500 Words From Brian Ward

Why should anyone vote for us as councillors and why should you read my 500 words?

Criticism and negative press constantly points out how the council gets everything wrong.
When I stood for council eight years ago I wanted to get elected because I thought exactly the same as many others, and that you would be hard pushed to do any worse. I believed the constant voting in of the same old Labour people, time and time again had made them complacent.

There seemed to be no vision for the city and no urgency in replacing the lost jobs and businesses.

There seemed to be no interest in banging on the governments door for funding to bring inward investment to our city, even though we had three Labour MPs.

I was elected twice in 2003 & 2007 and hope to be re-elected again in 2011 even though the Governance Commission and Boundary Commission have, in my opinion, tried their best to eliminate all but Mainstream parties by going against their own guidelines and dividing established communities and ignoring natural boundaries. We can only hope that it doesn’t decrease people’s choice in this election.

When I was newly elected, I was constantly frustrated at the time it took to get anything done.

This was something I was not used to in my past life when running my own businesses.
I learned how to use the council system to my best advantage, to achieve the best possible.
I have been able to get lots of benefits for my local area of Blurton with new jobs, new shops, new housing, Parking bays and numerous other things to improve the Blurton area.

I have highlighted problem issues and fought for what I believed to be right,

not only for my area, but our city. I have highlighted them on Pits n Pots and have been quoted in the Sentinel now fewer than 368 times in the last two and a half years alone.

I have persevered,

even when I felt that I was getting nowhere on certain issues, but, I never give up and always see things through to make sure I get the best deal available, like setting up the working group that reduced consultants, which has saved us a fortune.

I have been involved in several meetings in London and Birmingham banging the drum for Stoke, which I believe has been neglected in the past. There needs to be more done.

Regeneration will be the key to putting our city back on the map

although I have voiced my views several times where I think that Regeneration has been too slow.
The council needs to push the Government even harder to make sure Stoke-on-Trent gets Enterprise Zone status to improve our situation.

Although this year’s budget settlement has been severe and difficult to manage,

we were able to save Children’s centres, Respite care for disabled children along with many front line services that other councils have reduced. Also put a freeze on council tax.

Incoming councillors will be faced with the stark reality of finding next years £20million savings. This will need some skill and a lot of hard work and I hope I am there to help get the best deal available.

Don’t forget I am a resident and taxpayer and what affects you affects me.

Brian Ward
Leader of the City Independents
Blurton Ward Councillor

Stoke-on-Trent Passengers Board the Bus to Fight Against Subsidy Cuts

The public of Stoke-on-Trent came out in force yesterday [Thursday] to speak out against the City Council’s decision to cut bus subsidies in a bid to save £313,000 as a part of their crusade to impose cuts totalling £35million over the coming year.

The public gallery as well as one of the committee rooms were packed to the rafters in a public show of solidarity in sending a message to the council that the bus subsidy cut would leave some people stranded at home and unable to access town centres, leisure facilities and supermarkets.

The council’s decision to cut the bus subsidies was voted through as a part of a whole host of austerity measures at last month’s Budget Meeting in a bid to rationalise services in the city as a result of the 8% cut in government funding to the City of Stoke-on-Trent.

Between three bus operators, First, Wardles and D&G, a total of 44 services will be affected.

Community representatives delivered and presented petitions, asking for certain routes to be saved, to the meeting of the City Council from areas such as Chell, Packmoor, Brindley Ford and Penkhull.

The petitioners pleaded with the elected councillors present to save what they consider to be a vital lifeline and the economic benefit to traders their travel bring.
Inside the chamber Community Voice councillors attacked the Labour benches for encouraging the public to campaign against the subsidy cuts while proposing them and then voting them through.

Cllr Mick Salih [Community Voice] said that Labour had attempted to deceive the public over the cuts to bus routes. He said it was vital the all councillors told the truth out on the streets and that the only councillors that had a clear conscious over the subsidy cuts were his group and the other councillors who voted against the budget.

