Kidsgrove Railway Station Meeting

Public meeting has been called for the month of March . . .

Margaret Astle says:” A public meeting has been arranged for the 20th March 2015 which will take place at Kidsgrove Railway Station, commencing from 12.30pm to discuss the future proposals for the installation of a new disabled footbridge, enlargement of the car park and new build of the actual station.”

The old goods yard [the derelict land adjacent to the station] has been donated to Network Rail to ensure that the regeneration of Kidsgrove Railway Station takes place.

Councillor Margaret Astle would like to publicly thank Jon Honeysett MBE and the retiring member of parliament for Kidsgrove, Joan Walley MP, for their conscientious efforts over a number of years.  Jon and Joan have been the driving force behind a Labour campaign to  upgrade Kidsgrove Railway Station.

Jon, Joan and Margaret have all worked together as a team to lobby Network Rail, East Midlands Trains and numerous agencies, highlighting the need for real change in Kidsgrove.

Margaret Astle says: ” For too long, the elderly, the disabled, busy mum’s and families of the Kidsgrove community have been treated unfairly.  It is a very difficult task to negotiate this monster of a bridge and has resulted in injury to many of Kidsgrove’s residents.  Please do your best to attend this meeting as it’s important that you have ‘your say’ on the regeneration of Kidsgrove Railway Station.”

Margaret Astle would also like to thank The Friends of Kidsgrove Railway Station for all their hard work in mainlining the gardens in our station.  They have carried out a sterling job and the gardens are a joy to visit and make a great, first impression for all commuters and visitors to the station.

Kidsgrove Residents’ Association

Kidsgrove Councillor Margaret Astle I have been approached by a number of Kidsgrove residents who are quite keen to form a Kidsgrove Residents’ Association.  I have to say that I am more than happy to assist the formation of a new association in the Kidsgrove area.  A number of residents have indicated that they feel that certain parts of Kidsgrove and the town centre has been neglected and that the town centre partnership ethics are questionable.

Well, what can I say?

I am delighted!

I have held a preliminary meeting with the numerous residents and I have offered them my assistance, as I fully support residents who wish to become active within the Kidsgrove area.

I have informed the residents that one of the most important criteria is to adopt a Constitution.  In order to adopt a Constitution, the Kidsgrove Residents’ Association will have to elect a Chairman, Secretary and a Treasurer. I am delighted to say that a number of residents have already indicated that they wish to be elected to the above positions.

I have liaised with the committee members who carry out a wonderful job of managing Kidsgrove Working Men’s Club and a yet again, I am delighted, that permission has been granted by the above for the Kidsgrove Residents’ Association to hold their forthcoming meetings at Kidsgrove Working Men’s Club.

Watch Margaret Astle’s blog for further updates . . .

New licensing scheme to crackdown on rogue landlord’s in Kidsgrove


Lamb Hotel – Kidsgrove town centre

After many year’s of campaigning against ‘some’ absentee’ landlord’s who proliferate the former Miners’ Estate in Kidsgrove [Galleys Bank Estate] I am pleased to announce that Newcastle Borough Council have decided to launch a new imitative to eliminate the absentee landlord’s who have refused to carry out basic repairs to tenants homes.

A selective landlord licensing scheme!

A number of tenants have been evicted from their homes as they have requested that repairs be carried out.  Indeed, this shocking state-of-affairs has been in existence since the late Mrs Thatcher allowed the former National Coal Board to sell-off tenants homes at auction in London.

I must stress that we have some splendid landlord’s who own properties on the former Miners’ Estate and they should be applauded for their efforts and genuine approach to provided affordable and decent housing to their tenants.

Slum landlord’s your time is up!

For more information please read this excellent article that has appeared in our local rag, The Sentinel . . .

Lamb Street in Kidsgrove is also included in the above scheme.

If this scheme is successful in Kidsgrove, the same scheme may be implemented in other area’s of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.


Bedroom Tax coming soon to your home!

If you rent your home from a Housing Association, ie, Aspire Housing or any of the other Housing Association you may be forced to pay a weekly bedroom tax on any of your unused bedrooms.

The bedroom tax comes into force in April 2013 and I suspect that many tenants are unaware that they will be penalised by the Tory/Lib Dem government.


Last week I was visiting Kidsgrove Working Men’s Club and three families informed me that they were liable to pay the bedroom tax on their homes.  All three families confided to me that they were quite worried about the implementation of the bedroom tax and they felt that this nasty tax was aimed at the working-class families and the most vulnerable people in our society.  Indeed, two-thirds of the tenants who shall have to pay this tax are disabled and require support to help them lead normal lives.

John and Mary [not their real names] have lived in their two bedroom home for more than thirty years.  They have two children and four grandchildren.   Their children have flown the family home many years ago but their grandchildren regularly stay with John and Mary in their spare bedroom.  John works full time and Mary works part-time at one of the local shops.  Mary would love to work full time but her disability prevents her from carrying our full time work.  John and Mary are proud working-class people and they have never claimed state benefits in any shape or form.

They have lovingly cared for their family and provided them with a happy home.  A home full of the joyous memories of raising their children and grandchildren.

A home where memories are precious.

A home where they watched their children and grandchildren take their first steps.

A home where they share the wonderful and exciting memories of their children’s and grandchildren’s first and many Christmases, birthday’s, education achievements and family celebrations to numerous to write about.

A normal family home that’s about to become engulfed in the trauma of the Tory/Lib Dem bedroom tax.

John and Mary have been informed that they shall have to pay £14.00 per week bedroom tax!

You can imagine their horror and the grief that they are suffering from, after they were informed that the only way to avoid paying this nasty tax,  was to move out of their home, preferably before April 3rd 2013.  Move out of their home that they have lived in for more than thirty years!

If John and Mary move to a one bedroom house or flat, this means that they will not be able to let their adorable grandchildren stay with them.

Also, there is a shortage of one bedroom accommodation in the area where John and Mary live, so this would result in John and Mary having to move out of the area.  They would be forced to leaven their home, their children, grandchildren,  neighbours and many friends and move to an area that is unfamiliar to them.

