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...with attitude and love xxx Spring 2016 Free Issue 11

Graham Nash Back home in Salford Salford’s Super Flood What went wrong on Boxing Day 2015? Ordsall Boom Residents squeezed out by speculators and developers


SALFORD STAR

THE 10TH BIRTHDAY

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his summer, the Salford Star will be ten years old, making it, we believe, the longest surviving authentic community magazine in the country.

From our roots at Whit Lane during the struggle to stop the mass demolition of housing, to a zillion exclusive stories of Salford Council calamity, we have fought to give the community a proper voice, backed by hard core investigative journalism, and to inform residents of what’s going down in the city. It’s been tough, it’s been very skint and there’s been loads of knives in our backs from those who would silence the Star. But we have survived, gaining many of victories for the community and bringing positive change to Salford along the way. To celebrate our tenth birthday we will

be bringing out a very special souvenir, limited edition, glossy magazine documenting ten years of the Salford Star. For the first time ever we will be putting a cover price of a few of quid on the mag but we are using it as a fundraiser to, hopefully, keep us going for the next few years... We are selling plaques within the magazine for our supporters and friends

to wish us good luck, or whatever, and these start at £40 for one the size of a business card. If you would like to congratulate the Salford Star on ten years fighting for and with the community just

get in touch...

07957 982960 or email info@salfordstar.com

Salford Star

With attitude and love xxx


INTRO W

Cover photo by Amy Grantham

elcome to Issue 11 of the Salford Star magazine in which we try and turn the city inside out and discover what’s going on, what’s going down and what’s going wonky on the banks of the Irwell...

We have community happenings, residents reeling as developers take over Ordsall, real heritage, a real world speed champion, some dolphin controversy, music, fashion and political passion as Salford chooses its new Mayor.

We have some proper Salford Stars...Graham Nash returns to his roots and Nigel Pivaro pays tribute to the late Coronation Street legend Tony Warren. You want more stars? Look no further than everyone who helped out In Lower Broughton after the city’s Boxing Day super flood. While acknowledging community heroics, we also delve into what went wrong.

A little later than usual, we present the annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards, honouring the most deserving individuals and organisations in the city for their stupid statements, dodgy dealings and iffy activities. Roll out the stained red carpet, dress up, grab a glass of cheap, weak white wine and enjoy! As the Salford Star begins to hit its tenth birthday, online and in print, we’re still kicking, thanks to our incredible community supporters...

CONTENTS... Graham Nash Salford’s Super Flood Booming Ordsall Salford Elects A New Mayor Speed Of Sight Tony Warren Remembered Dodgy Dolphin Antics The Mary Burns Awards Barton Cross The superstar’s path from Ordsall to the States and back

The community heroics and the city’s failings

...but for whom? Residents or Speculators?

Take your pick from the likely lads and lasses

The world record holder with a major difference

Nigel Pivaro pays tribute to the Corrie Street legend

The blockbuster book that exposes fishy fiscal cruelty

Who will be honoured this year for iffy activities?

More GMP anti-fracking failures

Contributors to this issue of Salford Star...

Editors: Stephen Kingston and Steven Speed with Nigel Pivaro, Gareth Lyons, Bernard Brough, Alice Searle, Gary Duke, Graham Cooper, Vinny North, Amy Grantham, Anya Samantha, Lewis Harrison Wood (website tech)

A MARY BURNS PRODUCTION www.maryburns.co.uk

Plus: Fashion; Music; Community Happenings; The Euro Debate; views, news and poetry...

Contact Salford Star... By phone: 07957 982960 or 0161 728 7611 By email: info@salfordstar.com Salford Star Office: Office 6C, Antz Junction, Unit 10, Junction Eco-Park ,Rake Lane, Swinton, Salford M27 8LR Twitter: @salfordstar09 Facebook: Salford Star To advertise in future issues of the Salford Star just get in touch. 20,000 copies distributed all over the city

www.salfordstar.com updated daily

Printed by: Archant Print, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich. NR1 1 RE. Tel: 01603 772345

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The Path of Gra

Record Review

This Path Tonight

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he first solo album for fourteen years sees Graham Nash present a collection of beautifully written and produced songs, with a retrospective mood. Co-written with Shane Fontayne, who also produced the album, it has echoes of earlier work with The Hollies, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and his solo material. After playing it through a couple of times I found myself humming tracks like Myself at Last, Fire Down Below and Golden Days. It would be hard to imagine a Graham Nash album without at least one song that was not in some way political, and This Path Tonight does not disappoint. The bonus tracks, Mississippi Burning, a song about the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964, and Watch Out For The Wind, an indictment of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, are as hard hitting as anything Graham has written. All in all this is one of the best albums I have heard in a long while. B.B. This Path Tonight is released 15th April on Blue Castle records. It is available for pre-order through Amazon and iTunes.

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aham Nash It’s Salford and Manchester a go-go for Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash legend, Graham Nash, with his first solo album for fourteen years, a tour that hits Manchester on 21st May and a photography exhibition at Salford Museum and Art Gallery from April to July... ...But where would he be without his mum’s washboard in Ordsall? Bernard Brough discovers...

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Photos by Amy Grantham

ver the last century Salford has produced many prominent figures in the arts...actors, writers, painters and musicians. Few, if any, have reached the dizzying heights that Graham Nash inhabits. From The Hollies to super group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, he’s sold millions of albums, and has been inducted not once, but twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yet his journey started around the corner from Salford Lads Club in Ordsall. Following air raids on the docks and Trafford Park, Graham’s mother was evacuated to Blackpool where he was born on 2nd February 1942. The family moved back to Salford shortly after and Graham spent his formative years in the city, attending Ordsall Board School and Salford Grammar School.... “My earliest memory is living at number one Skinner Street; my dad grew up at number nine” he recalls in a very Americanised accent but heavily laced with flat northern English vowels “I was about a year and a half old and I remember sitting with the Beano as my mom hung up black out curtains, the Beano was upside down. “After the war there wasn’t really much to do, but pick up a ball and kick it around, or there was music...skiffle, Lonnie Donnegan” he explains “You got your mother’s washboard, a cheap acoustic guitar and that was it, you played.” Beginning his career with childhood friend, Alan Clarke, in the early 1960s, his bands went through a number of names before settling on The Hollies, in tribute to Buddy Holly, and a string of Top Ten hits followed, including Carrie-Anne, Just One Look and On A Carousel... “We played all kinds of places, ice rinks, ballrooms, all over the place” he says “We had a great time.” In the late 60s, however, Graham uprooted to America and formed a new group with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and, occasionally Neil Young – Crosby,

Stills, Nash and Young - with more top hits that included Teach Your Children, Marrakesh Express and Our House. There’s since been collaborations with everyone from A-ha to David Gilmour, plus a massively successful solo career that currently sees him on a tour covering Australia, the United States and Europe, stopping off at the Albert Hall in Manchester on 21st May. Alongside him on stage will be guitarist and producer Shane Fontayne... “He has an innate sense of performance and of arrangement” says Graham “He never loses sight of the fact that the song must come alive, must have a reason for being sung in the first place. We want to look in the eyes of our audience; we want to know that we are connecting on a very real level.” Despite having a star on Hollywood Boulevard and an OBE for services to music, Graham has always been on a very real level, writing protest songs like Chicago, which has just been re-born as a viral track following Donald Trump’s recent unwanted appearance in the city. He’s supporting socialist Bernie Sanders in the US presidential primaries and, adding to his social conscience, a proportion of ticket sales from the tour is also being donated to charity. During his mid teens, Graham’s dad was given what most would agree was an unjust and draconian twelve month prison sentence for handling a stolen camera. Maybe that incident played a part in his sense of injustice in the world? “Yeah, I guess it did” he responds “My dad spent time in Strangeways...What a grim name, grim place. I wonder where it came from? A real grim name. I should write a song about it maybe. It’s funny, but a few years later I played at Granada Studios and the judge who sentenced my dad was there in the studios.” Did the pop star give the judge a piece of his mind? He just laughs. But cameras

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are still playing a massive part in the Nash story. As if being a famed musician is not enough, Graham is also an acclaimed photographer and artist, exhibiting his work across the world. Does he think there is a link between art and music? “There is, yeah” he says “You can see music in colours. You know, none of us could write music...not me, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor...But, like, if we went to an orchestra we might ask for a chord that was purple and they would get it; they would know what we wanted.” Graham’s latest exhibition, My Life Through My Lens, brings his work back to Salford, at the Museum and Art Gallery from 23rd April to 3rd July. The city is certainly a lot different from when his washboard was rife in Ordsall. “The last time I was here I had a look around Salford and it has changed so much, but you know what I noticed?” he asks “The pubs had all gone. Pubs were, like, where people got together, it is sad they are disappearing.” The new Graham Nash album, This Path Tonight, his first solo collection for fourteen years, seems very retrospective with tracks like Golden Days and Back Home... “It is, yeah” he agrees “But I don’t like looking back.” Graham Nash plays The Albert Hall, Manchester on 21st May. For tickets see www.grahamnash.com/tour My Life Through My Lens: Graham Nash photography exhibition is at Salford Museum and Art Gallery Saturday 23rd April to Sunday 3rd July. There is also a special event, A Conversation with Graham Nash, on Monday 23rd May 2pm-4pm - see Salford Museum and Art Gallery website for full details.

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SALFORD’S ONE IN 100 When the Going Gets Tough, Salford Gets Going... Graham Cooper, who works for the Broughton Trust and helped co-ordinate volunteers, gives his account of the Boxing Day Flood

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n Boxing Day morning I was on social media and saw a post from a friend saying that he’d never seen the river so high, so I went down to the Broughton Trust on Spike Island and got myself a tablet to film it. I didn’t think for a minute the river would flood. At 10:45am I started to film on Frederick Road and on Littleton Road and I could see straight away that the river was very high and that the basin was being flooded. At around 1pm I came back to Lower Broughton and the bottom end of Heath Avenue had flooded through the grids. Noone knew what to do. There was no warning of any floods. Some of the residents were really concerned. The river by this time was no more than six inches off the top of the banks. I reckoned it was going to flood and went back to the Lower Kersal where the Environment Agency staff said everything was fine as the flood basin hadn’t filled up. I returned to Broughton and as I went up Heath Ave, about 2:15pm, I saw water coming over the

wall. It was only coming over slowly at first but by the time I’d parked my car at the Trust and got the shutters up, the water was in the car park, and what was a slow stream became massive.

It had gone from a bit of water to something that was quite dangerous. I was soaked, there was nothing I could do so went home because the police were out getting ready to knock on doors...

I made more attempts to contact the Environment Agency and in the end phoned Councillor Harry Davies who said he was with the Environment Agency in Lower Kersal and the river was okay...but on Spike Island it had breached the walls and was all over the estate. That was around 2:45pm. I moved my car onto raised land near the private housing and when I came back residents were still saying `What shall we do?’ The water was coming down towards Broughton Road now and it was an actual flood and rising quite high. It was only when the Environment Agency tried to get down to Lower Broughton, and couldn’t, that they realised it was flooded and put the warning out.

...I came back at 6am the next day and the estate was rammed with vans, environmental services, family and friends, everyone helping each other out. There was a meeting at St Bonifaces Social Club so I popped in there and inadvertently it had become the emergency centre. There were people lying around, people crying...all sorts of things. Michele and Adele, from St Bonny’s, created a Facebook page to put a call out for volunteers and donations. And it just snowballed.

Within half an hour you couldn’t even get into our building, the water was up to my knees, so at that point I decided to evacuate.

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All I could see on the estate were people bringing out all their furniture. It was devastating, horrible. But at the same time it was quite uplifting to see how many people were helping out. At the Broughton Trust all these people kept turning up to volunteer to clean, people we’d never even met. The next morning I went to St Bonny’s for a


The Story of the Boxing Days Flood...In Our Own Words... “We went out to celebrate Boxing Day and we came back and had to move the furniture upstairs. None of the services came near; they never even offered us sandbags. It was left to the people of Salford to make sure that their accommodation was safe.”

John Miller, resident 26th December

“We’ve had so much donated it’s unbelievable. They’re coming from everywhere. People are just turning up asking what they can do. We’ve got lots of volunteers today and they are going out to see what they can do to get any normality back so that people can stay in their homes.”

Graham Cooper outside St Bonifaces Social Club which became the emergency centre for the floods

Vera Winter, St Bonifaces Social Club, 28th December

“Every floor surface and first shelf was covered in mud and there was the debris of stock everywhere which had been moved by the water. In the dispensary and stock room anything that wasn’t shelved was ruined. We even got a broken window from the pressure of the water...it was like the river had passed through it.”

Joe Wagner, K’s Chemist, 30th December

YEARS SUPER FLOOD community meeting and it was rammed with people who wanted to volunteer. I felt a bit out of my comfort zone trying to co-ordinate them all but we dispatched everyone to different places where people had requested help. We had the Pit Stop butty van coming out, the Muslim Youth, the Jewish Youth, the WI Salford Angels, councillors were mucking in...it was weird how it all just joined up. Most places in Salford had run out of cleaning products, you couldn’t get a mop anywhere, so a bloke called Gary was bringing them in from Cheadle. That went on all day and night. People were waking up in the morning and finding parcels of what we’d left. I was blown away by the amount of people and companies giving food, clothes and cleaning products. It was none stop and we recognised in St Bonnys was that it was getting too big for us. We started delivering furniture and white goods that people had donated too but were reminded that it hadn’t been electrically tested. In a disaster like this, it’s the last thing you’re thinking of. But it put doubt in our minds and we handed the co-ordination and delivery over to the agencies, to Helping Hands, Emmaus and the Council, which, in my opinion, put a block on it. Things slowed down... The response from the community was absolutely brilliant. We cleared and cleaned loads of houses and what

impressed me was how Salix opened up communication with myself and others, and when we were identifying vulnerable people who they didn’t know, they were straight in there and so were the police. Even though they had lists, there were young people with disabilities, people with mental health issues, all sorts... older people who didn’t think they were vulnerable...and this is where the neighbours came in. The neighbours were really important in the process. They know who is vulnerable. In one instance a resident came to us and said `Look this bloke’s sat there, I know something’s not right, he’s shivering’. It was the first stage of hypothermia, so once I let Salix know, he was taken to hospital, he didn’t have a choice. Up until then it was `Don’t mither me’. There was a lot of that reporting back through the community. After New Year’s Eve everything moved on but what disappointed me most was that messages were not getting out to residents quick enough. I’ve protested against Salix and everything but, from the highest level down to their workers, they were there and I was really impressed by them. However, the relationship between Salix and the local authority seemed to disappear. I couldn’t believe that Salix was left to do all the door knocking and everything on their own. There was a lot of negativity against Salix after the flood but it’s impossible to get around six hundred houses and do a

proper job in a week. We pay our council tax to the Council and this was an ideal opportunity for them to get an army of people down to Lower Broughton and sort out people’s welfare, to see if they were safe and secure, but they missed it. Teams like neighbourhood management and public health should have been deployed, working alongside Salix to knock on doors, help fill forms in and get messages out. Sadly that didn’t happen. Even though the Council did a tremendous job on the flood clean up that’s where they let themselves down. Without the community doing what they did there could have been people who died during and after the flood but reading the literature coming out of the Council there’s hardly a mention of the community. Where is the recognition for the community for what they’ve done?

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“We’re helping where they need it, particularly people on their own or those who can’t move their furniture, and we’ve brought some big lads down to help rip up carpets and carry furniture out”

Sam Smith, Salford Angels WI, 28th December

“The response has been sensational from all the people who have helped out. It’s just a tragic thing that’s happened in Lower Broughton and other areas, and we are going to raise as much money as we can to donate to the Forever Manchester Appeal...”

Jonathan Buck, co-organiser Flood Relief Concert Swinton, raised £951

“Everything’s been donated and I go and pick it up and then distribute it. It’s for anybody who wants it and messages me on Facebook. It’s a helping hand isn’t it? And if I was in this predicament I’d like to think that someone would do the same. This is about the people themselves helping each other out.”

Joseph Merrishaw, `man with a van’, 29th December

“Everything’s gone but mainly it’s my father’s little chair and the gas cooker. I used the microwave but he doesn’t like it and has only been eating sandwiches. I phoned Salix and they said because I wasn’t insured I’d have to get my own cooker.”

Edward Gallimore, 72, 29th December

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The Story of the Boxing Days Flood...In Our Own Words... “It’s heartbreaking; the whole of people’s Christmas is on their front lawn...”

Susanne, Salford Angels WI, 28th December

“Last Christmas I nearly died with pneumonia, I’ve had cancer, vascular disease in both legs...As far as I know I’m not on any list of vulnerable people, no-one came to see me. No-one from the Council came round, it was all volunteers. It was Salford people sticking together. Nobody came near my door from Salix until my niece found out four days after the flood, rang them and rocketed them. They were here within ten minutes. If you didn’t complain you didn’t get anywhere...”

Angela

“I was on the flood alert list but got no warning. My neighbour phoned the Environment Agency and by the time he got through, past all the `press one, press two’ commands, he said `Hello’ and then had to hang up as the water was already coming in his house...”

Debbie Kelly

“We got no warning of the flood but just by chance we went to look at the river which was close to flowing over. We came back here, and the paper shop and the car park was already covered in water. Within five minutes it was already in my shop.”

Waz, Mocha Wines, 27th December

“I was shocked by the amount of damage and destruction...Saddened to see so many patients, many of them elderly, trying to get their needs dealt with by a system that was not fit for purpose...And amazed to see the ten or so staff as they struggled to cope with the massive challenge confronting them in conditions that were...well, appalling... almost one week after the worst flooding to hit Lower Broughton in almost seventy years.”

Nigel Pivaro on Lower Broughton Health Centre, 4th January

“Why weren’t we informed about it flooding? You’d think they’d know, they are not stupid people, supposedly; and why wasn’t there more people here to help? There was literally nobody here until the water came over. It was too late then. The last time the water was lapping up they had loud speakers going around saying there was a possibility of floods. We had none of that. Why weren’t they here for us?

Angela

“I was here on Boxing Day with my son and he put the flood gates on but I don’t think they worked. The water came in over two feet high. It’s ruined everything. Afterwards, I put my dog in the kennels and there were that many in, they were half price!”

Helena Oven

WHAT WENT WRO A full official report on the Boxing Day Flood is not due out until May or June but in the meantime here is what we think we know...

Why Did The River What About The Irwell Flood in Lower Kersal Salford? Flood Basins? “The water was waist high at times, you were wading. We’re in a time of global warming and it’s getting wetter. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t a yearly thing.” Ginge At the East Salford Community Committee meeting on 17th March, Peter Costello, Flood Risk Management Team Leader at the Environment Agency, explained that, following the flood, hundreds of gates, banks and basins along the Irwell were inspected and, except for one up in the hills, they all performed as expected... “The defences didn’t fail” he said “We were beaten by the sheer volume of water.” This is borne out by the statistics: During the last big flood in 1946 the river height was measured at 4.8metres in Salford. On Boxing Day it rose to 5.67metres, nearly a metre higher. In 1946 the flow of the river was measured as 566cubic metres per second. In 2015 it was 846cms, so the flow was fifty per cent faster than has ever been previously recorded. While it was hardly even raining in Salford, it was hammering it down in the hills and it was the water from places like Bacup that created massive pressure on the river in Salford, where it’s narrow and bends, and the defences couldn’t cope.

