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Whitehill Online Poll

Will the recent way NBC has handled the travellers situation impact who you vote for in future council elections?

Yes I will vote for a different party / councillor than our current lot in Kidsgrove - 91.8%
No I will vote for the party / councillor who represent Kidsgrove now. - 8.2%

Kidsgrove News

Labour Confident of PCC Election Victory in Kidsgrove

Kidsgrove PCC ElectionKidsgrove will go to the polls tomorrow morning to electing a Police Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire. These elections have being making the headlines for the lack of public knowledge and interest in the position and locally in Staffordshire Kidsgrove residents have to make the choice between Joy Garner (Labour) and Matthew Ellis (Conservative).

It does appear that only Matthew Ellis is willing to even bother to answer questions on this position. We asked both candidates what their thoughts were on Kidsgroves’ Policing needs. Joy Garner could not even be bothered to reply to any of our numerous requests, even though she could find the time to reply elsewhere. Matthew Ellis confirmed that he would not raise tax and would not cut Police numbers in Kidsgrove whilst trying to ensure the Police spend more time out on the street.

Joy Garner appears to believe she has won the Kidsgrove vote judging by the posts which have been made on social networks by Labour party members. Her election material has been criticised as Kidsgrove Police Station has not closed as such, just moved to Kidsgrove Town Hall.

If you are one of the few intending on voting and want to find out more information about who is standing locally, we recommend visitingwww.choosemypcc.org.uk/

Kidsgrove Swimming Pool to Re-open

kidsgrove swimming pool newKidsgrove Swimming Pool is set to re-open on the 17th of November. This is the date that is being reported by Kidsgrove Town Council and members of our fourm boards. It appears that this is the date that we can expect the swimming pool in Kidsgrove to re-open after the failure to open in time of the half term school holiday as previously planned.

It will be now interesting to see if residents do return to Kidsgrove Swimming Pool as they will have found alternative pools to visit in the local area.

Kidsgrove Residents Last Chance to Have Say on Council Spending

newcastle borough council logoKidsgrove residents have been reminded that it is their last chance to have their say on the future spending plans of Newcastle Borough Council.

Kidsgrove residents have until Friday to put their views forward on how Newcastle Borough Council can save £2.5m over the next two years. The council is facing a shortfall in income and has adopted the approach of asking residents for their views on what they think will happen. Some residents have been critical that this is all an excuse to blame future tax rises and cuts on residents and away from the council.

The online poll we are currently running clearly shows that 90% of residents don’t support any council tax rises by Newcastle Borough Council. You can have your say online by completing this online questionnaire on the Newcastle Borough Council website.

Kidsgrove Town Centre Partnership Discussions Published

Kidsgrove Town PartnershipThe much talked about Kidsgrove Town Centre Partnership has seen more discussions about this published. It appears that the Kidsgrove Town Centre Manager will be the successful candidate who applies for the currently advertised position for Newcastle Town Centre Manager.

The council documents suggest that Kidsgrove Town Council could meet some of the cost of this Kidsgrove Town Centre Manger, which could mean that it will have to come out of the council tax precept which Kidsgrove residents pay to Kidsgrove Town Council. It appears that the Kidsgrove model will be based on the offering that will be established in Newcastle, however the council does accept that local needs may have to be considered.

The council is going to allocate £5000 for the development of a website, something that appears to be a large sum. This will no doubt interest local web development companies who may wish to tender for the contact. The council appears to be focused on attracting more younger, affluent shoppers to the town centres and site they would like to use a model which has been adopted by another local town.

It does appear that the council is aware of the importance of engaging local businesses in any partnership to maximise the chance of success. The council also acknowledges that if this venture fails then it could cause damage to the reputation of the town and council.

The only obvious concerns would be about the demographic demands of the area. Does Newcastle-under-Lyme in general have enough young, affluent potential customers to attract? How many shoppers are attracted to town centres though the use of electronic media? It will be interesting to see how the council overcomes this and delivers a vibrant Kidsgrove town centre.

Town Centre Manager Position Advertised

Newcastle and Kidsgrove Town Centre ManagerNewcastle Borough Council is currently advertising the position of Town Centre Manger. The post is a 3 year fixed contract which carries a salary of between £27,000 and £30,000. All applications for this position need to be submitted by the 16 November.

