Selected news items concerning Labour Party activists in Pendle who are working on your behalf.

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Last updated:
Tuesday 15 April, 2014

Tuesday 15 April 2014
Brierfield Town Hall & Community Centre Closure

Meeting: 23 April 2014 Time: 6.00-7.30pm Venue: Brierfield Community Centre, Colne Road, Brierfield

Brierfield Town Council is calling upon all Brierfield and Reedley residents to attend a meeting on the above date to discuss the future of two buildings in the town.
 

Mayor of Brierfield, Cllr Qamar Shahzad said:
“The town hall and community centre are two iconic buildings at the heart of our town. I would urge anyone interested in helping to save our buildings to attend the meeting."

Reedley ward borough councillor and Brierfield town councillor Mohammed Hanif said:
“It is a fact that the cuts imposed on Pendle council by the Tory government are forcing closures of community buildings. The people of Brierfield will come together to save our centre and town hall, the town council won't abandon Brierfield unlike the Tory councillors and government."
Thursday 10 April 2014
Cut in help for vulnerable residents

  Pendle Council has received a reduction of over 7% in Discretionary Housing Payment money given by the government to help residents struggling to pay their rent/council tax due to a shortfall based on their entitlement or as a direct result of the Bedroom Tax.

Bradley ward Labour Councillor, Mohammed Iqbal said:

“Due to the failure of the Tory Leader of the Council in spending the allocation in 2013/2014 where he ended up returning over £50,000 back to the government at the same time as rejecting a third of applications, his government has now further reduced the allocation for Pendle by 7% down to £131,000 for 2014/2015. I would demand that he wakes up out of his bubble and gives leadership in ensuring we don’t send any money back this year”.

Pendle Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party Azhar Ali added"

“I have promised to vote for the scrapping of the Bedroom Tax if Labour form the next government in 2015. It disappoints me that our Tory MP voted for the bedroom tax and now in partnership with the Tory run Council, they are sending money back to the government which is intended to help vulnerable, disabled, elderly residents”
Tuesday 08 April 2014
Nelson Commitee budget reduced by 40%

The Chairman of Nelson area committee has attacked the reduction in the budget for the area committee which has dropped from £112,100 in 2012/13 to £66.650 in 2014/15.  
Cllr Younis said:

"The budget has been used effectively across Nelson to fund much needed investment and help projects get off the ground. Projects such as the additions to the war memorial were deemed important by Nelson councillors but due to the severe cuts passed down by the Tory government and Tory led council, people across our town need to realise that a 40% cut is not fair!"

Monday 07 April 2014
Why Andrew Stephenson should call for Maria Miller’s resignation

 

Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party has written to the Nelson Leader explaining why Andrew Stephenson MP should be calling for Maria Miller’s resignation regarding her over claimed expenses and subsequent behaviour.

Below is the content of the letter:

On his web site Mr Stephenson declares "When I was standing for election I said that I would only claim for what was necessary to do the job and not claim for things like food, TV's or furniture. The MP Expenses scandal broke down trust between the public and MP's and I'm determined to restore that trust. MP's also should lead by example during the tough economic times our country is in."

Most of us would agree that it is profoundly wrong for MPs to fiddle their expenses and to obstruct the bodies that are charged with ensuring that MPs comply with good practice.

John Mann MP complained about the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the expenses Commissioner because he believed that she had manipulated her second home expenses allowance. The Commissioner concluded that she should pay back more than £40,000 to the taxpayer. A committee of MPs watered this down to £5,800, but criticised her attitude to the inquiry and asked her to apologise to the House of Commons.

Many people have registered their dismay at Maria Miller’s approach to the inquiry, and her glib apology to the House of Commons. It is remarkable that a Minister in a Government that is inflicting damaging cuts affecting thousands of vulnerable people felt able to stand up in Parliament and offer nothing more than a 30-second response for over-claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money. It is even more remarkable that the Prime Minister wishes to draw a line under this affair.

This situation is a test for Mr Stephenson’s credibility, if he does not indicate that Maria Miller should resign, his web site statement will sound extremely hollow indeed.


Friday 04 April 2014
There is a choice – Malcolm Birks

Malcolm Birks Vice-Chair of Pendle Labour Party and Labour’s candidate in Horsfield has written to the Colne Times regarding the future of Trawden Community Centre.

