The truth about one of the most mismanaged & discriminative anti-vox populi boroughs in England.
Delivering secular editorial without political affiliation.
Please sign the petition to be sent to the Labour leader the Rt Hon Edward Miliband MP: Remove Oldham Council Leader James McMahon from his position.
Councillor James (Jim) McMahon has been Oldham Labour Council leader since May 2011 yet until the week ending 17/02/2013 he continued to work simultaneously as the Town Centre Manager for rival Town Middleton. By early 2013 Oldham had the fourth highest levels of closed shops for medium sized towns in the country. The job specifications for his Middleton replacement identified Oldham as a catchment area from which to attract potential shoppers to Middleton. This was a clear conflict of interests and within any other UK job sector I can identify this would have not been allowed. Other councillors should have spoken out and tabled a motion of no confidence about this when it was first identified they did nothing. Oldham had and still has the highest birth rates in Greater Manchester and some of the lowest levels of growth sector employment.
Adverse job seekers allowance sanctions against claimants from Oldham between 22nd October 2012 & 30th June 2013 totaled 3860. This could be for anything from refusing employment to missing an interview appointment or refusal to undertake work experience schemes. Breakdown of adverse Oldham job seekers allowance sanctions by month between October 2012 - June 2013 is as follows: 140 430 410 490 310 420 510 640 530
Oldhams struggle against endemic poverty, low wages, worklessness and the new scourge of fuel poverty in the face of soaring prices has been well documented. In a Sunday Mirror revelation it has been revealed that ‘defender of the Oldham poor’ Oldham East & Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams claimed £885.77 of her energy bills on MP’s expenses. Having your energy bills paid for by tax payers whilst making constant reference to others suffering fuel-poverty is at best crass and at worst unethical.
Multi-millionaire Michael Meacher MP for Oldham West & Royton claimed £392.09 towards energy bills.
The combined Oldham bill for Housing Benefit (social housing) & Local Housing Allowance (private rented sector) 2012/13 was over £38 million for a total of 10,049 properties. Social housing payments per household averaged £326 per month & private rentals averaged £312 per month.
It was also reported last week that Oldham has the 4th highest rates of UK home repossessions, since 2012 Oldham Council & partners have issued 29,134 court summons.
Oldham Council have come under criticism for fitting a brand new £3000 carpet, so deep that doors had to be sanded, in the Labour council deputy leader Shoab Akhtar’s office and the council leader Jim McMahons waiting area. This came in the wake of budget cuts and further council redundancies being announced.
Lack of access to local Hospital diagnostic and surgical procedures was a significant cause of the permanent condition I will suffer from for the rest of my life. My partner has to wait 5 months between registering for hospital tests and her actual test appointment at The Royal Oldham Hospital in December. If Hospitals cannot afford tax paying residents treatment I question the provision of superstitious services they waste money on which is why I made the Freedom Of Information request below.
Freedom of Information request - Cost and effectiveness of Hospital Chaplaincy Services
Dear Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust,
Can you please provide details of the following:
(1) The cost to the trust of Chaplaincy & equivalent services for other religions in the financial years 2011/2012 & 2012/2013? For the year 2011/12 the total expenditure for the Spiritual Care Team was £250,922 and for the year 2012/13 the total expenditure for the Spiritual Care Team was £224,419.
(2) Does the trust have any statistical evidence (not opinion) that the provision of non-medical religious counselling services has any positive impact on patient recovery rates or reduces mortality levels? No
(3) If the answer to question(2)is no; does the trust have any plans to make Chaplaincy & equivalent roles purely voluntary so the money can be allocated to services that can positively impact health outcomes? No
Oldham’s Westwood Primary School is 1 of only 5 in England where 100% of pupils do not speak English as a 1st language. I fail to understand how this worrying new development benefits cohesion in a borough of disjointed communities living within parallel but completely antagonistic cultural norms.
Oldham’s population density statistics for LSOA’s have been released today showing that four Oldham areas 022C Glodwick, 024C-035A Coppice and 035C Werneth each have population densities three times the Oldham average.
In 2012 Oldham had the lowest levels of Civil Partnerships in Greater Manchester: 4 Female & just 1 male ceremony for every 100,000 residents which is Less than 50% of the next lowest levels. Unsurprisingly the City of Manchester had the highest levels with 78 male & 61 female ceremonies.