It appears from the information that is provided with the post that originally you will be employed to work in Newcastle Town Centre, however it does clearly state that you have the possibility of taking responsibility for Kidsgrove Town Centre.

If you would like to apply for this position then you can find more information at the link below. It is not very often that we advertise jobs online, however this position could directly impact on Kidsgrove. Therefore it may interest Kidsgrove residents who feel they have the ability to fulfil this position.

Find out more information here.

New Kidsgrove Sports Centre 2015 Onwards?

Kidsgrove Sports CentreKidsgrove residents and leisure users will have to wait until at least 2015 before any new Kidsgrove Sports Centre can be commissioned. This information is included in a report which Newcastle Borough Council officers are presenting to Newcastle Borough Councillors on the 14th November.

Kidsgrove Sports Centre is owned by Staffordshire County Council. It was built in 1976 and was last refurbished in 1999. The report considers that Kidsgrove Sports Centre is now at the end of its lifespan, something which has become evident last October when the roof failed on the swimming pool. Kidsgrove Swimming Pool was due to reopen last week, however this has been delayed by further issues which need to be addressed. It is hoped Kidsgrove Swimming Pool will open later this month.

It appears that Staffordshire County Council and Newcastle Borough Council both share the aspirations of providing “fit for purpose leisure and recreation” for the area of Kidsgrove. It does appear that any provision will happen after 2015 when Clough Hall School is redeveloped, freeing up land which the council will be able to sell to raise revenue. No doubt this will be a residential development and one which will create debate amongst Kidsgrove residents living close to the existing site.

  • Newcastle Borough Council is being presented with the following options for the future of Kidsgrove Sports Centre.
  • A new Kidsgrove Sports Centre at an estimated cost of £6m. This would require the sale of land from the existing school site to fund the project.
  • A full refurbishment of Kidsgrove Sports Centre, at an estimated cost of £4.5m. This would see the swimming pool volume in Kidsgrove reduced and the fitness area increased in size. This could produce savings of £178,000 per year, over a 5 year period.
  • A reduced refurbishment scheme to extend the life span of Kidsgrove Sports Centre. This would extend the life span of the centre by 12 years and would cost around £2.5m.

It has also been revealed that the council was unsuccessful in a bid to Sport England for £500,000 which would have been used to refurbish the changing rooms and improve the all-weather outdoor pitches.

It does appear from the report that the lack of short and medium term funding at the council means that nothing can actually happen at Kidsgrove Sports Centre at the current time. The council says that it will be exploring grant opportunities where possible, however it does seem that the best chance of major improvements to Kidsgrove Sports Centre will come in 2015 onwards.

Kidsgrove Councillor Margaret Astle Questions Democracy

kidsgrove town council astleKidsgrove and Newcastle Borough Council Margaret Astle appears once again to question the role of democracy in her online postings. It had been reported that Kidsgrove and Newcastle Borough Councillor Margaret Astles online website was reporting to be “suspended”, however now back online we have been made aware of some interesting comments by the Kidsgrove Councillor.

It all centres on the right of the electorate to call an election when an elected member leaves office. This is a given right and as long as 10 residents ask for an election, one has to be held. When former UKIP Kidsgrove Councillor Mathew Banner stepped down from representing the Talke Ward this left Kidsgrove Council requiring a new member.

Kidsgrove Town Council has seen a high number of councillors leave Kidsgrove Town Council, with all previous slots being filled by the council “co-oping” members to the council. It has been interesting to note how prior to this it was nearly all Labour representatives being co-opted on to Kidsgrove Town Council. This action clearly would not impress other political parties who clearly felt that the Labour leadership were playing politics at Kidsgrove Town Council.

Margaret Astle in her online postings appears to be criticizing the democratic system which exists. She states “It now appears that the by-election has been called by former UKIP councillor Matthew Banner” … “Is this an error or sheer malice?” She then goes on further to name the person who has handed in the electoral request form into Newcastle Borough Council “I have also made inquiries at Newcastle borough council and I have been reliably informed that a male with the name of Alex Wright personally handed in the documentation containing the necessary signatures in order to call the Talke by-election.” “I must admit that I am astounded by this form of behaviour!”

I’m sure that many Kidsgrove residents are also astounded by this behaviour from Margaret Astle. It is also quite worrying that Newcastle Borough Council will disclose such information about residents for a councillors to public online.

