First Greater Manchester Out Of Service Mercedes Citaro, 2018

In Greater Manchester, Why Isn’t There A Bus From…?

East of the M60 looks at potential route corridors in Greater Manchester that are poorly served or unserved by existing bus routes

Thanks to the machinations of deregulated bus operations, profitable areas may have seen some improvement in frequencies. Some, at the very least, have been cushioned from radical service changes. This has been at the expense of secondary routes and local services, which has made hitherto modest journeys an unnecessarily lengthy journey. In some parts of Dukinfield, walking to Stalybridge is faster than waiting for the next 343 if you have missed the previous one by a minute.

Continue reading “In Greater Manchester, Why Isn’t There A Bus From…?”

Building Bridges With Sentences: A Take on The ‘Persistent Scandal’

Why are 25% of primary school children starting school without stringing a sentence? Here’s another take on this subject.

In terms of economic prowess, the United Kingdom may be at Champions League or Europa League level. In terms of early years communication, English Football League Championship level with 25% of primary school children. This was seen as “a persistent scandal” by Education Secretary Damien Hinds at a Resolution Foundation lecture in Westminster. Continue reading “Building Bridges With Sentences: A Take on The ‘Persistent Scandal’”

Should August Children Start School at Six? A Summer Child Speaks

My opinion on changes to English and Welsh school admissions policy

  • Parents of summer born children given right to start school a year later than autumnal peers;
  • Policy seen as boost for children born between April and August.

Counthill School
Not one of my former schools, but the now demolished Counthill School in Watersheddings, Oldham. Photograph by Supreme-B, 2008 (Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved).

It has often been said that children born on the 31 August one year is at a disadvantage with peers born at the end of the previous year. Or one on the 01 September the previous year. Continue reading “Should August Children Start School at Six? A Summer Child Speaks”

A Crossrail for the North? Time to Be Bold

HS3 in any form may be good for Northern England, but the basics need to sorted out first.

Rail patronage is booming throughout the UK, in spite of repeated stories about rising fares and substandard rolling stock. Northern England, where the terms of Northern Rail’s original franchise stymied any growth forecast, has seen record rises in patronage. Some of which partly through subsidised local fares or through necessity on journeys hitherto covered by local bus routes. Continue reading “A Crossrail for the North? Time to Be Bold”

Less Stick More Carrot: An Alternative Unemployment Strategy

As if anybody would listen… or at least read the rest of this article

A few home truths: nobody can live a life a luxury on Jobseekers’ Allowance, or on any other Social Security benefit; secondly, more money is spent by the Department of Work and Pensions on the State Pension than out-of-work benefits; thirdly, some out-of-work benefits and the State Pension is paid by our good selves through National Insurance contributions. Continue reading “Less Stick More Carrot: An Alternative Unemployment Strategy”

The Coningsby Manifesto: An Alternative Vision for Stalybridge

Where next for the ‘beautiful town with a new canal’?

‘If you want to see life,’ said the stranger, ‘go to Staleybridge or Bolton. There’s high pressure.’ – ‘Coningsby’, Benjamin Disraeli

Stalybridge Farmers' Market: stallholder portrait
A stall holder at the Stalybridge Farmers’ Market on a soggy Sunday in January. The Farmers’ Market has been a recent success after moving from Mossley to Armentieres Square.

The Stalybridge of 2013 is a world away from the account of events in Benjamin Disraeli’s 1844 novel. At the time, Stalybridge was a growing industrial town, and two years away from getting its railway station. It was thirteen years away from having its own Municipal Borough. Continue reading “The Coningsby Manifesto: An Alternative Vision for Stalybridge”

Rififi Closure: A Case for Reopening the Palace as a Community Cinema?

With the party more or less over for Stalybridge’s nightlife, is the case for reopening the Palace building as a cinema greater than ever?

“My chances of seeing Terminator 3, are moving away from me, As the cinema, 20 minutes away, could be closing any day.

“A night club is proposed, The town has its fair share, clubs and pubs everywhere. Alternatives will be needed: arts centres, amateur theatres, town centre cinemas…

“Town centre cinemas, are more inclusive, the multiplexes are more exclusive. The former are more accessible, the latter caters for motor vehicles, And the price of popcornʼs unbelievable. The architectureʼs wholly diabolical.

“Theyʼre just sheds, although theyʼre popular, though some exceptions…”

The Last Picture Show (Stuart Vallantine, 27 July 2003)

The Palace Cinema building in Stalybridge is set to celebrate its centenary in style. It has in the last decade been known as Rififi and Amber Lounge. Instead of celebrating its decade as a night club, or centenary as a building, it is going to see in 2013 in the same way as The Pineapple, H2O and Bar Liquid. Continue reading “Rififi Closure: A Case for Reopening the Palace as a Community Cinema?”