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The truth about the most politically mismanaged,  discriminative & undemocratic borough in England.

Delivering secular editorial without political affiliation.


Oldham News & Facts

our Oldham Council 2013 Year review Part 1 720p mp4 video. 571 MB

our Oldham Council 2013 Year review Part 2 720p mp4 video. 594 MB



WTC= Working tax credit. CTC = Child tax credit

Working families in receipt of WTC and CTC

Working families in receipt of CTC only

Out-of-work families receiving CTC

Families With no children receiving WTC only

No of Oldham families

10,400

3,000

7,600

2,500

No of Oldham children

21,800

6,200

15,600

0

Average annual payment

£9796

£3699

£6482

£2542

Total

£101878400

£11097000

£49263200

£6355000

Tax credits in Oldham drive migration, over-population & suppress wage rates: current cost £168.6 million December 2013

Oldham Council has pledged £50,000 to train warehouse workers as HGV drivers helping them into higher-paid employment which speak's volumes about Oldham Council's two-faced double standards as it see’s a need to help warehouse workers out of low paid employment while forming a joint business venture & supervising turning Chadderton’s last piece of undeveloped green heritage at Foxdenton into a huge sprawling minimum wage warehouse park.


27/08/2014

Statistics released today show that in 2013 28.8% of all births in Oldham were to mothers born outside the UK. Between 2012 & 2013 the non-British resident population of Oldham is estimated by ONS to have grown by 27.2%. I challenge Oldham Council to release figures showing what percentage of non-retired households in each Oldham ward get more in benefits than they pay in taxes as this will show the true financial cost of migration.

If there is any doubt about what the Labour party & it’s policies have done to Oldham try this comparison with other local Towns. 63.6% more Long Term International migrants arrived in Oldham than left in 2013, in Rochdale the difference was 22.2% in Manchester just 25.2% & in Stockport inflow & outflow cancelled each other out. Figures released in the last week show that Greater Manchester houses one in every six asylum seekers in Britain with the vast majority concentrated in just 4 of the 10 Greater Manchester authorities; Manchester, Bolton, Rochdale & Oldham which currently houses 539 or 2.4% of all asylum seekers. Oldham does not benefit from being a dumping ground for the UK & the rest of the world’s poor we have enough of our own, it is about time that other more affluent areas of the UK that champion open immigration were subjected to the consequences by being designated as both immigrant dispersal areas & promoted abroad as migrant friendly.


Updated 06/09/2014

Santander are merging their two Oldham branches which means yet another empty retail unit in the Town Centre on High St.


08/09/2014

During Oldham Council's two week long "festival of work" let's put this Oldham Labour Party "Get Oldham Working" rhetoric into context with the bigger picture of employment in Oldham. Its target is to provide 2015 "work opportunities" by 2015 & that does not necessarily mean jobs yet there are currently 10,709 fewer workplace jobs in Oldham than were available in 2004 & the borough also has 9000 more residents. Average wages in Oldham are 20.2% below the national average wage and the self-employed have experienced a 22% fall in their average earnings since 2008. I know of two people who have been forced by a lack of suitable work and job centre pressure into becoming self-employed, neither earns more than £200 per month.


09/09/2014

It appears that Oldham Council have employed a polling firm for a phone survey on residents opinion of Oldham & has also spent £5,675 of taxpayers money on an animation telling residents that they need to save the Council money due to budget cuts. This puts into perspective Labour leader Jim McMahon's comments yesterday about  the effects of devastating budget cuts on the Council when his spending priorities include such trivialities. We also note that there are enough Council funds for the Town Centre floral displays to be  tended to by a team on a daily basis yet the Council have stopped collecting their own grass cuttings when mowing their own ground around residential properties leaving the organic waste free to litter the area.


10/09/2014

Cash strapped Oldham Council have agreed to pay hospitality specialists HVS £25,000 to conduct a feasibility study & business plan with three delivery options for the Council’s much delayed Hotel Future project. It is amazing that the Council hadn’t already conducted a detailed feasibility study before the project was announced over 2 I/2 years ago at the beginning of 2012 or that they attempted to secure direct government funding from a grant system only open to further education colleges & private training providers

13/09/2014

Cash strapped Oldham Council intends spending £90,000 of taxpayers money to install CCTV on Union Street just to assist with illegal parking that affects the Metrolink, also conveniently left out of the Councils budget cuts animation was that they're spending £202,000 for phase 1 footway and carriageway improvements on a 500 yard section of Park Road. Apparently the scheme could be delivered at a cost of approximately £170,000 without the addition of the trees and footway improvements but the Council did not choose that option as “Councillor McMahon requested that the footways be upgraded and to be tree lined”. Phase 2 on the same section has a budget of £400,000 making a nice austerity busting round figure of £602,000.

