Councillor And Community Champion
· Staffordshire County Councillor for Westlands and Thistleberry
· Newcastle Borough Councillor for May Bank Ward
· Vice Chairman, Corporate Review Select Committee
Call: 07896 778360
The Future of Sandy Lane Green Space to be decided
6th November 2014
Newcastle Borough Council’s ruling ’Cabinet’ will meet next week to decide the fate of the green space by Sandy Lane roundabout. This follows the recent ‘consultation’ in which hundreds of local people registered their objections to the sale for development of this important green space.
The meeting will take place on:
Wednesday 12th November, 7pm at the Civic Offices, Merrial Street, Newcastle
Local Councillor Simon Tagg said: “The meeting is open to the public. Ian Matthews, John Tagg and I will attend to speak in support of the vast majority of local people who wish to see the green space remain as public open space.”
Cricketers Arms: Application for variation of premise licence
18th October 2014
Newcastle Borough Council has received an application to extension the opening hours of the Cricketers Arms Pub, May Bank to allow an additional half hour ‘drinking up’ time. This does not extend the permitted hours for the sale of alcohol.
If you would like to make representations to the council about this please write to: Newcastle Borough Council Licensing Department, Civic Offices, Merrial Street, Newcastle. ST5 2AG. Email: email@example.com
The deadline for representations is 5pm on 28th October 2014. Full details of the application can be viewed by appointment at the Civic Offices (Tel: 717717) or via the website: www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk.
For more information contact Ian Matthews on Tel: 07981171234 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Residents asked for views on sale of green space at Sandy Lane roundabout
27th August 2014
Newcastle Borough Council has decided to press ahead with its proposals to sell the green space by Sandy Lane Roundabout, May Bank. The council is carrying out a period of 'consultation' running until October 10th 2014. Views, concerns and comments regarding the council’s proposal should be sent by post to:
Louise Beeby, Property Section, Newcastle Borough Council, Merrial Street, Newcastle. ST5 2AG
Alternatively by email to: email@example.com
May Bank Councillor Simon Tagg said: "Since the council revealed its plans in January hundreds of local people have signed a petition calling for the land to be saved as public open space. Now the council have decided to press ahead with the sale. We urge local residents to use the 'consultation' period to make their views know to council leaders. The council has only inform 13 households of the 'consultation'. So Ian Matthews, John Tagg and I as local councillors have distributed leaflets in the area to make people aware."
A number of concerns have been raised by the local community:
1, The green space by sandy Lane Roundabout is well used by local people for recreation and dog walking.
2, It currently soaks up rain water that would otherwise flood onto the roundabout. Up to 10 houses with associated driveway and roadways would make the rain water run-off worse.
3, Sandy Lane roundabout is already very busy with traffic and there are significant parking problem in the area - houses on the green space will make the situation worse.
4, It will be very difficult to access any new properties safely because of the proximity to the busy roundabout.
5, This green space has not been developed previously. Maps dating back 200 years indicate that it has been green open space during that time.
6, It forms the ancient boundary between Wolstanton Parish and Newcastle Borough.
7, This part of The Brampton has becoming increasingly built up in recent years. This is the last green-field outside of Brampton Park.
8. The green space is part of The Brampton Conservation Area.
9, The council wish to sell the green space to raise money and create more housing. Yet they have vacant 'brown-field' sites all over the borough notably the Knutton Recreation Centre,. They are currently refusing to bring those forward for development -why?
Fellow May Bank Councillor Ian Matthews said: "The council have recently withdraw proposals to sell green space elsewhere in the borough when they have come up against strong opposition. So it is important that objections are sent in"
Residents alerted about Proposed new 65 apartment Extra Care scheme
18th July 2014
Newcastle Borough Council has received a planning application from Sutton and Wilkinson Architects Ltd to redevelop the Homestead/May Place Day Centre, May Place, Brampton Road, May Bank.
They propose to build a new 65 apartment Extra Care scheme on the site. Public notices have been in place on the site since the beginning of July. Local residents have until 25th July to put in views or objections on the proposed redevelopment.
May Bank Councillor Simon Tagg said: "We urge residents that have views and concerns to make then known to Newcastle Borough Council before the deadline. There are already concerns about the size and scale of the plans and an issue relating to the future status of May Place - which is currently an un adopted road.
Bringing the site back into use as an extra care development is generally welcomed but we must ensure that it is in keeping with the surrounding area which is on the edge of the Brampton Conservation Area."
