Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Rochdale's £10,000,000 road to nowhere...

Rochdale's roads are not only full of potholes- some are apparently paved with solid gold bricks laid by the Rochdale Development (sic) Agency.

The new 'golden road' is at Kingsway Business Park - "A new landscape for business" - hundreds of acres of empty muddy fields and tumbleweed.

Yet there has been even more spin from the multi-million pound turd polishers.

They are gushing about the 8th Wonder of the World- a one kilometre road in an empty muddy field that has, according to the RDA's own press release, cost TEN MILLION POUNDS. That's a lot of money down the pan.

Ten thousand pounds per running metre? £10,000?! Solid gold bricks would have been cheaper.

Why the media fanfare? The road has been built but closed off for over a year. Apart from the odd traveller caravan the empty gilded tarmac has little chance of wearing out for a while.

Rochdale's current MP Paul Rowen loves to take credit for the "exciting" regeneration of Rochdale. In happier days he posed for photos on another Kingsway yellow brick road.

Now the wheels seem to have fallen off the vain and grossly expensive scheme. Is Paul clicking his heels and wishing he was in Kansas?

"Always the bridesmaid but never the bride" was the picture painted of Rochdale by the regeneration press. Kingsway Business Park was pitched as our town's hope of happiness. There have been a few small suitors who have been offered sizeable dowries but time and time again, the £350,000,000 Kingsway project has been jilted rather than taken up the aisle.

The expensive excuses are starting to wear very thin and the spin is leaving people dizzy.

Back in Dodge, the Rochdale Observer have reported that the muddy field of dreams has to go back to the drawing board with a renewal of the planning permission for another 10 years.

According to its last accounts, Rochdale Development (sic) Agency spent over £1,600,000 justifying its own existence last year. Its senior officers are on very high salaries (obviously not performance related).

Rochdale Development Agencies little offshoot Pennine Land has been busy helping "facilitate" the £60,000,000 PFI "Yelloway House" office block.

At a time when savage budget cuts threaten Rochdale Council's Adult Care Service, the weakest and most vulnerable citizens of our town face an uncertain future.

Whereas the future looks bright for the gold-plated salaries and pension plans of Rochdale's failing but gold-plated turd polishers.

Rochdale deserves better than this.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Rochdale Town Centre Con-sultation...

The multi-million pound snake oil spin machine from the Mafia of the Mediocre is at it again.

Is the troika of:
  • senior (very well paid) Rochdale Council officers,
  • The (very well paid) Rochdale Development Agency (sic) , and
  • "ambitious" but deluded local politicians
trying to pull the wool over townsfolk's eyes yet again?$plit/C_71_article_1107055_image_list_image_list_item_0_image.jpg
Dill, Doe and Fancy Dan?

By hook or by crook, it appears that Rochdale Town Centre will be "regenerated" the Troika's way - irrespective of what ordinary local people think.

The consultation seems to consist of a donkey dragging a steamroller with dodgy plans that were drafted months ago. Will these senior executives and "ambitious" politicians ever learn?

The mutli-million pound media unit began spinning last week.

A "Masterplan" of green open spaces, water features, perfomance areas and lots of "jam tommorrow" was mooted.

Then, this weekend, a very short "town centre consultation" happened. A couple of days in the library and some leaflets in Asda's?

But what was really on offer?

Was the so-called consultation a done deal?. It was only for discussing minor details about one white elephant in the farcial zoo that could be Rochdale Town Centre's "decade of woe" (2010-2020).

Do Rochdale people really want the wholesale clearance of exisiting council offices to make way for a Brave New World of £60,000,000 PFI civic office development?

They have no choice- the decision has already been made for "Yelloway / Partnership House". Has the gravy train already left the planned Transport Interchange, filled with "jobs for the for boys".

