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Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Councillor for May Bank Ward


Staffordshire County Councillor For Westlands, Thistleberry & Keele Division



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May Bank Matters - Building on success in May Bank <click>

Westlands, Thistleberry & Keele Action - Working for a better deal from the County Council <click>

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Simon Tagg - My work in the community <click>

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Latest: All welcome at Basford Open Morning!
1st December 2011

Local Councillors are holding an open morning on Saturday 3rd December at St Mark's Church Hall, Basford. This is a opportunity for residents from May Bank, Basford to raise any concerns they may have about the local community.

Doors open at 10 am. The event ends at Noon.

Councillor Simon Tagg said: "I would like to invite local residents from May Bank, Basford to come along and have a coffee and a mince pie. Please feel free to raise any concerns or issue you may have."  

Councillor have delivered a flyer to local residents inviting them to the event.



 Vote puts Newcastle first!

23rd November 2011

At tonight's Full Council debate on the parliamentary electoral boundaries plans for Newcastle, Simon Tagg and his colleagues put forward alternative proposals that protect the interests of Newcastle's communities. Labour attempts, supported by local Lib Dems, to 'gerrymander' the electoral boundaries for their own advantage were exposed.

The Conservative Group motion was as follows:

1.    Support the Boundary Commission in its desire to treat Staffordshire as a single entity and acknowledge that this decision has received cross-party support of MPs throughout North Staffordshire.

2.    Further acknowledge that the simplification in structure, with Newcastle-under-Lyme now consisting of just two constituencies, instead of four will reunite Newchapel with its neighbours in Kidsgrove

3.    Deplore the proposal to place Bradwell & Porthill  and Wolstanton & May Bank into separate constituencies. These areas are historically linked and are settled suburbs of the town.

4.    Support the inclusion of villages to the west of the Borough in a North Newcastle based constituency. Areas such as Silverdale, Knutton and Greater Chesterton (Chesterton and Holditch wards) are distinct and fiercely independent communities, which stand in their own right alongside the other North Staffordshire mining villages.

Councillor Simon Tagg said: "All Political Groups in Newcastle agreed that because of the large size of Newcastle Borough it is necessary for it to be accommodated in two Parliamentary Constituencies .The issue is where the dividing line is. The rationale behind our amendment is very simple, it understands that  Bradwell and Porthill wards are communities of Newcastle that sit very closely, culturally and historically with Newcastle Town Centre. Whereas the communities of Silverdale and Knutton are former mining communities and sit closely with the other mining communities of Chesterton, Holditch, Talke, Audley, Halmerend and Kidsgrove which will make up the largest part of the proposed northern Newcastle seat."

"It should be made clear that the parliamentary constituency boundaries have no impact on the boundaries of the Newcastle Borough or its continued independence from Stoke. It is only about electing Members of Parliament."


Clock ticking to Jubilee 2 opening
18th November 2011

The Borough’s new world class swimming pool and health and wellbeing centre will be open for business in January 2012. £10.5 million Jubilee 2 which will replace Newcastle's outdated Jubilee Pool, is now almost complete.

Building work is on course to be finished for early December, ready for its official opening on January 7th 2012, the first week of the Olympic year. The centre will boast state-of-the-art facilities including a 25-metre, competition standard swimming pool, a 100-station gym, sauna, Jacuzzi, dance studios and a cafe. It will also house a 14-metre climbing wall, with a drop-off point for abseiling, along with bouldering walls.  

Councillor Simon Tagg, who chaired the project board for the Jubilee 2 during its design and build stage said: “This will be a state-of-the art, world class facility and will put Newcastle on the sporting map in Olympic year. That it is nearing final completion - on time and under budget is great news. It is a great investment by the Borough Council on behalf residents.”  



Delight as Keele gets its safer crossing point

14th November 2011

Contactors will today move on site in Keele Village to install the safer crossing point on the busy Keele Road near to St. John's CE(VC) Primary School at the heart of Keele Village.

The work has been made possible following a £10,000 investment from local County Councillor Simon Tagg's highway budget and a £6,500 contribution by Keele University. The new crossing has been welcomed by local resident, parents, teachers and children from the Village and school and has been supported by a 202 signature petition.

Simon Tagg, County Councillor for Keele and Westlands said: "As can be seen from the petition there is a lot of support of this crossing which will be a much valued safety measure on the busy Keele Road. I was pleased to make it a priority in my Divisional Highway Programme for this year. I would like to thank Keele University for its commitment to the project. The zebra crossing will mean increased safety for pedestrians and school children coming to and from the local school as well as people visiting the University."



Newcastle needs to know its boundaries

29th October 2011

Proposals by the Boundary Commission to change Parliamentary electoral boundaries in Staffordshire, would mean the number of constituencies in the County falling from 12 to 11 in a much needed cost cutting drive to reduce the number of seats and MP's in the House of Commons. Boundary Commission for England

Councillor Simon Tagg said: "These proposals by the Boundary Commission are interesting, but flawed in their current form. The Borough is currently already split between 4 Parliamentary Seats, with the Kidsgrove area already sitting with the north of Stoke and the whole south of the Borough already with Stone. Oddly Newchapel is currently with Staffordshire Moorlands! So a consolidation into just 2 is welcome."

"Even so, it does not make sense for areas on the edge of Newcastle town centre such as Porthill and Bradwell to move out of a Newcastle town based seat or to have a different MP to neighbouring areas such as May Bank and Wolstanton. I think the the Boundary Commission needs to look again at this."     

A public consultation on the proposals is running until 5th December. Views can be submitted by writing to: The Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BQ or by email to westmidlands@bcommengland.x.gsi.gov.uk




Westlands Community Pride litter pick
 12th October 2011

Local Councillors have organised a community litter pick in the Westlands on Saturday 8th October, 2011 between 10 am and 12 noon. Litter teams headed by Westlands County Councillor Simon Tagg and new Westlands Borough Councillor Mark Holland will target litter hotspot areas including Clayton Road, Kingway East & West, Dartmouth Avenue and Whitmore Road.

Residents who wish to join the litter pick are asked to meet at 10 am on The Square by St Andrews Church, Pilkington Avenue. The event is scheduled to end at 12 noon and will be part of a series of events to mark a week of Community Pride in the south of Newcastle.

Councillor Simon Tagg said: "This event will supplement the regular litter picking that is already carried out by the Council. It is a great way for local residents to get involved and show pride in their community. All equipment will be provided and litter collected will be recycled by Newcastle Borough Council helping to achieve its recycling targets."

Simon Tagg is pictured right with Councillor Mark Holland.

Safer crossing point for Keele Village gets the go ahead!
23rd September 2011

A long awaited safer crossing point is to be installed near a village school. Staffordshire County Council has confirmed that funding has been secured for a zebra crossing in Keele Village. Installation work will take place in November.

Keele University has confirmed its £6,500 contribution, which along with Local County Councillor Simon Tagg's £10,000 Highway budget which he had already committed to the scheme, means that a zebra crossing can be installed on the busy Keele Road near to St. John's CE(VC) Primary School at the heart of Keele Village

Simon Tagg, County Councillor for the area said: "I would like to thank Keele University for its contribution to this project. There is clearly a need for a safer crossing point in Keele which is why I made it a priority in my Divisional Highway Programme for this year.
A zebra crossing will mean increased safety for pedestrians - especially school children coming to and from the local school as well as people visiting the University."


Firefighters move into new station
 3rd September 2011
Newcastle Community Fire Station has gone live! Firefighters last night started responding from the brand new community fire station. The new station has been built on a site just further up the road from the existing station on Knutton Lane. The state of the art station comes complete with community facilities, a partnership area, a gym and a training building.
Station Manager, Andy Kinsman said: “We’re really pleased with the new station; it couldn’t be more different to the former station. The building has a welcoming feel and because firefighters have had an input into the design the layout is much more workable. The facilities for both the firefighters and the community really are second to none. “The community rooms will be open for use from the 14th September and we’ll also be looking to hold in some general drop in sessions, which will include a tour of the station, in the coming months.”
Vice Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority and Lead Member for Newcastle, Cllr Simon Tagg added: “The community fire station is a fantastic new development for Newcastle. This building is so much more than just a fire station; it’s a community facility that local people can use for their own projects, initiatives and partnerships. We’re confident that it will soon become a community hub for Newcastle and the surrounding areas.”
Newcastle is the eighth in a line of ten new community fire stations being built under a private finance initiative (PFI) project. The consortium delivering the project is called Fire Support. Construction company Thomas Vale have constructed the building and COFELY Ltd will provide the ongoing facilities management. Ian Bolden, General Manager of Fire Support commented: “The Fire Support partnership is an excellent example of the private and public sector working together successfully to deliver long-lasting benefits for the community. Newcastle is the eighth of ten community fire stations and the delivery programme for this multi-site project has been challenging but has been achieved so far through great tenacity, skill and professionalism of the entire team.”
The City’s first new community fire station in Sandyford is already proving to be a massive success, attracting up to 40 bookings per month from community and partner groups including; Age UK, North Staffs Cancer Support, the Workers Education Association and the Foster Carers Support Group. Bookings are currently being taken for the community room at Newcastle ready for when the facilities open on 14th September. The community room seats up to 30 people and the meeting room up to 14 people. The rooms are available from 9am – 10pm weekdays and from 9am – 5pm at weekends. Community and partner groups interested in booking the free facilities should email northerncommunityrooms@staffordshirefire.gov.uk or ring 01785 898897.