The plans can be viewed & comments made by visiting the council’s website: www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk (search application number: 14/00476/FUL) or by visiting the Guildhall in Newcastle town centre during office hours.
Views or objections can be forwarded in writing to: The Head of Regeneration and Planning, Civic Offices Newcastle. ST5 2AG (please quote the application number).
The proposals will come before the Planning Committee in the Autumn.
Road safety improvements on track at Gallowstree Lane Roundabout
18th March 2013
Road safety measures are to be finally introduced on the Gallowstree Lane roundabout in Thistleberry. Staffordshire County Council is to invest £120,000 in improving safety following the expansion of the roundabout in 2009/10 to meet future development plans for the university.
Although pedestrian facilities were provided at the time, school children are choosing to cross Keele Bank close to the roundabout, at a location where there is no crossing. The county council asked for the views of residents and businesses and have now agreed an action plan.
Local county councillor Simon Tagg who has campaigned for further improvements said he was delighted the council was now acting on recommendations from residents.
Simon said: “We have campaigned for these improvements and I am delighted the council has listened to residents and acted on our concerns. These improvements will make it much safer for both students and for cyclists and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their views.”
After assessing online feedback from residents, highway engineers are now proposing to:
· Install a toucan crossing close to the roundabout at Keele Bank. This will allow both pedestrians and cyclists to cross whilst road traffic is stopped by traffic lights
· Install a segregated footway and cycleway from the new toucan crossing into Gallowstree Lane
· Widen the central refuges on the approaches to the roundabout to improve accommodation for cyclists
· Alter road markings such that there will be a single lane exit from the roundabout on into Keele Road East, Gallowstree Lane and Cemetery Road
· Move the limit of the 30 mph speed restriction on Keele Bank closer to Keele University
Works is expected to start in April, on a date to be confirmed.
Council Tax not just frozen, but actually reduced!
22nd February 2013
Simon Tagg and colleagues running Staffordshire County Council have decided to reduce your Council Tax this year. For the past two years they have frozen Council Tax, but from April there will a small, but symbolic reduction of -0.1%. This means that your County Council Tax is now the lowest in the country.
Councillor Simon Tagg said: “We have led moves to cut out waste and have reviewed every area of the Council to ensure value for money. This has enabled us to reduce Council Tax for the first time”.
All local authorities are facing an unprecedented squeeze on their budget because of the state in which Gordon Brown and the disastrous Labour Party left the nation’s finances in 2010. Despite this, the County Council will maintain investment in crucial frontline services.
Landfill company told ‘Clean up your act’!
3rd January 2013
Following long standing complaints from local residents, the company that runs Walley’s Quarry Landfill has at long last been ordered to tackle smells and odours.
Large parts of Newcastle have been plagued by foul smelling odours, but now the Environment Agency (EA) have given Lafarge Aggregates 3 months to resolve the issue.
Councillor Simon Tagg said: “I chaired a number of meetings between councillors, Lafarge and the EA and I am glad that action is being taken. We will hold them to account”
Residents are still encouraged to reports smells and odours 24/7 to:
Environment Agency: 0800 807060 and Lafarge Aggregates: 799313 or 07849 725 654 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have your say on Gallowstree Roundabout safety scheme
24th December 2012
Residents are being asked to give their views on road safety proposals for a busy Newcastle Road.
Staffordshire County Council is planning to install a traffic-light controlled crossing and improve cycling facilities following the expansion of Gallowstree Roundabout. Although pedestrian access was improved at the time, school children attending Newcastle Community High School, often cross by the roundabout, where there is no crossing.
The county is now looking at a number of options and want to hear the views of residents, businesses and motorists. Designs together with a survey can be found online at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/gallowstree
Local county councillor, Simon Tagg, who has campaigned for the £120,000 improvements, encouraged people to visit the website and share their views.
Simon said: “This scheme is great news for the area. Local people have fought hard to get this scheme and I would encourage them to have their say on the designs when they are issued. We want to hear from as many people as possible about what they think will work best for their community.”
The drawings and printed copies of the questionnaire are also available in Newcastle Library. The closing date for comments is January 15th.
Safeguarding services and protecting jobs
5th December 2012
Staffordshire County Council's Cabinet has approved an innovative and ambitious plan to set up a new independent joint venture independent company with Capita as a financial partner.
The partnership would have its headquarters in Staffordshire and will see a joint venture organisation providing an extensive end to end package of services to schools ranging from catering and ground maintenance, to school improvement and performing arts.