Coalition councillors told the meeting that council officers were working with the bus companies and alongside ward councillors and communities, resolutions had been found to most of the contentious bus services.

One member of the public shouted out his dissent from the public gallery and said that he was disgusted by the councils treatment of members of the public that had turned out to view the proceedings. We recorded an audio interview with him and he wished to be known as “ËœBus Driver’

Listen below.

We also recorded audio’s with Cllr Mick Salih [Community Voice], Cllr Brian Ward [CIG] who is also the cabinet member with responsibility and with the Council Leader Mohammed Pervez [Labour].

Cllr Pervez also gave his thought on the past year and what he thought that the council had achieved.

Essential Repairs To Begin On Four City Routes

Motorists are being urged to allow extra time for their journeys or use alternative roads while essential repairs to four city routes begin this week.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to carry out resurfacing works on routes across the city, to improve road safety and traffic flow.

The routes that will be affected are:

* High Lane between Hamil Road and Smallthorne Roundabout Resurfacing works previously scheduled for January will now take place on Wednesday 9 February for approximately five weekday evenings commencing after 6.30pm. High Lane will be closed between Hamil Road and Smallthorne Roundabout while the works are taking place. Traffic flow will remain as normal during the day.

* Biddulph Road/Oxford Road Junction Resurfacing works will take place on Sunday 13 February. While the works are taking place Oxford Road will be closed between Fegg Hayes Road and Biddulph Road.

* Trentham Road between Belgrave Road and the A50 Resurfacing works will take place on Monday 21 February for two evenings in the vicinity of Rosslyn Road commencing after 6.30pm. Trentham Road will be closed between Belgrave Road and the A50 while these works are taking place. Traffic will be returned to normal during the day.

* Bucknall New Road between Keelings Road and The Potteries Way Resurfacing works will commence Monday 14 February after 6.30pm for approximately six weekday evenings. This section of Bucknall New Road will be closed during the work. Traffic will be returned to normal outside these hours during the day.

“These works are part of our planned programme of maintenance to ensure that our roads are safe for motorists and that traffic can flow. It is a major work programme and is necessary as part of our long term maintenance schedule.

“Where possible we have ensured that work will take place outside of rush hours and on Sundays. This is to reduce the disruption to motorists as much as possible. We ask that motorists have patience while the works take place, and allow more time for their journeys or look for alternative routes.”

For further information about road maintenance call 01782 232169.

0844 ““ Stoke-on-Trent Housing Repair Number ““ What’s The Point?

Pits n Pots broke the news last week that the council were to change the housing repair report telephone number from the area STD code 01782 to a non-geographical 0844 number.

Nearly a week later, and we are no closer to understanding the reason for this change.

The council claim that neither themselves, nor Kier are making any money from this change. Indeed it is costing Stoke-on-Trent City Council £400 per month just to have the privilege of having and 0844 number.

This after an initial set up cost of £700, which includes £200 worth of training and some £650 spent on producing 30000 leaflets informing tenants of the change.

£200 worth of training?

What is the training for? Answering the telephones? I guess the council staff would know how to do that already.

I really cannot see why the council would need to implement staff training just for the sake of a phone number change. For the members of staff concerned nothing has changed, the phone rings just the same.

There should be no need for training unless a new phone system [hardware], or a new call handling system [software] has been installed.

In a notice to elected members, the council claim:

As a part of the on-going series of improvements to the Housing Repair Service the City Council is setting up a dedicated team to handle repair requests from our tenants. The team will be working in a location designed for the purpose. They will be able to focus on the task of handling repair requests and managing the communications with the repair operatives across the city. By bringing the essential elements under one roof we will be able to bring further improvements to our customers.

The new service will also have a new dedicated phone number which will be available for our customers to use 24 hours a day seven days a week.
0844 894 0145

The new service and the dedicated phone number will be available for our customers from 8am on February 10 2011.
Calls to the new number will cost approximately 3 pence per minute *from a BT residential line*.

One of the key benefits from the new service will be that calls can be handled quickly minimising the time and costs to our customers. Previous improvements have seen the length of time that customers spend on the telephone reducing steadily. Many repair enquires are now completely dealt with within 4 minutes and the launch of the new service will enable us to make further improvements.
Our free-phone service in One Stop Shops will also continue to operate. Customers can visit during opening hours and use a dedicated phone to contact the repairs service.

Later this year we will be making some improvements to our e-mail and web based reporting facilities which will bring further ways to make it simple and quick to contact the repairs service.

(*Call charges for mobile phones and for other networks will vary)

It is that last line that concerns me and should strike fear into all our elected members:

*Call charges for mobile phones and for other networks will vary*

Those responsible for implementing this change should realise that not all council house tenants have a BT landline, in fact as a councillor representing a large council house tenant estate commented to me yesterday, residents prefer mobile as they struggle to find the money when billed quarterly.

During a conversation with Mike Rawlins last week, the cabinet member with responsibility, Cllr Brian Ward informed him that the majority of callers to the housing repair service use mobile phones.


Another elected member told me yesterday that he had spent 29mins holding for Kier through the 01782 number. From Thursday, if he was calling on an Orange pay as you go mobile phone, that call would have cost him £11.60.

If that call had been made on a Virgin landline service there would have been a connection charge of 12.24p and then 7.13p per minute giving a total of £2.19.

These charges are totally unacceptable to a council tenant who is on benefits and for families where money is scarce.

The council claim that this change will not make money for either them or Kier so why the need to change at all?

I can understand the changes if the council were gaining revenue from this venture, understand that is, but not agree!

This change, if we are to believe what we are being told, will cost the council £400 per month. So why the hell pay out money that you don’t need to in these times of austerity?

This service is being offered to council tenants 24/7 these lines have to be manned, so if there is revenue made by the council from this 0844 number, will it be used to offset the cost incurred by operating 24/7?

Our Chief Executive Officer John van de Laarschot is all
for openness and transparency. Recently I admit that I feel quite sorry for the guy.

He must wonder if a skeleton is going to leap out of every cupboard he opens and shout Boo! Relating to something that happened before he got here.

Well John, this is most definitely on your watch!

Some head of service has made a decision to change a strategic service within the council and then claim that no revenue will be realised from that change. In fact it will incur extra costs to this city council at this time of unprecedented cuts.

I can [because I have] set up a 0844 number at my company for no charge. I certainly did not pay an amount up front and neither is the service costing me every month.

What I do get is a rake off on all incoming calls. This is used to give me a rebate on my monthly phone bills, meaning that I spend less on outgoing calls effectively.

I sense a closing of the ranks on this matter.

There seems reluctance in divulging the true extent of the deal surrounding the decision to implement a 0844 number which will mean a massive increase to the majority of residents who use this service unless you are lucky enough to have a BT landline.

Every 0844 number has a standard number attached to it.

When i received complaints off some customers that it was costing them more than a local rate call because they happened to have a different provider or were using a mobile, I decided to give out the 01782 number. I did this because I did not want to lose my customers business.

I don’t think that this will happen at the City Council, for as much as council tenants are described as customers, they have no alternative provider.

Like it or lump it is the phrase that springs to mind…

Shaping the future of Longton

Revived historic buildings, more public space and new homes are just some of the proposals residents are being asked to have their say on as part of the regeneration of a Stoke-on-Trent town.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is holding a series of consultation events over the next six weeks to help shape the future of Longton. The events, which will give residents the chance to have a first glimpse at proposals, are designed to help shape the town’s masterplan and guide future investment to the area.

On Monday 17 January, proposals will go on display for the first time at the Precinct Shop, between Boots Pharmacy and Iceland in Bennett Precinct, Longton, between 10am and 7pm to give residents the chance to have their say. Options in the proposals include the pedestrianisation of The Strand with the aim of creating new public space and increasing footfall in the shopping areas. To help businesses and residents to evaluate the proposal a six month trial of the pedestrianisation scheme is suggested to start towards the end of March, subject to the successful outcome of both the public consultation and comments from the Highways Agency.

On Monday the proposals for the trial pedestrianisation will be on display alongside the masterplan exhibition at the Precinct Shop between 10am and 7pm for residents to comment. Comments on the pedestrianisation trial can be received up until 28 January.

Other suggestions in the masterplan exhibition include increasing creative businesses, building new homes on former pottery sites and creating a heritage trail promoting historic assets.

The masterplan exhibition will be on display for six weeks at a series of locations until the end of February. The results will be collated to help determine a preferred option for the masterplan and further consultation events will then be held.

“Longton is a historic town with a wealth of heritage buildings. The masterplan is designed to help shape the future of the town centre and it is important people take the time to highlight changes they would like to see. This is the beginning of the process and will be the first time residents have had the chance to express their opinions on what they would like to see in the town.”

It is hoped by holding the consultation on the pedestrianisation trial and the masterplan in parallel it will help present all of the options for the town giving residents the opportunity to review proposals.

“It is important that we look at all options for increasing footfall and improving traffic movements in Longton. It is hoped the pedestrianisation trial will be a way of reviewing how the system would work and whether it is plausible. At the moment the city council is outlining the proposals and asking residents to comment on what they think about the scheme before a possible trial in spring. I would urge as many people as possible to look at the plans and help shape the future of this historic town.”

The masterplan covers an area of 118 hectares and is split in to four areas the Town Centre, Uttoxeter Road and Town End, King Street and South of the A50.

Comments for the trial pedestrianisation scheme need to be submitted before 28 January. However, events for residents to comment on the masterplan proposals will be held at the following locations:

*Monday 17 January 10am-7pm Precinct Shop, Bennett Precinct, Longton

*Tuesday 18 January 1pm-4pm Bentilee Community Centre, Dividy Road, Bentilee

*Thursday 20 January 10am-1pm Methodist Central Hall, The Strand, Longton

*Saturday 22 January 11am-2pm Strand Passage, The Strand, Longton

*Monday 24 January 2pm-4.30pm Blurton Community Centre, Poplar Drive, Blurton

*Thursday 3 February 11am-2pm Fenton Library, Baker Street, Fenton

*Wednesday 9 February 4pm-7pm Meir Library, Sandon Road, Meir

*Monday 14 February 4pm-7pm Longton Library, Lightwood Road, Longton

*Every Monday and Friday between Monday 17 January and Monday 28 February 10am – 1pm at the Precinct Shop, Bennett Precinct, Longton

Stoke-on-Trent City Council To Consider 6.69% Average Housing Rent Increase

Councillors are to consider proposals to increase council housing rent by an average 6.69 per cent, in order to meet financial restrictions imposed by central government.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Improving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee will discuss the proposals next week (Wednesday 22 December), ahead of a decision being made at the authority’s full council meeting on 27 January.

The proposals will affect around 36 per cent of council households which do not receive full housing benefit ““ around 6,300 households. It will mean an average weekly rent increase of around £4, to £65.72. The council has around 19,000 properties in the city.

The council’s proposals are lower than the average national guideline for rent increases, which is 6.8 per cent. The increase is in line with government plans to bring council housing rent to a similar level to housing associations by 2015.

“Unfortunately we have had no choice but to consider these proposals as the government has increased the amount of subsidy we have to pay by £3.5million.

“It is essential that we comply with government guidelines to allow us to maximise housing subsidy and housing benefit arrangements for the city.

“Rent rises are set to take place across the country, but a lot of hard work has gone in to ensuring the proposals in Stoke-on-Trent are applied as fairly as possible. The proposed rise in the city is below the national average, and the average rent for affordable properties in Stoke-on-Trent is still less than most neighbouring authorities.

“We remain committed to helping ensure everyone in a council property is able to have affordable quality housing as we move into 2011. I would like to reassure all tenants that we will continue to invest in housing. Our decent homes scheme draws to a close in 2010 and has played an important role in driving up the quality of accommodation, and we have put in place a planned maintenance programme to build on that.”

Tony Walley – On My Stoke-on-Trent Soapbox

Politics ““ It’s a Dirty Job But Someone Has To Do It ““ Don’t They? Part 2

Ahead of last Thursday’s Full Council meeting I got the chance to interview Cllr Roy Naylor, until recently a full and active member of the City Independent Group, now non-aligned.

I have always been impressed by Roy, he’s a man of principle and not a harder working councillor can be found.

Roy dedicates his life to his Blurton ward and is committed to helping the residents of the area.

He has embraced new media and the people of Blurton are regularly updated on his activities through his impressive blog site, FaceBook and his informative Twitter feed.

The ward of Blurton used to be represented solely by members of the City Independent Group until the surprise election of Labour’s Margaret Barber this summer.

There is no doubt following my discussions with people who live in the area of Blurton that Roy is the man on the beat, which is understandable given his former Group Leader’s Cabinet responsibilities.

The duo complemented each other until their recent parting of the ways.

Cllr Roy Naylor was unceremoniously booted out of the City Independent Group for being in arrears with his council tax and the rent on his council home.

Roy doesn’t deny the claim, far from it, he openly admits to having financial problems. I myself have been aware of rumours surrounding Cllr Naylor’s financial predicament for some 12 months now.

Those rumours have been circulating around the corridors of the Civic Centre for even longer according to some sources.

So it really does beg the question, why expel him from the group now, after all this time? Other members of his group knew that Roy had difficulties, including Group Leader Cllr Brian Ward.

The answer may lie in the fact that just before his undignified expulsion; Roy informed his Group leader that it was intention to fight the election in the newly formed Blurton West & Newstead Ward, an area that he is both known and enormously well respected.

This has allegedly angered Cllr Ward who wants to fight the ward himself and sources have informed me that as Group Leader, he believes that the “Ëœpecking order’ allows him first choice.

Now, if as the CIG claim, that the reason that Roy was shown the door was down to his financial differences, why did his group not do their best to help their mate and valued group member out?

Cllr Randy Conteh has recently vacated the Police Authority Committee, a position that pays handsomely, why was Cllr Naylor not considered for this position? Surely the financial reward would have help his position greatly and would enable him to clear his arrears faster.

Cllr Naylor liaises with the police particularly well and has a great understanding of how the Police operate within our city.

So, who did replace Cllr Conteh on the Police Authority? Non other than CIG Group Leader, Cabinet Member and fellow ward Councillor Brian Ward. How much does all that earn Cllr Ward?

Over £33,000 per year. Not bad all things considered.

How much does Cllr Naylor now earn for holding the fort in the Blurton ward and working tirelessly for the residents of his ward?

Just over £11,000 per year.

I feel a little uncomfortable talking about another man’s finances, but do you know what? Not as uncomfortable as Cllr Ward should feel for disclosing a fellow councillors personal circumstances to the media.

A council source has informed me that the matter may be referred to the Standards Committee and that it doesn’t have to be Cllr Naylor that makes the initial report.

As the same source said to me on the phone this week, “Ëœwith friends and colleagues like that, who needs enemies’?

It has also been suggested to me that Cllr Naylor may well be priced out of fighting the next election due to the cost of mounting a campaign.

I have been assured by a number of sources that Roy will not be short of offers to help, or indeed of offers of membership to other groups.

Now that would be an interesting ““ top of the bill clash ““ between Roy and his former group leader Brian Ward.

Especially if the full weight of a mainstream party is behind the former CIG member. But that is just me speculating, although, I may just nip to the bookies to put a couple of quid on.

What isn’t speculation however is the rise and substantial fall of the City Independent Group.