Malcolm’s letter is reproduced below:
 

The sad news that Pendle Council is to abandon Trawden Community Centre (Colne Times 28/3) is yet another example of the impact of the cuts forced by central government upon local services. The grant to Pendle Council from central government has been cut by 60%. Local Tories and Lib Dems try to wash their hands of responsibility but the fact is that there is a choice and their parties are the ones making it. Cuts to local services, such as these, are not inevitable - there is another way.

This government believes it has enough money to give a tax cut to millionaires and to make sure that Banker’s bonuses and energy companies are not taxed further but when it comes to money for local services, from community halls to lunch clubs for the elderly, from green-bin collections to the upkeep of the roads, it says there is not enough money.

There is a choice. Great damage is currently being done and it is deeply unfair. We all need to speak out and force a different set of choices to be made.
Tuesday 01 April 2014
Questions over transparency of planning application

  The Labour Councillor for Vivary Bridge ward on Pendle Borough Council, Cllr Ian Tweedie has questioned the issue of Conservative Councillors voting on a major planning application by Libra Textiles to build a garden centre, café and farm shop in Colne.

Cllr Tweedie said

“It is fact that the parent company of Boundary Mills, Libra Textiles donated £20,000 less than 12 months ago to the local Conservative party and here we have a major planning application submitted upon which questions could be raised by a neutral person looking at this application if it is passed and the voting record of Tory Councillors .

I and the Labour group are not against employment opportunities in Pendle for our residents but the system needs to be a fair and transparent one.

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Iqbal added

“ It is a matter for the Pendle Conservative party and their councillors what they do but £20,000 was a large donation and in such a short space of time the councillors have a big decision to make, the people of Pendle will be watching closely”
Thursday 28 March 2014
Opening of the new Urgent Care Centre at Burnley General Hospital

On Wednesday afternoon (26/03/2014) dignitaries gathered at Burnley General Hospital to mark the official opening of the new Urgent Care Centre.  

The plaque was unveiled by the Chair of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, Professor Eileen Fairhurst who thanked everyone involved in particular the support the Trust has received from Lancashire County Council and asked Lancashire's Health & Wellbeing Board Chairman, Councillor Azhar Ali to say a few words.

Cllr Azhar Ali said:

"As a past Chair of the former Burnley NHS Trust, it was a privilege to speak at the opening of the Urgent Care Centre, but Burnley needed at least £25 Million in capital spending to modernise and develop a new surgical unit and a new ophthalmology unit coupled with modern accommodation for clinicians.”

He continued to warn, that the government was still pursuing plans for ‘super hospitals’ in Lancashire which could have a massive impact on the future of services in East Lancashire.
Monday 24 March 2014
Government Road Repair Fund “Too Little Too Late”

  Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, and senior County Councillor, Azhar Ali has this week launched a staunch criticism of plans announced by the Government to release just £2.2 million of a £173 million pound pot to Lancashire in a move which he describes as “just another example of the Conservative’s leaving Lancashire and Pendle behind.”

The fund has been granted to Councils throughout England to tackle the entire country's escalating pothole and damaged roads crisis following this year’s bad weather.

The Government announced in March that the fund would set aside just £36.5m extra to target the most severely damaged roads right across the country and will allocate only £103.5m to be shared out between Councils throughout England.

Coun. Ali said “Once again the Conservatives have given Pendle the mouse’s share of funding, at just £2.2m for the whole County to fill the £8m hole we face for road repairs in Lancashire every year whilst the likes of Surrey and Oxfordshire have received over £10 million.

“We are losing out because our current Conservative MP would rather use his time in Parliament congratulating his ministerial colleagues than standing up for decent hard-working people here in Pendle. For all the ministerial visits he has had in the last year, why has he not used a single one of these opportunities to win Pendle the funding it needs to help support our vital infrastructure for local residents and businesses. Why should Pendle always lose out to the Home Counties and the South?”

“Luckily at Lancashire County Council Labour has made clear our commitment to improve our highways and infrastructure and have announced an increased £56m fund in our transport capital programme for road repairs over the next year. We’re serious about investing in Lancashire even if the Government isn’t.”

Council’s in England currently face a £10.5bn shortfall to repair damaged roads, a problem which for many has been exacerbated by one of the wettest winters on record.
Monday 03 March 2014
Pendle Council News Release - On Housing Benefit but struggling to pay your rent? There may be help available – claim it now!

