Eye Spy the By-election

So the by-election has finally been called for the vacancy for Office of Councillor for the Springfields and Trent Vale ward, it’s only taken since 27 April. So now the ballot boxes are being broken out and just in the nick of time… frustrated residents in Springfields & Trent Vale are already starting to petition the council over local issues, having begun to feel the effects of no local representation for the last few months.

Despite having more councillors than they know what to do with, Labour have not fallen over themselves to ensure residents have felt looked after, which is perhaps why there are rumblings that this by-election may see upwards of 8 candidates all vying to fix the numerous potholes and clear the litter on the yellow brick road from Trent Vale to Stoke. Hardly a ringing endorsement of previous incumbents…

Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent City Council December Meeting Details

The December meeting of Stoke-on-Trent City Council takes place this Thursday at 5:30pm in the council chamber.

Some interesting public questions for this meeting including ones relating to the offer to tender to run the now close City Farm.

Councillor Paul Breeze has put a motion forward to ask the council to Say No To The Name City Sentral, the motion is seconded by Councillor Lee Wanger

Meeting Agenda

1. Minutes of a previous meeting of the City Council held on 20/10/11
2.Apologies for absence
3.To welcome visitors (if any)
4.To receive official announcements (if any)
5.To transact business of a non-contentious and/or urgent nature specially brought forward by the Lord Mayor or Chairman
6.Declarations of Interest
Members to give notice of any personal or prejudicial interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.
7.Report of Petitions Received
8.Public Questions
To deal with any public questions received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.
9.Members’ Questions
To consider any questions (notice of which have been given under Council Procedure Rule 9.02)
10.Appointment of City Council Representatives to Serve on School Governing Bodies in the City of Stoke-on-Trent
11.Council Tax Base 2012/13
12.Changes to the Council’s Constitution
13.Safer City Partnership Plan, 2011-2014
14.Local Development Framework – Joint Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Waste Core Strategy 2010-2026
15.Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority – Periodic Report of the Chairman
16.Staffordshire Police Authority – Periodic Report on Police Authority Matters
17.To consider the following Notice of Motion, moved by Councillor Breeze and seconded by Councillor Wanger SAY NO TO THE NAME CITY SENTRAL
18.Minutes of the Cabinet (27/10/11 and 3/11/11)
19.Report of the Chair of the Development Management Committee (26/10/11 and 23/11/11)
20.Minutes of the Audit Committee (10/11/11)
21.Minutes of the Human Resources Committee (4/11/11)
22.Minutes of the Licensing and General Purposes Committee (19/10/2011)
23.Minutes of the Standards Committee (12/10/2011)
24.Minutes of the Adult and Older People’s Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee (3/10/11 and 2/11/11)
25.Minutes of the Business Services and Chief Executive’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (5/10/11 and 16/11/11)
26.Minutes of the Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (17/10/11 and 9/11/11)
27.Minutes of the City Renewal Overview and Scrutiny Committee (26/10/11)

The Political Potteries Circa 6th May 2011 Part 2

The council chamber has lost some big characters as a result of the elections, one of the biggest losses was political heavyweight and City Independent Group Leader Brian Ward.

Brian knew that he and his group would have a mammoth task to overcome a resurgent Labour Party. He has put his defeat down to two factors:

1] The Governance Commission who wanted the three mainstream parties to “Ëœman up’ and become more accessible to a wider cross section of the electorate.

2] The recent Boundary Review which Brian felt was all designed to favour the mainstream parties and to rid the political arena of the BNP and Independent politicians.

He was also concerned that the emergence of another Independent candidate in the form of Cllr Roy Naylor’s mother-in-law, Nina Hulse would dilute the independent voters and allow Labour to romp home.

Labour did romp home and if you add the 104 votes Nina Hulse received to Brian Wards total, he would have still been 44 short of a victory.

The City Independents are now in limbo, they have a possible group of 6, but can they swell their numbers to be an effective opposition? Paul Breeze has made it clear that he will plough a lonely furrow, he was elected as a un-aligned councillor and it appears that his mind is made up to go it alone.

