500 Words From Adrian Knapper

I have 500 words but only need one to describe my role as a City Councillor in Stoke-on-Trent for the last 11 years: dedication.

Marriage may have taken me to live outside of the area, but being born and bred within the Potteries I am dedicated to doing my best to make Stoke-on-Trent a better place. This in mind I plan to expand my business to create more jobs in the City.

Since becoming a City Councillor I have helped establish the Staffordshire Credit Union, and, during my time as Portfolio Holder for Public Health, have introduced Street Games, Lifestyle Programmes and expanded the Energise Plus Leisure Scheme. I have also worked with Labour’s Ed Balls during his period of Secretary of State for Education to win extra funding for our Secondary Schools (National Challenge Monies). This has helped enhance the educational achievements of many young people within Stoke-on-Trent.

I am passionate about improving the prospects of the people in Stoke-on-Trent. During my time as previous Portfolio Holder for Regeneration many of the building blocks for projects like the refurbishment of Potteries Way, the new 6th Form College, UniQ, the building of the new Bus Station and other projects that will bring more jobs to the city were established as part of the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership Business Plan.

More employment is key to the future success of Stoke-on-Trent. I am proud I have put part of my councillor’s allowance into the North Staffs Risk Capital Fund that has helped secure and create more than 700+ Jobs.

But being a councillor has its share of downsides too. I would have preferred a new Community School in the Bucknall area and I fought hard against the closure of the City Farm. Unfortunately, cuts were forced onto the people of Stoke-on-Trent by this Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government. We were obliged to set a legal budget, but I did my best to ensure vital services were saved.

I am always a strong voice on local issues. I am committed to the people of Stoke-on-Trent and this is why I wish to serve them again on the City Council.

The revised ward boundaries have moved me side wards to the new Abbey Hulton and Townsend Ward and I look forward to representing an area in which I grew up ““ I attended Townsend Primary School and Carmountside High School.

I have a good record of doing my best to responding to people’s problems and representing their interests. If re-elected, I will continue my monthly ward councillor surgeries and carry out regular neighbourhood street level contact with local residents.

I can only give one election promise and that is to continue to do my best giving my time and energy to the people of our Stoke-on-Trent.

Townsend Carnival ““ 24th July

The Townsend Carnival takes place this Saturday 24th July, 10.30am ““ 4.00pm, at Mitchell High School.

Rumour has it that this carnival, organized by Townsend Community Residents’ Association, is a most vibrant event and certainly one not to miss. Entry is free and there are activities for all generations, music and family sports and games. Now the rain storms early in the week are hopefully over please come along”¦ or else bring an umbrella.

Visit this ideal school site nestled in the heart of the community. It should remain a school site.

Please, come and sign the new Community School Action Group petition for a school on the Mitchell site. Why another petition, why bother ““ they never listen? This is the thought that will inevitably occur. I will tell you why, because when something is important for your family, your friends and neighbours, your community, you fight for it and keep fighting for it until you force them to listen. That’s how Trentham won.

Everybody is most welcome to sign the petition. But a cordial invitation goes out especially to Mervin Smith to add his pledge to the list of ward councillors who have signed and also to his election promoter Mark Meredith, council leader Mohammed Pervez and constituency MP Tristram Hunt.

This should be a good day – enjoy!

Residents to hear how £177m project will improve housing estates

Residents are being given the chance to find out how a £177m scheme will transform six city housing estates.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been provisionally allocated the money under round six of the government’s private finance initiative. It paves the way for more than 700 homes to be built and environmental improvements to be made in the suburban estates of Abbey Hulton, Bentilee, Blurton, Chell Heath and Fegg Hayes, Meir and Norton.

A series of seven roadshows will take place across the next two weeks to give residents the chance to talk to neighbourhood renewal officers and find out more about the plans.

The events will take place at:

* Townsend ““ The Community House, 7 Theodore Road, Monday 15 March, 3pm ““ 7pm.
* Norton ““ Community Centre, St Nicholas Avenue, Wednesday 17 March, 4pm ““ 7pm.
* Abbey Hulton ““ St John’s Welcome Centre, Greasley Road, Thursday 18 March, 3pm ““ 7pm.
* Blurton ““ Winifred Gardens, Ingleby Road, Friday 19 March, 3pm ““ 7pm.
* Bentilee ““ Bentilee Local Centre, Dawlish Drive, Monday 22 March, 3pm ““ 7pm.
* Chell Heath and Fegg Hayes ““ Residents Centre, 461 ““ 463 Chell Heath Road, Tuesday 23 March, 3pm ““ 7pm.
* Meir ““ House on the Square, Meir Square, Thursday 25 March, 3pm ““ 7pm.

The ambition is to involve building around 700 well designed new and replacement homes across the six estates, including two, three and four bedroom houses, and housing for older people, the disabled and those with special housing needs. Almost 500 of the new homes will be for affordable rent and the rest for outright sale or shared ownership. The scheme will also include carrying out environmental improvements including new children’s play facilities and enhancing street lighting and closed circuit television.

Councillor John Daniels, cabinet member for housing, environmental and neighbourhood services, said:

“This is a hugely significant scheme which will help drive up the quality of life and housing conditions in our priority housing estates.

“I urge as many local people as possible to come forward and find out about the scheme. We are still in the early stages of the programme and will be submitting an outline business case to the government in July for approval of our plans for the estates.

“We want to involve residents right from the beginning and these roadshows are the chance to meet officers and talk through the proposals.”

Once the outline business case is approved, a procurement process would then take place to appoint a development partner. Building work is expected to begin in 2013 or 2014 and last for around five years.