This isn’t the first time that Margaret Astle has made such an opposition to the democratic right of the Kidsgrove electorate. In 2010 she was making similar claims regarding the calling of an election in Newchapel.

Kidsgrove Bonfire and Fireworks Display at Clough Hall Park

Kidsgrove Bonfire and Fireworks Clough Hall ParkKidsgrove Bonfire and Fireworks display takes place at Clough Hall Park, Kidsgrove tomorrow (3rd November) evening. There had been a period where it was feared that Kidsgrove Bonfire and Fireworks display would not take place, following demands placed on the original organisers Kidsgrove Rotary Club from Staffordshire Police and Newcastle Borough Council.

Kidsgrove Bonfire and Fireworks display has been resurrected by Paul Warwick. He has employed a professional events organiser to operate the Kidsgrove event this year. The cost to enter the event this year is £7 for adults, £5 for children and £14 for a family ticket for 4.

Food will be available from the Friends of Clough Hall Park group at the pavilion in the park. There will be a wide range of food available with all the proceeds going back to the work which the Friends of Clough Hall Park do with the Kidsgrove Park.

Kidsgrove Police Station Move Takes Place Today

kidsgrove police stationKidsgrove Police have today moved from the old original station at Kidsgrove Traffic Lights to their new base at Kidsgrove Town Hall. The Kidsgrove Police move was brought about as a result of financial savings which need to be made by Staffordshire Police, something which has ensured a continued Police presence in Kidsgrove.

Kidsgrove Police Station will remain open to the public the exact same hours as before and the front line Policing service in Kidsgrove remains unchanged. The main savings which have taken place are those based around long term maintenance of the building, something which should no longer be an issue now Kidsgrove Police are using previous spare capacity at Kidsgrove Town Hall.

This whole Police move in Kidsgrove became a political issue when Labour featured the story in their election material. It appeared that some Kidsgrove residents had been misled somehow into believing the Police Station was to close and Kidsgrove to lose a policing presence, when it was only ever relocating. Online where a full discussion of the facts was presented, the reception of the Kidsgrove Police move was much more positive.

Kidsgrove residents will no doubt now hope that the Police can continue to serve the community of Kidsgrove and build on the positive reception they have.

Bring a Bin Full for Kidsgrove ‘Dougie Mac’

Bring a Bin Full kidsgroveDouglas Macmillan Hospice is launching an innovative promotion to encourage local people to sort out their pre loved clothes and shoes in the lead up to Christmas.

People are been asked to bring clothes and shoes to fill a 80 litre bin to their local Dougie Mac shop in Kidsgrove and in return will receive a £5 DMH shop voucher .

Janice Redfern DMH Kidsgrove Shop Manager said “More and more people are shopping in our charity shops looking for a unique bargain. “We now need more donated items to sell and have always been fortunate in the fantastic support of local people.“However, we really need to keep the momentum going this year to fund patient care.”  

The Bring a Bin Full campaign starts 1st November .

Mount Road Sunday Football Parking Chaos in Kidsgrove

kidsgrove mount road football parkingKidsgrove Lads and Dads Sunday morning football traffic at Birchenwood Playing Fields is the centre of debate in Kidsgrove at the moment. It has long been a topic of conversation online in our forum board, regarding the parking which is taking place on Mount Road, Kidsgrove on a Sunday morning. It appears this story has also been featured in the local press.

Many Kidsgrove residents have complained about the double parking which takes place all the way along Mount Road in Kidsgrove on Sunday mornings. Footballing players and spectators also regularly park on road junctions, which is flouting the highway code. This appears to just be an accident waiting to happen.

Some people have taken to parking on the pavements and grass verges along Mount Road. This approach may free up the highway and prevent double parking but it also blocks the pavement making it difficult for Kidsgrove residents to get around. It appears that this is making it increasingly difficult for disabled members of Kidsgrove to get about in this part of Kidsgrove.

It has been commented that it does appear that the issue has got worse this year. Maybe this is a result on the increased popularity of the Birchenwood Sports Complex on a Sunday morning. It does appear though that many Kidsgrove residents are now calling on the Police to take action to solve this problem once and for all.

