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Oldham Road Chaos Addressed

Howard Sykes has demanded the issue of road chaos in Oldham be addressed in response to concerns expressed by local residents. In a letter to the Chief Executive of Oldham Council he says, “The current situation with regard to traffic congestion within the Borough as result of roadwork’s is becoming a major topic of concern amongst the residents of this Borough.
“Of course I recognise that the work related to Metrolink has been a significant factor in the problems related to the town centre, but you will be well aware that we as an administration took the implications of Metrolink very seriously and were constantly seeking improved signage, better communication with the public and of course improvements in the planning of road closures.
“But we have had a number of examples recently where the level of planning and communication with the public have fallen well short of the standards we would have expected and insisted upon – the perfect example being the current Ripponden Road resurfacing works.
“It is taking some people 50-60 minutes to do a simple three mile journey (or less) be it in the morning or in the evening. This cannot be right and the cost to our citizens and the business they work for must be enormous.
“The new labour administration undertook a review of the highways programme that the previous Lib Dem administration approved and, whilst that is their prerogative, the delays built into the system by the review has caused a major concertina effect.
“The whole situation as far as the public, the business community and the politicians is that there is a lack of direction and leadership and that things appear to be spiralling out of control.
“The public of this Borough are appealing in the strongest terms to me and my colleagues to take this by the scruff of the neck, bang some heads together and get the borough moving again.
Howard and the Liberal Democrats will continue to monitor the situation and to lobby for improvement on behalf of local residents and businesses.

Removal of Misleading Information Signs in Connection with Highway Works

     Date:       29 July 211

Ms Elaine McLean

Executive Director Economy, Places and Skills

Oldham Council

Dear Ms McLean

Re: Removal of Misleading Information Signs in Connection with Highway Works

Once again your officers, contractors and partners have failed with regard to the above signage. 

I wish I could say this is a one off but it is not.  Firstly we usually have a fight to get any information signs displayed about highway works and they certainly are never erected when the works commence, usually (if we are lucky), a few days later or some times weeks later.

To say I am very disappointed with having to advise officers from the top level in your Directorate to staff who are further down your team with respect to the above is a vast understatement and to do it repeatedly is tiresome to say the least!

I am fed up of seeing signs littered across the whole of our Borough “informing” citizens that roads are closed when in fact roads are fully operational and have been re-opened, in some instances, for at least one month.

A typical example of this is Grains Road, Shaw.  As of Friday 29 July 2011 several approach routes (and on the road itself) to Grains Road have yellow signs that advise that Grains Road will be closed due to roadwork’s for a period of two weeks (20 June – 3 July). 

Grains Road is in fact fully operational and has been since before 3 July and yet the signs have still not been removed!  The photograph attached gives clear evidence of what I am referring to. 

Next week it is 3 August, a full calendar month after the works have been completed and based upon past experience they will still be there if I had not had to intervene again and in fact do part of the job of whoever undertook this highway scheme.

With the unavoidable traffic congestions/delays that our citizens are trying to be patient with regarding various ‘roadwork’s’ in the Borough is it not surprising that they get angry when they are faced with incorrect diversion routes and signs – especially when these are compounded in one area!

For example, the diversion route which is currently in operation in Shaw to facilitate ‘Metrolink works’ – drivers are now travelling a diversion route to avoid Beal Lane but also think that Grains Road is closed – causing yet further havoc – which could be avoided! 

Does someone not “walk the route” following completion of such schemes and ensure that everything is in place and as it should be, signage included?  They clearly do not and if they do we need to send them for an eye test. 

People should take pride in their work – the really annoying thing is the scheme itself on Grains Road is a first class job – started on time and completed before expected and is welcomed by its many users – this is spoiled as so many such schemes are due to lack of attention to detail.

Surely it is not beyond the wit of man (or woman) to get this right and it would just make drivers less angry and more patient when faced with the diversions that are unavoidable.

I look forward to your reply with interest and more importantly what measures are going to be put in place to give the citizens of our Borough the confidence that our traffic signing is in fact correct. 

Also when there is next a scheme in my patch of Shaw and Crompton that it will not require three to four interventions by myself or my colleagues to get signage and other matters up and correct then removed in a timely manner when the scheme is complete.