Councillors listen to residents concerns and restrict pub license
29th August 2011

Newcastle Council's Licensing Committee has granted a license to a refurbished village pub. The King William IV Pubic House in Talke came before Councillors because of objections from the Police and local Residents. The committee accepted a number a conditions put forward by the police in their written submission relating to CCTV, a drugs policy and restrictions on live sporting events. The committee heard from a number of local residents about their concerns relating to potential nose nuisance and anti social behaviour - especially late at night.

Councillor decided to restrict the allowed hours of opening and rejected the proposed opening hours put forward by the pub owner: Monday - Thursday Friday - Saturday Sunday 10.00 – 00.00 10.00 – 01.00 12.00 – 23.00 opting instead to for: Monday - Thursday Friday - Saturday Sunday 10.00 – 23.00 10.00 – 12.00 12.00 – 23.00

Councillor Simon Tagg, Chair of the Licensing Committee said, "The Committee listened carefully to the concerns raised by local residents and decided to impose restrictions on the license. Our aim is to reduce the risk of disturbance for local residents late at night by ensuring that loud music inside the venue is kept to a minimum. That use of the beer garden is restricted to 9 pm and that the premise closes completely by 12 pm at the weekend (11pm week days and Sunday). If any problems arise after the pub opens for business the Police or local residents can call for the licence to be reviewed within 6 mouths."

The Committee resolved to grant the licence subject to the following conditions and operating schedule;  Evidence of sound proofing and noise abatement produced within 14 working days of receipt of the licence. Outdoor drinking in the beer garden restricted to 9 PM every day.  Fire exit alarmed. Evidence that the premise licence holder and designated premises supervisor are first aid trained and compliant with health and safety regulations 14 days after completion of any necessary course.


Licensing Committee refuse Subway bid to open until 4 am
6th August 2011
Newcastle Borough Council's Licensing Committee has refused a application by fast food retailer Subway to open their town centre hot food takeaway until 4am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The bid by High Street based retailer was brought before the Licensing Committee because of police objections.

The police gave evidence at the committee that in their view the promotion of their licensing objectives would be undermined as would the council’s town centre Statuation Policy if Subway was allowed to open for the times applied for on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The police made no objections to the premises operating for the additional hours applied for on the other days of the week.

The committee heard that there was insufficient infrastructure in place in order to facilitate dispersal of later night drinkers from the town centre. Dispersal depended upon sufficient taxis being available and willing to take people at the time of the proposed terminal hours. The committee also felt that the premises would became a magnet for alcohol fuelled persons from other premises after they had closed.

Councillor Simon Tagg Chairman of the Licensing Committee said: "After looking at the evidence the committee concluded that the applicant had failed to satisfy us that the premises would not add to the existing problems already experienced in the town centre, particularly in the early hours of the morning and specifically after 2.30 a.m. The police evidence showed that there would be a increase in nuisance and crime and disorder in the vicinity of the premises, which was already a hot spot in the town centre. To have granted the application in a whole would fail to support the polices crime and disorder objectives."




Residents asked for their views on solutions to Parking problems
26th July 2011

Staffordshire County Council has wrote to residents in a street suffering from congestion due to inconsiderate parking. Residents in Wulstan Drive have suffered for many years from parking by workers from the various businesses operating in The Brampton. In February May Bank Councillor Simon Tagg asked for the issue to be addressed by Staffordshire County Council’s Parking Committee. Now residents are being asked for their views on draft proposals for three schemes - these ranging from a set of comprehensive restrictions covering Wulstan Drive and the service road, to a minor scheme protecting road junctions. Residents have been asked to respond with support or objection to one of the schemes by 3rd August 2011.
Councillor Simon Tagg, "I am please that the County Council is now bring forward plans to address this problem. I urge residents to consider the proposals carefully and respond by August 3rd. The priority is protecting junctions from obstruction to improve road safety and preventing double parking that causes congestion. We have also asked the County Council to consider similar measures in neighbouring street - Marina Drive, Hempstalls Lane, Heath Avenue and Sunny Hollow.
The problems have continued to worsen in recent weeks and the Police have issued a number of fixed penalty notices on cars for dangerous parking and causing obstruction.
Councillor Simon Tagg Said: "We have recently had a meeting with Royal Bank of Scotland who have their HQ in the Brampton. Employees of RBS have been identified by local residents as being the main cause of the parking problems. RBS admitted that their on-site car park (providing 200 spaces) is fully subscribed and that about 20 employees are on a waiting list for a space - these workers currently have no choice but to use local roads."
Fellow May Bank Councillor Ian Matthews said: "We have asked Newcastle Borough Council to work with RBS to provide more car parking at their Brampton HQ. This could either be by utilising a nearby town centre car park or conversion of part of a piece of council owned land into a car parking area."



Problem road to be resurfaced
14th July 2011

A pothole plagued road will soon be resurfaced. Residents have been complaining about the state of Langdale Road in the Westlands for years, but work to address the problem is now set to get underway.

Staffordshire County Council will carry out six weeks of resurfacing work on the road, starting on July 25 at a costing £113,000. Letters have been sent to residents informing them about the scheme.

Simon Tagg, county councillor for Westlands, said: "Langdale Road has been plagued by potholes for many years and local councillors past and present have received complaints about the state of the road surface. The county council has carried out numerous patching jobs recently only for potholes to open up again. With this full scale resurfacing, long suffering residents should get a road to be proud of."

"The work has been scheduled to coincide with the school holidays so as to cause minimal disruption to Langdale Primary school."

Homes and businesses in Langdale Road should remain accessible for most of the time during the kerbing and footway works in the first four weeks. Surfacing works to the carriageway will start on Monday, August 22 and continue for five days. While this work is being carried out the road will be closed to traffic from 8am to 5pm each day. During this time vehicular access to frontages in the road will not be possible.

For more information <Click>



A safer crossing point for Keele Village
 9th July 2011

A feasibility study commissioned by Simon Tagg, the County Councillor for Keele & Westlands for his Divisional Highways Programme has been published. A site meeting was held on 8th November 2010 at ‘The Village’, Keele which involved local residents, the head teacher of St. John's CE(VC) Primary School, parents of school children, Highways Officers and Councillor Tagg. The aim of this meeting was to observe the difficulty pedestrians experience in crossing Keele Road at the junction with Three Mile Lane during the school leaving period. The attendees of the site meeting expressed their concerns for the safety of pedestrians and school children crossing Keele Lane, particularly during the school arrival and leaving periods. Highways officer were then tasked with investigating options to address the problem (This took place during the Spring of this year and forms the basis of the feasibility study report).

A meeting will take place shortly with Keele University to secure their contribution to the Scheme. Councillor Tagg has already pledged his £10,000 Highway budget influence (for the 09/10 financial year) to the plans.

Councillor Simon Tagg, said: " There is clearly a need for a safer crossing point in Keele. I feel this need is only going to increase if more homes are built at the Universities 'Hawthorns' development in the village. Even though the traffic survey indicates that the village centre doesn't strictly meet the criteria for a controlled crossing, I would like to see a Zebra Crossing installed for increased safety for pedestrians - especially school children coming to and from school."

"Hopefully further measures, including traffic calming throughout The Village and measures to improve the bus turning movements will be included in the re-submitting plans for the proposed development at' The Hawthorns. I am assured by the County Council that we can have the first part of the scheme - a safer crossing point can be in place by September this year for the start of the new school year."