Newchapel Club Development Approved

newchapel clubNewchapel Club will become a new housing development after planning officers at Newcastle Borough Council have approved the plans by a developer to knock down the empty building on the Newchapel site.

Despite residents objections about the development in Newchapel, planning officers have decided that the best course of action is for the club to be turned into new housing. Residents in Newchapel were hoping the site could be used as some form of community venue, however this appears not to be possible with no buyer of the site willing to offer such a venue to the local community.

Newchapel residents will now have to wait and see if any development takes place, given that planning permission does not always mean that the site will be developed in the 3 year time period that it allows.

Kidsgrove Swimming Pool Remains Closed

Kidsgrove Swimming Pool Remains ClosedIt appears that following many emails from Kidsgrove residents, Kidsgrove Swimming Pool will remain shut for some time yet. It had been hoped that Kidsgrove Swimming Pool would reopen this week in time for the school holidays, however this is now not going to happen after it appears problems with Kidsgrove Swimming Pool's electronics were uncovered.

This has led to Newcastle Borough Council asking once again for Staffordshire County Council to spend an additional £30,000 on Kidsgrove Swimming Pool to get it open to the residents of Kidsgrove. This is because the actual Kidsgrove Sports Centre building is owned by Staffordshire County Council. They are also responsible for repairs to the fabric of the building, with Newcastle Borough Council managing the activities and events which take place at the centre. It will be noted by many Kidsgrove residents that £30,000 is the amount that Newcastle Borough Council wants to spend on creating a Town Centres Manager post. Many will tonight be asking why cant these funds be used more positively for the whole community and spent imporving the offering at Kidsgrove Sports Centre?

Kidsgrove Swimming Pool has now been closed for such a considerable amount of time that concerns have to be raised if some of the previous users will ever return? It does appear facial that without the work of Staffordshire County Council Kidsgrove would not have a pool to open. This is where great thanks need to go to Kidsgrove Staffordshire County Councillors Maxfield and Locke.

Kidsgrove Pool Expected to Re-Open Soon

Kidsgrove Swimming PoolKidsgrove Swimming Pool is expected to open at the end of October or the beginning of November, according to the latest information that has been provided by well-respected Kidsgrove Police Officer and Chair of Clough Hall Governors Martin Stevenson.

The renovation work at the Kidsgrove Pool is now complete and a re-commission process has just started to take place. Once this has been completed then there will be a final sign off of the Kidsgrove Pool, meaning that it will reopen to Kidsgrove residents once again.

The funds to repair the pool have had to come from Staffordshire County Council as Newcastle Borough Council did not have the money to complete the repairs. Despite all of the election material produced for the Newcastle local elections, it was actually Staffordshire County Councillors Maxfield and Locke who campaigned hard to get the funding secured from the County Council.

Whitehill Online Website Updates

Whitehill OnlineSome Kidsgrove residents may have noticed that Whitehill Online has been offline this for a short period this morning. This was to enable a major update to take place with Kidsgrove’s largest local independent website.

If you are able to read this message then the update has gone as planned and you are seeing the new version of the website. You may not notice that anything has changed with the general look and feel of the site, however behind the scenes there have been some major updates. These updates will enable the site to cope with the ever growing demands that Kidsgrove residents are placing on the site, enabling the site to make optimum use of the resources that are available to it.

Without trying to get too technical, operating a website which has high daily traffic numbers is quite a challenging and costly operation. It is the later part which has brought about these changes. The ever increasing visits from Kidsgrove residents has meant we need to look to optimise the bandwidth we have available, as purchasing additional bandwidth would not be financially viable for Whitehill Online in its current state. Exceeding our limits is not an option and recently the site has come dangerously close to this being the case. We predict that this update will keep the site online for the next 12 months, based on current estimated user numbers.

We are delighted that Kidsgrove residents recognise the resource that we provide and the interaction that residents have online. We aim to continue to grow this and we shall once again state that we have no plans at all to charge for use of the site in the future (a rumour I was asked about last week).

If you spot any problems with the site since the updates, please do not hesitate to get in touch and let me know. Don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and “Follow” us on Twitter.

Kidsgrove Residents Asked to Share Views on Council Spending

newcastle borough councilKidsgrove residents are being offered the chance to share with Newcastle Borough Council over how the future budgets should look.