15/09/2014

I suggest everybody listens to Sam Walker’s interview with Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon on Radio Manchester where he clearly loses his temper when she questions his “cloak & dagger” response in failing to disclose the financial costs of the Old Town Hall Cinema  project to the taxpayers of Oldham.


Click Here


18/09/2014


Our video response to Oldham Council’s “Our £60 million budget challenge” which is a mix of the usual deceptive averages & selective rhetoric.

More Old Town Hall Cinema ironic economics as Oldham Council plans on spending another £11,180 for an additional 26 day's cost consultancy services as it scrambles to deliver some semblance of a structured financial plan & accurate cost projection.

26/09/2014

Oldham Council is consulting residents on a proposed £120,000 investment in Shaw market “Option A – Relocate the market to Market Street (Between High Street and Farrow Street) using demountable stalls on market days. Option B - Relocate the market to Milne Street and the Milne Street/Eastway car park using demountable stalls on market days” Not really much of a consultation when there is no option to keep the market in it’s current traditional location.The Council are lauding this as a significant investment yet as a direct comparison, they have just allocated another £123,000 of funding for the continuation of painting in Oldham Town Centre.


26/09/2014

Oldham Council's “£60 million budget challenge” doesn't seem to include Oldham Town Centre as they strive to acquire yet more Yorkshire St business premises. This time it is the Old Mess House pub in what appears to be a measured strategy to buy ex-licensed premises & change their use even though they cannot find retail tenant's in the main centre let alone the bottom half of Yorkshire St. Despite the media reputation of Oldham's once busy Town Centre nightlife which only ever concentrated on the negative aspects both politicians & residents (of a certain age) alike forget that it used to contribute many tens of millions into the Oldham economy. The small scale of Oldham’s current night-time economy makes the Town Centre a far more dangerous place to socialise than when thousands visited in the past.

27/09/2014














These figures are taken from Oldham Councils “The impact of welfare reform in Oldham” report, a more appropriate title would be The financial & social impact of high fertility communities. The out of work cap on benefits is £26,000 per year & Oldham has seen some benefit payments reduced by £150 per week meaning that before the Conservatives capped benefits these families were in receipt of £33,800 per year in benefits. Almost all affected are large families with 4, 5 or more children.

There is no cap on "in work" benefits & “in work” in Oldham is defined by working 16 hours or more per week, volunteering or caring for a relative. Gone are the days when the mean for “in work” was working 35 to 40 hours per week.


It is the same wards in every data-set contributing the least, costing the most & getting disproportionate funding, grants and improvement spending from Oldham Council. These issues of over-population & inadequate financial responsibility need addressing. It is not the responsibility of every sustainable ward in Oldham to suffer disproportionate cutbacks or be sacrificed on the alter of Labour Oldham’s socialist vote gatherers who shy away from tackling communities where fertility rates are rooted in religious doctrine or wards with multi-generational families who see their status as parents as a career choice.



01/10/2014











Benefit cap by ward*

% of total caps

St. Mary's

14.9

Hollinwood

13.3

Alexandra

12.4

Coldhurst

12.4

Werneth

11.1

Medlock Vale

8.9

St. James'

4.9

Failsworth West

4.4

Waterhead

3.1

Chadderton North

2.7

Failsworth East

2.7

Chadderton South

2.2

Royton South

2.2

Saddleworth North

1.8

Shaw

1.3

Chadderton Central

0.9

Crompton

0.9

Royton North

0

Saddleworth South

0

Saddleworth West and Lees

0

*All households affected as at May 2014


As reported previously Oldham Council spent £5,675 of taxpayers money outsourcing their “Our £60 million budget challenge” video production to a Manchester based production company. It has come to light that the Council employ two digital media officers & four graphic designers. If you can draw you can animate & these internal employees should have been capable of producing the video in-house.

Perhaps these teams were busy designing Oldham Labour Councils propaganda tools such as the “Borough Life” paper & the hoarding's telling people everything there is to know about the Town Hall Cinema conversion other than how the £36,000,000 cost is being funded.


03/10/2014

Claims that Oldham’s Blue Coat Church of England Academy has a discriminative admission policy have not been upheld by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator. The objection concerned “the overall extent to which preference is given to children from Christian families and its effect of excluding applications from children from the local South Asian families”.

“Conclusion

49. I do not uphold the objection that the admission arrangements indirectly discriminate against the South Asian families who live in the local area. I conclude that the over subscription criteria are in line with the Code.