Councillor Simon Tagg welcomed the news, he said: ”This will safeguard services and protect jobs in tough economic times through a joint venture which learns the lessons from the Labour Party's disastrously privatisation of Staffordshire Highways.”
Seabridge Centre ‘not for sale’
20th November 2012
Following concerns in the local community, officers at Staffordshire County Council have confirmed that there are no plans to sell the Seabridge Centre for housing or any other use.
The County Council are in fact in the process of bringing additional services to be based at the centre for at least the next 3 years. The Seabridge Centre is the main centre for Education and Learning support services in Newcastle. Because of this here are no plans to close or sell the Seabridge Centre at this time.
Local Councillors have made the following representations to Staffordshire County Council and to Newcastle Borough Council:
“Any development of the Seabridge Centre for housing in the future would have a detrimental affect on the properties in Ash Way, BlueBell Drive and potentially Roe Lane, because of increased traffic to and from any new housing development.
There is currently a large expanse of green space around the Seabridge Centre that would be lost if the land was developed. This would be to a detriment of nearby houses in Ash Way and Roe Lane.”
Councillor Simon Tagg said: “We are pleased that the County Council have confirmed that there are no current plans to close or sell the Seabridge Centre. If this were to change in the future, we have made it plain that we would see many problems with a large number of houses on the site, which would have a detrimental impact on neighbouring residential areas.”
Gallowstree Roundabout will get it’s safer crossing point
2nd November 2012
A safer crossing point is to be installed on Gallowstree Lane roundabout in Thistleberry to improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians on busy Keele Road.
Staffordshire County Council is planning to install a traffic-light controlled crossing and improve cycling facilities following the expansion of the roundabout. Although pedestrian access was improved at the time, school children attending Newcastle Community High School, often cross by the roundabout, where there is no crossing.
Local County Councillor, Simon Tagg, has campaigned for the improvements and welcomed the investment. He said: “This is great news for people who have campaigned so hard to see road safety improved. Seeing teenagers crossing the road every day has been a real worry and I think a new crossing, together with improvements for cyclists, will make the area much safer for everyone.”
As part of the scheme, which is expected to costs around £120,000 and is being partly funded by the North Staffordshire Sustainable Transport Fund, residents will have their chance to have a say on the proposals. It is hoped the options will be publicised before Christmas – with work starting on site in the New Year.
Simon added: “Local people have fought hard to get this scheme and I would encourage them to have their say on the designs when they are issued. We want to hear from motorists, cyclists and pedestrians on what they think will work best for their community.”
U-turn sees return of axed bus route in Basford and May Bank
The Sentinel 20th October 2012
Campaigners have won their fight for a bus service to be returned to their neighbourhood. The number 17 service will be back in Basford and May Bank after bus company First performed a U-turn over its decision to axe the route.
Hundreds of residents signed a petition against the decision, which left passengers without public transport to the city centre. Now the service is expected to be running again in about three weeks time. First Bus general manager, Peter Walch, said: "We are not arrogant and we will change our minds over a decision. There has been a lot of public requests to return the route. I have always said if people are unhappy then I will listen to what they have to say. We feel it is the sensible thing to reinstate it as the public want it back."
First originally said the change was for 'commercial reasons', in order to generate more business from the busy Wolstanton Retail Park. Removing the service would have left users with a walk into May Bank or the outskirts of Basford to catch an alternative bus. In response, Wardle Transport ran a similar route to pick up some of the slack.
Mr Walch said although the service will be returned, the firm would continue to focus on passengers travelling to the retail park. He added: "We will have to look at our network in the area and we will review that. We are mindful that people do want to get there. The local authorities have supported our move to bring back the service, so it should now take about three weeks to get it running again."
The campaign to rescue the service saw about 250 people sign a petition objecting to First's plans. Councillor Simon Tagg, who represents May Bank, Basford and The Brampton on Newcastle Borough Council, launched the petition after receiving complaints.
He said: "We put the petition to them about three weeks ago. It is good that First have listened and a lot of people will be pleased that it's coming back. It's really good news. There were no other bus routes that went down Basford Park Road. People in the area were cut off."
Maureen Foy, of May Bank, who backed the campaign to save the service, said: "When I worked in Hanley I would regularly use it to get to the city centre. I felt for the people who do rely on it to get to and from work. The bus was always busy and well used. It's good news that it is coming back."