A recent cunning plan to smear a serviceable office building went ahead. It was revealed in the national press that Rochdale council workers received extra shift allowances for slow lifts in the "Black Box". A double bubble smear- the chance to help demolish a building with another 30 servicable years in it AND damage the reputations of council workers to boot. That will teach them to challenge the Pay and Grade review!

It appears the need to demolish perfectly serviceable council offices has more sinister undertones and could explain why a £60,000,000 new PFI civic centre is already a done deal before any proper public consultation.

There is a planned demolition and sale of the RMBC Telegraph House and "Black Box" Municipal office sites. The Art Deco "Electric House" was demolished years ago to be replaced with "Its Happening" and "Rochdale is Booming" signs, rubble, litter and tumleweed.

Who will be reponsible for a firesale of Rochdale Council's civic silver during a property recession? What other assets and local offices are threatened?

Who benefits from such shady property deals?

The "greenwashing" spin machine describes "exciting" "sustainable" regeneration for Rochdale town centre. A few solar panels and renewable air conditioning will not hide the hot air that is leaking from this very expensive and troubled plan.

Rochdale deserves much better than this.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Rochdale Council demolish homes to plant poppy fields...

In some parts of the world, poppy fields are destroyed in an attempt to destroy the heroin trade.

Someone must be on some pretty strong drugs here in Rochdale as the reverse is happening.

Homes have been flattened and the resulting wasteground has now been planted with wildflowers. But fear not, this time Rochdale Council hasn't gone to pot. Instead, have they gone straight for the Class A's? Opium Poppies?

The story has come out as a result of some pretty far-out spin...even by Rochdale Council/RDA standards.

Despite millions of pounds being pumped into Rochdale through the government Pathfinder scheme for new homes, word on the (bombed out) streets of Central Ward is that the scheme has spectactularly gone to seed.

It seems that in a work of sheer genius, the Rochdale Development (sic) Agency and their buddies have actually demolished more houses that have been built.

In the past few years, confident billboards where put up around the demolition sites bragging that "Rochdale is Booming". Today those embarressing reminders of civic waste and mismanagement have been quietly taken down. Rochdale is officially not booming - yet the huge salary cheques to the architects of Rochdale's failed regeneration are still being cashed. Obviously not performance related pay.$plit/C_71_article_1107055_image_list_image_list_item_0_image.jpg
Dill ? Doe ?

About £250,000 a year covers the salaries of RDA boss John Hudson and RMBC Chief Exec Roger Ellis. Put together the two form a full wit. But the joke is on Rochdale.

"Much needed homes" is the cry whenever politicians and regeneration consultants want their friendly MP to pursuade the local planning committee to approve profitable development schemes. Rochdale has had its fair share of dodgy planning approvals but even the straightforward ones have led to civic mismanagement that is now being covered up with expensive media spin and waffle.

The recent poppy fields press release is gushing:

"...Comments such as 'beautiful', 'stunning', ''it lifted me' and 'why can't we have that in our area' have been used to describe a formerly unused piece of land in Entwisle Road..."

Eh? Formerly unused land? Until recently people lived there in perfectly serviceable homes.

As the wheels continue to fall off regeneration in Rochdale, local communities are being badly let down.

But at least they get a bunch of flowers for their trouble.

TRANSFORMATION ... the new wildflower site created by the council

Monday, 7 September 2009

Banana Republic: Rochdale Council's Costly Comic Capers

Oppressive regimes try to gag independent media.

Cheeky, oppressive regimes use their citizens' own hard-earned cash to waste on PR consultants and fancy dan positive media messaging.

Today's exciting "tractor and potato production increases" for the Banana Republic of Rochdale are published in a glossy brochure posted to every household in the borough.

It is a cunning but expensive way to avoid the blue pencil of an objective press editor. A Regime can push its "exciting" and "positive" messages free of journalistic balance.

