to bring you the latest update on the Buckley Street site.

Over recent weeks, we have been putting insurance companies under pressure to agree the repair works to individual properties and this has resulted in works starting to quite a few houses and some owners moving back in.

However, some owners have still to provide the necessary estimates which is holding up progress. In the meantime, we have maintained tight security on site to reduce the likelihood of homes being broken into.

Oldham Distress Fund
All money donated to the Oldham Distress Fund will be used to directly benefit residents affected.

A full list of donations made to date can be found at www.oldham.gov.uk To date just over £300,000 has been donated. £220,000 of this has already been committed to affected residents.

Applications to the distress fund, continue to be approved by Trustees and paid quickly to ensure repairs can be made. So far the fund has successfully helped 91 households to cope with the impact of the explosion and we have received a lot of positive feedback on how the situation was handled.

Demolition/site update
As you know numbers 1-13 Buckley St. have been demolished. They were either dangerous and unsafe, or beyond reasonable repair. Some of the owners of these homes have now settled with their insurers and moved to other areas.

We wish them well in their new homes. Insurers are still considering the future of some the remaining properties. If they decide that more demolitions will take place, the insurance company will inform the home owner. Any further demolitions will be organised by the insurance company who will appoint their own contractors.

What will happen to the cleared site?
The person who owns the freehold to the site is waiting to see what happens with the remaining homes, i.e. 15-21 Buckley Street. Once that situation is clear, we will encourage him to share his views with residents on his plans for the site.

Round the clock security remains on site, however we are reviewing the need for security as some residents are on the verge of moving back and we need to make the site more accessible.

Advice and Support
Residents affected by the explosion in Shaw can access help in the following ways:
• To apply to the Oldham Distress Fund call 0161 770 7770 or download the application form from www.oldham.gov.uk
• For Housing advice call 0161 770 5113 or email onepoint@fcho.co.uk
• For access to the site call 0161 770 2222 or email first.response2@oldham.gov.uk
• For any other enquiries call 0161 770 1680. Or email carol.watterson@oldham.gov.uk

SHAW & CROMPTON PARISH COUNCIL – ANNUAL REPORT

SHAW & CROMPTON PARISH COUNCIL
Council Offices, 23 High Street, Shaw, Oldham OL2 8RF
Tel: 01706 847590 e-mail: clerk.shawcrompc@btconnect.com

ANNUAL REPORT
The Parish Council met ten times during the civic year 2011-12 (monthly except August and April). In addition to its routine business, the Council:
• Opposed the closure of Beal Hey Recycling Centre
• Opposed the closure of Crompton Pool
• Requested that a bus stop be moved in Market Street, Shaw
• Received presentations on: Old Osram site, Refuge Street, Shaw; Laurel Bank Day Centre; a housing insulation scheme;

Much of the work of the Council is carried out by its Committees and Sub-Committees. The Planning and Finance & General Purposes Committees normally meet every month and the six sub-committees each meet between four and ten times during the year. All meetings are open to the public.

Planning
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (OMBC) has a duty to consult the Parish Council on planning applications within Shaw and Crompton. Residents are able to make representation to the Parish Council; public participation is encouraged as views from people living and working in the area are important to the decision making process. The Parish Council Planning Committee makes a recommendation to OMBC who make the final decision.

The Parish Council Planning Committee considered 106 applications during the year of which 19 were recommended for refusal.

Community Events
The Communications & Promotions Sub-Committee is responsible for organising activities and events, many of which have become regular features of the town’s life. These include the Family Weekend and Vehicle Rally, held in summer each year, and which was its usual success in 2011. This year the Family Weekend will be held on Saturday & Sunday 23 & 24 June 2012, and planning is already well advanced.

Other events arranged by the Sub-Committee were: Parish Council Chairman’s Civic Service; Civic Reception; Crompton Circuit walk; Lancashire Day proclamation; Christmas Charity Market; Schools’ Christmas Music Festival; Spring Charity Market. Hanging baskets were placed along High Street, Market Street, and parts of Milnrow Road and Crompton Way; a decorated Christmas Tree was placed at Wren’s Nest, where the lights were switched on at the end of November.

