New Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent Terry Crowe

Picture of Lord Mayor Terry Crowe in ceremonial robes At the annual council meeting yesterday, Stoke-on-Trent City Council agreed to make Councillor Terry Crowe Stoke-on-Trent’s first citizen by giving him the office of Lord Mayor.

This is 66 year old Terry’s third spell on the City Council since his election in 1978 when he stayed in office for 22 years until 2000. Terry was re-elected in 2002 and again in 2011. During his terms of office as a councillor Terry has has held the positions of Vice-Chair of Education, Chair of Waste, Human Resources Committee and Children and Young People`s Overview and Scrutiny. He is also an honorary Alderman on Staffordshire County Council. Continue reading

Inside the civic

The big news this week, as hinted in my last column, was the resignation of Deputy Lord Mayor Khan as he prepares to once again face the Standards Committee. This is certainly an honourable decision, however why it took so long (and a Labour group meeting) to convince Khan to resign perhaps signifies how unaware certain councillors are about what the public think of their conduct. Continue reading

Nine-foot Saxon warrior comes to Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent residents are being given the chance to attend an exclusive VIP preview of the unveiling of a new work of art inspired by the world-renowned Staffordshire Hoard.

The Staffordshire Saxon – an inspiring nine foot sculpture of an Anglo-Saxon warrior – will be unveiled to the public at an exclusive after-hours event at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, in the city centre, on Thursday, May 17. Continue reading

President heads south for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

President Canal Boat steaming along a canal original picture from http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/81647People from Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire are being invited to see history in the making as President, one of the world’s only remaining steam powered vessels begins its journey to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June.

The boat ‘President’, commissioned to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire. People can take up this opportunity to see President at the Etruria Industrial Museum this afternoon  (20 April) from 12pm before she leaves at 1:30pm. Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson and The Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Councillor Terry Follows will also be in attendance. Continue reading

Prayers answered with a compromise

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has come to a compromise with councilors who wish to pray at council meetings.

A motion passed at the last council meeting saw the entitlement to pray inside the meeting removed with councillors now being ordered to pray 15 minutes before proceedings.

It was decided that this proposal will be effective from the start of the municipal year this May to the next 12 months.

Supporters argued that it would: “provide clear separation of prayers from the formal business of the meeting.” Continue reading

Stokie Terry Follows Denver Into Lord Mayors Parlour

Stokie lad Cllr Terry Follows was today [Thursday] voted in as the City of Stoke-on-Trent’s next Lord Mayor.

Fenton born and bred, the son of a miner and a pottery worker, Terry was nominated by Labour Councillor Tom Reynolds and was seconded by his City Independent Group Leader Cllr Dave Conway.

In nominating Terry, Cllr Tom Reynolds told the chamber that he had tremendous respect for him and for the work he does in his ward.

He also reminded the chamber of the work he carried out in helping to save the secondary school in his ward, Trentham High, from closure.

Tom Reynolds said that he remembered the time just days after the sad passing of his wife Christine, Terry was back in the chamber fighting on behalf of the school and the TAG. A fight that would eventually be won.

Terry Follows signed the declaration of acceptance for the office of Lord Mayor in a packed council chamber and told the councillors and members of the public present that he had waited a long 15 years to receive the honour of being the City’s first citizen.

He promised to do his best to promote the city at all times and to show the same commitment in his time in office as he shows to the electorate of Hanford & Trentham.

The 64-year-old lifelong “ËœStokie’ has represented the city on three separate occasions, the first spell starting 24 years ago in 1987. Following a year long break between 1991 and 1992, Terry returned for his second spell of four years before leaving the council in 1996. He has served the city continuously since returning as councillor in 2004.

Terry has also served as a cabinet member for the past two years holding, until earlier this month, the portfolio for environment, waste management and neighborhood services.

His career saw him start work at the age of 16 as an apprentice plumber for Seddon. He then went on to run his own plumbing and central heating business from the ages of 26 to 60, when he retired.

He has a son and three grandchildren – an 18 year old girl, 16 year old boy, and a new nine month old baby boy who Terry is looking forward to spending the coming years with – and says he is overjoyed to represent the city and its residents.

