Police give green-light to 20mph limits

20mphPolice in Derbyshire have removed their automatic objection to 20mph limits in the county to the delight of 20mph limit supporters.

Derbyshire Constabulary have confirmed that their longstanding policy to object to the introduction of 20mph limited areas has been changed. Historically the force has be resistance on the basis of the need to install traffic calming for a 20mph to work.

Local county councillors and 20mph limit supporters, Cllrs Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh have welcomed the news.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: “This is welcome news for communities, such as Padfield, who have campaigned to claim back the streets of their village from speeding vehicles. 20mph limits are in operation up and down the country in appropriate, mainly residential, areas including near by Manchester and Stockport and this change brings Derbyshire into line with them.”

Cllr Ellie Wilcox added: “We have been working with the community in Padfield introduce 20mph zones due to the increasing evidence of the value they can in terms of speed reduction, injury prevention and enhance wellbeing of those that live in the areas”. 


Photo Caption: County Cllrs Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh and Padfield Borough Cllr Nick Longos (R) welcoming the news with Derbyshire’s Deputy PCC Hardyal Dhindsa (C)

Photo Caption: County Cllrs Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh and Padfield Borough Cllr Nick Longos (R) welcoming the news with Derbyshire’s Deputy PCC Hardyal Dhindsa (C)

Earlier this year, the Constabulary raised concerns over the lack of physical measures such as speedbumps and over the enforcements as Derbyshire County Council consulted on the introduction of the reduced limited in Padfield.

Confirming this change in stance and police enforcement of the new limits Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa added: “20mph limits used where appropriated have great benefits to the communities in which they are placed and have had the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents’ backing. I am delighted that the force has agreed to proportionate enforcement by its local policing sections, and very much sees working closely with Police Support Volunteers moving forward. To this end the constabulary has requested funding for more handheld detection units.


Glossop Gazette Questions

The Glossop Gazette  as part of it’s coverage is asking every candidate three questions. Please find these along with my answer below.


1. Is the loss of 1,400 jobs an inevitable consequence of the savings that must be made in the DCC budget?  How would your party’s cuts differ from those of your opponents?

It is a sad reality that job loses at the County Council would have to be considered by any new administration in Matlock of any political colour.

The Council’s budget has been cut by one third which is difficult enough but added to the increasing cost of care for the elderly and those venerable members of our society whom have had their lives made even harder by Government cuts, and some very painful decisions lie ahead.

The 1400 figure is the current Conservative administration’s calculation but we aren’t able to see what informed that decision. Not until a new administration takes over and has the opportunity to look over the books will we know if those assumptions are correct or not.

Labour values people as being the greatest resource of the Council and we will always try to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies, but at the moment assurances are unfortunately impossible. 

2. If you were on the DCC planning and control committee would you have approved the application to demolish the old St Lukes School and build a new library?  If not please suggest an alternative.

The plan to build an inappropriate new library in Glossop will not see the light of day if Ellie and I are elected. The hastily put together application will be withdrawn.

I, like many residents I’ve spoken to, do not buy into the false argument used by currently county councillors that the Victoria Hall cannot be become a library and community resource fit for the 21st century.

Therefore a consultation to assess the needs and requirements of the people of Glossop will take place after the election, with proposals that will focus on a sympathetic internal refurbishment of the Victoria Hall with the funds available; if people have an unexpected and unlikely change of mind then we would of course look again at this.

3. Is immigration an issue in the DCC elections? If so, why?

Immigration has long been used by political opportunists seeking someone to blame all the country’s ills. Migrants by and large contribute to society and have added great social, economic and cultural value to our nation – their looking after our elderly and unwell in the NHS is the exemplar.

The overwhelming proportion of them come to this country to work, create wealth and pay taxes, not to live off benefits or seek NHS treatment as is often portrayed. 

The problem is not immigration but our globalised free-market system which denies us the tax base to invest properly in people and places. It’s not a new immigration policy we need, but a reformed system where the likes of Google, Amazon, Vodafone and Starbucks pay their fair share of taxes.


New Library Plan Pledge from Labour Leader

Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh start to shred the new library plan.

Derbyshire County Council Labour Group Leader Anne Western has today confirmed that the planning application for a new Glossop Library “will not see the light of day” in the event of Labour being elected to run the County Council in May this year.

In a message to the people of Glossopdale, she confirmed that Derbyshire Labour will consult on the best ways to sustain library provision in the Victoria Hall and make best use of the “campus of buildings” that cluster around the library, following suggestions that the planning application for a new library would be reconsidered in the near future.

She has already given an assurance that the £2,000,000 which Labour set aside more than five years ago, will still be available for a fully-costed, value for money project that can enhance both library and adult education provision.

“If, after consultation with Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh, the people of Glossop have an unexpected and unlikely

change of mind, then we would look again. But whatever we propose will be complementary to the work we commissioned when we renovated the adult education centre, rather than the unsympathetic modern structure that the local Conservatives continue to confirm they support.”

Padfield and Hadfield Councillor Ellie Wilcox said that discussions need to focus on a sympathetic internal refurbishment of the Victoria Hall Library.

“From visits to the Royal Exchange in Manchester, and from the refurbishment that is taking place on the Central Reference Library, people in Glossopdale know that older buildings can be retained and modernised sympathetically,” she says.

“Of course, we won’t be able to afford enhancements of that scale, as £2million can quickly disappear on a listed building, but it is nonsense to suggest that the Victoria Hall cannot provide a 21st Century library and community resource.   The idea of the proposed supermarket-type design has met such strong resistance from locals, it would be reckless to still go ahead, especially since there have been no formal consultations surrounding library provision.’

