Friday, 31 May 2013

Contact your Local Councillor and MP

You may know your local Councillor already and be able to contact them easily, if not you can either use the City Councils website to find your Councillor by name or by ward. 

An easy alternative is to use the website  simply enter your post code and it will give you details of councillor,MP and euro MP. I like is as its an easy address to remember and to pass on to friends and family.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What being funded letter

To Tristram and Shaun

Can you please clarify something please, it may be lack of communication from the Council or just cross wires somewhere, as myself and others seem to see a significant aspect in different light.

What is the Council funding?

In recent correspondence you both have shared similar views...

Cllr Pender "The relocation to Hanley will encourage businesses to occupy the new office developments which will give the local economy the much needed impetus that it needs to grow."

Tristram Hunt MP "Business are more likely to move into modern office complex then invest in derelict site"

You both seem to see the Councils borrowing as being used to fund speculative office space, which is an entirely different proposal to funding a new Civic Centre. Can you please confirm what the situation is?

The Sentinel did report of proposals to fund phase 2 as speculative offices, but this was never brought to the table and was never reported to Councillors on any public agenda papers, can you please confirm if it was reported to yourselves hence your current view, and what current status is on the proposal, are we building New offices for Financial sector or are we building a new civic centre?

Your help is appreciated.

a few points to raise in Tristrams letter, you claim it is difficult to get a loan from PWLB and the fact that the council has secured a loan is a good sign. Sorry Tristram but the PWLB do not ask for a business case, or any proof of repayment, they dont even care who the business partners are, all they ask is that a requesting authority gives a VERBAL assurance that they can repay the loan. I'm a bit shocked if an MP is unaware of this fact.

The original proposal to outsource staff in 2009 this was scrapped on 10th March 2010 on advice of John van de Laarschot who claimed "being an ANCHOR tenant would undermine the commercial interests of the Council" and may I remind you no one that I speak with is OPPOSED to the CBD, just the New Civic Centre ( but your clarification on first point above may help there)

Please excuse tone of letter but think we need a clear message on what the council is funding and what they are hoping Genr9 fund.


Dear Mr Norris,

Thank you for your email.  As you know, I am not your Member of Parliament and so these very understandable concerns you have about the development of the Central Business District need to be pursued through Joan. She, like myself and Rob Flello, is consistently asking detailed questions of the City Council and will, I am sure, be more than willing to keep you informed of those conversations.

Very best,


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Facebook UPDATE

we now have a new open group, please Join

and a new Page, please Like

Tristram Hunt

You really do talk the talk don't you, but fail to walk the walk.

"There is no doubt this new political landscape will herald changes here in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
It will mean politicians listening to public concerns, but it will also demand some bravery in sticking up for long-held values
The challenge is now on to re-engage with the public and convince them the non-pin-striped politicians have some answers."

Not one local Labour MP appears to have any effect on our local Labour Councillors blatantly ignoring the residents of Stoke on Trent, that is if you have actually questioned their decisions, or asked for any evidence from your Councillors or from Genr8 on the probability of Genr8 securing the private investment required to make Central Business District a success. They failed over the last 4 years to secure any just ask MP Simon Danczuk he may shred some light for you.

Can you please advise what actions you have taken to ensure Central Business District does not stall at phase one the New Civic Centre and that all Phases will be completed, and what response and evidence did you recieve? If the evidence is confidential a reply to confirm you have seen evidence in black and white that it will succeed, not as the Sentinel reported "The council currently has no plans to invest in these buildings and expects its private sector partner, Genr8, to take these schemes forward."

Ian Norris

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Letter to editor of the Sentinel

Yesterday's Sentinel included a long piece from Mohammed Pervez praising the City Council to the skies - as usual.

You cannot be unaware that many members of the local electorate have serious concerns regarding the City Council's current actions clearly demonstrated by a 1000+-person march from Hanley to Stoke on a bitterly-cold Saturday earlier this year as well as one of the biggest letter series I can ever remember being published in the Sentinel - virtually all of which were in opposition to the Council's actions.

I list the main concerns which have been raised below :-

The City Council is planning to relocate its staff from the Civic Centre in Stoke to two new buildings in the proposed Central Business District in Hanley, despite the existing building being only about 20 years and and, apparently, good for many more years.

This is likely to convert Stoke into a ghost town

Despite the proposal for the construction of the CBD being raised several years ago, there is still no sign of any BUSINESS showing interest in establishing itself there.

For this reason, the City Council intends to take on loans of around £40M to finance the construction of the two buildings mentioned above - though it publicly admits that it cannot state a precise figure for this loan. This is supposed to kick-start businesses seeking to locate at the CBD.

The City Council publicly admit that this is a risk and they have consultants reports - which they commissioned - which give a fairly low probability of success of the proposed CBD development.

It has recently been revealed - as a result of a freedom of information request which the City Council tried to block - that it already has a loan book of just under £280M - around £1100 for every man, woman, child and baby in the city. The £40M mentioned above would be in addition to the £280M.

The City Council has a plan to sell-off redundant buildings, but they have recently been warned that this could take many years to happen.

Ever since the possible closure of the splash pool at the Dimensions centre was raised (2007 ?), there were suspicions that the City Council had tried to reach some form of agreement with Mo Chaudry of Waterworld that the Dimensions pool would close and swimming lessons would take place at Waterworld.

These rumours were denied at the time and later, when £28000 was paid to Mo Chaudry to avoid potential legal action for breach of contract, the existence of the Dimensions / Waterworld plan was again repeatedly denied.

Only a few weeks ago - again as a result of a freedom of information request which the City Council were unable to block - it was revealed that the plan mentioned above certainly existed. The then-elected mayor, Mark Meredith, was directly involved and he has now resigned as a member of the City Council, but he continues to be a councillor.

Many of these problems are due to a) complete dominance by the Labour group councillors, who seem unwilling to do anything but toe-the-party-line set by Mohammed Pervez and b) the failure of City Council officers to realise that their job is to advise on - and implement - policy and not to lay this down to councillors.

For all these reasons, I - and many other residents - now don't believe any information which the City Council publishes. If there was any way of doing it, we would like the operations of the Council to be thoroughly investigated by some external agency,

Given the above, I challenge the Sentinel to publish a piece of similar length covering the concerns of the local electorate. I would suggest the organising committee of the "March on Stoke" informal group be invited to prepare this.