Bid for a share of £1m for your high street and become a Portas Pilot

Towns and cities across the UK are being given the opportunity to bid for a share of a £1million funding pot to help them to turn arond their unloved and unused High Streets. Stoke-on-Trent with its six towns has more than enough unloved High Streets to choose from to put bids in against.

Mary Portas and Grant Shapps the Local Government Minister have launched a competition to choose 12 towns to become ‘Portas Pilots’ and bid for up to £100,000 to help them. The cash has offered as an incentive to those towns that come up with the best High Street blueprints in a move that fulfils the first and last recommendations of Mary Portas’ High Streets Review, commissioned by the Prime Minister and published before Christmas.

Speaking on Friday Grant Shapps said:

Our high streets have faced stiff competition from Internet shopping, and out-of-town shopping centres – leaving them underused, unloved and under-valued. The Internet is not going to go away, and so for our high streets to survive they need to offer something new and exciting.

So today I’m offering a golden ticket to 12 town centres across the country to become ‘Portas Pilots’ – areas with the vision and enthusiasm to breathe new life into what should be the beating heart of their communities, and they will get Mary’s and my support as they try out the ideas in her recent review.

Taking forward the first recommendation from Mary Portas’s review, the 12 successful localities will create Town Teams, made up of the key players in their local community – such as the council, local landlords, shopkeepers and the local MP.

These teams will then benefit from the backing of the Minister, Whitehall and Mary Portas herself as they take forward the recommendations from the review and in their area. They will also receive a share of £1 million.

Mary Portas said

I am thrilled that now there is an opportunity to turn my recommendations into reality by giving communities across the country the opportunity to come forward with their vision for breathing new life into their locality. I hope my Review has inspired people with another vision of tomorrow where our high streets are re-imagined as destinations for socializing, culture, well being, learning as well as shopping. I want the first twelve Town Teams to challenge the old ways of working, experiment, take risks and reaffirm their place at the heart of a community. A place we all want to be and can be proud of.

Successful bidders will need to demonstrate how they have the energy, enthusiasm and vision to make a real difference to their town centres and make them the hubs of their communities.

Energy & enthusiasm is something that, dispite the best efforts of the council with their poorly implimented regeneration plans, Stoke-on-Trent still has lots of, this along with the creative flair  will be ideal when areas are asked to demonstrate how they plan to breathe new life into their high streets and shopping parades, but not just in a standard application form – Mr Shapps would also like to see their pitches to become Portas Pilots in short YouTube clips.

Use the links below to read more about how to bid to become one of the Portas Pilots.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Consultations on new Alcohol Restriction Zone for Tunstall

Residents in Tunstall are being reminded to give their views on a proposed new Alcohol Restriction Zone in the area. Two consultation events will take place this week, at Tunstall Market on Wednesday 16 November and Friday 18 November, council officers will be available from 9am – 2pm on both days.

The proposed zone would cover the town centre and extend to other parts of the town as shown in the map.

Alcohol Restriction Zones are only put into place in areas that have experienced alcohol related disorder or nuisance, and give police officers the ability to ask people to stop drinking, and if they refuse, arrest them.

Tony Oakman, director of adult and neighbourhood services, said

This isn’t about making drinking a criminal offence in Tunstall, it’s about giving police officers the power to act if they feel that a problem is being caused by people drinking in a public place. Those drinking responsibly have nothing to worry about – the consultation will give people the chance to tell us if they think the conditions and the areas the zone will cover are appropriate.

LPT Commander for Tunstall, Chief Inspector Adrian Roberts added

We have been working closely with colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Safer City Partnership to tackle the issues being raised by local residents and the business community. This is about creating a safe and secure environment for people to go about their business without being affected by individuals who are under the influence of alcohol. Issues, such as anti-social behaviour as a result of drinking in the street, can cause misery and can blight communities and have a detrimental impact on businesses. I would like to encourage members of the public to give their views.

If any members of the community are unable to make it to either of the consultations and have any comments these can be made either in writing to

Safer City Partnership,
Town Hall, Civic Centre
Glebe Street
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 1HH

or by email safer.citypartnership@stoke.gov.uk. 

Reinventing Stoke-on-Trent

Last night saw the newly refurbished Mitchell Arts Centre packed out with people from all over North of Staffordshire, residents, business people, community groups, activists, local politicians and the media for a evening lecture given the former Mayor, Mike Wolfe.