An archaeological survey of Crompton Moor was completed during Summer 2011. A 20 page newsletter – “The Parish Matters” – was distributed to every house in the Parish.

Environment
A major aspect of the Council’s work is in the field of environmental improvement. The Council thanks all those who give their time, expertise and effort to assist the Parish through working with the Environment Sub-Committee. One of the many areas that has been concentrated on is invasive species that are threatening the ecology of the local environment, buildings and infrastructure.

There has been considerable effort put into the maintenance of public footpaths and bridleways and the refurbishment/replacement of stiles, or their substitution by Kissing Gates, while attempting to establish new, or to re-establish old, public footpaths. The maintenance and clearance of public areas for the benefit of the community has been another main focus.

Grants
During the year the Council was able to make 10 grants, with a total value of £2,144. The grant scheme will continue during 2012/2013.

Premises
There has been a steady increase of third parties using the building, eg Friends of Dunwood Park. New premises for use as Council Offices were identified and a recommendation for purchase of the leasehold was approved by the Council.

Approval to borrow sufficient funds for the purchase was obtained from DCLG. Negotiations have taken place regarding the terms of the lease. It was agreed to update the software used on the Council Office’s PC.

Staffing & Pay
The Sub-Committee met on two occasions (October 2011 and January 2012). The main work of the sub-committee is to oversee the Clerk’s appraisal and other associated matters such as pay award, annual increments, pension provision, and the Sickness Contingency Fund.

Law and Order
The Council continues to have great concern for law and order issues, in particular the policing of the area and the town centre, and takes all opportunities to bring these matters to the attention of the responsible bodies.

The Council is represented on the Royton, Shaw and Crompton Area Action Team.

Citizens Advice Bureau
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is an established part of the township. Previously based at the Council Offices, the Shaw Outreach deals with a wide range of queries from many Shaw and Crompton residents.

The Parish Council is happy to continue to fund this valuable service, which means that residents can receive advice locally. The service has been re-located to Crompton Library and is available every Thursday (9.30am-12.30pm & 1.30-4.00pm); no appointment is necessary.

Conclusion
During the year, residents have made enquiries at the Council Offices about a variety of issues. Depending on their nature, these have been taken up with Oldham MBC, or referred to Parish or Metropolitan Borough councillors. Matters taken up on behalf of residents have included things such as planning issues, housing issues or roads.

The Council seeks to continue the development of a pattern of civic life to benefit the whole community, by fostering different types of activities. It does not have the resources to organise and run all the varied events and projects which make Shaw and Crompton into a thriving community. Its policy is to assist other organisations within the Parish as much as it can.

For instance, many local charities are able to raise money through having stalls at Charity Markets; a wide range of organisations benefit from the grants that the Council is able to make to them; a number of groups use the Council Offices for meetings in the evenings. Other groups requiring help are encouraged to ask and, where possible, the Council will try to assist.

Dr Ray Hughes
Clerk to the Council

Consider the best of Committees urges Sykes

The following motion was tabled and debated at the Oldham Council meeting on 7th November.

The Localism Act 2011 makes provision for Local Authorities, subject to certain conditions, to replace the Leader and Cabinet or Elected Mayor models and allow a return to the traditional Committee based Governance System.

Despite the Act being on the Statute Books for many months, to date, this Council has not been afforded an opportunity to consider options for a return to what was a well understood and respected decision making system.

This Council believes that in the interests of democracy, openness and transparency, members of this Council should ultimately be offered the prospect of debating and determining (in a free vote) whether it would wish to see a return to a traditional form of Committee based Governance.

This Council further believes that this matter would benefit from detailed consideration and examination by Overview and Scrutiny who, by reporting back to the Council meeting on 6th February 2013 would allow, should Council should so determine, the opportunity for implementation in the new Municipal year.

This Council therefore resolves that consideration of options for return to a Committee based Governance system for Oldham Council be referred to Overview and Scrutiny and that they be required to report back with recommendations to the 6th February 2013 Council meeting.