Staffordshire Hoard on tour
 1st July 2011
Staffordshire Hoard on Tour 2011

This summer, discover the secrets of the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, at the Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford. Discover how archaeologists worked in secret to save the Staffordshire Hoard for the nation. Find out how the soil revealed untold mysteries and stories. 2 July - 24 July - 9.30am till 5.00pm daily (Last entry 4.15)

Councillor Simon Tagg said: "It was a great privilege to attend the opening night of the 'Staffordshire Hoard on tour' at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford. The Staffordshire Hoard is an amazing treasure and is already filling in the gaps about the history of Britain in the dark ages. It is also set to put Staffordshire on the map as a tourist destination."



Simon Tagg elected Vice Chairman of Fire Authority

18th May 2011
Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding
Councillor Simon Tagg was today elected as the new Vice Chairman of Stoke & Staffordshire Fire and rescue Authority, he joins Councillor Len Bloomer who was re-elected as Chairman at the Authority's Annual meeting.

Mr Bloomer enters his third year as Chairman whilst Mr Tagg takes over as Vice Chairman from former Councillor Ross Irving.

Simon Tagg who has represented Newcastle on the Authority since 2009 said: “I’m delighted to be elected as Vice Chairman; I take up this new role with the Authority at an important and challenging time, particularly with the on-going programme of new community fire stations across the County."
Len Bloomer added: “I’m honoured to be re-elected as Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority for a third year. I’m confident that we’re in a good position to rise to the challenges ahead and I look forward to another exciting year leading the Authority. I also look forward to working more closely with Cllr Simon Tagg who will take up the position of Vice Chairman.”



Boost For Keele University Science and Business Park

18th May 2011

A Staffordshire County Council commitment to economic prosperity will see a major business investment that will create around 130 high-tech jobs. The County Councils Cabinet today approWebcast Playerved an investment of £6 million into a development at Keele University Science Business Park (KUSBP) near Newcastle. The IC5 development will see 30,000sq ft of office space built for high technology industries. The decision demonstrates the county council’s top priority in ensuring Staffordshire has a bright and secure economic future. (click on the icon, right to view the Cabinet Meeting)

County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Prosperity said the investment marked another milestone in Staffordshire’s economic turnaround. He added: "We are demonstrating where our priority lies – doing all we can to improve the county’s prosperity through private enterprise. KUSBP has been successful to-date in attracting 52 companies which sustain 600 jobs. These are high-value "knowledge" jobs chiefly associated with hi-tech and professional services. These industries are essential to developing a thriving modern economy, as evidenced by the consistently high occupation rates throughout the recession. "This is another success story for Staffordshire and sets us out as a major player in terms of locating high end business, as well as our commitment to work with our universities who play a leading role in important areas of research and technology."

In a written submission to Cabinet, Councillor Simon Tagg who represents Keele & Westlands Division on the County Council said: "Keele University Science and Business Park is key to the future development of businesses and jobs in not only my Division but also in Newcastle and North Staffordshire as a whole. The IC5 will hopefully be the first of many developments on Phase 3 of the Science and Business Park at Keele and which has the potential to deliver high technology, high quality jobs which are so badly needed in Newcastle and North Staffordshire."

This decision comes on the back of the Regional Growth Fund approvals for two projects in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership area. There is already high demand for premises at IC5 with two-thirds of the site already being negotiated with existing firms located at KUSBP. The scheme was given Planning Permission by Newcastle Borough Council in April.



Successful night at the Museum

13th May 2011
Historic characters came to life at a special museum event. The Borough Museum and Art Gallery, in Brampton Park, Newcastle, opened its doors after hours on Friday to mark the national Museums at Night event. Families got the chance to meet Second World War housewives Mrs Cross and Vera, Victorian lady Miss Mosley and Jim the ironmonger's assistant. Visitors had the opportunity to have their photograph taken in period costume, and ride the park's miniature railway train with the North Staffs Model Engineering Society. There was also the chance to go inside the shops in the museum's Victorian street scene, and spend their pennies at the Bizarre Bazaar and feast on a special fish and chip supper at Brampton Cafe.

Local Councillor Simon Tagg, who is a member of the Museums Friends Group said: "It was a very entertaining with visitors of all ages enjoying this special evening at the Borough Museum. I particularly enjoyed going inside the shops and having a look around. The museum is a real gem."




Simon Tagg re-elected!
6th May 2011
Simon Tagg has won the local election in May Bank, Basford & The Brampton polling 1429 votes, an increase of 199 votes from the last time he stood for election in 2007. Simon polled 907 votes more than the Labour Candidate in second place. He will now serve another 4 years representing the area on Newcastle Borough Council.

Simon Tagg said: "I would like to thank the people of May Bank, Basford & The Brampton for their support in the election. To get such a large number of votes and to increase my vote from last time is amazing. I would like to also thank my local team that helped me to victory - in particular fellow Councillors Ian Matthews and James Bannister and my father John Tagg."

May Bank Result

Candidate Party Votes % of Vote
Simon Tagg Con 1426 66.5%
Stephen Harrison Lab 519 24.2%
Malcolm Henshall Lib Dem 83 3.9%
Dean Page UKIP 117 5.5%

Across the Borough the Conservatives lost 3 seats. Simon Tagg Said: "The results overall were disappointing and unfortunately reflects a lack of organisation and political nous that as thrown away the hard fought gains of recent years. We had a number of good candidates to which the local party did not give adequate support."

Vote For Simon Tagg
3rd May 2011


LOCAL ACTION - all year round

Low Council Tax

Simon Tagg has consistently kept your Council Tax low. This year bills have been frozen - meaning no increase at all! 

Protecting and Improving local green spaces

Simon Tagg has successfully campaigned to protect and deliver improvements to local green spaces including The Marsh and  Brampton Park.

Targeting litter

Simon Tagg is targeting litter hotspots in the area and works to get them cleaned up.

Pothole Patrol

Simon Tagg is constantly reports potholes for repair and gullies for cleaning.




Big Clean up is just the job
9th April 2011

The Upper Marsh & RangemoreTerrace; the lengths of Oxford Road, Basford Park Road, top of Alexandra Road, Brampton Road and May Bank High Street.

A second Big Clean litter pick will be held next Saturday, the 9th April 2011.  

Councillor Simon Tagg said: " This is a great way for local residents to get involved and supplement the regular litter picking that is already carried out by the Council. For those wishing to come along next Saturday, all equipment for the litter pick will be provided. Please wear warm clothes and sensible walking shoes!"

Local residents who wish to join next weeks litter pick are asked to meet at 10 am on Upper Marsh car park (by the recycling centre) off May Bank High Street. The event is scheduled to end at 12 noon.

For more information on how to take part please contact Councillor Simon Tagg on 07768 440380  

Litter collected from the Big Clean will be recycled by Newcastle Borough Council. Below is a selection of pictures from Saturday's litter pick.





Historic mining books presented to Museum
 7th April 2011

Historic mining books were presented to Council Leader Simon Tagg at an official handing over ceremony at Newcastle Museum and Art Gallery on 7th April. Two volumes of the books were presented by The North Staffordshire Mining History Group (NSMHG) - one will be based at the museum and the other will be given to Newcastle Library. A grant of £150 from Councillor Tagg's Staffordshire Local Community Fund has made this donation possible and recognition of the grant has been included within the historic books.  

Jim Worgan of NSMHG said: “We promised we would use the money to convert our existing website into a book format and make them available to local libraries and archives. “We also wanted local schools to be aware of the website and be able to use this valuable resource when learning about industries found in our local area.” 

Council Leader Simon Tagg said:  “I am delighted to accept this piece of local history on behalf of the Borough, which will sit alongside our existing mining displays at the museum. Schoolchildren and residents will be able to find out more about the local mining community and how it contributed to the history of Newcastle, a major mining town at the height of the Industrial Revolution.”




Pothole Patrol Continues
26th March 2011

As part of our Spring Patrol we are keeping a regular watch out for potholes on our roads & pavements and will report them to Staffordshire County Council for infilling.

This weekend Simon Tagg was joined by Thistleberry Conservative Candidate Adam Carney (pictured right) on Pothole Patrol in the Westlands & Thistleberry area,

Join our Pothole Patrol! If you notice any potholes, please report them on: 0300 111 8000 This is also where you can report blocked grids, gullies and defective street lighting.




Simon Tagg joins Newcastle's White Watch!
23rd March 2011
Councillor Simon Tagg spend the afternoon with firefighters based at Newcastle Fire Station. Cllr Tagg was kitted out with the appropriate fire gear and accompanied firefighters on White Watch as they attended a grass fire in Apedale (pictured right) and will also carried out Home Fire Risk Checks in the local community with crews.