Oldham council continues singular housing policy where new social housing in the borough is almost solely targeted at families with children. The council continues to build 4/5 bedroom social housing projects with partners to pander to it’s core voting demographic leaving single people and couples without children to fend for themselves whilst still being expected to pay-up to OMBC’s over-population master plan. As of 12/08/2013 there were 6175 applicants on the Oldham housing register who needed 1 bedroom accommodation you can add to that 1445 social housing tenants deemed to be under-occupying by Oldham Council so also needing to move into 1 bedroom properties making a total of 7620 people. Across all of Oldham councils approved housing providers only 19 properties with 1 bedroom were available.
Oldham Planning committee has approved the building of 160 “micro” apartments (bedsits) by Manchester Bright Investments Ltd who were in June 2013 given First Notification Of Strike-off Action In London Gazette(section 652)The company also has no checkable financial history other than in 2004/5/6 where it had a net worth of 2 GBP as of June in each of the three years. The company announced in a TV interview that they intend selling the apartments in other countries.
Richmond Primary School is transitioning into an Academy School and the associated daycare business is not included in the transfer plans of the school governing body. The daycare centre (registered with Ofsted as First Steps at Richmond Primary School) currently operates from the Coldhurst Children’s Centre site, which is attached to the School. Again we have another self governing free/academy school answerable to central government and in this case within a high birth rate religious demographic area. Yet governors don’t see educational or financial profitability in daycare facilities for their future pupils so dump the cost, responsibility and expansion costs of the schools former daycare centre on the council until the children reach an age where they can educate them free of a cohesive borough wide education policy. Of course the council are silent on the issue as always not wishing to upset their target voting demographics. Oldham’s diverse communities are already disjointed having singular faith/cultural schools exponentially increases the problem. Allowing communities to culturally subsist devoid of democratic principles or any intention to integrate is just dangerous practice.
The Oldham Council Interim Chief Exec salary has been announced at £154,143. this is £23,000 less than Charlie Parker BUT Oldham Council are also paying Manchester City Council an undisclosed fee for the financial advisory services of Sir Howard Bernstein.
Oldham Councils “See it differently” promotional video to encourage investment in Oldham is currently doing the rounds on Youtube. Although the video bares no resemblance to the Oldham I live in the two most worrying aspects are the inclusion of the Foxdenton Business Park development as though it had already been approved and the fact the video is being circulated by individuals who are not potential investors but potential migrants in various countries. Oldham has endemic and migratory high poverty levels plus the highest birth rates in Greater Manchester yet one of the lowest percentages of growth sector employment in the North West - OLDHAM DOES NOT NEED ANY MORE OF THE WORLDS POOR TO SWELL THE RANKS OF ITS CURRENT RESOURCE DEPLETED POPULATION.
Oldham has been identified as one of 14 priority areas outside London for the teaching of English language to migrant communities under Eric Pickles £6,000,000 community based language teaching scheme. Six competition winning ideas will share the money including one that teaches English through faith groups in mosques, churches and gurdwaras and the ‘#TalkEnglish’ scheme which teaches lessons focused on practical language skills such as voluntary work, participation in residents’ associations and training local shop staff as ‘sympathetic listeners’ to encourage learners to try out their English.
Oldham Council are demolishing 155 to 159 Yorkshire St & 1, 29/31 Mumps thus "improving the look of the area in time for the arrival of Metrolink" obviously the council want to implement the planned illusion of Oldham as a centre of culture. Perhaps these empty premises would not have been empty if it was not for the ten years of zero net employment growth in Oldham 2001 through to 2011 or because they received little or no Council support during the three or more years of constant roadworks for a Town Centre Metrolink line that the Oldham public voted 4 to 1 against as a condition of the congestion charge.
Between 2002-2010 the two Oldham wards with the highest population increases were St Mary’s with an increase of 12.8% & Medlock Vale with 11.4%. Between 2002-2010 the two Oldham wards with the highest population decreases were St James' with a population decrease of -4.2% & Crompton with a decrease of -3.8%.
Cash strapped Oldham Council has agreed to allocate £312,500 to the AGMA GM Broadband project on proviso the other 7 Greater Manchester local authorities do the same. I very much doubt equality of payment contribution will result in equality of service provision or share allocation of external funding as the object is to supply high speed broadband where industry providers have no plans to extend networks.