Stink from quarry continues
13th September 2012
The problem of smell and foul odours from Walleys Quarry landfill site continue. Large parts of Newcastle including the Westlands, Thstleberry and the town centre are affected. The problem is worse for those residents that live near to the landfill.
The company that runs the landfill is Lafarge Aggregates Ltd. A spokesman from Lafarge said: “It is easier and quicker for us to respond to odour complaints if we hear about them as soon as possible. If you have any odour issues to report please contact us on: 01782 799313 or 07849 725 654, both of which have a 24 hour answer phone.”
Councillor Simon Tagg said: “ I had a meeting with site managers, where I raised complaints from residents that I have received. The Environment Agency attended the meeting and it is they that have the powers to take action, without their action the landfill site owner can carry on operating.
Newcastle Borough Council’s Environmental Team Manager Darren Walters has been tasked with mapping complaints to build a picture of the problem. If you smell any foul odours please email: email@example.com or call 717717 and ask for Mr Walters.
“It is worth noting that this landfill site was given permission a number of years ago now. It was firstly refused by Staffordshire County Council THEN allowed on appeal by the Deputy Prime Minster at the time John Prescott - against local opposition.”
Calls to reinstate Basford’s local bus service
31st August 2012
Councillor Simon Tagg is leading a campaign to reinstate a local bus service. The No. 17 bus operated by First Bus will no longer be serving Basford Park Road or stopping at the Queens Pub on Basford Bank. This will leave many residents in Basford without a regular service to Hanley and Wolstanton.
Simon Tagg said: “This will leave parts of my ward without a regular bus service. The No. 17 is a long running community bus route used by old and young alike. It provided a link to Hanley and also to the doctors and shops in Wolstanton. First Bus have decided to reroute the No. 17 along Grange Lane. This does not make sense on customer service grounds and appears to be little more than a crude cost cutting measure. We have asked Staffordshire County Council to look at bringing in another operator if First Bus will not reconsider.”
Fellow May Bank Councillor Ian Matthews said: "We have had a number of complaints from residents about the lack of notice and publicity give by the bus company. This as led to many people, some elderly, waiting at bus stops along Basford park Road in vain.”
Local Councillors have started a petition asking First Bus to reconsider. If you would like to sign it, please contact Simon Tagg on 07768 440380 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Radical review of care quality unveiled
16th August 2012
Radical new proposals aimed at revolutionising adult social care have been unveiled. Paying more than the minimum wage to staff, publicly naming poor care organisations, promoting the status of carers and professionalising the caring industry are outlined as part of a two-year review.
The trail-blazing measures are detailed in the “A Revolution in Care Quality” a Staffordshire Green Paper from the county council – which in April formed the UK’s largest integration of local authority and NHS care services.
With the 2011 Census showing that people are living longer and one in six are now aged over 65, the council says the UK must prepare to cope with the growing demands on care services.
To view the Green Paper and give your views visit: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/yourcouncil/consultationandfeedback/Leading-Care-Quality/greenpaper.aspx
Consultation starts on land for housing
2nd August 2012
Residents are being urged to get involved with one of the largest consultation programmes ever undertaken in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Newcastle Borough Council are about to begin a process which will help to develop proposals for how publicly owned and also private land throughout the borough is used in future.
Over an eight week period - beginning on Monday, 6 August - there will be nine public meetings, manned and static exhibitions, discussion with the borough’s E-Panel and other key stakeholders as well as presentations and briefings as the process of developing a Site Allocations and Policies Local Plan gets under way.
The public have the opportunity to make their voices heard on whether sites across the borough should be identified for housing, employment, leisure or retail purposes.
During the 20 years prior to 2006, around 8,000 new homes were built in the borough. The Council say 5,700 need to be built between 2006 and 2026.
Finding suitable sites for housing is a key part of the Site Allocations and Policies Local Plan which the Labour-run Borough Council wants to have in place by September 2014.
Hundreds return Residents Survey
30th July 2012
Hundreds of residents in Westlands and Thistleberry have responded to a local survey organised by Councillor Simon Tagg. Simon said: “I would like to thank all those that have responded so far to my summer survey. I am currently working through the many issues that have been raised, I will be writing back to everyone in due course.
The Residents Survey leaflet is due to be delivered in May Bank, Basford and The Brampton in the next few weeks.
Town's birthplace gets a heritage makeover
16th July 2012 (The Sentinel)
An historic site which has undergone careful restoration is to be officially unveiled. Archaeologists have painstakingly uncovered remnants of a medieval castle mound in Queen Elizabeth Park, Poolfields, Newcastle.