Some Kidsgrove residents predicted when Labour regained control of Newcastle Borough Council that council tax rises would take place in the future. It now appears that the council is adopting the strategy of “asking” Kidsgrove residents on their views for future spending. This ploy will no doubt ensure that any future tax increases can be “blamed” on the residents and not the controlling councillors, who still appear to want to spend £30,000 creating a Town Centre Manager position for Kidsgrove and Newcastle.

Some Kidsgrove residents appear to feel this whole process is a farce and is just an excuse by the council to find reasons to increase taxes. Kidsgrove resident Rob Shaw suggested that he was concerned they may look to try and increase charges for services as a “back door” increase. This could happen as we learnt earlier in the year that the reopening of Kidsgrove swimming pool is only because Staffordshire County Council has paid for the repairs.

If you want to have your say on the future budgets from the council, then you can find the council in Kidsgrove on the following days.

  • Monday, 1 October - outside BJ Stores in King Street, Kidsgrove from 11am to 2pm
  • Friday, 12 October - Tesco, Kidsgrove from 11am to 2pm
  • Wednesday, 3 October - Kidsgrove Town Hall 6.30pm

We are also running a poll to ask Kidsgrove residents if you support council tax rises. Please do cast your vote and share any comments you may have on this story.

Kidsgrove Town Council Spending Further Residents Funds on New Website?

kidsgrove town council website oldIt appears that Kidsgrove Town Council is proposing to spend Kidsgrove residents funds on developing a new website for the council. It is understood that at the moment Kidsgrove Town Council has “issues” with the current website, which was developed at a substantial cost to Kidsgrove residents.

Some Kidsgrove Town Councillors have had a bad track record when it comes to their online internet use. We broke the story about how Kidsgrove Councillors had websites, blogs and social media accounts all proclaiming to be from Kidsgrove Town Council when this simply was not the case. Former Kidsgrove Councillor Mathew Banner was asked and was working on a new website proposal for Kidsgrove Town Council, however from reading Kidsgrove Town Council minutes it appears this has gone by the wayside.

The Kidsgrove Council website committee appears to be looking at new website providers for Kidsgrove. How much Kidsgrove Town Council is proposing to spend has not been disclosed yet, however if the council is spending in addition of £600 then questions should be asked. The cost of website development has fallen dramatically in recent years and given the online skills of some of our Kidsgrove councillors, surly they could build a website at no cost to Kidsgrove?

Latest Kidsgrove News Journal (October/November) Online

kidsgrove news october and november now onlineThe October / November edition of Kidsgrove News is now available online to read. Kidsgrove News is the local bi-monthly publication for Kidsgrove and is delivered to every home in the Kidsgrove area.

The electronic edition of Kidsgrove News is now able to read on all forms of electronic media following a recent update which allows mobile phone and tablet users to read Kidsgrove News with full functionality. Last month’s online edition of Kidsgrove News proved to be exceptionally popular; something we anticipate will be the case with this latest edition.

You can view the latest edition of Kidsgrove News along with previous editions of Kidsgrove News by clicking the “Kidsgrove News Journal” link in our Kidsgrove News menu or by simply clicking the link here.

Kidsgrove Councillors Authorise Spending Residents Funds on Local Newspaper Purchase

Kidsgrove Town Council NewspaperKidsgrove Town Councillors have authorised spending Kidsgrove tax payers’ money on purchasing a daily copy of The Sentinel newspaper.

This agreed expenditure on purchasing a daily copy of the local newspaper was reported in the Kidsgrove Town Council minutes which were published for the Kidsgrove Town Council meeting on 17th May 2012.

The Kidsgrove Town Council minutes actually read “It was resolved that, the daily purchase of a Sentinel for use by staff members and visitors to the office be approved.” This does pose the question if Kidsgrove residents need to bother purchasing the 40p, 6 day a week publication when they could easily “visit” the council offices in Kidsgrove and read a newspaper which they have already paid for through their taxation?

Why Kidsgrove Town Council has agreed to now make such a purchase, given that the council clearly has operated in the past without the need to spend Kidsgrove residents money on a newspaper? It does appear a strange decision for Kidgrove Town Council to make such a purchase when budgets are being pushed to their extreme.

How Old is Kidsgrove Anglers?

