Misguided Busway Chaos Intensifies

I’m afraid that from next week there will be another new set of misguided busway roadworks on the A580, and that this new set will be the most disruptive yet. The Manchester bound lane closure will be horrific.

From Monday 15th September, a full time lane closure will be in place (Manchester bound) on the A580 East Lancashire Road, between Walkden Road and Moorside Road, for approximately 4 months. The Council say that “delays are expected during these works and road users are advised to use alternative routes where possible”. I am not quite sure what “alternative routes” local people are supposed to use here. I do not imagine that either the A6 or Worsley Road will be any less gridlocked.

Also for four months from 15th September, the Manchester-bound footpath between Old Clough Lane and Walkden Road will be closed. This is the pathway past Walkden High School and so it is of particular concern to parents of pupils walking to the school.

Finally, again for the same four month period from 15th September, there will be an “off-peak” lane closure of one lane Liverpool-bound between Old Clough Lane and Newearth Road. Off-peak means that they knock off work around 3.30pm before the evening rush hour, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they overrun.

Scotland and Salford – we’re better together

togetherWilliam Smellie (pronounced Smiley) was born in Lanark, Scotland in 1697. The Science Museum notes that he was the most significant obstetrician of his time, and the first to teach obstetrics and midwifery on a purely scientific basis. He established obstetrics as a discipline separate from surgery – a father of British midwifery.

Smellie would have been just a small boy when the acts of Union were signed in 1707, and In just under two weeks time, Scotland will vote on whether to remain part of the United Kingdom, or whether to undo the positive relationship we’ve enjoyed over more than three centuries and choose a path of separatism – a historic decision that will affect not only those in Scotland but will have a fundamental impact on those of us who live in the rest of Britain.

So what does this have to do with William Smellie?

Firstly, although Scottish by birth and practice, he is an early example of the benefits of a united Britain working together, doing much of his groundbreaking work in London, with the benefits seen across the UK and across the world ever since.

Secondly, although I’ve lived in Walkden since I was a small boy, and my immediate family tree throws up far-flung places like Boothstown, Weaste and Little Lever, my parents were living in Scotland in the early 1980s and so my first sight of the world was at the maternity hospital in Lanark that carried Smellie’s name. Hence a somewhat tenuous personal connection with William Smellie, and a considerably stronger personal interest in what happens in the referendum vote on 18th September.

I find it hard to stomach that the town of my birth, and the nearby town (Carluke) where I spent the first few years of my life, could be preparing to be in a foreign country in just a few weeks’ time. I also know that the end of the Union would be deeply damaging, not just to Scotland but to all those across the country, including here in Greater Manchester, who benefit from the great partnership that is the United Kingdom. We see those benefits every day with hundreds of local businesses, and to give just one example we see it more visibly when great Scottish athletes reap the rewards of training as part of the British squad at the Velodrome in Manchester.

So if you are reading this message and you happen to have a vote on September 18th, I’d love you to vote no – we really are better together. If you have a friend, a work colleague or a family member who lives in Scotland, give them a call this week – give them a clear message. We want you to stay.

Residents protest to save Hill Top Moss

hilltopOn Sunday, I was delighted to see a fantastic turnout for the protest organised by local residents against the Council’s decision to flog the open space at Hill Top Moss to developers.

The Council has behaved disgracefully as – just like with the former St George’s playing fields on Hilton Lane – they try to dispose of important green space (which belongs to the local community) whilst keeping residents in the dark as much as possible.

Hopefully on both Hill Top Moss and the St George’s playing fields the Council will finally see sense and keep hold of these green Spaces, but I am not holding my breath. This Labour Council pretends to want to protect our green Spaces but it is clear that when it comes down to it, they are happy to flog off public-owned green spaces to developers to build on. It is the height of hypocrisy.

Well done to the organisers of Sunday’s protest. They have my full support and that of my colleagues, including my friend Dan Hill, Conservative local campaigner for Walkden North.

A new school for Mesne Lea Primary


I was delighted last week, along with many local residents, to have the opportunity to view the proposals for the new school buildings at Mesne Lea Primary. I had the great privilege to serve as a Governor at the school in the past, and it is also the school that my mum and uncle attended as children, so I’m really excited to see the new buildings take shape.

The new building is being funded by the Government, and unlike the recent high school new builds it is not a PFI, so the school will have full control over the building once it is completed. I know that there are a few issues that still need to be sorted out with residents, particularly with regard to traffic and in one case the site border, but the new building will be a fantastic resource for the pupils and hopefully for the local community.

A planning application will be submitted in the near future and I will make sure that residents are kept fully up-to-date with the plans.

Friends of Parr Fold Park – get involved!


Parr Fold Park is a huge asset to the local community but like many local residents I think that it could be even better. On Wednesday 27th August, we’re holding a meeting with a view to setting up a new “Friends of Parr Fold Park” group. The meeting will start at 6pm at the park pavilion (next to the tennis courts).

It would be great to see as many local people there as possible to hear your views on how the park is at the moment and how you think it could be improved in the future. I hope to see you there!

I know it is a busy time of year for many people and it is also holiday season. If you can’t make the meeting but would like to have your say, please drop me a line and I’ll make sure that your comments are included in the discussion.