I have to say that I find this situation appalling!

It is indeed, shocking to say the least!

Working-class families are the victims of a heartless government.  A government who shows no remorse and is hell bent on destroying the proud nature of the ordinary man, woman and child in the street.  A government who has cut the top rate of income tax for their wealthy cronies!

You can read about the plight of Julia Jones and here heart-wrenching letter to David Cameron by clicking here.



How can the Tories and Lib Dems sleep at night when thousands of families are going to be forced from their homes?

Please remember, elections shall take place in May of this year and let’s show the Tories and the Lib Dems a bloody nose.




Damaged Kidsgrove swimming baths to re-open

I am delighted to report the Kidsgrove swimming baths shall be open for business from Saturday the 17th November!

Kidsgrove Sports Centre and swimming baths shall be open with a splash!

Newcastle borough council have arranged a host of opening events and here is a snippet of what is planned . . .

The latest news on the opening of Kidsgrove swimming baths.

The current information is displayed upon Newcastle council’s website.

So, Kidsgrove swimming baths are to open with a splash!

There’s some great free offers to tempt you back to the swimming pool and Kidsgrove Sports Centre this Saturday 17 November and Sunday 18 November.

It is hoped that lots of people take us up on our re-opening offers and get back into some healthy habits  .Did you know that swimming is one of the best ways of keeping fit as well as having great fun?

If you don’t fancy taking a dip in the swimming pool you can take part in some of the indoor and outdoor activities to suit all tastes and ages. Newcastle council are inviting everyone along to try some free activities and they hope that you’ll like what’s on offer this weekend.

The bumper weekend of activities starts on Saturday, 17 November. Between 10am and 2pm, in the Sports Hall, there are trampoline and climbing wall taster sessions for all ages. Specifically for five to 11-year-olds there is a free ”Orbit” session between 12.30-4pm. This is a varied activity session which includes sports, games, face-painting, arts and craft.

Also available between 10am and 2pm, in the large swimming pool, there are free family swim sessions and a free fun session for all ages from 2-4pm.

The small pool is open from 10am and 4pm and is also free.

The Studio is hosting free taster sessions in spinning (1 to 1.40pm), circuits (2 to 2.40pm) and boxercise (3 to 3.40pm).

Outdoor activities take place on the synthetic pitches with two football development coaching drop-in sessions between 10-11am and 11am and noon.

Sunday, 18 November, sees free taster sessions in the sports hall for trampoline (10 to11.30am), Taekwondo (12noon to 2pm) and badminton “no strings” (2 to 4pm).

The small pool is free to all for a second day,from 10am to 4pm, and the large pool has family swimming from 10am to 2pm, a fun session from 12noon until 2pm and a sub-aqua taster session from 2pm to 4pm.


Tthe Studio on Sunday 18 November there will be taster sessions for circuits (12noon to 12.45pm), boxercise (1pm to 1.45pm) and spinning (2 to 2.45pm and 3 to 3.45pm).

For more information contact Kidsgrove Sports Centre on: 01782 786162.

Looking forward to seeing you at Kidsgrove swimming baths this Saturday.



Grand re-opening of Burslem Park

I recently attended the grand re-opening of the regenerated Burslem Park.   The park was re-opened by Stoke North’s MP, Joan Walley.  I must admit that I have not visited Burslem Park since I was a small child and I was absolutely amazed by the amount of money that has been invested in Burslem Park.   The Park was simply adorable and there were many new features on display, I particularly liked the new pond, complete with a sparkling, water fountain and an abundance of wildlife.

I was stunned by the sheer size of Burslem Park!

It’s huge!

The colourful, floral displays were enchanting and some of the foliage was planted to attract wildlife, as well as being attractive.

Besides this historic day, another important event was taking place . . .

Again, this event was attended by Joan Walley MP and  another equally important person.

The event was abuzz with the sound of chatter and excitement.

What was the nature of this important event and who was the guest VIP?

To find out please click here . . .

Did you spot the other VIP’s?

Please don’t forget to visit Burslem Park, it’s well worth a visit and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Is the Talke by-election a waste of public money?

Since I last wrote about the ‘calling’ of an unnecessary by-election for the ward of Talke upon Kidsgrove town council which could cost the tax payers of Kidsgrove in excess of £4,000.00.

It now appears that the by-election has been called by former Ukip Councillor Matthew Banner, who resigned from Kidsgrove town council as he is emigrating to Australia.  I must say that I wish Matthew all the best in his new career path and I do hope he is successful.

Now then, why call a by-election and then emigrate to Australia?

Is this an error or sheer malice?

I have also made inquiries at Newcastle borough council and I have been reliably informed that a male with the name of Alex Wright personally handed in the documentation containing the necessary signatures in order to call the Talke by-election.  Alex Wright lives in the Newchapel ward of the Kidsgrove District.

I must admit that I am astounded by this form of behaviour!

Kidsgrove and Talke have been starved of funding for over three years and both area’s are full of pot holes,  the roads are in a state of disrepair.  We have weeds growing out of the blocked gullies and on the edges of the broken kerb stones.   Inadequate street lighting needs to be replaced and cantilever bus shelters are vandalised and also need replacing.

Next time you visit Kidsgrove town centre please take a look at the vandalised bus shelters in King Street and Liverpool Road.    Take a look at the road infrastructure!  Oh, and be careful you don’t injure yourself on the array of pot holes that adorn our carriageways!  Surely the monies to call a by-election in Talke could be put to better use on repairing our neglected town centre.  Oh, don’t forget to take a look at the neglect of Talke as well and let me know if you can ‘spot’ the vandalised bus shelters and blocked gullies?

This shouldn’t be too difficult . . .

It is apparent that more money should be spent in Kidsgrove and Talke to carry out day-to-day services which we often take for granted.

Kidsgrove town council could have easily co-opted an independent candidate in respect of Matthew Banner’s vacant seat.  Thus saving over £4,000.00 of tax payers hard-earned money.


Now then, the big question!

Should Ukip be forced to pay for Talke’s by-election?

What do you think?