“We live in Kersal and were fortunate that we had a flood basin. On the day, we walked across the road to check it and you couldn’t see the goalposts on the playing fields, it was like a reservoir. The sad part is that it passed it on to other parts of Salford. It’s really upsetting.” Stewart Blair Residents are questioning why the two flood basins off Littleton Road in Lower Kersal didn’t stop the river flooding in Lower Broughton. The Council says that it’s waiting for the `river modelling’ to see what impact the basins had. The Environment Agency hadn’t finished building the second flood basin, and it won’t be complete until autumn, but it did take some water, although no-one seems sure how much. Mike Duddy, of the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust, says “The main flood basin worked perfectly and drew a lot of water out of the river. However the volume of water coming from upstream was so great and rising so quickly that it didn’t take out the capacity that everyone thought it would.”

“We didn’t have an evacuation plan. It was absent.” David Hunter, Salford Council’s Chief Officer for Civil Contingencies

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Why Lower Broughton? “I had friends here for Boxing Day lunch and my daughter rings me and says `You’re going to flood’. I said `Nahhh...I’ve seen all this before’, and carried on serving lunch...Soon after, the river was in my fridge!” Angela At the March Community Committee meeting, David Hunter, Salford Council’s Chief Officer for Civil Contingencies, said that the authorities are still waiting for `river modelling’ reports that will explain graphically what actually happened to the river on the day and the impact of the two flood basins in Lower Kersal. In the meantime, there’s plenty of informed speculation as to why Lower Broughton flooded, even though the area around Gerald Road in Charlestown was supposed to be the main stress point. These include the possibility that huge boulders recently placed in the river near Mocha Parade to strengthen the embankments could have pushed the water up instead; and the possibility that the University of Salford raised the level of the footpaths on the side of Peel Park while it was building its halls of residence, thus forcing the water into Lower Broughton... “Peel Park used to be an extra capacity for flood water but it only flooded to a depth of about one and a half or two feet, when it should have been flooding to a depth of 14feet” insists Mike Duddy “That needs to be looked at. What also needs to be looked at is the height of David Lewis playing fields - why do houses flood when playing fields don’t? “ Meanwhile, only the social housing (and ex social housing) properties got flooded on Boxing Day. All the new build houses escaped damage. “The river ran around the private houses and flooded all the, mostly, social houses so did that have a detrimental effect?” asks Graham Cooper.


ONG ON BOXING DAY 2015? Flood Defences For Houses Was A Low Priority For Salix

Did Peel Holdings Where Were The What Went Save Media City Flood Warnings and Wrong With The at the Expense of Alerts? Evacuation? got no warning, we were just Lower Broughton? “We “The police began taking us to St watching football and heard shouting Boniface Social Club but stopped and “As an outsider looking in it would outside. I was saying `It won’t touch appear that the protection of Media us’ but within minutes the water went City was more important.” Mike Duddy up to about two feet and everything was swimming. No-one knocked on our Incredibly, three months after the door asking if we were all right; I’m flood, Peel Holdings, which owns the gutted, I’ve lost everything that was Manchester Ship Canal and is responsible for its own water management, still hasn’t downstairs.” spoken to the Environment Agency Carol Peters about its actions on Boxing Day. It has a meeting planned for early April. Until then, speculation is rife that Peel, and the opening or closing of its Mode Wheel locks, had something to do with the Lower Broughton flood. The `evidence’ is photos of Salford Quays showing the water dropping to really low levels in the late afternoon/early evening.

“It seemed as though Media City was under threat and was the catalyst for them opening the lock gates” says Mike Duddy “If the lock gates would have been opened at 12noon, rather than much later, it would have been unlikely that Salford would have flooded. I’ve no evidence for that, except the timing of the events. As an outsider looking in it would appear that the protection of Media City was more important.” When questioned on this, the Environment Agency’s Peter Costello doubted this theory, saying that the Canal worked as it should have done but couldn’t give a definitive reason as to why the water level fell dramatically at Salford Quays. The `Salford Quays theory’ isn’t new. Salford University interviewed older residents who remembered the 1946 flood, for a report in 2009... “The participants thought that flooding of housing areas in Salford was a political decision” it stated “because if the flood water reached Salford Docks (if locks were open) it would have resulted in very high financial implications for the local authorities in terms of paying out compensation to ship owners...”

At a big community meeting in January following the flood, the Broughton Trust’s Graham Cooper challenged the authorities on the lack of any clear flood warnings, despite residents signing up for flood alerts “We were told there was no flood problem” he said “Why, when I phoned you at 1pm did you ignore me...why did you ignore what local people were saying?” The Environment Agency’s Mark Garratt admitted to residents that “our flood warning struggled to cope”, while at the March community meeting the Council’s David Hunter repeated that “the alerts and warnings weren’t working effectively on the day”. The basin in Lower Kersal began filling at 9am and should have been the trigger for warnings and evacuations, he added. Mike Duddy was another person who tried to warn the authorities...“It takes about eight hours for water to travel from Bacup to Salford down the river at that speed, so while it was still raining up there and the flood basin was filling they should have known that there was eight hours more water to come and could have called a flood warning then” says Mike Duddy “I went on GMR radio at 11am on Boxing Day to try and tell people to move furniture. The flood basin didn’t fill until around 3:30pm, whereas the flooding in Lower Broughton started about 2:30pm.”

said that we couldn’t cross the road as it was too dangerous. They took me back to a ginnel and told me to wait for them. I stood on a step in my slippers and leggings for over an hour and I was freezing. But they never came back.” Madge Kelly, age 75 Some residents complained of being “left in the lurch” on the day, while others said it was “chaos”. The Council’s David Hunter admitted the failings at the March meeting “We didn’t have an evacuation plan” he said “It was absent. We were trying to evacuate vulnerable people when the roads were already flooded. It was dangerous and we’ve got to recognise that there was a risk to life. There were too many questions on the day; where people were and if they were safe.” For Graham Cooper, who helped coordinate volunteers, without the community doing things for themselves on Boxing Day “people could have died”. There were lists of vulnerable people on the estate but the Council has admitted that there were too many lists. There was a Salix list, a Council list, a list compiled by the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities project...and even then there were many people missing from those lists, with neighbours and relatives phoning the police themselves during the rescue. Meanwhile, the first Council plan was to evacuate people to River View Primary School, which was right at the centre of the flood plain and couldn’t be reached, and later staff directed people to the Beacon Centre which was too far away. Instead, the community formed its own emergency flood centre at St Bonifaces Social Club. 17,000 tons of sand was available to make sandbags but people were expected to collect it themselves from Swinton. At the January Community Committee meeting at River View School, angry residents confronted Salford Mayor Ian Stewart, who admitted “The best laid plans didn’t go right”, as he promised to review “all the failures” and to “learn from mistakes”.

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f the Boxing Day Flood would have happened six years ago it would have been a lot worse. In 2009, Salford University produced a report for the Environment Agency, looking at how to motivate social landlords and residents in flood areas to increase defences in properties. As well as interviewing tenants in Lower Broughton and Lower Kersal, the researchers also spoke to officers from Salix Homes. What they found was that flood defences for homes was a low priority for Salix because it didn’t tick the right funding boxes and managers believed it was also a low priority for residents. “As yet Salix Homes has not produced a strategic document that would cover the actions to be carried out in order to protect housing against a flood” the report states “Flooding is mainly considered in relation to new and future development and not for the existing stock.” The Salix staff were aware of house protection measures but believed that their tenants would see things like new kitchens and bathrooms “as more important than flood protection measures”. The report states clearly that “This view was not supported by the tenants that participated in focus groups”... The report was published in 2009, and by 2010 Salford Council had produced a Climate Change Strategy and an `initiative’ was carried out in Spike Island and Lower Kersal, centred mainly on saving energy and growing food, although flood protection measures were installed in “up to 200 homes in the Lower Kersal and Spike Island estate”, including `flood door guards, flood resilient air bricks and water closet bungs’. Electrical sockets were raised only in houses that had a full re-wire as part of decent homes work on Spike Island around 2012. Meanwhile, many of the houses that took the brunt of the Boxing Day flood either didn’t have flood door guards at all, or had ones that didn’t fit. Madge Kelly, of Tucana Avenue, was engulfed in water in her living room but had not been given a `Flood Angel’ Flood Defender... “They said I wasn’t at risk but our houses are on the flow of the river” she says “How can we not be at risk?” Madge’s daughter, Debbie Prince, of Cygnus Avenue, did have a `Flood Angel’ but it didn’t work... “They weren’t properly fitted after the walls were rendered by the Council when they refurbished the estate” she says “They were no good, a complete waste of time.” The latest Salford Council `Flood Risk Management Strategy’, adopted in May 2015, states that it would “Hold a forum for housing associations and house builders looking at flood resilience for both new and refurbished properties”. However, the Council and others couldn’t identify where the estimated £5,000 cost for this was coming from, and the timescale was pushed out to sometime in `2015-16’.

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The Story of the Boxing Days Flood...In Our Own Words... “You phone Salix and the Council and get redirected here and there, and while the red tape was going on nothing is being done. The community have all come together and helped but other than that there’s been little. I would have imagined that every council or housing association would have some emergency plan in place for things like this happening. This is a community disaster and a lot of people who live on here are elderly and they’ve had almost no assistance.”

Angela Barratt, volunteer

“We did this with 72 hours notice and we’ve got a roomful of people. We just wanted to get our heads together, have a bit of fun, lighten the mood and raise a bit of money, and we’ve definitely done that. It’s been well worth the while.”

Dave Campbell, from the band Ellwood, on the Salford Flood Recovery Appeal Gig at Lower Kersal Social Club which raised £1,142

“I was cooking dinner on Boxing Day and my mum was shouting that the river was rising, I didn’t believe her, and then we went outside and the water was pouring through the walls. We ran in and moved our stuff but as we managed to pick the couch up the water just flooded in through the back door. We had no warning or anything. By the time we got out it was past our knees.”

Rebecca McKay

“I had people knocking on my door with toys who I didn’t even know...They just literally knocked and said `Are you Elaine?’ I can’t tell you how many people came round. Even my daughter’s boyfriend’s granddad turned up with a new slide and Wendy house.”

Elaine Connolly, child minder

“I’m here to help to raise funds for the flood victims. This is great for the community it brings everyone together. It’s about having fun after all the hassle of the clean up. Everyone can let their hair down for the night...”

Lorna Barker, at St Bonifaces Flood Benefit, raised £1,160

“Nothing’s changed. The house is still the same only cleaner. We’re still living upstairs like after Boxing Day. We’ve got nothing to sit on downstairs. It’s unbelievable.”

Debbie Kelly, 20th March 10

What Next For Lower Broughton?

The much awaited official report on the Boxing Day flood is still being prepared but agency managers have given hints of what its conclusions might be...

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hile Salford Council and the Environment Agency have admitted major failings in terms of the lack of flood warnings and the rescue plans, climate change means it’s almost inevitable that a `one in one hundred years’ flood will happen before `one hundred years’ is up. The agencies are determined that, should it re-occur, they will be better prepared. And the community needs to hold them to that and get involved through the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities project, which is in the process of developing a Community Emergency Plan for extreme weather and extreme events, with trained volunteers prepared for eventualities like the Boxing Day flood. On flood defences, the Environment Agency’s Peter Costello told the March meeting of the East Salford Community Committee that “We’ve moved on from just building bigger walls” and that they are trying to “think differently” about how to hold back the flow of the river in other places before it reaches Salford. The Council’s David Hunter agreed that it was the speed of the water that caused the problems... “This was a torrent and we have to improve our defences further upstream as well as in Salford...We’ve also got to be challenging the Environment Agency... `Is the second basin enough?’” David Hunter said the Council needed to get together just one list of vulnerable people for any future emergencies and have evacuation centres that aren’t in the flood plain. The agencies are also looking at the possibility of placing flood sirens around the estates.

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Meanwhile, Salix Homes is working on drying out and installing `flood resilience’ for its houses, which will take over six months to complete. “This happened in Lower Broughton” David Hunter he told the community committee meeting “but it could have happened in Ordsall, Charlestown or Kersal...We have to work with the community on new plans.” He added that these plans will be ready by the summer, and “by winter we’ve got to be ready”... In the meantime, the report into the Boxing Day flood will have taken five or six months to prepare by the time it comes out...


The Story of the Boxing Days Flood...In Our Own Words... “I’m very impressed with the community resilience and spirit here. Even people who were affected themselves by the flood have rallied round and helped others. And people who were not affected didn’t just stand back; they helped out as well, got stuck in and got their hands dirty. The community spirit has been excellent.”

Councillor Jim King, 30th December

“I said `The water won’t come near us’... We got the brunt of it, it stayed for twelve hours. We cleaned up a bit and then my granddaughters came down and they got on their hands and knees and scrubbed. The only people I recall who were around were the volunteers. They deserve a medal. Now when it rains I’m like `Please stop, please stop!”

Joan Jackson

“It’s that bad we can’t even go downstairs because all the tiles are contaminated. We’ve got a rug but that’s contaminated because the water underneath is rising up. It’s disgusting. How can the baby play in this? We’ve got to live upstairs. I’m not impressed. It’s now seven weeks after the flood and we don’t know anything and no-one’s telling us anything.”

Charlotte Piercy, 17th February

Where Has The £3million Flood Money Gone? S alford Council has received £1,981,754 from the Government’s Communities and Business Recovery Scheme. It has also received a payment from the Greater Manchester Disaster Fund, estimated at around £5,000, while the Council has added £1million from its reserves for its Salford Distress Fund, giving a total just under £3million. So where has it gone?

According to Salford Council, there were 668 households and 196 business premises affected by the Boxing Day floods but only 451 residents and 132 business got the initial £500 that was on offer, giving a total of £291,500. The 132 businesses also claimed grants of around £2,000, adding a further £264,000. House owners could claim up to £5,000 to protect against future floods, and the vast majority of this pot has been taken by Salix Homes, which has claimed for 290 properties. Only 27 private house owners have so far claimed, although this might be due to the fact that they have to pay for their own survey which costs around £500. The Council is currently looking at ways to cover this. Altogether there have been 317 claims for this

“We’ve had little kids affected around here, we can’t leave them outside now because they’re paranoid, it’s set them back. One little lad was always a bit shy and had just come out of his shell but since this flood he won’t leave his mum’s side. He was caught in it twice, first on Riverside and then over here on Gordon Street.”

Keri Muldoon

“The insurance is a real issue and the conversations I want to have now with the community is to understand why the take up was so low. Some people I spoke to said they knew about the insurance but chose not to take it, and I get it. If it’s a choice between managing a risk that might happen, versus putting some food on the table I know what I’d do – I understand that.”

`resilience’ money, giving an approximate total of £1,585,000 Meanwhile, uninsured residents can claim for essential items lost in the flood, like clothes, furniture and child care equipment. Only 262 claims have been accepted so far, meaning either people don’t know about it or are being rejected. We’re hearing that the average claim being paid out is around £1,200, which would add to the total £314,400. The Council is also giving people who have had to leave their homes refunds on council tax, which, as yet, is an undisclosed sum. This would suggest that around £2,500,000 of almost £3million has been accounted for already. If these figures are more or less accurate it means that there is around £500,000 going unclaimed at the moment.

collecting these grants that they are entitled to claim?” asks Graham Cooper “I’m hearing stories of people not putting in applications, for various reasons.” On top of the Council money, and the various vouchers and schemes that Salix Homes has in place, there is also £2,834 from a GoFundMe campaign (which includes receipts from the Lower Kersal benefit concert). This is being held in the hope that the Government will match fund and double it, although the Tories seem to be backtracking on the pledge. As yet there are no details on how this money will be distributed. There is also £1,160 from the St Bonifaces flood benefit, which is also awaiting match funding before distribution. For further details of how to claim see www.salford.gov.uk/residents.htm

“How is the Council ensuring people are

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Lee Sugden, CEO Salix Homes

“Salford comes together and the power of Facebook is amazing! I just think it’s so lovely how everyone’s helped everyone out, even when they’re in a crisis themselves. I’m so proud to be from Salford...”

Louise, Helping Hands, 28th December

“It’s three months down the line and the houses in our street are still not drying at all. At one point I had four bricks taken out of my walls by Salix contractors and left open for over a week, which left gaps straight into my home. I don’t believe that I, or any of us, should be paying rent to live in these conditions. It’s been hard, our community has been outstanding, and still is; we just want answers and soon, as it is not only our houses that’s been affected, it’s our own lives...”

Keri Muldoon, 19th March


ORDSALL Ordsall is being squeezed by developers and speculators cashing in on MediaCityUK on one side, Manchester on the other and some tasty real estate in the middle. But where does this leave the long standing community who feel they are being pushed out?

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inda has lived in her social rent house in Ordsall for 44 years, first with her parents and, for the last thirty years as a tenant in her own right. It’s her family home. But now she’s got to move, with the crippling Bedroom Tax adding £90 a fortnight to her rent... “It’s heartbreaking” she says “I’ve got all my neighbours around me and everyone knows everyone else. I’ve got to downsize but there’s no properties available at the moment...”

“I feel like we’re being pushed out of the way” Linda No properties? No properties!!! Ordsall is teaming with properties. Everywhere you look there’s newly built properties or workmen building new properties, and big hoardings announcing the latest housing plans. From Trafford Road to Ordsall Lane, from Radclyffe

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Park to Robert Hall Street, development is booming. But long standing residents of Ordsall are convinced that none of it is for them. “I’ve lived here all my life” says Linda “but I feel like we’re being pushed out of the way. They should be building more affordable houses.” On Robert Hall Street and at Hulton Square, to rent one of the new town houses costs £975 per month, while a two bedroom apartment at Steele House on the rebranded `Ordsall Waterfront’ is up for sale at £145,000; advertised as being `ideal for investors’ with potential rents valued at £800 per month. At the Welcome Inn on Robert Hall Street, Jeri has every sympathy for Lynda... “She’s being forced out” she agrees “There will be no council houses here soon, I think; it will be all private houses. And no-one from here will be able to afford to live here. Who can afford £800 a month? You can knock on every new house and no-one will be from here. Nine out of ten haven’t grown up on the Ordsall estate.”