Once the second biggest group in the chamber with some 16 councillors and now reduced to just 8 and 1 of those constantly rumoured to be on the move.

There are those in the city that champion Independent politicians/groups, but the present crop isn’t that independent when you consider that they are part of a 4 way ruling coalition.

There is no doubt that the CIG are in political melt down and with the election campaign season about to start more divisions could come to light.

As for Cllr Roy Naylor, I’m sure he will keep on doing what he does best and that is to passionately represent the area of Blurton and to continue to champion causes like the Save Our Children’s Centre campaign as the kind of true Independent we can all remember.

Where’s Ann James’s number…..

High Rise Council Flats To Benefit From £1.9m Improvements

High rise council flats in Stoke-on-Trent are to benefit from almost £2 million of investment to improve fire safety measures, access and security.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is spending £1.9 million on a programme of works that will run until next April on properties across the city. The measures are designed to help drive up the standard of the environment for hundreds of city residents.

The works will see over 800 fire doors and over 400 flat doors installed in 10 blocks of flats in Blurton, Hanley, Stoke and Tunstall.

Twenty-six blocks of flats in Fenton, Hanley and other areas of the city will benefit from lightning protection measures. Door entry systems will be replaced in 10 blocks of flats in Meir to help improve security, and three blocks of flats in Hanley will have CCTV installed to help tackle anti-social behaviour.

A total of 42 small blocks of flats in Meir and other areas of the city will have improved emergency lighting installed, and nine blocks of flats in Fenton, Hanley and Tunstall will have roof access doors replaced to help make the buildings weather tight.

The roof of Honeywall House in Stoke will be replaced, with residents who lease their properties in the building asked to pay a contribution towards the work. Worn and damaged plastic glazing on both Robinson Court and Pedley Court in Blurton will also be replaced.

Funding for the scheme has come from money that has been ring-fenced within the council’s Housing Revenue Account.

“The funding for this work has come from existing council budgets to improve health and safety, and internal and external works in council flats. It has been carefully planned and budgeted for.

“This investment demonstrates the council’s commitment to continue to drive up the quality of life for residents across the city. We take our responsibility to our tenants very seriously and will be working hard over the coming months to carry out these improvements with as little disruption as possible.”

Reg Shaw, who has lived with wife Beryl in Forest Court, Hanley since the flats were built more than 30 years ago has welcomed the investment.

“I am over the moon about the works. We have noticed the need for maintenance work over the last few years, but we know that money is very tight and the council has to look at the entire city.

“Our flats are a lovely place to live, and are very close to the city centre. We are very pleased that these improvements are taking place.”

Stoke-on-Trent Councillor Roy Naylor Considers Legal Action Over Group Expulsion

Stoke-on-Trent City Councillor Roy Naylor is considering taking legal advice over his former Group Leader’s disclosure to the press that he has council tax and rent arrears.

Mr Naylor is now listed on the Council website as a “Ëœnon-aligned’ councillor.

Cllr Naylor broke the news of his expulsion from the City Independent Group over the weekend, but today he said that he was disgusted at how his former group leader Brian Ward and his colleagues had handled the issue.

He declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his expulsion but confirmed that he was taking legal advice about his group’s disclosure of his personal circumstances.

He was also angry about finding out that he had been kicked out of the CIG from member services instead of from his former group leader.

He also hit out at Cllr Brian Wards comments in the Sentinel that he had refused to attend the City Independent Group meeting last Wednesday to discuss a
range of issues relating to his situation.

” i am incredibly upset at the accusation that I refused to attend our group meeting.

“I had already emailed the group leader well in advance of the meeting to advise him that I was unable to attend do to circumstances beyond my control.

“To suggest I refused is just untrue.

“I have no problem acknowledging that I have some financial issues but I don’t want to comment further because me and my wife are taking legal advice about how my issues were disclosed through the press.

“I would like to make it clear that I have every intention of standing for election in the Blurton West and Newstead ward. I am confident that the hard work that I have put into helping the residents and groups in the area in the absence of any support from a fellow councilor who is a cabinet member will stand me in good stead come election time.’

