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

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

Britannia Avenue – Residents Only Parking Scheme – LATEST

Due to some technical issues – the fact that there appears to be no provision for visitors passes in the scheme – its introduction date has been delayed a few weeks so I can have discussions with Highway officers to try and resolve this matter.

The whole point of this scheme is so that residents and their visitors can park, without that what is the point! To say I am unhappy would be a MAJOR understatement.

Hopefully I will get the Council to agree to a scheme that will work for all residents. Rest assured I am trying my best for this outcome.

Traditional Victorian Christmas Fair – Saturday 1st December 2012

Laurel Bank’s Victorian Christmas Fair

Traditional Victorian Christmas Fair, at Laurel Bank Day Centre, Kershaw Street, Shaw, Saturday 1st December 2012, 11.00 – 3.00pm

“Come and meet Santa in his Grotto”

Enjoy a festive drink and mince pie

Many Crafts, Fancy goods, Bric-a-Brac, Jewellery, Cakes, Tombola, Bags & Scarves, Festive Crafts & Gifts

Raffle, Games & Fancy Dress Competition

Remembrance Sunday – 11th November

Assemble at Newtown Street at 10:30 prompt, ready for the procession at 10:40.

All not in the procession are encouraged to assemble directly at the War Memorial on High Street for the service that will start as soon as the procession and those marching for other churches have all gathered.

The Chairman of Shaw & Crompton Parish Council will lay a wreath alongside the Mayors’ representative at the start of the tributes, followed by others including non-uniformed organisations and the general public.

Both civic representatives will take the salute at the end of the service.

Tea and coffee after care of the Shaw & Crompton branch of the Royal British Legion at their offices/hall in Newtown Street after the service.

This is a fitting tribute to remember those who have given their lives so we might enjoy ours today.

The event is supported by hundreds of Shaw and Crompton’s citizens, if you have never attended pop along, you will get a warm welcome, and can play your part in our annual act of remembrance.

Britannia Avenue – Residents Only Parking Scheme – Approved!

At long last and after many, many, months (and years) of continuing to pursue the above on behalf of residents – we now have a positive result – the Britannia Avenue residents parking scheme should become operative from Monday 29 October 2012, according to highways officers.

I am absolutely delighted that with the help and support of residents that we have finally got this scheme approved and most importantly prior to the Metrolink arriving in Shaw.

Hopefully this will help address some of the parking difficulties local residents have been concerned about with the former railway (and future Metrolink) stop being nearby and it will also prevent workers from Littlewoods/Yodel/Shop Direct and other nearby places of work/business from occupying spaces meant for residents.

Over the next couple of weeks new signs will be erected regarding the residents parking scheme.

Council officers will be writing directly to residents on how to obtain a residents parking permit.

Metrolink works starting 14th October

I just thought I would let you know that MPT has applied for permission to do 9am -5pm working on Sundays starting from this weekend until 25th November to enable them to carry out the testing of the line from Mumps to Shaw

The works are classified as “quiet” in respect of the fact that they are running and testing trams rather than using heavy construction equipment. There might be hand tools and smaller equipment used so should not be too much of a problem (noise wise) for local residents.

Many rumours continue about the opening date which I try and seek some clarity on every week.

The ‘public promise’ is still Autumn, which I eventually managed to pin down as before 21st December!

I will do my very best to keep local residents informed – Howard Sykes.


Shaw and Crompton’s Liberal Democrat Councillors highlighted an issue to the Highways Department and we are pleased to report that funding has been secured to address serious road safety issues that have been identified along Oldham Road.

The frequency and severity of road traffic accidents, coupled with the average speed of vehicles, was a serious cause of concern for us and as such, measures will now be taken to address these issues.

Over the last couple of months you will have noticed the vehicle detector cables across the road. The reason for this is that a new speed survey was required. It looks very likely that this section of Oldham Road could qualify for the introduction of safety cameras. The data has now been collected and the report has been sent to the Safety Camera Partnership for approval.

Obviously, if we have any further information about when the speed cameras will be installed or any other issues relating to the road safety scheme, we will let you know.