Brennans Pub turned into town centre homes

In 2009 planning permission was granted to refurbish the derelict Brennans pub situated in Liverpool Road, Kidsgrove.  Some of the Kidsgrove residents were quite upset that Brennans was closed down and would not reopen again as a watering hole in Kidsgrove.


However, I am delighted to report that work has commenced on the boarded-up Brennans and this derelict pub shall receive a makeover to transform this former pub into three residential homes complete with a two story side extension.

Affordable housing is quite scare in Kidsgrove town centre and it’s lovely to learn that this former blot on Kidsgrove town centre landscape shall be revamped and put to good use.

Kidsgrove sorting office win reprieve from Royal Mail

I am delighted to inform my followers that Kidsgrove/Butt Lane sorting office shall remain open.   Kidsgrove Labour Councillors and Joan Walley MP worked in unison and spearheaded a high profile campaign to prevent Royal Mail from closing this much used facility.  We delivered our campaign leaflet in the following Kidsgrove district wards:

Talke, Butt Lane, Ravenscliffe, Kidsgrove and Newchapel.

Kidsgrove Labour Councillors also collected thousands of signatures upon a petition against the closure of Kidsgrove Sorting Office and we presented the petition to our hard working MP, Joan Walley.  Joan Walley MP then handed in the petition to the House of Commons whilst at the same time, speaking up on behalf of all the residents who had taken the time and trouble to sign our petition and campaign slips.

Indeed, I event attended numerous meetings that were held at the CWU office which is based in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent and I worked in harmony with the CWU to raise the profile of our campaigns.

The Sentinel covered our campaign and your can read more about the reprieve here  [link opens in a new window].

Jolly well done to all the Labour Councillors and to Joan Walley MP for saving Kidsgrove’s Sorting Office [also known as the Butt Lane Sorting Office].

Royal Mail wished to close Kidsgrove’s Sorting Office and this would have resulted in residents having to travel to Knutton to collect their undelivered mail and parcels.

What a huge achievement for Kidsgrove Labour Councillors, Joan Walley MP and the CWU staff.

Talke By-Election to be called!

A by-election shall be taking place in the Talke ward upon Kidsgrove town council.

Kidsgrove town council comprises of five ward within the Kidsgrove district and here are the wards which are encompassed within the same.


Butt Lane




It appears that a person/s has collected signatures from members of the public to force a by-election in Talke.    However, I wonder if members of the public are aware that the hard working tax payers and Kidsgrove town council shall have to foot the bill to pay for the Talke by-election!

You can find out more about the cost of the Talke by-election here.

Kidsgrove town council recently co-opted onto the town council and independent councillor as there was a vacant seat, due to Miss Grattage having to retire to care for a member of her family who is sadly passing away.  In order to save tax payers money, an independent member of the public accepted the co-option.  This resulted in huge amount of public money being saved.

The cost of the Talke by-election could range from £4,000.00 to roughly £8,000.00, depending upon how many of the electorate vote by post.

This is an incredible amount of public money that shall be wasted and could have obviously been put to better use.  We have entered a period of austerity which shall see the closure of some of the police stations in Staffordshire being forced to close.  We have the imminent closure of Kidsgrove/Butt Lane sorting/delivery office.  Royal Mail wish to streamline the service they offer to the general public and I suspect his is due to the fact that the Lib Dem/Tory government wish to privatise Royal Mail in the near future.

How many of the Tory/Lib Dem cronies shall purchase parts of Royal Mail?

Kidsgrove town centre is in an appalling state, indeed, the gullies in the town centre have not been cleansed for a considerable amount time.  I have repeatedly raised the blocked gullies at Kidsgrove town council meetings but to no avail.  I have even presented a hand-written map of the blocked gullies that are situated upon the Galleys Bank estate [former Miners’ estate].  This map was forwarded to Staffordshire county council, together with a covering letter from Kidsgrove town council.

It is nearly one year since Kidsgrove town council have written to Staffordshire county council and Staffordshire county council have not even replied to Kidsgrove town council’s letter requesting that the blocked gullies be cleansed.

Could the cost of calling the Talke by-election serve a better purpose?

Kidsgrove town centre is in an appalling state of disrepair and has suffered badly in the last six years.

Could the cost of calling the Talke by-election be use to clean-up and repair Kidsgrove town centre?

The state of the disrepair of our roads in Kidsgrove town centre, Butt Lane, Talke, Ravenscliffe and Kidsgrove are scandalous.  Our roads are full of pot holes, whereas if you travel to Tunstall town centre the journey is smooth and relaxing as Stoke-0n-Trent City Council have invested in the road infrastructure.

Could the cost of the by-election in Talke be put to better use to repair our road network in Kidsgrove and surrounding areas?

In the last six years we have seen a huge surge in litter in all the Kidsgrove wards and it’s not pleasant on the eye when you see the amount of litter and dog excreta that line our streets.

Could the cost of the Talke by-election be used to clean-up our streets and pavements?

I believe that that the culprit who secured the signatures to call the Talke by-election should be publicly named and shamed?


Internet Troll and new laws

What is a troll?

A troll is a person who uses various user names upon websites, discussion forums and social networking websites.  More often the troll hides behind their computer screen whilst posting scurrilous content and the troll derives much pleasure from attacking internet users and members of their family.

A troll becomes obsessed with posting untruths and stealing copyright information from other people’s websites and blogs.  The troll also takes part in harassment by proxy [gaining the support of their friends to troll on their behalf].

I have taken receipt of some very disturbing screendumps in which a troll and their proxy have carried out scurrilous attacks.  I have taken receipt of legal advice in respect of the unsavoury screendumps and I am pleased to announce that Mr X and his proxy friends shall be challenged in the near future, as well as a female councillor.  It appears that this female councillor also submits posts to a website using a host of different user names.

I must say that I find this quite sad and it shows that the people concerned are lacking in morals and dignity.

They do indeed lead a very sad life and perhaps one should fee sorry for them!