The more interesting quandary is whether Lee Wanger will be welcomed to the CIG bosom? Lee has a past conviction and has had to sign the child sex offenders register. Many people are amazed that Lee has been re-elected to the council chamber. The people of Tunstall have had their say and they have chosen Lee, as is their democratic right.

The CIG will be meeting soon to choose a new leader; the favourites are Dave Conway and Terry Follows. Randy Conteh is very able but has health issues that need sorting before he can plan his next political moves.

The Conservatives have been reduced to 2 councillors from the 8 they had under the old Conservative & Independent Alliance.

Abi Brown has confirmed that she and new guy 19 year old Jack Brereton will not enter into any formal agreement with the Independents. Neither will she welcome Lee Wanger into the fold. She has her reasons and she will no doubt receive plaudits for the stance she has taken and rightly so.

Abi has been one of the rising stars of the past 12 months. She has forged a strong reputation for being a hardworking and dedicated ward councillor who is not afraid to speak her mind in the chamber. I know that she felt constricted at times and was unable to speak out against some of the anti Conservative rhetoric spouted from the Labour benches. Coalition was not an easy place for a character like Abi, she is forthright in her views and now she has the opportunity to speak out and spread her proud Conservative values, whilst nurturing a new, fresh, group member.

The chamber also lost one of its true gentlemen.

Ross Irving has served this city for 4 decades. His demise came at the hands of a team of activists from the remnants of the Trentham Action Group.

They delivered leaflets that “Ëœreminded’ the electorate in Trentham that Ross backed a new Academy for Trentham and Blurton.

To cut a long story short, Trentham High was eventually saved. But it wasn’t saved due to the support of TAG darling Terry Follows; it was saved after intervention from Stoke-on-Trent South MP Rob Flello. He was the reason that the school will now be refurbished and will remain open.

Had he not got involved and convinced the schools minister to review the case and to write to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, make no mistake, TAG campaign or not – that school would have closed.

The anti Ross Irving leaflet that was put out in Trentham was wrong in my opinion because although it did not favour any candidates it seemed to suggest that Ross was to blame and it urged folk not to vote for him. What it blatantly omits to inform people of was that their precious school was saved because of the actions of a Labour politician.

The anti Ross leaflet was orchestrated by Nick Davis, who uses every opportunity to criticise and project her hatred for the Labour Party. Not once have I ever seen her reference the work that Labour MP Rob Flello put in to save Trentham High. Yet she champions Terry Follows who was aboard the TAG wagon train, but went on the vote to close Mitchell High school.

Ross’s crime warranted a leaflet delivered to every household in Trentham apparently, to remind folk of what he did.

Yet even though Terry was a part of the process that spelled the end For Mitchell, he is the darling of Nicky Davis and the TAG. No mention of the fact that Mr Follows had done exactly the same as Ross but to another school, in another part of the City.

This whole episode is distasteful, selective, hypocritical and reeks of NIMBYism.

Apparently it is OK for Terry to back Trentham High but then a year later vote to close a wonderful school like Mitchell.

I wish Ross a happy retirement and I for one would like to put on record my thanks for the service he has given to the City over the past 4 decades. He never ducked a question or refused an interview and he is a guy who I have a tremendous amount of respect for.

I hope that Ross’s long service and dedication is recognised officially in some way.

The Trentham issue was not the council’s finest hour and was not down to the actions of just Ross, but no one will convince me that without Rob Flello’s intervention ““ the school would remained open.

We also need to acknowledge the loss to the chamber of all those serving councillors who will not return following the election, either through defeat, retirement or de-selection.

Hazel Lyth, Joanne Powell-Becket, Clive Rigby, John Daniels, John Davis, Mark Davis and Alan Rigby among others will not return.

We should also spare a thought for Mohammed Matloob who lost out in Tunstall and will therefore miss out on being the City’s next Lord Mayor. Matty is a really good guy and is a sad loss to the council.

Finally what does the future hold for our fine City?

That is a question that I will be seeking the answers to from our new Labour administration.

Labour imploded a few years ago. They were torn apart by in-fighting, jealousy, bitterness and arrogance. They must not allow this to happen again or the city will once again suffer the consequences.

