EyeSpy Oh how the mighty are fallen!

Eye Spy Eye of HorusDavid Conway was not the only one with a big smile on his face Friday morning as Labour awoke to the short sharp judgement of the residents of Springfields and Trent Vale. Whilst it might not stop the move, the backlash against the move to the CBD was apparent, which raised the spirits of many council officers on Friday morning. Parking in Stoke may not be perfect, but the thought of a daily game of ‘musical parking spaces’ followed by a forced tutorial on how you should cycle to work rather than moan about paying £25 a year to spend 20 minutes looking for a parking spot before abandoning hope and parking in Tesco, is a step too far for some.

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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

Inside the Civic

Those who thought all out elections would bring some stability to our Council must be feeling embarrassed this week as Council Leader Mohammed Pervez took a scalpel to his cabinet, cutting out the disobedient Gratton and challenger Hill, and carving up the other portfolios in what is quite clearly more than the ‘tweaking’ he described it as.

The introduction of Platt and Dutton is seen as a nod to the left wingers in the group, who re-emerged in 2011 to rival the modernisers who were in danger of taking over Labour. Continue reading

Get the right deal for Port Vale and the taxpayers

Recently taxpayers have lost money on the Dimensions fiasco, £2million lost in government funding to freeze council tax and now another massive loss to Port Vale.

I can hear the groans of the Vale supporters, that rightly want to keep their club open, and yes, the council helped Stoke City and yes they paid the money back.

Many decisions like this one are driven by emotion rather than good business sense and the council should not be swayed into throwing money at any businessman wanting to buy a football club on the cheap. Continue reading

Stoke Councillor talks about disappointed with the people of Stoke-on-Trent for not having Royal Wedding street parties.

Stoke on Trent Councillor Brain Ward has this week has criticised the people of Stoke on Trent in a Birmingham based newspaper, saying he was “disappointed” that not one application had been posted to hold a street party on the day of the wedding in the City.

He didn’t express his disappointment to the local press, but in a publication that many of us would be unaware existed (well if not for the magic of Google). The Paper quotes Mr Wards Frustration with us common and unpatriotic Stokies as saying:

I am very surprised that nobody has come forward

I don’t think people are as patriotic as they used to be, and communities just don’t seem to get together as much as they used to. It’s a real shame.

Local communities used to be organised round the working men’s clubs and pubs, but in many areas these have closed down.

Brian Ward - Mock up of how Brian could be dressed when celebrating the wedding
Mock up of how Brian could be dressed when celebrating the wedding.

Surprise
I’m surprised that Mr Ward is surprised that no one has come forward.

Royals
Are Stoke on Trent lavished with lots of Royal Attention? Do the Royals visit our land, boosting our cities morale? A morale, that has also suffered so greatly at the hands of our Councils with all of the recent Cuts, of which Brian Ward sits on the cabinet that has been responsible for where the cuts will and will not fall.

Do we ever get to be made to feel special? – Charles and Camilla visited last year, but not to meet the people of Stoke, but to visit some tossed away trinkets from a bygone age.

Mr ward also tells us that we are no longer patriots, when in this day an age we no longer know what it is to be English, where Britain gets even more fractured and Europe looms bigger.

Communities
Mr Ward then goes on to talk about communities. Communities in Stoke on Trent again have been shattered, and divided and no longer feel complete. Communities no longer meet in the work place as they used to, and information spread. The very reason I started MyTunstall was because I didn’t feel like I belonged to a community.

I’ve discovered since that that isn’t true and Tunstall alone has many great community meeting places such as Tunstall Pool, Library, Market, Childrens Centres, Pubs and so on. Each and every one under threat at the minute in the form of council influence in the short or long term or by economic variables.

The Problem Is
Mr Ward can see to the heart of the problem.

I also think that people are unsure of how to organise these things. Local councils need to make it that much clearer and hopefully then we will have a rush of applications.

Bad Communications
The answer is simple. Stoke on Trent City Council and the Residents of this CIty set up these marvelous thinks called Residents Associations. Through them many people in a area come together to do work for other people.

Maybe the answer would have been to approach these to spread the information as they already have a network of people who work together already and then have a line of communication into the people of their groups area. But no one in the council offices thought to do this.

Probably because the people that communicate with these RA groups will now no longer have jobs, or will be in a different job. What about the city mag? Our council with it’s wonderful and expensive our city magazine might have posted some information in there. It’s what the mag is meant to be there for, so why not use it to infomr us of what we should be doing with our Bank Holiday firdays.

Lastly the point about how to put a street party together. On most estates, people are probably already organising them, themselves and are planning these events, unaware that council permission is needed. Or that the people of Stoke on Trent should be checking the Stoke Gov website daily for articles relating to street parties for one press release that will put them off than inform how to go about it.