It’s interesting to note that the Defamation  Bill was discussed in Parliament this morning and here’s what the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke had to say on the subject of trolls:

“As the law stands, individuals can be the subject of scurrilous rumour and allegation on the web with little meaningful remedy against the person responsible.  Website operators are in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites, even though the content is often determined by users.

The Government wants a libel regime for the internet that makes it possible for people to protect their reputations effectively but also ensures that information online can’t be easily censored by casual threats of litigation against website operators.  It will be very important to ensure that these measures do not inadvertently expose genuine whistleblowers, and we are committed to getting the detail right to minimise this risk.”

You can find more information and the history of a troll by clicking here.

This is an interesting article from The Guardian, which covers all aspects of a troll please click here.


Louise Mensch ‘troll’ sentenced over threatening email

Frank Zimmerman given suspended jail sentence and banned from contacting list of celebrities, including Lord Sugar.   You can read more about the antics of a troll by clicking here.  An excellent report from The Guardian.

Let this be a warning to the trolls in the Kidsgrove and surrounding area’s.

Kidsgrove By-Election

Kidsgrove by-election was held on the 10th May 2012 and the results were an outstanding success for Kidsgrove Labour Party.

Linda Harold Tory 121 13%
Terry Turner Labour 639 66%
Phil Crank Lib Dem 105 11%
Claire Elizabeth Vodrey TUSC 73 8%

As you can see from the above graph Labour’s Terry Turner polled the most votes.

Cllr Terry Turner is duly elected to represent the people of Kidsgrove.



Kidsgrove Election 2012 Results

The local elections took place on the 3rd May 2012 and resulted in the Kidsgrove Liberal Democrats and the Tories a hard blow.

Butt Lane Election Results 2012

Silvia Burgess 676 votes –  Labour

Daniel Mark Jellyman 128 votes – Tory

Dennis Richards 313 votes – Lib Dem

Cllr Silvia Burgess duly elected to serve the people of Butt Lane


Kidsgrove Election Results 2012

Reginald Bailey 802 votes – Labour

Lynda Irene Griffiths 146 votes – Lib Dem

James Verson 153 votes – Tory

Claire Elizabeth Vodrey 109 votes – TUSC

Cllr Reg Bailey duly elected to serve the people of Kidsgrove

It is interesting to note that Claire Elizabeth Vodrey was also a candidate in the Kidsgrove by-election which took place on the 10th May 2012.  One wonders what the position would have been if Claire Elizabeth Vodrey had won the Kidsgrove election that took place on the 3rd May.  Would this have resulted in the by-election being declared null and void?


Newchapel Election Resultes 2012


Elsie Bates 386 votes – Labour

Alan Roy Brookes 54 votes – Lib Dem

Pamela Jellyman 248 votes – Tory

Michael Prosser 39 votes – Independent

Cllr Elsie Bates duly elected to represent the people of Newchapel


Ravenscliffe Election Results 2012

Stephen Paul Blair 191 votes – Tory

Geoffrey Lewis Locke 252 votes – UKIP

David Stringer 446 votes – Labour

Cllr Dave Stringer duly elected to represent the people of Ravenscliffe


Talke Election Results 2012

Janet Parson 267 votes – Lib Dem

Nicola Marie Ralphs 128 votes – Tory

Mike Stubbs 460 votes – Labour

Cllr Mike Stubbs duly elected to represent the people of Talke

Kidsgrove by-election took place on the 10th May 1012

Kidsgrove By-Election Results 2012

Terry Turner 639 votes – Labour

Phil Crank n 105 votes – Lib Dem

Claire Elizabeth Vodrey 73 votes – TUSC

Cllr Terry Turner duly elected to represent the people of Kidsgrove

As you can see from the above figures, the Kidsgrove Liberal Democrats suffered a defeat.  The Tories were also crushed in Election 2012, mind you this is hardly surprising when one takes into account the number of U-turns that have been carried out by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.  I suspect the Liberal Democrats shall continue to take a hammering in future elections.

Did Nick Clegg sell his soul and party principles for five year’s of power?



Kidsgrove by-election candidates announced

Kidsgrove district is holding elections on the 3rd May  and the 10th May 2012.  This is because we have five wards and candidates standing in Butt Lane, Kidsgrove, Ravenscliffe, Talke and the Newchapel ward.  However, on the 10th May voters shall be asked to return to the polls to vote in the Kidsgrove by-election.

The Kidsgrove by-election has been organised by Newcastle Borough Council as an Independent Councillor was dismissed from his seat as he was found guilty of carrying out domestic violence to his former girlfriend.

Candidates for the Kidsgrove by-election are:

Phil Crank – Liberal Democrat and he lives at 11a Wedgwood Road, Talke.

Linda Harold – Tory and she lives at 32 Eleanor Crescent, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Terry Turner – Labour and he lives at Castle Road, Mow Cop in the Kidsgrove district.

Clair Elizabeth Vodrey – TUSC and she lives at 17 Lapwing Road.

I suspect that Labour’s candidate shall win the Kidsgrove by-election, most probably obtaining over 600 votes.  TUSC, hmm, I expect TUSC shall poll less than a hundred votes.  I predict a very, very low turnout for the Liberal Democrats and the same for the Tory candidate.




Order, Order at Kidsgrove Youth Parliament

Kidsgrove Youth Parliament is the brainwave of Kidsgrove Town Council and recently received a visit by The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.  The Speaker’s visit to Kidsgrove Town Hall was warmly welcomed by the media, especially The Sentinel newspaper and your can read how The Sentinel reported this historic visit here.

Hmm, I hear you say, what is Kidsgrove Youth Parliament and how was this achieved?

Essentially, the birth of Kidsgrove Youth Parliament was created by Kidsgrove Town Council, from parties of all political persuasion.  The idea to create Kidsgrove Youth Parliament and interact with local schools was initiated by Labour Councillor, Dave Stringer.  It must be said that Councillor Dave Stringer is the driving force behind this new intiative.  Councillor Dave Stringer is a former school teacher and he is gifted in the art of foreign languages and he easily converses with students of all ages.