Station Manager, Andy Kinsman said: “It is important for our fire authority members to understand the job we do and the best way for them to do that is to join us! Cllr Tagg got a taster of life as a firefighter on Wednesday, including interacting with members of the local community and local businesses.” To book a free Home Fire Risk Check contact: 0800 0241 999.  You can also book online at http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp. For all other non emergency enquiries contact: 08451 22 11 55 or log onto: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/firekills. In an emergency dial 999.

Cllr Tagg Said: "The Fire and Rescue Service plays a crucial role in protecting the residents of Newcastle. I observed the work of our firefighters first hand and also took part in the important fire prevention work carried out by the service."




Simon Tagg standing for re-election in May Bank, Basford & The Brampton

 7th March 2011

Simon Tagg has been selected to stand for May Bank, Basford & The Brampton in the local elections on May 5th 2011. Cllr Tagg has represented the area on Newcastle Borough Council since 2003 and grow up in May Bank and has run a business in the area for many years.

Simon Tagg said: "I am looking forward to the coming election and meeting voters. Many of them of course will be old friends but I hope also to meet people that are new to the area and tell them of the work I have been doing for the local area over the last few years."

Fellow Councillor Ian Matthews said: “ Simon has done a great job and I am pleased he is standing again. Please give Simon your support in May.”

Simon Tagg has also announced that he will be stepping down as Leader of Newcastle Borough Council in May after 5 years at the helm.

Cllr Tagg said: “Over the last few months I have been reviewing my personal situation and future plans and I have decided not to put my name forward for the leadership of the Council following the local elections in May. I am seeking re-election as a borough councillor for the May Bank Ward in the forthcoming elections, I shall also continue to be a Staffordshire County Councillor and the Fire Authority’s lead member for Newcastle. The budget setting process for 2011/12 has now been successfully completed so I felt this was the right time to make my announcement.”

During his years as Leader of the borough council, it has:-

Cllr. Tagg Added: “It has been a privilege to lead the borough council and oversee some of the huge changes which have been made to improve the quality of services that we deliver for local residents. Ours is a great council with a lot of hard-working and talented people involved with it and I am sure it will continue on its journey towards excellence.”



Wulstan Drive parking problems to be addressed
25th February 2011

Residents in Wulstan Drive in May Bank have suffered from many years from inconsiderate parking by workers from the various businesses operating in The Brampton. In recent months the parking problems have continued to get worse and May Bank Councillor Simon Tagg asked for the issue to be addressed by Staffordshire County Council’s Parking Committee. 

Councillor Simon Tagg Said: “I am pleased to report that at its meeting on Monday 14 February the Committee agreed to make the problem a priority for the coming financial year. For a long time cars have blocked-up the two service roads preventing proper access for residents, the Council’s Refuse Collectors and Recycling Collectors.  Recently the problems have switched to the main road with increasing numbers of cars parked throughout the day, some dangerously close to the Sandy Lane roundabout and the junctions of the service road.”

Fellow May Bank Councillor James Bannister said: “Letters of complaint have been sent by residents, Councillors and the Police to local businesses complaining about this long running problems but these have fallen on deaf ears. The previous Labour County Councillor for the area promised action on many occasions - but failed to deliver.” 

Last Autumn in an attempt ease the problem Newcastle Borough Council approached The Royal Bank of Scotland, who have their HQ in Brampton Road, about them acquiring a small strip of land behind the RBS building with the possibility of creating extra parking.  After showing initial interest they later declined. We would like to stress that is not the field directly adjacent to Sandy Lane roundabout.

Councillor Tagg added: “Following the County Council’s decision, they have confirmed to that they will carry out the necessary assessment of the problem before issuing a report outlining possible solutions. I  would like to assure residents that I will continue to press them to deliver a resolution to the parking issues."



Land Sales go for Scrutiny

24th February 2011

Outline planning applications for housing developments that are linked to the borough council’s surplus land disposal plans have been put on hold while the scheme is reviewed. Planning specialists URS/Scott Wilson will not submit any applications relating to land that features in the Newcastle Development Programme until the review is completed. The decision comes following the Full Council’s decision on Wednesday night to examine the development programme through the scrutiny process.

It means applications for schemes at Repton Drive and Winchester Drive – which were due to be discussed by the planning committee on Tuesday, 8 March – have subsequently been withdrawn. Full Council had previously given the green light, in principle, for the disposal of seven pieces of council-owned land that are surplus to requirements because of the amount of open space available nearby. The remaining sites are situated at Clayton Road in the Westlands, Pennyfields Road, Kidsgrove; Clayhanger Close, Bradwell; Shrewsbury Drive, Chesterton; and Thomas Street, Talke. The aim is to sell the land with outline planning permission for housing to meet local needs.

Neale Clifton, Executive Director for Regeneration and Development, said: “Delaying the submission of planning applications does not mean that any sites have been removed from the Newcastle Development Programme. The message from the Full Council meeting was clear – a number of councillors wish to understand the rationale for the programme before any decision is made to go ahead with the sale of sites. The scrutiny committee will be made up of councillors from all parties and will meet in the coming months to review the information before advising Cabinet of their findings.”

The development programme is designed to deliver best value for council taxpayers, generate capital funding for future investments, enable further regeneration and provide a range of housing to meet local needs. Money generated from sales would be ploughed into the council’s capital programme, which has funded major recent schemes such as the new cemetery at Keele and the refurbishment of Lancaster Building and the Guildhall.



Spring Patrol hits the streets

11th February 2011

Local Councillors are out & about  this Spring reporting potholes & highways maintenance issues and  litter hot spots in the area. Councillor Simon Tagg said: "We are also keeping an eye on community issues that local people have told us matter to them. We are also looking for volunteers to help us. Our activities include:

Potholes, defective Streetlights & blocked gullies - We will be keeping a regular watch out for potholes on our roads & pavements and will report them to Staffordshire County Council for infilling. Join our Pothole Patrol! If you notice any potholes, please report them on: 0300 111 8000 This is also where you can report blocked grids, gullies and defective street lighting.  

Litter, graffiti, fly tipping & dog dirt  - As part of our Big Clean we are looking to organise extra litter picking and clean-ups in hot spot areas. If you would like to get involved contact Simon Tagg on 07768 440380. To report general litter, graffiti, fly tipping & dog dirt call: Streetscene on 742500.  

Cars for sale on the highway & inconsiderate parking - Local Councillors can now issue warning notice on cars for sale on the highway.  We are targeting hot spots such as Lower Oxford Road and the Upper Marsh car park. These cars are not only illegal but also taking up parking spaces that could be used by local people. Please contact us if you see any. We will report matters of inconsiderate parking and obstruction to the relevant authorities: Council Parking Wardens and the local Police.  Contact telephone numbers : Clear streets (Council) on 742500  Police: 0300 123 4455." 



Open Evening Thursday 3rd February
1st February 2011

Local Councillors are holding an open evening on Thursday (3/2/11) at May Bank Infants School. This is a opportunity for residents from May Bank, Basford & The Brampton to raise any concerns they may have about the local community.

Doors open at 5 pm. The evening ends at 7pm.

Councillor Simon Tagg said: " I would like to invite local residents from May Bank, Basford & The Brampton to come along and have a coffee and a chat about anything that may concern them."  

Thursdays event follows on from a similar open morning held at St Mark's Church Hall, Basford in the run up to Christmas.

Councillor Ian Matthews said: "Events like this are a great way to keep in touch with the local community. We picked up many council related issue from our open morning in December (pictured below)."







Splash of colour for Upper Marsh
29th January 2011

Local Councillors have been out and about planting daffodil bulbs on Upper Marsh, May Bank. Councillor's Simon Tagg & Ian Matthews and Ian's son Adam were joined by children and organisers from the Marsh Hall Community Centre Youth Club to plant over 1400 daffodil bulbs.

The initiative to bring a splash of Spring colour to this popular part of the Marsh was led by local Councillors, who in association with Wolstanton Marsh Environmental Group applied to the Council for the bulbs and submitting a planting plan for approval.

Councillor Simon Tagg said: "The bulbs will add a wonderful splash of colour to Upper Marsh. Daffodils were planted by the path, the car park and the traffic lights so hopfully the maximum amount of people will get enjoyment out of seeing them."

Councillor Ian Matthews added: "In the Spring there should be a good show of daffodils. I'd like to thank the children from the youth club for their help with planting the bulbs." 




Council Tax set to be frozen
27th January 2011

Newcastle Borough Council is considering a range of proposals which would result in no rise in what the borough asks from households to pay for local services.