50. I do not uphold the objection that the school contravenes the Equality Act because I am of the view that the admission arrangements are a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. I conclude that as a Church of England academy school it is justified in its aims to provide a Christian education for children of the Diocese of Manchester.

51. I do not uphold the objection that the school has not paid due regard to the PCED. I acknowledge the school’s intention to include children of other faiths by ring-fencing the newly created school places.

52. I do not uphold the objection that the school should change its faith based over subscription criteria to fall in line with other faith schools who do not use faith-based criteria. The degree to which admission authorities prioritise pupils by the use of over subscription criteria is a decision for them. I conclude that the admission authority which has chosen to use these over subscription criteria is in line with the Code and the law.”

Chronic-Oldham is of the opinion that there should be no public funded faith schools or academies, religion causes exclusivity & divisions in society between both followers of conflicting versions of theism & those who consider all religions as superstition. Using implied racial discrimination as an argument is little more than a dirty tricks ploy as all religious institutions & their devout champions are discriminative it is a symptom of mislead piety not an issue of race. Cultural cohesion can only be achieved when religious considerations are taken out of politics, education & matters of the public realm & placed in people’s personal private lives where they truly belong.


04/10/2014

Cash strapped Oldham Council's is giving £50,000 for playing field work to transitioning independent Academy Richmond School because of Metrolink work inconvenience. This is another example of Oldham Council's disproportionate regeneration, grant & co-op spending for Coldhurst which is one of Oldham's top three contributes the least & costs the most wards & ironically also one of the top three wards for the percentage of Labour Party voters.


15/10/2014


2013 Long-Term International Migrant Inflows Minus Outflows

Positive figures shows how many more migrants arrived than departed

Oldham

63.60%

Salford

42.30%

Manchester

25.20%

Bolton

25.00%

Wigan

25.00%

Rochdale

22.20%

Bury

14.30%

Stockport

0.00%

Tameside

0.00%

Trafford

-11.10%

Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon's take on the sale of Royton precinct quoted in the Council’s press release is that the new owners are buying into Oldham Councils developments which is incorrect & ignores the fact it was bought as part of a group of 144 retail properties in a job lot by a company that specialises in buying group portfolios of businesses in receivership. As new owners they will of course strive to improve the precinct & make it profitable regardless of Oldham Council’s plans.


16/10/2014

Oldham Council £60 Million Budget Challenge video asks residents for money saving suggestions in the wake of austerity budget cuts. Yet in 2011 today's Oldham Labour Council which was then in opposition said if they got in power rather than reducing services they would save money by "reducing the communications team, axing the council magazine, reducing members’ allowances and ditching the current administration’s priority projects such as entering Britain in Bloom" Despite many more cuts since 2011 the now Labour Council has been cutting services & jobs while still publishing the Borough Life mag, entering Britain In Bloom, refusing to reduce the number of councillors & employing 17.5 full time employees in the communications department.


16/10/2014

With all the political & social lies and rhetoric about the cost of benefits in Northern Town’s such as Oldham which always targets the single unemployed with complete responsibility for all the woes of society we thought it was about time the true scale & cost’s of benefits in Oldham were identified along with the recipients. As you can see, job seekers allowance does not make the top 5 list of benefit costs but for comparison purposes the cost in 2013/14 was £21.4 million.

(Note: tax credit figures do not include single people without children because figures are not published due to the average payment being less than £40 per year)

TOP 5 WORKING AGE BENEFITS PAID OUT IN OLDHAM  2013/14

CHILD TAX CREDITS & WORKING TAX CREDITS

£168.6 MILLION

HOUSING BENEFIT

£82.9 MILLION

EMPLOYMENT & SUPPORT ALLOWANCE

£49.9 MILLION

CHILD BENEFIT

£44.2 MILLION

DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE (WORKING AGE ADULTS)

£32.8 MILLION

Oldham Council are employing Manchester University to support the integration of Roma people in Oldham. Apparently mass immigration by yet more non-English speaking poverty stricken migrants to what is the poorest, unhealthiest Town in Greater Manchester with the lowest wage levels, a shortage of school places & social housing and that has 10,709 fewer workplace jobs than in 2004 is just a question of integration. Everything will be rosy it seems when the lack of cultural understanding is addressed within the Roma community so that certain sections can learn it is not acceptable to indulge in anti-social & criminal behaviour. What it would seem is acceptable is the ever expanding indigenous and migratory family under-culture that are receiving more in benefits than the sum of Income Tax, National Insurance & Council Tax paid, it is no wonder these people show little concern over Oldham wage rates & Oldham Council’s massive debts when in real terms they contribute no money towards the public sector upkeep of Oldham & have their wages subsidised by an average £9,796 in tax credits alone per year. Between the third quarter of 2013 (July-September) & same period in 2014 the Bulgarian & Romanian migrant worker population in the UK grew by 49,000 which is a 35% increase in a single year.



