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  • Writer's pictureGareth Fairhurst

Standish Voice meeting - what took place

So last night we attended Standish Voice (SV) public meeting. The first thing is to say without the members that went from the Standish Views Matter (SVM) there was only a small handful of people. In fact without us there would have been about 13 people. These include the 3 ward Cllrs. A wife of a Cllr, Paul Ogden, the founder of SV, The chair of SV, her husband, a couple of their committee members and that is it and they claim to be the voice of Standish. Really? We think not!

The first thing that was apparent was the chair of SV saying, "we have done this and we have done that and we meet the council for this and that." Sorry, who are these people again? O yes unelected self indulgent people, in our opinion. We should have our Cllrs doing what they claim they are doing. After all the 3 ward Cllrs do get about £50k - £60K a year collectively. More on that later.

Standish Voice have now hired a planning consultant and this will cost them £2k to look at all the planning applications that have been put in over the years for Kilhey Court. So after Standish Views Matter public meeting last month Standish Voice said they didn't have the money to pay for a barrister, as most of their money goes on the Christmas market. Yet here they are spending the equivalence of a third of what would be required for a top London barrister to look at any potential legal challenge the council could take. Funny that! Surely it would have been better if they did not want to pay for the whole of the barrister's advice they could have come to us and say we have this money that we could contribute, if the other money could be raised? Standish Voice say that the findings will be sent to the council. Why don't they post it on their website like what we do? Follow our lead SV.

Another thing SV are copying from ourselves is we have a freedom of information which they now seem to be doing. It's a shame they don't have what we have on our site, which is a section where the question and answer are put so everyone can see. Funny how FOI requests seem only to go to the Tory Government and not the council.

I asked the following questions

When did the Cllrs first learn of the situation of Migrants going into Kilhey Court?

Labour Cllr Mugan said they meet the council all the time about migrants at Britannia but with regards Kilhey Court they first learnt of it on the16th August - the Friday we did. The reason I asked this was I have been told by a reliable source in the town Hall that the council knew about it sooner and when I asked under the Freedom of Information (FOI) the council reply it was only confirmed on the 16th, which shows that they knew before. But did the council tell the Cllrs before. Time will tell!

  • Have our Cllrs seen the letter the Council sent to the home office?

Again under the FOI we had asked for a copy of the whole letter the council sent to the home office? The reply was the council couldn't as it may endanger lives and be divisive to the community. Again only Labour Cllr Mugan said he wasn't sure which letter I was talking about. I confirmed the one that the council have only shown extracts from. Still a confused look, not sure why as he is a Cllr and was involved in the press release that the council put out. So, I will send it to him again. The reason for my question is, are Standish residents lives at risk? Why would it be so divisive to us to be shown the letter sent on our behalf? I want to know if the elected Cllrs know what actually is going on and should we be worried and if so what are those worries. Nothing! shocking!

  • SV said they know everything about the crime going on with regards the people in the hotels being used for migrants. A resident talked a lot about the kind of people in the hotels and used the example of Farnworth and one in Ince where someone was murdered. Labour Cllr Parkinson said that that person had not been murdered but committed suicide. She was challenged saying what he beat himself up and tied his arms together and then hanged himself? Where did you see this? she asked. The local paper was the response then Cllr Parkinson said don't believe everything you read in the paper. Interesting.

  • Another interesting point is that SV claim that the migrants can only walk round in 2 or 3 people at any one time. The Cllrs did not chjallenge this so we can take this as they agree. Here is what we say - Why? Is this due to our lives being endangered? We will speak with GMP on this matter and find out if true and why. Also, if true why are they not enforcing this?

  • Finally, as I know we could write more, but I did say higher up about Cllrs money - at the end - but Cllr Parkinson came up to me whilst speaking with a couple after the meeting and said that my figure of her getting £40K a year was incorrect. I said if any of my figures are incorrect just to let me know and I would be happy to correct any figure incorrect, if I am told. She lives around the corner from me and sees me often walking past her house with my dad's dog and could have said something a lot earlier. So why now? In my opinion because she thought she might try and get some embarrassment from me? I don't believe I have ever said she gets £40k. I believe that I have said our Cllrs - there are 3 of them - get paid between £50K and £60K per year. As I say I can back my figures up. So here it is. Each Cllr gets approx £14K per year. There are 3 of them - 3 x £14K = £42K. As Cllr Parkinson said last night she gets about £9K extra for being deputy mayor. Add these two figures together you get £51K. I am not sure if Cllr Mugan gets paid for being the deputy mayor consort. I know in the past the Mayor's consort gets £10k for clothing allowance. I am not sure if this is the same or if there is a lower figure that the deputy mayor consort would get. If they do then the £51K I have just evidenced and how we get to our figures shows we are correct in what we have quoted, plus any clothing allowance pushes this higher. But even so £51K is between the £50K and £60K figures we have quoted, so we are happy to stand by our figures. But seems we have touched a nerve with Cllr Parkinson and how much she gets paid.

So to sum up, Standish voice are following our lead in Freedom of Information requests. Only difference we put them into the council as well and also we post all the replies for openness and transparency. Carry on and follow our lead Standish Voice - please do this. They try and follow our lead in getting professional people opinions. Difference - they want a planning consultants opinion where we want a Barristers opinion on if we can challenge the issue legally and if so how.

So where Standish Views Matter lead - Standish Voice try's to follow.

(This article is written by Standish Views Matter founder Gareth Fairhurst, who admits in public that he is dyslexic and he says this as one of our ward Cllrs and other Standish Voice members belittle him in public forums and on SV page for this. If there are some grammatical errors he apologises in advance.)

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