in bid to keep up 'Standards'
FATTY Farnell (still with his bad back but minus his hearing-aid), who became the leader of Rochdale Council after overthrowing its previous occupant, Colin Lambert, in a brutal democratic coup within the local Labour Party after the local elections last May, last night presided over the Full Council meeting and denounced the newly formed Rochdale First Group as a 'Spoof Party',' and as having no credibility. Both Councillor Farnell and his Conservative colleague, Ashley Dearnley, the leader of the Rochdale Tories, belittled Rochdale First whose membership consists of its leader Councillor Shefali Farooq Ahmed, and her husband Farooq Ahmed.
Cheekily Mrs. Shefali Farooq had put down an amendment to Agenda Item 10 entitled 'Review of the Political Balance', which was seconded by the other Rochdale First Group member, Mr. Farooq himself. Their amendment was lost, receiving all of two votes, after Fatty reminded councillors that Mr. Farooq had fallen foul of the law last January by 'threatening' his Labour Party colleague, Councillor Neil Emmot, in an altercation on Cheetham Street, Rochdale. Mr. Farooq had allegedly called Mr. Emmot a 'queer little arse-licker' and told him to 'watch his back'. Mr. Farooq, last night told Northern Voices that he was definitely going to appeal the public order conviction.
Given Mr. Farooq's conviction, Fatty Farnell denounced Rochdale First Group's naughty demand to be allocated places on the 'Overview & Scrutiny Committee', the 'