Into the chamber



Sorry for the slight hiatus with regards to blogs – my only excuse is that I have been down south for a few days for Easter. Sorry!

Anyway, I attended my first council meeting tonight as your councillor. I made my debut by asking the leader of a council about possible environmental initiatives that a Lancashire Combined Authority may provide. Hopefully, I didn’t come across too badly but watch the webcast and decide for yourselves – CLICK HERE FOR WEBCAST (it may not be available until later):

The agenda item on the combined authority was the “biggie” of the evening.

There is quite a lot of mis-information on this proposal going around but to me, it’s a no brainer.

We would not losing our unitary authority status – don’t think of the combined authority as a pseudo Lancashire County Council – that’s not it all. See below:

As part of the Governance Review Leaders developed ambitions for Lancashire. These are:

 Prosperous Lancashire – a Lancashire that is recognised as a destination of choice, to invest in, do business in, live or visit;

 Connected Lancashire – digital and transport connectivity to promote inclusive growth;

 Skilled Lancashire – a skilled workforce to meet the demands of employers and future business growth;

 Better Homes for Lancashire – better living standards for residents with good quality homes and a wide housing offer

 Public services working together for Lancashire – integrated public services at the heart of local communities giving everyone the opportunity for a healthier life.

Leaders have recognised that some of the ambitions set out above can be delivered through the existing excellent partnership arrangements in place across the County geography. However, in order to attract and maintain economic growth and achieve a prosperous Lancashire for all, we need to demonstrate that Lancashire means business and provide reassurance that we have strong, robust governance arrangements in place and a commitment to work together.

The Lancashire Combined Authority will provide a legally constituted body operating across Lancashire to take strategic decisions on transport, economic development and regeneration and strengthen the relationship with the LEP (local enterprise partnership) and local authorities.

So we would absolutely still be 100% Blackpool Council, but we would work with the other Lancashire councils to further some of the bullet pointed issues above. Both the Merseyside and Greater Manchester councils have already formed combined authorities and to compete with these 2 local behemoths, I believe we need to do the same.

This seems entirely sensible to me, so the Labour group voted unanimously in favour of forming a shadow combined authority with the other councils in Lancashire until the authority can be fully instated.

I hope that all of the above makes sense!

Anyway, it’s late and my bed is calling so drop by soon.



Hello again – another short one today.

Myself and Councillor Cain attended the Revoe-lution AGM this morning (Sat 19.3.2016).

It was really good to see that things are starting to come together on this project and residents of the area should start to see the impact of the project soon.

Revoe-lution is a lottery funded project that will inject £1M into the local area over the next few years by way of projects covering everything from the general environment to children’s services to improving the local shopping experience.

It was also good to meet the new project manager, Andy, who seems to be a thoroughly sound chap.

Apology – last night I was accosted by somebody who pointed out that I had not covered the Easter Bonnet Parade at Ibbison Court earlier in the week run by the residents association (you know who you are…I’m looking over the top of my glasses at you).


So apologies for that – the millinery was amazing and it was a very pleasant lunch time out for me. Thanks, you lot 🙂

Come back soon, y’all.


Bridging Blackpool

Just a quickie blog today – I’ve only just got in and it’s after 9pm.

I had 2 very interesting briefings this morning from council officers from Licensing and the Audit Committee.

These 2 council bodies oversee licensing operations (everything from pubs/clubs to taxis to donkey rides!) and the auditing of many, many council processes respectively.

I then attended the re-opening of the Princess Street bridge with Councillors Jackson and Cain – the project came in on budget, ahead of schedule and the end result looks great (the original bridge was a real eye-sore that attracted anti social behavior).

This is the first of several bridges in the town that will be completely modernised.


Myself and Councillor Cain at the Princess Street bridge today

Then back to work for a few hours and then to a Brunswick Talbot Branch Labour Party meeting (I’m the secretary).

I’ve just got home – a glass of wine is in my hand – I’m knackered!

Laters, Jim


Who you gonna call?


Myself, Councillor Cain and Blackpool Council officers.

I had a very interesting morning yesterday with Councillors Cain and Campbell around the Prom end of Lytham Road.

Time and again, the problem of fly tipping and untidy properties come out right at the top of local causes of concern.

So we therefore organised a “walkabout” around the area with several council officers from Licensing, Environmental Protection, Streetscene and other departments with a view to cleaning up the area.

Until I started campaigning a few weeks ago, when I thought of fly tipping, images of bin bags in remote county lanes would spring to mind. I had no idea that it was such a massive problem in Blackpool and in particular the Bloomfield ward. I have found it absolutely astonishing as to just how much rubbish and junk that people tip onto the streets and alleyways in the area. It’s a disgrace.

Btw the way – it’s dead easy to report a fly tip to the council – the fastest way is by clicking THIS LINK HERE.

So with this is mind, we organised the walkabout to help make the area a cleaner, safer place for locals. We covered a significant part of the ward and the council officers have taken a lot of info away with them to start coordinating the clean up.

As well as tipping in the street and in alleys, we also looked at back yards. Again, the amount of junk thrown into yards is an eye opener. As well as making the area look awful, the junk can also create risks such as fire hazards and vermin breeding grounds. Our officers will be contacting the owners shortly to ensure that the yards are cleared. Please see below for a very small selection of the photos taken yesterday.





So after the walk about, it was back to work for a few hours before attending a Local Campaign Forum meeting last night. This meeting covered the forthcoming Police & Crime Commissioner elections and the EU Referendum – but more on these campaigns in a later blog.

Drop by soon, Jim.

And so to business…

I’ve had my first few resident enquiries.

Confidentially obviously means that I can’t go into details of the calls, but I have been able to either deal with the problems or at least be able to give updates on the issues of concern. So I feel quite good about that – proper councilloring 🙂

Incidentally, for any Bloomfield ward residents reading this, then please feel free to contact me anytime on 0780 7995828 or email – I work full time so I might not be able to answer your query immediately, but I will return your call. I promise.

So what else I have done this week?

Well, training and induction mostly. It’s not terribly thrilling, so I won’t bore you with those details.

I did attend my first Labour Group meeting this week. This is made up of the Blackpool Labour councillors and a few lay members. That was an interesting meeting covering some big picture type stuff and I have to say that I rather enjoyed it.

Today (Saturday), I had a 9am meeting with Cllr Cain to appraise me of several ward issues. I then kept my promise to a constituent who I met whilst canvassing a few weeks ago. After a longish chat on his doorstep, I promised him that if I was successful in my campaign that I would come back to hear his concerns – so I did.

I then finished the morning with a photo call for the Stronger In Europe campaign at the comedy carpet in town. 6 people turned up. I will just park that here other than to say that I hope that the organisers really up their game over the next few months.

On a national politics level, I was very pleased to see that the Shadow Chancellor has put forward a coherent approach to the economy. The economy was an issue that stung the Labour Party in the last election as many people simply didn’t trust us. I really hope that John McDonnell’s plans announced this week start to address this. Click the link below to the Guardian Article on this.


Anyway, do drop by again soon.