Kidsgrove AnglersKidsgorve residents are being asked if they can help to identify the age of Kidsgrove Anglers. The Kidsgorve and District Anglers group represents most of the local fishing pools and waterways in the Kidsgrove area.

Vice chairman John Hooper is asking Kidsgrove residents for their help in identifying the age of the Kidsgrove Anglers. It appears that the Kidsgrove club can find a trophy which dates back to 1913, something which could mean that Kidsgrove Anglers would be celebrating 100 years in 2013. 

Kidsgrove Anglers would really appreciate any help that Kidsgrove residents could give with this matter, as clearly the club wants to ensure it marks such a special occasion. If Kidsgrove residents can help, please post it below as a comment or reply in the Forum section of the site.

Kidsgrove Rotary Club Comment on Kidsgrove Bonfire Situation

Kidsgrove Rotary Club on Kidsgrove BonfireKidsgrove Rotary Club have provided a full copy of the open letter which they sent to The Sentinel in response to the events relating to Kidsgrove Bonfire and Fireworks display. It now appears that Kidsgrove Bonfire and Fireworks display is taking place at Clough Hall Park, organised by Paul Warrick and his funfair business.

Below is a full copy of the letter sent by Kidsgrove Rotary Club.

Dear Sir,

The Sentinel carried a story on Friday 5 October headlined “Police pull plug on Clough Hall Park fireworks display in Kidsgrove due to safety concerns”.

Your readers may now be aware that a Bonfire & Fireworks Display is in fact going ahead in Clough Hall park on Saturday 3rd November. The display that is now planned for this year is a commercial enterprise by Mr Paul Warwick, who is the owner of the funfair which has been part of the event for over 40 years. Mr Warwick has appointed an experienced Events Manager, Mr Philip Miller formerly of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, to work with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire Police to ensure that their requirements are met. This will allow Mr Warwick to hold a bonfire and fireworks display in Clough Hall Park on November 3rd and ensure that his business does not lose revenue as a result of the cancellation.

The Rotary Club of Kidsgrove wishes Mr Warwick every success in this enterprise for the sake of his business and his employees but I would stress that the event that will now take place is a commercial enterprise and has nothing to do with the Rotary Club of Kidsgrove or our club's charitable causes. Mr Miller has explained to the Rotary Club of Kidsgrove, on Mr Warwick's behalf, that they hope to generate sufficient funds from the event to make some donations of their own to local charities. We hope that they manage to achieve this.

In recent years the Rotary Club of Kidsgrove's net profits from the Bonfire & Fireworks Display have averaged around £4,300. We cancelled our event this year as the cost to us of hiring the additional plant and labour being specified by the police and the borough council would have wiped out all our profits, meaning that the considerable amounts of time and effort invested by us would have yielded no money for us to use for the benefit of the community of Kidsgrove.

Kidsgrove Residents Don’t Flock to Meet Newcastle Borough Council Cabinet

kidsgrove residents dont attend meetingIt appears from reports that the “Meet the Leadership” event which took place at Kidsgrove Town Hall last week was far from a resounding popular success. Reports which have been posted online suggest that as few as 3 Kidsgrove residents actually attended the event which was held by Newcastle Borough Council at Kidsgrove Town Hall.

If these figures are correct then it goes to demonstrate the new low that Kidsgrove has fallen to when it comes to trust of the council to do the right things for Kidsgrove. Recently Kidsgrove saw a by-election with an exceptionally low turnout which maybe should have been a good indication in the importance Kidsgrove residents placed on meeting the local council leaders.

There was an original plan to hold a monthly meeting away from Newcastle and hold it in Kidsgrove, however if this idea will still remain after this reported low turnout will have to be seen.

Kidsgrove Fireworks Display at Clough Hall Park

Kidsgrove Fireworks DisplayKidsgrove may have a fireworks display on the 3rd of November this year at Clough Hall Park after the fun fair operator Paul Warwick suggested they could step in to meet the safety requirements which the Police had imposed on the Kidsgrove Rotary Club and their Fireworks and Bonfire event.

There had been concern in Kidsgrove that the Clough Hall Park Bonfire and Fireworks display would not return, given the demands which the Police had made on the event. This was a very topical issue in Kidsgrove with accusations that the Police left their “issues” until the last minute, making it near impossible or financially viable for the Kidsgrove Rotary Club to hold the event.

