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Thursday 11th May 2006

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“Hung” council will
have a new leader

by David Skentelbery

WARRINGTON Borough Council is to have a new leader ? whichever party takes control in the wake of last week?s election which left the authority with a ?hung? council.
Labour leader John Joyce has been replaced by Terry O?Neill and deputy leader Paul Ross has been replaced by Mike Hannon.
The official party line is that the changes are by ?mutual agreement.?
But according to Town Hall sources Coun Joyce was effectively ?sacked? with the Labour Group voting 16-9 to replace him.
It is understood Coun Ross wished to stand down as deputy leader.
The elections left Labour with 26 seats ? still the largest party but with only one more seat than the Liberal Democrats, who now have 25.
Ironically, the Conservatives who still have only six seats, hold the balance of power.
Talks have been held between all three parties and the Tories are expected to announce today whether they will agree to offers made by the two other parties.
Tory leader Keith Bland said: ?We are after a shared administration. It is a difficult situation but we have to form an administration for the good of the borough and its residents. We need stability. The well-being of the borough comes before party politics and hopefully we are all adult enough to reach an agreement.
?Probably, all three parties agreed on 80 per cent of issues. It is the other 20 per cent that could cause difficulties.?
Coun Hannon said: ?The changes in the Labour group are by mutual consent. At the end of the day, all three parties recognise that the well-being of Warrington comes first.
?I happen to be very proud of Warrington and I would not like to see it damaged because of political differences.?
Liberal Democrat leader Ian Marks said: ?We all hope for the good of Warrington that any period of uncertainty will be as short as possible. We have spoken to the Conservatives and we know that Labour has also. At the moment we can only await their response.?

Hospital aims to become
“centre of excellence”

by John Hendon

HEALTH chiefs have revealed new proposals which they claim would see Warrington Hospital developed as a centre of excellence for all emergency medical care and planned care for patients with more complex conditions.
The proposals form part of a bid to provide better, safer patient care and will be subject to one of the most wide ranging statutory public consultations on hospital services ever held in North Cheshire, they say.
Called ?Better care, Sustainable services?, the consultation is being led by North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust and will run until June 30.
New services and ways of working are also being proposed which, if accepted, would see Halton General Hospital in Runcorn developed as a centre of excellence for routine planned care, daycase surgery, diagnostic services and cancer treatment.
Proposals for Warrington Hospital include:
New centre of excellence for acute medicine, with more emergency beds.
New centralised and expanded critical care in a new purpose-built unit.
New kidney dialysis unit (provided by a national team) to replace existing unit and increase capacity.
Over at Runcorn, proposals for Halton General Hospital include:
Retaining Minor Injuries Unit and outpatients.
New centre of excellence for routine, planned inpatient and daycase surgery.
New day-time emergency assessment service for appropriate GP referrals.
There would also be a one-stop diagnostic services (Programmed Investigation Unit) a new kidney dialysis unit (provided by a national team and removing the need for patients to have to travel to Warrington) and an expanded chemotherapy unit to reduce the need for cancer patients to travel to Clatterbridge in Wirral).
In addition there would be an improved endoscopy service.
Allan Massey, chairman of North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The changes we are proposing, which are supported by the majority of our doctors and nurses, are about delivering better clinical services that can be sustained into the future and will make better use of our staff and other resources.
“This will ensure a thriving future for both our hospitals and enable them to work better together for the benefit of patients.
“In addition to actively seeking the public’s views on our specific proposals we are also very keen to hear any other ideas and suggestions people may have for improving our hospital services.”
A public consultation meeting will be held at Warrington Town Hall on May 31.