Labour’s other County Council candidate Damien Greenhalgh has said that he wanted to be part of a mature discussion with the community on the way forward.

“One of the biggest mistakes of the present incumbents has been their failure to consult and listen. People need to know what the money set aside could buy. We hope to make discussion and dialogue with the wider community our basis for future policy, helping to properly address the needs of local people.”

Candidates confirmed

The Statement of Persons Nominated was released by High Peak Borough Council (acting as agents of Derbyshire County Council)  on Friday 5th April. This states all those people who have handed in their papers to be candidates and whether or not their nomination is a valid one. This document can be viewed here directly; but I have summarised it below to show confirmed candidates grouped by party:

Damien GREENHALGH    Labour
Ellie WILCOX                        Labour

Peter ALLEN                           Green

George KUPPAN                   Liberal Democrat
Stephen WORRALL             Liberal Democrat

George WHARMBY              Conservative
Jean WHARMBY                  Conservative

David PHILLIPS                    UKIP

Even weather against library proposal

Ellie Wilcox & Damien Greenhalgh outside the former St Luke's School building on Monday morning

Ellie Wilcox & Damien Greenhalgh outside the former St Luke’s School building on Monday morning

A controversial Derbyshire County Council planning meeting being held to decide the fate of the Glossop Library site was postponed yesterday (Monday), due to snow.  However, Labour’s candidates Damien Greenhalgh and Ellie Wilcox were still present at the former St. Luke’s School site at 10 o’clock, when the original site visit was planned to go ahead.

Damien Greenhalgh said, ‘It seems that even the weather is against this proposal. Though the cancellation was very last minute, we understand that the roads around Derbyshire have been left particularly treacherous due to the wintery conditions.  Nevertheless, we were still there to support the voice of the local community regarding the fate of Glossop Library.’

Hadfield and Padfield Borough Councillor Ellie Wilcox added, ‘It’s unfortunate that Damien and I were not able to air our views in the council chamber, but we did at least get the opportunity to speak with members of SOUL and other members of the public.  It’s clear that this issue is not going away, and when the planning meeting is re-scheduled, we will be there to make sure that the views of local people are properly represented.’

A date has not yet been confirmed for the re-scheduled meeting, however the Chair of Derbyshire County Council’s Planning Committee stated that the application will be brought back to the committee at a date and time to be determined.

Tomorrow is D-Day

Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 22.39.07

Tomorrow is decision day for the hastily thrown together plans for the demolition of the former St Luke’s School on Talbot Street which currently serves as the area office for the County’s social workers and the erection of a new building of questionable design.

Derbyshire County County’s Regulatory – Planning Committee is meeting tomorrow to decided upon the County Council’s application to demolition and replace  the former St Luke’s building – details can be found here.

As part of the committee’s deliberations, there will be a site visit to the Talbot Road site at approximately 10am.

I believe many residents and members of SOUL will be there to try and make representations to the committee’s chair as will Ellie and I.

These representation can unfortunately only be points on the merit of the planning  application in isolation i.e. not mention of the future of Victoria Hall if the library is moved out nor whether this top down plan from Mr Lewer in County Hall is what the people of Glossopdale want.

So I hope to see you there if you are coming.

490 objections -vs- 1 in favour

Ellie & Damien @ LibraryLabour County Council Candidate Damien Greenhalgh says that he is “flabbergasted” at the recommendation from the County’s Planning Officer on the new Glossop Library planning application.

Following an open letter to planning chiefs last week, Mr Greenhalgh says that of 491 public representations there was only one in favour. Even more concerning, he says that respected national organisations such as English Heritage and The Victorian Society have had their representations dismissed, along with many residents objections because it is claimed they refer to Victoria Hall too rather than to the application itself.

His County Council running mate, Padfield and Hadfield Borough Councillor Ellie Wilcox, says that she and Damien intend to make direct representations to the planning committee at their Matlock meeting on 25th March.


“There are many reasons to be outraged at the lack of consultation and the failure of the County Council to take part in the Glossop Halls consultation exercise, but planners have to focus on planning matters.”


“In that respect it is appropriate to suggest that the proposed building is completely out of keeping with the surrounding architecture. If it had the design merit of the adjacent Adult Education Centre, then it might be acceptable, but this is more like a superstore than a building for the 21st Century.”

“In light of the huge public outrage at the proposal, it would be proper for the elected members of the planning committee to defer a decision.”

#LabourDoorstep – Leafleting in Old Glossop & Shirebrook Park

After my younger brother offered me his afternoon to  help with the campaigning, how could I refuse?!?
So we got to work delivering hundreds of leaflet on parts of Shirebrook Park and Old Glossop. Thank heavens that the rain clouds that made this morning’s canvassing session such a soggy affair had disappeared making way for blue skies and spring-like sun. Champion.

#LabourDoorstep – Simmondley with Tameside Labour

Today saw a whole lot of Tamside Labour friends come over into Glossopdale to help out with a doorknocking session in Simmondley despite the horrible weather. Which we greatly appreciate!!

2013.03.16 - Simmondley with Tameside Labour
Simmondley is traditionally a Tory ward – currently with two Tory Borough Councillors -but we found there was a lot of support for us. In the region of about 60:40 but more worryingly if you are a Tory that is as Cllr John Taylor (Deputy Leader of Tameside Council) pointed out “today’s canvass clearly shows the traditional Tory voters deserting the party in droves, with UKIP picking up many of them”.
It was also commented upon – and appreciated – that we were the only party doing anything in the area with this canvassing session being or third/fourth return to the area in the last 6 months.