Stats released for 2012 show that the Oldham population had the lowest
percentage levels of educational qualifications in Greater Manchester for
People aged between 16 & 64 at every level from NVQ level 2 to level 4
Source ONS 29/11/2013
Tameside (39.9%) & Oldham (41.4%) have the worst 5 year new business survival rates in Greater Manchester for businesses started in 2007
In their actual words “The average wage rate in Oldham is 16% lower than the UK average, representing a significant cost saving for businesses considering locating in the borough” This is how Oldham Council continues to sell the working population of Oldham to the business community despite Oldham already having the lowest wages of all 10 Greater Manchester local authority areas.
There are currently (09/12/2013) 246 empty business premises with an OL9 Chadderton postcode including 17 industrial units at the Broadgate - Broadway Business Park(s) adjacent to the proposed huge Foxdenton Industrial Business Park planned for current green areas & opposed by residents of the area.
Using business rates empty properties statistics shows there are currently 1240 empty business premises in Oldham 09/12/2013
1 in 4 pupils at the Catholic John Henry Newman College in Chadderton speak English as a second language; 282 pupils are recorded as being Muslims. Ofsted & Her Majesty's Inspector found serious educational, behavioural and operational weaknesses in the college in February & May 2013
This is how undemocratic Oldham Council responds to a Freedom of Information Request from Council Tax payers of Oldham concerned about the debt and financial risk to council budgets arising from Oldham Council acting as developer for the town hall cinema project. No information was asked for that would identify companies nor individuals so I fail to see under what grounds the council can refuse this request which asks for financial information relating to policies that have the direct potential to significantly impact future local government finances.
Dear Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council,
Please provide information on the following questions that will
elucidate the currently communicated ambiguous financial costs and
implications of The Oldham Old Town Hall Cinema Project to Oldham
Council & the residents of the borough.
The complete cost of the project was recently communicated by the
Oldham Council Leader to be £30,000,000:
(1) Where is the projected £30,000,000 funding coming from? ie How
much will be from Oldham Council entering into prudential loan
arrangements? how much will be grants? how much is from private
Oldham Council Response: Under the Freedom of Information Act I can confirm that the Council holds
this information, however this information is exempt under Section 44 (1)
and is therefore being withheld.
(2) With Oldham Council acting as developer how will the loans be
repaid and what provisions are in place to protect the people of
Oldham from potentially having the cost of the project repayments
taken from the existing council budget?
Oldham Council response: As Question 1.
(3) In what year is Oldham Council projected to have completely
repaid any outstanding loan and financial debts associated with
Oldham Council response: As Question 1.
(4) With extensive surveys already having taken place how much of
the projected cost will be spent on repairing and renovating the
building it's architectural features & period interior?
Oldham Council response: Approximately £7.5m
That is £7.5 million of debt for Oldham just to repair the building and reinstate the repulsive, opulent interior of the Old Town Hall that various Oldham Councils left derelict for 30 years & which in my 47 years has never been in any use other than as a court building and prior to that was the habitat of the local government elite! This is not my heritage this is the councils & central government representatives heritage. Could you possibly choose a more inappropriate building in which to house a cinema and more specifically a cinematic sound system that requires operating at high volume levels and outputs structurally destructive bass frequencies?
Only Oldham Council could get the timing of a press release about the opening in January of that mythical economic boom catalyst the new Town Centre Metrolink line so wrong coming just a day before a car was in collision with a test tram on the unopened route at the Manchester St roundabout. In reality TFGM & Oldham Council had the plans changed from the tram running under one of Oldhams’ busiest roundabouts in a tunnel before emerging at King St to running across the centre of the roundabout competing with traffic to save both time and costs. It remains a fact that regardless of who caused the accident it could not have occurred if the plans and original scheme had not been changed.
Only last night I had to walk a mile to the South Chadderton Metrolink stop at 10pm (local bus stop to Oldham 30 yds & to Manchester 100 yds) to meet my partner because the approach is so poorly lit, isolated and has a huge pitch black open field on one side & park on the other. Oldham Council will now only ever reference Westwood, King St & Town Centre stops many of the other Metrolink stations are dangerous Oldham mumps was plagued by multiple violent robberies and on one night in 2013 11 cars were broken into and 3 set alight.
Arrogant to keep lauding the Metrolink & risk peoples safety by constantly pushing people into using it whilst never reporting its negative aspects.