Council Leader Simon Tagg the budget proposals would be scrutinised by elected members before being put to a meeting of the full council on 23 February to formally set the budget and Council Tax levels for next year. But he added: “The message from the Cabinet is a positive one for residents. We are aware of how difficult many local people are finding things in the current economic situation and we are doing our bit by not putting up what we ask them to pay for the many services the borough council provides. “Over the last few years we have developed a Medium Term Financial Strategy which plots the way ahead for this council in a very prudent and measured way. We have been planning for some time for a reduction in funding and that is why we are now in a position where, despite a tough financial settlement from the Government as it tries to balance the nation’s books, we are still looking to maintain excellent services without shedding lots of staff.”

The Leader revealed job losses in the year ahead are likely to be “minimal” and nothing on the scale of those seen at many neighbouring councils. He said: “Local government has had a reduction in the money it receives and we have to live within our means. Our challenge is to use what we have got in the most effective way which results in quality services provided for our residents.”

Deputy Leader Robin Studd said: “Our approach has been to ensure we protect front line services without passing on the financial buck to residents.  Through careful forward planning we are proposing measures in the budget which should accomplish this aim.” He said residents should not notice any change in the way the borough council delivers its services as a result of measures outlined in the budget.



Views wanted on housing plans

24th January 2011

Residents will be asked for their views on plans to provide vacant land for housing. Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has given the green light for the disposal of sites at Clayton Road, Repton Drive and Winchester Drive at the Westlands.

These areas are owned and maintained by the borough council but have been identified as surplus to requirements because of the amount of open space available nearby. The sites would be only be sold after outline planning permission for housing has been gained. Households living nearby have received information about the plans and public consultation events for residents who may be affected by developments in Clayton Road are planned for March.

Cllr. Robin Studd, Cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: "The borough council has a duty to provide best value for council taxpayers and is committed to creating a sustainable borough. "Releasing spare land in this way reduces unnecessary expenditure while helping to provide a greater choice of new housing for local people. "There is also less funding available from regeneration organisations so the council has to be self-sufficient and find other ways of securing money to pay for major investments in the future."

  For more information, contact Kim Graham, Principal Regeneration Officer, on 01782 742465 or visit www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk


Councillors back residents over Gower Street application 

21st January 2011

May Bank Ward Councillors Simon Tagg, Ian Matthews & James Bannister are backing local residents in The Brampton area in their fight against a planning application.  A change of use from a residential institution to offices plus associated works for new parking bays on existing hard standing and removal of a fence to create a gated vehicle access is proposed  at ‘The Little House’, Gower Street, Newcastle. Local Councillors are supporting representations made by local residents living close to the proposed development.

Cllr Simon Tagg said: "It is felt that the proposed change of use is not in line with the policies of the Brampton Conservation Area (namely Policy 1 relating to intensification of existing uses and the introduction of further non-residential use in the area; and Policy 11 relating to car parking). There are concerns around parking problems both in Gower Street and Granville Avenue, these have been an issue for many years and residents are concerned that the suggested vehicle access from Gower Street into the grounds of The Birches will reduce existing on-street parking spaces and cause even more parking problems for residents than is already the case. Also visits by clients to the premises could cause an outflow onto Gower Street and Granville Avenue."

Cllr Ian Matthews said: "We have also received numerous complaints from local residents in this area in connection with anti-social behaviour caused by some children who reside at The Birches. We attended a meeting recently where this matter was addressed. 

Cllr James Bannister added:  "The concern to residents is that if a new vehicle entrance was allowed on Gower Street there is a possibility the children would use this new entrance and it would again become a focal point for anti-social behaviour.

The Councillors have wrote a letter of representation to Staffordshire County Council.


Watchdogs praise for Borough Council

19th January 2011

Council leaders have welcomed an official report from the Audit Commission which praises the way services are delivered for residents. The Annual Audit Letter from the Government appointed financial watchdog looks at how the council performed during 2009/10.
District Auditor Grant Patterson’s report says the council has “continued to focus on delivering good value services in areas that matter to local people.” Cabinet members meet on Wednesday 26 January to formally receive its contents. In his letter to the borough council, Mr Patterson says: “You have continued to focus on delivering good value services in areas that matter to local people. You have improved your performance management arrangements and have tackled cases of under performance, for example in waste and recycling services. “You have prioritised the use of cost and performance information across all of your key services so that you are able to report to local residents on value for money.” The District Auditor goes on to acknowledge the fact that the council has clear priorities detailed in its Corporate Plan which sets out how it will deliver its mission statement - “making the borough a better place to live, work and invest.”
Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “This praise from the Audit Commission is yet another reflection of all the hard work that everyone associated with the borough council is putting in to deliver excellent, value for money services for local residents.” Cllr. Tagg added: “The District Auditor makes reference in his Audit Letter to challenging times ahead and how councils and other public services will need to work both harder and smarter. “I think this report shows we have the pedigree to do that as we strive to make the efficiencies and savings required in the years ahead while maintaining a high level of services for residents.”


Jubilee 2 takes shape

15th January 2011

Newcastle's new State-of-the-art Swimming Pool and Health & wellbeing Centre is taking shape on it's Brunswick Street site. The facilities will include a 25 metre swimming pool, training pool, fitness centre, health suite, climbing centre, two studios, a children’s interactive activity zone, exhibition space and a café. Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has this week revealed that the £10.5 million facility in Brunswick Street, which will open before the end of the year, and will be called Jubilee 2".

The name has been chosen from more than 100 suggestions from leisure customers, residents and council staff following a consultation in the council’s newspaper, the Reporter. Other ideas considered by a project board overseeing the multimillion pound development included “Castle Olympia”, “Invigorate” and “N-U-Life”.

Councillor Wenslie Naylon, Cabinet member for culture and active communities, said: “I would like to thank the creative residents who came forward with their excellent ideas. We felt that ‘Jubilee 2’ was the best choice because it is short and snappy, easy to remember and is also a nod to the borough’s leisure heritage.”

Council Leader Simon Tagg added: “I’m delighted that Jubilee 2 has now been given an identity. Jubilee Pool was named after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 so we thought it would be fitting to mark her Diamond Jubilee next year in the same way.”


Timely financial advice for residents
12th January 2011

Residents are invited to benefit from a free financial advice session which goes ahead in Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre this month. Representatives from local groups will be at the Roebuck shopping centre on Friday, 21 January from 10am to 3pm.

Anyone who is experiencing financial difficulties can talk to the Chatterbox team, who will give advice and help and point people in the direction of other organisations who can provide further support. Chatterbox comprises Aspire Housing, Moneyline, the Staffordshire Credit Union and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Officers from Beat the Cold and Warm Zone will give tips on saving energy and cutting fuel bills.

The event is being organised by the Newcastle Partnership, which consists of a number of organisations in the borough, and Newcastle Borough Council.

Simon Tagg, borough council Leader and chair of the Newcastle Partnership executive board, said: “Many families may become stretched financially over the festive season. This is a way of getting constructive help and advice, rather than residents resorting to loan sharks, who charge excessive rates of interest.”


Council spending explained

7th January 2011

The Capital the Council has available to spend comes from many sources such as: proceeds from sales of land & assets, Government grants and developer contributions relating to planning applications. This money has been used to fund schemes across all areas of the Borough and adds up to a significant investment in the local infrastructure for the benefit of local residents.  It has helped to secure the future of historical buildings, generate regular revenue income for the Council, helps local businesses as well as enhancing community facilities and improving Council services. 

The Council has an ongoing Capital Programme and is seeking to supplement the capital fund by further disposal of surplus land assets, applying for Government grants and seeking further developer contributions. Details of the past Capital spending along with information about the Council’s future spending plans, is freely accessible to the public from a number of sources including the Council's website: www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/ and is published yearly in the Council's budget papers.    



Key financial information available to residents

 15th December 2010

Residents can now access key information about Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council at the click of a button. People will be able to see details of individual payments of more than £500 made to council suppliers by logging on to the council's website. Information will also be given on the salaries, roles and responsibilities of senior officers at the council. The details will be available for the first time from 15 December with information on payments to suppliers updated every month. Residents can see which executive directors oversee a range of council services.
The information is being made available as the council aims to achieve greater openness in its financial business in response to the new Government’s call for transparency.
Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “Our residents provide the council with a significant amount of money that is then spent on providing services - it's important that residents are aware of where their money is going. It's vital that we are open when it comes to the payments that we make to suppliers and to the officers who work at the council.”
Cllr. Helen Morris, Cabinet member for resources and efficiency, said: “We are a publicly funded organisation and we have a duty to residents to be transparent in all that we do.”
To see the details click: www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/transparency
Cllr.Tagg added "The council's website is also the place where resident can review the Revenue Budget and Capital spending dating back to 2006. They can also see our financial plans for the next 3 years."