Mike gave his vision of a united city based around ‘Stanley Square’, names after one of the city’s most famous sons, with Stoke-on-Trent is one City, not 6 towns which he refused to name during the lecture.

Matt from My Tunstall has done a long article on the lecture which you can read by following the link below.

Should we lose the identity of our six towns and just become Stoke-on-Trent?

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.

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?

Stoke-on-Trent England First Candidate Caught In Racist Row

Audio with Dave Sutton Now Online

The England First candidate for Goldenhill & Sandyford Craig Pond has been caught in a racist row on an internet forum.

The hyper-local website My Tunstall has organised an online question and answers session for all the candidates standing in the area, Pond gave his views which included a racist outburst against the travelling community.

Mr Pond’s answer to this question – What are the biggest problems facing this area? ““ was: “The biggest problems facing the area are a continued lack of decent jobs, the complete lack of a centrally funded youth policy, and the giving away of properties to gypsies and anti-social scum”.

Mr Pond’s racist rant continued in his response to readers and online users’ comments in relation to the England First candidate’s answers to the questions set.

Settled gypsies?
That will be that coward that flirted his girlfriend off the quadbike and left her to die in the road?
Or perhaps it has something to do with a lorry being driven into a house?
Or the ridiculous amount of time the police have to spend at Lime Houses?
Or how about the weekly dose of violence and anti-social behaviour?
I’m 47 now, and in all that time I’ve never once heard anyone say, “oh good, here come the gypsies.”,
but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard them say, “oh Christ, here come the gypsies.”
The reputation gypsies have is entirely of their own making, if they don’t like being disliked by most of the community, they should bloody well change their behaviour!

This claim drew an angry response from one of the forum users who responded:

I think you need to look at some facts Mr Pond and not go shouting rubbish before you know them.
You appear to be a devisive and totally unsuitable candidate to be a councillor. Remember you should represent all the people who live in a ward whether or not you like their lifestyle, race and so forth.
I’m afraid that with your quite ludicrous opinion of your self worth and lack of knowledge of the democratic system, you would quite rightly be sidelined by the other political parties and the paid officials, which would do no good for a ward which needs considerable improvement.

There seemed to be genuine astonishment at Pond’s racism, another commenter said:

With sweeping generalisations like that i am sure you will make a valuable councillor
What a great way to alienate voters you must be so proud…

The England First candidate did seem to have a little support from one commenter who pointed out:

That aside, the guy is being up front about his views, which the voters (including you guys) may consider, one way or the other.

This comment caused another forum user to pose this interesting question:

that aside, aside from what? so if a person with gypsy heritage is having problem with kier and went to counciller pond he would be in his right to tell them to get stuffed? marks have you read what he put on the other sites, its just bile. hes anngry and bitter

Mr Pond was not to be deterred though and again went on an angry racist rant:

Look, if you people are happy to have the council fill your community with gypsies, then fine, but don’t get trying to tell me that they are a misunderstood, good at heart lot, really. You find one or two like that, but the majority aren’t, and they will cause your community problems.
Some of you sound like Labour zealots, you jump to the defence of the ‘ethnic minorities’, and if it isn’t them, then the council are giving away houses to drug dealers, sex offenders, and God knows what else. Why don’t you grow a pair and tell the truth for a change, that ignoring our sons and daughters in favour of outsiders with a preponderence for criminality is not now, nor will it ever be, good enough.
There are no lies in what I said earlier, gypsies have a rotten reputation that is solely their fault, if they want the attitude of the community to change, they should change their behaviour. If they don’t give a monkeys about the community, why should the community give a monkeys about them?

Pits n Pots have offered every candidate the opportunity of writing an unedited 500 [or so] word article and/or a 7 min audio interview which will start to hit the site over the next week or so.

This includes all the England First candidates. We made contact with Pond to ensure that he and his party were included and through his wife, said that he was not interested.

Over the past few months Pits n Pots have published a number of articles that have highlighted the extreme nature of Pond’s views which have been conveyed through his writing on both the England First and PCF websites.

These have included outrageous claim and slurs against individuals, anti Muslim and Islamaphobic comments as well as anti gay and homophobic insults.

