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Give Fenton a say on Town Council

Fenton Town Hall

A picture of Fenton Town Hall and War Memorial.

In recent months I couldn’t help but notice the people of Fenton campaigning to create a Town Council.  It is my belief a Town or Parish Council can make a positive difference to any community, giving local people a voice in a very big world.  It would be fair to say the positives far outweigh the negatives.  I couldn’t hold back any longer and I have this strong urge to support the people of Fenton in their bid to secure some community empowerment by creating a Town Council.  It is not my intention to interfere with politics over the border in the city but I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t support plans to give communities more of a say. 

Since 2010 I have served on Kidsgrove Town Council and Newcastle Borough Council, representing the Butt Lane ward in the Kidsgrove district.  It wouldn’t be honest of me to say it’s easy to wear two hats (even 3 being the Mayor) but that’s another story! 

Originally I just thought the Town Council would be a talking shop for old men and that actually it could do nothing positive for the Town.  It dawned on me that our Town Council was playing a big role in Kidsgrove and doing a lot more than I had previously thought.  I was also pleased to see a lot of female Councillors representing their community.  The only thing that horrified me was that every Councillor was over the age of 50 and young people were underrepresented.  There should be a balance of people and ages on a local organisation like this to give everyone a voice in the community. 

Town and Parish Councils can be responsible for as little or as much as required.  Currently central Government is cutting millions from local authority budgets meaning we are losing much needed services left, right and centre.  In the City, there are still huge challenges ahead so how could a Town Council in Fenton help deflect some of the damaging cuts heading our way?  Town and Parish Councils are stepping up to the game all over the Country and taking on more responsibilities to save vital services and protect the things that are important to local communities.  Sometimes this works out better because local people can tailor services to suit the needs of their community.  This extra tier of Government should not be seen as a thorn in the side of the City Council, but as an extra team to give the ratepayer a good service and stronger voice. 

In Kidsgrove we are responsible for Allotments, event organising, the running of the Kidsgrove Victoria Hall/Town Council offices, Maintenance of Public clocks, notice boards, encouragement of tourism.  We are regularly consulted by the Borough Council and County Council on all planning applications in the area, intentions to provide burial ground, proposals to carry out sewerage works, footpaths and rights of way surveys and much more.  There is a lot more that could be added to this list and I am sure our list will grow as central government cuts continue to come down hard. 

I think it’s imperative Stoke-on-Trent City Council give the people of Fenton a fair hearing on this issue and look at the positives local Town Councils can bring to the City.  A Town Council should never be seen as a way of dividing people, but a way of cementing people together to deliver a better deal for all. 

So I wish the people of Fenton well in their bid to create a Town Council to make positive change.  If they are successful, I insist they raid the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in the Kings Hall and take back Fenton’s Civic regalia for a new Mayor of Fenton!

The Legacy of Kidsgrove Sport


St George’s Park, Burton-on-Trent

On Wednesday 21st November I was invited to attend St George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent.  I attended the event with the Chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands district Council, Councillor Stephen Ellis who is keen on promoting sport in the community like me.  St. George’s Park is the home of the new National Football Centre.

Set in the National Forest, in 330 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland, the centre is the training base for the 24 England teams and features 2 Hilton hotels.

St. George’s Park is also the home of FA Learning, The FA’s educational department. Through the delivery of national coach education courses, St. George’s Park will provide a platform for the communication of The Future Game philosophy, which outlines a vision for the development of English football.

The Future Game will be brought to life in the football centre which includes a full-sized indoor third generation football pitch equipped with a viewing gallery for up to 200 people, a 60mx40m multipurpose indoor sports hall, 11 full size outdoor pitches and one elite DESSO training pitch which is an exact replica of Wembley.

This £100 Million pound facility has been a god send for Burton and the surrounding areas including Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.  The FA has made sure St George’s Park is something that will last for many future generations to come.

The evening was a huge success and plenty of people from across Staffordshire and beyond thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  We got to listen to sporting heroes, Olympians and volunteers of the London Olympic 2012 that really made us proud to be British.

Kidsgrove Deputy Mayor Kyle Robinson with London 2012 volunteers from Staffordshire.

The question I asked myself was what do we need to do in Kidsgrove and Newcastle to attract funding on this scale and is it possible?

The simple answer is yes! With a lot of hard work and the political establishments of Newcastle Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council and Kidsgrove Town Council working together we could make a huge difference and achieve goals.  But there has to be the will to achieve these goals and make us attractive to investors.  The one thing we have going for us is you.  The people of Staffordshire!

We have just waited 12 months for Staffordshire County Council to repair our Swimming Pool ceiling.  Mainly because of organisations spending time arguing who should pay what?  Well guess what top guys, we put you where you are to make a difference, to secure what we need to keep our communities healthy.

Kidsgrove baths were reopened on Saturday 17th November to a crowd of young people waiting for their free swim.  And there you have what’s so important about this, young people.  We have to keep fighting for better leisure facilities and more funding for the future generations of Kidsgrove and the wider area.  We are a country facing a national obesity crisis whilst local councils are facing huge cuts from National Government.  It’s time our Government whatever political persuasion realises that you can’t and never should put a price on the health of the young and elderly people of our community.  Privatisation is not always the answer and in my opinion the local authority should always offer leisure facilities fit for purpose and of good quality.  We deserve no less so I go away from this shouting even louder about how important this subject is.   The political elite needs to change the attitude and do what’s in the best interests of the community because the famous saying goes; don’t try to pass the buck!


Lets work together and deliver the sports facilities our people need and deserve. Lets do it together!