Young Artists design Leaders festive card

8th December 2010

Young artists have displayed their talents by creating a Christmas card for Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council Leader Simon Tagg. Three designs by youngsters from Hempstalls Primary School, Cross Heath, will be featured on the card which is being sent to local organisations and Prime Minister David Cameron. The Leader will pay a visit to the school on Friday, 10 December when he will present gift cards to the prize-winning artists.
Lewis Iszak, aged eight, is the winner of the competition, with nine-year-old Samuel Anderson in second place and Alisha Hughes, eight, taking the third spot.
Cllr. Tagg said: "Each year pupils from a different local school help me to create my Christmas card and I have been really impressed by the children’s artistic achievements. This time the entries have been better than ever and it was a difficult job to select our winners."
Samuel Anderson's design is also being used by the borough council's executive directors who will be sending an electronic card to partner organisations.



A fresh start for Kidsgrove Fire Station

18th November 2010

The new £2.9 million fire station in Kidsgrove, which will come complete with community facilities, is due to open in September 2011. The appliance and the 16 retained firefighters, who work at the station, are now operating out of temporary accommodation, located on site. Emergency response will continue as usual.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Bob Russell said: "The demolition work does signify the end of an era but also the start of a new one. This new station will be far from a ‘traditional’ fire station – instead of just being a response base, it has been specifically designed to allow for the integration of the community within the station.
"Several years ago these new community fire stations were just a vision, now they are becoming a reality."
Fire and Rescue Authority member Cllr Simon Tagg added: "The community fire stations project is certainly picking up pace now, with Kidsgrove being ninth in a line of ten stations set to be built. It’s very exciting to think that next September we will be throwing our doors open to the people of Kidsgrove.
"This really will be a state of the art community station that will be the envy of other fire and rescue services across the country."
Funding for the new station has come from a multi million private finance initiative (PFI) project. The consortium delivering the project is called Fire Support (see Notes to Editor 1) and construction company, Thomas Vale, have been contracted to carry out the build at Kidsgrove
Paul Clarke, Divisional Director at Thomas Vale commented: "The plans for the new fire station at Kidsgrove are now on the way to becoming a reality. When complete, the community will have a fire station that is fit for the 21st century that will enable firefighters to work in a flexible way that is for the ultimate benefit of citizens through better service delivery."
Preparation work by the contractors, Thomas Vale, started on the site at the start of October. After the demolition phase, actual construction on the new station will commence.
In the coming months the fire and rescue service will be asking for contributions from the local community, to place in a time capsule, set to be buried in the grounds of the station. Anyone who is interested in contributing should contact Station Manager, Rich Williams on 01785 898594



Garden waste service takes a Christmas breakGarden waste
11th November 2010

Newcastle Borough Council has announced that garden waste collections will be suspended for 6 weeks (i.e. 3 consecutive 'green week' collections) for all properties in the Borough.  The collections finish in the fortnight commencing 29th November and ending on 10th December. Collections restart fortnight as normal commencing 24th January. Residents will be receiving a notification leaflet a week prior to their final collection, so that they have time to fill their bins before the Christmas break starts.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: "There will be a break in garden waste collections for six weeks this winter. This is because there is a short time in the coldest part of the year when nothing much grows in the garden. Three consecutive collections of garden waste on green week will not take place. Other collection services will continue as normal"



 Gritting updates on Twitter

10th November 2010

Motorists can get ahead of the game this winter, thanks to Staffordshire County Council's Twitter page. Throughout the winter, the council will be giving regular updates on weather conditions and highways action via its own Twitter page. The updates will include the areas where officers will be gritting and any expected adverse conditions such as ice and snow.
This is the first time the council has given regular updates on gritting activity, including times and general areas where roads will be gritted. Updates will be made when there are adverse conditions that require gritting activity. If no action is needed, no update will be posted. The updates are intended to give motorists some of the information they need to plan their journeys.

County Councillor Mike Maryon, Cabinet Member for Highway said: "Twitter is a great tool for giving people timely updates on any kind of activity, so using it to give updates to motorists on weather conditions is a logical step forward. Planning is essential when making journeys in adverse conditions, and we are hoping the updates on Twitter will help motorists make an informed decision. However, it is worth noting that even on gritted roads people will still need to exercise extra caution. The message is a clear one to motorists - you must take extra care when driving in winter conditions and avoid travelling if possible when the weather's really bad."

Follow the council at http://twitter.com/StaffordshireCC/ and click on #staffstwitgrit to get the latest updates.

Council selects new Chief Executive
25th October 2010

John Sellgren has been offered the vacant Chief Executive’s post at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council. Mr Sellgren, currently the Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Hertfordshire County Council, was selected after a rigorous recruitment process which saw dozens of applicants from across the country apply for the job.

He was offered the post after Wednesday's meeting of the Boroughs Full Council. Council leaders welcomed his recruitment and said they believed he would work with elected members to continue to drive forward the improvement and transformation agenda at the authority which resulted in Newcastle-under-Lyme receiving the accolade of the most improved council in the country last year. The Chief Officer Appointments, Review and Appeals Panel unanimously agreed to offer Mr Sellgren the post following the completion of final interviews yesterday.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said afterwards: “The shortlist of candidates was of a very high calibre which is a reflection of the reputation which our council has managed to build on the national stage. We are now looking forward to welcoming John to the council and are confident he will do a terrific job as we continue our efforts to make this borough a great place to live, work, visit and do business.”

Deputy Leader Robin Studd added: “We are confident that John will bring the necessary drive, enthusiasm and ability to lead the officers at the council; to work closely with elected members and also to develop the key partnerships and relationships which will be required to keep pushing our borough forward.”


Partners launch community pride event
26th October 2010

Partner organisations are joining forces to clean up their local areas in a community pride event.  The Newcastle Partnership clean-up will go ahead in May Bank on Wednesday, 27 October; Bradwell and Porthill on Thursday, 28 October and Wolstanton & May Bank on Friday, 29 October.

Litter picks, gulley cleansing and highway repairs will take place, as well as removal of fly-tipping, graffiti and abandoned vehicles. Fire safety will also be promoted and there will be a focus on road safety and community safety measures as well as dog warden patrols.

Partners involved in the event, organised by the East Newcastle Local Action Partnership, include Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Aspire Housing, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. The event will be launched by borough councillor John Cooper at St. WuIstan's Community Centre, Wolstanton, at 9.30am on 27 October. Skips for household items will be located at Shendon Court flats, Bradwell, and St. Barnabas' Church, Bradwell, on 28 October.

Cllr. Cooper said: "Residents are also welcome to come to St. WuIstan's Community Centre on 29 October from 10am to 3pm for financial advice. The 'Chatterbox' team will chat to people about any money problems they may be having and offer advice and help."

The Illegal Money Lending team will also offer a local Staffordshire Credit Union savings initiative when 50 people will receive a £20 bonus if they save for three months.

Borough council Leader Simon Tagg, who is also a May Bank councillor, said: "This event gives residents a great opportunity to find out more about a range of local services and gain valuable financial advice."



Simon Tagg: Staffordshire Local Community Fund spend 2010-2011 (so far)

26th October 2010

Group Project Amount
The Art Fund  Funding towards keeping the Staffordshire Hoard  £1,000.00
The Coppice School  Funding towards supply cover for teachers, resource aids for communications and transport for students with autistic spectrum disorder to maximise their potential in the Newcastle and surrounding areas which will support local shopkeepers and business  £2,575.00
Staffordshire Fire Ceremonial Squad  Funding towards transport & uniforms for local, national & international ceremonial squad   £100.00
Altogether Company  Funding towards workshops for youngsters aged 13-19 developing business ideas through to products, giving responsibility, achievement, communication teamwork presentation skills & self confidence providing speakers & visits to local businesses within divisions of Newcastle   £750.00
North Staffs Special Adventure Playground  Funding towards the provision of school summer holiday play scheme for children with disabilities and special needs  £1,000.00
Leek Town Under 15's  Funding towards football kits, footballs, training equipment & pitch hire for the U 15's boys team at Roe Lane Newcastle   £900.00
Stoke Rowing Association Trentham Boat Club  Funding towards ergo rowing machines to assist in training younger children year 5 & 6 moving on to Clayton Hall & to using the training aids  £1,000.00
Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society  Funding towards outside radio equipment for staffordshire Adults Autistic Society  £1,500.00


Cash boost for new swimming pool
22nd October 2010

A major sports development in Newcastle town centre has been given a cash boost after Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council secured £400,000 of National Lottery funding.  The money from Sport England will be used to progress the borough council’s Health and Wellbeing Centre in Brunswick Street. Contractor Morgan Sindall – a leading UK construction and regeneration group – began work on the £12 million centre last month. Construction workers have placed hoarding up around the site, set up a compound and are currently preparing the ground for building.