Oldham Council is seeking to acquire the former Greaves Public House, 13 Yorkshire Street, Oldham. The Councils intentions for the buildings future usage are unknown but I very much doubt Oldham Council would want a potential new public house opposite their overpriced £30,000,000 Town Hall Cinema project.
This picture was the winner of Oldham Councils Bloom & Grow competition 2013 the area is known locally as buttercup field but will be more familiar to Oldham residents as the proposed location of the new housing development associated with the Foxdenton Business Park. Perhaps in 2014 Oldham Council should run a Bloom & Demolish competition.
Oldham Council is seeking approval for the formation of a new Foxdenton Joint Venture. According to the council "Providing the approval would bring forward the delivery of the Foxdenton Employment Area and ensure that the Council had control over the delivery of the development. It would also result in the Council realising a substantial capital receipt for its landholdings." The council of course ignores the wishes of residents who don't want the atypical area they live in to become another typical minimum wage over-populated slum area with jobs and housing targeted and populated by the councils primary voting demographics. Oldham has the lowest wage levels and lowest levels of educated adults in Greater Manchester; what does it gain from yet another low paid unskilled warehouse park? The question has to be asked whether this inner town oasis is being sacrificed so the councils “substantial capital receipt” from the sale of land and business rates receipts on and around Foxdenton Lane can be used to bankroll the councils secretive funding of the Old Town Hall Cinema project? It remains certain that the councils capital gains will not be invested back into Foxdenton but will at best be disproportionately spent on housing & amenities, and not promoting educational attainment & improving quality employment opportunities, in the areas the current councils primary voting demographics live!
The Royal Oldham Hospital has seen 5 times the England average of planned operation cancellations in the last week because of A&E pressure on bed availability and because 58 Royal Oldham Hospital beds are occupied by people ready to return home but insufficient external care service provision means they can't be discharged. Emergency Patients waiting between 4 & 12 hours for a bed at The Royal Oldham Hospital is currently 4 times the England average.
The current Oldham Labour Party's multiple bedroom house building policies in areas blighted by poverty, overcrowding, worklessness & poor health will only see this situation increase every winter as the population increases beyond service capacity and living standards fall or remain static.
Oldham's South Asian Pakistani & Bangladeshi communities have been identified as potential fraudulent voting hotspots by the Electoral Commission. In September 2013 fraud perception report Asian participants in Oldham & Tower Hamlets mentioned seeing:
• Canvassers standing outside local schools and making parents there feel uncomfortable by their presence
• Representatives of a political party at the polling station demonstrating on a mocked-up ballot paper to non-English speaking electors where they should make their mark.
• Women being told to vote in a certain way by male family members.
The empty Walmsley furniture store on Yorkshire St is set to become a YMCA charity shop and is situated directly opposite Dr Kershaws Charity shop which occupies the old Demolition clothing store. Just another example of Oldham Councils ailing business plans & mismanagement of Oldham Town Centre and other areas. Millions are being ploughed into turning Union St into a public funded illusionary cultural destination whilst the Council remains silent about established businesses that weathered years of road works and a complete loss of pedestrian business who have been offered a derisory 10% reduction in business rates as compensation. The traditional retail centre now occupies little more than the budget end of the retail marketplace, the charitable sector and the poverty driven high-interest loan - pawnbroker sector.
Plans have been revealed for the new Oldham Town Centre so called "Flagship" Leisure Centre. Flagship in Oldham obviously means less facilitation for sports participation for the people of Oldham and more spectator seating so that Oldham Council can use the facility to generate income from hosting competitive events and TV broadcasts. The current leisure facility is located in the middle of the traditional retail Town Centre opposite Tommyfield market. The new facility will be built opposite Oldham College located outside the traditional retail Town Centre. Upon completion of the new facility, struggling Town Centre businesses will lose the footfall business from leisure centre patrons who will no longer need to travel into the Town Centre. This relocation is not about the people of Oldham but about the Metrolink/regeneration corridor consisting of the Civic Centre, Hotel Future, leisure centre and educational campuses. Why would Oldham Council commission a leisure centre at one of the busiest and consequently polluted multiple main road junctions in the area other than because it serves the councils requirements. Competitive sports at the leisure centre will mean athletes, TV crews and celebrities staying at Hotel Future before travelling down King St and Union St to the Gallery & Coliseum Theatre thus avoiding the real Town Centre with its pound shops, bookies, cheap clothing shops and junk food outlets.