28/10/2014







Place cursor over image to see full size

Oldham Chronicle forum regular Councillor Dave Hibbert who uses the moniker Dave from Chadderton clearly admits in his comments that Oldham Council underestimated the Old Town Halls poor condition & as a consequence got the plans & costs wrong. Pictures show that most of the building was to all intent and purposes unrecoverable and has been demolished. Mr Hibbert still finds time to patronise critics to cover up Oldham Council's mistake which is spending two to three times more on a heritage based cinema complex now estimated after a 20% increase in the last year at £36,000,000 & without any private financial backers than would have been needed for a complete new fit for purpose building. He states “The fact is that work on buildings that have been unused for a long period often reveals problems that may not have been apparent at the start. This can extend the timetable and increase the costs. I'm confident that the end product will be one that sensible and reasonable people will find impressive.”

I have never seen a JCB inside a Grade II listed building before that has had its floors, roof & most of the walls demolished, clearly English Heritage would only allow this to happen if the condition was dangerous & beyond repair.


05/11/2014

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Once again we have cash strapped Oldham Council, which already has almost two fifths of a billion in long-term debts, issuing what is a premature press release about yet another Town Centre regeneration scheme which currently has no funding in place, no financial plans approved nor private developers or investors onboard. Known as the Prince’s Gate the development at Mumps is lauded by OMBC as follows  “Oldham Council is unveiling a ‘gamechanger’ masterplan for the town centre’s eastern gateway to bring new shops, housing and jobs – and hopes to attract missing retail giants like Marks & Spencer. It aims to regenerate this gateway site, establish a quality town centre living offer, redevelop redundant land and attract key new retailers. Overall it would deliver around 150,000 sq ft of extra retail space, up to 800 homes, including apartments, and approximately 700 car parking spaces.” Let’s not forget that perceptions of Oldham Town Centre are built on fact not fiction as recently obtained Police data under Freedom of Information regulations show’s that six out of the top twenty shoplifting hotspot stores, of  the ten local authority areas that make up Greater Manchester, are in Oldham three of which are in Oldham Town Centre - Debenhams, Boots & Home Bargains.

Taken from Oldham Councils FAQ page “What will it cost and who will pay for it? The council is looking at all possible options which include developing it ourselves, joint ventures and working with a development partner.”

So far in the Town Centre we have Oldham Council creating considerable new debts with the Old Town Hall Cinema heritage project which is behind schedule, has no private financial backers & currently is projected to cost £36 million which is an increase of more than 50% in the last two years as wet & dry rot was discovered throughout the entire building after construction work had started and large areas had to be demolished due to structural failure.There is also the Hotel Future development which is in limbo almost three years since it was announced; this is due to poor planning, lack of a feasibility study at scheme commencement & Council funding issues, the Council are due to announce the findings of a new feasibility study in December, no doubt this will mean the Council borrowing even more money. We also have a new sports centre which is being built in a relocated position clearly chosen to serve the educational campuses rather than Oldham’s Council Tax paying residents & Town Centre shops that benefit from footfall trade, the new centre will offer less sports participation facilities than the current leisure centre but more spectator seating, less facilities new or otherwise is not an improvement it is a reduction in services.










Drone flight showing the last large undeveloped space in Chadderton that will be lost to Oldham Council’s sycophantic Broadway Green 500 unit housing development and warehouse park scheme with partners Foxdenton LLP






20/11/2014

Oldham Academy North spent £85,000 on free bus travel & £15,000 on taxis which is a fifth of it's pupil premium grant. The premium is additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils & close the gap between them and their peers. The reason given was because parents in Coldhurst & Westwood felt apprehensive about walking a mile to Royton.


25/11/2014

Net migration has increased by yet another unsustainable 260,000 for the year ending June 2014. For the year ending September 2014, Romanians have the highest number of new national insurance numbers issued of any nationality, a whopping 104,000 followed by Polish citizens with 98,000 new national insurance numbers. Very few low-skilled migrants come to England with the intention of just claiming unemployment benefits this is a fact as left-wingers point out at every opportunity but the availability of huge sums of money classed as in-work benefits for families with children is without doubt the driving force behind mass immigration to already poverty stricken & service stretched Town’s such as Oldham. Needless to say the escalating huge cost of Family Tax Credit, Housing Benefit & Child Benefit payments to migrants is always ignored by the pro-open-door immigration collective & the majority of press & TV.


26/11/2014

In the 5 year period 2009-2013 Oldham had 3,585 new business startups & 3,735 business deaths meaning by the end of 2013 Oldham had 150 fewer businesses than in 2009.


