List of candidates for the County Council elections on May 6th

The LIBERAL DEMOCRAT candidates for STAFFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL, covering Newcastle under Lyme are:

Audley & Chesterton – ANDREW ROBERT WEMYSS

Bradwell, Porthill & Wolstanton – AIDAN MARK JENKINS

Keele, Knutton & Silverdale – JAMES MARTIN BORG

Kidsgrove – KATHARINE SHIRLEY MITCHELL

Maybank & Cross Heath – MORGAN-ROSS INWOOD

Newcastle Rural – HILARY ANN JONES

Newcastle South – SALWA BOOTH

Talke & Red Street – RICHARD MARK WHELAN

Westlands & Thistleberry – PETER EMIL ANDRAS

 

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for STAFFORDSHIRE, the Liberal Democrat candidate is:

RICHARD MARK WHELAN

Party policy is that this system should be replaced so that it is not in the hands of one person representing one political party.

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Statement about Walleys quarry from Cllr. Marion Reddish

The quarry actually sits in the Thistleberry ward, contrary to what you will have heard in the media.

Planning Permission for the quarry to operate was given in 1996, despite opposition from my Liberal Democrat predecessors in Thistleberry.  Permission was finally granted by the Secretary of State following refusal at local level. As part of that permission a condition was put in place that the quarry operators had to set up a liason committee to enable stakeholders to raise concerns. This committee has met for over 20 years now and we as the Liberal Democrat ward members have been active within that group which meets at least 4 times a year, throughout that period. At the start it was a productive committee and issues raised were thoroughly discussed and mediation took place, but latterly due to a change of operator at the quarry, useful discussions have broken down and Red Industries refuse to admit it is the quarry which emits the odour. It is hard to believe that the smell can be coming from anywhere else. The Environment Agency officers, Environmental Health team, Police, Highways Team and residents are all present at this forum.

So what happens next?

Regular meetings with management take place on site, raising your concerns, pressure is put on to get Red Industries to co operate better.

A report is about to be published at the end of March by the Council EH department following a member scrutiny committee which looked at all concerns independently, I sat on that panel. Recommendations are in that report about what we to improve. Odour is the major concern, but we are also looking at the route of travel, mud on the road, litter caused by the landfill site, excessive parking of lorries in the layby used by visitors to the cemetery and how we can prevent gulls becoming a nuisance to nearby residents. In that report we are saying very clearly that we think operations should be suspended until all mitigation measures are addressed, better care needs to be taken with regard to netting on site. We are asking for better monitoring of the site, particularly by the EA who have been slow to respond to complaints but are now more proactive following pressure from the public and agencies.

We are working with our MP who has now successfully managed to lobby colleagues for support in erasing the problem. That has only happened due to pressure over a number of years by faithful campaigners who have continually put the pressure. Much of my time has been taken up supporting them, time well spent.

I am disappointed that this has now become an election issue and folk are joining in on the band waggon, many of whom have been silent for years. Pity those people have not been active before, but I suppose we must be grateful they are joining us now, and I hope they continue to shout post County elections! I am supporting a motion put forward by the Labour Party to have an extraordinary full council meeting in order to debate the subject further. I am always disappointed that I cannot put forward a motion myself, but two Liberal Democrat councillors cannot get the necessary signatures to enable that to happen and opposition parties are reluctant to cooperate and so put in their own motions under their party brand.

MORE COUNCILLORS ARE REQUIRED so we can make our own mark. Do your best to support candidates in what ever way you can.

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News from the Liberal Democrat group on Council – by Cllr Marion Reddish

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021- 2026.Budget Savings. ONE COUNCIL. Tory Cabinet have now endorsed this strategy, introducing yet more budget savings. The Full Council will approve or not the budget on 24th Feb. My concern is we are cutting services so much, can we continue to be efficient.

Kidsgrove Town Deal investment plan has now been submitted to the government in a bid for £25m to improve health and wellbeing, and regenerate the town centre. Kidsgrove welcomes this and I am very pleased to endorse it. A video showcasing the schemes can be viewed at hhps://youthtu.be/Kfw635lijlo (Liberal Democrats have a long history of being involved in the interests of Kidsgrove).

The Council have secured two short term contracts for temporary accommodation with Open door  to support the homeless during this cold period. More work needs to be done to address the needs and problems across the Borough with regard to rough sleepers.  Some we assume to be homeless in fact do have accommodation or have been offered accommodation but for reasons of their own decline to use it.

Jubilee 2. Morgan Sindell are now resolving the ongoing building defects at  J2 with regard to the leaking roof and leaks in the sauna and swimming pool area. The Council are not responsible for the bill.

Proposed Resident Funeral service. The Council have approved a residents funeral service which will include more affordable options for both cremations and burials. We recognise the potential hardship some families experience at a very stressful time.

North Staffs Local Air Quality Plan . A plan has been submitted to government including the preferred option for delivering compliance with statutory limits on roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the affected areas in the shortest time. Basford bank and Barracks road are two areas of particular concern. The Council are requesting a consideration of an exemption for electric and ultra low emission vehicles from the proposed bus gate restriction on Basford bank.

Knutton masterplan has gone out for public consultation.  Joint piece of work between the Council, Aspire and Staffs County Council. The aim is to  outline opportunities for new housing investment and improvements in the quality of community facilities.