Leader of the Pendle Labour group, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal has challenged the manner in which the Leader of the Council, Cllr Joe Cooney is on the verge of returning money back to the government due to this money not being spent. Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:  

"The point was highlighted to Cllr Cooney months ago about the him not keeping a finger on the pulse on this matter. Pendle council has left it until now to make a plea to people to apply, there is still 50% of this budget left to spend, he will more than likely be sending money back at a time when 1 in 3 requests have been refused. He needs to wake up and help people struggling across Pendle instead of returning money back to George Osborne!"
Monday 10 February 2014
Consultation Update – Subsidised Bus Services

  Labour Party members who took part in the recent consultation regarding Barnoldswick and Pendle Witch bus services have received the following reply:

“Thank you for your recent letter concerning proposals to reduce the amount of subsidy available for non-commercial bus services.

“The reductions were considered as a result of the local government finance settlement and existing budget pressures, where Lancashire County Council (LCC) need to find further estimated savings of £300m between 2014 and 2018. This means that the council has to consider making these savings by reducing costs and reshaping the way services are delivered.

“LCC has undertaken a public consultation exercise in respect of the proposals and the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, County Councillor John Fillis, has listened carefully to the many views expressed in support of retaining the evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday services subsidised by LCC.

“As a result of the consultation process, the removal of subsidies to these services will not be going ahead. It is now intended to review each route when individual contracts are considered for renewal over the next few years.

“I hope that this clarifies the current position, and I would thank you for letting me know your views.

“Kind regards
Bus & Supported Transport Environment Directorate”

Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party and Borough Council candidate for Barrowford said.

“I am pleased that the County Council has listened to the comments that I and other Labour Party members have made in making the case for retaining these essential services. Obviously, we will keep in mind that there will be further reviews on individual contracts and there may be a need to make further representations on behalf of local people.”
Saturday 08 February 2014
Barkerhouse Road zebra crossing work to start next week

Following extensive work by Labour Councillors in Southfield, work on the much needed zebra crossing on Barkerhouse Road, Nelson is due to start on Monday 17th February 2014.

The photograph shows County Councillor Azhar Ali, Councillors Sheila Wicks and Mohammed Ammer at the location of the zebra crossing.
 

Nelson South County Councillor and the Labour Party’s candidate for the General Election , Cllr Azhar Ali said “ I have been working with local Labour Councillors to fund this zebra crossing and despite the government cuts, Lancashire County Council believes this zebra crossing is much needed and I congratulate all involved in finally seeing their efforts coming to fruition”

Labour Candidate in Southfield in May and Nelson Town Councillor Mohammed Ammer added “I have spoken to residents over the last few months and they are excited at the zebra crossing works starting and hopefully in a few weeks work will be finished. This is an investment in the safety of the community in Southfield”.

Southfield Labour Councillor Sheila Wicks added “I along with my colleagues helped secure money from Nelson Area Committee and in partnership with Lancashire County Council; our dream is to become a reality with this £25,000 zebra crossing”.
Friday 07 February 2014
Lake Burwain footpath repairs

  Labour Pendle Borough Councillor for Vivary Bridge Ward, Ian Tweedie, is delighted that funding has finally been found for essential repairs to the footpath round Lake Burwain.

The footpath is popular with locals and tourists alike as well as anglers and an agreement between Pendle Council and Canal & Rivers Trust to share the cost of repairing the footpath comes as very welcome news.

Cllr Tweedie said: "I was pressed about this issue when I was elected in 2012 as the Council had failed to provide routine maintenance for a number of years. We need to ensure that our tourist attractions and recreational amenities are maintained to a decent standard first and foremost. With Pendle's Countryside Access Officer, Tom Partridge, as well as other Colne Area Committee Councillors I look forward to seeing this footpath made good and maintained from now on."
Saturday 01 February 2014
Public opposition forces £38m Colne to Foulridge bypass rethink - Lancashire Telegraph

Public opposition has forced a rethink on plans to build a £38million Colne to Foulridge bypass. Lancashire County Council revealed the proposal to construct the long-awaited link road by 2021 along with a preferred ‘Brown route’ in October.  

Lancashire county council cabinet member Azar Ali said:

“We are mounting a study to see if spending £38million on this bypass is justified. If it can’t be justified and the problem can be dealt with without one, there will be no-bypass.”

Coun Ali said the meeting of 400 residents at Colne Library was very divided between supporters and opponents of a new bypass. Read more at the Lancashire Telegraph Web site
Saturday 25 January 2014
Bid to bring HS2 college to Brierfield – Pendle Today

  Nelson county councillor Azhar Ali has written to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, calling for a meeting to discuss the Government’s plans to build a dedicated college to train engineers.

