Report faulty streetlights online

With the clocks going back this weekend Stockport residents are being reminded that any street lighting faults can now be reported quickly via the council website.

Reporting a problem online allows residents to pinpoint the street light on a map, providing accurate information on lighting faults. This is a quicker and more convenient system for residents, whilst helping the Council to deal with problems more efficiently.

Once faults have been reported a ‘progress checker’ allows residents to check back on the status of the job, in real time. This intelligent reporting will help keep repeat contact to a minimum.

By-election in Bramhall South and Woodford

A local by-election will be held in Bramhall South and Woodford to elect a new councillor following the shock resignation of Conservative Anita Johnson.

The Lib Dem candidate, Jeremy Meal, is a transport professional who’s lived locally in Bramhall for 20 years. He stood for the Lib Dems in May, nearly halving the Conservative majority.

The by-election, which will be held on Thursday 20th November 2014, looks set to be a close contest between the Conservative candidate and Jeremy Meal – the other parties are a long way behind.

Mark Hunter campaigns against Tory Traffic Chaos

Mark Hunter’s campaign to get Tory-run Cheshire East Council to think again about building 1,800 houses on a greenbelt field near Handforth is picking up speed. The Lib Dems are concerned that building so many houses in one site right on the Stockport border will see traffic chaos as the cars flood down the A34 towards Manchester, then back again in the evening.

More houses are needed in Cheshire as well as Stockport, but Cheshire Tories have no plan to deal with the increased traffic. Greenbelt developments should be a last resort: before proposing building of this scale on the greenbelt, councils should have looked at all other options first. We don’t think that’s happened in Cheshire East.

Mark has written to the inspector currently examining Cheshire East’s plans. The inspector has raised a number of issues with the plans, and we are waiting to see whether the Conservatives will have to go back to the drawing board.

As the letter from the Inspector below shows, he is considering whether to halt his inspection of the Tory plan after hearing the concerns raised from Mark Hunter and others – we should know in the next few weeks.

Second councillor in three weeks quits “bullying” Stockport Labour

Cllr Paul Moss resigns from Labour

Councillor Paul Moss, who represents Reddish North ward on Stockport Council, has resigned from the Labour Party to sit as an Independent, saying “I can no longer be bullied into supporting the underhand actions of my party”. Cllr Moss is opposing proposals to build houses on part of Reddish Vale Country Park as part of the wider Brinnington Regeneration Scheme*.

Cllr Moss is the second Stockport councillor in three weeks to quit Labour: Cllr Laura Booth (Offerton) resigned earlier this month citing a “culture of systematic bullying in the local Labour party”. Cllr Booth was also Chair of Disability Labour and Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Hazel Grove.

The accusations of bullying have been denied by Stockport Labour. They admit they’re unable to disprove the claims and suggest that everyone should just stop talking about it.

The latest resignations follow a similar case in 2012 when Cllr Patrick McAuley resigned from Labour, also citing bullying in the Stockport Labour Group.

* Full disclosure: I support the Brinnington Regeneration Scheme, including building houses on a small part of Reddish Vale.

Council warns of text loan scam

Stockport Council is warning residents about a text message scam involving a loan that is not paid out.
Earlier this month a Stockport resident received an unsolicited text message from a business purporting to be a loan company.

The message stated: ‘Dear Customer, the loan you applied for recently has been approved. The loan will be paid to you today. Please call (phone number) to receive the money into your bank’. The message was sent by a withheld number.

The victim was persuaded to pay £100 via PayPoint e-voucher on the promise that £500 would be put into their account. The business then asked for a further £200 to secure a loan of £690. The victim realised that it was a scam and did not pay any more. However, the scammers only gave fictitious contact information and the victim is now £100 out of pocket.

The Council’s Trading Standards advises residents never to respond to unsolicited text messages, phone calls or emails offering a loan. These may be received after leaving a phone number on a website. People may be asked to make payments into a bank account or via a money transfer business before a loan can be approved or paid to you. Once the initial payment has been made, and the loan withheld, the scammers will often try to contact the person again to ask for further payments before the loan can be released. Regardless of the number of payments made, the loan never materialises.

Councilor Martin Candler, Stockport Council’s Executive Member for Communities and Sustainability, said: “This type of scam targets people who have difficulty obtaining credit. These are often the people who can least afford to lose money to the scammers and I would urge residents to be on their guard against this type of fraud.”

All loan brokers and lenders are required to be licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If the business is not on the register at the FCA website it is likely to be bogus.