I want Pervez, his new deputy [my belief is that it will be between Sarah Hill and Paul Shotton] to be open to true public scrutiny.

The “Ëœnew’ Labour Group must engage with the public. Here at Pits n Pots, we want open access to the Labour councillors and particularly the cabinet members so that we can ask the questions that the public seek the answers to.

Pits n Pots have proved that we have dedicated our time energy and resources into this site so that the public have a portal into the council chamber.

Our stats have gone through the roof over the last few months. Me, Mike have resigned from the board of 6towns Radio to solely concentrate our efforts on making Pits n Pots a vital part of this City.

With the engagement and participation of the politicians of this city, over the coming months, we will be bringing you live Question Time broadcasts so that the public can ask politicians about the direction of the city. We will be interviewing Cabinet members in depth and then podcasting them on this site. We will also be hosting live events.

We have big ideas and ambitions. We have the audience; all we need now is the participation of the politicians that we have just elected to serve us.

Labour Group, Conservatives, City Independents, un-aligned councillors – Are you up for the challenge?

Breaking News: Wanger has left the….. group!

Cllr Lee Wanger

Lee Wanger and Sheila Matthews have today left the Conservative & Independent Alliance. The news won’t have come as a massive shock to Conservative & Liberal Alliance/Council Leader Ross Irving as there has been much speculation regarding Lee Wanger’s group over recent months. Today, Lee Wanger has written to Ross Irving informing him officially of his decision to break away from the group. He has also informed the Head of Member Services Elaine Bates. Cllr Meg Ryan is to remain with the Conservatives which will enable her to carry on her duties and to stay on the committees she is currently serving. Speaking exclusively to Pits’n’Pots Lee Wanger said: " We were always going to break away from the Conservatives at some stage" "The longer we left the move the more difficult it has became. At the last elections that fact that we were aligned with the Conservatives was used against us during campaigning" He added: "The Conservatives are committed to fielding a councillor in all wards. That means that they will be up against our candidates and will fight for the same votes" "People comment that Stoke-on-Trent City Council is politically fragmented but I don’t see it that way. There are five groups on the council in reality. Labour, BNP, Conservatives, Libdems and the Independents." "It is the Independents that are fragmented. If they could just put their differences aside, and all unite together they would be a very strong group indeed". Cllr Wangers new group will be called the ‘Stoke-on-Trent Independent Group’.

Councillor Call For Task Group To Look Into Town Halls To Go Ahead

By Warren Lloyd

Councillor for Tunsall, Lee Wanger’s call for a task group to be set up to assess five town halls to find if they are fit for purpose seems to have been past.

Cllr Lee Wanger

Cllr Lee Wanger

Visits will be carried out on the halls in Tunstall, Longton, Burslem, Fenton and Stoke by the Overview and Scrutiny committee. Hanley town hall is already being looked at be another committee.

The intention of this is to see which buildings are in need of repair and not fully used. It is also to see if any of the buildings are a drain on council resources.

Councillor Wanger as now offered to chair the committee saying that Stoke-on-Trent is unique in having six towns and six town halls but this was a problem. He had called for the committee to properly see if each town hall was indeed a asset or liability.

He went on to say this: “Longton Town Hall for example, a small fortune was spent on saving it. I don’t know what it is used for. Is it just sitting there empty most of the time.” He then went on to also question the long term plans for Tunstall library and Burslem market hall.

He had more to say:  ” Are they empty, If we can’t use them can someone else? Can we sell them? Do any empty buildings want knocking down.”- May I just say here, the word you are looking for Mr. Wanger is demolish.

Joyce Buckley-Parker, campaigner to save Longton Town Hall responded to Mr. Wanger this way: ” Some building need looking at, but our town hall is a central part of the town. It is only open one day a week so people think nothing goes on there. If they ever did try and close it again we would fight tooth and nail to save it.”

Just a private note here – yes we would!

So here we go, what are  your thoughts on the town halls, should they stay? Be sold off? Or in the words of councillor Wanger ‘want knocking down’

One more question here as well. Councillor Wanger as been mouthing off about this a bit, should the man be allowed to chair this committee?

We still don’t know where this man lives, according to the list of councillors on the council website.