A Plea from Facebook, use those 2 votes

PLEASE don’t fall into the trap by voting for your Labour candidates in the Local Election – even if you choose to vote for them in the General Election.

Historically, many of the electorate in our city have voted for Labour MPs and automatically voted for Labour local councillors without thinking of the consequences.

But as a City Independent, I say enough is enough of a Labour administration that has made a string of disastrous decisions and caused deep resentment throughout our city over the past four years.

The City Independents are committed to working in partnership with the people of Stoke-on-Trent to create a prosperous, caring and democratic city.

It’s time to end Labour’s control on a local level because the people of our city and the next generation deserve so much better.

Our city is currently run by a leader who draws a full time salary but works part time. Part Time Pervez is an insult to our great city. The City Independents would ensure both our Leader and Deputy Leader are full-time posts.

Labour are borrowing millions of pounds that we, our kids and their kids will have to pay back. All to fund an unnecessary, unwanted Central Business District that is now encountering very serious and well-documented problems with its construction.

The City Independents would retain Stoke Civic Centre and initiate an immediate reality check to establish financial stability.

Labour continue to employ immorally overpaid consultants who have repeatedly failed to deliver. One of these is reported to be on £1,000 per day! I don’t think that anyone is worth that sort of salary in any sort of government, national or local.

The City Independents would dispense with such people and promote and nurture home grown talent.

Other Labour disasters include Hanley’s inadequate new bus station that blocks the roads of the town and causes delays to journeys as they have to wait to enter it’s restricted space.

They have also wasting our money on a HS2 bid that was destined to fail after entering the race very late in the day and the pointless “marketing” Chelsea Flower Shows that have achieved nothing other than to waste obscene amounts of our money in a time of austerity. How many families could have been fed with the money spent on champagne breakfasts that the chief executive of our council, the cabinet members and their cronies enjoyed?

Labour have also wasted money at an unfeasible Methane Gas scheme that was never going to happen and continue to lose money in support of a now scaled down, and possibly doomed Realis City Sentral project.

Just about everything Labour have touched at local level has turned to dust!

It begs the question that if they had done nothing, would we be better off?

REMEMBER – you have TWO VOTES on May 7th – One in the General Election to vote for a M.P. and one to vote for a local councillor.

Please consider each option carefully and vote for someone you feel will serve you locally well, not just vote along with what ever the party forces them to do.


An Open Letter to all Stoke Councillors

From Alan Barret posted to March on Stoke Facebook Page

This is what I’ve just sent, and CC to Martin Tideswell and Phil McCann

Dear Councillors,

as you’ve all signed up to the council’s “openness and transparency” policy, I wonder if you’d be so kind as to inform the public about the current state of the CBD floor. My understanding is that it was a “minor issue” which should surely have been resolved by now.

However, if recent information I’ve received is accurate, then the problem is far from minor and could result in at least one of the buildings having to be mothballed and possibly demolished.

Could you please confirm or deny this by the end of the week, and certainly before the election, if only to allay public concerns that our money – and it is OUR MONEY, because we’ll have to pay the loan back – is not being wasted.

As Councillor Pervez is fond of saying, to do nothing is not an option. Frankly, I see that this ongoing prevarication as “doing nothing”; it’s certainly doing nothing assuage my concerns.

Opposition councillors, if this is true and you also knew about it, why haven’t you said something publicly?

Yours sincerely,

Alan Barrett


Urgent decision or just avoiding Debate

On 27 November 2014, Cllr Ruth Rosenau presented an urgent matter to the Cities Cabinet, Cabinet members agreed to her recommendations that, “The Director in consultation with the Assistant Director – Governance to commence legal proceedings against any the party (if so advised and if the Director is satisfied that there is a claim to answer) for breach of contract in relation to works carried out to the Princes Hall relating to the installation of the unsuitable temporary tarpaulin roof sheeting.”

Kier began repair works to the Queens Theatre in November 2012, following a reported theft of lead in April 2012, to this day the work remains incomplete with scaffolding left in place and a supposedly temporary tarpaulin left covering the roof.


This complete lack of care has caused great damage to the building, Cabinet members have finally agreed action needs to be taken as an URGENT decision, “as any delay would  risk of continued deterioration to the building if repairs to the roof structure were not carried out and also because of the risk of injury to visitors as a result of the continued deterioration of the building, particularly given the onset of Winter.” 
Continue reading

Side Stepping Democracy

In April 2012 the theft of lead gutter linings and flashings occurred from the roof of the Prince’s Hall (and to a lesser extent the attached Queens Theatre). The Conditions of Lease required the
City Council to maintain adequate insurance in the event of loss or damage to the buildings.  On 12th November 2012 Stoke-on-Trent City Council appointed Kier (Stoke) Limited to undertake necessary repair and reinstatement work commenced on the East wing of the Hall, Scaffolding was erected during July/August 2013 at the West (Wedgewood Street) wing and a similar process of gutter re-lining commenced at the end of September 2013.

