Temporary traffic signals between Smallbrook Road and Bridge Street

temp traffic lightsThe temporary signals will be employed between Smallbrook Road and Bridge Street commencing Monday 20 May for four weeks, Monday to Friday off-peak only (9.30am – 3.30pm) and are required as part of the carriageway resurfacing works.

Also, it will be necessary at the end of the work to put in place a full road closure. I am urgently seeking details about this and as soon as I have any will post them on my web site.

If you have any queries regarding the work please contact Nigel Molden at [email protected]

Emergency Contact & Telephone Number in the Event of Traffic Signal Failure: John Dunn: 07831 386470

Liberal Democrats outline 12-Point Plan to help disabled facing welfare reform in Oldham Borough

Last month, Oldham became a pilot area for a whole raft of sweeping reforms to welfare benefits introduced by the Government.

Welfare reform has led to several benefits being merged into one new Universal Credit claimed on-line, on the introduction of a new Local Council Tax Support Scheme, in a reduction in housing benefit for many in under-occupancy, and on the creation of Local Welfare Provision.

In Oldham, it is estimated that welfare reform will affect up to 17,000 citizens of ‘working age’ who depend wholly or in part on welfare benefits for their income; many of these residents will have a disability or a serious health condition.

Oldham Council will be a key player in the administration of welfare reform.

One of my fellow ward councillors, the Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes has published a paper to Cabinet member for Finance, Councillor Abdul Jabbar, and senior Council officers outlining 12 practical measures that the Liberal Democrat Group believes the Labour Administration should adopt to mitigate the impact of welfare reform on one particularly vulnerable group – the disabled.

In issuing this document, Councillor Howard Sykes said:
“Disabled people are a particularly vulnerable group and amongst those most likely to be worst hit by welfare reform.
Liberal Democrats in Oldham would like to see disabled people exempted from many of the provisions of welfare reform, as pensioners have, and we will lobby Government to make this so .

However, whatever the rights and wrongs of welfare reform, the reality is that it is here to stay in one form or other as any Government in power will need to address the ever spiralling benefits bill.

One of my concerns is that, in the rush to prepare for the introduction of welfare reform, agencies and officers may have paid insufficient attention to the needs of the disabled.

Oldham is a pilot authority for welfare reform – by establishing best practice here we can set a standard for other authorities introducing welfare reform from October.

The Liberal Democrat Group has issued a policy paper to Councillor Jabbar, Cabinet Member for Finance, and the Labour Administration outlining 12 practical measures that the authority should adopt to support disabled people in our borough faced with welfare reform.
I hope that, after a period of reflection, we will have the opportunity to meet with them to discuss the document and identify how we can take these measures forward.

This bi-partisan approach is identical to that which we have taken as a party in supporting the Administration on a number of issues, most recently the campaign to combat loan sharks”.

A Summary of the Liberal Democrat 12-Point Plan follows.

Oldham Council can support disabled people faced by welfare reform:
1. By ensuring that those disabled social tenants who ‘under-occupy’ and who require overnight care from non-resident carers are granted an additional bedroom under the size criteria.

2. By awarding housing benefit for an extra bedroom for a disabled child unable to share.

3. By adopting a new Discretionary Housing Payment policy that provides for indefinite payments to make up rent shortfalls where social tenants with disabilities occupy ‘significantly adapted properties’.

4. By ensuring the DHP also meets rent shortfalls for disabled people requiring an extra room for medical equipment.

5. By exploring the creation of a Hardship Fund to support disabled people with rent shortfalls who are not able to access additional bedroom entitlement or the DHP.

6. By developing a support package for disabled people moving home.

7. By offering the 12-month instalment scheme for Council Tax as a default scheme to new payers.

8. By promoting the Disabled Band Reduction Scheme to those occupying adapted properties.

9. By promoting the Disabled Band Reduction Scheme to those who are ‘severely mentally impaired’ or their careers, support workers and family members.

10. By exploring the creation of a Hardship Fund to support disabled people with Council Tax arrears.

11. By arranging direct payments of rent and Council Tax for disabled and ‘vulnerable’ clients eligible for this facility.

12. By ensuring that Local Welfare Provision meets the needs of the disabled and vulnerable.

If anybody would like a copy of the full report please email me directly and I will send you a copy.