Expensive glossy paper is excellent for polishing turds. Unfortunately the high sheen can cause slip ups. Shite has a tendancy to smear itself when pushed around. [that's enough poo references, thank you- Ed)

What Mafia of the Mediocre is responsible for the exciting messages costing Rochdale ratepayers about £2,000,000 a year? Is it the Troika of senior council executives, political portfolio holders and the Rochdale Development (sic) Agency?

The clue is in the 28 pages of drivel posted through Rochdale doors in this month's "Local Matters" (plus 10 minute podcast):
Local Matters - September 2009 There is a prominent "welcome" by a grinning Chief Executive Roger Ellis on page 2.
More "thumbs up" Rogering can be seen on lucky page 13 with another photo of the unelected c.£140,000 p.a. mandarin gushing about school lunchboxes. Not a banana in sight.

Roger Ellis at Broadfield School

The main theme of the publication is about education in Rochdale. Roger and his bunch like to teach Rochdale expensive lessons. There are many fauwning adverts promoting the Rogering Regime-mostly from local authority funded schools and departments.

TOP pay ... Roger Ellis.

Compost and recycling plays an important part of the positive messages together with dodgy descriptions of regeneration and patronising credit cruch recipes.

Anyone for fudge and humbug wrapped in a plain brown envelope?

How much of our cash is being used to pay for this garbage?

Local blogger Matt Simms has tried to get the true figure. Conservative estimates suggest £20,000 per edition for a publication that is at best biased and economical with the truth.

Injury is added to insult when public money is wasted on propaganda. Public access for a free press to report and investigate facts allows for some filter of editorial objectivity and balance to present a fairer image. Even in Rochdale, with the past 'strong grip' of Cyril Smith, that was always a tall order and one of the reasons why RAP flourished in the 1970's.

But something quite sinister could now be happening in Rochdale. Word on the street has it that there are threats against the livelihoods of the Rochdale Observer and associated media. The threat is clear- Anymore 'negative' stories about Rochdale could result in a withdrawl of advertising revenue.

Gagging the free press with threats of cutting civic cash?

Is that legal?

Who is making such threats?

Could this be a Misuse of Public Office?

Has the republic of Rochdale gone bananas?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Christmas comes early in Rochdale

No, not the silly season diversionary fluff about Rochdale Council putting Christmas lights up in August.

MP's expenses, allowances aside... seems Christmas has come early in Rochdale... for certain property speculators.

RAW is still investigating but we feel we must share some clear concerns immediately.

Some very odd property deals have been going on in Rochdale. Eyebrows have been raised but orders have come from on high for people to keep quiet and their heads down.

Who are the Usual Suspects?

Does spin and mismanagement come in threes?

Is there a troika of dodgy bullshit, incompetance and skullduggery (a freemason reference?) from:

-Senior Executives of Rochdale Council/Impact Partnership
-Rochdale Council Lib Dems/Paul Rowen MP/142a-144 Drake Street
-Rochdale Development Agency

Is there a symbiotic relationship between the three?

What deals have been done, or promised, with local property developers and civil engineering companies?

The amounts of cash involved could be huge.

Has Christmas come early for a lucky few, whilst others are expected to tighten their belts?

In a recent gift of a comment, Rochdale Lib Dem "caseworker" John Swarbrick expressed a few "Home Thoughts" on Rochdale Online's forum about a recent blockage with Rochdale Council planning applications. In hubris that could be regretted soon, Mr Swarbrick warns his political opponents could face the charge of Misuse in Public Office.

Pictured: A scruffy John Swarbrick next to mystery boy in wooly hat?

Oh dear, that is a threat that could haunt a few in Rochdale soon.

Misuse of Public Office by blatant abuse of public money for political purposes, personal or party gain?

Who has profitted from recent property deals in Rochdale? Who has been involved? Are large amounts of public money involved?

Whilst hard working local businesses and lowly council employees battle for their livelihoods and job, who has been "larging it" in Rochdale?

Have patience, like Christmas in Rochdale, you won't have long to wait for some shocking revelations about where our money is going.