”I would not have made any comment about the matter had Cllr Naylor not have contacted the local newspaper.”

“The facts are that our group are more than aware of Roy’s circumstances and wanted to discuss the ward arrangement and who stands where.

The also wanted to hear from Roy why he had not showed up to chair the Overview & Scrutiny management committee the past two meetings, a role for which he gets paid.

” I feel that our group were left with no option but to expel him. He did not walk away like he said on Twitter”

On Thursday 25th November 2010, @Blurtoncllr said:

I have today informed the Leader of the City Independent Group, that at the May Election in 2011 I will be standing for the New Ward, which consists of most parts of the Blurton Farm Estate and Newstead.

From there I also advised him I was not intending to stand this time as a City Independent Candidate, but as a stand alone Independent. His response to this was that he would stand Head to Head with me, as an opponent.

I have worked very hard in the last 3 years for the area, and feel that I have received very little support, so that has been the reason behind my decision (sic) to stand alone, as I believe I can if re-elected do just as much if not more for the area, and not being in a Group would leave me free to be in the Ward even more than I am now. As from May 2011 there will only be one Councillor for that area instead of the present three, I feel it would be better for residents to have someone that isn’t tied up in meetings at the Civic Centre most of the week.

Until May I will continue to work hard for all the present area’s that make up the Blurton & Newstead Ward.
The changes to the Ward is due to the decision (sic) to decrease the number of Councillors from 60 to 44 and the change of Ward Boundaries to make smaller wards.

Cllr Naylor’s expulsion has also been attacked from other members in the chamber.

” Well the Independent Group on Stoke-on-Trent City Council have shown their true colours yesterday.
How many people out there are struggling to get a job, pay bills, or are struggling to pay mortgages or rent?

How sad it is then that when one of their own, Cllr Roy Naylor, suffers what many ordinary residents are having to cope with, they decide to turn their back on him.

I have alot of respect for Roy Naylor, if nothing else he has worked hard for the Independent Group over many, many years. But in his hour of need, he really found out who his friends are.

Roy has fell behind wit his council tax, and rent, not a crime, nor I suspect entirly unusual at this time for many in Stoke-on-Trent. The law does say a councillor can’t deal with financial matters when in arrears (a position I would question), so the Independents, led by Brian Ward, his fellow ward councillor in Blurton, have thrown him out of their “Party”.

If this is how they treat their own, what hope for the rest of us.

With friends like that who needs enemies.

Good Luck Roy. Hope things turn around for you and your family.

Cllr Roy Naylor may not be the only councillor taking a ride aboard the political roundabout, watch this space.

Council to grit roads during cold spell

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has published its gritting routes online for the first time.

To inform people about what roads will be gritted if bad weather affects the city; the authority has now listed areas that will be gritted by the city council and the Highways Agency, as well as tips on safe driving in bad weather, at www.stoke.gov.uk/gritting

The city council’s gritting vehicles will be covering the roads across the city this evening (Thursday 25 November) as icy weather takes hold.

All ten gritters will be out from 6pm tonight to grit the city’s network of A.B and C roads and all major bus routes.

The city council currently has around 3,400 tonnes of grit in stoke, with another 1050 tonnes to be deliver in the next week.

Should the weather become worse, the Government recommends that councils keep at least 12 days stock of grit in reserve if the maximum needs to be laid each day, the city council currently exceeds that by having 20 days stock in the event of extremely bad snowfall or ice.

“We decided earlier this year to be prepared for the bad weather when it came along, and we’re confident we’ll be able to cope during a cold spell.

“We have four teams on standby during the evenings and at night, and all of them are ready to be out on the streets within an hour of a forecast of bad weather.

“We want to make sure that we keep the city’s roads clear and keep traffic moving if ice and snow take hold, but that also means people have to drive responsibly, and should only travel in severe weather if absolutely necessary.”