County Coun. Ali said:

“Everything is in place here to make a success of the new skills college. “In Nelson and Colne College and the UCLan campus in Burnley, we have outstanding higher and further education facilities in this area and the perfect venue at Brierfield Mills. Read more on Pendle Today
Friday 17 January 2014
‘Rat-run’ victory for concerned Pendle residents - Lancashire Telegraph

  Residents in the Birtwistle Avenue and Harrison Drive areas had faced years of traffic misery as motorists used the streets as a short-cut to the busy North Valley Road.

In July last year, pensioner Eric Judson suffered serious injuries when he was hit by a van while getting a shopping bag from his car.

Pendle county councillor Azhar Ali took up the residents’ fight at county hall and a £60,000 traffic calming scheme for the area has now been secured. More>>


Saturday 11 January 2014
Condolences to the family of Paul Goggins MP

Mark Porter, President of Pendle CLP, speaking after the news of the unexpected death of Paul Goggins MP said:

“Pendle CLP would like to pass their sincere condolences on to Paul's family at this very sad time our thoughts are with them.
 

“There are many within the local party that remember Paul came to support Gordon Prentice's campaign at a rally held just before the 2005 General Election.

“Azhar Ali (Pendle CLP’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) believes, with some justification, that it was the success of that rally that ensured Gordon of his majority a few days later. Pendle CLP was and will always be grateful for this contribution.

“We know Paul will be sadly missed by many within the party and we are sure that there will be many more with fond memories of Paul; all with their own stories of how Paul's kindness touched them in some shape or form. We hope that during this difficult time, his family will take some comfort from knowing that he was well respected by those that knew him.”
Friday 03 January 2014
Pendle Labour Party mourns the death of Alan Evans, who died on Christmas Day 2013 at Victoria Hospital Blackpool.

Alan served on Nelson Council from 1963 to 1974 and Pendle Council from 1974 to 1991.
He served as the Mayor of Nelson 1971/72 and Mayor of Pendle in 1989/90.

Alan was also a member of the of Pendle Twinning Association and served on the committee from 1974 until his death. He was chairman from 1989 to 2002.

The funeral arrangements are:
Committal at Burnley Crematorium on Monday,13 January, followed by a Memorial Service at Christ Church, Carr Road, Nelson.

Wednesday 01 January 2014
Pendle hardship funds could be returned - Lancashire Telegraph

  "A Senior councillor has voiced fears that around half of a major hardship fund, awarded to Pendle Council, could be returned to the Government

Under its discretionary housing payments scheme, the borough council has £142,000 to give to the hardest-hit households, including those left worse off by the Government’s controversial bedroom tax."
More>>


Tuesday 17 December 2013
The Season’s Greetings from Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party

Reflecting on the past year as 2013 draws to a close, I know that for many families across Pendle the last twelve months have been extremely challenging, not least because of the strain on household budgets caused by rising energy costs and food prices, and real term pay cuts as wages have failed to keep pace with inflation.

Looking forward to the New Year, 2014 will be just as challenging, but I and the other members of Pendle Labour Party are still committed to trying to secure a better deal for the people of Pendle.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all party members for their hard work throughout the year. I hope they get some well-earned rest and come back refreshed and ready to take up the challenge in 2014 with the Borough and European elections in the spring.

I would encourage members to check up on other members and residents they know to see if they are managing and to get in touch if they need extra help this winter?

Finally I would like to wish all the people of Pendle a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year - and please take care over this festive period.
Sunday 08 December 2013
Petition against the 'Gagging Bill'

  A group of people representing different campaigning interests within Pendle presented the '38 Degrees' petition objecting to the Bill to Pendle MP Mr Andrew Stephenson in the form of a covering letter and a CD with details of the 188,179 signatories on.

The Bill will regulate activity over a year which may affect the result of an election. Moreover, the bill introduces criminal sanctions that are likely to frighten off many organisations from legitimate comment on government policies; will reduce the amount that third party campaigns may spend to £390,000 (from £989,000); and will suffocate organisations with reporting and other obligations. The petitioners argue that these restrictions and restraints are so wide and burdensome as to amount to a disproportionate restraint on freedom of expression.

Ministers accuse 38 Degrees of “scaremongering”. But they are right, and they are not alone in being alarmed at the extent of the bill’s impact on everyday democracy in the UK. A huge range of voluntary organisations, campaign groups and charities – from the umbrella organisation, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) to the TUC, the Royal British Legion to the RSPB, Oxfam to Unlock Democracy – have joined 38 Degrees in stark warnings about the damage that part II of the government bill would inflict on open debate.

