Road closures for Stoke-on-Trent Olympic Torch Relay

To facilitate the safe hosting of the Olympic Torch Relay and Evening Celebration on 30 May a number of roads forming and around the route in to Hanley Park in Shelton are to be closed.

The enforcement are for 3 days beginning on Monday 28 May and will remain in place until after the Olympic Torch Relay event in Stoke-on-Trent has been completed.

On the morning of Thursday 31 May a number of roads in and around Hanley and along the Olympic Torch Route towards Burslem and out of the city will be closed. Continue reading

1981 Shelton Riots

The showing this week of the biopic on the life of Mrs Thatcher will now doubt present her achievements in a rosy glow. Anyone living through that period who was on the left and politically active will almost certainly have a different view.

A seminal moment locally occurred on the weekend of the 11th ““12th July 1981 when the riots came to Shelton.

Rather like the events of last August the disturbances were born out of resentment and an intense disenchantment with the failure of authority. Like 2011 unemployment amongst the young was climbing and the consequences of Tory Chancellor’s Geoffrey Howe budgets of 1980-1 was to rapidly increase the jobless total. It is calculated that over 2 million jobs were lost in the manufacturing sector in the early years of the decade.

The riots began in Toxteth and spread as did the events of last summer to other major cities quickly. The list is a roll call of the great urban centres as Manchester, Leeds and London followed Liverpool. I was living in London at the time and can clearly recall walking over Greenwich Park and seeing the flames and hearing the disorder in Lewisham.

That weekend the troubles came to Shelton.

A party held at 45 Ashford St began to get too noisy and depending on whose side you believe the police responded or exacerbated the situation. One person in the house said that the police released dogs and batoned many of the party goers in a very heavy handed approach.

Predictably views were divided.

The chairman of the Police Authority a Labour Councillor called Harry Brown from Norton defended the police actions some community activists felt that there was an over-reaction. It was not racial as people at the house included black and white. Among the arrested were people from a wide area including parts of Abbey Hulton and it was the first time that Randolph Conteh’s name became known to a wider public.

The disturbances did not achieve much and rather like last summer authority were able to label those involved in the disturbances as hooligans and overlook the core issues of wasted lives and unemployment.

City Council Crack Down On Landlords

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has successfuly prosecuted a landlord over a licencing dispute – the first time the City Council has prosecuted a landlord like this in 15 years.

A student landlord, 43-year-old Jaspal Dadhria, has been successfuly prosecuted for failing to obtain Houses In Multiple Occupation licences for three properties he rented to 17 people in Shelton.

He will pay the council £750 per property in fines and he must pay £1,650 to obtain the relevant licences before the properties can be re-let.

On top of this, he will be paying the Council’s court costs and for the period the properties were without the relevant license, tenants can claim back their rent runnig up a potential bill of thousands of pounds.

The announcement on Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s website comes days after the executive cabinet agreed to trial selective licensing in Tunstall.

In certain properties, landlords will be forced to obtain a £500 licence from the council and will be under extra pressure to maintain their properties to a legal and safe-to-live-in standard.

The prosecution sends out a clear message that this council will not tolerate landlords who deliberately flout housing laws. Multiple occupation licences are required to protect tenants, to ensure that large properties meet the necessary health and safety standards. In this case, Dadhria repeatedly failed to apply for a licence. He also, on at least two occasions, failed to attend meetings with the council about the case.

It is fortunate that in this instance, council inspections found the properties to be of a reasonable standard. But without the required licence to ensure minimum safeguards are met, it is not possible to know this.

We are committed to driving up the standard of houses in the city, and to tackling privately rented properties, where appropriate. We are determined to do all we can to help raise the living conditions and quality of life of city residents.

500 Words From Amjid Wazir

My name is Amjid Wazir and I am the sitting Councillor for Hanley West & Shelton ward, I have lived here for nearly 40 years and I am proud to be your Labour Candidate in the new Hanley Park & Shelton Ward.

My aims for the community:

IMPROVE ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR. Many people are concerned about this issue and it is something I am pleased to say that Labour has tackled head on. During our time in power Nationally Labour put more police on the streets, supported police departments not cut them, engineered the Police Community Support Officer scheme and basically got tough with Anti-Social Behaviour when our neighbours were put at risk.