Indeed, because of its sheer proximity to Manchester on one side and MediaCityUK on the other, Ordsall is being squeezed by developers who see it as the latest addition to their `Manchester’ Monopoly board... The marketing of Bridgewater Gate, a block of 53 `fashionable apartments’ being built on Ordsall Lane, is a case in point. Here, prices start at £114,995 for a tiny studio apartment and rise to £167,495, minimum, for a three bedroom flat... “This superb residential development caters for all investor budgets, needs and requirements” states the hype by investment company Knight Knox “With expected NET returns of circa 6%, Bridgewater Gate presents itself as an optimal investment opportunity for savvy investors who realise the true potential of Salford as a booming buy-to-let market...” The problem is that the community don’t want their neighbourhood being turned into a `buy-to-let’ market. They want real homes for themselves, their kids and their grandkids. Mike, who has lived in Ordsall for 55 years, is

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having a pint at the Bricklayers Arms, literally across the road from the site of Bridgewater Gate and its sister development, Bridgewater Point where the first phase of 134 `bespoke investment properties’ has already sold out. “No locals will be able to afford these apartments” he says “It seems to be at the expense of local people. The community is being pushed out and you will not find anyone who will totally agree with it...” No-one, that is, except Salford City Council, run by the Labour Party, which seems to be giving developers a green light to do as they please, without providing any affordable housing or putting anything back into the community. Last summer, the Council brought out a new Supplementary Planning Document, or SPD, which classified land at Ordsall Riverside as a `mid value’ area. Previously, developers building flats in this area would have to provide between 10% and 20% affordable properties within their schemes and pay planning fees towards local amenities and infrastructure, based on an amount per bed space built. For Bridgewater Point this would have been


BOOM £966,060, and for Bridgewater Gate it would have been £241,515, giving a total back to the community of well over £1million. The two schemes would also have to contribute around 25 affordable properties. However, under the new policy, Salford Council completely wiped out any need for developers to provide any affordable homes or pay anything for building flats, arguing that it would affect the `viability’ of the schemes, ie the developer’s profit... “The potential for apartment schemes in Ordsall Riverside to support planning obligations was assessed by the City Council as part of the preparation of the updated planning obligations SPD (2015)” stated the Council planning report for Bridgewater Gate “This involved a strategic assessment of viability and concluded that apartment developments within Ordsall Riverside would not be able to support planning obligations.” The developer’s profit, based on Council figures, would be over £7million for Bridgewater Point and Bridgewater Gate. On top of this add the buy-to-let investors’ returns of around 6% per year, and the place is awash with big, big money. It’s everywhere. Except within the community itself. Freshly released Government statistics class inner Ordsall, where the long standing community live, as within the 3%-7% most deprived areas in England.

“What are the prospects for local people in Ordsall?” asks Cheryl Gibbons, who, is the landlady at the Bricklayers Arms and also manages the Shaw Trust shop, one of two charity shops out of six new units at Radclyffe Park. She answers her own question... “Zero...None...Zilch” she insists “They’re not doing anything for local residents who have lived here a long time. They’re doing it for everyone else they’re going to drag in. I’ve said it at meetings... `We can’t afford these houses that you are throwing up’; I spoke to one of the architects and asked if he lived in one of the houses and he said `Yes’, and I said `Yes, but on your salary, we don’t have those salaries here in Ordsall’. “They’re not looking at the people who have been in Ordsall for all these generations” Cheryl adds, while serving second hand toys and clothes in the packed charity shop “They’re just being greedy, I think, because they’re appealing to the people at Media City. They don’t want Ordsall as an estate; they want to change it into something completely different.”

Ordsall loses £4 Million in planning fees see panel

Council has handed over the whole inner estate to LPC Living for redeveloping, based on a `Development Framework’ cobbled together over ten years ago. This stated that much of the new housing “will be affordable for Ordsall residents”. Since then LPC claims “607 affordable properties built” - which is almost every single house and flat the company has constructed. However, a quick glance at the sales prices shows that, when built in 2011, three bedroom terraced houses in Hulton Square went for between £149,500 and £154,900. Even a two bedroom flat on the scheme cost £132,901. Hardly `affordable’ in `real’ Ordsall,

Ordsall loses 138 affordable housing units see panel

where the average household income is around £21,000. LPC does have various `Help To Buy’ and `First Time Buyer’ schemes but the official Housing Monitor for Greater Manchester, which includes Salford, shows that the typical household income of first time buyers is over £38,000. It then deconstructed the help deals

Away from the Ordsall Waterfront and its swish, unaffordable apartments, Salford

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and concluded that its evidence “highlights how difficult it is and will be in the foreseeable future to gain access to owner occupation”. This would explain the sight of a Porsche parked outside one of the new townhouses and a statement from Simon Ashdown, director at LPC Living, who said “The properties at Hulton Square appeal to a variety of people including families and professionals due to its proximity to MediaCity and good transport links to Manchester.”

“No locals will be able to afford these apartments” Mike For Salford City Council it’s all about what it calls “housing market health”, through “the provision of housing for the economically active and providing a mix of tenure”. In other words, it’s not interested in providing more social housing for those who need it most. “They’re building houses all of the same ilk” Cheryl explains “I’ve told them, all our families, children grandchildren are being fielded out because there’s no housing available. They’re leaving the area because they can’t afford the housing; it’s for people on higher incomes.” The Salford Star invited LPC to answer various questions on the number of affordable properties it’s built, how it defines `affordable’ and how many of its properties have been bought by landlords renting them out at £975 per month. LPC

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wouldn’t comment. The Star further asked LPC to respond to the perception that the new properties are not affordable for the community and not aimed at them. Again, the company declined to comment. As has been shown by the Salford Star (see past issues and the website), in all of Salford’s regeneration areas, redevelopment has been about diluting the city’s social and economic problems rather than solving them, and Ordsall is no different. The influx of what the LPC director called `professionals’, has pushed the median household income of the Ordsall ward as a whole (which includes Media City and the Ordsall Waterfront) up to £30,479, the fourth highest in Salford, ranking alongside the likes of Worsley, Boothstown and Claremont. The ward has also seen the city’s biggest improvement in deprivation rankings, moving up six places according to latest Government indices. Yet, at the same time, the estate itself, or inner Ordsall, is classed by the Government as within the worst ten per cent of areas in England for employment, child poverty and `income deprivation’. Morrisons, on the new Radclyffe Park development,

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was supposed to be a `catalyst for regeneration’ and two hundred jobs but closed recently. And don’t talk to anyone about MediaCityUK and the BBC sparking employment. Even Labour Party Mayor candidate, Paul Dennett, has denounced the BBC, stating in his campaign literature that “in the first round of new jobs, only 26 Salfordians were employed there”. Meanwhile, the influx of new population of all nationalities has put a strain on local health and education services, with people complaining they can’t get appointments at the new health centre and the dentists; while local kids in the reception and nursery classes have to re-apply for places in Year 1 at the recently built Primrose Hill Primary School. For civic campaigner, Adam Prince, who with others, has been trying to oppose Peel


FIVE SCHEMES THAT LOST ORDSALL ALMOST £4MILLION Development Lost Planning Fee Villafont Ltd and Simandhar Swami LLP 372 apartments Woden St £1,221,278

Holdings’ plans for thousands of flats on Pomona across the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford, the strain on public services in Ordsall is going to get worse.

The developer’s profit would be over £7million for Bridgewater Point and Bridgewater Gate “With Pomona there’s no need for any infrastructure in any of the masterplans” he explains “They are just building rich ghetto neighbourhoods and if those people use the health and public services they will saturate them and stretch resources. Peel doesn’t have any social obligation to provide these things; it’s just facilitated to make their own private profits and it’s going to leave a damaging legacy.” On the estate itself, as boulevards spring up and an allotment has been added, remnants of the old community’s heart have been airbrushed out with a bulldozer. The British Legion community venue has been demolished, along with the old health centre and what was left of the precinct. The sites are all earmarked for houses, apartments and `public realm’, with the centre of the estate swept out to the Trafford Road edge, facing the Quays. Even the old dole office on Trafford Road is being converted into fancy apartments. “I’ve seen a few changes” says 72 year old William Norton, sitting in the Welcome Inn “Ordsall was like one family but it’s gone. The flats and houses are not for local people with the prices they are asking, Media City hasn’t helped and even the Legion has gone. It’s not the same.”

The one mainstay is Salford Lads Club, where politicians and business exec tourists flock to get their Smiths street cred, while blinkered to what is going on elsewhere on the estate. “When I first came here there were three job centres, now there’s none; we had two nights of the youth service, in dedicated youth centre space, and that’s gone” says Gail Skelly, who has worked at Ordsall Community Arts, or OCA, for twelve years. “The only youth activity is two workers who do the girls club on Tuesday at the Lads Club and some stuff at Oasis” she adds “The youth service in terms of Salford Community Leisure has been reduced, and while there have been other self contained projects as well, in terms of regular activities for young people, there’s less.” OCA itself, which will be forty years old in 2019, is “financially endangered”, Gail explains, as she think the company’s voluntary sector grant will soon go, despite it having a really strong group of volunteers, including those who have moved into the area wanting to integrate into the existing community. “The young people who came here as kids are now volunteering too, and that’s key for our existence” Gail adds “But you need to pay people to facilitate that or you can’t do anything large scale or of any scope.

across the road from where OCA operates, has had absolutely no impact on the art organisation’s sustainability... “The Quays Culture partnership was set up to programme large shows that would attract visitors; it’s to make the Peel investment culturally interesting and to entice visitors to come and buy hotel rooms and restaurant spaces” Gail explains “Economic regeneration isn’t community regeneration, it’s a completely different thing.” Salford Council has recently extended its deal with LPC for a further five years, to build another 425 houses and apartments....”This agreement is further good news for Ordsall” said Salford Mayor Ian Stewart “Five years down the line, we will be in an even better position and Ordsall residents will reap the benefits of our commitment to making life better for them.” But, five years down the line, will residents like Linda, crippled by Bedroom Tax and without an affordable alternative, still be living in Ordsall?

“There’s two very different pictures in Ordsall” she insists “There’s the housing development and what difference that has made to the local population; and there’s the withdrawal of central government funding which has made a massive impact on services provided by the local authority.” It’s a damning indictment of the premise that throwing loads of expensive houses up is somehow going to help a community. Even MediaCityUK, almost

www.salfordstar.com

Lost Affordable Housing

75apts

Beaumont Morgan Developments 260 apartments/13 townhouses Off Ordsall Lane £1,207,575 25apts/ 1townhouse Knight Knox International 113 apartments Trafford Road

£600,000

11apts

MMGG Properties 142 apartments Gresham Mill

£630,902

14 apts

£300,000

12 apts

Elm Homes Ltd 126 apartments Back of Ordsall Fit City

Total Lost Planning Fees: £3,959,755 Total Lost Affordable Housing:

138 units

*Figures are taken from actual Salford Council planning reports unless not stated in reports. In these cases payments were estimated using the Council’s own tables. **Salford Council has changed its policy towards developers providing affordable housing in `mid value’ areas for apartment development. These are estimates and actuals based on former policy of between 10% and 20% of the total. ***Only MMGG Properties paid anything at all towards planning fees - £55,000


No Justice In Salford!

With just two law centres covering Greater Manchester’s 2.7million people, plans are afoot for a people’s Greater Manchester Law Centre...

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he old Salford Magistrates Court at Bexley Square is now a block of yuppie flats, which is symbolic of the state of the legal system in the city. Meanwhile, in Greater Manchester there are just two struggling law centres, in Rochdale and Bury, serving 2.7million people. Law centres survived financially through local government grants, which have now gone in the cuts, and from funding via the legal aid contracts they took on. However, since the Government brought in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Offenders Act 2012 many areas of family, employment and welfare issues are now outside eligibility for legal aid support. And most centres have been forced to close. As a result, research by the House of Commons Library found that there was a worrying increase in people representing themselves in court because they can’t afford a lawyer, while its Justice Committee concluded that the Act had worsened access to justice. A report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission also found that the legal aid `reforms’ tended to harm women, BME communities and disabled people. “What we’re seeing is a package of so-called reforms which are limiting and stifling access to justice” says Tanzil Chowdhury, one of two part time development workers trying to create a new Greater Manchester Law Centre “Without legal aid you cannot have access to justice, so people don’t have any rights.” Greater Manchester Law Centre is a collection of lawyers,

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trade unionists, community groups and people working in the voluntary sector coming together to re-boot justice for the community. In April it is hoping to begin roving law clinics around the area for a couple of hours at a time, with volunteer lawyers on hand to help with free welfare benefits and employment advice. The long term aim is a full time permanent base where people can get advice and, if needs be, representation. “The reality is that the landscape has changed and we can’t rely on legal aid like we could beforehand” says Tanzil “So we have to look for other ways of funding ourselves, which may mean fundraising, having community shares in a building or a system similar to Avon and Bristol where they train students under the auspices of a qualified solicitor to deliver advice and representation.” As Tanzil explains, not many people know that legal aid was brought in at the same time as the NHS, yet, while people are rightly fighting the privatisation of the NHS, the fight to protect legal aid just hasn’t been as widespread, despite protest rallies outside the Greater Manchester courts. “The right to justice is just as important as the right to health care” he says “People can’t afford legal help when they are getting evicted out of their houses or they’re in

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crippling debt or if they have been sanctioned. They need legal advice...It is a nightmare.” The Salford Star will post details of the roving clinics on its website. In the meantime, the GM Law Centre is looking for an experienced welfare benefits adviser or lawyer able to volunteer a few hours each week. For more details see www.gmlaw.org.uk or email info@ gmlawcentre For anyone wishing to donate towards the GM Law Centre, its bank details are Lloyds Bank sort code 309192; account number 55658268


THE WORLD GETS WORSE FOR CHILDREN LIVING IN SALFORD Thousands of Salford children are currently suffering from poverty, emotional abuse and neglect, with the numbers rising all the time. For too many children in the city, life is getting worse...

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he latest Salford Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) report presented to a Council committee recently makes chilling reading, showing the sad world in which thousands of the city’s young people now live.

states that a `significant proportion’ of 793 serious cases of domestic abuse in the city occurred in households with children. Of 168 children who were on protection plans for emotional abuse, almost 46% of them had the primary risk of domestic violence.

Around 13,000 children, or 26% of those under 16 years old, are now living in poverty, way above the national and regional average. In the Irwell Riverside ward, 45% of children are living in poverty, while, according to the Government’s latest Deprivation Indices, four Salford neighbourhoods feature in the worst 100 places, out of 32,844, in England for `Income Deprivation Affecting Children’.

26% of those under 16 years old are now living in poverty

These are the area around Madams Wood Road in Little Hulton (ranked 52), Spike Island in Lower Broughton (ranked 55), the Broadwalk near Salford Precinct (ranked 86) and Whit Lane in Charlestown (ranked 87). Meanwhile, hundreds of children are getting caught in the crossfire of domestic abuse. The SSCB report, covering the year 2014-15,

Young People in Salford *While early years and primary schools perform well, success rates at GCSE are amongst the lowest in England. The rate of children achieving five GCSEs at A*-C grades, (with English and Maths) has fallen 3% since 2010 *25% of three year olds in Salford have decayed, missing or filled teeth, and Salford has the second highest rate of its statistical neighbours for injuries in 0-14 year olds. *11.5% of 15 year olds and 19% of 16-17 years olds are estimated to regularly smoke in Salford compared to 8.7% and 14.8% for England *21.3% of Salford children have special educational needs (18.6% England). *At the end of September 2015 the number of young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in Salford was 8.4%, the highest in Greater Manchester and well above the national and regional averages

Emotional abuse as a whole accounted for 47.1% of 357 children on child protection plans and neglect accounted for 47.9% (171), with sexual abuse (3.1%) and physical abuse (2%) completing the unhappy picture. The number of children on child protection plans as a whole increased from 278 in 2014 to that 357 figure in 2015 – way above the average for England and above the figures for comparative places, or `statistical neighbours’. During 2014-15, Salford Children’s Social Care received 4,103 referrals, a 41.6% increase from 2013/14. As of 31st March 2015, 1,854 children had been identified through assessment as being formally in need of a specialist children’s service, an increase from 1,663 at 31st March 2014. And children being looked after by Salford Council also increased from 575 to 587. At 31st March 2015, Salford Carers Centre was working with 158 young carers who were under 17, and 56 aged between 18 and 24, although the report estimates that there are 4,056 young carers in Salford. The statistics show that the picture for the city’s young people is grim...and getting worse. So what is Salford doing about it? Apart from cutting £6.1million from Children’s Services this year, including £1.14million from the 0-25 service, a mixture of health and Council officers have come up with yet another `strategy’, or the Salford Locality Plan, tied in with devolution to Greater Manchester. This promises that “Children will have the best start in life and continue to develop well during their early years”, with “the right

support at the right time along the journey to adulthood”. Unfortunately, practicalities of how this is to be done are incredibly sketchy... “A healthy pregnancy, free from tobacco smoke, high rates of breastfeeding, good early years provision and high levels of immunisation and vaccination”... “A strong education with access to stimulating learning, plus physical activity and a good diet”... “An emotionally friendly environment in which the voice of all children is heard and valued”. The Plan merely adds that “Detailed proposals are being developed which will build on initial work prompted by the strategic review...It will take a decade of continued effort to realise the ambition”. In the meanwhile, “We recognise...that the current public sector financial pressures are

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significant” it adds “Our aim is to achieve the required level of savings in a way that has the least impact on achieving our vision for Salford. This will require transformational changes...as well as challenging conversations about shared priorities and services that will need to cease”. With Salford facing a £157million `shortfall’ in health and social care for adults and children by 2021, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is undertaking a review of the way that all children’s services are delivered, and states that it will “explore how integrated and more efficient ways of delivery of all services could be achieved”. In other words, Salford’s children, in the near future, won’t be Salford Council’s problem any more...

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DODGY DOLPHIN ANTICS Swinton authors, David and Tracy Holroyd, have written a trilogy of `faction’ books slating the captive dolphin industry. But the dodgy antics surrounding the books are almost as concerning as the content of their expose...

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avid Holroyd, co-author of The Perfect Pair, sits back in his chair at his house in Swinton and recalls the first time he met William Roache. The Coronation Street Ken Barlow legend pulled him to one side and said...`You do know they’re trying to stop you?...Don’t let them...’ Ever since then, David and his sister Tracy, who also co-authored three books exposing the captive dolphin industry, have come to live with the efforts of those trying to silence them. Literary agents have run scared, journalists have looked the other way, people working in dolphin show business have tried to discredit them...and even some of the biggest animal welfare charities have refused to endorse their work. The furore surrounding the books is almost as intriguing as the hairraising content within The Perfect Pair trilogy.

`...big corporations wanted a piece of the fishy fiscal action’ The three books are proper sensational, blockbuster-style page-turners, recounting the story of a young lad, David Capello, who sees an advert for a job training dolphins, applies and embarks on an adventure into what he thinks is the glam world of smiling dolphins jumping through hoops for adoring families. As Capello becomes Europe’s finest trainer, thanks to a unique psychic bond with his `perfect pair’ of dolphins, he also comes to realise that the world in which he’s engulfed is, in reality, a cruel industry where these

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highly intelligent mammals are treated like dispensable money-making products. He notes that the physical feature which makes dolphins appear to be permanently smiling, is actually their curse. And he tries to fight the system... The books expose `shake sessions’ that terrify dolphins who won’t perform; the filthy, cramped environments in which dolphins are kept; the forced feeding; the faking of records...and even the possible murder of one dolphin past his entertainment sell-by date. There’s also dolphins going mad all over the place in the unnatural captive state of the aqua-circuses; from suicidal dolphins, to rebellious dolphins, to gangster dolphins who deliberately expose themselves to young girls in the audience...and there’s the hapless Bobby the sea lion, confined to a crate with the words of a previous trainer ringing in his ears `The only way to train a sea lion is with a club’… The trilogy is set over forty years ago, in the 1970s and early 80s, when dolphinariums in this country were springing up all over the place and big corporations wanted a piece of the fishy fiscal action. The books centre on one well known corporation that employed Capello, and while the names and places have been changed, the authors stand by the fact that the events and happenings recounted are all true. “We only had a choice of two banners under which to write - fiction and non-fiction” says David Holroyd, who was a dolphin trainer back in the day “If we would have gone nonfiction we would have been sued. It happened 44 years ago but they are as afraid of this story now as they were then because it’s a warts-and-all expose of what went on in that dolphinarium and with that company.