Now we have learnt that Kidsgrove may have a fireworks display this year, however no bonfire. The event will be organised by Warwicks Fun Fair and would at least provide Kidsgrove residents with the chance to visit an organised event. The Friends of Clough Hall Park group have been provided with the opportunity to trade on the evening selling refreshments by the proposed organiser.

Maryhill Primary School Placed in Special Measures

Maryhill Primary SchoolMaryhill Primary School has been placed in “Special Measures” according to the Ofsted inspection report which was published on Friday. Ofsted inspectors found serious failings with the leadership and management at the Kidsgrove school, as well commenting on the poor quality of teaching which takes place at Maryhill Primary School.

The Ofsted report states:

  • Pupils make insufficient progress and attainment is low and has declined. Leaders and managers have not ensured that pupils reach at least the national minimum expectations in English and mathematics.
  • The quality of teaching is inadequate and does not prepare pupils for the next stage of their education. Assessment practice is weak. Marking is not clear enough in helping pupils understand how to improve.
  • The leadership of teaching and the management of performance are inadequate.
  • Governors do not challenge senior leaders and staff or hold them to account for their performance.

Clearly there will be many concerned parents in Kidsgrove reading about the findings of this Ofsted report. It should be noted that this report was taken last term and many changes will probably underway at the school. You can read a full copy of the Ofsted report for Maryhill Primary School on the Ofsted website.

Kidsgrove Swimming Pool Re-opens 27th October

Kidsgrove Swimming Pool ReopensThe long wait is over. Kidsgrove swimming pool at Kidsgrove Sports Centre should be reopening on Saturday the 27th of October. This will be in perfect timing for half term week and will no doubt will ensure that the council is able to make some additional revenue from children and families during this week.

It is not yet known if the timetable for Kidsgrove swimming pool will remain the same at this current time in writing or if the reopening will be enough to entice people back to Kidsgrove for swimming. The positive news has to be that a date has finally been set for the reopening of Kidsgrove pool.

Kidsgrove Broadband Speed Test Update

kidsgrove broadband speedA few weeks ago we kicked of the Kidsgrove Broadband Speed Test. This is where we have been asking the residents of Kidsgrove and surrounding villages to test the speed of their broadband and report back in the findings. We have had a really positive response so far, with some very interesting results thrown up from the speed tests which have been carried out by Kidsgrove residents.

We reported how the Government has set the target for broadband speed to be 30mb in 2015 for the whole of the UK, something which got us thinking how well Kidsgrove is performing. Kidsgrove is an interesting area as some parts have access to Virgin Media and their fibre optic network, whereas other parts are left to rely on the aging BT copper telephone lines.  Kidsgrove to this date has not been listed on any BT Infinity upgrade plans.

It currently appears that in Kidsgrove the fastest broadband speed that has been recorded is with Virgin Media, which is an impressive 49.84mb download speed and an impressive upload speed of 4.79mb. This speed is miles apart from  the slowest speed which we have currently seen reported of 1.3mb and upload speeds of 0.3mb in Mow Cop. The average speed that we have calculated at the moment for downloads in Kidsgrove is 7.4mb which is well below the target that has been set by the Government.

We would love to have further contributions to our Kidsgrove Broadband Speed Test. If you want to take part then it is really quick and easy, simply follow the steps below.

  • Visit http://www.speedtest.net/
  • Click the “Begin Test” button. This will now test the speed of your broadband connection.
  • Once complete you will see a box containing your Download and Upload speeds
  • Click the “comments” link below and share your Download and Upload speed.
  • Your done, thank you for taking part in the Kidsgrove Broadband Speed Test

Police to Force Kidsgrove Bonfire Cancellation

Kidsgrove Bonfire CancelledKidsgrove Bonfire is looking like being cancelled this year after Staffordshire Police imposed a long list of improvements that need to be made to the Clough Hall Park event, before they will remove their safety concerns.

Kidsgrove Rotary Club who organise the Kidsgrove Bonfire are said to be exceptionally upset and annoyed that a Kidsgrove iconic event could be withdrawn because of the actions of the Police. It appears that Staffordshire Police have made a list of demands to improve safety, however these are all at exceptionally short notice and would increase the costs of the Kidsgrove event, raising doubts if the event would event be viable.