IMPROVE COMMUNITY FACILITIES. Hanley Park is a credit to our City not just our area. We all know that communities of all aspects of race use the children’s play area together and at the same time. Just take a look on a Sunday afternoon to see. The sports facilities are well used by the international and national student community many of whom reside in Shelton. Our Park is also home to many City wide celebration events and festivals which are often free for us to enjoy. It’s an asset I want to protect and enjoy.

PROTECT CHILDREN’S CENTRES. As a Labour Councillor, across the City we have had to make savings in some areas and protect others. We have had to make savings because we have had a 9% cut to our Council budget from the Government Coalition. We have endeavoured to protect the most vulnerable in the budget and that is why we have managed to save 15 children’s centres across the City from cuts and secure their future including the Thomas Boughey Children’s Centre.

COMMUNICATE REGUARLY. I am a people person. I love my street. I have two boys. I am happily married and my family live nearby. I will never be far away for people to ask questions of me and to get my support for their concerns. I hope to communicate with you even more after the election, furthermore there will only be one Councillor for this ward in the Council chamber so it is important we make the right choice on who that Councillor will be.

CONTINUE WORKING HARD FOR YOU. In all things I will work hard for you. As part of a Labour Team in power we can work with our Labour MP to deliver the goods. This means that the Community we are a part of can be proud to be part of something bigger and wider than just this smaller ward structure we are all part of. With Labour we can deliver.

I hope that from reading this you can see that we are part of a winning combination of a Labour Team. With 3 MPs, Labour Councillors, and a Group, we can go in the right direction for this City.

Please consider casting your vote for me Amjid Wazir, your Hanley West & Shelton Labour Ward Candidate.

500 Words From Liat Norris

As a student at Staffordshire University, an officer at the Students’ Union and someone who has lived in Stoke all my life, I feel a great commitment to students, Shelton and to Stoke as a whole.

Through the two colleges and the university, students make up a large number of the residents in Shelton and use the area daily. It is important that these students have a voice both in the ward and on the council. So if elected, along with working with the local community, I will make sure to work with the various Students’ Unions to ensure that all parts of the community are represented and to make sure that the experiences of students in the area is a positive one.

Government and council cuts must be opposed

Students nationally have shown opposition to the cuts being made both in education and wider public services through the student demonstrations at the end of last year; however there has also been student opposition to cuts locally. Whenever North Staffs Against Cuts has organised a protest against the cuts; I, alongside other officers at Staffordshire University Students’ Union, have rallied students, from both the university and the colleges, to come down to oppose the attacks on public services being spinelessly passed through by the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition.

A quarter of Staffs University students come from North Staffordshire and others live here for only three years but they all care about the attacks being made to the local community, and I want to give them an opportunity to vote for someone who will fight the attacks ““ to provide an alternative to the pro-cuts platform being put forward by the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem candidates also asking for your votes in Shelton.

We need councillors who will fight against the cuts

If elected, as with all other Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidates, I will vote against all cuts being passed on by the government, and will propose an alternative needs budget, based on the needs of the people of Stoke-on-Trent, rather than accepting the draconian austerity measures being forced on us by the government.

From threatening the closure of Thomas Boughey Children’s Centre (the Children’s Centres which Labour laughably claim to have saved despite both putting them under threat and cutting their funding by £2.25 million), closing the vital Shelton Pool, to allowing the lifeline that is EMA to be removed from working class youth in the city ““ the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition has passed on disgraceful attacks to our public services. This can’t be allowed to continue, and if elected I will vote against them and fight to defend people in Shelton and across the city from further attacks.

On the 5th May in this ward there is a clear choice ““ to vote for the three pro-cuts parties; or vote against cuts by voting for the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts.

Fire Fighters Attacked

When firefighters on Hanley’s targeted response vehicle were sent to a rubbish fire in Shelton last night they were attacked by a group of youth throwing fireworks.

A crew on Hanley’s targeted response vehicle were sent to a rubbish fire next to the disused Bell and Bear Public House on Stoke Road, Shelton shortly after 6.30pm last night. When firefighters arrived and got off the appliance they were immediately attached by a group of over 20 youths who threw fireworks, stones and bottles at them and the vehicle.