All Labour Councillors voted against this proposal and it was therefore defeated.

Questions asked at last Oldham Council meeting on 7th November 2012

Metrolink
It is a source of great regret and disappointment that the next phase of the Metrolink line through to Shaw and on to Rochdale will not be open as previously promised by December, some 12 months late!

Would the Leader join with me in expressing concern that the delay will lead to a further loss of goodwill from the public and significant potential revenue loss for Oldham Town centre and the conurbation of Greater Manchester by failing to latch on to the busy pre-Christmas retail period.

Would the Leader also agree that it had been possible for the line to be opened before Christmas and that it appears to me a policy decision has clearly been taken to delay the opening until the New Year, when it is clear that the line to Shaw and Crompton could even have been opened later this month?

Coliseum theatre refurbishment
The refurbished Coliseum has recently re-opened its doors to the public of this Borough and I would like to take this opportunity, as I am sure the Leader would also like to do, in welcoming the return of the Coliseum back to its home.

The Leader will remember and I am sure welcome, the actions of the previous administration which had the foresight and political will to set aside more than £1.4 million in 2010 for the refurbishment of the Coliseum Theatre.

Would he also remember that when the investment in the theatre refurbishment was announced, he responded publicly in less than enthusiastic fashion saying “Is this value for money — for the investment you are making?”

His sceptical tone was echoed by his Shadow Cabinet colleague responsible for Leisure who said “We still support the Coliseum but we have to look at the real price of it in the light of severe council cuts. We should be looking at a building or a site somewhere else in the town.”

Indeed the Leader may also remember that in September 2008 he called for the Coliseum to be located in the Oldham Town hall, a suggestion which only a year later, was described as a ‘pipe dream’, a sentiment, echoed by a former Labour Cabinet Member who said: “it was always a pipe dream.”

Would the Leader now accept that the proposals put in place by the previous administration to refurbish the Coliseum, therefore maintaining and retaining one of Oldham’s crown jewels was right and correct?

Oldham Town Hall
The re-use and redevelopment of Oldham Town Hall continues to receive a very positive response from all quarters.

I am sure the Leader would recognise the role of the previous Administration which, in 2009/10 set aside more than £700k to stabilise the crumbling building and make it watertight.

Would he also agree that the urgent actions we took some three years ago have provided the foundation for the current administration to take rejuvenation of the building to the next stage?

Something that was always in our long term vision and in fact I spoke in this chamber some time ago – and specifically about a cinema being located in the old Town Hall.
That vital investment of a little under three quarter of a million pounds turned back the tide of decades of neglect under successive Labour administrations.

In fact without that cash there would have been no prospect of using the building, because it was in imminent danger of major roof collapse – causing the whole structure to become unsafe – then it would have gone the way of the Park Road Warehouse – that is demolition!

Matt Gallagher – Police and Crime Commissioners election 15th November 2012

As a former frontline Police Officer I know what Greater Manchester residents need and want from the Police.

My Manifesto outlines how I will make the police more effective, efficient and responsive.

If I am elected I will put residents and victims first and make Criminals pay.

As a former copper of 30 years standing, I understand the pressures on the modern copper.

I know where there is waste in the system.

I want to cut red tape and increase the number and visibility of officers.

I want to improve response times.

I want to ensure overlooked groups are better represented in GMP.

My manifesto also includes:

• a groundbreaking Apprenticeship scheme.

• A Police station in every community.

• Public Safety Reps on some Bus routes to tackle Anti Social Behaviour.

• A Commissioner’s Annual Award to ten young people from across Greater Manchester who have done something to improve the image of young people.

• Regular surveys with residents to ensure priorities are right.

• Greater links between PCSOs and communities.

• A change in the law to allow the Commissioner to recover the costs of court cases from Criminals.

• A change in the law to block mobile phone signals in Prisons.

If you want to see my complete manifesto, or have any questions, please contact me at my website
http://mattgallagher.mycouncillor.org.uk/