Ponds anti traveller views have come out into the open on previous occasions, when he was a mamber of the BNP he wrote a very anti gypsy article which angered the then BNP Leadership. The article was to eventually lead to Pond being told he was no longer wanted in the BNP fold.

See the attached article below from the Pits n Pots archives.

Not content with insulting the traveller community, Ponds also attacked his fellow candidates on the My Tunstall website.

Here’s the difference Jon, I tell the truth, if you don’t like that, vote for one of the third rate candidates you’ll find yourself left with.
Vote for Dave Sutton, him and his party cheated Eve Maley out of her rightful position as councillor in Northwood and Birches Head, or how about a second term of Megan Ryan? During her last term, you lost your golf course, your swimming pool, your S106 money, Bankeyfields residents still have to play whacky races to get off and on to their estate, and the allocation of houses to undesirables seems to be running at its usual sprint.
Maybe you could go all out for a third rate service and vote for Joy Garners husband! He represnts Labour, the party completely responsible for ripping this city apart, who in 60+ years of control have only managed to oversee the collapse and destruction of what used to be a viable and successful industrial city.
You need to take a cold, hard look at what your community needs, because I’m pretty sure that most would agree with me on some of the inhabitants. You will never have a safe and successful community whilst you refuse to see the problems that are holding you back, and safe and secure must be the target for most people. Violence and intimidation reduce drastically the quality of life enjoyed by the citizens of your community, so change the behaviour of those responsible for such behaviour, or kick them out.
In my questions, I was asked by Matt Burke which members of the community were my priority, and I answered the decent, law abiding ones. Whoever or whatever falls into that category will have my full support, whether gypsy, indigenous, or bloody eskimo.

The public would be hard pressed to believe his last paragraph given the history of his extreme comments on this site and others.

Ponds Claim about Eve Maley drew this response from a very angry ex Lib Dem Councillor Dave Sutton:

Craig,
I spent 4 times down in the Royal Courts of Justice in London over 21 months, at no time was it ever reported or insinuated that I robbed Mrs.Maley of being a councillor. there was 2 extra counts in London which nothing changed in the counts I still won and the Judge in the old Magistrates Court in the Victoria Hall in Hanley gave me the ruling in favour of me being elected still winning by the ONE vote.
It is now past history, now things have moved on and I have served and worked hard for 3 years as a councillor in Northwood and Birches Head and I have served Tunstall well for 4 years in the past 2003 to 2007.
When you see my leaflet in the coming weeks read it and weep and see what I have been doing in Goldenhill and Sandyford.
Its a pity you cannot get your facts right you racists never do, but carry on with your racist overtones people will see through you for the bigot that you are.
David Sutton

Dave also gives his views in the Audio interview below.

It would appear that the communities of Goldenhill & Tunstall are beginning to realise just what an extreme candidate that they have in England First’s Craig Pond.

Stoke North MP Fights For Tunstall Pool.

Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley is backing the fight to save Tunstall Pool.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council have confirmed that the Pool is to be closed and the Victorian building, which is listed, mothballed if no trust or organisation offer to take over the running of the pool.

Joan Walley MP has written to the City Council asking for urgent action to preserve one of the few remaining Victorian public baths.

Her letter to the head of Adult Services also questions why the city Council have failed to act in the previous 12 months.

RE: Budget Development 2011/12-2012/13

Tunstall Pool – URGENT

I am writing further to my meeting with you last week to follow up what can be done even at this late
stage for a reconsideration of the City Council’s recommended decision to close Tunstall Pool.

I have raised this also with Tristram Hunt MP and Rob Flello, MP and they support me in wanting to
ensure a solution is found and there is no interruption to the facility.
Firstly, when we met you said that I could have a copy of the consultant’s report which the City
Council has commissioned in respect of swimming policy. I don’t appear to have received that yet and
would be grateful for an early copy in order that I can respond to you.

Secondly, I would like confirmation that the members of the City Council have had chance to
consider this report themselves prior to finalising any decision about the future of Tunstall Pool. In
earlier meetings with the City Council I was advised that the report it intended to commission on
wider aspects of swimming policy would be the background against which any proposals in respect
of the future of Tunstall Pool would be made. It is as important as ever that any decisions made by the
City Council are informed ones.