The Police list of demands for Kidsgrove bonfire include:

  • Increase the number of stewards from 12 to 30
  • Stewards are professionally briefed on roles and responsibilities
  • Improved crowd barriers around the bonfire
  • Additional temporary lighting around the park

It appears the Police have raised these objections following an incident last year where one officer got injured outside the park, after the Kidsgrove event. It is believed that the event can raise up to £6000 for local charities, something that could now be lost from the local community. It is unknown at the moment if anyone else will take on the organising of the bonfire.

Kidsgrove the “neglected” Town to see new Partnership Formed

Kidsgrove Town Centre PartnershipKidsgrove has been labelled “neglected” by The Sentinel in their recent article on the state of Kidsgrove Town Centre. We have reported before how Newcastle Borough Council proposed to spend £30,000 on a Town Centre Manager position to promote Kidsgrove, something which caused much anger and debate amongst Kidsgrove residents.

Many Kidsgrove resident’s felt that Kidsgrove could be improved by the collective working together of Kidsgrove businesses, residents and council. We started the motion of promoting businesses in Kidsgrove with our Kidsgrove Business Directory, something that was quick and easy to setup and not requiring large expenditure by Newcastle Borough Council on additional positions.

Now it appears that Kidsgrove will be seeing a Town Centre Partnership formed. This is what has been suggested online many times and now appears to have the backing of local businesses and the deputy Mayor of Kidsgrove, Kyle Robinson. It is interesting that Alsager is mentioned as a good example to follow, given the negative comments that Cllr Robinson has made about Alsager in the past.

It does appear though that the council is still going to spend £30,000 on a Town Centre Manger, which does leave open the question if both the Town Centre Manager and Town Partnership will be doing exactly the same job, leading to further confusion and conflict.

It has been suggested on numerous occasions that the £30,000 would be better used being spent in Kidsgrove improving the town centre and not paying someone’s wage.

Kidsgrove to Benefit from £300,000 Drain Investment

kidsgrove drains cleaningKidsgrove residents could soon see the benefits from a £300,000 investment in drain cleaning by Staffordshire County Council. This will be welcome news to Kidsgrove residents who have been asking for their drains to be cleaned and reporting issues with flooding in the Kidsgrove area. Kidsgrove Councillor Mary Maxfield has commented in the past how the area only has one drainage cleaning vehicle available, which really hinders the cleaning process in Kidsgrove.

Kidsgrove and Staffordshire has seen one of the wettest summers on record, so this move will help unblock and survey gullies to make sure they are adequately prepared for the winter. The focus will initally be on the main known issues, which will hopefully see some areas of Kidsgrove addressed as soon as possible.

Newcastle Borough Council comes to Kidsgrove

kidsgrove town hallKidsgrove residents are being encouraged to attend a “Meet the Leadership” event with the borough council’s Cabinet due to hold its first ever meeting in Kidsgrove. Plans to hold the monthly Cabinet meeting away from the Civic Offices in Newcastle and take it instead to Kidsgrove is part of that initiative.

Council Leader Gareth Snell said, “We want to involve our residents in as many ways as we can in future service delivery and in policy direction. We are currently redrafting our Corporate Plan – which lays out our priorities and values – and included in that document will be the inclusion of a new priority which is ‘becoming a co-operative council delivering high-quality, community-driven services.’

“This means working together with residents, partners and local organisations to collectively deliver the best services we can using the resources we have. We want our actions to back up our words and this Cabinet event in Kidsgrove is an opportunity which does just that.”

Although the official Cabinet meeting will start at 7.30pm, residents are being invited to an informal hour-long pre-Cabinet meeting where they can discuss any council-related issues they have with members of the group.

The “Meet the Leadership” session will take place from 6.30-7.30pm, on September 19, at the Victoria Hall in Kidsgrove and Cabinet will tackle their formal agenda from 7.30pm.

Cabinet members hope local people make the most of this opportunity to help them build a more accurate picture of the issues which are most important to residents and businesses across the borough.

Cllr. Snell said: “We intend to be much more open with residents than the council has been in the past. We want to put residents and business at the heart of everything we do by listening to their views and then acting on them in taking the council forward.

“It would be great if we could get a decent turn-out at Kidsgrove on 19 September for this first of a series of ‘Meet the Leadership’ events we are planning.”