“Everything is smiley, smiley within the industry” he adds “When Capello worked in the dolphinariums he used to lie to the public. They would get him up on the stage and ask him questions, and he would protect that industry just as everyone who works within it does. Obviously the Capello character didn’t work in the industry long because he was so disgusted by what was happening...” Instead, Capello left the world of aquacircuses and became a whistleblower, his story told through The Perfect Pair books. But why, after over forty years, is it all so controversial? After all, there are no dolphinariums open in Britain these days... “There’s a faction of people who would like to see dolphinariums re-introduced in the UK” explains Tracy “People think they are illegal but they’re not. It’s just that the facilities didn’t come up to scratch and there were more rules and regulations...” It was only the declining profit margins that put a stop to the shows. However, in Eastern Europe and Asia dolphinariums are on the rise. Meanwhile, argues Tracy, the books make uncomfortable PR for the householdname company exposed and the celebrities they employed back in the day... “When we were writing the books we thought that the pro-captivity industry would try to stop them, especially the conglomerate that was involved at the time which owned these dolphinariums” she recalls “But I said to David `Don’t worry, the animal charities would not let that happen...They will not let them suppress the story’...” Instead, some big name dolphin and animal charities seem to have done the complete opposite...to the point where Tracy and David have actually named them in a List of Shame

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at the end of the third book... ...Marine Connection; Born Free Foundation; PETA UK; PETA USA; Sea Shepherd UK; Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Organisation; Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)... The Salford Star wrote to Marine Connection - which campaigns against dolphins in captivity and is a member of Dolphinariafree Europe – and asked why it hadn’t supported the books. Marine Connection didn’t respond. The Salford Star has also seen correspondence from some of the other charities named stating `legal issues’, `financial concerns’, a `supernatural element’ and, strangely, that `the story revolves around training dolphins in captivity’ – which, of course, it does; it’s a whistle blowing expose from inside the industry.

`The three books are proper sensational, blockbuster-style page-turners...’ Meanwhile, Captain Paul Watson put a comment on the Salford Star website, following a review of the third book, stating “The criticism of Sea Shepherd and I are unfounded because we were never asked to endorse this book”, a claim totally refuted by the authors who say they tried to correspond “on numerous occasions telling them about our books in hope of forging an alliance – but never once were we given the courtesy of a reply”. So what is going on? Is there a conspiracy


someone you shouldn’t listen to, it may have been a concern for them if they thought that promoting him could bring them bad publicity, as they are totally dependent on public support. But I fear they missed the bigger picture.” afoot against the books or is it just one giant cock up on the part of the charities? Dr Simon Adams MRCVS, an independent zoo and wildlife veterinary adviser, who has supported the books but also has links to some of the animal charities, believes he has an explanation.... “The problem was that this was a trilogy, and not all three books were initially available to complete the story” he says “The first book probably looked slightly naïve to any charity, as it describes the excitement and wonder of a young lad introduced to working with dolphins. The charities reading it may have thought `We can’t possibly endorse this, it’s seems to be endorsing keeping dolphins’. By the second one he’s beginning to realise what’s going on, and the third one is the hard hitter. The best way to have got the support of the marine organisations would have been to send them the third book first, but that obviously wasn’t possible.” The other problem the charities have is with `the supernatural element’, as the Capello character trains his dolphins via a psychic link, which eventually makes him the finest trainer in Europe. His perfect pair of dolphins perform aquatic ballets which had never been seen before. “No-one can currently prove scientifically if this psychic link between dolphins and humans exists” says Simon “Personally, I’m sure he’s probably right, having spoken to other trainers and having felt that headache thing when I’ve worked with dolphins. That could be their attempts to communicate psychically with me. Sadly, I obviously didn’t have the ‘gift’, maybe Capello did? Or maybe it’s fiction? “Hopefully all dolphin trainers around the world will read this wonderful trilogy” he adds “If any of them verify the ‘psychic link’, then we have evidence to investigate further, which may lead to a breakthrough that proves dolphin sentience. If so, proper dolphin and cetacean protection will be greatly enhanced in the future. Thus, whether fact or fiction, this trilogy has great potential to promote dolphin welfare.

The `bigger picture’ is that The Perfect Pair books reach the people who don’t relate to `protest’ tactics, drawing them into a superbly written, gripping story about dolphin shows, before opening the curtains behind the scenes to reveal what really goes on. No-one will see a dolphin show in the same light after reading these books. So, conspiracy or cock up? “Once they’ve read the third book the charities have a real opportunity to get behind this powerful trilogy, and I hope they do” says Simon “I totally sympathise with Capello because I went through a similar experience working in zoos but luckily I was able to help improve things. This poor chap couldn’t, until now...” For David and Tracy Holroyd, who spent six years writing the trilogy, the door is still open for the animal welfare charities to get involved. But they just want the public to read the books, despite attempts that have been made to block their way...

`The only way to train a sea lion is with a club’… “It gives people a chance to make a decision” David says “If they want to take their kids to see dolphins and killer whales that’s up to them - we’re not saying `You’re bad people’, because the lure of the Atlantean is always going to be there. But what we are saying is `Be aware of the price the dolphins have paid for your entertainment’. And they are still paying...” Books from the The Perfect Pair trilogy can be purchased in hard back, paperback and in e-form from Amazon, Waterstones, the Book Depository and through the store at www.theperfectpairdolphintrilogy.com Salford libraries also have copies of the books

“I’ve tried to open the door to these charities, saying `This is really going to help getting through to the public’” he adds “but if the industry has stealthily tried to make David into

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Future Artists Studios...

Down near Sacred Trinity Church on Chapel Street, a non profit coffee shop project is expanding into two nearby building to include a new gallery and creative office spaces...

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uture Artists has been floating around Salford for a long time, producing films, trying out event space above the Black Lion pub and everything else that fits with their motto... `Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible’ Six months ago, on Chapel Street, the Home of Honest Coffee sprang up, founded with 155 Kickstarter backers, which was part community space, part protest against Starbucks and part, er, coffee shop that gave its profits to local community projects. Honest Coffee, which boasts free `weapons grade’ internet, hyper local food, free workspace and Salford art on the walls, has thrived and now director, Mark Ashmore, is extending the project into two nearby buildings, to be branded Future Artists Studios. A few yards from Honest Coffee, in the building almost next door, there’s going to be a gallery, while across the road, next to Sacred Trinity Church, what is now Coleman House is going to be re-invented as 26 affordable creative workspaces and offices. “Artists and normal families are being pushed out of the city in Salford and Manchester because of the expense, so we need to hold the line” says Mark “It will be like a Future Artists campus. There’s no grants and no public money involved.

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That’s for hospitals and children’s centres. We’re going to power this differently and show Salford and the UK how it’s done.” Exhibitions at the 1,000sqft gallery begin in June with a retrospective by top photographer, Lawrence Watson, documenting twenty five years of Salford and Manchester bands. It’s to be followed by a hands-on arcade game show, where people can play on everything from the first video game to the latest Virtual Reality experience. There are also plans for a Factory Records show with documentary photos from Ian Tilton, plus a kids’ Winter Tale grotto-cum-interactive theatre event. “We’ve done this out of necessity because all the free and cheap spaces have gone or closed down; where do we exhibit stuff?” asks Mark “I rang up Home and they said the galleries weren’t available until 2020 and it would take four months before they could meet! They don’t ask us our opinion on these things and when we want to take stuff we can’t get in.” Meanwhile, Future Artists is transforming the space at Coleman House, to kick against the corporate invasion of the market... “We began our journey at Islington Mill, then the Sharp Project, as we could never afford to be at Media City, and

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we’ve been to London and New York and seen what they’ve done there” Mark explains “We’ve put it all together, and we think we’ve come up with a unique proposition for a creative work environment. For £260 a month you can get a fully serviced office space that’s in a nice, warm, peaceful environment. There are other spaces popping up but I don’t think they’re doing it right. We’re going to do it right and push the boundaries.”

“It will be like a Future Artists campus.” As Chapel Street, in particular, becomes an expensive, almost no go area for the community, Future Artists, with its open, non-profit, boundary-smashing ethos, is setting up an oasis... “We have to build our own space” says Mark “But the rewards are that you have that cultural conversation with your own community...” For further details of all these projects or to book a space see www.futureartists.co.uk e-mail info@futureartists. co.uk


Salford Musical Youth Salford Musical Youth survives the floods but it wasn’t all plain sailing from there…

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t’s a freezing cold night and as I walk past the football pitches on Broughton’s Albert Park and through the doors at Albert’s, a wall of sound hits me. Every Wednesday evening the building is now occupied by the city’s very own Salford Musical Youth, banging out rock tunes. Since it started two years ago, to give any young local person a chance to be involved in bands, Salford Musical Youth (SMY) has been operating on a shoe string but recently it has had to cope with a number of other challenges. When the floods hit Salford in December the project narrowly avoided losing its equipment when the Naz, where they were storing it, got drenched.

“I didn’t even know about the floods until late on” says Kim Shaw, who helps organise the project “I was taking friends home after Boxing Day and was asking ‘What are all the police vehicles and ambulances doing here?’. And then it was just like, ‘Oh my god! The river has flooded’… We came home, got our keys for the Naz, went down and got the equipment and brought it back to ours. Our front room was floor to ceiling with gear.’” Having saved themselves from one disaster, this resourceful group found themselves a new venue and got on with doing what they do best, rehearsing and playing gigs. Things seemed to be going really well when, at the end of February, Kim’s son Rhys, from the SMY spin-off band Operation Detonation, had all his equipment, including his bass guitar, nicked from outside their home.

This time it was up to Salford to help them out and the response was incredible, with everyone from legendary New Order and The Light bassist, Peter Hook, to top actor Steve Evets offering help. In the event, ace singer songwriter, George Borowski, was first to offer the loan of a bass guitar, and Rhys and his mum, Kim, gratefully accepted the gesture. While we are sat listening to the band rehearse Kim tells me she was `overwhelmed’ by the response. But the project is well respected throughout Salford, with its bands getting a growing reputation. Salford Musical Youth has only been around for a couple of years and rose from the ashes of another music project called Rock Street. At the time it was able to get some funding to set up but for the last 18 months it has been running independently with no financial help at all. There are about thirteen young people involved in the project, all playing various instruments, plus two volunteers, Joss and Nathan, who help with the tutoring and dishing out homework. Some of the parents help out too. At the moment everything is run on goodwill but the group is trying to get some money together so that its members can get vocal coaching. There are so many things they would like to do, and the equipment list is endless, but one of the things they want most is to open it up to younger kids which they can’t afford to do at the moment. Over the last year they have been doing about two events

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a month but the big one was the charity gig for the floods at the Lower Kersal Social Club, when Operation Detonation played... “It was our best gig” says Jack Royle-Walter “It was a great stage for us, and a proper gig.” Since the flood, Salford Musical Youth now use Albert’s for band practice. The atmosphere is great, and there’s a real make do and mend approach by everyone involved. SMY bands are lined up to play Festwich this summer, and when they appear at festivals they don’t just play a few tracks on the stage, they also run a music workshop for kids. On top of all this, Operation Detonation have just recorded their first track at SSR studios, near Piccadilly, that came from playing at The Battle of the Bands. Despite all of the challenges that have been thrown their way, Salford Musical Youth keep going from strength to strength. And even though they are running on good will alone they still welcome newcomers to the project. “We welcome anyone” Kim tells me with great pride “Anyone, whatever their musical interests; rappers, solo singers, duets, pop, anything, they are all welcome at Salford Musical Youth” For more information see the Salford Musical Youth Facebook page or go down to Albert’s on Great Clowes Street, Broughton, on Wednesdays, from 6:30pm - 8.30 Words by Steven Speed

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BLINGING HEELS WITH SHOOJEWELS Higher Broughton’s Sidonia Michoux is aiming to kick the world market with her brand new product, ShooJewels, that are both a high heel repair kit and a unique way of blinging up shoes for a night out on the town...

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he best ideas always come from experience, and for Sidonia Michoux this one came from watching women clacking down the street with the tips of their high heels broken...

“It’s really irritating when it happens and it’s quite saddening to hear people going clack, clack, clack as they walk, just because either they haven’t had a chance to go to the cobblers or the heel just came off” she says “If you’re on a night out you can have this in your bag and if your heel comes off you just pop it on.”

“...you can move the same shoe from day wear to evening wear and go partying” She holds up a device that’s 1cm diameter and 8cm high, and clips onto the heel as an instant repair kit. But it’s way more than that, because onto this clip, or base, goes a whole range of `ShooJewels’ that decorate the heel at the same time. In fact, even if the heel isn’t broken, these are affordable footwear accessories* that Sidonia is hoping will take the world by storm.

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There’s five ranges at the moment, including the total bling Queen of Heels with diamante stones screaming out, the Shape Shift range, complete with an eye looking out, and the Urban Jungle range featuring a tiger, snake and owl. They all have matching hair slides, rings, bag charms and belt pendants, with plans for earrings and bracelets to follow. The whole business, TooShoos Design, has been a year in development, with architects around the world brought in to get the perfect design, so that, what Sidonia calls the `integrity of the shoe’, is not compromised. “When I started speaking to people in the industry they said I had to be careful because there’s a structure to the shoes that you can’t mess with” she explains “It can be very dangerous if you add something and someone topples over because it’s not right. We came up with a lot of ideas and the base was created that doesn’t take the weight from the actual shoe, it just adds to it and keeps the balance. “Then it was, how do you attach it so that it doesn’t fall off?” she adds “We went through all sorts of crazy ideas and thousands of pounds in development, with 3D printed prototypes until we came up with the right design.” Sidonia’s research, initially done with one hundred women, showed that 87 of them would throw shoes away when the heel is broken or would leave them in the back of a cupboard. So the market – women age 18 to 55, who wear high heels on a daily basis - is definitely there and waiting.

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“I would wear a pair of black heels on for a meeting and then often would go out in the evening and put ShooJewels on to jazz them up” she says “So you can move the same shoe from day wear to evening wear and go partying. We’re developing different ShooJewels all the time and are currently working on a summer range, a bridal range and even a neon effect. I don’t think there’s an end to the market. Worldwide, there’s a lot of heels!” Sidonia has already got a huge social media operation going, with an online shop, complete with a YouTube channel showing how the ranges all work and a ShooJewels Candy Crush-style game. She’s also in talks with retailers like Monsoon and Amazon to spread the concept even further afield... “I anticipate it all going very well, it’s one of those new products that people need to know about” she says “Our projections are that it’s going to be a very exciting and interesting year.” And when Sidonioa takes the concept of ShooJewels from Higher Broughton to the world there will be jobs created in Salford... “Absolutely in Salford” she insists. To see all the ranges and to place orders see the website www.tooshoosdesigns.com/ *The base repair kit is £10, while the ShooJewels are between £20 and £25


RIDICULOUS LIFESTYLE Langworthy’s Ryan Hughes is bringing `art and passion back into fashion’ with a whole range of street wear that takes its influence from proper Salford. How else could it be branded, other than...Ridiculous Lifestyle.

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here are no models in a Ridiculous Lifestyle fashion shoot. Just hench friends dressed in the garb down some back alley, doing strange stuff with sledgehammers and flaming bottles of Moet. Dark, edgy and streety, the images certainly make you think twice. “This is bringing my imagination and my background into clothing” explains Ridiculous Lifestyle founder Ryan Hughes “It’s the lifestyle I grew up in, between the streets on Langworthy Road. You see a lot of things going on, some positive, some negative, and it is very fast paced. That background is a big part of it for me. The ideas and photo shoots that we do are based on people with similar upbringings who can relate to it. It’s a Salford thing that people will enjoy.”

“I would love nothing more than a flagship store right in the middle of Langworthy Road” The nearest thing to Ridiculous Lifestyle in the past was the Gio Goi label, born from the Madchester party scene, when two brothers who had no background in clothing got Happy Mondays mates, like Shaun Ryder and Bez, to flaunt the t-shirts on Top of the Pops and the label rocketed. To wear Gio Goi, originally, was to wear a swagger. Since those daze, clothes have gone either Primani, corporate Nike-type or designer drivel.

“This is bringing art and passion back into fashion that has been lost by so many other brands” Ryan agrees “It’s not a question of `stick a logo on a t-shirt with a model and we’ll sell it’. We have real people of all sizes and all ages in the shoots because that’s who the clothing is for. The lifestyle itself is for fast, motivated people but with a background of hard work. It’s not a fancy designer runway thing; it is street wear that I will be taking to the catwalk with that attitude...” In the initial Ridiculous Lifestyle collection are hats, beanies, t-shirts, vests, track suits, polo shirts and jumpers with more to follow. Quality is at the fore, as the vests are hand cut rather than machine cut, the embroidery on the hats is 3D and everything is made from 100% cotton, while keeping it all as affordable as possible. “A lot of research has gone into the quality and it’s been difficult finding manufacturers” Ryan explains “The big plan is to get a couple of collections and then new designs, to keep taking the quality up, advancing fashion and keeping it real. We’re very much an online, social media brand but the idea is to take it into a couple of shops and we’re in talks with a few retailers. At the moment when I see someone in Salford wearing the label that’s the biggest sense of achievement because it means it’s getting out there.” Like the Gio Goi bros, Ryan has no fashion background, although he has done a bit of modelling... “My background is in selling” he says “Give me a product and I’ll sell it. I’ve dealt in property for many a year but I like design, fashion and photography. I don’t think when you’re taught the subjects it has the same effect.”

customers... “It was all `Salford’s this’ and `Salford’s that’ but I’ve lived here all my life, and love Salford. There is trouble and drama, and that gets a lot of publicity rather than things that go well, like people coming together for the floods.”

“When I see someone in Salford wearing the label that’s the biggest sense of achievement...” Ryan sees the label as a positive Salford thing and his new business as, hopefully, an inspiration to others... “I’ve lived here all my life and I love Salford but you have choices, and if I can do it anyone can do it” he insists “That is the reason why I’m so passionate...because people don’t think they have choices...” No matter how successful it becomes, Ryan insists that Ridiculous Lifestyle will always stay in the city to scream these choices out...“I would love nothing more than a flagship store right in the middle of Langworthy Road”, he decides. Don’t bet against it... To see and buy the full Ridiculous Lifestyle collection see www.ridiculouslifestyle.co.uk

It was while he was dealing property that Ryan heard all the negative comments about Salford from prospective

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BARTON CROSS Mass arrests, blanket bail conditions and `sexualised violence’ by Greater Manchester Police officers are examined in a far reaching academic report slamming policing of the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss...

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new report by Dr Joanna Gilmore, Dr Will Jackson and Dr Helen Monk from York University and Liverpool John Moores University has called for a public enquiry into the policing of the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss, questioning the intentions behind the operation and the ‘dubious legality’ of the arrests.

“...the policing operation was driven by interests other than public order and crime prevention.” The police operation, codenamed Operation Geraldton, took place between November 2013 and April 2014 at Barton Moss in Salford. Greater Manchester Police claims

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to have set out to balance the rights of those protesting against the proposed hydraulic fracturing well with the rights of the energy company, IGas, which was carrying out exploratory drilling. The report, titled Keep Moving!, documents in great detail the experience of people involved in the protests, the methods of policing and its results. It raises serious doubts about the motivations behind the policing of the protests, showing a conviction rate of the operation of only 26%, whilst the national conviction rate for public order offences is as high as 96%. This, it claims raises “important questions about the extent to which the policing operation was driven by interests other than public order and crime prevention.” The report looks at a number of tactics that were employed during the police operation at Barton Moss, such as mass arrests and blanket bail conditions, and shows how they were used to clear protesters from the site. It makes it clear that mass arrests were a central component of the operation that “served to physically clear protesters from the site, to deter others from attending the camp and to reinforce the construction of protesters as violent criminals and thereby legitimise the

intensity of the policing operation.”

country to set up camp in Barton Moss.”

