Shambles of Staffordshire Health Watch

Yesterday, I attended an event that was organised by Staffordshire Health Watch the event was held in the auditorium of Newcastle College.

When I arrived at the college I duly signed the attendance sheet and my colleagues and I were directed to the first floor where an impressive display of stalls were on hand to kindly present advice and literature regarding numerous health issues to the general public.  I found all the staff who maned these stalls to be polite, knowledgeable and extremely professional in their approach to the general public.

Health and Social Care Debate 

After browsing the numerous stalls and chatting to members of the public I then entered the auditorium in anticipation, to take part in the above A&Q session, where members of the public and caring professionals would be able to question a ‘select’ panel [similar to BBC Question Time but on a smaller scale] regarding health issues that were close to their heart.


I entered the auditorium and I quickly scanned the room so that I could ascertain the best place to sit which would allow me take part in the Q&A debate.  [As I am a hearing aid user, this is a trait that I have adopted over a number years.  Scan the area, make a note of the emergency exits and more importantly, sit where one can see the faces of the speakers].

Hmm, I was impressed by the layout of the auditorium.  One could sit in the seating area, view the podium where the Chairman of Q&A session presided, to his right there was a table which four members of the panel were seated.  To the left of the podium, I saw two disabled, wheelchair users, seated by the side of the staircase. Hmm, I thought, that the wheelchairs users would struggle to view the panel and the members of the public.

Podium Chairman

Before the debate commenced I approached the Chairman and informed him that I wear a hearing aid and I requested an inductive loop necklace [for want of better description].  A member of staff was summoned and my request was repeated.  After waiting a few moments I sat down in the audience, safe in the knowledge that my request was being adhered to.

Introductions Commence . . .

I assume the Chairman introduced the panel members!  I watched the movements of his lips, but I was sat too far away to actually read his lips.

I was horrified the event had commenced and I was still awaiting for the inductive loop to be activated and I was still minus the loop necklace.

I left my seat and proceeded to the podium.

I stood next to the podium so that I could hear the speech of the Chairman.

What happens next?

The Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council

Councillor Sandra Hambleton was introduced to the event and Councillor Hambleton approached the podium and she opened the event with a wonderful and heartwarming speech.  [I am standing against the podium].

The Debate is Open for questions

To my horror, I then realise that the debate had commenced and I am still standing against the podium awaiting the delivery of my disabled equipment.

I waited  . . .

Waited . . .

And waited . . .

Where is the inductive necklace that I requested?

I shook my head in disbelief, made my way to the audience and reluctantly, I sat down in my seat.  The debate had commenced and I was unable to hear the panel, nor was I able to hear the questions that the audience were directing to the panel.

Help from Colleagues

I was becoming agitated, confused and annoyed that the debate was taking place and that I was unable to participate in the same.  I relied upon my colleagues who kindly tried to keep me abreast of what was being discussed.

A member of staff approached me and asked me if I had switched my hearing aid to the ‘T’ position. I kindly explained to the member of staff that I had so, and that the inductive loop was still malfunctioning.    I was wearing an analogue hearing aid at the time.  I also carried my spare, digital hearing aid and I had inserted the same into my right ear.  The digital hearing aid was unable to connect with the auditoriums inductive loop system.

kidsgrove councilor margaret astle

Digital and analogue
hearing aids

The photo above depicts [left] my digital hearing aid, which, is subject to malfunctions but that’s another blog post for the future.  To the right of the photo is my trusty, old analogue hearing aid.  Both hearing aids are provided free-of-charge by the NHS, for which I am eternally grateful.

Some people carry spare pens, keys or other idiosyncrasies, I carry a spare hearing aid!  When one is disabled, one must be prepared for all eventualities.

I am attending a Q&A debate and I am unable to participate in the event.

CCG/NHS to charge a fee for the issue of Hearing Aids

My colleagues are aware that I wished to speak on the subject of the above.  As I firmly believe that the CCG/NHS will be penalising, some of the most vulnerable people in our society, people who are disabled through no fault of their own.  People, who are misjudged, suffer from isolation and mental health issues due to their ‘invisible’ disability.

One of my colleagues informed me to raise my hand as the subject of the CCG/NHS and their ill-founded policy to charge a fee for the issue of hearing aids was ‘live’.

I duly raised my hand and indicated that I wished to speak.

What happens next?

The shambles continues . . .

To be continued . . .











Matthew Ellis Fiasco – Police and Fire Service in Staffordshire to merge!

Is this the end of our beloved Fire Service and Staffordshire Police Service?

More cuts from the Tories will destroy our communities . . .  Kidsgrove fire station and front-line policing is in danger of ‘more’ nasty cutbacks . . .

Press Release from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority is thanking individuals and organisations that participated in its recent consultation.

The Community Safety Options consultation ran over 12 weeks and closed on May 22. All of the contributions have now been collected, totalling over 1500 responses. These range from questionnaire responses, attendees to consultation events and hall tests. A total of ten different options were consulted on. The responses will now be collated and submitted for consideration by the Fire and Rescue Authority at its meeting on July 13.

Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority Councillor Len Bloomer [ a Tory Councillor who represents Stafford] said: “This consultation was needed to help us address future risks, meet demands and achieve financial savings [cuts to services and the closure of Kidsgrove fire station] targets and so the input of as many individuals and organisations as possible was crucial. The responses we have received will be vital in helping us determine the most appropriate way forward to meet the challenges we face without compromising the safety of our firefighters or the communities we serve.

Police Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis

“We were however surprised and somewhat disappointed that the Police and Crime Commissioner [Matthew Ellis] chose to publicly speak out proposing a fully integrated police and fire service. Of course we welcome the consultation contributions from all partners, however for someone in Mr Ellis’s position to not have discussed something of this nature with us beforehand was far from appropriate.  We are certainly not against collaboration and we have in fact driven forward a number of joint projects with Staffordshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, including shared occupational health and supplies and logistics departments and a Centre of Excellence for Transport, which is in the pipeline. It is clear that we have enjoyed a good relationship with our blue light colleagues to date, so we are unsure as to what Mr Ellis was trying to achieve by publicly announcing something that he knew would cause controversy without seeking to have the conversation with us first.”

Results of the consultation will be published on Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website, following the Fire and Rescue Authority meeting on July 13.

Plans to demolish garages and build flats in Sussex Drive Kidsgrove

Land off Sussex Drive Kidsgrove

Land off Sussex Drive Kidsgrove

You may recall that I shared residents concerns that an absentee landlord has submitted an outline planning application to Newcastle Borough Council to demolish the garage site in Sussex Drive, Kidsgrove and replace the garages with seven 2-bedroom flats . . .

Please click here for more information

Today, Councillor Reginald Bailey and I, have completed and forwarded a ‘call in’ application to Newcastle Borough Council.  This ‘call in’ allows the absentee landlord’s application to be presented before the Planning Committee at Newcastle Borough Council, thus allowing Councillor Reg Bailey and I to attend the Planning Committee, so that we can represent the residents and submit our evidence as to the reason that the absentee landlord should not receive permission to demolish the only garage site on the Galleys Bank Estate [Miners’ Estate] in Kidsgrove.  Below is a copy of the wording that we used to ‘call in’ the application:

There is an anomaly regarding the land indicated upon the land by the applicant.  Some of the land in question is under the ownership of xxxxx  xxxxx  xxxx  xxxxx [ I have omitted the name for security reasons].

The access that will form vehicular access to the proposed site is not wide enough to accommodate vehicular access as well as a pedestrian footpath. 

So what happens next?

To be continued . . .

Land off Sussex Drive – Kidsgrove – garages to be demolished!

Some residents who reside in Sussex Drive, Kidsgrove have received notification from Newcastle Borough Council that an absentee landlord has submitted an application in respect of the outline planning permission to demolish the only garage site that houses garages on the Galleys Bank Estate [former Miners’ Estate].

Name of the applicant:  Mr Craig Dennison

Address of the applicant:  1 Boyce Cottages, Shenmore, Madley, Hertfordshire.  JHR2 9NY

It appears that the absentee landlord wishes to apply for outline planning permission to demolish the well-used garage site and build ‘7’  2-bedroom flats/maisonettes.

I have received representation from numerous residents who are angry and quite annoyed that an absentee landlord has applied for outline planning permission to demolish the only garage site upon the Galleys Bank Estate.  I have informed the residents that I and Councillor Reginald Bailey will be contacting Newcastle Borough Council’s Planning Department regarding application number: 15/00271/OUT

Please bear in mind that any company or person may apply for planning permission, however major planning applications are presented and determined by thePlanning Committee at Newcastle Borough Council.  As Mr Craig Dennison’s planning application is an ‘outline’ planning  matter, then this item may not be ‘heard’ at the full Planning Committee at Newcastle Borough Council.

To be continued . . .

Kidsgrove’s Hidden Underclass [Part 1]


Ideal Care Home – Gloucester Road, Kidsgrove

I was campaigning in the Kidsgrove ward for this year’s Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council elections with the Kidsgrove election team and as my team and I entered one area of Kidsgrove, I was distracted by a huge crane that was dominating the Kidsgrove skyline.

This crane was helping to build the new care home in Gloucester Road, Kidsgrove.  I am aware that this imposing new care home has been commissioned by Ideal Care Homes and that Ideal Care Homes may be open for business in the summer of this year.

I viewed the imposing crane with utter distaste and my thoughts returned to a harrowing incident that had take place a few week’s ago.

Jamie is missing from Kidsgrove

I received a telephone call from a distressed Kidsgrove friend who informed me that Jamie [not his real name as I wish to protect his identity] was missing from his social housing flat and that Jamie was last seen in the Tunstall area of Stoke-on-Trent.  It appears that Jamie had been missing for one night!  My friend asked me if I would travel to Tunstall with them to try and locate Jamie.

I said: “yes, of course I will help you and please call at my home immediately and you can give me a lift to Tunstall?”