David Foat, a Labour Party member present at the petition handover said:

“I have signed the petition against this Bill. Mainstream political parties - the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems - concentrate on winning the centre ground vote all the time. The marginal constituencies like Pendle and the swinging centre-ground voters. How can pressure groups with concerns about specific issues exert any influence on the democratic system? Poor and vulnerable members of society have their rights side-lined in an unconscionable manner. The only way these matters can be made election issues is through lobbying and spending on non-party election campaigning in order to attract a percentage of the electorate sufficient to make the difference between winning and losing for the mainstream party candidates.”

The Labour Party is currently reviewing their relationship with their affiliated trade unions so that trade union members will be able to choose whether to donate to a fund to help the Labour Party or a non-party political campaigning fund. Such a set up already exists with UNISON.
Wednesday 20 November 2013
Small firms in Pendle would benefit from Labour’s business rate cut - Azhar Ali

Commenting on Chuka Umunna’s speech to the Association of Convenience Stores Heart of the Community Conference, County Councillor Azhar Ali, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle said:  

“Times are tough for small businesses in the Pendle and across the North West. There is a cost of living crisis but this out of touch Government doesn’t seem to care.

“David Cameron and George Osborne could make life easier for small business owners by implementing Labour’s commitment to cut and then freeze business rates in 2015 and 2016. That would save small firms in the area £390 over the two years.”
Monday 18 November 2013
Silverman Lecture: questions still to come on HS2 - and brickbats for the local railways

  Colne’s Lesser Municipal Hall was packed on Thursday evening (14 November) for Pendle Labour Party’s 29th Sydney Silverman Memorial Lecture, given by Louise Ellman.

A former leader of Lancashire County Council, Louise Ellman is now MP for Liverpool Riverside and Chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee. She spoke firstly on the persistence of Sydney Silverman in achieving his aims and went on to talk of the work of her committee, concentrating on the future of the railways. She said far more money was invested in railways in London and the South than in the North, and that it was important for the North to keep up the pressure for improvements over and above the Northern Hub investment.

As for HS2, she said her committee were carrying out a further inquiry in the next few weeks. However she made it clear that she thought a decision not to go ahead with this project would not necessarily mean the money saved would be available for investment in other parts of the railway system. In answer to a question as to why HS2 could not have its first sections built in the North and work its way down to London, she said she had been told that the most overcrowded stretch was between London and Birmingham and that this would be the first part of the proposed project.

Following the talk, Peter Nowland from Selrap gave a brief outline of how a re-opened Colne to Skipton line would be a key element in cross-country rail traffic, linking the ports of Hull and Liverpool, where enormous investment is going into new port facilities.

A number of questioners emphasised the poor state of the local rail system and the time it takes to get by rail to Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Pendle, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, also spoke about the consultation on the proposals for the A56 villages bypass. The evening was sponsored by the North West Cooperative Party. Former Cty Cllr Tim Ormrod, in intoducing Louise Ellman, said how pleased he was to be welcoming a Labour and Cooperative Party MP to speak in Colne.


Saturday 16 November 2013
Nelson volleyball club welcomes £700 grant

Cllr Julie Henderson presenting Mohammed Suleman, the Treasurer of Nelson VolleyBall Club with the cheque for £700 from the Nelson Committee.  

Nelson area committee granted Nelson Volleyball Club £700 at their last meeting to help with training facilities for team members. Club Treasurer, Mohammed Suleman said "the club has been in existence for over 30 years and we represent our town at national competitions. We now train 12 months of the year and this help from Nelson committee will help towards the costs of hiring a facility. I would like to especially thank Cllr Julie Henderson who made this possible".

Walverden labour councillor Julie Henderson added “I know many people across Nelson who are involved in the club both as players and volunteers. This grant will help the club ensure that Nelson is represented at national competitions”.
Saturday 19 October 2013
M65 to Foulridge bypass bid ‘closest it has ever been’ - Pendle Today

  Lancashire County Council is the closest it has ever been to making the £40m. “Villages Bypass” a reality.

Showing his support, County Coun. Azhar Ali said: “I have been campaigning for the bypass for the past 15 years, and this is the nearest we have got. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the people of Pendle, and in particular the people of Colne, cannot afford to miss. More>>

Download Vivary Bridge Newsletter (PDF-569KB)
Saturday 05 October 2013
Ed Miliband jokes about dad controversy in Darwen - Lancashire Telegraph

The government is using the Keogh report into failures at East Lancashire hospitals to score political points and damage the reputation of the NHS, according to Labour leader Ed Miliband.  

