Terry Follows Denver as Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent

Popular Independent Councillor Terry Follows will be sworn in as the next Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent on 26th May.

Terry the newly elected Councillor for Hanford & Trentham will take the office vacated by the hugely successful Cllr Denver Tolley who retires from both the office of Lord Mayor and as a city councillor.

Denver’s year in office coincided with the celebrations to
mark the Centenary of the Federation of the 6 Towns.

Cllr Follows’s consort is to be his friend Jackie Pearson.

Terry is a true Stoke lad. Born in Fenton the son of a miner and a pottery worker, he was first elected to serve in Fenton. He has been a city councillor for a total of 15 years.

Terry was originally a Conservative Councillor and when he first stood for election in the ward of Trentham he actually defeated the sitting Independent councillor.

Following a disagreement over the future of Trentham High School, Terry left the Conservatives and joined the City Independent Group. He was Deputy Leader of the CIG until the recent election.

Speaking to Terry today, he said that he was extremely proud and honoured to be considered for the office of the First Citizen of the City of Stoke-on-Trent.

He is expected to be elected unopposed at the Annual Council Meeting on 26th May which can be viewed online at the city council website from 11am.

Labour councillor for the new ward of Etruria & Hanley Majid Khan will be elected as Deputy Lord Mayor and will take office in May 2012.

Terry Follows will take his easy going nature into the
role as Lord Mayor which will ensure his success in the ceremonial role. He will also adopt an easy going approach to his role as the Chairman of the City Council.

The Lord Mayor is the First Citizen of Stoke-on-Trent, and with this comes a high profile role in promoting and maintaining the interests of the city and its people.

The Lord Mayor attends a variety of engagements throughout his year in office, such as Civic Receptions, Parades and general visits.

Current Lord Mayor Cllr Denver Tolley has excelled at all aspects of the role and Terry Follows will be as equally successful for sure.

Parking Charges To Change

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is reminding residents and visitors to the city of the changes in car parking charges coming into effect from April 1.

A review of charges has taken place across the city centre and some charges will increase, while others will go down.

There will also be a change to residents parking charges and charges introduced for the Shopmobility service.

“The review of parking charges was part of the budget process and it was done to try and encourage people to park for longer and take advantage of parking earlier in the day.

“Residents parking schemes were reviewed as there had been no increase in charges for the past five years. There are increases every few years due to administration costs going up and this year’s increase was incorporated into the budget process.

“The Shopmobility charges came as a result of our budget consultation with the users, who were happy to pay if the service were to continue. These charges were agreed with the user groups as carrying on operating a free service would have been unsustainable.”

New No Cold Call Zone to keep residents safe

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue are once again joining forces in Stoke-on-Trent to help the elderly and vulnerable ward off suspicious callers at their door.

Residents in Brindley Ford are being encouraged to step up security at their homes as a “ËœNo Cold Calling Zone’ is launched in the area on Wednesday 9 February.

Neighbourhood police officers, city council neighbourhood and trading standards officers and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have worked together to set the scheme up.

Those residents living in Handley Drive, Patrick Place, Finch Place, Lally Place, Hugh Bourne Place and Beatrice Walk are set to benefit from the new scheme – which is the second to be launched in the city so far this year.

Visitors to the No Cold Calling Zone will see street signs on lamp posts to warn traders, and residents will also be provided with information packs, letters and a door/window sticker to display.

“These particular streets in Brindley Ford are mainly populated with elderly and vulnerable residents.

“Due to this the area would greatly benefit from a No Cold Calling Zone. Myself and colleagues from partner agencies completed questionnaires in the area and more than 60 per cent of the residents agreed the community would benefit from the scheme.

“The aim of the No Cold Calling Zones is to deter cold callers and rogue traders from operating in the area, which will protect and reassure our more vulnerable residents.

“Previous No Cold Calling Zones across the city have been well received by members of the community. Anything which reduces crime and the fear of crime in our communities is to be welcomed.”

“No Cold Calling Zones have been successfully used in other parts of Stoke-on-Trent to reduce the levels of distraction burglary and rogue trading and to reduce the fear of crime, particularly amongst elderly and other vulnerable groups.

“They also discourage rogue traders who target vulnerable residents falsely claiming that work needs doing and then charging exorbitant prices for shoddy and unnecessary work.

“The zones will also discourage those who use door step selling as the opening for distraction burglaries or to make plans for future burglaries.”

“As a partner we were pleased to assist in this project to help safeguard the more vulnerable citizens in our community.”

Untaxed Cars Face Being “flogged”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is warning people about leaving untaxed vehicles on the highway, as they will be scrapped or auctioned off.

Since April last year, over 130 vehicles have been identified as untaxed across the city, with 58 of those being impounded. Vehicles are normally held while the owners are informed by the DVLA, and then scrapped if not claimed.

The car, a black 2003 Honda S2000, is the first one to be auctioned by the city council after the period in which it could be claimed expired. The eventual revenue gained is over £2,500.

“This isn’t something we can do with every car, as some are in a really poor condition, and have to be scrapped if they are not claimed.