The firefighters got back onto the appliance and had to delay their firefighting due to the attack. In fear for their own safety they requested assistance from the police and further fire crews, at which point the youths dispersed.

The attack was unbelievable. The crew that attended the emergency call are all dedicated professionals who are proud that they save lives and property in Stoke-on-Trent and so they are all angry and shocked that they were subjected to such a spineless attack, particularly in an area where we have good relationships with the local community.

This shameful and cowardly attack really does make us wonder what the perpetrators would think of their behaviour if their friends or family ever have the misfortune to need the help of the fire and rescue service in an emergency.

All of our appliances are fitted with CCTV cameras to protect our crews and we will be liaising with the police to try and catch the people responsible. I would urge anyone who has any information on this incident to contact Crimestoppers or the police.

None of the firefighters were injured however the paintwork on the vehicle has been damaged and some dents have been caused by the objects thrown. This attack comes exactly a week after firefighters crewing the same vehicle were attacked by youths in Bentilee, Stoke-on-Trent.

Anyone with information on either of the incidents is urged to contact Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Keep the music Live!

The DJ School Association based in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent needs help o keep our arts activities and courses on track into 2011 for 100’s service users, communities and arts professionals . We need to raise £13,495 to help to run our courses and activities.

”The DJ School has helped me catalogue my art work for preparation for a exhibition, I could only dream of getting as far as I have already”
“The DJ School has given me the confidence to express myself realise I have a future. I write my own songs and now am putting together a cd of my own work before I would only sing old songs I was comfortable with.”

The DJ School does not just provide DJ Workshops, we specialise in dramatic arts, Music Technology and IT and fine Art. We also aid clients in many aspects of modern live and provide training on being a freelance artist, provide employability modules and work Experience opportunities.

“We work tirelessly to provide opportunities for people that they would not normally get to encourage them to use their chosen art forms to provide them with a better future and , to help them function and contribute positively in the community.”

Please visit to find out more about what we do . If you would like to make a donation contact Sarah Armitt on 01782 205675.

Jewellery Shop Robbery In Shelton

Detectives in Stoke-on-Trent are appealing for witnesses in connection with a robbery which has occurred in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent yesterday afternoon.

At around 4.00 pm three offenders entered the “ËœEastern Jewellers’ on College Road, Shelton. The men where armed with sledge-hammers which were used to cause damage to the shop.

Witnesses also reported that one of the males appeared to be armed with what was described as firearm however it was not discharged. A fourth male remained in a black coloured car outside the shop. The offenders threatened the staff and stole a quantity of gold jewellery. They then made off in a black coloured new shape VW Golf. The men have their faces covered and were wearing causal clothing.

Thankfully no one has been injured in this incident and although shaken the staff at the shop have been able to give us a detailed account of what happened. We are also reviewing CCTV from the shop and surrounding area which will help our enquiries.

A few minutes after this incident police received a report from a member of the public about a suspicious vehicle in an alley between Sackville Street and Gladstone Street in Basford which is around 1 ½ miles from the scene of the robbery.

A number of males were witnessed running from a black coloured VW Golf which they had abandoned in the alleyway. Armed police were sent to the scene to ensure everyone’s safety and secured the vehicle which will undergo a detailed examination by scenes of crime officers.

Scenes of crime officers also conducted a detailed examination of the shop and the immediate area outside the premises which resulted in the closure of College Road for a period this afternoon.

Appeal leaflets have been delivered to homes near both the shop and the location were the car was abandoned giving details of the local officers and asking for information as detectives conduct house to house enquires about the incident.

We have a number of lines of enquiry to follow up over as a result of the incident and we will be viewing hours of CCTV already recovered from the area. I want to thank the community around the shop for their help so far and I urge anyone who may have seen this incident or the black coloured Golf involved in this robbery to come forward.

Anyone with information should call Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Sir Barnett Stross & Lidice Must Be Recognised In Stoke-on-Trent

Today’s society places a huge emphasis on education. The last Labour Government coined the famous phrase, education, education, education. They say you are never too old too learn and those words are so, so true in light of a recent story told to me by Alan & Cheryl Gerrard of Fenton’s The Art Bay Gallery.

