Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Funding from Tescos for local groups

Dear Mr Jones, as you will be aware, large retailers must give the proceeds from the carrier bag charge to good causes.  I wanted to update you on our exciting Bags of Help scheme which uses this money to fund local community projects across England, Scotland and Wales.  The first round of our scheme, delivered with the support of environmental improvement charity Groundwork, has just completed and has been a great success.  Millions of Tesco shoppers have voted to allocate over £11.7 million to 1,170 local projects, including new parks, sports facilities, woodland walks and community gardens. You can use the interactive map on our website ( to find out which projects have been successful in your local area and we would be delighted to put you in touch with any of the community groups.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

The ft comes up with another powerful and interesting critique of Leave.Eu campaign.

The ft comes up with another powerful and interesting critique of Leave.Eu campaign. 

April 26, 2016 3:55 pm

Arguments for Brexit do not add up

The top 10 points in favour of an exit and how to rebut them
James Ferguson cartoon depicting Brexit©James Ferguson

f the UK voted to leave the EU, it would almost certainly be outside the arrangement organising the life of our neighbours and principal economic partners forever. Given this, the question is whether the option to leave should be exercised now. My answer is: absolutely not. To see why, let us examine popular arguments in favour of departure.

Is fracking about to begin in Hyndburn because the government has been selling licences is the question I am being asked?

A recent Facebook post raised the issue of fracking and suggesting wrongly that licences for fracking had been granted in Hyndburn suggesting that fracking would now begin forewith. You can read my Facebook reply at the foot of this post.

My view is simple; if fracking is not safe then it should be banned. If it is safe then we have to ask questions about whether we want to take it out of the ground anyway?

Climate change and fossil fuel usage are big issues. However there are major issues in the fracking debate that are rarely raised. Questions that ought to be asked.

Relying on nuclear as a non-carbon energy source has its own problem (cost, safety, disposal) and reinforces an inefficient national grid. Relying on gas from other sources also has connected problems (Russia/Putin, dirty gas, effectiveness in reducing fossil fuel consumption in Hyndburn/Lancashire).

Action on Armed Violence

War is cruel and so to are munitions that continue to mutilate and kill long after war has ended. Action on Armed Violence provide statistics that we should all be concerned about. It does not mean the answer is non-intervention but it does highlight the consequences that should forefront of consideration when the news media have moved on.

To subscribe go to Action on Armed Violence

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Will a closure of Accrington Victoria walk in centre for a new GP hub be beneficial for patients?

East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group are proposing to change your access to GP services. In short they are proposing to close Accrington Victoria Walk in Centre (known also as  the HAC or Health Access Centre) and replace it with an alternative hub service; and for access to that service to be though your GP and a new GP telephone hub.

UPDATE: It has now received the thumbs down from the two local patient groups. Patient Voice and the Patient Participation Group who have similar concerns as I do.

The CCG's explanation is on their website and I have copied and pasted it all at the foot along with with their email, their website, their postal address (at the bottom) and importantly their online questionnaire for you to register your views.
(Please also take my two question survey which is bit fairer and more balanced. Please distribute the link on social media.) 
Question: Do you think the closure of Accrington Victoria Walk in Centre, to be replaced by a GPs telephone hub service (with some face to face by appointment) will provide you with a better patient service? Answer here

Fwd: Every Last Child campaign - Save the Children

Dear Graham, I'm getting in touch about Save the Children's new global campaign – Every Last Child. The campaign was launched yesterday across the world and was covered by the Mail OnlineITV Good Morning Britain.

Accrington Town Centre

I regularly get asked about Accrington Town Centre. This is a summary of my view.

Town centre shopping habits have changed over the decades and many retailers just can’t make money anymore from the high street. The internet, out of town shopping centres and stores and supermarkets have all changed shopping habits. Ironically BM bargains have opened up a bigger store, hence why the smaller one is shutting. M&S after years of decline are focusing on new one stop shop, out of town supermarket shopping offer.

Sadly previous councils have made the huge mistake of expanding Hyndburns basic retail offer. They failed to have any vision at all. I have sat in many a meeting disappointed at the poor decisions taken.

The previous Tory council had huge amounts of funding from central government but shut down the Broadway cinema for more shops, knocked down the brilliant concrete market and built more shops, turned down or turned away up market town centre residential developments and relocated the bus station. They spent £600,000 on a failed website that shut down after just 4 months and sent a £300,000 on a loo very few people used.

The Labour plan is to reverse that thinking however deep Tory cuts to Council funding have resulted in a reliance on private sector or grant funding. The view is to attract more leisure, more office space and more residential and rather than focus on unattractive new developments, refurbish our wonderful old buildings. One simple measure has been to put the Accrington Pals fascia over the ugly 1960's building that sprawls Broadway.

The grounds of St James have been made far more attractive and a Heritage Lottery £3m programme, out to consultation to refurbish Blackburn Road is underway. The new rail link has been added and we are having to pick up the pieces left by the Tories of relocating the bus station.

My LT article - Accrington Town Centre

I regularly get asked about Accrington Town Centre. People quite rightly feel it has gone downhill. They have a point but it’s a problem long in the making. 

Where did it all go wrong? It certainly didn't happen this morning or last week. The Council cannot be blamed entirely for lack of profits at Marks and Spencers, B and M bargains and the Yorkshire Bank, retailers that were there until recently.