“In this case though the car was relatively new, and was authorised by the DVLA to be sold at auction.

“We want to send a message to people who don’t bother to tax their cars that they are losing money just by leaving them on the streets, as we can legally sell them if the DVLA authorise it.

“If we get more cases of untaxed vehicles being impounded, then we plan to auction more of them off, provided we get permission from the DVLA.”

The DVLA normally allows up to 14 days for someone to claim an untaxed vehicle, unless the vehicle is worth £500 or less, in which case it is scrapped after seven days if not claimed.

If you see an untaxed vehicle then contact Stoke On Call on 01782 234234.

Pupils to learn about tree surgery as park is pruned

Pupils are to be given the chance to learn how tree surgeons tackle dying and decaying trees, as part of preparation work for a multi-million pound restoration.

Around 30 children from years five and six at Moorpark Junior School will see professionals climb, remove branches from, and take out a diseased section of a cherry tree at Burslem Park next week (19 January).

The session is part of a raft of planting and pruning work being carried out by Stoke-on-Trent City Council ahead of a £2million scheme later this year to restore the park’s pavilion and buildings, Victorian terracotta fountains and rose garden, and open up pathways.

“The children will be given a demonstration of how professional tree surgeons climb trees in order to get to problem sections. They will also see part of the trunk of the cherry tree removed to reveal the extent of the disease, and to help count the rings to see how old the tree is.

“The tree unfortunately needs to be removed because its crown has decayed, and it is dying. It is a mature tree and is about 20ft tall. It is one of a number of trees which needs attention, but as part of the work, we will be planting over 70 new trees and around 35,000 new plants.

“This is a great experience for the children to be a real part of the work that is going on at a park which is right on their doorstep.”

Over the coming weeks, tree surgeons will continue to prune some trees, and remove those that are dead, dying, dangerous or diseased, or are impacting negatively on buildings and structures.

The work will help to open up views and spaces and restore the park’s historic landscape to how it was intended when it first opened in the 1890s.

“The work is being handled very sensitively, and a great deal of preparation has gone in to identify the trees involved. The park has a total of 535 trees, and we will be planting new species, such as three types of oak, as well as thousands of plants and bushes that will provide habitat for local wildlife and improve the look of the park.”

Pupils from Moorpark Junior School have also put forward designs for a new sculpture in the park, which are being considered for when the restoration work begins in the coming months.

“We only have a small Tarmac play area for our pupils, so Burslem Park is our outdoor classroom ““ we hold sports days and party in the park community events there, and go into the park for geography lessons.

“The park is an important part of school life so it is wonderful to be involved in this work.

“As well as seeing tree surgeons at work, the children are taking part in a podcast competition, with junior reporters interviewing some of the tree surgeons, the urban park ranger and members of the Burslem Park Partnership. It is a great way for pupils to gain first hand practical experience and improve their skills.”

New No Cold Calling Zone To Be Unveiled

Stoke-on-Trent’s latest No Cold Calling Zone will be officially opened this week.

Covering the Mountfield Place and Hayfield Crescent areas, as well as Alfred Street and Morville Close, it is the first zone set up in 2011 by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Police.

Neighbourhood police officers, together with representatives from Trading Standards, have worked together to set the scheme up – which will benefit more than 100 homes occupied by elderly people in the area.

The official launch will take place on Hayfield Crescent at 12pm on Wednesday 12 January, with Staffordshire Police working from a mobile police station between midday and 3pm. They will be available to talk to local residents about any concerns they have.

From Wednesday visitors to the No Cold Calling Zone will see street signs on lamp posts to warn traders, and residents will also be provided with information packs, letters and a door/window sticker to display.

“No Cold Calling Zones are proving to be an excellent way of warding off suspicious callers at the door.

“In addition to the launch of the new scheme, funding has been secured to purchase a variety of security items which we will be handing out on Wednesday afternoon.

“Previous No Cold Calling Zones across the city have been well received by all members of the community, particularly our more elderly and vulnerable residents.

“Anything which reduces crime and the fear of crime in our communities is to be welcomed.”

“No Cold Calling Zones have become really important to the people of Stoke-on-Trent and are a great example of how we can work closely with the police for the benefit of the community.

“All the feedback we get from residents is positive and they feel safer and secure in their homes if they know that these areas are regularly patrolled.”

Tender to be advertised for Stoke-on-Trent’s City Farm

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to invite groups to express an interest in running the City Farm.

The tender for the running of the facility will be advertised through the local media on 7 January 2011. The proposed period is for five years beginning early in 2011.

Anyone wishing to tender for the contract should go to www.wmcoe.bravosolution.co.uk and register for project number 18003, ITT reference 29044.

Closing date for submissions is 2pm Friday 28 January 2011.

Within the city council’s budget setting process, the City Farm is proposed to close unless an alternative source of funding could be found.

“We understand that this is an emotive subject for many people ““ but we need to take some prudent steps to put in place a back-up plan should the budget proposal be approved in February. Identifying interested groups is key in this so we need to advertise the tender. To wait until after 24 February when a decision is made would leave no time to source alternative funding options.