 Yours sincerely – Howard Sykes

Sykes accuses Labour of “incredible incompetence that will cost Oldham and Rochdale tens of millions pounds”

 Date: 19th July 2011


Sykes accuses Labour of “incredible incompetence that will cost Oldham and Rochdale tens of millions pounds”

 That was the first reaction of Councillor Howard Sykes; Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition on Oldham Council, on being told the proposed joint working arrangement between Oldham and Rochdale Council is off.

 Councillor Sykes said: “Labour, after only a few months in charge of both Oldham and Rochdale Councils, have failed to do a deal that could have protected front line services while making a significant contribution to the savings both Councils need to make over the next 2-3 years (up to £50 million).”

 “I can’t believe that in such a short space of time Labour could have contrived to make such a monumental cock up.  The last Lib Dem administration left a good working relationship between Oldham and Rochdale which could have delivered up to half the total savings both Councils need to find over the next three years.”

 Councillor Sykes added: “This was the most obvious and beneficial way to find a huge chunk of the massive savings both Councils needed to make, savings which would have been achieved by sharing management, sharing human resources, reducing duplication, economies of scale etc. The whole package, taken together, would have taken massive pressure off frontline services and jobs.  It was a no brainer and makes you wonder why we did not do it years ago!”

 “The people who will pay the price are the staff and the hard working citizens of Oldham and Rochdale,” claimed Councillor Sykes.  “Talk of loss of local democratic control by either council is a smoke screen to hide Labour’s failure.”

 He concluded:  “As a result of this incompetence, after only two months in power, Labour are taking us back to the dark days – hundreds and hundreds of additional Oldham Council staff have been condemned to redundancy and a huge strain placed on frontline services to cut costs.”

 “It is not an exaggeration to say that this is a very bad day for Oldham Council, its staff and the citizens of this borough”


Sykes welcomes achievements of Affordable warmth initiative

 Date: 7th June 2011


Sykes welcomes achievements of Affordable warmth initiative

Councillor Howard Sykes, Liberal Democrat leader of the opposition on Oldham Council is delighted with the success of the Affordable Warmth initiative.

 Councillor Sykes said: “This was one of many initiatives which we brought in during the three years we ran Oldham Council from 2008 -11.  We decided that rather than just accept that more than 10,000 families were suffering fuel poverty and that thousands of homes had sub standard insulation, we would do something about it.”

 He added: “To us in the Lib Dems it all made sense, better insulated and warmer homes improves the quality of life for our residents, improves health and reduces pressure on NHS services. It ticks all the boxes and is win win as far as we are concerned.”

 He continued: “Our only disappointment was that the economic climate made it difficult to put more money in, but the extra £53k we found in the budget last year helped bring in over £6M of new money to Oldham allowing 3,000 energy efficiency measures to be installed and 200 residents advised on how to get out of fuel poverty”.

 Councillor Sykes concluded: “Despite being only the first year of a three year programme, this scheme was already hugely successful at targeting the elderly, the less well off and the vulnerable in our Borough, all of which makes it even more surprising that the new Labour administration want to cut the extra funding and want to dismantle the scheme.”           


Community waste fund – cash could be better spent – claims Lib Dem Sykes

Date: 19th May 2011    


Community waste fund – cash could be better spent – claims Lib Dem Sykes

Councillor Howard Sykes, Oldham Liberal Democrat Group Leader expresses his dismay at the recent announcement that the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) is to re-launch the Community Waste Fund.

Councillor Sykes said: “I don’t doubt that there is merit in the Community Waste Fund and I wish those groups bidding for it well; however, it does nothing for tens of thousands of residents of Oldham, Shaw, Royton, Crompton and Saddleworth who are going to lose their rubbish and recycling facility at Beal Hey in Shaw.  The £100K for this scheme would go a long way to keep this valuable facility open.”

“The GMWDA are spending considerable time, energy and money on an advertising campaign to encourage Community groups to bid for grants to improve recycling when my local community already has a hugely popular and very well used facility owned by the GMWDA at Beal Hey,” he added.

He continued: “Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority instead of spending time and money on needless advertising campaigns should focus on repaying the commitment to recycling shown by the citizens of this Borough and overturn the short-sighted and frankly ludicrous decision to close Beal Hey.  That closure will result in longer journeys and a much increased carbon footprint for those prepared to travel the extra distance to Arkwright Street on the other side of Oldham.”

