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Friday 12th May 2006

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Liberal Democrat-Tory
alliance to take control

by David Skentelbery

A LIBERAL Democrat-Tory partnership is to take control of Warrington Borough Council following last week’s council elections.
The two parties have issued a joint statement announcing an agreement to work together to form a shared administration to run the council which has been Labour controlled for nearly 25 years.
Liberal Democrats gained four seats to rob Labour of overall control and the composition of the council is now Labour 26, Liberal Democrats 25 and Conservatives six.
Coun Ian Marks, the Liberal Democrat leader will be leader of the council and Tory leader Coun Keith Bland, will be deputy leader. Places on the executive board will be shared on a proportional basis.
In a joint statement Coun Marks and Coun Bland said, “No party gained a majority of councillors so no-one has the right to run the council on their own. Over two thirds of the people who voted, wanted a change from Labour.
“They have run the council for nearly a quarter of a century and it’s good for democracy to have a change. Despite this, we have both separately talked to Labour about sharing an administration but they turned us down.
“We are excited about the future. Warrington is a great town with great people and our role is to unlock its potential. We have a number of ideas about the improvements we want to make but not everything can be done overnight. Resources are limited but one of our earliest tasks is to find ways of bringing more money into the town and making better use of the money we already have.”
Coun Marks said: “Our Lib Dem priorities are generating more pride in Warrington by creating cleaner and greener communities. We want to put people at the heart of everything we do and provide high quality value-for-money services.
Coun Bland added: “Whilst our politics and some policies might be different, our vision of providing clear and accountable civic and community leadership, improving the quality of life for all by creating a strong local economy and giving value for money are very similar to the views of the Lib Dems.”
Deputy leader of the Labour group Coun Mike Hannon said: “We are very relaxed about this – we wish them luck. The Labour group is ready for the role of responsible opposition.
“We can hold our heads high. Warrington is a prosperous town with high employment. We are proud of what we have achieved for Warrington.”
Proposals to form a shared administration go to the council’s annual meeting on May 22.

TV star pledges he
will return to town

by Lesley Wilkinson

TELEVISION?S “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” regular Phill Jupitus pledged to return to Warrington when he presented his national radio show from the town.
The star presented his BBC 6 breakfast show live from the radio studios at theUniversity of Chester’s Warrington Campus, from 7.00am to 10.00am.
After the show he stopped for a quick breakfast and a chat with students.
He enjoyed his visit so much that he has promised to return to the campus to give a lecture to students.
Phill was in town to take up a long-standing invitation to pay an exchange visit to the campus from third year BA student in radio production Mark Kendrick.
During a nine week work placement last summer Mark, 26, originally from Rayleigh in Essex, made such an impression at BBC 6 Music that staff encouraged him to keep in touch.

Market entrepreneurs
given a major boost

by John Hendon

BUDDING business entrepreneurs at Warrington have been given a boost thanks to a borough council initiative.
Warrington Market has been involved in a new business initiative set up by the council in partnership with Warrington Business Venture. The initiative offers assistance to start up businesses wishing to trade from the market.
The first six business owners to complete the course are now trading and received a visit from the Mayor Coun Hans Mundry and Mayoress Karen Mundry.
A recent survey of market traders showed that 73 per cent agreed special incentives should be introduced to attract new businesses into the market.
With the help of the council’s regeneration and development service and Warrington Business Venture, an attractive business support package was put together including training, mentoring, subsidised rentals and financial support to help the market attract and sustain new businesses.
Applicants wishing to be take part in the initiative had to undergo a series of appraisals before being accepted and offered a stall.
Only a limited number of places were available and six successful candidates were chosen from 25 applicants. They will receive professional mentoring for several months.
Market manager Steve Pickering said: “”We have all worked together to help the businesses make the best use of all the market facilities. We will continue to help them stay in business and create something for the future. This new initiative has attracted a lot of interest from other markets around the country who also wish to introduce similar incentives.”
Picture shows Sandra Brusby, of Business Link, with the Mayor and Mayoress, market manager Steve Pickering and market traders.