27/11/2014

Cash strapped Oldham Council is currently spending £412,281 of council tax payers money per year renting office space yet has chosen to house the Oldham Youth Council which consists of members aged 11 upwards within offices in the Civic Centre.


24/11/2014

Greater Manchester now houses 1 in every 4 asylum seekers which is a huge increase from just a couple of months ago when it was reported that 1 in every 6 asylum seekers lived here. The number of asylum seekers resident in Oldham increased by 8.3% in the period from April/June 2014 to July/September 2014. There are no asylum seekers in the Home Secretary Theresa May's local authority of Windsor & Maidenhead.


28/11/2014

£60 million budget challenge Oldham Council is allocating £4.1m from the 2014/15 budget's resources into underwriting fund raising for the new Coliseum/Heritage scheme in 2015/16. All £4.1 million is from prudential borrowing (Government loans).


28/11/2014

The Oldham branch of the Liberal Democrats have been communicating how their political coalition has brought 10,000 apprenticeships to Oldham since 2010. The other side to this coin is that apprenticeships which have more in common with 1980’s YTS schemes than traditional apprenticeships may pay as little as £2.73 an hour & since 2010/2011 3,890 of these 10,000 Oldham apprenticeships have been given to people over 25 years old. This has lead to accusations that the scheme is being used to play a numbers game that both hides the true level of unemployment & allows employers to pay very low wages while being subsidised with training grants for training they would have carried out with staff regardless.


02/12/2014

The latest Ofsted North West report shows that Oldham Schools have the lowest levels of good or outstanding leadership in the North West and that Oldham has the 4th lowest percentage of pupils attending good or outstanding Secondary Schools in all of England’s 150 local authority areas.

The question needs to be asked how Oldham school services will cope with the massive planned house building and population expansion program such as 500 new homes to be built at Broadway Green when children are already crowded into a poorly run local education system. Three key problems in Oldham are major contributors to the local education systems problems (1) The Governments opt-out academy system is poorly designed, divisive & open to both spending abnormalities (see item further down this page) & manipulation by those with an agenda other than secular fact based education. (2) Immigration levels from Eastern Europe & other developing nations to Oldham puts unfair burden on schools to deliver results for children from other Countries many of whom have no formal education & do not speak English. (3) Introverted communities (not just the religious ones) which are maintained, preserved & expanded by purposeful local government policy. Take Coldhurst & St Mary's for example (these are Oldham Councils findings) "School readiness: children start at a lower level at school which matches foundation stage evidence. School outcomes will be poorer in these wards, leading to poorer employment outcomes, Low qualifications and in some areas low engagement in lifelong learning. High numbers of benefit claimants, More translation costs, Greater demand on primary and secondary health care and social care, Greater demand on police"

 

09/12/2014

Oldham Council is set to consider a Council funded appraisal of the delivery options available for it’s much delayed Hotel Future project on Monday 15/12/2014 almost three years since the scheme was first announced. We reported in July that official documents showed the building of Hotel Future had actually been delayed because Oldham Council was attempting to access Government funding normally only available to Greater Manchester Further Education colleges and private training providers. It seems that the truth is Hotel Future's timing now mirrors Greater Manchester’s devolution timetable which would give the Greater Manchester Combined Authority control of the Apprenticeship Grant allocation process for all Greater Manchester which is currently under control of central Government. This financial year, 01/04/2014 to 31/03/2015, Oldham Council spending forecast on the Hotel Future scheme has been re profiled & adjusted to £3.5 million, this seem’s a huge amount of money for a scheme that is still at the starting gate.


07/12/2014

Showing the true nature of local government public consultation Oldham Council partners Foxdenton LLP have set up a website to keep residents informed about the Foxdenton development (Broadway Green) some 22 months after buying the website domain & after planning permission has already been granted & excavation work has already commenced. Public consultation’s have consistently seen the general public’s voice ignored, examples being votes against the congestion charge & the Oldham Town Centre Metrolink expansion from Mumps, votes against having a Manchester Mayor just 2 ½ years ago & the ongoing new Saddleworth School site debacle.


16/12/2014

On Wednesday 17/12/2014 Councillors in Oldham overwhelmingly rejected a motion which called for their wages to be cut after UKIP Cllr Warren Bates obtained figures which show a 50% cut would save £225 thousand, the basic payment rate to Oldham Councillors is £9000 a year. Under Jim McMahon’s tenure as Oldham Council leader the average wage in Oldham has slipped from 16% below the national average to 20.2% below the national average.