Pupils must face the
music at careers day

by staff reporter

PUPILS from across Warrington will face the music and dance at a careers day with a difference.
The event is being run by Warrington Collegiate, in partnership with the borough council’s children’s services and is sponsored by the Learning and Skills Council for Cheshire and Warrington.
It is aimed at giving Year 9s and Year 11s from 15 schools, a taste of the courses or jobs they can pursue in the performing and creative arts.
Around 150 secondary and special school pupils, who are either choosing their subject options or deciding what to do when they leave school, will hear an address by inspirational speaker and Collegiate lecturer Nick Buchanan before taking part in workshops and meeting representatives from relevant local organisations.
Margaret Ford, programme leader for creative and performing arts at the Collegiate said: “There are a wealth of opportunities in the creative and performing arts and I hope this fun day for youngsters will give them a few pointers. We’re running some fabulous workshops, including one where pupils have to design a computer game and another in which they devise a piece of theatre.
“Overall, the workshops will give pupils a taste of dance and drama, media, music technology, visual and graphic arts and textiles. It’s intended to be a comprehensive insight into all of the creative industries.”
The pupils will be able to visit stalls and chat to representatives from local companies and colleges, including Wire FM, Pyramid and Parr Hall, Shanley’s (design and print) and the University of Chester.
Janet Dale, programme leader for school links and young people’s programmes said: “This is an event which will be of benefit to everyone. Not only are the pupils getting advice on career options, and local organisations get to promote their services – but our own arts students, who’ll be helping to run the day, will be assessed as part of their courses.”

Youth “question time” to
be screened in town

by David Skentelbery

YOUNG people from the Warrington area have been invited to take part in a unique version of the popular debate programme ?Question Time? for screening on the town?s community television channel later this year.
Pupils from Woolston, Culcheth, Penketh, William Beamont and Great Sankey high schools and a select group of Members of the Youth Parliament will have the opportunity to ask a panel of experts questions on topics such as underage drinking, teen runaways and bullying.
The recordings to be made at The Pyramid arts centre tomorrow (Wednesday) will provide material for three programmes to be screen by The Big Idea online channel from October 23.
A panel of experts, including Coun Colin Froggett,(picturedthe borough council?s executive member for children?s services, will answer questions.
James Goodison, media outreach co-ordinator, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for young people to go head to head with the peers who make most of the decisions in the community” If it proves to be a success then the Young People’s Question Time will be run on a regular basis.
Questions to be put to the panel include:
Why are the next generation always frowned upon?
What happens if you get caught underage drinking?
Why don’t young people have

any rights?
Where can I go for support regarding underage sex?
The Big Idea is running for one week and will broadcast live programmes produced by the community of Orford for the Warrington community.
Following a week of scheduled programmes the Big Idea will continue as an interactive community channel and is looking for local residents and organisations to participate in producing programmes and live studio debates.

Rugby League legend
to visit Wolves’ stadium

by staff reporter

RUGBY League legend Tom Van Vollenhoven is to visit Warrington tomorrow (Wednesday).
The South African winger who scored 392 tries in 408 appearances for St Helens will be visiting the new Warrington Wolves Foundation Floor at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
He will also tour the rest of the stadium.
Two time Challenge Cup winner Tom, who has been inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame, will be meeting up with past Warrington players from the Fifties and Sixties, including Laurie Gilfedder and Joe Whittaker, who he has played with, and also Alistair Brindle and Jackie Edwards, who were all loyal servants to the club, racking up a huge number of appearances and points between them.
Tom will also meet up with another legendary winger, by visiting the Brian Bevan statue located at the ground.
Former Warrington player Bevan is regarded along with Tom as one of the games great wingers, as well as both boasting incredible try-scoring records.
Wolves coach Paul Cullen and chief executive Andy Gatcliffe will greet Tom with The Foundation director Neil Kelly leading the party around the stadium.

Woman trapped
in crash car

EMERGENCY services were called to Thelwall, Warrington when a woman was trapped in her wrecked car.
The accident occurred in Thelwall New Road and involved a car which left the carriageway and collided with a lamp post.
Fire crews helped release the woman from the vehicle and she was taken to hospital by ambulance. It is understood she suffered back injuries.
No other vehicle was involved in the incident.

Stolen motor
bike torched

POLICE are investigating after thieves stole a motor bike from the garden of a house at Orford, Warrington and set it alight in a nearby field.
The machine was stolen from a house in Newhaven Road and, a short time later, was set on fire in a field behind the house.
Fire crews were called to the scene but the motor cycle was completely destroyed.
A Fire Service spokesman said the machine was not new but an old, off-road bike used by youngsters for scrambling.

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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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