Cllr. Wenslie Naylon, Cabinet member for culture and active communities, said: “I’m delighted that we have received this substantial funding. Sport England focuses its investment on projects that will grow and sustain participation in grassroots sport, to create a world-leading community sport environment. It shows just how highly regarded our health and wellbeing centre is and what an asset it will be when it opens.”

Facilities will include a 25m swimming pool, a training pool with moveable floor, fitness centre, climbing centre, two studios, a children’s interactive activity zone, exhibition space and a café. Environmentally friendly features will include solar panels on the roof, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and a combined heat and power unit. The centre will replace Jubilee Pool and Knutton Recreation Centre.

Dave Long, Sport England’s West Midlands Champion for Community Sport, said: “Newcastle-under-Lyme’s new Health and Wellbeing Centre will be an important addition to the sporting opportunities in the area - bringing state-of-the-art facilities right to residents’ doorsteps. For the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire more people to play sport, we need high quality facilities such as this where people can keep playing and enjoying sport for years to come. Sport England is delighted to be investing in the centre so that more people can make sport and being active a part of their daily lives.”

Borough Council Leader Simon Tagg added: “It’s excellent news that we have been awarded this great sum of money. Work is now well underway and is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2011.”

NHS North Staffordshire has also contributed £500,000 towards the scheme.


Free Christmas parking boost for Town Centre
22nd October 2010

Parking will be free in Newcastle after Council leaders have agreed to extend free parking in Newcastle town centre in the run up to Christmas. From 22 November, drivers will be able to park for nothing:-

• On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2pm.
• On Saturdays from 2 pm.
• On Sundays all day.
• Free all day Saturday on King Street by Borough Arms.

Discussions have taken place with the Chamber of Trade and Enterprise over the proposals which have been extended from last year.

Cllr. David Becket, whose Cabinet responsibilities include car park management, said: “We feel that the proposals represent a reasonable balance between supporting the interests of town centre businesses on the one hand whilst minimising the impact of lost income to the council on the other.We introduced a similar free parking initiative in Newcastle last year and it was very successful. We have decided to extend that initiative to include Saturday afternoons at car parks in the town centre and all day free parking on a Saturday at the King Street/Borough Arms car park.”

Council Leader Simon Tagg added: “We understand the difficult position that many traders find themselves in at the moment. We are listening to them and trying to do what we can to help. Although the council will lose parking revenue during this period, we believe it is the right thing to do to help businesses. Hopefully, residents will get behind the initiative and come to do their festive shopping in Newcastle town centre.”

Andrew Rosser, President of Newcastle Chamber of Trade and Enterprise, said: “Traders are going through a difficult spell and any help which we can get will be gratefully received. It is important that people on the front line, such as the retailers and market traders, are listened to and are part of any discussions to tackle issues in the town centre. We hope that people will come into town and support the shops and market traders over the coming weeks and experience for themselves all the good things that Newcastle town centre has to offer.”

The borough council and traders are also involved in other Christmas initiatives for Newcastle town centre. Almost £100,000 will be spent on Christmas lights, trees and energy costs this year by the borough council. And traders have stepped in to organise a festive lights switch-on event on 24 November to mark the start of late-night festive opening for shops.They are promising a variety of entertainment and fun for families.



Council is prepared for funding challenge
20th October 2010

Leaders at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council are confident that they can balance their budgets in the wake of the Government's long-awaited spending review. Chancellor George Osborne has today revealed that councils in England will face budget reductions of 7.1 per cent a year over the next four years. Councillors at Newcastle feel they are well prepared for the challenge.

Cllr. Helen Morris, Cabinet member for resources and efficiency, said: “Our council has had a Medium Term Financial Strategy in place for a number of years and the careful forward planning that goes into producing this strategy has helped us to plot a prudent financial course. We have already taken around £4.1 million out of our revenue budgets in the last few years, yet at the same time we have continued to improve the council as well as investing in our priorities and agreeing some of the lowest percentage rises in Council Tax ever seen in the borough.”

The whole of the public sector is being affected by the spending review, which has been put in place as the country faces an unprecedented level of debt.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “I am fully in support of the Government as it attempts to get the economy on to a sound footing. For many months now we have been working hard at the council to consider smarter ways of working which will help us to save substantial amounts of money - and this process is still going on.”



Preparing for the Winter
13th October 2010

Statement from Staffordshire County Council

As we move into the darker and colder months, Here is an update on the latest developments in Staffordshire’s highways operation for this coming winter. In simple terms our objective is to focus very clearly on protecting the vulnerable and keeping our highway network open for business, supporting the economy. And we have some exciting plans to harness local communities to help themselves, so please keep reading to find out how you fit into the picture. But first here’s a quick roundup of the preparations that are underway.
Last year was one of the worst winters for over 30 years. This was compounded by a national shortage of road salt. We had to cut back our salting routes to A and B routes only, to conserve salt stocks and keep the show on the road. We kept going when other councils ran out. It was tough year and the team have been working on a series of initiatives learning from last years challenges.
This year we have more than doubled our salt stocks to 30,000 tonnes, ready for this season’s challenges. That’s 20 days worth running at full tilt. The salt will last for years covered by protective sheeting if untouched, so even if this winter is mild, the grit will not go to waste. An extra bonus is the fact that the county council won’t be forced to pay highly inflated prices for salt if there is a severe winter.
We have 12 new gritters reinforcing the operation; scheduled replacements for equipment that has reached its sell by date. Our teams are out now checking all our equipment to make sure it is ready for action in time for the first frost.
We are extending pre-wet salt technology to use 30% less salt through improved performance, meaning we can do more for less. We are also providing a core bus network plan to ensure key bus services keep moving. And we will be prioritising footpath treatment more effectively.
We are making great strides at Staffordshire County Council in refocusing our services on the community, and delivering maximum value for money. The local link from parish through local county councillors has really helped in planning ahead through our divisional highways strategies. In this year’s national Highways and Transport Survey Staffordshire was rated in the top three counties in delivering winter maintenance.
We are operating well above the national average in delivering winter highway services. But we cannot deliver services to 100% of the community on demand. We grit 43% of the county’s roads, which is much higher than the national average with our neighbouring counties only gritting around 25% but we still have not got the capacity to treat all roads and we all need to manage expectations. With over 3,500 miles of road and 5,000 miles of pavements, we have to make difficult choices and prioritise. Resources will always be constrained. But working together we can make a huge difference.
Our teams are now out filling up our network of 1,200 grit bins to help communities help themselves in tackling those areas we simply can’t reach. This salt is to help keep pavements and roads clear. But last year we had reports of people taking the salt for their own drives.
Cooperation with District Councils ‘Street Scene’ will be sought as last year, which worked particularly well in the north of the county. But we can only do so much and where we can’t deliver a service directly, we want to help people who want club together to make a difference in their street or village.
Staffordshire County Council’s highways team will support Local Volunteer groups, providing them with advice, information and salt. But these groups will only come together through the contacts and abilities of experienced local community organisers, like the Parish Councils, Neighbourhood Watch Groups, or other community organisations.
We will be able to attract volunteer via our volunteers’ campaign to feed through to local initiative.
Information is the key to getting people on board and this winter we will be providing daily updates to the public on the daily road conditions and our frost, ice and snow action programme. The information will go live each afternoon on our website
www.staffordshire.gov.uk . All our winter gritting routes and general safer winter driving information can also be found on the website. If you want a hard copy just give the team a ring on 0300 111 8020.


Governments decision against Tesco expansion welcomed

 7th October 2010

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has welcomed today’s announcement that plans to increase the size of a Tesco store will not go ahead. A Government planning inspector has thrown out a scheme to extend the company’s Trent Vale supermarket following a public inquiry. Tesco wanted to replace the current building with a new store, built on stilts with car parking underneath that would have stocked a wider range of consumer goods many of which are currently sold by shops in Newcastle town centre.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council granted planning permission in September 2009 against its own planning policy and despite objections from the borough council who felt the move would “seriously harm the viability of Newcastle town centre”. The decision was subsequently called in and the Secretary of State for Planning and Development for an enquiry.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “I’m delighted with the decision, which is a victory for common sense. Our major concern was that a development of the size and scale which Tesco had proposed would seriously damage businesses just a short distance away in Newcastle town centre.”