Main pool (33.3-metre)
Learner pool (12.5m by 9m)
Dive pool (12.5m by 12.5m)
Sauna and steam rooms
Power showers and rest area
8 court sports hall
Indoor climbing wall
63 station fitness studio
Spinning classes in multi-use hall
Indoor bowls hall (four lanes)
2 squash courts
meeting / training room
Main pool (25-metre)
Learner pool (unspecified)
No dive Pool
Sauna and steam room;
Wet changing village;
8 court sports hall including flexible seating for 250
No combat room
No indoor climbing wall
80-station fitness studio
Indoor bowls hall (four lanes)
Two group exercise studios;
Separate changing facilities for dry sports and fitness
Spectator seating gallery at the main pool, providing 250 seats & 150 competitor seats.
Released on the same day as the new sports centre plans was the Ukactive report showing physical inactivity rates for UK adults with Oldham occupying a top 10 position. Oldham Council and partners once again put plans in place that serve the boroughs bank balance more than the people of Oldham. The current Councils core voters & circumstances of poverty & ill health will continue to self-perpetuate under such deliberate policies. Oldham is now officially the fattest borough in Greater Manchester (source Public Health England 2014)
Our 2013 Oldham Council alternative year review 2013 video is available to stream on the video page or can be downloaded using the secure virus checked links below
Over 100 people turned up in monsoon conditions at the Civic Centre planning meeting last night to show their disapproval of the plans to turn the currently undeveloped green areas of Foxdenton into a sprawling minimum wage warehouse park and 500 unit housing estate. People have vowed to carry on the fight as the already “done deal” was approved after just over an hour of debate which continued to provide no answers to the growing list of concerns posed by local residents.
Prior to the 2013 benefit reforms it was calculated that 316 Oldham households with children were collectively in receipt of more than eight million two hundred & 16 thousand Pounds in benefits per year
There are now more asylum seekers in (COMPASS) housing in the North West than in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & the South West combined!
Oldham is one of only 19 English local authorities outside London offering migrant settlement checking services, London has 9 making a total of 28 for England, Wales has just 1 authority offering migrant settlement checks & Scotland has just 2.
According to Oldham Council the Town Centre is on the up, in their latest press release "Businesses help boost Yorkshire Street" Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Business and Town Centres, said: "We already have a series of major regeneration projects getting underway that will enhance our entertainment, cultural and leisure offer and we believe Oldham town centre can become the strongest in north Manchester." I have been out with my camera judge for yourself how strong the so called regenerational triangle really is.
Every Government policy or announcement that specifically identifies Oldham is either about the currently expanding religious communities and issues surrounding cultural integration or benefit claimants and by benefit claimants we of course mean the childless unemployed. The latest Government press release is “Multi-faith communities to benefit from new £3 million grant” Oldham is not a multi-faith community it is a borough of separate disjointed communities ranging from the indigenous mainly a-religious community to the authoritarian South Asian community and the emerging Eastern European Catholic migrants. According to Oldham CCG 59.7% of the Oldham population are Christian, in reality this information means nothing more than people ticked Christian on the 2011 census form. The actual percentage of practising Christians in Oldham is minuscule at best, multi-faith is tagged onto these policies so they appear not to discriminate. Oldham has real problems and this constant pandering, spending & policy allocation to bolster the privileged status of superstition is distasteful and self-deafeating. Deal with actualities, Oldham occupies the Greater Manchester bottom spot for health, wealth and opportunity the majority could care less about others invisible friend.
"Having discovered that the 2011 Census found nearly half a million more East Europeans in Britain than the immigration figures had suggested, the ONS have at last adjusted the official statistics in today’s release 28/02/2014. As a result, we can now see that net immigration under Labour peaked at 320,000 in 2004/5 and that total net foreign migration came to nearly 4 million during their period in office"
Sir Andrew Green
Official census statistics released today confirm that Oldham has the worst levels of adult qualifications in Greater Manchester & the 16th worst in all England & Wales out of 348 local authority areas. Rochdale came in as second worst in Greater Manchester and 26th in England & Wales.
|OMBC Jan 2013 spending records|
|OMBC Feb 2013 spending records|
|The impact of benefit reform on Oldham|
|OMBC H&S Inspection Failings|
|Liberal Politics & Religion|
|The NHS constitution in Oldham is a discriminative propaganda exercise.|
|To what extent is the idea of state as a solution to violence alive within politics?|
|Armchair Critics of Oldham|