The leader of the opposition visited Darwen yesterday ((FRI)) with Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Rossendale and Darwen, Will Straw, to meet members of the public and discuss their concerns about the cost of living. More from the LT>>

Wednesday 02 October 2013
Shadow Education Secretary to Visit Pendle Schools
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Stephen Twigg, will be visiting two Pendle Secondary schools tomorrow, 3 October.

At 9.30 he will be meeting staff and pupils at West Craven High Technology College in Barnoldswick, and at 1.00 pm at Fisher More High School, Colne.
Monday 30 September 2013
Pendle Labour congratulates Mark Porter on his election to become the President of Pendle Labour Party.

  Mark has taken over the reins from Azhar Ali who will be concentrating his efforts on contesting the Pendle Parliamentary seat for Labour in 2015.

Mark, who is 41 years of age, was born in Burnley and is an avid supporter of Burnley FC.

Mark lives in the Borough of Pendle with his family and also works in Pendle’s manufacturing sector.

In addition to his manufacturing experience Mark has an extensive knowledge on a range of subjects from pensions to employment law. He also understands the many challenges that the people across Pendle face on a daily basis.

Mark said: " I am very pleased and feel honoured to have been elected to the position of President of Pendle Labour Party.

“I would like to Thank Azhar Ali for his leadership over the last two years and wish him well with his parliamentary campaign.

“I look forward to working with him alongside all the party members, candidates and councillors in the coming months. Our priority is to try to help our community of Pendle. Many people in Pendle are suffering unnecessarily as the result of the unfair cuts in services and the ill thought out policies of the Conservative led coalition both nationally and locally.

“I would also like to extend Labour’s hand of friendship to the people of Pendle and say, ‘if you share our values of equality and fairness, if you would like to try and help improve your community and build a society for the many and not the privileged few; then why not get in touch and share your ideas and together let's rebuild our communities and make Britain Great once more’."
Monday 16 September 2013
Pendle Labour Party select Azhar Ali as its Prospective Parliamentary Labour Party Candidate for Pendle



Former Pendle Council Leader Azhar Ali has been selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate by Pendle Constituency Labour Party.

County Councillor Ali, currently Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing on Lancashire County Council, won the ballot of members at a packed meeting of the Constituency Labour Party in the Silverman Hall yesterday afternoon (15 Sept). The five shortlisted candidates had each given a presentation and then answered questions about their policies for Pendle, their beliefs and campaigning experience.

After the vote was announced Cllr Ali said: “I am honoured to have been chosen to stand as Pendle’s prospective candidate for Labour in the General Election.

“Everyone in Pendle who has been affected by the calamitous austerity measures over the last three years and by the unnecessary and costly reorganisation of the NHS – all voted for by the current MP, whatever he says locally – can now join our campaign for a Labour victory in 2015.

“I should like to pay tribute to the other candidates in yesterday’s hustings, and also to Liz Savage, the Selection Committee Secretary, for the efficient running of this very demanding process.”
Saturday 14 September 2013
Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run Update

Vivary Bridge Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie says:

"On Friday I met Simon Bucknell of Lancashire County Council at their offices in Burnley with Pendle Labour Party Chairman Azhar Ali".
 

"Our meeting followed public consultations about the Birtwistle Ave rat-run problem including two residents' meetings at the North Valley Community Centre. Various proposals have been made including closing Birtwistle Avenue completely to through traffic at a point between Red Lane and Burrell Avenue with signs saying 'Road Closed to Through Traffic' at the Red Lane and Vivary Way roundabouts. However, at our meeting we decided to proceed in stages. Firstly there will be more Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDS) installed along the rat run, then more speed humps and then more signage. There will be further residents' meetings to review progress."

Cllr Tweedie adds: "I'm very pleased to be keeping my 2012 election pledge to take real action about the Birtwistle Ave rat run."

Saturday 07 Septemebr 2013
Former Labour Councillor wanted by the Conservative Party


Following the news that a suspended Labour councillor has joined the Pendle Conservatives, Labour Group Leader on Pendle Council, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:


“Cllr Aziz was suspended for an indefinite period a number of months ago for his actions which had brought him into disrepute with the Labour group.

It has also come to my attention in the last few months that Cllr Aziz is a wanted man in another country in relation to an alleged serious criminal matter.

“I would challenge him to resign and fight a by-election on his new party’s platform, let the people of Walverden decide if he is worthy to represent them.”

You can read Councillor Joe Cooney’s tweet welcoming Cllr Aziz here
Monday 12 August 2013
Mike McIlroy, 1958-2013
Alan Newbould recalls Mike’s role in Pendle Labour Party.

Mike was born in Northern Ireland in April 1958.

Following his university education, Mike arrived in Pendle in the late eighties (he had previously been a member of Milton Keynes CLP).

Mike immediately became active in Brierfield branch. He played an active role in the campaign committee which led to the election of Gordon Prentice as Pendle’s MP in 1992.

Mike was elected President of Pendle CLP in 1993 and also served as the Election Coordinator.

 
Mike McIlroy and Family
The photograph was taken several years ago

He was never afraid to challenge people in authority and many of us remember the occasion when his voracity facilitated Tony Greaves storming out of a public meeting. Mike also relished the role of being the person to ask the appropriate questions to ensure that Gordon Prentice in his position as the MP was reflecting the best interests of the local party and Pendle’s constituents.

When he left the area he regularly returned to Pendle to campaign for Gordon Prentice due to both a loyalty to Pendle and not being too comfortable with the political leaning of his local MP in Chorley.

Mike believed that the Blair years were the missed opportunity to build a fair and equitable society.

He had letters and articles published in the Guardian and Tribune.

Whilst living in Pendle, Mike taught at Bradley Primary School and was appointed the deputy head teacher at Hyndburn Park Primary School in Accrington. He left Pendle to take up a post in the Chorley area and later became the head teacher of a new Burnley school. He later became an HMI and then a Senior HMI working for OFSTED.

Mike will be remembered for his intellect, humour and most importantly his sense of comradeship.

He was a BIG man in every way.

He lived life as a socialist and died a socialist, insisting that the red flag was sung at his funeral.

The large number of people attending his funeral (in excess of 100) who knew him from different facets of his life was testament to both the respect and popularity that he earned.

Labour Party members in Pendle that knew him, send their heartfelt condolences to all of his family.

Mike will live on in the hearts of many of us and especially his wife Gillian, his sons Tom and James, his brother Brian and sister Barbara.
Friday 09 August 2013
Gordon Prentice records some of his memories of Labour stalwart Bob Wilkinson (1951-2013) who died recently



The news this week that my friend Bob Wilkinson has died of cancer comes as a huge shock.

Bob was my agent in the 1997 General Election and masterminded a brilliant campaign that gave Labour a colossal majority of over 10,000. We had over 53% of the total vote.

As it happens, I last saw Bob a couple of years ago when I bumped into him quite by chance in the Rising Sun in Blacko as I was having a quiet pint with John Pope and Andy Stringer. Bob, a keen supporter of the Campaign for Real Ale, was his usual convivial self. He enjoyed the company of others.

Bob, a teacher by profession, could be quite self-effacing, playing down his own role in our stunning victory in Pendle.

In his report to the GC after the May 1997 General Election he admitted that we had a lot going for us. “A bankrupt Government, a good national campaign by Labour and Tony Greaves as the Liberal candidate!”

The campaign was certainly memorable for the terrific show of posters. There has been nothing comparable since. They were absolutely everywhere with Bob directing the stakeboarding teams to get them up first and ask permission later!

He told the GC afterwards: “The experience of acting as agent was exhilarating and almost addictive but I would warn anyone thinking of taking the job for the next election that it can turn the mildest of individuals into a dictator overnight. So much for democracy!”

Back in 1997, no one was very sure how the Blair Government would shape up but there were straws in the wind. We went into that election promising no increase in the top rate of income tax. And that we would stick to planned public spending for the first two years. Bob was uncomfortable with all this but was hoping for the best.

These were also the days when there were debates within the Party on whether the UK should join the Euro. I recall long conversations with him on the merits or otherwise of the Single Currency. I was hostile. Bob less so.

I am told that Bob left the Labour Party after Iraq. If so, this decision wouldn’t have surprised me. He would have quickly sussed out that the reasons for the war were entirely bogus.

Bob had two boys, Alan and Ian, with his first wife, Ruth, who worked in my office in Carr Road for many years.

I feel a deep sadness that Bob is no longer with us.
Saturday 13 July 2013
Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run

Vivary Bridge Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie says:

"I have been asked to comment on a very nasty accident today (12 July 2013) on the Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run. A resident getting out of his car was hit by a VW camper van travelling at speed. His car door was ripped off and he was dragged for a distance and has been rushed to hospital. I'm sure your reporters will have more information about this terrible incident from the Police involved.
 