I wish to make you personally aware of my approaches to your department over the last 12 months
on this matter, including a meeting with the Cabinet member and sports officer on this matter. I have
been in contact with the City Council since March last year, and have asked for and attended meetings
from April onwards. Throughout all of this my approach was to ask the City Council to work up
options and different business case scenarios for all eventualities, including budget pressures. The
Leader of the City Council was aware of my approaches in this respect.

Having approached the Amateur Swimming Association almost a year ago, and received their offer of
help to assist the City Council to work with them to secure a £50,000 grant to kick-start discussions
as to a long term way forward, including seeking other funding, I had expected that the City Council
would have made firm progress by now. I also asked the City Council to consider all other options,
even if that meant considering alternative ways of running the pool should that become necessary.
I also envisaged an application to HLF for that part of the building which is listed and to the Big
Lottery/sport funding bodies to provide the refurbishment and repair costs. I expected that the City
Council would draw up detailed plans and business scenarios to seek ways of securing capital and
revenue funding. I repeat again that I forwarded to the City Council the confirmation I was given
from the Lottery bodies that should the City Council approach them with bids they would meet with
the City Council to set out what funding options could be open.

I understand from David Sparkes, CEO of the Amateur Swimming Association that they are still
committed to providing some funding towards keeping Tunstall Pool open and operational in some
form and that they were awaiting the outcome of the Consultant’s Report to enable them to construct
a strategy whereby this could happen. The Amateur Swimming Association was informed that this
would not be available until the 24th February 2011. It does not seem logical to make a decision
regarding the future of the swimming pool without giving the Amateur Swimming Association and
other interested groups the opportunity to assist.

The Amateur Swimming Association is prepared to consider the creation of a Trust to operate
the swimming pool in the short term assuming the economics are viable. I understand that you
have provided them with financial data relating to the operation of the pool but they are awaiting a
structural report before submitting a proposal to the City Council. Surely the City Council should give
this option serious consideration before making an arbitrary decision?

I have asked for information to be able to understand how much the pool costs to run, what
investment has/ has not been spent over the years, what benefits the pool being run by a Trust/non-
profit making organisation/ social enterprise/ alternative provider could bring in respect of reduced
VAT, tax costs etc, what scope there could be to include Tunstall pool in any reconfiguration of
swimming, and whether the City Council would approach the HLF and other Sport funding bodies to
secure the funds to update the building to ensure reduced running costs and a viable business plan.

On each occasion I have had meetings there has been no evidence that serious proposals to achieve
this have been followed up and there does not appear to have been a business case to explore options
to keep the pool open.

Tunstall Pool is used extensively by those learning to swim, for fitness and health and for leisure. It is
an English Heritage Grade 2 Listed Building and it is difficult to see what alternative use it will be put
to once the pool is closed or moth balled by the City Council. It is used extensively by older people
who rely on it for good health and well being. It is used by youngsters learning to swim. It fulfils
a substantial part of the Council’s responsibilities to provide water safety. It is used extensively by
young and old alike within the local population and is located in an area with considerable deprivation
and need for social cohesion initiatives. There is a small studio available for events. There is no limit
to the wider use that could be made of it.

Throughout the City Council’s consultation response to the government cuts, local people have
contacted the City Council to ask for Tunstall Pool to be saved, but the strength of local feeling does
not appear to have been fully recorded or reflected in the City Council’s response. On this I have been
asked to receive a further petition on Friday 18/2/2011 at 3.15pm and I intend to do this and pass it on
to the City Council.

I still maintain that it is not too late for the Council to accept in good faith not just the weight of
public opinion but also the support it and I have from the ASA to work together to find a solution. It
is difficult to see how if the City Council decides to close or mothball the pool with immediate effect
how such an option could remain on the table, and experience elsewhere bears this out.

I am therefore asking if in the light of the interest of the ASA and in the best interests of swimming
across the City if you will look again at the costs of keeping it open until such time as talks with the
Amateur Swimming Association and others could establish whether a realistic proposal could be
put forward to keep the pool open, and in the medium and longer term secure the refurbishment that
would cut costs and secure a business plan that would ensure its future viability. I would also want
this to be considered in the light of the public health and social cohesion agenda.