“My fear is fly-tipping will go through the roof locally and as a result Shaw & Crompton will become a much dirtier place,” claimed local Lib Dem Councillor Howard Sykes.

He concluded: “Beal Hey ticks all the boxes when it comes to getting the community involved in meeting the recycling target of 50% by 2020; it really is time the Waste Disposal Authority got its act together and proved they are as serious about recycling as the people of Shaw and Crompton are.”


Copy of original GMWDA media release on this matter.

Community Waste Fund

Back by popular demand! -The GMWDA Community Waste Fund 2011

For 2011-12 the Community Waste Fund is bigger. Due to the success and oversubscription of the fund last year the Authority has agreed to increase the amount available to community groups to £100k, so this year we will be allocating the fund over two rounds.

We hope this will encourage more groups to apply and give groups more time to consider whether their project idea is relevant for the Fund. All of the criteria for applicants remain the same. However in the first round this year we want emphasise increasing our recycling rate across Greater Manchester.

Important dates for your funding calendar

The first funding round for 2011 will be open on 9th May 2011 and will close on 17th June 2011. The second funding round for this year will open on 5th December 2011 and close on the 20th January 2012. Just the same as last year applicants will be able to access the guidance for applicants online and will need to complete an initial online Expression of Interest Form.

 Help us exceed a 50% recycling rate by 2020!

The aim of the fund is to provide funding for projects that will make an impact on the amount of waste produced in Greater Manchester. We are supporting projects that will positively impact on our Municipal Waste Management Strategy (MWMS) targets and help reach our goal of zero waste to landfill.

This year we are encouraging applications from projects that we help us increase recycling rates in Greater Manchester. Our aim is to get local groups such as tenants and residents groups and community groups to think of innovative ways to help residents to recycle right and to recycle more. Please note that applications for other projects that meet our criteria will still be considered.

To view the press release please click here.

Community Waste Fund NEWS UPDATE
2010 funded projects

Last year we supported 6 community organisations to help us reduce waste in Greater Manchester, however we had applications from more than 37 groups and so we had to make some very difficult decisions. All projects have started and are well underway.

Pearls Scrap Store – Rochdale: To increase the number and range of business donating ‘waste’ items and increase scrap store membership and activities with schools and community groups.
Project co-ordinator Tina Wright 01706 861811

Wesley Community Furniture Project Manchester: The project aims to increase the value of some ‘antique’ items donated for reuse through restoration and refurbishment, develop volunteer skills and increase revenue.
Project co-ordinator: Richard Lockwood 0161 232 0631

Rebuild – Bury: The project proposes to work with Rochdale Council  to pilot a furniture re-use service in neighbouring areas of Rochdale.
Project co-ordinator Liz Jackson 0161 764 0444

Nationwide Cycling Academy-Bury: The project aims to develop a sustainable method to reuse unwanted bikes to provide affordable safe reconditioned bikes to increase access to affordable bikes for local communities and to enable volunteers to gain certified cycle maintenance training.
Project co-ordinator Julie Woodruff 0161 7739566

Monton Community Association- Salford: To undertake a 12- 24 month programme of waste prevention activities with Monton residents, community groups and businesses to reduce waste increase recycling and reuse by working directly with local people. The programme will also aim to increase recycling rates, reduce waste and develop community cohesion and involvement.
Project co-ordinator Joy Dent 07779608203

Emerge- Manchester: To develop a community champions volunteering project that will, over 12 months, recruit and train at least 10 reduce, reuse and recycle community champions in each district.
Project co-ordinator Denise Lambert 0161 2238200

 You told us how we could improve the Fund

This is only the second year of the fund and we are still learning and improving how we manage the Fund. In April we contacted every group that applied for funding in 2010 and asked them to tell us what they thought of the Community Waste Fund application process. We sent out 37 feedback forms and got a 13.5 % return. We received some very positive comments which suggested that we are going in the right direction. As a result of this feedback we have kept the application process the same as last year.

We have considered comments about the feedback process for unsuccessful applicants and, as a result we will be speeding up our feedback to unsuccessful projects and making our comments much clearer.

Some applicants wanted more support with completing the application form, so we will now ensure that all CVS’s in Greater Manchester are aware of the fund and able to support groups through the application process. 

If you have any enquires regarding the Fund or Community Groups, then please email