"I hope the resident makes a full recovery but the campaign to have Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDS) installed along the route of the rat run continues. Working closely with the Labour County Council I have been asking for the SPIDS and we were delighted to see one installed this week at the end of Birtwistle Avenue approaching the Sacred Heart Primary School. However, this further accident has happened at the Harrison Drive end near the roundabout with Birtwistle Ave. We need SPIDS and better traffic calming all the way along the Rat Run."

Labour-run Lancashire County Council this week decided to complete the programme of 20 mph limits in all residential areas in response to the ‘Slower Speeds, Safer Children’ campaign. The former chairman of the Labour Government’s Commission for Integrated Transport, ex-Transport Convenor on Edinburgh City Council and visiting professor in Sustainable Transport at Plymouth University said: “The first responsibility of any politician is the safety of their citizens, particularly children.

Cllr Tweedie added:

"Accidents can still happen at low speeds and speed cameras and SPIDS are not a panacea. However, the overwhelming evidence shows that where such devices are installed the number of serious accidents drops by a quarter."
Friday 12 July 2013
I
ll-conceived Taxi Parking idea – Ian Graham
  Commenting on the proposal for taxi parking on Midgley Street Car Park,Labour Party Member and School Governor, Ian Graham said:

“Pendle Council are considering a Planning application for a portable cabin Taxi Office and 5 taxi parking spaces on Midgley Street Car Park in Colne.

“With parking spaces for members of the public in Colne already at a premium this is an ill-conceived idea. The car park entrance is exactly opposite to West Street Community Primary School main entrance and parents delivering children to school use this car park to avoid parking dangerously on the road by the school entrance.”.

Follow this hyperlink
to a letter opposing the application giving reasons for their concerns signed by the Head teacher Mrs Sarah Burtoft and the Chair of Governors Ian Graham.
Saturday 08 June 2013
Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run

For years people living along Harrison Drive and Birtwistle Avenue have complained about speeding traffic taking a short cut through the estate. Now, Cllr Ian Tweedie is saying that Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDS) will shortly be installed along the route of the rat run.  

Ian, a Labour Pendle Borough Councillor for Vivary Bridge Ward, says:

"Traffic gets particularly bad during rush hour. The traffic on the North Valley grinds to a halt and workers eager to get to work on time in the morning and return home in the evening resort to the estate roads. Normally, it takes longer to get through the estate than it does to take the North Valley, so drivers are tempted to go faster than the speed limit. At times a continuous stream of fast moving traffic develops as flow tends to be in one direction in the morning and reversed in the afternoon. I have been asking the Lancashire County Highways Department to install SPIDS on Birtwistle Avenue and now it appears that they are indeed about to be put in place."

Cllr Tweedie adds:
"Accidents can still happen at low speeds and speed cameras and SPIDS are not a panacea. However, the overwhelming evidence shows that where such devices are installed the number of serious accidents drops by a quarter."
Monday 03 June 2013
Lake Burwain Path Funding

  Labour Pendle Borough Councillor for Vivary Bridge Ward, Ian Tweedie, is seeking funding for essential repairs to the footpath round Lake Burwain. The footpath is popular with locals and tourists alike as well as anglers. There is a long-standing agreement between Pendle Council and British Waterways for the Council to maintain the footpath as a recreational amenity since its inception, but the Council has failed to provide routine maintenance it seems.

As a result of Cllr Tweedie responding to numerous requests from Colne residents for the path to be made usable to a reasonable standard, there is a bid for funding on the Colne Area Committee this Thursday 6 June from Pendle's Countryside Access Officer, Tom Partridge. Once the path is put into order, routine maintenance will be provided for from the countryside access maintenance budget.

Cllr Tweedie says: "I was pressed about this issue when I was elected in 2012 as the first Labour Councillor in Colne for some years. We need to ensure that our tourist attractions and recreational amenities are maintained to a decent standard first and foremost."
Monday 27 May 2013
Vivary Bridge Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie wins battle of the spray

During the recent County election campaign, Ian Graham, the Labour candidate in Pendle Central identified that residents were far from happy with the car wash being operated on the old petrol station site at the bottom of North Street.  

Spray from the cars being washed by hand with high pressure hoses was drifting into North Valley Road and soaking pedestrians walking along the pavement.

Local Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie has spoken with the owners of the car wash and they have promised to erect some screens along the side of the site to protect pedestrians from the worst of the spray. Cllr Ian Tweedie say: "It was especially bad in very cold weather and I am pleased that the owners have responded in a reasonable manner to complaints. Some residents complained that the cleaning agents also caused their eyes to sting, so this really is a required measure."
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