Deputy Leader Robin Studd, added: “The borough council felt the Tesco proposal would have been a disaster for the future viability of our town centre. We’re already working hard with businesses who are feeling the impact of the recession. This development could have been the final nail in the coffin for many of them.”



Borough Museum has a bright future

1st October 2010

Politicians and directors at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council rolled up their sleeves to spend a day in the shoes of operational staff. Council Leader Simon Tagg experienced a morning at the Borough Museum and Art Gallery. Where he helped to stage an educational school visit, plan a promotional leaflet and select suitable photographs for the council’s 2011 calendar.

The Museum & Art Gallery is situated in Brampton Park less than half a mile from the town centre and features over 800 years of Borough history. Set in beautiful parkland it has something for everyone. Alongside temporary exhibitions programme there are galleries depicting the rich and diverse history of the Borough. Highlights include our Victorian Street scene, which allows you to take a step back in time as you discover the wares of Mellard’s the ironmongers, the treasures of the pawnbroker’s shop, the fascinating cures of the chemist’s and the gruesome collection of doctor’s surgical instruments.

The toys gallery is a firm favourite with young and old alike with teddies, dolls and games up to 150 years old. Whilst our 1930s/40s house allows a glimpse into what life was like during the wartime years. As a family friendly museum and there is always something interesting for visitors of all ages to see and do.

Councillor Simon Tagg said: “I am firm supporter of the Borough Museum & Art Gallery. A dedicated staff and group of volunteers should be congratulated for the way they bring the history of the Borough alive. I would certain encourage people to visit - it is a little gem. I believe that it can go from strength to strength in the future and should be support to allow it to do so."

Simon Tagg is pictured above at the Museum with pupils from May Bank Infants School.



Royal visit to Kidsgrove
22 September 2010
Schoolchildren waved Union Flags when the Princess Royal paid a visit to North Staffordshire to open a £160,000 centre. HRH Princess Anne, was invited to the new centre at Kidsgrove Town Hall, which brings together a range of services, including the Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) and council services, under one roof. Crowds, including schoolchildren, gathered outside the building to welcome the Princess, waving flags and cheering as she arrived in a chauffeur-driven Range Rover.

The Princess, immaculately coiffured and wearing a smart brown suit, shook hands with dignitaries outside the town hall, before being given a tour of the facilities. As she left, she paused to wave at the remaining crowds waiting for a second chance to see her. Among them were committed royal watchers Joan Baskeyfield and Margaret Heath, both of Tunstall.

Mrs Baskeyfield, aged 79, said: "She's just like her mother, the Queen. We have travelled miles to see the Royal Family. A couple of days ago we were at Buckingham Palace, but we didn't see any royals because the Queen is at Balmoral. We met Princess Diana at Bradwell Hospital. She was lovely, she did a walkabout, speaking to everyone and shaking hands."
Mrs Heath, aged 77, said: "It was worth coming to see her. We have seen lots of royals over the years. I even met the Queen when she was Princess Elizabeth, when she visited HR Johnson."
Children from St Thomas CE Primary School and St John the Evangelist Catholic Primary School were among the crowds cheering the Princess Royal as she arrived.
Teacher Elizabeth Morgan said: "The children have been really excited about it. We have done lots of talking about it in class. "Pupil Alfie Proctor, aged five, of Kidsgrove, said: "I've been looking forward to it."
The Kidsgrove customer service centre was the idea of Newcastle Borough Council, which teamed up with the CAB and Staffordshire County Council to provide a range of services. It opened in March after five months renovation work.
CAB volunteer Pat Davies, of Whitmore, was introduced to the Princess and her granddaughter, nine-year-old Neve Davies, was chosen to present her with a bouquet.
Neve, of Terrington Drive, Newcastle, said: "She was very nice and I was very excited. She said, 'you've escaped from school' and I said, 'yes'." Pat said: "She was lovely and very natural. She does some really good work and I think she's there for the people." Valerie Maxfield, senior customer services adviser for Newcastle Borough Council, said: "She was very approachable and very interested in what we did before and what we can do now."
Jeanette Hilton, head of customer services for the borough council, first invited the Princess Royal to open the building. She said: "She was wonderful. I'm pleased she was interested to come along. She asked lots of questions and she had obviously done her research. She unveiled the plaque and she signed our visitor book, as 'Anne'."
Simon Tagg, borough council leader, said: "She spoke about her long involvement with CAB. I thought she was very nice. She was very businesslike and she takes her role very seriously. She had done her research on the centre. It's a great honour to have the Princess Royal open this, it shows the importance and the significance of this centre for Kidsgrove."

Travellers forced to move on
14th August 2010
Last week’s Traveller incursion on the Marsh was successfully dealt with by joint action from your local Councillors and the Police.

Nine caravans arrived on the Marsh last Tuesday evening and immediately faced legal action after setting up camp by Alexandra Road. Your local Councillors requested that Newcastle Borough Council serve a 24-hour notice, ordering the Travellers to move on and high-visibility patrols by Police took place in the local area to address any concerns.

Councillor Simon Tagg said: “My fellow Councillors and myself met with Police and Council Officers to coordinate the response to this unwanted incursion. We would like to thank them for their speedy action in resolving this issue.”

Councillor James Bannister said: “ Because of the proactive approach of the authorities I hope that the message will get around to travellers that setting up camp on the Marsh is unacceptable and against the law.”

Councillor Ian Matthews said: “We are aware of the risk of further incursion and are actively pursing ways of preventing this from happening in the future. We are talking to both the Police and Council about this and will report back to you on our next leaflet."
Conference focuses on community
29th June 2010

 A conference focusing on issues that matter to communities will go ahead next month. The first Newcastle Partnership conference will be held at Keele University on Friday, 2 July from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Representatives from organisations throughout the borough will gather to review key work that's currently going on and decide on future priorities. Partners who are working together to benefit the community include Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, NHS North Staffordshire, voluntary and community groups, Newcastle Chamber of Trade and Aspire Housing.

Borough council Leader Simon Tagg, who also chairs the Newcastle Partnership executive board, said: “Our aim is to work together more effectively so that we can avoid duplication and make efficiency savings. We also need to ensure that we focus on priorities that matter to communities. As a group we will work on tackling the cause of issues such as anti-social behaviour, teenage pregnancies, poor housing, joblessness and poverty.”

Partnership representatives are hoping that the event at Keele will promote their work and lead to increased integration. and lead to increased integration and lead to greater sharing of services and budget savings.


Fighting to secure the Hoard
16th June 2010

County councillors from Newcastle Borough have marked a combined contribution of thirty-seven-and-a-half thousand pounds towards the Staffordshire Hoard fund to ensure its futurGroup shot of plate gold and other artefactse conservation in the region. The region has already secured the biggest ever find of Anglo-Saxon gold for future generations thanks to £3.3m raised by a national campaign. However, a further £1.7m is needed to support the cleaning, conservation and research of the Hoard.

 Forty-four county councillors from all parties contributed towards the total from their allocations of the Staffordshire Local Community Fund. This included county councillors Frank Chapman, John Cooper, Dylis Cornes, Geoff Locke, Mary Maxfield, Stephen Sweeney and Simon Tagg. Staffordshire County Council is now working with Lichfield and Tamworth district councils as well as the Birmingham and Potteries Museums to create a regional Mercian Trail. The trail will bring the story of the ancient kingdom of Mercia alive for Staffordshire residents and visitors. It's hoped that a touring exhibition will also be launched in Staffordshire.

Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture Ben Adams said he was pleased councillors had shown their support for the continued fundraising effort. "It's marvellous that county councillors have been able to contribute such a significant amount through the Staffordshire Local Community Fund. "They're helping to protect the Hoard for future generations and to ensure residents and visitors to our county understand Staffordshire's great historic significance. "I hope people continue to back the efforts of the fundraising campaign so that we can all benefit from what is the most important Anglo-Saxon legacy."


Contact Information
01782 742650
E mail
Council: simon.tagg@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

        Newcastle Borough Council:    www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk 

        Staffordshire County Council:  www.staffordshire.gov.uk

        Staffordshire Fire and Rescue: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk 


        Local press:                           www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk

        Local radio:                           www.bbc.co.uk/england/radiostoke


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