Proposed extension to Newcastle crematorium grounds and development of land in the Chatterley close area. A controversial proposal which is out to consultation. We await findings before any final decision is made.

Brampton Museum Redevelopment Project. A contractor has been approved  for the redevelopment  project. Work includes the creation of a new dedicated temporary exhibition space, reconfiguration of rooms to expend the capacity of the archives and the creation of a dedicated research area and improvements to the ground floor galleries to better showcase collections and engage visitors of all ages.

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Update from Cllr Marion Reddish (Liberal Democrat Group Leader) – 2

Walley’s Quarry, Cemetery Rd.

Those of you who read this and live within a few miles of the Quarry, will be very concerned about the odour which appears to come from this site, and seems to be getting worse.

Red Industries try to tell us it is not them, do we believe them!

Short BACKGROUND.

  • Planning Permission given in 1966 to use the quarry for landfill
  • 2013 Renewal of mineral planning application,  requested a number of updated planning conditions
  • 2019 permit variation application made to increase the tonnage to 400k tonnes pa. Allowed by the Secretary of State despite objections from the Borough.

Part of me says the sooner it s filled the better, however I am told the smell does not go away on completion of filling the site, neither is it an option to push to close the site because the problems will continue with regard to smell,although the mud on the road and the traffic congestion would ease. As you may be aware, a one way system operates in and out of the quarry, we are aware this gets breached from time to time and we are raising that point at meetings. Estimated closure of the site is 2026. Restoration of the site 2042.

Where are we now?

A liaison group was set up as part of the planning permission consent. They met 4 times a year. The group consist of EA officers, quarry personnel, County and Borough Planning officers, Environmental Health officers RESIDENTS and councillors from areas around the quarry. Please do come along! Details from myself.

As a result of constant complaints and no solutions the Borough Council set up a  working party to look at all aspects associated with the quarry. It is still meeting to gain evidence, but they will be making their recommendations soon. Highways, EA, Borough Council, and Health England are all involved in that scrutiny process. I am a member of both investigation groups. Reports submitted to the scrutiny committee can be viewed via you tube or council website. The EA and the Borough Eho have a submission there.

Health England Report there is no evidence of breathing or eye problems. No evidence that the headaches or nausea some experience is a health hazard.  A SITE YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN IS

https:/www.gov.uk//government/publications/landfill-sites-impact-on-health-from-emissions

We who are affected are still worried however!

FINDINGS SO FAR

Red industries the operators are working within the law! It is the law which needs changing, our MP is raising questions in Parliament about doing just that, but it will take time.

Highways are increasing pressure to get the road swept of mud.

You can help by reporting your experiences to the Council on 717717 or online at www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk. Click on the home page to report walleys quarry concerns, or ring the Environment agency on 0800 80 70 60

REPORT EVERY TIME YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT PLEASE. It is important the monitoring groups get a true picture.

Both the EA and the Borough council aim to visit the site of the complaint there is a rota of officers. It is a high priority issue now., however because of Covid neither are allowed to come inside homes and sometimes there is a time delay.

More links

https://account.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/Landfillsite

https://www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/all-/envirionment/envirionmental-health/walleys-quarry-landfill-frequently-asked-questions

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COUNCIL GOES IT ALONE FOR LOCAL PLAN

As we emerge from this pandemic with a depressed local economy, planning for the future will be even more important than normal.  The Sentinel reports that Stoke City Council will face extra costs over £200,000 due to Newcastle Borough Council pulling out of the joint local plan. I must inform readers that the additional cost to the smaller group of Newcastle Borough residents will be £550,000. That is in the official report that went to council cabinet on 13th January. On top of that, the council paid Lichfields Planning Consultancy to advise them on the decision.

People need also to know that as a result of this decision, Newcastle will now need to find additional land to build on, as stated in their official report.  Government requires us to build 355 dwellings per year, while our latest average is only 303. We are behind Stoke in providing for the needs of North Staffordshire. It would have been better to have a Joint Spacial Strategy across the whole of North Staffordshire, as we had until 2012, but then allow the Borough to decide for itself the full details of which sites and what, to build on.  In 2011/12 the coalition of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives started a plan to allocate sites and revise the joint spacial strategy.  It is a shame that subsequent council parties refused to carry that forward and that is one reason why for so long we have been at the mercy of developers because we have no plan.

Rules state that the council has a duty to cooperate with neighbouring authorities; they should therefore consult across the whole of North Staffordshire which is sensible for economic development and quality of life. Will they now do that ?

Government has issued a deadline of 2023 to get a plan in place. The consultants’ report says that although the Borough stands a slightly better chance of meeting that deadline on its own, the programme will be “tight but achievable”. It also says that the Borough has a historic experience of not providing adequately for young people which means we need more affordable housing to rent. Our Conservative council has so far only considered affordable housing to buy, which cuts out  those on low incomes.

Issues around green spaces and infrastructure are also missing from the discussions. Newcastle should ensure that everyone lives within reasonable walking distance of open space. However, on Transport, Highways and drainage, we will need much cooperation not only across North Staffordshire but with the County Council. Current resources and legislation are very weak on this, but without it, we will not develop out of the economic hole we are in between Manchester and Birmingham.

Nigel Jones

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