The story told of the heroic, unselfish and compassionate actions of a Stoke-on-Trent GP during World War 2.

Sir Barnett Stross was born in Poland on Christmas Day 1899 to Jewish parents. He and his family moved to England in 1905 and settled in Leeds.

Barnett Stross was educated and attended University in the City and he qualified as a Doctor in 1926.

He moved south to set up practice in the Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent and treated mainly pottery workers and their families. He became a fierce campaigner for compensation payments for workers blighted by the industrial diseases pneumoconiosis and silicosis.

It was while he was working as a GP in Shelton that Stross was alerted to and outraged by the plight of a village in the Czech Republic just north-west of Prague called Lidice.

Heinrich Himmler, commander of the SS, head of the Gestapo, ordered the complete destruction of Lidice in revenge for the killing of an high ranking German officer.

192 men over 16 years of age from the village were murdered on the spot by the Germans, the rest of the population were sent to Nazi concentration camps where many women and nearly all the children were killed.

The atrocity caused widespread outrage among the mining communities of North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Barnett Stross was instrumental in this and he coined the phrase “ËœLidice Shall Live” in direct contradiction to Hitler’s orders that “Lidice Would Die Forever’.

The campaign to rebuild Lidice was born and at a mass meeting in the Victoria Hall, Hanley, three months later the Lidice Shall Live Movement was formally.

The people of Lidice have never forgot the role played by Sir Barnett Stross, the miners of North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. In the Lidice Memorial Museum, his work is commemorated and attracts visitors from around the world.

Barnett Stross went on to serve the Potteries for many years. He was elected MP for Stoke-on-Trent’s Hanley Division in 1945. He served in parliament for 21 years and was often called on to speak on medical issues. He was very anti smoking and still campaigned on Industrial disease. He was Knighted in 1964 and he died in 1967.

Sir Barnett Stross was never considered for the Citizen of the Century to mark the 100 year Federation of the 6 Towns.

All may not be lost however, we do have an opportunity to recognise this truly inspirational Stoke-on-Trent character.

As Alan & Cheryl point out on their Facebook Group Page [link below],

From the Sir. Barnett Stross, Twinning Lidice & Stoke-on-Trent Group

The people of Lidice always remember the role played by Sir. Barnett Stross and the miners of North Staffordshire. In Lidice Stross’s name is well known, place names being named after him. A Lidice Memorial Museum attracts visitors from across the globe.

The creators of this group believe a twinning of Lidice with Stoke-on-Trent would be highly advantageous for Stoke-on-Trent, economically, socially and culturally as it would open many profile raising and regenerative opportunities for the city. Here are some:

It would give the young people of Stoke-on-Trent a sense of pride in their ancestry. What finer example could there be of the kind-hearted spirit of the people of Stoke-on-Trent in action.

The significance of the role of ordinary, working class people in rebuilding Lidice after that terrible event would attract UK interest (and possibly global interest come 2012) – therefore doing much to improve the perceptions of Stoke-on-Trent viz-a-viz other cities in the UK and help attract hitherto unwilling investors and visitors to Stoke-on-Trent.

Organised properly with correct consultation with the communities of Stoke-on-Trent and its private sector, it could help reduce parochialism and disaffection, give the people of Stoke-on-Trent a sense of “place” and empathy with a community thousands of miles away. Especially as it was largely due to the workers of this city that the “Lidice Shall Live” campaign grew.

The Lidice Memorial Museum contains a wealth of artworks produced by world renowned artists. Already the museum have indicated their willingness to lend
artifacts related to the event towards a commemorative exhibition in 2012. They have indicated a desire to come to Stoke-on-Trent to find out more about Sir. Barnett Stross and the people of Stoke-on-Trent in readiness for their exhibition next year to celebrate the 111th anniversary of the birth of Barnett Stross.

No other city in The UK holds such an emotional tie to the events perpetrated by The SS. Although a National Holocaust Museum exists in Newark, Sherwood Forest, it is very possible that a properly fitted, permanent exhibition to commemorate the destruction of, and celebrate the rebuilding of, Lidice would attract many, many visitors to Stoke-on-Trent each year. This is even more likely if close ties are formed with The National Holocaust Museum and The National Arboretum in Cannock.

