Ruth Smeeth has been selected by Stoke on Trent North Labour Party to be the Parliamentary Candidate in the 2015 General Election. Joan Walley MP announced her retirement in late 2013. The hustings and selection took place at Kidsgrove Town Hall with over 100 Labour Party members turning up for the vote. All candidates performed well during their speeches and question session. Zaeba Hanif and Katie Ghose were also on the shortlist and fought hard for the support of members across the constituency. Ruth won the ballot and is now the official candidate. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ruth on her success. I backed Ruth from the start because of her fighting spirit and her inspiring positive attitude to life. Ruth will stand up for everyone and not just the few. We believe in Ruth as much as we have believed in Joan for so many years!
Residents of Unity Way are calling for action to be taken by Staffordshire Highways regarding their access only road. Drivers have continually used Unity Way as a cut through from the A34, Newcastle Road to avoid Talke traffic lights and shorten the journey. This is having a detrimental impact on local residents and the speed of the traffic has increased to alarming levels in the last few years. The use of the road has also increased following a massive increase in housing developments off Congleton Road.
Local resident, Kelly D said: “My partner and I have seen the traffic on this road increase tenfold in the last few years. It is becoming a very dangerous road and is used as a rat run by some idiots. I have a small boy and I am worried it is only a matter of time before a child is killed on this road. Hollins Grange at the top of Unity way houses a lot of elderly and disabled people and it is just impossible for them to cross the road sometimes. We would like Staffordshire Highways to do something about this situation as a matter of urgency and the Police need to do more.”
Butt Lane Labour Councillors are now carrying out a survey to try and find a solution. In a letter to the residents of Unity Way, I wrote:
“Dear Residents of Unity Way, Covert Gardens and Fox Gardens
I am writing to you as your local Councillor to address your concerns with traffic and highways issues. We would all agree that Unity Way is still being used as a cut through by traffic coming off the A34. This is having a detrimental impact on local residents and pedestrians. The speed of the vehicles cutting through is alarming.
There is not going to be a quick fix to our problem but we must push for a solution. I can recall the meeting we had with Highways Officer, David Greatbatch and PCSO, Colin Stepney well over 12 months ago. Unfortunately I have not received any further information as to whether the County Council carried out a survey of the road or not. I don’t think the Police presence on this road is all that could be desired due to cutbacks. During the meeting, residents argued many different points of view and debated what the best course of action would be. We never reached a consensus and because of this, the County Council Highways Department will continue to side step our problems.
I would like to carry out a survey to find out what the majority of residents would like the Councillors to push for. As I am sure you can appreciate, it is difficult to please everyone, but we will try our best. Please understand that this survey is not commissioned by Highways and is purely for my own investigatory purposes. The outcome of this survey doesn’t necessarily mean we can implement our findings, but it will give us a much clearer aim.
I appreciate residents have waited many years for action and I am not one to give up.”
Labour Councillors will now wait for residents to respond to the survey and the results will be published in a future article on this website. As the speed of the traffic needs addressing in the short term I have arranged for every property to also receive a 30MPH bin sticker. The Wheelie bin stickers initiative are used as part of a general awareness raising exercise to highlight to drivers that they are entering and travelling within a 20, 30 or 40 MPH residential area. The stickers are used along arterial residential routes where there have been a high number of casualties or where there is a perceived community concern regarding the speed of vehicles travelling through the area. It doesn’t solve our problems, but it helps and the initiative is hailed as a success in some areas.
If you are reading this article and you have used Unity Way as a cut through, please remember it is an offence. The ‘except for access’ signs are clearly marked and the Police will be doing more to fine people in the coming months. I wouldn’t want people using my street as a cut through and I suspect you wouldn’t either.
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.