Victim of bogus loan brokers can report the details to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. People can also contact the Financial Conduct Authority Consumer Helpline for advice on 0800 111 6768.

Cheadle is changing – have your say

Help shape Cheadle – come along to Cafe One, the Upper Rooms, Cheadle at 9.30am on Saturday 1st November 2014 to get involved and have your say.

Cheadle in changing. As budgets become tighter, the Lib Dems have launched a programme to give local people more say over how our area looks. Cheadle is piloting the approach with the rest of Stockport following on next year.

We want as many people as possible to get involved. Cheadle Village Partnership have already done a lot of the leg-work and the next step is to get practical.

There are two ways you can contribute.

First, we want to understand what people’s priorities are for Cheadle. With limited money to spend, how should it be split between parks, play areas, libraries, street cleaning, the village centre and other areas.

Second, we want to know where local groups would like to get involved. If a Friends of the Park group is interested in doing more, we can help that to happen and get better outcomes for everyone at the end of it.

So please come along, have your say and get involved.

Cheadle Civic Society launch photograph archive

From Cheadle Civic Society:

See the Civic Society’s new photograph archive here.

Photographic history of Cheadle
The Cheadle Civic Society has digitised its entire collection of approximately 800 ar­chive photographs and has now uploaded these online to provide a revealing insight into Cheadle history.

The rare photographs cover 130 years, dating back to the 1860s and include every­thing from early pictures of Abney Hall, Cheadle High Street and the historic St Mary’s parish church. There is also an excellent selection of late 19th Century photographs of the horse-drawn bus services which used to operate between the White Hart Hotel and the centre of Manchester and revealing colour photographs of the old Buckley Chapel, which stood in the grounds of Abney Hall until it was demolished in the 1960s.

Other highlights include many old school group photographs, street scenes, special occasions, as well as photographs of former prime ministers Winston Churchill and Edward Heath when they visited Cheadle during different 20th Century general elec­tion campaigns.

The full collection of photographs were taken by both amateur and professional pho­tographers and donated to the Society over many years. Significantly, many of those which have deteriorated through age have now also been digitally improved.

Zoom feature
To enhance the experience of viewing the photographs, the Civic Society web site has a special full-screen and zoom feature which gives users the opportunity to view each photograph in great detail. There is also an online comments page to enable anyone to add personal stories relating to any of the pictures.

Phillip Gould-Bourn, chairman of the Cheadle Civic Society, says the photographs should be of great interest to the community at large, not just to the people of Cheadle. “They provide a rich snapshot of local life spanning several generations and will be an invaluable resource to all social historians,” he says.

Mark Hunter MP stands down as Deputy Chief Whip

Mark Hunter MPCheadle MP Mark Hunter has stepped down as Lib Dem Deputy Chief Whip after four and a half years to spend more time on his constituency work.

In his resignation letter, Mark said

It has been a privilege to serve for four and a half years as a member of the coalition government and I remain proud of our achievements over that period. We have faced many difficult decisions as a party but I believe it was the right choice, in the circumstances, to form the coalition and provide the political stability necessary for economic recovery to take place.

As you know, it was never my intention to serve in the same post for the duration of the Parliament and now seems a sensible time to move on. As we reach the end of the conference season and return to Westminster this is an appropriate moment to announce my decision.

My first priority is, and always will be, to serve my constituents to the best of my ability and I intend to carry on doing just that for as long as I am able.

It has been an honour to serve and I thank you for the opportunity.

As with all the best Whips, Mark’s work as a member of the Government has been largely in the background.

He has played a key role in delivering many of the Lib Dem’s key achievements in Government including cutting income tax for millions, the pupil premium, the massive growth in apprenticeships and the fairer tax system which has seen the richest pay more and the poor pay less than under the previous Labour administration.

Manchester section of Styal Road will be resurfaced too

Manchester section of Styal Road to be resurfaced as part of the works.

The Lib Dems have secured the resurfacing of the sections of Styal Road in Gatley, with local MP Mark Hunter pressing for the work to be done.

We had thought that as most of Styal Road was resurfaced, the part in Manchester (from Hollyhedge Road down to near South Drive) would be left undone, though we had always asked that agreement should be reached if possible.

We’re very glad that an agreement has now been reached with Manchester so Stockport’s contractors will do their section with Manchester Council picking up the bill.

The two main junctions (with Church Road and with Hollyhedge Road) will now be resurfaced on Sunday 19th and Sunday 26th October – the other timings will not change, and the current projected completion date for the full resurfacing (from Yew Tree to Church Road) remains 26th October.