Have a look at the Stoke Gov Website for putting in planning permission. http://www.stoke.gov.uk/ccm/content/et/highway-network-management/royal-wedding-street-parties.en

Source: My Tunstall

Milton Residents To Be Consulted On Road Safety Plans

Proposed plans to improve the safety record along a stretch of road will be open to public consultation next week.

Plans to carry out a safety improvements along Millrise Road, Milton aim to reduce traffic speeds and to improve the safety of residents and pedestrians.

The areas is regarded as one of the highest priority traffic calming schemes in the city, due to the numerous accidents over the years caused as a result of excessive speed.

Between 2005 and 2009 eight accidents resulting in injury were reported on Millrise Road with a further four reported on the connecting Maunders Road.

Options available for the pubic to view will include improved pedestrian facilities and improved carriageway marking and signing.

Councillor Brian Ward, cabinet member for housing, planning and transportation, said, ‘The consultation process is a vital part in make sure that the plans the city council have put together meet the needs of the public. Road safety is a serious issue and we must make sure both motorists and pedestrians are as safe as possible while travelling around our city.’

The consultation will be open to the public between 10am and 7pm on Wednesday September 29 at Hayes Bowling Club off Millrise Road.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Enter Into A Historic Coalition

The leaders of the 4 main political parties in Stoke-on-Trent City Council announced this afternoon that they are going to form a coalition cabinet.

The cabinet will be made up of 5 Labour members, 2 City Independents, 2 Conservative Independent Alliance and one LibDem. This gives no one party a majority in the cabinet.

Cllr Pervez, who is widely tipped to become council leader at tomorrows council meeting said, ‘the 4 main parties have put their differences aside to work together for the good of the City.’

Cllr Keiran Clarke said, ‘this is not a pick n mix it is collective responsibility.’

Cllr Brian Ward said, ‘we will face some difficult decisions over the next year and we should face them togehter. We need to put our differences aside for the good of the city.’

Out going Council Leader Ross Irving said, ‘The labour party were very strong in the recent election and the Conservative Independent Alliance Group will work together with them in the new cabinet.’

No positions in the new cabinet have been decided yet.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council – A Long Week Ahead!

I must be really sad me! But, I have to say I’m really looking forward to this week and reporting on the shenanigans of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Thursday’s Annual Council meeting should be a belter.

The first task is to confirm Cllr Denver Tolley as the new Lord Mayor. I have known Denver for a few years and I can honestly say I have yet to meet a single person who has anything bad to say about the guy.

Denver serves the Longton North ward and is respected by all. His wife Lynne will be Lady Mayoress and I have no doubt that she will prove to be one of the most glamorous the City has had for years.

They are both brilliant with people ans will be a massive hit whatever functions they are requested to attend.

The main event on Thursday however, is the election of the new Council Leader.

I think it is widely expected to be Labour Group Leader Mohammed Pervez. I tip his deputy to be Cllr Ross Irving, the current Leader of the council and Leader of the Conservative & Independent Alliance.

This will mean that there will be at least a two party coalition.

Which means that we may not get the four party coalition that Pervez had hoped for last week.

You see, it’s all about cabinet places and portfolio positions.

For a four party coalition to work, I estimate that the Labour Group will want to retain at least 5 cabinet places.

This will leave 5 cabinet places to be divvied up between the CIG, CIA and Lib Dems.

Kieran Clarke has been made to play the Hokey Cokey by his group as he has been in/out a few times all he needs to do now is to shake it all about. My sources tell me he is in at the moment.

It is known that the Lib Dem group were hesitant about Kieran carrying on the cabinet portfolio for resources given the amount of cuts that are set to bite hard.

The Conservative were very reluctant to enter into another coalition with the City Independents, But as I understand it today there are a couple of cabinet positions on offer to the CIG and the CIA groups.

Whether the CIG accept these is another matter and is very much down to what portfolios are up for grabs. I understand it that the CIG will be unwilling to accept the more controversial portfolios such as Children & Young Peoples Services, which has been something of a poisoned chalice.

The Labour cabinet members are being held closely under wraps. But, I expect a mixture of experience and new blood on there.

So you can see that negotiations will be ongoing throughout the coming week.

At Pits n Pots we are keeping our ears close to the ground and we will be covering the Annual Council live on Thursday.

Group Leaders Interviews RE: Coalition Agreement

Following the news that Stoke-on-Trent is set to be run by a 4-party coalition, we are pleased to bring you some exclusive Audio Interviews with the group leaders concerned.

Mohammed Pervez [Labour], Kieran Clarke [Lib Dem], Brian Ward [City Independents] and Mike Barnes on behalf of one of the parties likely to be in opposition, the Non-Aligned Group, all give their thoughts on this pioneering move to share the responsibility for the running of the council in what is thought to be one of the most difficult periods in the Councils history.

Listen to the Audio Interviews below…