Councillor Dave Stringer liaised with Joan Walley MP and ALL Kidsgrove Town Councillors and it was unanimously agreed that Maryhill High School and Clough Hall Technology School would benefit by partaking in the creation of this new and exciting venture.  Councillor Margaret Astle, Councillor Matthew Banner, Councillor Pat Harrison, Councillor Reg Bailey and Councillor Kyle Robinson  agreed to form a Kidsgrove Youth Parliament sub-committee at Kidsgrove Town Council.  The sub-committee was chaired by Councillor Dave Stringer.

The job of the sub-committee was to help Councillor Dave Stringer liaise with Newcastle Youth Parliament and the local schools.  This did not appear by magic and it took nearly twelve months of liaising with the local schools and other bodies before the Kidsgrove Youth Parliament elections could be held.

I’ll write more about the Kidsgrove Youth Parliament elections later.

Now that the Kidsgrove Youth Parliament has received local and national acclaim an element of sheer, vindictive jealousy is now beginning to  emerge from a  member of the Liberal Democrat Party.

Green rage is an ugly factor and is most unbecoming.

It’s spiteful!”

It’s childish!

It’s senseless!


To be continued  . . .

Aidan Burley MP pays the bill for a Nazi-themed stag do!

Who is Aidan Burley?

Aidan Burley is the Tory MP for Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.

Aidan Burley MP appears in an article in the Daily Mail today and I have to say that I find his behaviour incredibly offensive and is an insult to all whom perished in the Holocaust.  A Holocaust that has been denied by certain members of the BNP.

Let us not forget that we owe our freedom to all who perished in World War I and World War II.  The brave heroes of the past, whom gave so much for their country and granted us the freedom that we enjoy today.

You can read the article here and view the disturbing video of Aidan Burley MP  and some of his associates dressed in a Nazi costume and chanting:  Hitler, Hitler, Hitler whilst celebrating a stag do!  Bearing in mind that wearing a Nazi costume can be a criminal offence under French law.

Why do I find this video and article highly offensive?

Please take a look at the following photograph . . .


victims of the Holocaust, members of the Chrzanowski family, ie, Margaret Astle


Some of the Polish people in the above photograph were subjected to horrific acts of violence  and systematic torturing carried out by the Nazis.  Indeed, some of the people in the above photograph were slaughtered at the bloody hands of the Nazis.

One of my family members was forced to dance and sing whist the Nazis brutally killed his father!

Aidan Burley MP should resign immediately.

Are you aware that Aidan Burley MP has a twitter account?

You can view Aidan Burley’s Twitter account here.

Campaign to save Kidsgrove police station

Kidsgrove Town Council Labour members arranged a public meeting to take place on the 7th November 2011, regarding the closure of Kidsgrove police station.   The meeting was held at Kidsgrove’s Victoria Hall and the following is an extraction  of the minutes that were taken at the public meeting.

Unsurprisingly,  Dennis Richards, who is a Lib Dem  Councillor for the Butt Lane ward was booed at, hissed at, and shouted down by members of the public and the microphone was snatched from his hands.

Read on to find out why Councillor Dennis Richards was booed down by the general public!


Kidsgrove Town Council

Councillors:  Kyle Robinson (Town Mayor), Mrs Gill Burnett (Deputy Mayor),
David Stringer, Mrs Elsie Bates, Mrs Silvia Burgess, Mrs Janet Parsons, Reg Bailey, Mrs Margaret Astle, Raymond Astle, David Daniels, Matthew Banner David Allport.

Staffordshire Police

Chief Superintendent Jon Drake

Chief Inspector Peter Owen

Inspector Neil Hulme
Mr Frank Chapman – Police Authority
Liz McGinn, Media Department

Minute Taker:  Mrs Irene Faulkner.


Councillors John Evans, John Taylor, Mrs Mary Maxfield76 Members of the general public attended.The Town Mayor thanked everyone for attending the meeting which had been called to discuss the controversial plans to close down Kidsgrove Police Station and to relocate the Police into Kidsgrove Town Hall.The case for the Police was presented by Chief Superintendent Jon Drake and Inspector Neil Hulme and for Kidsgrove Town Council by Councillor David Stringer.

Councillor Stringer thanked everyone for attending and also the 3,000 people who signed had the petition.   The Town Council does not wish Kidsgrove Police Station on its present site to close and therefore wanted to receive the views of the people, results have shown that the majority of the people wish the Police Station, to remain at its current location.

Arguments have been put forward and promises made to the effect that the Police will retain the same level of policing in 5 or 10 years time, given the figures provided it was questioned whether this could happen.

In August 2011, Councillor Stringer along with representatives of the Police and Police Authority visited Rickmansworth in order to view an existing partnership working system and the way forward to promote crime prevention.

It was Councillor Stringers opinion that the lay-out and working arrangements at Rickmansworth would not be a viable proposition for Kidsgrove Town Hall.

Since April of this year three meetings had taken place between Kidsgrove Town Council and the Police.  Kidsgrove Town Council felt that it was not being kept fully informed about updated figures which appeared to be changing on a daily basis.

It was also highlighted that some correspondence forwarded over the period of three meetings had not been responded to and that Joan Walley M.P. had waited  a period of months before a reply had been received.

The figures were eventually revealed last week, and do not correspond to those received at tonight’s meeting and have again changed.   At the end of the meeting, which took place last week, Kidsgrove Town Council feet that the views of the Council had not been given full consideration.

The long term view of Kidsgrove Town Council is that money will be spent on moving into the Town Hall.  There is no guarantee that by 2015 the situation would remain the same and that more savings will be required.  This could result in the Police moving out before the 10 year period and leaving Kidsgrove without a Police presence at at all.

Chief Superintendent Jon Drake introduced Inspector Neil Hulme, LPT Commander for Newcastle and Mr Frank Chapman, local Police Authority Representative.

Ch. Supt Jon Drake gave an overview of the forces intention to save 38 million pounds by 2015 and the necessity to identify where savings could be made, especially on buildings, such savings could keep more police on the ground.

All Response Officers have been briefed since April at Newcastle covering 24/7 and will also call into Kidsgrove Police Station to do paper work.   Neighbourhood policing remains with the PCSO’s and Neighbourhood Police Officers working from Kidsgrove.

