Questions and Answers - 2022

Question Reference Number 864667

Can residents put forward questions to ask at full Council? If not, please can you explain the reason for this local decision?

Response from Councillor David Molyneux – Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration

No – residents are not permitted to put forward questions to ask at full Council meetings. The Council is not required by law to allow questions to be put forward by residents at full Council meetings, and arrangements for such meetings can be found within the Constitution. This provides that Members are able to raise comments/questions at full Council meetings on any matter that is relevant and relates to the function of the full Council. Residents are able to raise concerns and questions with their local Councillor, who are to understand and represent them where appropriate. The system is in place so as to minimise disruption at meetings.

Question Reference Number 864668

Can you explain to me how can a Wigan Secondary School plan and implement a lesson in the form of a play focusing on the Hillsborough Disaster? The play involved the deaths of those who died and cries & screams etc. were all part of the lesson. It is all well and good for pupils to learn about Hillsborough, and being educated on the disaster, but this is not the right way. The fact that Wigan has a very high proportion of Liverpool fans living in the town and most likely a fair number of survivors should have been recognised as such. The school in question, ST JOHN FISHER RC HIGH SCHOOL really did get to me. I have always embraced the whole ethos of a Catholic education. I was born and raised a Roman Catholic attended both Primary & Secondary Schools, and have been an active and dedicated member of my local Catholic parish. It personally shocked me that a RC school could behave in this way. The fact that there is a very vocal and necessary call for Hillsborough to be placed on the National Curriculum, and that a HILLSBOROUGH DAY being held around the anniversary, has been proposed by Ian Byrne MP the member for West Derby, and that ALL councillors in Liverpool voted unanimously for this proposal speaks volumes. I in turn, have contacted Lancashire County Council who are scheduled to put this to a vote in Chambers. Therefore, I suggest you follow these examples as the best option is for this proposal is adopted nationwide. There is no doubt that this is personal. As both Ian Byrne and myself are survivors of Britain's worst sporting disaster. I also have a background in Education. I completed a degree at the University of Central Lancashire, studying Combined Honours in Education Studies with History. I have also wrote two books on Hillsborough and was a member of two of the groups, HILLSBOROUGH JUSTICE CAMPAIGN and HOPE FOR HILLSBOROUGH. Until my health failed me a few years back, I worked in a number of schools for over 10 years. You can clearly see the breadth of knowledge and expertise that I have at my disposal. I hope for a positive response to this matter. Best Wishes Christopher Whittle Hillsborough Survivor Pen 4 Leppings Lane Author of WITH HOPE IN YOUR HEART and AT THE END OF THE STORM THERE'S A GOLDEN SKY

Response from Councillor Jenny Bullen – Portfolio Holder for Children and Families

Thank you for your recent query. All maintained schools must deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that aligns with the national curriculum. Responsibility for the curriculum rationale, design and implementation in schools lies with school leaders and the Board of Governors.

The Local Authority’s role is to work with the school system to provide support and training for Governors and leaders on a wider range of education matters, including curriculum.    

The school recently released a statement in relation to the lesson, which is outlined below:

A spokesperson for St John Fisher Catholic High School said: “The Hillsborough disaster was a tragedy that left an indelible mark on this country, particularly here in the North West.

Our pupils learn about Hillsborough – and other tragic events , such as the Aberfan mining disaster - as part of a drama project, focussing on how communities came together in response, and have done for a number of years.

Pupils learn about the social and societal context, exploring texts and poems – including The Ballad of Hillsborough - and we ensure this important subject is treated with the utmost respect.

We note that Liverpool City Council recently voted in favour of including Hillsborough in the curriculum for schools and we support this approach.

For information:

  • Pupils are not asked to ‘re-enact’ any of the events and the description of this is not one that we recognise.”

Question Reference Number 864669

Wigan town centre having £135 million plus being spent on new town centre and new roads in Wigan as well - the Council says it’s going to benefit all of the borough. How is spending all that money in Wigan going to benefit Atherton, Tyldesley, Astley and Mosley Common - it’s not going to benefit us on this side of the borough is it,  and what about all the other town centres and district centres that are getting left to rot by Wigan Council. It’s all wrong with it being Wigan all the time getting all the money spent on it. Next question, Mosely Common and Tyldesley are gridlocked every day so when is Wigan Council going to sort out the roads over this side of the borough instead of keep building all the massive housing estates.

Response from Councillor Paul Prescott – Portfolio Holder for Planning, Environmental Services and Transport

In relation to your query about investment in Wigan and other centres, you have previously raised similar queries regarding investment in Wigan compared to other town and district centres. I have attached two previous responses which I believe cover the points you raise in terms of the Council’s overall approach to funding the town and district centres (Reference  864650 Questions and Answers - 2020 and 864659 Questions and Answers - 2021). In addition you may be aware that the Council took a decision on 2nd March to allocate £1 million of additional funding to implement a second phase of the “Our Town” programme, aimed at improving the environment in centres across the Borough.

In relation to your points about traffic, congestion is a major issue on Wigan’s roads, which are primarily single carriageway. The strategic connection between the M6 and M61 remains an aspiration within Wigan. Improvements to east-west transport infrastructure are still required to reduce congestion, improve commuter journey times, improve air quality, provide effective road freight routes and ensure that residential and business developments are better connected. 

