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TEMPORARY TRAFFIC ORDERS CROMPTON WAY / HIGH STREET, SHAW – weekend closures 19/20 and 26/27 January 2013

This length of work is part of a much larger scheme to lay a high voltage cable from the electricity sub station on Edge Lane Street, Royton, to the sub station on Linney Lane, Shaw.

Due to restrictions on working in certain highways the route will be Shaw Road, Royton / Blackshaw Lane / Heyside / Oldham Road, Shaw / Crompton Way / Linney Lane.

Work will proceed under temporary traffic signals and at major junctions along the route the work will be at weekends only, with lane closures in force along Crompton Way.

Signals will be manually operated throughout the working day in an effort to minimise undue queue lengths.

Unfortunately due to the nature of the work and the route it will take, some disruption is inevitable.

Help for residents to stay warm and well this winter

Keep Cosy – Referral form and guidance NEW

I thought I would post a reminder of what help is available to Oldham Borough residents over this winter period:

• Toasty Oldham – free loft & cavity insulation for ALL residents. This offer was due to end at the end of December, however the Utility company has not yet met their targets, so the offer has been extended (not sure when new ‘end date’ is, as when they meet their targets the scheme will be pulled). RING 0800 009 3363.

Last week we re-launched the successful ‘Keep Cosy’ scheme, to offer further assistance to our most vulnerable residents.

• Keep Cosy – home energy check, energy freebies installed, emergency heating repairs, hot meals delivery service, free smoke alarms, benefits checks and help out of fuel debt & off prepayment meters. Please see attached at the top of this post a referral form for use.

SHAW BATHHS PETITION HEARD AT LAST – JUST 6 MONTHS AFTER IT WAS SUBMITTED!

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
OL1 1UT

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 constitutional.services@oldham.gov.uk

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.

Jubilee and Wren’s Nest/Bridge Street Bridges, Milnrow Road, Shaw

MPT will be carrying out jet wash cleaning operations on two bridges situated on Milnrow Road, Shaw, next week.

On Monday / Tuesday work will be undertaken on the bridge located at Jubilee bends.

On Wednesday / Thursday work will be undertaken on the bridge located south of Bridge Street.

In each case, traffic signals will be in place between 9.30am – 3.30pm only, or until work is complete on that day.

The works supervisor is Danny Walker who can be contacted on 07963 039 067

Three Questions I asked the Leader of Oldham Council on Wednesday 12th December

Politics and Adopters / Foster Carers

I hope the Leader will agree with me that the most important single thing a child who is adopted or fostered needs is to be placed with caring and loving parents?

What assurance can the Leader provide that a situation would not arise in our Borough like that which occurred recently in Rotherham where foster parents who were members of the UK Independence Party, a legal political party, had the children in their care removed from them by overzealous council officials, who judged them to be unfit parents because of their political views?

Police Parade

Will the Leader join me in condemning the proposed change in local Police procedure that will require Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s) to parade before duty at Oldham Police Station prior to deployment to their assigned beat?

This change will mean that officers will have less time on the beat to actually detect crime, apprehend criminals and help the public as they will have to travel between central Oldham and our outlying districts and communities, rather than simply reporting for duty on their beat at the start of a shift.

Does the Leader agree that this unnecessary reduction in service to the public will be particularly acute where officers are travelling (via bike or foot) to more distant locations of the borough, such as East Crompton, Lees and the villages of Saddleworth?

Free Parking and Metrolink

Can the Leader explain to the people of Oldham Borough how it benefits the town’s retail economy to offer three hours free parking on Saturdays on car parks located near to Mumps so shoppers can leap on a tram and use Metrolink to do their shopping in Manchester?

And isn’t this situation all the more farcical when a two-for-one Metrolink ticket offer enables twice the number of shoppers to take twice the money away from Oldham’s shopkeepers?

When will we see a two-for-one Metrolink ticket offer to bring Manchester shoppers to our borough to experience our warm Oldham welcome and everything else we have to offer visitors?

Trams to start running to Shaw and Crompton on Sunday 16th December – and not before time states Sykes

Local Lib Dem Shaw Councillor Howard Sykes has welcomed the news that at long last trams will run to Shaw from Sunday December 16th.

“We have waited a number of years for this day and this has to be a welcome Christmas present for local residents and potential users,” stated Cllr Sykes. “Along with my colleagues we have been pushing for the line to open before the New Year for some time now.”

“The scheme is best part of a year behind schedule and I had hoped some of the potential parking issues (park and ride sites) could be resolved in this time, however I and my colleagues will continue to work on these.”

“Former users of the rail line have been very patient and have had to put alternative travel arrangements in place for more than three years, he added. “Hopefully it will not be too long until we also get connected via the tram to Rochdale.”

“Hopefully some the decisions we made and lobbied for years ago about the Shaw stop will now come to fruition – like making sure the tram stop was on the opposite side of Beal Lane from where the old station platform was – as this should help with traffic issues on Beal Lane. People will recall when the rail line was in use this was a nightmare at peak times and log jammed the whole of Shaw up at times.”

“Some of us did wonder if this day would ever arrive! It is enough to restore your faith in Santa!” He claimed. “And we can all go and put our reindeer and sled away now!”

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