Staffordshire Police are looking to share buildings with partners with a similar approach to that being made at Newcastle Borough Council where the Police work from within the Civic Offices.

Ch. Supt Drake highlighted that Kidsgrove Town Hall is a public facing building, housing Kidsgrove Customer Service Centre, Citizen Advice Bureau, Social Care and Health and Kidsgrove Town Council.

The Police are looking at relocation as a long term solution which will be a ten year site.  It will provide a facility 24/7 for Police Officers and staff to work from, it would have a Police Station sign outside. Spring 2012 being the target, although a huge amount of work has to be done and if a decision is made a considerable amount of consultation will take place regarding the design of the front counter.

Kidsgrove Police Station currently costs £54,000 to run, this covers heating and lighting for a work force of only 12 people.   The Police are looking at spending £88,000 on the building to cover all maintenance work.   In comparison, Kidsgrove Town Hall would cost £10,000 rent, £18,000 running costs and £40,000 upgrading it over a three year period.  The savings would be in excess of a third of a million pounds on running costs.  The police suggest that this considerable amount of money would help keep people employed.

In conclusion, if a decision is made, this would take place in Spring 2012 with the same officers and PCSO’s working the same hours, the only difference would be that the words ‘Police Station’ would be displayed on a building literally down the road.


Q1 A lady stated that she had been a member of this community all of her life and was passionate about the issue in question and had spent time looking at the Home Office guidance 2011 where a directive had been issued to a new approach to tackling crime with a radical shift to local communities to hold the Police and Community Safety Partnerships to account.

As a disabled member of the community she wanted the Police Station to be in a building where she did not have to confront any criminals in a “One Stop Shop” whilst paying her council tax and she does not feel it is acceptable for the Police to place her in this position.

R  The building would not be exclusive to the Police, but private rooms would be available on the ground floor to offer a 24/7 service or otherwise the Police could make home visits.   It was stressed by Chief Inspector Pete Owen that visiting people in their homes was part of the service they provide.


2 Another lady informed the meeting that she had lived in Kidsgrove for twenty years and on one occasion in an evening 15 youths were standing outside her house and she was alone.   She rang the Police and after 15 minutes nobody arrived.   She then had a telephone call where she explained the situation, she was then given the option of the police coming to knock on her door.   She did refuse this as she thought it might inflate the situation.

R  Ch. Supt Jon Drake apologised and hoped that it would not happen again.   When ASB situations have been reported, Police should always update the caller.   Ch. Supt Drake asked the lady to come forward after the meeting.


Q3) A question was asked with regard to the new Enquiry Office attached to Kidsgrove Police Station and the waste of money the work on this building had incurred.

R Ch. Supt Drake replied that the Police did spend money on the Enquiry Office facility, however, no-one could foresee the financial crisis we are now facing and that money cannot be retrieved. A decision based on the information given at the time had to be made as a DDA facility was required and it was the right decision at the time.


4) A lady living in Kidsgrove over the shops, reported that at weekends youths are drinking and doing drugs outside her home, they have watched them but have not seen the police on the scene.

R Inspector Neil Hulme explained that the Police are trying to tackle such problems with Staffordshire Youth Service, and are also conducting workshops around alcohol and anti social behaviour.  It is hoped that this will break down barriers and allow them to discourage anti social behaviour and make them aware of the affect such behaviour is having on local residents.   Inspector Hulme requested details of this incident.


5) A lady pensioner highlighted that the pensioners really appreciate Kidsgrove Police Station being where it is.

R It was stressed by the Police that the same officers and staff will still be working from the Police Station which will only be a couple of hundred yards down the road.


6) Councillor Banner referred to a meeting held last week with the Police where it was evident that no set plan had been decided upon.  This was in contradiction to information received from PCSO’s.

R  A decision will be made by the Police Authority and will be tabled for discussion in December.   All its staff are aware that Kidsgrove Town Hall looks a very attractive proposition and offers operational benefits to save money.   The public do have a say, not only with respect to the building, but on what the service will look like.

Mr Frank Chapman – Police Authority, County and Borough Councillor, responded that, ultimately the decision will be made by the Police Authority which must face reality as there is a strong case to move the Police Station to Kidsgrove Town Hall. Mr Chapman commented about police changes over the years, he had been a Superintendent at Newcastle and said that people did rely on visiting the Police Stations more, but today more people use a mobile telephone to make contact.

The Police did have Response Teams at Kidsgrove but since April of this year, they have now been moved to Newcastle.

Councillor Stringer reported that since the Response Teams had been moved to Newcastle Police Station  there was a slot whereby the police response is 15 minutes at certain times of the day no matter what the emergency was.

Inspector Neil Hulme informed the meeting that in the first six months of this new working pattern Anti Social Behaviour has dropped by 45%, with burglary of a dwelling to one burglary every 12 days.   He stressed that Kidsgrove is not a high crime area and is a safe place to go about normal business.   Finance was the initial driver but more importantly it is the joined up service with other partners.

Councillor Robinson said that with regard to response times as Chair of Kidsgrove Town Council he receives complaints at local events, people are informing him that their calls are not being responded to any more quickly since the Response Teams have moved out.  Residents do not see PCSO’s on the street as they did before the move.


Q7) A gentleman from the floor mentioned that on the 7.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. shift that some police are working in Newcastle but are travelling to and fro, two or three times day, and asked if the police report to Kidsgrove.

It is rumoured that Staffordshire Police are considering disbanding the PCSO’s in 2013 to help make a saving.   Can the Police confirm whether or not there is any truth in that rumour?

R Ch. Supt Jon Drake replied that Response Officers get briefed at Newcastle and are then allocated to Kidsgrove to patrol, the reason is that we are a shrinking organisation and efficiencies are made by putting people together but the Neighbourhood Police Team (12 in total) are briefed at Kidsgrove and Response teams come to Kidsgrove to write up their reports.

The Chief Constable had made a commitment until 2013 with regard to PCSO’s but we not sure about finances after this date.