Continue reading

History of Central Business District

For the benefit of Labour Activist Gary Elsby, a brief history of Central Business District, with pictures for Gary

Elected Mayor System Deputy Mayor Cllr Pervez

2007 A Strategic Partnership proposed in an Outline Business Case provided by Tribal Consulting

Proposed a move of 200 support staff  from Swann House to a 40,000 sq feet office with Council occupying 50% Continue reading

The Wedgwood Big House High Court Battle

Stoke City Council is arguing in The High Court that it is legally entitled to keep its pavement on top of The Wedgwood Big House and is therefore permitted to continue to do significant damage to the building (which will ultimately result in its destruction).

What would Prince Charles and the Heritage Lottery people think about Stoke City Council’s behaviour if they w Continue reading

Save Fenton Town Hall Campaign

Save Fenton Town Hall Campaign (SFTHC) goes into overdrive as help comes from across the country!

Dig in for victory!

Supporters, activists and campaign groups arrived late last night to rally round the custodians of the Town Hall and offer skills, support and community organising experience in the wake of a 24hr Notice to Quit from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

“We helped to Save the Friern Barnet Library and have come up to help the people of Fenton save this amazing community space.” said activist and community organiser Phoenix from London.

Canny campaigners rapidly replied with a LETTER OF NEGOTIATION to the Ministry stating that they were mid-negotiation and they felt disappointed by the Ministry’s behaviour. During a meeting on the 24th November, between the Ministry and the Save Fenton Town Hall Campaign, the MOJ offered a week to put in a full proposal for community use. However, just shortly after the meeting ended, they appeared to do a u turn and served notice to quit within 24hrs.

“We were mid-negotiation and dialogue and were waiting for more information from the Ministry when all of a sudden this happened. We found this letter taped to the doors. There are so many mistakes on it that we weren’t even sure it was real. We hope this can be cleared up and we can continue the work that we have started in the building to regenerate the local area and economy in partnership with Urban Vision North Staffs” replied Jane one of the Custodians in the building.

Their reply was swift and sure – they are going to dig in for victory! A copy of the letter is attached.

The custodians are appealing to all residents and local groups to rally round, use the building and thereby save this amazing space.

We would like to annouce that the Community project is now open 10am to 8pm each day for cafe, exhibitions, library, workshops, talks and campaign organising. Plans include a weekly film night, farmers’ markets, live music evenings, meeting spaces and many more ideas. We are currently compiling a timetable of events which will be up online on the Fenton facebook group and also in the building itself.

Campaign momentum is building, we are winning… now is the time to get involved. There will be an openmeeting this evening at 7pm in the Town Hall. We would love to see you all there.


Is our Heritage safe in our Councils hands?


No one can fail to see the beauty of our Heritage across the City no place more so than in Burslem, The Mothertown. The Angel gleams and watches over all, the Town Hall soon to be restored thanks to Haywood Academy, restoring it back into use as a sixth form centre from September next year. Continue reading

List of £321,441 HS2 Consultancy Tenders

On 31st January 2014 Stoke-on-Trent City Council submitted to government an alternative route than the government’s consultation route for Phase 2 of High Speed 2 between Birmingham and Manchester. Following Full Council Approval on 20th March 2014 to commence the procurement process for the necessary technical and specialist services which are required to back up the business case to government, a number of work streams have been progressed.

That the contract for Public Advocacy and Relationship Development, PR and Communications covering a twenty week period be awarded to the following company:
Freshwater UK Plc, 8-12 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6AL.

The Total Tendered Fee of the recommended provider is £74,911 Continue reading

Reason of HS2 Consultant report

Following information from HS2 Ltd that they “are not able to accept further submissions to the consultation once the deadline has passed and will not be included in the final report, these comments will then be dealt with internally and any questions asked will be responded to. ” I wrote to the Chief Exec of Stoke on Trent and the City Council Leader Cllr Pervez. 

On the 19th March I recieved the below joint email from John van de Laarschot | Chief Executive and Cllr Pervez

Dear Mr Norris

 Thank you for your email.  I note you also copied Cllr Pervez with your enquiry and so this response is a joint response.

 I can confirm that Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s submission was received by HS2 before the consultation closed and is currently being considered by officials.  At a meeting with the Department for Transport last week we were asked to prepare further detailed, technical evidence to support our submission.  Although the new Chairman of HS2 Ltd spoke out yesterday with his personal view on where a hub station may be, this was just that, a personal view.  He does not have the authority to make a decision.  The final route and any decision on where a hub station may be will be taken by the Secretary of State after due consideration. Continue reading