Despite Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon’s defence of Oldham Council’s levels of debt at last nights Council meeting it remains a fact that between the three financial years 2014/15, 2015/16 & 2016/17 Oldham Council have entered agreements & borrowed over £152 million in prudential government loans for this three year period leaving Oldham tax payers with decades of debt repayments. None of Oldham Council’s regeneration schemes have had any investment contributions from private companies nor developers who  clearly will not invest in construction & infrastructure schemes in Oldham Town Centre because of the levels of crime, low pay, supplementary benefit payments, poor qualification attainment & high poverty levels. Current schemes such as The Old Town Hall Cinema & Prince’s Gate will potentially see high street brands taking up residency as tenants in bespoke units developed & funded by Oldham Council & in the case of the Odeon Cinema the Council has also offered to underwrite any operational losses.


18/12/2014

In it’s latest press release “Work is progressing well on Oldham town centre’s multi-million pound leisure facility” Oldham Council continues to champion a downsized new sport’s facility with less opportunity for sport’s participation but more spectator seating as a positive sign of regeneration. It’s also true that Oldham Council is relocating the Town Centre sports facilities to serve the educational campuses rather than council-tax paying residents otherwise how would they justify the facility being built away from the retail core in an area with up to 200% the levels of NOx pollution from vehicular emissions than the current leisure facilities location.


18/12/2014

Cash strapped Oldham Council has finally decided to review it’s National Joint Council pay grades after it was revealed they have been paying employees at the NJC SCP49 pay grade an undisclosed amount above & beyond the designated rate of £42,032 per annum


19/12/2014

Cash strapped Oldham Council has allocated another £54,000 to the demolition cost of the much derided Manchester St footbridge which has been a beacon for muggings, anti-social behaviour & vandalism. The demolition costs now total £119,000 almost doubling the budget set in the Summer of 2014. The bridge was one of Oldham’s many failed past regeneration projects which came in for national press coverage because of design flaws & the massive increases between the projected & final cost's of the construction.


06/01/2015

Despite Oldham Council lauding Oldham as a desirable location to live and work new house price figures reflect Oldham Council’s continued house building policies in socially undesirable areas rather than suggestions of value for money as the average purchase price of new build homes fell by 17.8% in the period January to June 2014 from the same period in 2013. This is more than double the fall for new house prices than in any other district in Greater Manchester.

Keepmoat Homes in partnership with Oldham Council is proposing to develop 134 homes for sale in Limehurst. After mid bid clarification meetings were offered to enable bidders to ask additional questions relating to the project both Seddon Construction & Casey Contracting withdrew from the bidding process unwilling to take sales risk in the area.


06/01/2015

Updated 30/01/2015

Cash strapped Oldham Council is adding £9970 extra to the salary of the revised Policy and Projects Officer for Health & Wellbeing because they fail to retain staff appointed to the post. While Oldham “Co-op” Council continues to champion a borough where everyone does their bit it appears it is ok for them to appoint people to positions of responsibility for improving public health who’s primary priorities are governed solely by their pay. The everyone in “everyone doing their bit” is a dwindling percentage of the Oldham population that contributes to the financial system’s of central & local Government rather than takes out.


16/01/2015

Oldham Council wants to introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments it states the money will be used “to support local communities and neighbourhoods by funding improvements to transport links and creating open spaces” the new levy would largely replace current S106 agreements. In less than three years Oldham Council lost several million in agreed developer payment contributions under the S106 agreements after several developers questioned the viability of the projects after construction had started which resulted in reduced payments and in some cases no payment. I would note that the people surrounding Foxdenton have been subject to a 17 year invasive development project in which Oldham Council made significant financial gains by selling land it owned. This has included The Blessed John Henry Newman RC College, Oldham’s soon to be only sewage works, 500 new homes, a new access road and a 700,000 sq ft industrial Park yet Oldham Council owned Foxdenton Hall built in 1710 continues to decay and has had a leaking roof for many years while the Council continues “to support local communities and neighbourhoods” with regeneration in target wards only.


19/01/2015

The Oldham Taxpayers contribution to the Old Town Hall Cinema project has finally been announced to be £26.3 million after two years of Oldham Council refusing to publish the cost to the people of Oldham. The total costs are now £36.72 million that's another £1.72 million on top of the £35 million at most figure quoted Summer 2014 & a full £26.72 million more than the initial figure communicated of £10 million. When loans & the Manchester Airport dividend are included in the Old Town Hall Cinema costs Oldham Council's total liability stands at £34.2 million. The scandalous costs are being justified by Oldham Councils economic “expert research to industry standards” study although any intelligent person would ask how the Council got the original costs, delivery timescale's & the dilapidated condition of The Old Town Hall completely wrong. Expert research at Oldham Council obviously means once we have got the budget wrong on multiple occasions & once we have demolished  what was originally to be saved and once we have changed our plans we will then publish expert analysis based on our plethora of corrected failures. With cost's now published, it is noted that there is no mention of any successful grants which Oldham Council had indicated would be contributing to The Old Town Hall Cinema project. In a Freedom of Information request in November 2013 Oldham Council stated that it would cost approximately £7.5 million to repair the building & renovate the interior of the Old Town Hall without additional works to build a cinema yet in January 2015 Oldham Council is justifying spending £36.72 million on the cinema conversion because it would cost £16.16 million over the next 25 years just to maintain the Old Town Hall building without developing it.