Arrests did not take place with a view to securing convictions… “Rather, mass arrest and blanket bail served to create a de facto protest exclusion zone around the fracking site – an action that would otherwise have no basis in law as well as being a clear violation of the protesters’ right to freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

“the behaviour of GMP officers had the effect of prioritising commercial interests over the right of local residents”

One of the key findings of the report has been to challenge GMP’s portrayal of the protesters at Barton Moss as being outsiders and a threat to the local community. During the protest GMP Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts stated that, “the majority of people who are arriving on the site are not there to protest against fracking but are there to disrupt and intimidate the local community and to antagonise police.” GMP also sent out a press release claiming that the overwhelming majority of those arrested were “from outside the Greater Manchester area, many from the South of England”, and that local residents felt “intimidated in their own homes from people who have travelled from all parts of the

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The report makes it clear, though, that the protest was made up mainly of local residents, and was sustained largely through donations and support from local people. It cites a document from GMP showing where people arrested at Barton Moss were from. Of those with a fixed address 69% were from the North West and almost a third were from the area directly around the site.


There appears to have been a clear agenda to discredit the protest at Barton Moss. According to the report, GMP’s communications strategy was focused on “justifying the policing operation and questioning the legitimacy of the protest, rather than being focused on providing the public with clear information about the protest and policing operation.” Whilst GMP clearly set out to cast protesters at Barton Moss as a threat to the local community, the report reveals that 98% of arrests were for non-violent offences, which, the report states, “cast doubt on the legitimacy of GMP’s characterisation of the protest as ‘extremely violent’.” It goes on to expose the contradictions of GMP’s claims by detailing the often brutal policing of the protest. Citing the many photographs and videos of arrests, the report claims that “violent behaviour and harassment were central features of the policing operation.” The team behind the report carried out a consultation with protesters at Barton Moss, all of whom said they “had direct experience of police violence exercised in the policing of daily slow marches.” This includes details of several women who reported sexualised violence by GMP officers. Anyone who visited the Community Protection Camp at Barton Moss would say that the protest was peaceful and had the

sole aim of raising awareness about the dangers of fracking. But what started as an antifracking protest soon changed due to the nature and scale of the policing. What this report does to great effect is show a growing trend in this period of post-truth politics for public bodies to be, at best, economical with the truth. GMP claims to have tried to balance the rights of the protester with the rights of those wanting to carry out drilling at Barton Moss. But as the report has found “the behaviour of GMP officers throughout Operation Geraldton – from its planning stages to its conclusion – had the effect of prioritising commercial interests over the right of local residents and supporters to exercise their right to protest.”

The report is published by the Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion, Liverpool John Moores University Centre for URBan Research (CURB), University of York

A copy of the report can be downloaded at: www.york.ac.uk/media/sociology/curb/ BM_final_170216_Email.pdf

Words by Steven Speed

www.salfordstar.com

25


SALFORD’S PART IN THE EASTER RISING

This April will see the centenary of the Easter Rising, when rebels occupied the centre of Dublin and proclaimed Irish Independence. The rebellion was launched by the storming of the city’s General Post Office – and one of the first men in there was Larry Ryan, born and bred in Seedley...

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he Irish fight for independence from Britain came to a head in 1916 with the now famous Easter Rising – an armed rebellion involving thousands of people from the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army. The rebellion began on Easter Monday, 24th April, when key buildings were taken over around Ireland and in the centre of Dublin, including the General Post Office, where the Republican flag was hoisted and the Republic was proclaimed. The Easter Rising lasted six days before being brutally crushed by the British army. Its leaders, including James Connolly and Patrick Pearse, were executed but by 1918 the Republican party, Sinn Fein, had won a majority of the Irish Parliamentary seats. A year later Sinn Fein convened its own Irish Parliament, followed by the Irish Republican Army’s guerilla war against the British army which led to a cease fire and the establishment of the Irish Free State, a self-governing nation of the British Commonwealth. On Easter Monday, April 18, 1949, the fully independent Republic of Ireland was formally proclaimed. However, the Easter Rising of 1916 was seen as pivotal in this process and Easter 2016 will see huge celebrations and parades all over Ireland.

Ryan was one of the first three to storm the building While leaders such as Connolly and Pearse will be revered, few people know about the role of Salford and Manchester people in the Easter Rising. This has recently been uncovered by a project which has been studying the history of local volunteers who travelled to Ireland to take part. One of those men was Larry Ryan, born and bred in Seedley. He came from a strongly nationalist family who completed the 1911 Census form entirely in Irish. Before 1916 he worked as a clerk for J Roscoe and Sons who had a canal haulage business at Meadow Street Wharfs, Piccadilly. Together with William Parr, Gilbert Lynch and Redmond Cox, of the Manchester Company of the Irish Volunteers, Ryan travelled to Ireland in early 1916. They would have done this in secret as they knew that they were liable to be conscripted in England

and would have been arrested for treason had their plans been discovered. In Dublin, Larry Ryan and Liam Parr both joined about a hundred other ‘refugees’ (as they were known), from England and Scotland in the Plunkett family mill at Kimmage. On Easter Monday, Parr and Ryan both marched to the General Post Office (GPO), Ryan stating that he was one of the first three to storm the building. He was to spend the following week behind sandbags guarding the windows of the GPO, probably on the first floor. Parr was sent across the road to buildings where the rebels were setting up a radio station to transmit news of the proclamation of Independence. He remained there until heavy fire forced them to retreat back to the GPO. Redmond Cox and Gilbert Lynch were behind barricades near the Four Courts. All the Manchester Volunteers were surrounded by vastly superior forces, as well as by fire while much of the centre of Dublin burned out of control. When the rebels surrendered Parr, Ryan and Cox were arrested and imprisoned in Knutsford, Stafford and then Frongoch in Wales. Lynch had been slightly injured and was in hospital at the time of the surrender; he was spirited out by sympathetic medical staff, so escaped imprisonment and was able to return home. He spent the next few years in Stockport campaigning for Ireland and for workers’ rights as a member of the Stockport Independent Labour Party and helped organise demonstrations in favour of the new Russian Revolution. The other Manchester volunteers stayed in Dublin after they were released, so they were there in the midst of the conflict with the infamous Black and Tans. Larry Ryan worked as a merchant seaman on the ships between Liverpool and New York. He helped smuggle famous Irish republican leader De Valera across the Atlantic, together with weapons to be used against the Black and Tans in Ireland. It was while attempting to smuggle arms that Ryan was arrested by the New York police and imprisoned there. He spent his sentence in the notorious Tombs prison in Manhattan, which was well known for housing gangsters during the prohibition years. After the treaty, Larry Ryan worked as a clerk for the Irish Army, but his health never recovered from his period in prison in America and he died aged only 30 in 1924. Now he and the other Manchester Volunteers are being remembered in a book, website and in talks around Greater Manchester.

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“This project began with us trying to discover the truth of family rumours told us by my wife’s father about his cousin from Manchester” explains Robin Stocks author of Hidden Heroes of Easter Week “These claimed that this man, William (or Liam) Parr had been in the GPO during the rising, had been imprisoned and that he had died young as a result of hiding in ditches. He also told us that none of it might be true as the family were great story tellers. “This launched us on a long voyage of discovery which resulted in us being able to confirm the truth of the family tradition and discover the true history of this man and the other Manchester volunteers of 1916” he adds Robin Stock’s book Hidden “We now know that many of Heroes of Easter Week: those who took part in the memories of volunteers from rising didn’t talk about their England who joined the Easter experiences, either because Rising is out now £14.99 from they remained perpetually all major bookshops. in fear of arrest for treason, or because some of their You can also buy the book memories were too painful. and find out loads more Yet the snippets that have been passed down through the details on the background to the project at https:// families have been confirmed hiddenheroesofeasterweek. by newly released Irish wordpress.com/ Government pension files. “With the help of relatives of the Volunteers, archivists and historians from Manchester to Dublin and even America, we feel confident that we can now finally tell the story of the lives and experiences of our relative and his three comrades from Manchester and Salford” he says “Until now very few people in Manchester even knew that local people took part in those events so it gives us great satisfaction to be able to tell the relatives that, after a century, their ancestors will finally be remembered by history.”

There’s also a series of events related to the project... Saturday April 2nd, 2pm People’s History Museum. Left Bank, Spinningfields M3 3ER Sunday April 3rd Easter Rising Film Festival. Glossop Red Film Club Wednesday April 13th, 2pm. Working Class Movement Library, 51 the Crescent, M5 4WX Saturday June 11th all day. Stall and talk at Manchester History Festival, Celebration Day. Manchester Town Hall

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SALFORD CHOOSES NEW ELECTED MAYOR On May 5th Salford gets to elect a new City Mayor, with seven candidates having declared at the time of going to press....

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t the last mayoral election in 2012, just 26% of those eligible turned out to vote, with the Labour Party’s Ian Stewart getting elected. In Stewart’s first speech, he promised more transparency within Salford Council, which, of course, never happened. Indeed it got worse and Stewart will go down as the first and worst elected mayor. So please treat these current candidates’ words with extreme caution. All the candidates have been interviewed, except Labour Party candidate, Paul Dennett, who has begun his quest for openness by refusing to speak to the Salford Star! They say that if you put a red rosette on a donkey in Salford, people will vote for it. So, instead of Dennett, we have interviewed that donkey. We’re sure our readers will be enlightened. Please note that the Salford Star is fiercely independent and never tells anyone how to vote. We don’t endorse any candidate or party. With space in this issue being limited, much larger versions of all these interviews will appear on the Salford Star website www. salfordstar.com. The best way of finding out what these candidates stand for is, of course, to attend any live appearances or wait until they knock on your door, and grill them yourself...

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www.salfordstar.com


Matt Kilsby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

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s both a Salford resident and a local government worker in Bolton, Matt Kilsby has been on the front line of austerity and says “Something needs doing and TUSC is the only 100% anti cuts and anti-austerity alternative, as this Labour Council has dutifully made every cut the Tory Government has told them to. We need to say `Enough is enough’...” So what is Matt going to do? “We will set a no cuts budget” he insists “We proved to the Council as part of Salford Against The Cuts’ call for a People’s Budget that we could do it through use of reserves and prudential borrowing. But you can’t just do that; it has to be part of a concerted campaign calling on

other councils to do the same, with a campaign of council workers, trade unionists and service users demanding the money back from the Government that they’ve stolen from us.

“We will set a no cuts budget” “If councils in Greater Manchester did that” he adds “there would be a fundamental challenge to the Tories which I don’t think they will be able to withstand.” The problem is that, while everyone says they are anti-cuts, people

didn’t vote TUSC in their droves at the last few elections. So what’s going on? “Six years ago we had two candidates in the local elections and since then we’ve grown year on year, so we’re standing in every ward in the city and at the Mayor election too” he says “Even if the votes aren’t huge we’re out there giving the anti-austerity message, and on the doorsteps it’s chiming with people.” Matt says that, if elected, he will only take the same wage which he is earning now, and hand the rest to the labour movement and workers in struggle. He also adds that Salford Council would be more democratic and transparent, and that he’d impose anti-fracking

policies, while fighting Salford’s corner in the Greater Manchester devolution process... “There’s a clear agenda with devo manc, to suck even more power into Manchester, with the Government saying `Yeah you can make all the cuts for us and take all the blame; you can privatise services for us...’. That’s why we have to make a stand.” He argues that there is anger on the streets about cuts being made by a Labour Council, but argues that TUSC, like other parties, are caught in people’s general mistrust of politics... “I think it’s partly that the Labour Party has abandoned working class people to their fate, and that’s something we have to

battle with” he says “But we are trying to provide that positive, socialist, 100% anti-cuts alternative for people to vote for.” And, if elected, he will be battling against a majority of Labour Councillors who might not agree with his anti-cuts stance. How would he cope? “It’s about what you do outside of the council chamber” he responds “If you have several thousand people outside the Council saying you have to fight the cuts, plus the unions, that’s how we do it. There’s no point in appealing to councillors who have made the cuts.” Cloud cuckoo land? “I don’t think so!”

ROBIN GARRIDO CONSERVATIVE PARTY

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he Tory Party candidate has a major problem in that all of Salford Council’s spending issues have resulted from Tory Government cuts which have seen £83.4million, or 42.4%, funding slashed off budgets, hitting some of the most vulnerable people in the city. So, as Conservative Party candidate does he agree with those cuts?

“Cameron and Osborne are turning the economy of the country around” “I agree that substantial savings have had to be made” he says “The Coalition Government inherited a situation where the country was going down the plughole, that is why these savings have had to be imposed.”

This isn’t quite true is it? The Tories have embarked on an ideological war on the poor....look at the Bedroom Tax that has put 5,000 people into poverty, as just one example. The Tories are just not popular in Salford... “I don’t agree that is necessarily the case” he responds “I think what is ingrained in people is that they don’t think that by voting Tory they can change the Council. This is a golden opportunity for people to change things...” How would Robin Garrido change things? He says that, apart from a deputy, assistant mayors would go, and unpaid, unelected `special advisers’ would be bought in a couple of days a month to ensure Council officers carry out policy. The amount of managers in the Council would be slashed but new “directors on very good salaries” would be in charge of departments... “I will be running the Council as a very professional organisation”. This is usually Tory-speak for the privatisation of services... “It doesn’t

mean getting rid of services to outside, necessarily” he argues “I don’t mind who provides the services as long as they provide it in a satisfactory manner for the people of Salford.” He talks about managing the city “more efficiently” and cutting out “waste” but voted in favour of handing £19million to the RHS Garden in Worsley, including £9million to Peel Holdings... “I believe that Salford Quays and Media City have worked and the RHS garden in Worsley will bring jobs in.” A Conservative Mayor will be faced with a hostile Labour Party majority of councillors who can block his finance budget and will attempt to block everything else... “They can block the budget but I can go to the

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people directly with a referendum, so there are ways out” he says “I would hope that the majority party would accept the democratic decision and work with the Mayor, who has strong executive powers.” On transparency and secrecy within the Council, he proposes open weekly meetings in person or online in which anyone can participate, and promises “a totally open administration”. On other issues, he would reinstate transport for disabled adults, listen to what young people have to say

and “land on the doorstep” of Tory Ministers to “talk” about cuts... “I don’t always agree with what the Government says...” Cameron and Osborne: a hindrance or asset to his campaign? “I think David Cameron is an asset...I believe that Cameron and Osborne are turning the economy of the country around, and I think people understand that and the difficult decisions that have had to be made....”

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PAUL Dennett Labour Party Unfortunately, unlike every other candidate, Paul Dennett has declined to talk to the Salford Star about why he wants to be Mayor of Salford. They say that you can stick a red rosette on a donkey and people will vote for it, so here, in a Salford Star exclusive, we interview that ass... Salford Star: Paul Dennett has pledged that “I will be directly accessible to party members and the public...My door will always be open...”. Yet he slams it in the face of local community journalists before he even gets elected. Do you think his pledge means anything?

in Greengate and the £19million RHS Garden in Worsley, plus loads more. Yet Dennett has never spoken out against, or opposed, Ian Stewart in any of his actions. Do you think he, as Mayor, will make any difference to the way Salford Council is run?

Donkey: Neigh!

Donkey: Neigh!

Salford Star: Salford Council has recently changed its policy, kicking an estimated 7,000 people off its housing waiting list. Indeed, the Council admits that “most applicants have little chance of ever being re-housed”. However, last summer, Dennett, as a `low housing priority’ single male, obtained a social rent flat in Albion Towers - run by the Windsor Albion Cooperative of which he, as a councillor, was a board member. Do you think there might have been anything dodgy about this?

Salford Star: One of Paul Dennett’s endorses is Councillor John Warmisham, who states that the Assistant Mayor “had to make some horrifically hard decisions when it has come to making cuts to council services...and he has not shirked that responsibility”. Do you think Paul Dennett will stop the cuts, or even oppose them properly – or will it be more of the same for Salford people?

Donkey: Hee Haw! Salford Star: Paul Dennett has been a senior Assistant Mayor throughout the reign of sitting City Mayor Ian Stewart. During this period, Stewart has made cuts to services for the most vulnerable people in Salford, done dodgy deals with Salford rugby club, pushed £millions into prestige projects like the £4,000 a week fountains

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Donkey: Hee Haw! Salford Star: Paul Dennett claims to be a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Do you think Jeremy Corbyn would have acted in the same ways that Paul Dennett has acted over the last four years? Donkey: Neigh!

Maxine McCarthy Independent

funding for sports in general. Sport gives you discipline, it gives you something to focus on.”

“I come from a council estate and worked myself up through education, hard work and never giving up” she adds “I can relate to everyone. I’m not stuck up; I am who I was when I had nothing. I’m not doing this for the money...I wouldn’t take it. I’ve always watched Salford but now that my businesses are established I have more time, and there’s things that I see that I think I could bring something to...”

“I just feel money goes on the wrong things” she adds “I don’t think they are tackling the right issues, like affordable housing. There’s so many homeless young men and exservicemen. It needs to be tackled; how we go about it I don’t know yet.”

I’m not the usual candidate but don’t write me off” says Maxine McCarthy “I come from nothing and I’m a self made millionaire. I don’t claim to know everything but I’m one of those people who, when I do something, I do it 100% and throw my energy into it...

“I just feel money goes on the wrong things” Originally from Eccles, she argues that the place has changed beyond all recognition... “It just looks depressing” she says “There’s no community cohesion anymore and is not the place that I knew. You’ve got the Polish, Asian and Pakistani community and there’s a lot of tension. There could be more funding to help bring the community together.” Ex pro boxer Maxine also believes that sport can change the lives of young people... “There’s high levels of violence and antisocial behaviour but there’s nothing for them” she explains “There needs to be more opportunities to go into education and more

www.salfordstar.com

With everything getting cut back, how would she fund it? “I’ve run a charity, Pro Box Fitness, and we got funds through the Lottery and things like that, so there is funding out there, there’s many thing we could try.

And that is the strength and weakness of Maxine McCarthy. On the one hand, she’s new to politics and represents a fresh, authentic Salford voice; on the other, she’s not au fait with the inner workings of the council system and nasty Politics with a capital `P’... “I would get a couple of people in and I have quite a network of people from different backgrounds, it’s not just me” she says “I’ll have a good team around me. I run businesses, so I do understand it and employ a lot of people. On paper I’m very, very good.” So how would Maxine fair when ranged against the Labour Party majority of councillors trying to block her way? Would she knock them out? “I stood up in a ring and fought in front of 2.5million people so I’m not shy” she laughs “There’s a few things I need to brush up on, but if I’m prepared I’ll be alright. What I don’t know, I will know...”