8)  Councillor Mrs Margaret Astle referred to this issue as being very emotive, Kidsgrove has five wards and although she can understand the points of view made by the local police officers and residents, one simple solution could be that instead of moving, keep the Police Station and ask partner agencies to move into the Police Station.   The new Enquiry Office is suitable for disabled access, could not an approach be made to partner agencies to work in Kidsgrove Police Station.   This proposal was strongly supported by the public.

R Ch. Supt Drake replied to the effect that if there were enough partners who wished to move into the existing Kidsgrove Police Station, this would be a consideration, although some key partners are already working from the Town Hall, i.e. the C.A.B and Social Care & Health.


9) One gentleman made a suggestion that, perhaps Burslem and Tunstall could come to Kidsgrove, the reply given by Ch. Supt Drake was that it is important to have a local base in the community.

10)  A gentleman asked if the Police use video conference facilities.

R  Ch. Supt Drake said that conference facilities are used. By placing staff together in one building we could utilise transport facilities more efficiently and also to get a briefing together on a shift.


11) Councillor Geoff Locke mentioned the quality of service and thought it was difficult to see that any redeployment to Newcastle would improve this.   He did appreciate the financial pressures the Police were under but could not see that the move to Kidsgrove Town Hall would achieve the figures that are being discussed, although he had not actually seen a definitive set of figures in writing.

Councillor Locke referred to the recent proposal for the closure of Butt Lane Sorting Office and the relocation to Knutton, would it not be possible for the Royal Mail to move into the existing Kidsgrove Police Station which would then still keep this facility in Kidsgrove.

Note from Margaret Astle, Royal Mail are looking at streamlining their services and this includes the sale of the Butt Lane sorting office.  Effectively, Royal Mail wish to dispose of some of their assets before part of Royal Mail is sold off to cronies of the Tory/Lib Dem government.

Ch. Supt Drake acknowledged that he was aware of the proposed closure of the Butt Lane Sorting Office and said that it could be looked into.

In terms of figures, he was happy to provide these in writing and highlighted that a large amount of money was tied up in the Police Station and mentioned that only when the property had been sold and contracts exchanged would the exact value be known because of the fluctuating market.

Ch. Supt Drake stated that the service provided so far this year indicated that a 2%  rise in incidents attended on time had taken place compared to the same period last year and since the move had taken place to Newcastle of the Response Team.

Mr Frank Chapman – Police Authority said that, members of the Police Authority manage the budget and suggested that, if there was a strong financial case, the Police would not move, they are the guardians of the public purse.   He informed the meeting that Staffordshire Police are one of the top ranked forces in the country on public satisfaction and services.


12) A gentleman questioned the figures given out by Inspector Neil Hulme and referred to 5 burglaries in Whitehall Avenue last week.

R Inspector Neil Hulme said he would speak with the gentleman after the meeting.


Q13) A gentleman said that the public money had spent on Kidsgrove Police Station and it did not wish to spend more.  He made a suggestion that the Police should spend £70,000 and refurbish the existing building.


14) Councillor Reg Bailey said that residents of Kidsgrove were frightened of mixing with people in the Town Hall who were either on the Sex Offenders List or an ASBO and people who are on bail, coming to report to the Police.

The Police responded that, it depends on  the nature of the offence and where it is reported to.   If it is not appropriate for them to come into the station they can request another venue.   In general terms Kidsgrove Town Hall would be like any other Police Station with some exceptions, and the design of service, i.e. particular categories of clients would have to be discussed and planned in advance.

Councillor Reg Bailey referred to people being arrested in Kidsgrove.

The Police said that Kidsgrove had not had holding cells for a long time and all arrests would be dealt with at Etruria.


Q15) A lady referred to the sale of the existing Kidsgrove Police Station and enquired that if it did become empty what was the possible threat of vandalism and referred to a building that had been totally vandalised.  Would manpower be needed to secure the building and how long would it take to sell it and would another supermarket or take away move in.

Ch. Supt Drake acknowledged the physical security of Police Station but assured that no Police Officers would be standing outside the Police Station before it is sold.


16) A lady referred to some of the leisure activities that are taking place inside the Kidsgrove Town Hall, Victoria Hall and if the building became open 24/7 how safe would it be regarding the possible theft of bags etc. and would there be some form of risk assessment

Mr Frank Chapman – Police Authority stated that they could look into this issue.

17)   Councillor Banner questioned the suitability of the building as various activities take place during the day and evening.  Some meetings encounter hearing difficulties at these times due to noise levels.

R They didn’t see the value of the statement made because we mange to have meetings in the same situations and they will be able to as well.


18) Councillor Richards said that he was a member of the Liberal Democrat Party and in favour of closure to save some of the money that the previous government has wasted. People here tonight want their Council Tax spent on people, and mentioned that, the current problems have been caused by the last Labour Government.   The public showed their dislike of this statement.  The Chairman stopped the item, stating that the remarks were not relevant to the debate.

Note by Margaret Astle, the general public booed and hissed at Councillor Dennis Richards disgraceful remarks and they were shouting for him to sit down and shut up.

19) Councillor Mrs Elsie Bates asked ‘are the Police playing everyone for fools, is the deal signed and sealed?’

Ch. Supt Drake explained that although the move into Kidsgrove Town Hall appeared feasible from a financial point of view, no deal has been signed, it will be a decision made by the Police Authority.

He had been in the Police Force for 22 years, originally at Newcastle, spending some time in Kidsgrove.   The content of the Police Station has changed, there used to be a Custody facility, C.I.D. and a lot of different functions, but although these functions have gone, the Neighbourhood Officers will be the same people who will be moving if a move goes ahead into Kidsgrove Town Hall.

The Town Mayor, announced that the meeting was now closing and would like a show of hands for the following:

1)  Support for moving the Response Teams back into Kidsgrove

There was an overwhelming majority show of hands

2) Support of moving the Police into Kidsgrove Town Hall

There was a show of four hands, including Lib Dem Councillors David Daniels and Dennis Richards.

It was concluded that the overall majority wish to keep the Police Station as it now stands.