 Chronic-Oldham is sure the ever increasing non-contributory element of the Oldham population will have nothing but praise for a cinema paid for by a taxation system to which in real terms they do not pay into.


Click here to see the FOI request & Oldham Council’s response in full



22/01/2015

Oldham’s famous Coliseum Theatre has had it’s section 48 grant application from GMCA/AGMA approved subject to them implementing new robust governance arrangements including transitioning to a Trustee model. A trustee model means the Coliseum can no longer be focused on local "Oldham" priorities or the short term and will now be expected to serve Greater Manchester’s combined priorities.


02/02/2015

More sneaky economics as 11 local authority areas including Oldham have signed up to pool their business rates income. Under the Business Rates Retention Scheme local authorities are able to come together on a purely voluntary basis, to pool their business rates.


02/02/2015

Oldham Council’s latest “Oldham Project” will employ two domestic abuse experts to implement a very worrying set of priorities as a borough wide domestic abuse strategy which is to focus on victim & perpetrator relationship management. Apparently this will safely enable victim & perpetrator to stay together, it would seen that maintaining the family unit thus reducing the cost of intervention, security, housing & benefits is taking priority over victim’s welfare. We have never heard of a women's domestic abuse refuge who's priority is “safely” enabling people to stay together in an abusive relationship or how you can define safely in the face of a predisposition to physical violence or mental abuse.


02/02/2015

Oldham Council's much bragged about "independent quarter" now has on it's 1st small section of Yorkshire St shops a Cash Trader a Cash Convertor a Cash Generator a betting shop, 4 charity shops, 1 furniture shop & 1 job agency. People must travel from miles around to see this independent niche retail area that offers such an alternative to the High St norms.


04/02/2015

Tensions have been building again between Oldham's Muslim community & the significant numbers of new EU migrant's after a spate of robberies including 3 Mosques. After it emerged that money had been offered online to behead the culprit of a Mosque robbery GM Police said on social media  “We are aware that people are very concerned about the recent offences, but it is vitally important that community members act responsibly and do not take matters into their own hands. There has been a lot of comments on social media and within the community, including some offensive comments labelling people of particular backgrounds as being involved in crime. It is important to recognise that there are criminals in all communities, and it is unfair to blame whole groups of people for the behaviour of a minority.”


02/02/2015

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities stated in spatial framework documents this week that there are 25,000 inward jobs in the pipeline for Greater Manchester within 350 projects, the majority of which are in the finance & business sectors. As a member of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities Oldham Council seem’s to have “missed the boat” again. Along with it’s co-op business partners & the utilisation of vast sum’s of taxpayer’s money, PFI & prudential loan resources Oldham Council is delivering the Foxdenton, Town Hall Cinema, Hotel Future, Prince’s Gate & Hollinwood schemes which if successful will only have the potential to provide a majority warehouse, domestic, retail, waiting & other hospitality job’s in the lowest paid UK employment sectors. As we have said before purposeful local government policy maintains core voter’s circumstances of poverty and creates & expands interdependent core voter areas trading votes for increased social housing provision, local authority grants & “in work” supplementary benefits for families with children.


12/02/2015

In yet another pre-election Oldham Council press release we have them once again informing us of their business acumen & forward thinking in a piece entitled “Two more businesses receive Independent Quarter funding”  Chronic-Oldham wishes all legitimate businesses success including the two mentioned in the article but feel the people deserve to know the economic context of Oldham Council’s constant regeneration self-praise. The two businesses mentioned have each received £10,000 to carry out building work &/or refurbishment in premises they actually own. Both businesses claim small business rate relief (business rate being the business equivalent of Council tax) & with rateable values of £4150 & £3150 respectively neither of these businesses, along with the owners of 2157 other Oldham business rate accounts, currently pay any business rates at all. Oldham Council has in recent communication’s stated that it’s house building & regeneration schemes are about making Oldham a desirable place to live & work thus increasing revenue from Council Tax & business rates in the face of Government budget cuts. It has to be asked what are Oldham Council’s plans for Oldham when this constant borrowing for so called regeneration & the ever increasing in work benefit bill comes to an inevitable end and businesses & people have to rely on their own earnings alone to pay their way?