The Lidice Memorial Museum holds a Children’s Art Competition which attracts entries from all over the world. This year they’ve received over 25,000 entrants. I believe the museum would support and market an annual Children’s Art Competition which mirrored that of Lidice’s. Stoke-on-Trent could conceivably, therefore, receive work from children across the globe and prizes could include trips to Stoke-on-Trent to visit its attractions.

Sir. Barnett Stross. presented/opened the world’s largest rose garden at Lidice as a symbol of commemoration and rebirth. Stoke-on-Trent could find somewhere to site the largest rose garden in the UK to commemorate the life of Barnett Stross, Hugh Leese and the other Stoke-on-Trent people that started the campaign. Again this could be a massive a media event and the rose garden, if promoted properly, could become an attraction for many visitors to Stoke-on-Trent

There are, of course, many, many more potential benefits that could accrue into the long term.

If you agree that a twinning, whether that be formal or informal, of Stoke-on-Trent with Lidice would do much to raise the profile of Stoke-on-Trent and help in its regeneration and help improve non-domicile perceptions of Stoke-on-Trent, please invite people to join this group, or write to your councillor, or write to The Sentinel. Like others on Regenerate Stoke, we firmly believe that Stoke-on-Trent should start aiming higher. Part of that can be making the very most of any significant role it has previously made in world affairs.[/quote]

So, the gauntlet has been laid down to our City Council and the Cabinet Member with responsibility Hazel Lyth. This could be a massive good news story for Stoke-on-Trent. In these times of the “Ëœcut, cut, cut’ culture this story could be a flashing beacon amidst all the doom.

Pits n Pots completely support the effort of Alan & Cheryl Gerrard of The Art Bay Gallery, Fenton in their efforts to commemorate the act of humanity of Sir Barnett Stross. We also support the call for a formal twinning agreement with the town of Lidice.

We ask all Pits n Pots readers to join Alan & Cheryl’s Facebook Group and we ask that all readers leave a message of support on the comments section of this article.

We urge Council Leader Pervez, his Cabinet, all other City Councillors and CEO John van de Laarschot to action this request as a matter of urgency.

We firmly believe the City Council are doing their best in these most difficult times, but request that Alan & Cheryl’s efforts be recognised with positive action.

Please do not mistake their frustration for anger. This City needs progressive citizens like Alan & Cheryl to combat the negativity of the extreme views held in this City.

Sir Barnett Stross was a Jew. This year Stoke-on-Trent voted to formally adopt a Holocaust Memorial Day, what better way would there be of sending a clear message to those who use politics to deny and denounce the Holocaust, that Stoke-on-Trent will never forget those atrocities.

Stoke-on-Trent should be proud of Citizens like Sir Barnett Stross and for those, like me, who did not know about this fantastic individual, let’s get the message out eh?

Government Cuts Hit Ethnic Communities In Stoke-on-Trent

Government cuts in funding have forced Stoke-on-Trent College to review it’s arrangements for delivering community learning.

The cuts have forced Stoke-on-Trent College to end it’s contract with Community Partnership Learning [CPL] which has delivered adult courses in community centres across the six towns for the past six years.

Although some courses will still run in Normacot the effects of the decision will be felt among ethnic communities across Stoke-on-Trent.

Female students in these communities are now fearful that they will have to cease their educational classes due to the need to travel to Stoke-on-Trent College campuses at Cauldon and Burslem.

Ethnic minority women are now fearful that their husbands will not allow them to attend mixed-sex classes.

Speaking in today’s Sentinel Taj Bibby of Community Partnership Learning said:

“The college is not going to be contracting with us. All the courses will be centralised in a mainstream setting at its campuses.

“It is very sad. We were based around the community, in places like Cobridge, Shelton, Hanley and Longton. Places where people could easily get to.

“Many of the women have large families. They could come to classes in the community because it was within walking distance of their home and the schools their children attend.

“Now, a lot of the students will not continue with their education.

“For some of the women, it was the first time they had got involved in education. They were learning English, or various skills.

“Now we don’t know what the future holds.”

The cessation of the contract between Stoke-on-Trent College and CPL could effect up to 400 students.

The college have not revealed the savings that this decision will realise.