Breastfeeding mums
go on the warpath!

by John Hendon

BREASTFEEDING mums from across Warrington are uniting to support a proposed Parliamentary bill to make it illegal to prevent women from breastfeeding in public.
The event, which will be held during National Breastfeeding Week, will bring together breastfeeding support groups from across the town for a ‘breastfeedathon’ on Tuesday May 16 at 10am – 12pm inside Warrington’s IKEA cafe, Gemini Retail Park.
Avril Smith of ?Sure Start for all? is pleased that stores such as IKEA are happy to support mothers who choose to breastfeed
She said: “We are keen to get as many mothers from across the town to take part in the event, whether they are currently breastfeeding or who have breastfed their children and want to share their support for the bill.
“Breastfeeding is the most natural and beneficial way to feed young babies and it is distressing that some people feel that breastfeeding mothers should have to hide away and feed their babies in the toilets – would you want to eat your dinner in a public lavatory?
?Breastfeeding has so many benefits for mother and baby from helping to prevent infections and boost immunity in babies to helping mum reduce the chances of breast cancer and get back into shape.
?There are other more practical reasons for choosing to breastfeed – its free, available ‘on tap’ and there are no bottles to heat, wash and sterilise!?
Anyone who wants to get involved should contact Avril Smith at Sure Start for all on 01925 415700.

Two new members for
management team

by business staff

ECONOMIC development partnership Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance has announced to appointments to strengthen its management team.
Lynn Gibbon (left) has been appointed programme manager and Tina Johnston (right) external relations manager.
Ms Gibbon will be managing CWEA’s expanding portfolio of projects working closely with delivery partners to commission and develop project proposals in line with the sub regional economic strategy.
She has more than 20 years’ experience of programme management both in Cheshire and Warrington and Merseyside. She was formerly with the Learning and Skills Council, Cheshire and Warrington.
“I am really looking forward to working with partners such as Vale Royal Borough Council and Cheshire County Council on projects like the Weaver Valley Regional Park, that will not only benefit the sub region, but will also benefit me as someone who both lives and works in the area,” she said.
Ms Johnston will be responsible for marketing and external relations and communications between CWEA and its key partners and stake

holders.
She joins CWEA from the North West Development Agency and was previously with Warrington Borough Council’s economic development team.
CWEA chief executive Martin Lee said: “I am delighted that Lynn and Tina have joined us at what is an exciting time for CWEA. We need to maximise the opportunities from the growing number of projects happening across Cheshire and Warrington to reap economic and social benefits for our businesses and residents.
?The continued strengthening of our relations and communications with partners is vital to this process as we move towards the implementation of our new sub regional economic action plan.”

Consultation starts
on care charges

by David Skentelbery

A MAJOR consultation exercise on ways to change the charging system for non-residential care has been launched by Warrington Borough Council.
The council spends ?18.5 million on non-residential care provided to around 1,500 people, including adults and elderly people receiving day and network care, as well as those with mental health, learning and physical disabilities.
Part of the cost has to be recovered from service users.
The consultation programme is taking place during May and early June. Service users and their representatives are being given an opportunity to express their views on the options for discussion, and these will be taken into account in the decisions made by the council.
This review comes at a time when Warrington is making financial economies to deal with budget pressures and when the national Wanless Report on the funding of social care has acknowledged the sharp increase in cost and demand.
Warrington has received only a 2 per cent minimum funding increase from central government this year.
Community services director Helen Sumner said: “This review is not one we are undertaking lightly, but is unfortunately a necessary one.
“The feedback we receive from service users is that the level of care we deliver is of a high standard and quickly becomes a vital part of their lives. I am confident that the review – which will bring us into line with government guidance – will enable us to maintain the level, and range, of care we currently offer.”
She added that the council will be following the Government’s ?Fairer Charging? guidelines, which ensure that service users are guaranteed an income level of ?102.44 for anyone aged 25-59 and ?142.56 for anyone aged 60 and over.
The council also works with the Pension Service to assist service users in claiming benefits provided by central government to go towards the cost of care services.
Key findings from all consultation activities will be included in a report and presented to the council’s executive board to help them make their final decision.
Any increases in charges are expected to take effect on October 1.

Four escape
from flat fire

by staff reporter

POLICE have issued more details of an arson attack on a block of flats in Toll Bar Road, Orford – first reported in Warrington-Worldwide yesterday (Wednesday).
Four people escaped from the smoke-filled building – two men being led to safety by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus.
The blaze started at 2.05 am when an intruder set fire to a mattress which had been left on a first floor landing by a previous occupants of the flats.
Dense smoke filled the building and the alarm was raised by one resident who was woken by a smoke alarm. No-one was injured.
Police are seeking information from anyone who may have witnessed the incident or seen anything suspicious in the area. Anyone who can help should call DS Ian Murray on 01925 613845.

Chemical leak
in laboratory

by John Hendon

FIREFIGHTERS wearing breathing apparatus were called to a chemical leakage at a works on Old Liverpool Road, Warrington early today.
A quantity of chloroform was involved and fire crews had to absorb it and seal it in a special drum.
The operation took more than an hour.
No-one was hurt in the incident but the laboratory had to be evacuated.

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About Author

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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