“But I must stress no decision has yet been made on the budget these are still proposals.”

Information Cafe To Be A Help To Residents In Blurton

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to hold a special information café for residents in Blurton next week.

The event, to be held at St Alban’s Community Centre on Finstock Avenue, takes place on Thursday 6 January between 10am and 12pm.

Throughout the morning there will be information on training, jobs, employment, home improvements, family issues and ways to maximize income.

The café is intended to create an informal atmosphere to put residents at ease and give them a chance to share their concerns with staff from the city council’s South Western Neighbourhood Management Team, who have organised the day along with the community centre.

“The new year can sometimes be a difficult time for people, especially when the Christmas atmosphere has died down and our residents need to look at what lies ahead.

“Anyone who has any concerns about their financial or job situation can come along and talk to our staff, who will be able to point them in the right direction for jobs, new training or how to get the most out of the money they are earning at the moment.”

Free hot drinks and oatcakes will be provided throughout the morning.

Stoke-on-Trent Residents Urged To Be On The Lookout For Rogue Fly Tippers

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Environmental Crime Unit (ECU) is warning people against using unregistered waste collectors – as it could cost them up to £5000.

The warning comes as Christmas packaging and waste builds up over the festive period – but getting rid of that waste can have serious consequences for both the environment and the people involved.

The ECU is investigating reports that people are offering to remove waste for people all over the city, and then illegally fly tip that material in other parts of Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. If that material is found with details of people who gave it to the fly tippers though, it is that person who can face a hefty fine.

Now the team is asking for the public’s help in identifying the rogue fly tippers, and also refusing to use an unregistered service.

“These people may look professional, but in reality they are making money through collecting people’s rubbish then dumping it wherever they feel like.

“Unless the team catches them in the act, the trail can only lead back to the person who paid them – and it’s that person who could face the fine.

“Waste collections have still been in operation over Christmas, and the bulky waste collection is available to people via Stoke On Call on 01782 234234.

“It’s better for people to use that than run the risk of being tracked down by the Environmental Crime Unit, who would have no choice other than to issue them with the fine, rather than the people who have dumped it.”

The Environmental Crime Unit with be in contact with surrounding authorities, to work with them to resolve these cases and any evidence they may have that link to these rogue waste companies.

People can tell if a private waste company is legitimate by checking the Environment Agency’s website. All of these companies should have a waste carrier licence card and a waste carrier licence number.

“You should always ask these companies if they have a waste carrier licence card, or at least a registered number, and you should always get some kind of receipt to show who the people are that have collected your waste.

“You are responsible for the waste if it is illegally disposed of unless you can show you took all reasonable steps to prevent the offence from happening.”

People can search for a private waste collection company on the Environment Agency website here: http://www2.environment-agency.gov.uk/epr/search.asp?id=EP8&&type=register

People can search by postcode, town, company name and the waste carrier license number.

People can also call the general enquiry desk on 08708 506 506 (Mon-Fri, 8am – 6pm) or urgent enquiries can be addressed to the hotline number on 0800 807060 (Freephone, 24 hour service).

Potters back anti-counterfeit campaign

Stoke City Football Club are backing Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s drive to fight fake cigarette sales over Christmas.

City midfielder Salif Diao will be the face of the campaign during the Potters game with Blackpool this weekend, to tie in with the council’s efforts to clamp down on counterfeiters over the Christmas period.

The counterfeits, which are often packaged to resemble well known brands, are offered for sale at severely reduced prices to tempt people into buying them – but these cigarettes are made from highly toxic materials that can even include rat droppings.

The fakes are so dangerous that doctors have warned they are responsible for four times as many deaths as drugs.

An increasing number of highly dangerous fakes are being sold in the city’s pubs and clubs, as well as venues like car boot sales, markets and even some corner and mobile shops.

To combat the problem Stoke-on-Trent City Council has launched a campaign to raise awareness with posters that are being displayed in shops across the city. Now Stoke City are lending their support to the campaign with information in the matchday programme and around the ground during the Blackpool game.

“Stoke City carry an important brand and we are grateful for their co-operation in helping us get this message across to as many people as possible.

“A lot of these fake products look like the real thing, but even though they appear to be genuine, they are in reality extremely poor reproductions.

“Fake tobacco and cigarettes can contain highly dangerous ingredients like cyanide and have been found to contain plastic, sand and even rat droppings. In many cases the fake cigarettes have been found to be much stronger than genuine ones.

“While the content of all cigarettes is harmful, fake tobacco is even more hazardous than the real thing because they are cheaply made and often contain toxic material in high quantities.”

“The Football Club is active in promoting healthier lifestyles through a number of initiatives and it is important therefore to highlight the dangers of using fake cigarettes.

“While a key aspect of our work is to support people in attempting to give up smoking, we would also want to encourage those who choose to smoke to act responsibly for their own good.”

The public is being urged to report any sales of counterfeit tobacco by contacting the hotline 01782 238444 or going online at www.stoke.gov.uk/fakes. The sale of “bootleg” tobacco on which duty has not been paid can also be reported in this way.