Terry takes over the civic chain of office from former councillor Denver Tolley. He will be accompanied in his civic duties by Jacqueline Pearson, who will be the Lady Mayoress. The council also decided that Councillor Majid Khan would become Deputy Lord Mayor.

Listen to Terry’s first interview as the new Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent below.

My Experience Of The Annual Stoke-on-Trent City Council Meeting – May 26

Okay, so the title may sound like I’m back at school in September writing about what I did on my summer holidays, but here you have a few of my thoughts on my experience of the first meeting of the new Stoke-on-Trent City Council Chamber.

It may have been a bit of a “Ëœrubber stamping’ affair, but the Annual City Council Meeting was perhaps the first chance to really see the new council in action.

For my first visit to the Council Chambers I was impressed by the broadcast equipment found around the chambers providing (what I hope was) excellent online coverage of the meeting. I say hope, because as sod’s law would have it, the City Council website doesn’t appear to be online this evening so I haven’t been able to watch it back.

For those readers unaware of the business of the annual council meeting ““ it was to set the council’s affairs in order ready for the next year of government.

One of the first speeches was perhaps one of the most interesting ““ a Christian prayer by the outgoing Lord Mayors pastor ““ Paul Lockett. In this incredibly diverse city, I find it very interesting that such a traditional Christian custom is still continued today in the council chambers.

A CofE member myself, I suddenly found myself back in first school, quietly mumbling 90% of the Lord’s Prayer ““ it’s always those last few lines that get me!

Official proceedings soon kicked off with the emotional farewell to Denver Tolley, outgoing Lord Mayor and retiring councillor who joked that he would be spending his days skiing. Not in the sporting sense, but Spending the Kids’ Inheritance.

Mr Tolley shared memories, thanks and a couple of tears with the chamber and handed over to newly elected Lord Mayor Cllr Terry Follows and his deputy, Cllr Majid Khan to continue chairing the rest of the meeting.

Cllr Pervez was re-elected as Council Leader but wasn’t the only nomination. Non-alligned Cllr Paul Breeze offered his own name followed by an energetic speech which was granted extra time by the Lord Mayor. He launched an attack on Labour who, according to him, aren’t the popular majority with the public.

His speech was met by cheers from the public gallery but failed to convince the chamber as he only received one vote, followed by 3 abstentions and 37 votes for Pervez. 3 councillors were absent for the vote.

Cllr Pervez declined to respond directly to Cllr Breeze but gave a long post-election speech outlining his plans for the next four years in charge with his Labour majority ““ although he didn’t quite manage to find the same energy as Cllr Breeze.

The afternoon saw the approval of committee placements meaning that the political machine of Stoke-on-Trent City Council now has all of its cogs in place.
How long they stay in place is down to our city’s elected representatives.

Here’s to the next four years of Potteries Politics!

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.

Council’s Solar Panels Exceed Expectations In First Month

Pitsnpots reported last month on the unveiling of 198 solar panels atop the Civic Centre’s roof. It was predicted by the council that the panels would generate £12,400 in savings per year (or £1033 per month).

Today, it has been announced the solar panels have helped save £1,750 in their first month of operation – beating their target.

The Lord Mayor, Denver Tolley, who unveiled the panels in April, said:

“We wanted to launch the panels in time for the spring and summer seasons. There has already been plenty of sun over the lastmonth, so the amount of electricity produced has been particularly high.”

According to Met Office figures, April 2011 was the driest on record resulting in high levels of sun.

Figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change at the Council show the panels generated 4,129kw/h in their first month.

The average house in the city consumes 3,638kw/h in electricity per year.

In 2009/10 the council spent £147,000 on electricity for the Civic Centre, a building which covers four floors and has space for over700 workers. If the solar panels meet expectations, the same bill would be reduced by approximately 8.5%

Stoke-on-Trent City Council last year signed up with E. ON to deliver millions of pounds worth of green energy investment.

Today, solar panels are installed on 54 Chell Heath council properties and it has been announced final touches are being put to a scheme which will result in over 1,000 Stoke-on-Trent City Council properties fitted with similar panels.

The Lord Mayor said: “The solar panels are working really well, and are already showing an excellent return. The most pleasing aspect is that the energy they are producing is completely green, so as well as saving money, they are also saving the environment ““ it is a win-win situation.”