Mr Frank Chapman – Police Authority came to the floor and said he wished to reply to the Councillor who asked the question, ‘are the Police taking the public for fools’.

He said that they would not be here tonight to represent the views if that was so.  There is a strong case, but all he would ask of the public was to continue to support the local police officers – it will not be their decision.   If there was to be a reduction in service,  he would like to be the first to know.

The Chairman asked that any further questions be directed to local councillors or the Police who are always available to help.

The meeting closed at 8.35 p.m.

Silvia Burgess joins the campaign to save Kidsgrove sorting office

I am delighted to welcome Councillor Silvia Burgess to the Kidsgrove Labour Party.

Councillor Silvia Burgess has represented the people of Butt Lane for a number of year’s and she is well-liked by the people of Butt Lane and surrounding area’s.  Silvia is a former Mayor of Kidsgrove and during her term of office, Silvia amassed an enormous amount of funding, which she kindly donated to numerous local charities within the Kidsgrove District.

Unsurprisingly, some members of Silvia’s former party [the Lib Dems] were actually quite envious that Silvia had raised such a huge amount of money.  I must say that I was quite astounded to learn that a female member of Silvia’s former Party was discussing Silvia’s successful term as  Mayor of Kidsgrove in a most derogatory manner.

I have known Silvia Burgess for more year’s than I care to remember.

I have always found Silvia to be an honest and trustworthy person, who actually cares about people within the community.  Silvia Burgess is an upstanding member of the community and she has always refrained from engaging in tittle-tatter and discrediting other people.  It’s a shame that this cannot be said for some members of her former Party.

Councillor_Silvia_Burgess, Cllr Silvia Burgess, Cllrkylerobinson, JoanWalleyMP, kidsgrove sorting office, kidsgrove depot, kyle_robinson_deselecte_gill_burnett_

Former Mayor of Kidsgrove – Silvia Burgess


Councillor Silvia Burgess, joins Labour’s Councillor Kyle Robinson and Joan Walley MP in the campaign to save Kidsgrove sorting office from closure.

I am sorry to learn that a vindictive and vicious campaign to TRY and discredit Silvia has commenced by some of her former Lib Dem Councillors.   I have to say that Silvia is ignoring the the barrage of vindictive emails and telephone calls that she is receiving from some of her former colleagues.

Silvia, I would like to add:

“You have always been a polite and pleasant person and you have always refrained from indulging in the notorious back-stabbing that has taken place  and I am hugely proud to welcome you to the Kidsgrove Labour Party.  You shall be an asset to us in our time of need, as together, we campaign to fight the Tory/Lib Dem government’s cuts.”



Newchapel by-election results 2011



Elsie_Bates_kidsgrovetowncouncil, Newcastle_Borough_Council_Elsie_Bates


Some members of the Kidsgrove and Newchapel campaign team with Elsie Bates before the announcement of the results of the Newchapel by-election.


On Thursday 27th October a by-election was held in the ward of Newchapel.

Of course, Kidsgrove Labour Party spearheaded two, high profile campaigns in respect of the proposal to close Kidsgrove police station and Kidsgrove Delivery Office [sorting office]

It is interesting to note that one Lib Dem Councillor has previously remarked that “he can’t wait to see the blue light [the police lantern] outside Kidsgrove’s Victoria Hall.  Another Lib Dem Councillor has previously stated that the police station should be located to the first floor within the Victoria Hall.  It’s hardly surprising to learn that the Lib Dem candidate only polled 17 votes in the Newchapel by-election.

Newchapel by-election results 2011

Elsie Bates – Lab – 248 votes   –  Elsie Bates elected to serve Newchapel

Carl Geoffrey Thomson – Con – 160 votes

Tricia Harrison – UKIP – 118 votes

Colin Brown – Lib Dem – 17 votes


Ukip’s share of the poll was very poor and it’s hardly surprising when you consider the misleading information that was printed in Patricia Harrison’s election leaflet.

Patricia Harrison quotes in her leaflet regarding the sell-off of Pennyfield Road land:

Start of Quote

Conservative/Liberal Democrt Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council plan to sell this Pennyfields Road site, Until June, Labour agreed with their proposal.

End of Quote

The imprint on Tricia Harrison’s election leaflet states the following:

Promoted and printed by Patricia A Harrison, 128 Whitehill Road, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.  ST7  4DS

What is misleading about the above quote is that the following Labour Councillors have never agreed, nor have they voted to sell-off Pennyfields Road land.


David Allport – Councillor David Allport represents the Talke ward.

Margaret Astle – Councillor Margaret Astle represents the Kidsgrove ward.

Ray Astle – Councillor Ray Astle represents the Butt Lane ward.

Reg Bailey – Councillor Reg Bailey represents the Kidsgrove ward.

Elsie Bates – Councillor Elsie Bates represents the Newchapel ward.

Carly Grattage – Councillor Carly Grattage represents the Newchapel ward.

Les Goldspink – Councillor Les Goldspink respresents the Kidsgrove ward.

John Evans – Councillor John Evans represents the Butt Lane ward.

Dave Stringer – Councillor David Stringer represents the Ravenscliffe ward.

Stephanie Burnett – Councillor Stephanie Burnett represents the Ravenscliffe ward.

Gill Burnett – Councillor Gill Burnett represents the Ravenscliffe ward.

Terry Turner – Councillor Terry Turner represents the Kidsgrove ward.

Kyle Robinson – Councillor Kyle Robinson represents the Butt Lane Ward.

John Taylor – Councillor John Taylor represents the Butt Lane ward.

Paul Waring- Councillor Paul Waring represents the Newchapel ward.



Margaret_Astle campaigns to save penyfields Road land sell-off

Margaret Astle has never voted to sell-off Pennyfields Road land

Ukip’s Tricia Harrison shall be challenged about her misleading statement at the next meeting of Kidsgrove Town Council.   If the need arises legal advice shall be sought regarding the misleading statement.


In my next post I’ll tell you about a most unbecoming incident that transpired at the Newchapel by-election count, an incident that involved the wife of a sitting Ukip Councillor.