Owen Hammond

Wendy Olsen

UKIP

Green Party

The role of the Mayor should be political” says Wendy Olsen “It should be leading, but at the moment they’re letting the Council staff tell them what they can and cannot do, and that is completely wrong...It’s almost like a corporation, so we want to have a political alternative.” She explains that the Greens would challenge the way the Council is run and would not agree with any cuts... “You have to decide on the priorities and make those decisions. Sometimes councillors begin to see the Council as if it was a business, but it’s not a business.” So how would she deal with the whopping cuts that have already been set in stone? “The Council will have to change its reserves level, and we need to work on borrowing and postpone payments” she says “There’s a high risk of Council legal officers saying `You must not do that’, and I would oppose them and say `Your job is to find out how we can maximise our spending’. That’s the political role of the Mayor – to insist that these officers help the people of Salford...We should be moving the whole way we think about economics towards a more humane and less austerity approach.” To help this, the Greens will favour a jobs programme focussed on renewable energy production or local food production, and try to stem climate change, which she argues, led to the Lower Broughton flood. She would also try and reverse some of the developer power that’s going on in the city... “We have towerblocks going up all over the place in Ordsall with no parks, no primary school places and no place for families to mingle; it’s becoming expensive and like social cleansing” she says “Mocha Parade is a disaster and needs support. In Whit Lane and Charlestown they want to take the

riverbanks away from the people and give them to incomers: it’s all been planned but they’re planning the wrong thing. “There seems to be an issue with Salford Council’s relationship with some large corporations” she adds “The developers in Salford have a lot of power, they seem to get a good deal and that’s because they can represent their interests in small back rooms, in secret. But the people of Salford don’t have an opportunity to present their views. There may be some secret conduit where Labour Party members can give their views but it’s secret.”

“The developers in Salford have a lot of power” Wendy Olsen promises a more open and democratic Salford and pledges “to try and control the Greater Manchester Mayor... Greater Manchester is becoming a mega city and Salford will be destroyed in that.” Other ideas include more preventative policing, sorting out the transport mess around the AJ Bell Stadium and encouraging residents to think about how economic policy should be changed radically to help negate inequality in the city - although she would take the £69,000 mayoral salary. The problem is that the Greens have no experience in running Salford. So how would she cope with a potentially hostile Labour majority of councillors? “We have an association of Green councillors, so I’ve had training” she reveals...

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iven that every UKIP argument nationally, on any issue, seems to come down to immigration, Owen Hammond says that it’s not on his agenda... “I’m not asking for people to vote for me to stop immigration” he explains “We have no control over it locally. I’m sure people are intelligent enough to realise that we can’t do anything about it.” So, he’s not running on an anti-immigration ticket? “Not at all” he repeats “I’m married to an immigrant, I don’t want her to go home.”

“mainly because of immigration...”

Government cuts from the budget? “Let’s not spend £19million on Worsley Gardens; let’s not subsidise AJ Bell Stadium; let’s get our loan back from the owner of the Red Devils...I’m sure this money could be found somewhere. And why are these people not paying fees for planning regulation?” How would he do it? “I will bring my experience as a businessman and a trained leader in the air force, find out the facts and make a decision” he says “I’m absolutely certain we could live within our budget and could finance what sick people, disabled people and all the other groups need. On top of that I don’t think the Council taps the charity market enough...to supplement it.”

Even so, he manages to squeeze into our chat that Salford needs 4,500 new school places...“mainly because of immigration... and I didn’t say that, the Council said it”, he adds. The Council actually didn’t say that. It predicted a need for 4,500 places through `migration and pupil yield from new housing’... But `We need to control the flow of young professionals!’ doesn’t sound quite as UKIP.

His other big idea is for more support to armed forces cadets, and squadrons of nonuniformed city cadets “under the control of the Youth Council” who would be trained by volunteer adults to “go into the community and do something useful”, like “litter picking”. Other ideas include abolishing the ceremonial mayor and flogging off the city’s limo; bringing the modern cotton industry back to Salford and, “Everyone thinks I’m mad but I’ve started a petition to move the Houses of Parliament to Salford Quays...”

Hammond’s big idea is for direct democracy...“People could vote like they do on Strictly Come Dancing” he decides “I know it’s not binding but that’s the sort of thing I want to introduce, certainly on big issues like fracking and bus lanes and Greater Manchester. We need the voters to tell us what to do.”

After the interview is over, Hammond sends over a statement on immigration which includes the following reference to Nigel Farage...“My own dear leader got into trouble recently for jokingly excusing his late arrival at a meeting because immigrants were causing jams on the motorway but many a true word is spoken in jest...”

So he has no policy on fracking and things like that? “I don’t know what the issues are, I’m not a scientist” he responds “Every time you ask me a question I will say I would go back to the people and find out what the majority of them want because that is democracy.” So how would he cope with more

www.salfordstar.com

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Michael Felse Independent

It’s quite simple actually” says Michael Felse “What you need is a Mayor who is going to spend, spend, spend! It’s going to be called Loadsamoney...” Felse reckons he can bring £1billion into Salford to provide public services for everyone, and investment for businesses and jobs and everything else... “All they see is cuts and more cuts which can only make things worse, instead of looking at the other side of the coin which is opportunities” he insists.

“I think differently” “That’s why I have just been awarded the City and Guilds Gold Medal for Excellence in Business Skills, because I think differently” he adds “I don’t go down the usual route and it’s that which makes

me want to bring something very different into Salford. And I’m not frightened of it because I know it will work.” Basically his cunning plan is to pass a no cuts budget and secure expensive contracts all over the place so that when the Tory Government steps in to take over the city it would have to honour those contracts... “So by legal ways you have brought £1billion into the development of Salford for all the things that we want” he explains “You have to use a strategy so that the WETS - Westminster Etonian Tories - end up paying a billion pounds to Salford. “At some point, the WETS will have to hand Salford back but it comes back as a vibrant city” he adds “It will bring the investment into Salford, will scare the pants off the Tories and we’ll come out the other end as the model for all other northern councils.

He calls it the F-Plan, for obvious reasons, but isn’t it a con trick? “I’m not going to say it’s a con trick because that would put me in a very sticky position” he laughs “I don’t want the long arm of the law coming down, so I say it is a strategy.” Does he think the man/woman in the street will understand it all? “No, I don’t think they would...” To work this particular miracle,

Michael Felse says he will do the Mayor job for free, as he will be writing a book and making a film all about it... “That’s my payment for saving Salford.” There would, however, be two deputy mayors, one for communities and one for business, paid £65,000 each. The Labour Party majority of councillors would pass his budget “because they will see the vision and opportunity...”

Felse, who pulled 1,616 votes at the last Mayor election for the English Democrats on a regional devolution platform, is now standing as an Independent and amongst bucket loads of other ideas to save Salford is his plan to bring the World Snooker Championship to the city, with Fred Done as a sponsor. Visionary or bonkers? “I think my Gold Medal for Excellence in Business Skills says I’m not bonkers”, he retorts....

THE SOUNDS OF SALFORD Monday Night

The Golden Girls from S.E.A.R.C.H 8pm with Noreen Bailey and Norma ParkinsonGreen

Straight From the Fan’s Mouth with Dennis Robins Riley 

Tuesday Night

The Rock and Roll Years with Ian Cullen 

Wednesday Night

TNT Punk Special with Mark Nightingale and Mike Lightfoot

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Thursday

Sunday Afternoon

Friday Night

You can catch us on SPREAKER soundcloud , i-tunes and the Sounds of Salford on Primcast radio

Saturday Night

If you fancy presenting a show get in touch via our The Sounds of Salford Facebook page or via station owner’s Facebook, Simon Williams

Request Night with Simon Williams 

Coey’s Rants with Paul Coleman 

TNT Night time Mix With Mike Lightfoot  Late night concert 

Shazza ‘s Sunday Roast


In June, Salford people have the choice to stay in the European Union, or leave. What shall we do? Here, Alice Searle, who, in 1995, produced a Teachers’ Tutorial book called ‘Eurofocus’ for the Department of Employment, states why she’s voting to stay in the EU, and lecturer Gary Duke states why he’s voting to leave... Why The People of Salford Should Vote to Leave the EU.

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ver the coming months we’ll hear many of the arguments from the pro-EU camp. Most of these arguments will focus on fear and the business argument for staying in Europe. Farage and the racist right will, of course, focus on the issue of immigration and sovereignty with nationalist arguments for leaving. The people of Salford should have no truck with the racists. Yet there is also a working class, internationalist argument for leaving the EU. As workers living in a city that has consistently returned Labour MPs, instead of grasping David Cameron’s shirt tails, we must put forward arguments that put our jobs and the public services we depend on first. Let’s be clear, the EU is no friend to workers. The austerity policies promoted by Cameron here are the same EU policies that have destroyed the Greek economy destroying millions of jobs and lives. Some argue that the EU ‘Social Chapter’ has secured significant benefits for workers in the UK. Yet history shows us that gains made by the collective efforts of workers are the gains that last. Since the time of the Great Chartist Movement, 1838-48, Salford people have thrown themselves into the battle for workers’ rights. Given our history of struggle, why on earth should we accept those ‘rights’ handed down to us by unelected European bureaucrats? We have the strictest anti-trade union laws in Europe. New Labour never scrapped these laws nor did the EU. Labour is essentially supporting Cameron’s ‘stay’ campaign, the same Cameron who

wants to beef up the anti-trade union laws to make it more difficult for workers to strike to protect jobs, services and the futures of our children. While we’ve been members of the EU we’ve seen massive sell-offs of public services and jobs, driving down wages and working conditions in the ‘race to the bottom’. This is Project EU. Lastly immigration. Salford has historically welcomed people from all around the globe and is now a vibrant multicultural city. Workers from immigrant communities help sustain our NHS and transport systems. International students studying at Salford University have brought money and vital skills into Salford, many now working in our hospitals and in industry. We welcomed immigrant workers to the UK and to Salford before we were members of the EU. We will continue to do so if we choose to leave. As we see the barbed wire fences being erected across Europe to keep out refugee children escaping a terrible civil war in Syria and Iraq, the real face of the EU has been exposed, and it’s a Europe that puts the most vulnerable last. Project EU is a project for continuing austerity, for deepening racism and the removal of the welfare systems that as workers, we depend on. That’s why we should vote to leave.

Original literature from the 1970’s EEC referendum

Should We Stay Or Should We Go Now?

Why The People of Salford Should Vote to Stay in the EU.

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es I want to stay but I want a better EU! By staying in there is more chance of achieving this. Unlike the ‘Outers’, who have ignored EU progress, I welcome its benefits. Take the air we breathe. Global warming is threatening. The EU has issued directives to reduce CO2 emissions. Manchester and Salford haven’t reached the EU targets but you will have noticed low carbon buses and road side air quality monitoring stations. We surely don’t want to go back to ‘killer’ smogs. Through the EU we no longer have lead in petrol, thus protecting children’s health. Let’s not be sentimental about the ‘Dirty Old Town.’ Let’s reduce the number of inhalers carried by children. Take water and waste pollution. EU water quality regulations have led to cleaner rivers. Fish are back in the River Irwell because depositing of chemical waste is outlawed by the EU. Our beaches and coast lines are cleaner too; no longer do our children paddle in sewage! What about Fracking? Fracking will increase CO2 and

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pollute water systems. Lancashire has been targeted for fracking but the public are saying ‘No’ as we saw at Barton Moss and Fylde. The majority of EU states, led by France, are against it, although our Government is determined to push it through. The EU could, like the GM foods debate, save us from our own Government’s unpopular policy. What about the quality of our working life? We hear moans about EU Health and Safety regulations. These are not trivial, but designed to protect workers from chemical, electrical and construction accidents and to avoid gastric outbreaks through food hygiene. Speaking as a Woman… ...and a mother I appreciate the regulations that are protecting maternity leave and employment rights. They have made a radical difference to family life. What about the Freedom of Movement? The ‘Outers’ propaganda tends to focus on the EU ’freedom of movement.’ This encourages bigotry and fears by ‘pushing’ the

‘stealing our jobs’ belief. There is little reference to the 1.8million UK nationals living and working in the EU. In comparison there are 2.3million EU nationals working here; a reasonable balance. Coming for our Benefits! EU migrants come to work. They are nurses, doctors, IT experts and craftsmen. They compete on a level playing field with UK nationals. They pay taxes and fill the gaps in labour shortage. The low paid are often on seasonal projects or doing factory work, which UK residents don’t want. Exploitation is not the fault of the EU; it is a UK matter. For me there are more pros than cons. The 1946 aim of ‘European communities working together for peace’ is still valid. My current criticisms lie with the intrusion of neo-liberal politics, pushing for profit before people; an example being the secret TTIP plans. In spite of this, I still believe the way forward is co-operation: drawing upon the abilities, the intelligence and skills of the whole of Europe. We will always be stronger together.

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DASTARDLY SALFORD COUNCIL TRIES TO STOP THE KERSAL PIGEONS Heartless Salford Council is currently trying to evict Adam McHaffie and ninety racing and fancy pigeons from lofts at Kersal Vale Allotments. At stake is the bond between Adam and his daughter, and the welfare of the birds...

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hen a pigeon keeper became too ill to look after his lofts at Kersal Vale Allotments, fellow fancier, Adam McHaffie, helped him out by, firstly looking after his birds, and, later, taking over the plot and paying the rent. That was two years ago. Since then, Adam has built a pigeon palace at the site, with immaculate lofts now home to forty racing pigeons and 52 fancy pigeons. It’s a haven for the birds, Adam and his daughter, Kaitlyn, who looks forward to helping out and bonding with her dad. “For the last two years my daughter has loved coming here” says Adam “For Kaitlyn it’s an education as well as a hobby. She would be seriously affected if she couldn’t come down here, I don’t know how I’m going to explain it to her.” Adam and Kaitlyn’s idyllic world was smashed recently when Salford Council issued an eviction notice, instructing them to vacate the plot. Although Adam has been looking after the lofts and building his own pigeon paradise, officially the lease is still in the name of the previous keeper and so the Council wants him out...even though there’s no obvious demand for pigeon lofts in Kersal Vale. Indeed, the loft next door to Adam’s is actually empty, and he has been on the official waiting list for two years. His family, friends and other plot holders believe something more sinister is going on down at the allotments... “I think he’s being victimised and bullied” says Adam’s mother-

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in-law Sheila Dwyer “I think there’s something going on with the management and it’s totally unfair. The time, money and passion for the pigeons that Adam has put in should be taken into consideration. “My main concern, however, is the relationship between the father and daughter and how it’s going to be affected by this” she adds “This is where Kaitlyn comes to meet daddy, and it helps them to bond and grow closer. It’s where she’s happiest, being with the pigeons and her dad. They’re not just taking it away from Adam, they’re taking it away from his child.” Adam knows the serious lasting effect incidents like this can have on children and their future lives. Because he was that child... “I had pigeons as a kid in growing up in Scotland, and when I was 12 years old we moved to a place called Livingston new town where I wasn’t allowed to keep them anymore” he recalls “I built a loft in a nearby forest but while I was at school the council and police took it down. After that I became, what you might call, a delinquent. After all my troubles I started with the pigeons again and it de-stresses me. I don’t have a worry in the world when I’m with my pigeons.” It is not only Adam and Kaitlyn’s welfare that is at stake, it’s also the welfare of the prize pigeons which are currently breeding and nesting at the lofts. “They can’t just go in there and take down the huts because

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the babies will die of stress and others are nesting right now” Adam explains “Besides which, half of them are racing pigeons. If I sell them to you or give them to you and they escape they’re going to come straight back here. They’re born and bred here, they’re homing pigeons.” As petitions are circulated around the community, heartless Salford Council has drawn up court papers in readiness for the eviction of Adam, Kaitlyn and the pigeons... “If they want me to leave, I will leave tomorrow if I had somewhere else to put these pigeons and the lofts because there’s a lot of animosity in this place” says Adam “But no-one has offered me anywhere, and I can’t find anywhere, and can’t get any help.”


NIGEL PIVARO REMEMBERS TONY WARREN “He never forgot his debt to the people of Salford and always attributed the success of Coronation Street to them...”

Salford’s Tony Warren, creator of Coronation Street, the most popular TV show of all time, died recently, age 79, after a short illness. Here Nigel Pivaro, who played Terry Duckworth in the Street for many years, remembers the Pendlebury lad who put the city on the map and changed worldwide TV entertainment forever...

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ony Warren was a true Salfordian in so far as he lived nearly all his life in the city, and even after success retained his residency in a simple but pleasant terraced house overlooking Victoria Park. He never forgot his debt to the people of Salford and always attributed the success of Coronation Street to them. He used to describe how he came about creating the show. His father was an officer in the intelligence corps and had a small fruit and vegetable import business, so he came from a relatively well-to-do part of town. However, his mother was from old Salford, from the ‘Height, and she would take young Tony to visit aunties and cousins, and he would sit under the table listening to all this endless cacophony of women going on about everything from their ailments to, I suppose, how they were going to make ends meet. These were times when, if men weren’t away at work, they were away at war. It was a very matriarchal society during that period and that’s why females were the strong element within Coronation Street. Tony would mainly hear women’s voices and these voices stayed with him. He picked up what they’d said and the rhythm of how they spoke. The stories of their lives provided the template for these amazing, iconic characters like Ena Sharples, Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner, Vera Duckworth and Hilda Ogden. They were all based on women he’d known during his childhood or been acquainted with. Added to that was obviously a huge dollop of creativity and a drive which we have to remember wasn’t present then.... It

was a drive to put the lives of working class people on show in a dramatic situation, and present it in realistic fashion as entertainment. It’s something we take totally for granted now but in 1959/60 was almost heresy. The attitude was `Who wants to know about working class people down a smelly grimy street in a slum city called Salford’ – or, for Salford, read Leeds, Liverpool or back street Manchester. It was almost the antipathy of what would make great entertainment. Tony persevered with that and turned that world on its head in form and content – the content being the lives of these working class people, and the very clever format being a street with a pub at one end and a corner shop at the other end so the characters could all interact. It was the template for dozens and dozens of programmes ever since. I met Tony for the first time in the Granada TV green room in 1983 and, funnily enough, he already knew about me because he’d been to visit my parents’ chippy, which we had at the time down the bottom of Pendlebury Road. It wasn’t like he was some detached executive. As much as he was an entertainment legend and rubbed shoulders with all sorts of people like Noel Coward, he was also rooted in his own city. When I left the show I used to go round and have a chat with him. And he’d tell me about his debauched lifestyle during the 60s and 70s and his adventures. Like, once he got a visit from the police saying `We admire what you’ve done for the city but these new friends of yours are a bit suspect’... Apparently they were mafia who wanted to use him as a smokescreen to

get a hold in the city. He had some great stories. Tony Warren’s legacy has probably not been recognised in any shape or form as yet. But whether the Street survives into its centenary in years to come, or whether it fizzles out, the influence his creation made, not just over British but international entertainment, cannot be understated. It was phenomenal. Peyton Place, one of the biggest TV shows in American history, watched by sixty million people at its height, was based on Coronation Street and they admitted that was the format. He was not the first to give working class people a voice... there were people like Shelagh Delaney, Ewan McColl, Walter Greenwood – and he’s up there with them. But Tony Warren was the first to do it on television in any meaningful way. His influence cannot be overstated...


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the ninth annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards, which are given out to honour the most deserving individuals and organisations in the city for their

stupid statements, dodgy dealings and iffy

activities over

the past twelve months. It would help add to the experience of these coveted Awards if you could put full dinner

dress on, grab a glass of warm white wine and applaud to yourself after each award is announced. Now, without further ado, let’s

get on with this year’s ceremony...


The `My old man’s a dustman and he reckons the change to three week black bin collections is more to do with a dodgy PFI deal than with saving the planet’ Award.

