Next year the country will be remembering the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. This air campaign waged by the German Air Force the Luftwaffe against the United Kingdom was the first of its kind. In the end Britain won, but without that famous aircraft the spitfire we all may have been doomed. Spitfire designer, Reginald Mitchell was born at 115 Congleton Road, Butt Lane. Mitchell’s design was so sound that the Spitfire was continually improved throughout the Second World War. Over 22,000 Spitfires and derivatives were built.
Now I have an idea to bring Reginald Mitchell back home. I propose to create a Reginald Mitchell Peace Garden on Congleton Road at the junction adjoining to Cedar Avenue. I hope to get permission to transform the piece of land owned by JCDecaux. Newcastle Borough Council sites the Butt Lane Christmas tree on this corner every year in December.
As part of the project I will be working with the Butt Lane LAPs to apply for funding for park benches, flower tubs, remembrance signage and a litter bin. At the moment the site is run down and not maintained by anyone. A location like this in the centre of Butt Lane should be utilised to create a seating area that everyone in the community can enjoy. Residents have already offered their support by volunteering their time to help with the project.
I will also be proposing that one of the benches be in memory of Ada Nield Chew who was born on a farm in Butt Lane. Ada joined the suffragette movement and fought for the rights of women to vote and to stand for electoral office amongst many other things. We should be celebrating the lives of great people from our community to inspire our younger people to dream and do something great in the future. We must remember our nation’s heroes at a local level.
I hope to keep you updated on our progress with the site. Do you support this project? Please comment and let me know.
Run down pub, the Skylark in Talke Pits could soon be reopened as a family venue. Simon Richards of G3 Leisure who also lives in the area, held a public meeting on Friday 7th February to discuss his proposals with the local community.
Mr Richards explained at the meeting that his company was looking to spend a significant sum on the site to bring it up to a better standard and attract more families. A Skylark revival page on Facebook now has over 350 followers with numbers growing by the day.
Mr Richards said: “Having been in the trade for many years, we have seen many things. The most upsetting is to see estate pubs close. Sometimes it’s not even the fault of the pub or lack of community support. Many times it’s the greed of the breweries that force a pub into closure. As with all business, every party involved has to make a living, but some forget this.
“The Skylark has been the heart of Talke Pits for as long as some can remember and during that time the pub has had its ups and downs. As a local company we saw the closure of the pub, but due to financial interests we were unable to purchase the site. Living in Talke Pits, we have seen the rapid decline in the pub and its grounds. After much thought and research, we decided to really see if the community had lost heart in this once fantastic pub. So we launched the skylark revival page. After receiving phenomenal support from the local community, we decided to look into costs required to reopen the pub, bringing it back as the heart of the village. I realised that the local community was lacking in a good wholesome family orientated food pub that offers great value for money. We are also looking at installing a children’s play area and to provide entertainment.
“Given the amount of capital needed for the project, we wondered if our purchase would be a wise bet and decided to let the villagers and the local community have a say in this project. We have also offered shares in our company to allow us to borrow less and minimise risk of failure. Locals that buy shares will be buying a security in the pub and its land, in addition receive a dividend payment on their investment and receive a discount card. This will give investors the chance to save the amount they invested over their visits to the pub.
“With community support, we can purchase, fully refurbish both internal and external areas of the site, and re-open as a great family pub with entertainment, which the community has shown it wants. This move will not only secure the future of the Skylark, but will improve the overall look of the entrance to our village. Our project will increase the kerb appeal of the site, improve its security and above all secure its future.”
Talke Pits Councillor, David Allport attended the public meeting: “I have a big concern with the amount of Anti-Social behaviour around the site at the moment. This is something we expect with boarded up buildings but I do think the Police need to do more. It was pleasing to see someone so passionate about the pub revival and if G3 Leisure take on the site, I want to see it cleaned up as a matter of urgency”.
Kyle says: “From a Town Council point of view, if the Skylark revival is a success, I am keen to work with the owners to put on more community events for Talke Pits. This area seems to be left out far too often and that must change. I am also looking into a community asset register to protect the rest of our pubs in the community”.
If you are interested in the project, you can check out the Skylark Revival Facebook Page and company website: www.g3leisure.com
Up until this point I have remained quiet on who I will be supporting to be the next Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Stoke-on-Trent North. As many people will be aware I am an active member of the Labour Party and I believe in what the party stands for. As a member of the CLP Executive Committee I decided not to put myself forward to be on the Selection Committee because I want to back a candidate from the start. Stoke North’s selection process needs to be professional and transparent. Therefore I can announce I am endorsing Ruth Smeeth to be our PPC.
I have been aware of Ruth for quite some time. She has been known to attend many events and Labour campaign days in Stoke, way before Joan announced her retirement. A lot of us believed Joan would do at least another term. Ruth’s background as a Hope Not Hate co-ordinator and her fight against fascism really does inspire me and others. Her experience in this area can definitely be put into practice to protect the City and Borough from the BNP and extreme elements of UKIP.
Ruth Smeeth has been the perfect campaigner and most definitely inspires people to get out there and speak to people on the doorstep. That is what we are about after all, putting people first and listening. I joined the campaign trail in the Baddely, Milton and Norton by-election to see Ruth working really hard with our candidate. She lit up my day on the doorstep, a real people person and able to relate to working class folk on the doorstep. Ruth has attended numerous campaign days in Kidsgrove and isn’t afraid of hard work.
It was only recently that I was on a training course in Manchester and I met members of the Labour Party from Burton. Ruth was mentioned in the conversations and those people speaking about her didn’t have a bad word to say. They told me how lucky the people of Stoke North would be if Ruth put herself forward.
The day Joan Walley announced her retirement I felt totally devastated. Joan has been one of the most dedicated MP’s I have ever met and she always puts her constituents first. She never gives up the fight against social injustice. Joan is a true friend of mine and I have learnt so much from this respectable lady. After doing a lot of thinking, I had no choice but to endorse Ruth who I believe will follow in Joan’s footsteps and do a really good job. Ruth is young, vibrant and will bring a fresh approach to politics that this country so desperately needs. She is not a candidate being shipped in from London, something I hope we never see happen again.
So good luck to all of the candidates putting themselves forward, but I have my fingers, legs and toes crossed for Ruth.
You can find out more about Ruth and her endorsers at: http://www.ruthsmeeth.org.uk