This is a well used and loved historic pool. I am asking again if you will respond to me not in general
terms but with details of what has actually been done, or could now be done to set out options that

could preserve Tunstall Pool short, medium and long term at what I know is a challenging time for all
concerned.

I confirm again that I am willing to give what support I can and would like Stoke-on-Trent City
Council to explore a grant application, and approach other providers even at this late stage to get a
stay of execution to enable a robust Plan B to be drawn up.

I am copying this to cabinet members and to those who have contacted me about this so that they are
aware of my further request that the City Council makes informed decisions in respect of 4-ASCO6
ANS Tunstall Pool Closure.

Thank you for your attention to this. I would welcome an early meeting with yourself and with the
ASA and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Joan Walley MP
Stoke-on-Trent North

A community group has now been formed and they are seeking a stay of execution from the council while they explore the possibility of forming a trust.

A public meeting has been arranged for 7.30pm tomorrow 22nd February at Christchurch, Tunstall.

The organisers are hoping that a number of councillors and cabinet members will be in attendance and urge everyone to support their community group in the fight to save Tunstall Pool.

Moving Mountains at Stoke-on-Trent City Museum

A new exhibition which mixes art and nature will start this weekend at a city museum.

The exhibition, Minerals Make Mountains, illustrates the various stages of the cycle that turns rocks into the minerals that make mountains. It uses the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery’s permanent collections.

Visitors can find out how the constantly moving Earth forms the landscapes that we see today and uses examples of landscapes to illustrate the phases of the rock cycle.

Included are two recently restored paintings by Tunstall born artist, architect and brick manufacturer John Nash Peake. His depictions of the Matterhorn and the Isle of Arran, both painted in 1899, will be on display for the first time in over 30 years.

The exhibition begins on Saturday February 19, 2011 and will remain on show until Sunday July 3, 2011.

No To 0844!

Download our No To 0844 poster and show the City Council that you don’t want to pay between 3 & 40+ppm to report repairs.

Display it in your window, write a note to your local councillors or the Chief Executive John van de Laarschot on the back, take it to the next council meeting and wave it from the public gallery.

Show YOUR council that they should be working for you and you don’t want to have to call this number at more cost to you each time you need to book a repair or find out why an appointment has been missed.

If the information we have been given and published in other posts is correct, why at a time of unprecedented cuts are the council spending £400 a month to cost you more money to call them?

This is a lose lose situation.

High Rise Council Flats To Benefit From £1.9m Improvements

High rise council flats in Stoke-on-Trent are to benefit from almost £2 million of investment to improve fire safety measures, access and security.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is spending £1.9 million on a programme of works that will run until next April on properties across the city. The measures are designed to help drive up the standard of the environment for hundreds of city residents.

The works will see over 800 fire doors and over 400 flat doors installed in 10 blocks of flats in Blurton, Hanley, Stoke and Tunstall.

Twenty-six blocks of flats in Fenton, Hanley and other areas of the city will benefit from lightning protection measures. Door entry systems will be replaced in 10 blocks of flats in Meir to help improve security, and three blocks of flats in Hanley will have CCTV installed to help tackle anti-social behaviour.

A total of 42 small blocks of flats in Meir and other areas of the city will have improved emergency lighting installed, and nine blocks of flats in Fenton, Hanley and Tunstall will have roof access doors replaced to help make the buildings weather tight.

The roof of Honeywall House in Stoke will be replaced, with residents who lease their properties in the building asked to pay a contribution towards the work. Worn and damaged plastic glazing on both Robinson Court and Pedley Court in Blurton will also be replaced.

Funding for the scheme has come from money that has been ring-fenced within the council’s Housing Revenue Account.

“The funding for this work has come from existing council budgets to improve health and safety, and internal and external works in council flats. It has been carefully planned and budgeted for.

“This investment demonstrates the council’s commitment to continue to drive up the quality of life for residents across the city. We take our responsibility to our tenants very seriously and will be working hard over the coming months to carry out these improvements with as little disruption as possible.”

Reg Shaw, who has lived with wife Beryl in Forest Court, Hanley since the flats were built more than 30 years ago has welcomed the investment.

“I am over the moon about the works. We have noticed the need for maintenance work over the last few years, but we know that money is very tight and the council has to look at the entire city.

“Our flats are a lovely place to live, and are very close to the city centre. We are very pleased that these improvements are taking place.”