We arrived into Tunstall and we spent an hour trying to locate a parking space.  We eventually paid the car parking fee and we parked the car on the Matalan car park.

I suggested that we commence our search for Jamie  in the High Street, as I am aware that Jaime enjoyed playing a game of bingo and perhaps the [old] bingo hall in the High Street may have attracted Jaime. We decided to split-up!  My friend [who is Jamie’s mentor] search the left-hand side and I commenced a search of the right-hand side of Tunstall’s High Street.

The decay of Tunstall High Street

I have to say that I was disgusted with the sight that enfolded.  Tunstall’s High Street is a disgrace!  There are numerous boarded-up shop fronts, scrawled with graffiti, the pavements were in a shocking state of disrepair, bus shelters had been vandalised, the gutters were overflowing with litter and other ‘items’ that had been discarded!

I must admit that I was truly shocked by the appearance of Tunstall’s High Street.

Why has the High Street been neglected and who is responsible for such urban decay of a once, thriving High Street?

My friend and I, then composed ourselves and we steadfastly commenced out search for Jamie.  We carefully searched the alleyways that lead from the High Street, we searched Tower Square and it’s side Streets.  In fact, we searched all the surrounding area’s of the High Street and Jamie was elusive.

Where is Jamie?

We continued our search and we eventually found Jamie . . .

Jamie, was found in the crouched position in one of the alleyways at the end of the High Street.

We both breathed a huge sign of relief.

His chubby face was smiling at us and as I bent down to pick Jamie up, he hugged me!  He was safe!  He had found a familiar faces. My friend was tearful as she kissed Jamie and gently ran her fingers through his hair.

Out immediate thoughts were to take Jamie home, cook him a meal,  have a shower, a change of clothes and good night’s sleep.  We would then begin questioning Jamie the next day as to why we found him in a rat infested alleyway complete with discarded hypodermic syringes, cardboard boxes that contained excreta and an alleyway that had not been cleansed.

Jamie, is a delightful ‘boy’ who suffers from special needs and he was heartbroken when he was ‘placed’ into social housing, when the Tory controlled, Staffordshire County Council ‘removed’ Jamie from his self-contained home.

Kidsgrove Residential Home

140 Gloucester Road, Kidsgrove.  Kidsgrove’s former residential home, which housed adults with learning disabilities.  All residents were housed in self-contained units and there was also a community area that was used for recreational purposes.

Jamie now roams the streets of Stoke-on-Trent as he misses his former companions.  Jamie has since been re-housed in a social housing flat, his neighbours commit acts of anti-social behaviour.  Jamie is unable to comprehend excessive music that is played by one of his neighbours.

Is Jamie a victim of Kidsgrove’s underclass society?

A society which allowed his home to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Ideal Care Homes

Ideal Care Homes are building a new care home on the land which once housed Jamie and his companions.  The new care home looks impressive.

Next time you visit Gloucester Road, Kidsgrove, spare a thought for Jamie and his disabled companions.  Their once proud memories, of a home they treasured and loved, have been demolished and erased forever.

Is this a case of profit before humanity?

How much money did the Tory controlled Staffordshire County Council receive from the sale of Jamie’s former home, 140 Gloucester Road?

What actually happened to Jamie in the twenty-fours hours that he was missing from his social housing flat?

To be  continued . . .







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 Community Fire Station faces closure

Fire service invites public to discuss options for ‘change’ in Kidsgrove

kidsgrove community fire station

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue under threat

Members of the public are invited to a consultation event in Kidsgrove to discuss the options for change being proposed by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The consultation will start at 6pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2015  at Kidsgrove Victoria Hall [also known as Kidsgrove Town Hall] and is part of a twelve week consultation period . . .

The Service will be talking with residents and businesses as well as voluntary and public sector partners on a range of potential options designed to help it address future risks, meet demands. The Service has already saved £4 million since 2010 and will have to save [cuts] an additional £5.7 million between 2015 and 2020.  

Savings is a buzz word for ‘cuts’ to services.

The options being consulted on for Kidsgrove are to:

•    Only have the station operational at times of highest demand

•    Replace the current fire appliance with a smaller vehicle and crew

•    To remove the fire appliance and crew from Kidsgrove

•    Work with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service to provide a combined response from stations at Alsager and Kidsgrove

Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said: “We want to talk to as many people as we can during this consultation period. We need our communities to give us their views to help us make the best decisions we can for the future because no final decisions have yet been made on any of the Community Safety Options.

“We have had four very challenging years and we’ve several more ahead of us. However during these difficult times we have recorded our lowest level of incidents. This has been achieved through our proactive prevention and protection activities which have had a positive impact on community safety. We are doing things differently but achieving better outcomes.

“The changes that we are proposing will have two strong commitments. They will not compromise community safety and they will not compromise the safety of our firefighters.”

Margaret Astle says: “please do your best to attend this meeting, as it’s vital that you have your say on the proposed changes to Kidsgrove Fire Station?”

Is Kidsgrove Community Fire Station under threat of closure?

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?