They have also unearthed buried stone walls on the corner of Silverdale Road and John O'Gaunt's Road. The work, which will be unveiled tomorrow, is part of a £88,000 initiative funded by £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and contributions from developers. Steps include installing a viewing platform, illustrated information panels, and a new entrance gate. A footpath has also been improved as part of the heritage efforts.
The castle was built in the 12th century to fend off attacks from the Welsh borders, although only the mound remains today. It was the inspiration for the town of Newcastle's name.
Peter Stepien, Newcastle Borough Council's landscape officer, said: "This has been a very sensitive scheme to preserve what remains of the landmark and to promote its existence to residents and visitors."
The opening ceremony takes place at 10.30am. An exhibition will also feature information about the project, along with drawings, poems and stories created by local schoolchildren.
Have your say on the future of the Thistleberry House site
12th July 2012 (The Sentinel)
Residents are being invited to have their say at a presentation next week on a proposal to convert a disused care home into a development of almost 40 homes which will include affordable properties.
Developer Taylor Wimpey is looking at buying the site of the former Thistlberry House care home on Keele Road, Newcastle, and transforming it into a high-quality new homes development with 37 properties
Taylor Wimpey is looking at submitting a detailed planning application to Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council in August, for consideration by its planning committee in the autumn.
In the meantime, the developer is undertaking a detailed consultation process with the local community to ensure people's views are taken into consideration as the proposals take shape.
It is staging an exhibition next Tuesday July 17, between 2pm and 7.45pm, at the Chancellor's Foyer, Keele Conference and Events centre at Keele University, where it will outline its plans and listen to views from residents.
If planning consent for the scheme is granted, special care will be taken by the developer to retain a number of significant features on the site and plans for the development will also include adequate parking provision for residents. The architectural design of the new homes will also be in keeping with the existing character of this attractive residential area.
As an active member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, Taylor Wimpey will make it a priority to ensure movement of heavy goods and delivery vehicles will take place during specific hours to ensure minimal disruption to local people and businesses. The housebuilder will also work closely with the local highways authority to ensure safe traffic management in Keele Road during construction.
Save the name - save the tradition
9th July 2012
Simon Tagg is pleased to support The Sentinel’s Save Our Staffords petition, which calls for the 300-year link between Staffordshire and the Army to be continued.
Simon Tagg said: “Regiments come and go and the size of the army goes up and down according to threats to the nations security - but the historic names and traditions should be preserved and carried through this new reorganisation of the Mercian Regiment and keeping alive a 300-year link with Staffordshire.
Don't forget that we lost the Staffords as an independent regiment back in 2007 because of the last Labour governments defence cuts - so we cannot save something that does not exist anymore. This is about integrating the name and history into the new arrangements. ”
You can sign the petition by visiting: www.saveourstaffords.com/sign-the-petition/
Community Centres under threat
6th July 2012
Community Centres across the Borough are facing an uncertain future as Newcastle’s new Labour controlled Borough council looks to bring in damaging cuts.
They have called for a review of our well used Community assets including Whitfield Community Centre, which covers the Westlands and Marsh Hall Community Centre which covers May Bank.
Simon Tagg said: “I am concerned that this review will be used by Labour Councillors as a cover for closures and cuts. Over the previous 6 years the Conservative & Lib Dem run Council had a strong commitment to Community Centres across the Borough. We provided funds to carry out repairs and improvements to them - supporting the hardworking volunteers that run the Centres.”
“Labour are trying to blame a 'difficult financial situation'. However, the Borough Council has been dealing with a continual squeeze on its finances since 2006.
Conservative Councillors successfully ran the council without such cuts and ensured Community Centres were protected. We will oppose Labour cuts across Newcastle Borough.”
Road safety a priority
1st July 2012
Local Councillor Simon Tagg has ordered a review of road safety on busy local roads in the Westlands and Thistleberry. Conservative-run Staffordshire County Council will carry out a safety study to assess speeding problems and consider measures to improve pedestrian safety.
Action will focus on the busy roundabout at the junction of Dartmouth Avenue / Sneyd Avenue and Whitmore Road.
Simon Tagg said: “Following complaints about speeding cars on the approaches to the roundabout on Whitmore Road, I requested that County Council Highways look into the issue as a priority. They should report back later in the year.
Road safety is very important, especially on busy roads such as Dartmouth Avenue, Sneyd Avenue and Whitmore Road.”
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