13/02/2015

Cash strapped Oldham Council & GM Police are funding a £30,000 community grant scheme for the people of Werneth. Werneth already gets 30% of all the money Oldham Council spends on "Priority Programme" grants for all 20 Oldham wards. Coincidentally Werneth delivered the highest Labour majority vote at last years local elections a massive 90.3% of votes!


13/02/2015

Want to know the facts behind the Prince's Gate development such as M&S refusing to even consider opening a store in a restructured Spindles & Town Square shopping centre or the 800 Oldham Town Centre new homes currently not being viable because they would only achieve a low sale price? Then download the freely available official council documentation from the Oldham Council website using the link below before they are removed in the interest of openness & transparency. True to form Oldham Council have now removed the documents as it is not in the public interest to know that the residential portion of OMBC’s proposed “game changer” Prices Gate development is more of the same house construction in undesirable areas that saw new house prices in Oldham fall 17.8% in the period January to June 2014 from the same period in 2013. Neither is it in the public interest to know how quality retail such as M&S regards lack of opportunity & the low quality nature of the vast majority of Oldham Town Centre which has a booming trade in theft from person & shoplifting but very little to offer the discerning shopper.

Click here


20/02/2015 updated 23/02/2015

Local press seem to be oddly selective about which stories & official statistics are worthy of publication, hence their selective use of the latest birth figures which were limited to the teen birth rate is falling. The latest figures actually show that in 2013 Oldham had the highest rate of conceptions of all ten Greater Manchester areas with 91 conceptions per 1,000 women & the lowest abortion rate at 18.9% of conceptions, that is 15.5% more births & 10.9% fewer terminations than the England average. Oldham also had the second highest rate of conceptions, after the City of Manchester, in females aged 15 to 17 of all ten Greater Manchester areas with 30.6 conceptions per thousand aged 15-17. Looking at these figures in context of Oldham constantly being touted as an exemplary Labour Council model throws up many questions. The wider picture already shows that Oldham has the lowest average pay in Greater Manchester which has fallen from 16% below to 20.2% below the national average since 2011. Oldham also offers the lowest rates of available professional employment opportunities. So why in 2013 were Oldham birth rates the highest in Greater Manchester when Oldham is the poorest Greater Manchester borough? Why did the average tax credit payment to families in Oldham rise by an inflation busting 18% in a single year? Why in 2013 did Oldham have the highest percentage increase in Greater Manchester of long term migrants with 63.6% more inflow than outflow, some 43.5% more than the second highest which was Salford? Do the three previous questions provide the answers along with the questions?


24/02/2015

Five points you won’t see mentioned at Oldham Councils Prince’s Gate public consultation this Friday & Saturday.



25/02/2015

The highest immigration rates for a decade, simply unsustainable! Net migration to the year ending September 2014 was 298,000. The number of immigrants arriving to accompany or join others showed a statistically significant increase, from 66,000 to 90,000 in the year ending September 2014. There were 24,914 asylum applications (main applicants) in 2014, an increase of 6% compared with 23,584 in 2013. The largest number of asylum applications in 2014 came from Eritrea (3,239), Pakistan (2,711), Syria (2,081) and Iran (2,011). 37,000 Romanian and Bulgarian citizens immigrated to the UK in the year ending September 2014. National Insurance figures give an even more worrying statistic that show 187,000 UK National Insurance Numbers were issued to Romanians and Bulgarians in 2014, two thirds of whom arrived after January 1st 2014.

26/02/2015

Interesting to see, in light of Oldham Council’s spending plans for 800 quality homes in Oldham Town Centre, that official govt stats released today (17/02/2015) show that in 2013 house sales ranged from 109 in Oldham 013 which is part of Saddleworth North to just 26 in Oldham 014 which is the less than desirable area commonly known as St Mary's & Oldham Town Centre. Oldham Councils appraisal of new housing for Oldham Town Centre at the proposed Prince’s Gate development, selectively left out of the official press release, predicts very low sales prices (see pic below). The cabinet report states “in the event that HRA (Housing Revenue Account) money was used to fund residential development at Eastern Gateway, the initial capital outlay would be recouped over time through net rental income although early analysis suggests that this may be a period in excess of 40 years and is dependent upon high levels of occupancy.” It has to be asked what did they expect when successive Council’s have surrounded the Town centre on all sides with poverty, deprivation & overpopulation? Regardless of the Council's intentions any new housing will, because of proximity and low valuations, just serve as an overspill for the current residential areas surrounding the Town centre.


26/02/2015