The scale of the strategic connection requires the individual components of the overall route to be broken down and delivered on a phased basis, starting with the A49 link road, which opened in 2020.  The next phase is the M58 link road, which connects Junction 26 of the M6 / Junction 6 of the M58 to the southern part of Wigan Town Centre via the A49 link road.  Construction is expected to begin in 2022, following planning permission for design changes to the previous consent, with formal opening expected in 2025.

To deliver the complete east-west aspirations, the council has continued to engage with Government on additional funding opportunities.  This included a joint submission with Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council to the Housing Infrastructure Fund in March 2019 to cover the remaining phases including eight sections of new link road from the town centre to the M61.  This bid was unsuccessful however, but the council has been encouraged to continue development of the scheme. This has resulted in the preparation of a bid to the Department for Transport's Large Local Majors programme for a 4.2km portion of the remaining east-west strategic highway requirements, which is at an advanced stage.  The Outline Business Case for this has now been submitted to Government. 

Whilst there is a demand for new road infrastructure, it is recognised that continually increasing highway capacity to meet an ever-growing demand for car travel is not sustainable or, indeed, physically or financially practical.  There needs to be a significant shift towards the more space-efficient modes of walking, cycling  and public transport for as many trips as possible, to make our roads work more efficiently and to accommodate the planned growth in travel on our transport networks.  In this regard the 'Streets for All' strategy, recently approved by the council and the GMCA, is about making our streets easier to get around - and more pleasant to be in - for everyone, while achieving our ambition to significantly increase the number of journeys to be made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2040.  This people-centred approach to street design and road network management is needed to address the challenges that residents face: from not getting enough daily exercise - such as walking and cycling - to poor air quality, and delays due to overcrowded public transport and congested roads.

Some streets need to better fulfil their role as places in which people come together to spend time: this means creating more opportunities for people to sit, relax, play and socialise; more plants and trees and less traffic dominated streets. Other roads, such as motorways and other busy strategic roads, such as the aspirational connection between the M6 and M61, are much more about movement and need to carry vehicles on longer journeys to ensure that the impact of motorised traffic on local streets is minimised.

Improvements in infrastructure and services need to be complemented by behaviour change measures that encourage people to choose active travel for short journeys, including journeys to school, encouraging the use of local stations, promoting sustainable travel in new developments and promoting the use of new transport infrastructure. Initiatives such as the School Street scheme, which prevents parents from picking up and dropping off children outside of the school, is intended to make walking and cycling to school a more attractive option to both parents and children. There is also bus reform to consider, with buses being brought under local control, meaning that buses will be run for passengers, as part of an integrated public transport network; allowing people to change easily between different modes of transport; with simple, affordable price-capped tickets.

Question Reference Number 864670

Will Boris Johnson, Stuart Andrew, B.R.A.C. and N.H.B.C. urgently speak to Pagefield College Wigan. City and Guilds N.V.Q. Brickwork teachers in person about the detrimental ‘vapour barrier / P.I.R. foam board’ building scandal which is a parallel to the Grenfell tower ‘cladding’ scandal. City and Guilds N.V.Q. Brickwork says and always have said that ‘vapour barriers’ and ‘P.I.R. foam boards’ are NOT for cavity walls or plasterboard ceilings; because they do not breathe nowhere near enough and they cause unhygienic dank, over-tepid atmosphere, sweating-wall, smelly living conditions. If Boris Johnson, Stuart Andrew ,B.R.A.C. and N.H.B.C. do not speak up and alert the general public about this, they are in legal trouble.

Response from Councillor Paul Prescott – Portfolio Holder for Planning, Environmental Services and Transport

Thank you for your enquiry relating to the concerns you have regarding the compatibility of a vapour barrier and the outer barrier used in PIR insulation. 

In responding to your enquiry I have consulted with the Council’s Building Control Service who comment that unless used and installed in the correct manner, interstitial condensation could occur between those layers that touch in such insulation systems. However, PIR insulations have been specifically designed to be installed in key areas of a development, namely cavity walls, floors and roofs/ceilings of varying type. Many leading manufacturers have developed this material as this type of insulation means that heat can’t pass through readily. Depending on the manufacturer and the intended use of the PIR insulation board, some are faced with foil or a mineral glass coating for example. Compatibility and correct choice of material for each location is key in the use of this type of insulation.

The matters raised in your enquiry can be very specific to a particular development or build, and the Council would expect to review the detail of the construction method proposed as part of the Building Control approval process for a specific scheme; or for an Approved Inspector to do the same should the client opt to use their services rather than the Council’s.

Question Reference Number 864671

Why did the Cabinet vote to join the GM CAZ scheme when Wigan Borough were never originally mandated by the government to do so?

Response from Councillor Paul Prescott, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Environmental Services and Transport

Thank you for your recent Ask the Cabinet query in relation to the Clean Air Zones (CAZs). Two detailed responses in relation to the CAZs have already been posted to the Ask the Cabinet page and can be found on Questions and Answers - 2021 - Question Reference Numbers 864665 and 864666.

The responses to both of the queries include information and links to relevant documents pertaining to your query, and I would refer you to the information provided there.

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