Winner: Salford City Council

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es, Salford Council intends to bring in three weekly black bin collections from July 2016, for an eight month period in Worsley, Boothstown, Swinton, Irlam and Cadishead, Pendlebury and Walkden; and from March 2017 for a five month period in Kersal, Broughton, Weaste, Seedley, Winton and Claremont. During this period it will `review the impact’ - of overflowing black bins and stuff - before `full implementation’ in August 2017. The Council stated that it’s bringing in the three weekly black bin collections to increase recycling and bring `significant environmental benefits’. And no-one can argue with that. But the bottom line is to `reduce costs’... “It is estimated that the recycling rate would increase and cost reductions, from the waste levy, in the region of £470,000 in 2016/17 and £1,090,000 for full city coverage, could be achieved” the Council explained. What the Council didn’t fully explain was the reason why the `waste levy’ is so high. In 2009, Salford Council, along with eight other Greater Manchester councils, signed up for a 25 year £3.8billion PFI (Private Finance Initiative) deal with Viridor Laing (Greater Manchester) Ltd, via the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal

Authority (GMWDA), based on investment in 43 new facilities for waste disposal with a £644million capital value. By the time the PFI deal is over, we’ll have paid back six times what it all originally cost! The GMWDA, which in turn bills the councils, last year paid over £50million in interest alone on the PFI contract, and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles (when he was in office) called the PFI deal “botched”, adding “They are paying double the market rates to dispose of their residual waste”; ie black bins. Indeed, the waste levy rose in 2013-14 by a massive 14% to help pay for it all. It was followed by a 3% reduction this year and a 0% increase next year – but is set to rise by another 8.39% in 2017-18. Last year, while Greater Manchester landfill costs rose by just under £2million, `payment to contractors’ increased by an incredible £26.5million. Meanwhile, in the labyrinth that is the GMWDA accounts for 2014-15 it’s revealed that there’s some more staggering PFI payments still to come...like, £2.165billion of them! This financial year, the PFI contract is costing GMWDA £95.2million in total. Payments in the two to five years after that total almost £400mil-

lion, followed by over £500million every four years after that. By the end of the PFI contract, which still has 19 years to run, the GMWDA will have paid over £1.4billion in services, almost £86.5million in `reimbursement of capital expenditure’ and over £466million in interest.

three weekly bin collections but if everyone else does too, then savings-wise it’s not going to make a massive difference. The councils are all in competition with each other and, while the planet might benefit, the overall winners are Viridor Laing.

They’re all eye-watering figures, and trying to understand them is akin to sticking your head in the claw crusher at the back of a bin wagon. But basically, the question has to be asked whether the move to three weekly bin collections is motivated by saving the planet or having to pay for this incredibly expensive PFI deal with Viridor Laing which the councils have landed themselves with.

So ladies and gentlemen of the litterati, landfill your glasses, smell a rat and jump into a financial sinkhole for the winner of the `My old man’s a dustman and he reckons the change to three week black bin collections is more to do with a dodgy PFI deal than with saving the planet’ Award...

Oh, and there’s more...

PS: GMWDA’s Treasurer and Deputy Clerk received a financial package of £124,076 last year; its Director of Contract Services received a package of £104,394; and its Director of Resources and Strategy received a package of £93,777.

The way that it’s set up, the GMWDA charges each council by the amount of waste they put into the system. So, if Salford puts the same amount in next year, and somewhere like Tameside does more recycling, then we have to pay a higher amount. However the Salford Council report on the change states that “If Salford increases its performance and others do at the same time, then the level of disposal costs will remain unaltered....” In other words, the Council can bring in the

Salford City Council!!!

Any questions on the complicated workings of the PFI deal should be directed to Salford Councillor James Hunt who gets a special allowance of £2,167.68 for keeping an eye on the GMWDA, or Executive Leader for the Environment, Councillor Gena Merrett.

THE OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH MEMORIAL PRIZE

Winner: Salford Council Planning Team

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his annual award harks back to the brilliant classic drama series about regeneration gone rotten, starring Salford’s own Christopher Eccleston. This year’s recipient, the Salford Council Planning Team, was the judges’ overwhelming choice, for a classic piece of dodgy practice. Faced with a scandal that saw developers avoid well over £20million in planning fees and the building hundreds of affordable homes, they simply shifted the goalposts to make it all go away. Previously, on planning applications going before Salford Council’s planning panel of councillors, the officers would state what

developers should be paying in Section 106 contributions towards things like open space, climate change, heritage, affordable housing and schools to help mitigate the effects of their gruesome blocks of flats and unaffordable estates. It would all be worked out and a figure published, before the planning officers showed how they had caved in to developers’ pleas that their schemes would not be `viable’ if they had to make the payments ie their profits would not be big enough. From this, anyone could do a simple sum, deducting the crumbs that developers were paying from what they should be paying, come up with the missing £millions...and shout `Scandal!’

Then, in November last year, planning applications covering over 1,000 properties in Agecroft, Greengate, Chapel Street and The Crescent came up before the Council panel – but, unlike previously, the true amounts of what developers should be paying were not recorded. The figures had mysteriously been erased. And it’s been the same with every planning application ever since. How do you make a planning scandal go away? By disappearing the figures! Unfortunately for the magician-style planners, there is a well hidden document - part of a previous well hidden consultation they did on moving some more planning goalposts for

the benefit of developers – that does list the payments that should be made. So with a calculator, plus a load of spare time that noone has got, the scandal can continue to be exposed...And that scandal of avoided fees is now hitting around £30million, plus over 1,000 affordable properties not built! So, ladies and gentlemen, conjure up some images of laughing Fat Cats, move the top hat around the Salford Monopoly board and wave a rotten wand for the winner of this year’s Salford Star Mary Burns Our Friends In The North Memorial Prize... Salford Council Planning Team!!!

The Getting Money To Where It’s Needed Most Award

Winner: Hazel Blears

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n the midst of austerity, this year we have created a special new award, inspired by former Salford and Eccles MP Hazel Blears – and won by Hazel Blears! Last May, the pin-up girl for MPs’ expenses extravagance won a controversial vote to become a Member-Nominated Director of

the Co-op group for a basic fee of £60,000 a year. The post takes up `a minimum of approximately one to two days a month’. Then, in January, Hazel extended her hoard after being appointed Chair of the Social Investment Business (SIB), which manages grants and loans for charities and social

enterprises. It pays a reported £25,000 a year for three days work per month. So, that’s a total of £85,000 for doing around five days work per month. On taking up the SIB post Hazel declared: “I am determined to make sure money can go where it is needed most”...

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So ladies and gentlemen, quiver your violins, hold out your chewed polystyrene cup and kiss the dog on your string for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Getting Money To Where It’s Needed Most Award... Hazel Blears!!!

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SALFORD RED DEVILS AND AJ BELL STADIUM APPRECIATION AWARD

Winner: Salford City Council

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he love affair between Salford Council and the Salford Red Devils continued during 2015, despite a very public spat begun by its owner Marwan Koukash, who told a press conference that the Council owed him £750,000... A few weeks later, no proof of the debt was forthcoming and the row had been forgotten as Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, agreed that Koukash could have a `holiday’ from paying his debts to the Council. When Koukash took over Salford Reds, he agreed to pay

back a Council loan of £1.5million hanging over the old company. As everyone now knows, former Council Director Martin Vickers - who later became CEO of Salford Red Devils, before leaving recently for Swinton Lions – helped set up very, er, generous repayments, under which the Council was to get 4/25ths of what it was owed - a total of £253,291 - by 2018, with the rest of the debt - £1.33million – spread until 2038, interest free. The new deal with creditors of the old Reds company rescheduled payments from the club to the Council, which was understood to be a complete `payment holiday’ of 17 months. All legal and financial advice given to the Council was kept secret and no councillors were allowed to call in the decision to grant the Koukash holiday.

Meanwhile, in August last year, the cashstrapped Council agreed another £857,500 bailout to the AJ Bell Stadium it jointly owns with Peel Holdings. This came on top of £5.3million worth of loans already owed, plus £17.6million from the original building loan. In handing over the cash, the Council stated that its latest loan would enable the Stadium “to repay principal/interest repayments back to the City Council in 2015/16 of £1.503m”. In other words, it loaned its own company money to pay itself back! So, screw up your logic and give it up for the winner of the Salford Red Devils and AJ Bell Appreciation Award.... Salford City Council!!!

UNCLE JOE STALIN AWARD FOR OPEN AND DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT

Winner: Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart

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es, Joseph Stalin was infamous for his show trials, forced loyalty support and the crushing of opponents. Here in Salford we almost have a parochial, small time, big fish squirting in small ponds reflection of the Soviet system. This special personalised award for Ian Stewart comes on the back of his actions to quell protests and stifle opposition – even from his own Labour Party. It was in February last year that a Council meeting was due to be held to pass over £30million of cuts, and protests were expected in the public gallery. Rather than face up to potential criticism by families of disabled people, who were about to have their services axed, and other campaigners, Stewart sent an email to Labour Party members, urging them to pack out the gallery at the cuts meeting and show their support – for the cuts.

“The Labour council will be discussing the budget and are expecting there to be protests” he wrote in the email “We would like to reduce the protest by getting Labour supporters in the gallery. If you are able to come along you will need to be at the civic centre in Swinton by 9am and you will need a ticket.” Of course, there were no tickets for ordinary members of the public who might have wanted to show their disapproval, and Labour Party members, disgusted at the Mayor’s actions, leaked the email to the Salford Star... “This is a blatant attempt to stifle democratic

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protest in this city” stated Salford Against The Cuts “Since when does he have the right to declare the public gallery an all-ticket event so as to pack the gallery with his supporters? Where is the openness and transparency he has promised, and which the law requires? The fact that the email was leaked shows that even Labour Party members are sickened by the cuts and his Stalinist methods.” Once Stewart’s not very cunning plan was revealed, the ticket idea was dropped and members of the public were allowed first come first served access, with a handful of Stewart loyalists actually cheering the cuts speeches. The Mayor was at it again when Labour Party councillor, Paul Wilson went public with his proposal to stand for Mayor of Salford – before the `great man’ had announced that he was stepping down. This terrible betrayal for `disrespecting the Mayor’ was met with a show trail where Councillor Wilson had the Party whip removed and was now forced to sit away from other Labour councillors at meetings... Wilson’s treatment shocked even long standing Labour Party members, who told the Salford Star...”He’s been stitched up good and proper”... “Nobody’s clear why this has happened, I think it’s just for upsetting Ian Stewart...it’s an attempt to crush any opposition to him.” Paul Wilson later appealed to the North West Labour Party against the disciplinary action, won, and Salford Labour Party was ordered to get a `health check’ from the Local Government Association.

So, ladies and gentlemen, slap up your Soviets and glitter your gulags for the worthy winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic

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Government... Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart


FEED THE RICH AWARD

Winner: Fred Done

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es, this is always amongst the most hotly contested awards in the gong calendar with a host of dodgy developers lining up to receive the coveted Salford Star Mary Burns Feed The Rich Award. Last year there were two winners – Peel Holdings, for its £6million dodge at Media City, and Scarborough Developments for its £6million fee avoidance at Middlewood Locks. This year we have a very special home grown odds-on winner in Fred Done, who does so much for the community...even the mega publicised charity pie selling at Salford City FC while the BBC cameras were there. A lovely gesture, we’re sure you’ll all agree. What Mr Betfred doesn’t publicise much is that

he and his brother, Peter Done, are, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, the sixth richest people in the North West, with an estimated total wealth of around £950million, a hoard that has risen by £50million over the last year. The Done bros not only own the Betfred bookie chain but have an empire that spans insurance, sports promotion, a restaurant and a property company called FICM Ltd which is behind plans to build two horrendous 16 and 12 storey blocks housing 380 flats next to the old Black Friar pub in Trinity. At a Salford Council planning meeting in March this year, FICM stated that it just couldn’t afford to pay Salford Council £1,283,970 in planning fees for the development; nor could it afford to

provide 76 affordable housing units – because if it did, its profits wouldn’t be high enough. Indeed, it couldn’t even afford to fund two new bus stops on Blackfriars Road, requested by Transport for Greater Manchester, it stated, as the violins wailed and the hankies came out. Salford Council sobbed along and let the company avoid the planning fees and obligations, with a clawback arrangement so that if profits did mushroom the Dones could pay a few pence back. But the Dones weren’t finished there... With their little Salford caps in hand, FICM Ltd went to the Greater Manchester Housing Fund, and got a cheap £17.312million loan towards the building of the two Blackfriars

blocks – underwritten in part by Salford council tax payers. Yep, the Salford gambling king loves a punt on property, without gambling too much of his own coffers. So, that’s £1.2million in avoided planning fees, 76 affordable properties not built and a cheap £17.3million loan. A hat-trick heaven for the Dones! So, ladies and gentlemen, empty your wallets, bet your bottom dollar and back yourselves as the losers for the winner of this year’s Salford Star Mary Burns Feed The Rich Award... Mr Fred Done!!!!

TREVI FOUNTAIN AWARD

Winner: Salford City Council

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ike who needs Rome’s Trevi Fountain when we’ve got Greengate Square? The controversial fountain, plus square, plus public footbridge (when there was already one there) cost £13.3million of public money and

was opened a few years ago.

fountains – that’s over £4,000 a week!

During 2014-15, Salford Council spent a further £219,065 on payments to Capital Properties for the management of Greengate Square and its

Greengate Square is definitely not the Trevi Fountain but is certainly financially aspiring to it. So, ladies and gentlemen, splash your

www.salfordstar.com

cash, unlock your inner Ekbergs and drain your council tax for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Trevi Fountain Award... Salford City Council!!!

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WELCOME TO 1984 AWARD

Winner: Salford City Council

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t was on the 1st January last year, as the clocks struck thirteen, when it was revealed that Salford City Council had enforced a new gagging order on almost 9,000 of its staff. The Council’s `People Management Policy’, enshrined workers’ `duty of loyalty’ to the authority and to `serve the Mayor’, under its Thought Police architect, Strategic Mayor Councillor Paul Dennett, who is currently the Labour Party Mayoral candidate. All staff, from lollipop ladies to bin men, were expected to act as “ambassadors” for Salford City Council in both their working lives and private lives, and would be subject to disciplinary measures if they transgressed. The new draconian code was designed to stifle any criticism of the Council and to stop employees and trade unions leaking information to the press or public about the impending savage cuts to jobs and services. Under the new policy, `Gross Misconduct’ charges could be brought for actions `inside

or outside work’ for “Any action which is likely to bring the council into disrepute”, or which undermined its so-called “credibility”, including “negative comments in public statements” and “Making unauthorised statements to the media”. Staff could also be disciplined on `Misconduct’ charges, even while `off duty’ for anything “which conflicts with the Authority’s interests”. The Council policy stated: “Inappropriate comments made on social networking sites (whether you have enabled privacy settings or otherwise) about your employment with the council, the council at large or any employees or former employees of the council could amount to a breach of this Code and result in disciplinary action.” To enforce the code, the Council was to trawl social media sites like Facebook and Twitter searching for those who were disloyal... “The use of social media sites should be regulated to ensure that such use does not damage the council, its employees,

councillors, partners and the people it serves”, the Council stated. There was even a section where employees were encouraged to spy on their workmates... “Where inappropriate use is suspected, in addition to reporting the incident using the relevant reporting procedure, it is suggested that staff should also pro-actively attempt to capture any inappropriate posts (before they might be deleted)...” It added: “Managers may also be required to review and investigate the personal use of social media that takes place in or outside of working hours where concerns are raised or identified”, and while it states that they “Must not as a matter of course monitor employees social media pages”, adds “It is likely that this information will already be in the public domain therefore permission to access personal accounts will not be required.” Interestingly, last September, Salford Council spent £1,536 with Access Intelligence, which

specialises in media monitoring... “Our Social Media Management tool helps you listen to discussions on the social web...” states the company’s website, adding that it can “Monitor Social Media Content from Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Forums and Video... All data is analysed and tagged as either Positive, Negative or Neutral... Set up your keywords and social channels to monitor and our platform starts listening to conversations relevant to you instantly.” Chilling? Autocratic? Or typical of what Salford City Council has become under the tutelage of Salford Mayor Ian Stewart? So ladies and gentlemen, blag your Big Brothers, wind up your Winstons, spy on your bin man and doublethink it all behind closed curtains for the winner of this year’s Salford Star Mary Burns `Welcome To 1984’ Award... Salford City Council!!!

SALFORD HERITAGE AWARD

Winner: Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart

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calling it “a new landmark for Salford”, Stewart crowed: “That JCDecaux have chosen to install it in Salford...speaks volumes for the growth and success of our city”.

Naming the hoarding the `Salford Arch’, and

The Mayor, it seemed, had swallowed wholesale the hyped drivel of the hoarding’s creators, JCDecaux, whose head of planning called it “a landmark Gateway to Salford”... “a

s we approach the last months of his Mayorhood, what will be Ian Stewart’s heritage legacy? The trashed iconic Salford Quays cargo cranes maybe? No, no, no... His legacy will be an advertising hoarding that now straddles the roundabout at the end of the M602.

unique and striking form of development”... that would “fulfil a greater role than simply the purpose of advertisement display...inspiring built forms that enliven townscapes and create sense of place... “The bespoke structure will provide an elegant architectural form that will enhance the transport corridor” he frothed “...and introduce

a form of development that is distinctive, visually stimulating and creative...” Doesn’t anyone really believe this rubbish? Step forward the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Salford Heritage Award... Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart!!!

THE TORIES LOVE DISABLED PEOPLE AWARD

Winner: Councillor Iain Lindley

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ack in October, members of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) laid siege to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, protesting about their treatment at the hands of the Government with regard to everything from death-related sanctions to benefit cuts... It was serious stuff and people were angry. But then into the fray came Salford Tory

Councillor, Iain Lindley, appearing to mock them as he skipped through the entrance to the Conference Centre, blowing kisses as he went... “They’re grinning away at us...they think they’re so above themselves they can do what they like” said Paula from DPAC. When the Salford Star tweeted that he ought to be ashamed of himself, Lindley responded “Laughing at the violent angry people giving

me abuse, only way to deal with vile hatred is to laugh it off...” Salford Star follower, Mancunian Spring tweeted “Your lot have already murdered enough folk in wheelchairs. Sorry you had to suffer so...”, to which Lindley replied “They call me scum, I blew kisses back. Meet hatred with kindness...”... Mancunian Spring responded: “...looks like you’re going down in history as

laughing at disabled folk...” (etc)... Well, our awards judges felt they just had to mark history. So, ladies and gentlemen, pucker up, tweet sweet nothings and get down for the winner of The Tories Love Disabled People Award... Councillor Iain Lindley!!!

THE MAGIC BEANS AWARD

Winner: Salford City Council

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f you think of public pound notes as magic beans, then Salford City Council has been planting them in some very strange places. Three years ago, the Council handed £300,000 to the Manchester International Festival to grow the Biospheric Project’s `innovative city farm’ in Blackfriars, with Salford Mayor Ian Stewart announcing that it was “money well spent”. Another £100,000 came via the Festival itself. Last December, Biospheric went bust, with

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debts of over £100,000, including £46,893 owed to Salford Council, amidst stories of dead fish, starving chickens, wilted veg, community equipment being held to ransom and exploitation of volunteers. The Project disappeared into the bankruptcy dust, along with the aquaponic `inner city farm’ that was supposed to become `an asset for the community for the next five to ten years...’ As if that wasn’t a lesson in magic beanery, a few weeks after the demise of Biospheric

had been revealed, every councillor present at the next Council meeting voted to give £19million to the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Bridgewater Garden in Worsley – which included payments of £9million to Peel Holdings for the lease on the land. At the meeting, Environment Lead Member, Gena Merrett, congratulated officers and Planning Lead, Councillor Derek Antrobus, for having “the political courage to take this forward” adding “We will get criticism”...