Struggling to pay your Council Tax?

Get payment advice at your local event
If you are worried about paying your Council Tax or struggling to make payments, don’t ignore the problem.

At your local drop-in session you can get advice and support, as well as discussing payment options that will help make it easier for you to manage your budget.

At the events we can help you to:

Set up a Council Tax direct debit.
We will help you fill in a form so that the payment is made each month directly from your bank account. Remember to bring your bank details with you.
Open a Council Tax Jam Jar Account with Oldham Credit Union.

A Jam Jar Account helps you to manage your budget and prioritise your spending. Opening an account will also give you access to fair loans and savings. To set up an account you will need to bring two forms of identification with you, which must include your name, address and signature.

Acceptable documents are:

Rent book
Tenancy agreement
Mortgage letter or statement
Birth Certificate
Utility Bill, i.e. gas, water, electricity, telephone
Driving Licence
Union membership card
Work’s identity card
Wage slip
Bank card
Bus pass with photograph
Medical card

The two nearest events are taking place on:

Tuesday 7 May:
2pm – 5pm
Crompton Library
Farrow Street East, Shaw OL2 8QY

Wednesday 8 May:
9am – 12noon
Oldham Library
Greaves Street, Oldham OL1 1AL

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, don’t ignore the problem. Contact us urgently to discuss payment options T: 0161 770 6622 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

Visit: Access Oldham, Civic Centre, Oldham 8.40am and 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30am to 5pm Wednesday

Flooding at Woodend – up date meeting 24th April, 5-7pm Dunwood Park Community Building

As you are probably already aware, there is an on-going problem with flooding in the area and I am writing to let you know that I have been working with a variety of agencies to try to find a solution to this. In order to share this information with you, I would like to invite you to a “Drop in Session” as follows:

Date: Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Time: 5.00pm – 7.00pm
Venue: Dunwood Park Community Building

Please do pop along any time bewteen 5-7pm.

Officers from Highways & Engineering, Environmental Services, the District Team will be there to discuss these matters with you.

I hope you will be able to attend on the night to have your say.

Check on your Elderly Neighbours in this Cold Weather

The last few winters here in Shaw have been particularly cold, and while we all shiver and turn up the heating, we should also spare a thought for some of the more vulnerable members our neighbourhood here in Shaw – elderly people.

When it gets colder outside, it tends to spur us on to look out for those in need, and it’s really important to make sure that your elderly neighbours are OK when temperatures start to drop, especially those who are house-bound, or who may not have family to pay them regular visits. It’s estimated that more than a million elderly people will spend winter alone in the UK.

It’s particularly important to Look Out For Elderly Neighbours if you live in a rural neighbourhood where access to amenities, shops and services could be limited or cut off to those who find it hard to walk, or drive.

Loneliness can Kill
It’s not just the obvious things such as heating and food that people feel in need of when the weather becomes inclement. If elderly people rely on visits from friends, family or even services such as meals on wheels, bad weather can restrict the amount of company they get, and conditions may make it difficult or impossible for elderly neighbours to see anyone. So, if you know a neighbour lives alone, make a point of popping in and seeing if they need anything. You might find that they need a little company, and knowing that someone cares can really make all the difference. If they know you are nearby and can be called on in an emergency, it really can make a great deal of difference.

Who to Contact
Some elderly people resist help from neighbours, seeing them as ‘strangers’, or simply because they feel too proud to accept help. If this is the case and you have concerns about an elderly neighbour, don’t be afraid to contact your local social services team and ask for someone to visit. They may already have home help or a carer that calls in, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you haven’t seen an elderly neighbour for a while and the weather has been bad, it doesn’t hurt to call round and make sure that everything is OK. Reporting any concerns may seem a little over the top, but in some cases could save someone’s life.

If you or someone you know needs support to keep warm this winter, you can contact the Oldham Keep Cosy Scheme.

The scheme is run in partnership with Age UK, but is open to anyone who is living in a cold home or struggling to pay their fuel bills (regardless of age and income levels).

People referred will receive a home assessment and small energy efficiency measures installed for free where needed.