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...You will also get a much coveted Salford Star Mary Burns Award. So ladies and gentlemen, shout `I’m alright Jack!’, stalk your councillor, plant a wish and await a giant hole in the Council finances for the winner of the Magic Beans Award... Salford City Council!!!


SALFORD’S YOUNG VETERANS INVITED FOR BREAKFAST Salford has a thriving breakfast club for people who served in the armed forces, but where are all the city’s younger veterans?

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irtually every Salford family has someone who has served in the armed forces in what is a totally unique experience. Since last year, there’s been a totally unique club where those unique experiences and lots of banter can be shared.

The Salford Veterans Club and Hub meets every Saturday morning at Pendleton Church between 9am and noon, and is thriving, with over fifty people attending a typical gathering. It’s run voluntarily by veterans themselves, with ex army chefs even cooking the breakfasts, at £2 a time probably the cheapest in Salford. While the food is fine, people come to socialise in a friendly environment where everyone has something in common. Earl Saunders, a former tank mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, met some armoured engineers at the Club who were in his squadron before his time... “We compare old stuff and new stuff, and still have the craic as an army thing” he says “Everyone is made to feel welcome here and then it’s up to you what you do. Some people like to just come and know that they are surrounded by people with the same mentality as them. Part of my Saturday ritual is a table full of us that just banter and laugh, and it revitalises you for the rest of week, knowing that there are people who have the same daft sense of humour as you’ve got.”

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With links to the Soldiers, Sailors and Air Force Association, Royal British Legion and other ex-services organisations, the Club also helps anyone who needs it with any problems they may have. There’s also a good mix of women and men, and many even bring their children, carers or guests along. “We are all inclusive and would like to attract younger veterans” says Glenn Croston, co-founder of the Club “People have the idea that veterans are elderly people who wear blazers with medals on, and yes we do have people who are over seventy, and the eldest here is 96...but we’re finding it difficult to reach the younger guys in their twenties and thirties who have served. “The British Legion doesn’t seem to appeal to them and regiment branches the same, so where do they go?” he asks “They are out there, leaving the forces every day and coming back to Salford, and we’d like them to join us.” Young or old, male or female, the armed force experience is unique – and this Club unites it all, with a cheap army-cooked breakfast thrown in to enhance the day... The Salford Veterans Breakfast Club and Hub meets every Saturday 9am-noon at Pendleton Church (St Thomas’), Ford Lane M6 6PE For further details phone Glenn on 07932 488390

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“It’s dead friendly, dead welcoming, absolutely brilliant...I’ve even met up with people I was in the TA with in 1999. It’s good to see some old faces and the work they do here is brilliant. It’s really warm and friendly... it’s a community environment.” Claire Street, TA 1993-99 “I care for my wife so it’s nice to get out for an hour, it’s a break and I enjoy it. We know what we’re talking about; it’s the same craic...” Frank Watts, ex army, served in Germany, Middle East and Aidan “It’s one hundred per cent supportive. The thing is with ex service personnel that we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet because we were all part of that service family, and you are part of that for life. We take the mickey out of each other, that’s part of service life.” Lynda Cash, served in the Royal Navy for 15 years and a medic on HMS Invincible


VINNY’S VERSE Vinny North has been a friend of the Salford Star for almost ten years as he has struggled against housing authorities, Salford Council and alcohol. Here we present a selection of his verse documenting some of his times... In Dreams Each dream, where do we get them from? Is it the book of reams? From day to day it’s the same every way Oh to be strong should you say it is with your tongue But show me how! I wish you could show me how I’m not going under just now I’ll fight with thunder but how? I’ll dig deep like I’ve done before I’ll be there til the end and be there at the fore I suppose things happen every day This time in my life Please God show me the way...

Me, Myself and I Me myself and I Drink in my hand as I start to cry One day when you’re ready But not now I’m not steady Some days are not the same But who now can I blame? Just me myself and I This addiction is making me die Not today I don’t want to go this way Drugs, booze, whatever the addiction The blame hopes it’s not me friends next It’s going to claim

The Demon Ov Drink... Drunk, drunk... The terrible drink The more you have the less you think Friends are about, in galore But no-one’s there when you hit the floor As you try to stop They say `One day at a time’ But it’s a big mountain you have to climb People like to laugh and sneer Often saying `There’s that person who likes a beer’ One day you will say all this suffering will finally go away God loves a tryer But would you today?

Top Mate They say you’re not lost ‘til it’s gone But I’ll tell you about my number one He’ll tell you straight what you want to know Like, what the weather is, sun, rain or snow Yeah, he’s the man in the know Together we’ve been through our ups and downs But hardly ever without a frown When we were up we were up But hardly down He doesn’t know what he means to me If I could package him I’d say `Make it three’ The last few months have been hard But can’t grumble That wouldn’t be right Yes you say a bit more `Strength and honour’ is my motto The next few months are going to be a test To my friend I’ll say he is the best I’m proud to be by my friend’s side When all said and done he makes me feel one hundred feet wide What a pleasure to know But being as stubborn as I am This time I’m going to show Sean, `my friend’ And I say `Bring it on’ Me and you together We will fight it all toe to toe Just to add a quote my friend You was there when I was weak You was there to help me speak Thank you Love and respect Vinny North


World Records 2001 Guinness world speed record on a motorcycle

2003 Guinness world speed record in a car – 144mph (driving Jaguar XJR)

2005 Guinness world speed record in a car – 167mph (driving BMW M5)

2010 Most loop the loops in a plane – 26 loop the loops in close formation with 3 other planes

2013 Guinness world speed record in a car – 186mph (driving Porsche GT2)

2013 Guinness world speed record in a boat – 93mph (Power boat)

2014 Guinness world speed record in a car – 200.4mph (driving Nissan GTR)

2015 Guinness world speed record in a racing truck – 120mph

Photo by Gareth Lyons


Breaking The Sight Barrier

Inside The Cabin

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he racing harness is strapped tight keeping Mike Newman firmly in his seat, the cabin of the car is quiet, the engine purrs as it idles waiting to be let off the leash. Mike’s thoughts are his only company: expectation, excitement, anticipation and trepidation compete for space. His goal of 200mph is the prize that awaits. He knows the car works, the weather is ok and his team have done everything they can to help him. His biggest fear is letting them down. It’s just him, his car and the road ahead.

Mike Newman, who is blind, holds eight world records in his need for speed in trucks, planes, motorcycles and boats. Here Gareth Lyons visits the Salford office of Mike’s charity, Speed of Sight, to find out what makes this amazing man tick...

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t first glance, eight times Guinness World Record holder Mike Newman seems to be like any other middle aged man sat behind his office desk. On the walls are lots of pictures of his achievements, perhaps on first impression you may think too many. You could quite imagine this being the desk where he once sat in his tenure as a bank manager, as easily as being the CEO of a Salford based charity helping disadvantaged people. The first inkling that this may not be a `normal office’ is when a Black Labrador, Baxter, emerges from under Mike’s desk, as if shot from a canon. Mike’s co-worker, Jen, puts a drink on his desk and says “It’s just by your hand” and then the picture is clear. The photos on the walls of his achievements are not for Mike’s ego so he can sit, look and bask in his glory. Mike Newman is totally blind. And has been since birth. His is a world of total darkness, which to a sighted person is a scary and unimaginable one. For him it is normality and a reason why, at times, he struggles with the platitudes thrown his way for his achievements. “I did not want to be a statistic” Mike says when asked if he thought he was remarkable “Four out of five blind people are unemployed I believe; I did not want to be unemployed. I wanted to have a career and contribute where I could bring in a wage to support my family. That’s my motivation, just in the way you would want to support your family. I’m only doing what anyone else would do... Life is difficult no matter what circumstances you have to deal with, and it is up to you to push through and succeed.” Mike’s story is much more than a patronising narrative of a blind man upsetting the odds; it is a lesson to us all to live life, to never give into negativity and to allow our dreams to become realities. Mike Newman may disagree but he is a man who should inspire us all. Asked what the correct terminology to use he replies “That’s a good question. When we set the charity up we were told to use `visually impaired’. Personally, I don’t like it. I am blind not visually impaired...I’d love to be visually impaired!” But how does a man go from `driving a desk’ as a bank manager to be a multiple world record holder and head of a charity? It all started with a desire to actively experience his passion. “I was a bank manager” Mike explains “and I did that to earn a living for my

family. My interest and passion, though, is motor sport. To take an active role is something that has always been denied me because I cannot see. “As I got older it got to a point that I wanted to experience what my disability had robbed me of” he adds “It robbed me of the chance to race cars, something which I know I would have done if I could have seen, even if only in an amateur way. My goal was to find out what it would be like; to find if it was as exhilarating as I had imagined it to be and as fulfilling as I hoped it would be.” And was it? “It was every bit as exhilarating, every bit as emotional and every bit as fulfilling as I hoped it would be.” This first drive was so exhilarating that Mike continued and his “world record obsession”, as he describes it, was born. To date he has broken eight world records, on land, sea and in the air, with his ultimate ambition of driving at 200mph achieved in 2014. Remarkable achievements? Not to Mike. He argues that he is someone who “is doing what he loves doing...The feeling of exhilaration is unbelievable, I love racing cars, when I do get the chance I get a glimpse of the freedom I could have if I could see.” In 2001 when Mike set out on his quest for speed, he never thought that someday he would be helping others. Mike and his team raise money for various charities during their efforts, but with refreshing honesty he adds “I did the records because I wanted to... the reason we did it was an utterly selfish one that I wanted to do it, I wanted to know what it would be like.” Speed of Sight With each record conquered Mike’s profile was raised and people with disabilities shared their desires with him to be able to experience what he had. This set him a new challenge - how could he physically share his experiences? In 2012, the Speed of Sight started. With the determination that Mike has shown on the race track, he took the decision to end his career in the banking sector and concentrate full time on creating the charity and making it a success, giving others the chance to speed motors. “I wanted it to be a real motoring experience, that is why the cars

In his ear the radio crackles interrupting his thoughts, `How are you feeling Mike? Tell us when you are ready to go?’ He pauses “I’m really excited, I’m ready!” But before he starts his record attempt there is one more hurdle to overcome...”It takes a will of effort to put your foot down” ...His foot hovers briefly over the accelerator. There’s still time to not risk his life. In a microsecond his foot presses down. The car starts to move, the die is cast...the tension, nerves and excitement disappear, replaced by a man focused on one goal - 200mph. The speed builds and the cabin is filled with the roar of the engine as the revs increase. Mike listens avidly to change gear at the correct time. Despite his harness, his body shakes as the vibrations in the car increase. His radio crackles again `right, right, right’ is the command from his chase car. Mike’s trust in them is ultimate. They are his eyes, keeping him on the road. He corrects the wheel, `Good Mike, give it more gas! Keep going, push’... The car reaches the timing zone, the engine is working to its maximum, Mike’s foot is on the floor; every action is geared to speed and keeping his car on the road travelling at just over three miles a minute. `Ok, Mike we’re through the timing zone, start to slow down’ sounds in his ear piece. He still can’t relax. Stopping a car from 200mph is dangerous in itself. The chase car helps with instructions to keep centred on the road. `How did that feel Mike? How was the car?’ comes over the radio when the car is finally stopped and facing back in the direction it came. “Really good!” replies Mike, “the car ran like a dream”... `Well when you’re ready we can begin the second run!’ To break the record he has to go through it all again; two runs in opposite directions. “Let’s go!” says Mike... Mike with Gina Campbell, daughter of the Donald Campbell. Photo by Anya Samantha


Photo by Gareth Lyons

Track cars Speeds up to 120mph 0-60mph in 5 seconds Between 1.6 - 2 litre engine

Buggys

Not All About Mike!

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urrently Speed of Sight consists of four full time employees including Mike, namely John, Jen and Mark, aided by volunteers and qualified driving instructors. Like any motor sport there is a team of people behind Mike. Whilst he is the one on his own in the car, alone with his thoughts and risking his life, a team of engineers, test drivers, family, friends and sponsors have all come together to put him on the start line. The biggest concern for Mike when he sits in his vehicle ready to start is not the danger or his mortality but other people... “I don’t want to let people down, there is that much effort that goes into a record attempt by everybody; the planning, the preparation, everyone plays a part, everyone is a cog in the wheel” he explains “That in itself is a responsibility. They have worked so hard to get me to the start line. That is a weight on my shoulders and I have to stay focused to deliver what I’ve said I could.

“There is only me telling people I can do it and I have to gain people’s belief in me” he adds “You want to encourage them to believe in me, think that `Hey Mike can do this! He’s not just talking out of his backside!’ But, there is a long way between telling someone you can do it and showing you can. Once it’s over there is a huge relief you’ve not let anyone down, you’ve not embarrassed yourself or put the car into a wall, you’ve not failed...” One of those people is Jen who helps organise the charity’s track days...“On my very first day it was just heart warming to see the difference it made” she says “When I first started, I came along and it was like `Why do disabled people need to drive?’ I just did not get it to be honest and then I met them and saw how much it meant to them, and I saw the freedom and independence, even with just twenty minutes in the car; how it completely turned their lives around. The focus stopped being about what disabled people cannot do and it is all about what they can do. We are just enabling them to do one of the things that society tells them they cannot.”

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ATV capable of 3-4 foot drops Capable of climbing 1/4 hills Between 1.6 - 2 litre engine

are open top” he explains “If it is raining you get wet, you are not sat in a bubble; you are motoring in the elements, motoring in its most natural state. You feel the wind, the heat of the engine around you, you feel everything. If you cannot see it you can certainly feel it, if you cannot feel it you can hear it, and if you cannot hear it you can smell it.” Currently the charity offers two types of experiences; track days using open top sports cars, and off road days using buggies. Both styles of cars are fully customised, having two sets of controls, including hand controls... “With no exception at every event we run, people grow, they achieve” Mike states “And they go away feeling better than they did when they arrived.”

to a lady aged 89! Mike is keen to stress inclusivity... “If you have a disabled child who has siblings, we try to get them all involved for a shared memory.” Record Breaking Mike sees himself as a racing driver first and a blind man second. Pragmatism means that, as the focal point of the charity, he is the public face and has to live with being described as a blind man first but this is softened by the fact that he has achieved his own personal goal of driving at 200mph.

The Future

All his efforts now are towards the charity, making it bigger and raising its profile, and any future record attempts will happen because he will get paid to do them.

Running on average one track-day per month, Mike is aware that the Speed of Sight has to expand from its current four car stable, so that it can offer more people driving experiences.

“When I get behind a wheel now, I get paid to drive” he says “I suppose that in itself is remarkable. I am blind man who gets paid to drive; I think that’s pretty cool!”

“To sustain the charity it needs to grow” he says “It is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. We need more cars to do more events, but we need more events so we can build more cars...Then we can get more people, more staff, volunteers and venues. But we are always moving forward.” At this moment the charity has never received any public money, and Mike acknowledges the difficulty in getting coverage and donations, not being one of the main national and most recognisable charities. But Speed of Sight is able to work with other charities to offer experiences on their behalf and is keen to work with the business world offering various levels of sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorship starts at £200, and for this an employer can pay for one of their employees to have a blindfolded track session as well as paying for a disabled person to have a driving opportunity, an energising and empowering opportunity for all involved. Given the Speed of Sight name, it’s easy to think the charity is just about giving opportunities to the visually impaired. Not so. Speed of Sight offers experiences to anyone, the only criteria is that a driver can get into the car - and they have, from the youngest aged seven,

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Speed of Sight Office 4D, Unit 10, Antz Junction, Junction Eco Park Rake Lane, Swinton. M27 8LR T: 0161 714 4567 W:www.speedofsight.org @speedofsightorg Facebook and Youtube Channel Speed of Site Charity


Council Swears By New Rules! Following the furore surrounding the banning of swearing on Salford Quays, we present some more strange things you can’t do in the city, with fines of up to £1,000 at stake... Salford Quays... As well as the swearing that’s covered in the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), you can’t `hang from a bridge’ on the Quays, nor can you `aid, abet, counsel or procure’ anyone else to do such a thing. Also, you can’t `throw any object at anyone without their consent’, or `Deposit or throw into or onto the water

any animal or any large object unrelated to water activities’. The Willows... In the area around The Willows in Weaste you can’t swear either, so it’s just as well Marwan Koukash and his Red Devils have left the place. Under the PSPO here you mustn’t `throw or otherwise propel any object at any person,

vehicle or property without their consent’, nor `make physical contact with property or vehicle belonging to another person without the express or implied consent of the owner of that property’. The Broadwalk... The area across the road from Salford Precinct is next on the list for a PSPO...

Gloria Gloria Daze! S t Marks Church in Worsley is holding a Come and Sing event on Saturday 21st May, to raise awareness and funds for Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention... “I want everyone to feel welcome to join in and experience singing Vivaldi’s Gloria” says Jeff Ramsdale, organist and choirmaster at St Mark’s “It doesn’t matter whether you’re part of a choir or ever have been.” The idea is that it’s a unique and fun experience, even if people don’t know their Vivaldis from their Verdi. There will be rehearsals throughout the day and the full performance will take place at the

church at 5pm to an audience of friends, family and music lovers. One in ten women and one in 1,000 men will develop breast cancer during their lifetime and this year Genesis celebrates twenty years of raising funds for research to prevent it in future generations. To take part in the Come and Sing event at St Mark’s e-mail Jeff: jramsdale@hotmail.com. It costs £10 which goes to the charity For more info on Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention see www. genesisuk.org

Mark E Smith NEW SALFORD MEN’S CLUB was launched at the Langworthy Cornerstone Joins Blaney ManWeb, last month, complete with a local history group, pub games, football and a Man of the Month award...

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anWeb was the place you used to pay your ‘leccy bills but now those memories can finally be shattered as the Langworthy Cornerstone has nicked the name for its new men’s club...

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“The Cornerstone is about doing useful stuff with local people, but we did notice that only thirty per cent of our participants are men and wanted to do something about it” explains John Phillips, Cornerstone manager “We decided on a men’s health project, something

northern, non-clinical and a bit humorous, so we called it ManWeb.” Nigel Pivaro helps launch

To kick it off there’s walking football, ManWeb at the Cornerstone. 5-a-side, pub type sessions with pool, darts and card games, and a local To find out more about ManWeb history group. To add to the club feel, there’s contact Kellie Dwan at the Langworthy going to be a `man passport’, social get Cornerstone – 0161 212 4430 or email togethers and a Man of the Month award for kellie.dwan@langworthycornerstone.co.uk those who take part in activities outside their comfort zone, like salsa...

alford Music Festival force and ex-Fall member, Ed Blaney, has his solo album, Urban Nature released in May. For over half the tracks he’s collaborated with Salfordian legend Mark E Smith, while others feature top singer Jenny Shuttleworth and even his daughter Bianca gets in as a guest artiste. From preview hearings, the album sounds rocky, edgy, offbeat and hot. Don’t miss! “If you’re a fan of Mark E Smith you’re gonna love it, he’s on great form” says Ed “It’s released on my own label, something I always wanted to do.” Urban Nature by Blaney featuring Mark E Smith is released May 27th on CD, vinyl and download. Preorder and hear some clips at www. blaney.co

www.salfordstar.com

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Salford Star issue 11  

...with attitude and love Spring 2015

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