They will also be offered:

Energy bill advice
Debt advice
Benefit check
Referrals for insulation and heating grants

Referrals for other preventative services where necessary e.g. fire alarms

Contact Age UK Oldham with neighbours name, address and details of the situation:

Phone: 0161 678 2033
Email: [email protected]

If you pay an elderly neighbour a visit and find them a little confused, or not their usual self, it could be that the cold is affecting them so call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for medical advice if necessary.

Ways to Help your Elderly Neighbours in Cold Weather
If you’re visiting an elderly neighbour and their house feels cold, make sure that they have a blanket or rug they can use to keep warm if they are frightened of using too much fuel. If not, try to encourage them to wear a dressing gown, or a ‘slanket’ style all-in-one to keep warm while they are sitting around the house.
Be a good neighbour and clear their paths. Many older people are very frightened about walking on icy pavements – after all, it’s hard enough for the younger generation. You could also ask if they have enough milk, bread and supplies to last them.

Make sure that they have adequate heating, and if necessary see if you can source or lend them a portable heater for when the weather is really cold.

Find out if they need regular medication, and if they have enough supplies to last a cold snap. Offer to pick up prescriptions if necessary, or make arrangements with a local pharmacy.

Donate to the Shaw Disaster Appeal

Oldham Council have created the Oldham Distress Fund (registered charity number 225145) to receive donations for all residents affected by the gas explosion in Shaw.

The Fund now stands at around £250,000.

To date around £62,000 has either been dispensed in cash advances or agreed in principle as payments to be made from the official Oldham Distress Fund.

In the immediate aftermath of the blast the Local Authority paid out almost £7,000 to 35 residents in the form of interest-free emergency cash advances.

Trustees of the Oldham Distress Fund are also meeting daily to act on new applications as they are received.

They have already agreed payments in principle of about £62,000 to indiviual applicants. These will be made direct to residents this week subject to final receipt of any outstanding information required, such as bank account details.

How to donate
If anyone wishes to make a contribution, the options are:-

You can donate here

You can also call during the opening hours of 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday) and 9am to 1pm (Saturday only).

Donation line 0161 770 6611

Internet Banking
For anyone wishing to make donations using internet banking, the details of the Distress Fund account are as follows:

Bank: Cooperative Bank
AccountName: OMBC Oldham Distress Fund 225145
Sort Code: 08-92-33
Account No: 61715512

For people making payments from overseas the IBAN number is as follows:

GB37 CPBK 0892 3361 7155 12

Cheques should be made payable to Oldham Distress Fund

You can send cheques in the post to:

A Cooper
Finance Services Team
Oldham Council
Level 14
Civic Centre
West Street
Oldham, OL1 1UG
You can hand cheques in at either of the following addresses:

Co-operative Bank
12 Market Place
Spindles Centre

Shaw & Crompton Parish Council
23 High Street

In person
Donations can be made at the Co-operative Bank in Oldham Town Centre

The Council have also applied for funds from the Greater Manchester Disaster Relief Fund to be available for the victims.

There are also funds in the AV Davies Charity whose trustees are meeting this week to discuss future arrangements.

Latest Update Explosion in Shaw

The devastation in Buckley Street

If I or any of our Focus Team can help in Any way, please just get in touch, details on the right.

Shortly after 11.15am, Tuesday 26 June 2012, police were called to Shaw following a report that homes had been seriously damaged in a large explosion.

The boy killed in the explosion, has been formally identified as two-year-old Jamie Heaton.

Police are treating the death as suspicious. Anyone with any information can call police on 0161 856 8959, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

A cordon is expected to remain at the scene for several days as detectives continue to investigate the cause of the blast. However, this is gradually being reduced as properties are assessed by structural engineers to ensure they are safe before residents are allowed to return.

Access to the following addresses is now possible:

87 to 95 Oak Street
92 to 108 Oak Street
58 to 90 Oak Street (Even numbers only)
All properties on Gordon Street.
All affected properties on Milnrow Road
Linney Lane
4 to 12 Edmund Street (even numbers)
1 to 19 Edmund Street (odd numbers)
The Council is urging residents to go to the Library on Farrow Street, if they have not already done so, to receive house keys that are currently being held and gather more information about the process of accessing properties.

These properties should now also have access to utilities.

Currently no access
There are a number of properties where access will not be allowed for some time. These include houses on;

Buckley Street
Chancery Lane
Some houses on Oak Street
Where it is safe the Fire Service will try to gain access to properties to gather essential property on behalf of residents. This process will take some time and you will be contacted directly if this is possible for your property.

If you have any queries or require assistance please call the Council’s Contact Centre on

0161 770 7770

Services for people affected by the explosion
REST CENTRE – Lifelong Learning Centre, High Street, Shaw
A place where affected people can relax and access health care and family support.
Open from 9am – 7pm until further notice
A play area for children
Tea and coffee (provided by the Red Cross)
ADVICE CENTRE – Shaw Library, Farrow Street East, Shaw
Open from 10am – 2pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Housing advice
Welfare benefits advice
Access to emergency loans
Insurance and finance advice
DONATIONS CENTRE – Salvation Army, Farrow Street, Shaw
Donated goods such as food, clothing and toiletries can be obtained here if you have been affected by the explosion.
Open every day 10am – 3pm until further notice.

Following Tuesday’s explosion in Shaw, there has been an incredibly generous response by members of the public who have donated clothes, food, bedding, toiletries etc.

Currently we have more than enough of these items to meet immediate need and are focused on managing the storage and distribution of these donations. Please do not send or bring any more donations of goods.

Thank you to everyone who has given in this way, your generosity is greatly appreciated. As we identify further needs in the coming days, we will appeal for specific items on this website.

Oldham Council has launched an official Distress Fund for all residents affected by the explosion. The fund is available for anyone wishing to make an individual contribution, or to send in the proceeds of any fundraising activities.

Oldham Distress Fund
A support network has also been set up on facebook where people are offering specialist services such as joinery and window boarding as part of the wider clean-up.

Support for Shaw gas explosion facebook group
So far the response has been truly inspirational. Thanks to everyone for all your help.

Missing pets
Oldham Council officers and RSPCA staff have worked to identify households affected by Tuesday’s explosion in Shaw that are believed to contain pets.

Residents in the area with concerns about this are urged to contact the Council on 0161 770 7770.

Road Closures
The following road closures are in place in Shaw following the explosion:

Buckley St
Edmund St
Chancery Lane
Motorists are advised to avoid the area to enable emergency rescue work to continue.

Superintendent Neil Evans said: “First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family of the child who has tragically died.

“We understand this tragedy has caused a lot of upset and shock in the close-knit community of Shaw. We are in the very early stages of an investigation but our priority at the moment is to try and reach anyone who may be caught up in the explosion.

“Three properties have been involved in a major explosion, and a large-scale response involving the emergency services and other agencies is in place.

“The child’s family has been informed and they are being supported by specially trained police officers.

“Another man has been taken to hospital, where he is being treated for what are understood to be 80% burns.

“We are working with Oldham Council to make arrangements for those who may need to remain evacuated.

“This is an ongoing search and rescue operation, and more information will be released when it is available.”


Cllrs Diane Williamson and Howard Sykes outside our threatened pool.

Cllrs Diane Williamson and Howard Sykes outside our threatened pool.

Thank you for visiting my web site and this page about Oldham Council’s so called Leisure Review and the potential closure of Shaw Baths.

I want to take this opportunity to assure you that I (and my colleagues) are doing all we can to fight the closure proposals and that retaining a facility for future generations of people in Shaw and Crompton to enjoy is, in our view, non–negotiable.

We all accept that the current swimming baths are way beyond their peak, but I believe passionately that a fit for purpose swimming pool must be retained in this area; the Labour Administration of Oldham Council, given the chance, will completely wipe Shaw and Crompton off the map as far as swimming facilities are concerned.

Myself and your local Liberal Democrat Focus team have worked tirelessly against the closure of Shaw Baths. Labour controlled Oldham Council has continually ignored the public’s outrage at this proposal, by hiding behind their sham of a “Leisure Review”.

Despite the Liberal Democrats highlighting a number of sites within Shaw and Crompton, Labour have chosen one in Royton Town Centre. Your Liberal Democrat team have secured a pledge that Shaw Baths will not close until a new one is opened, but this is not nearly good enough!

We now need your help even more, if we are to safeguard Shaw Baths.

So please sign the petition online. Click here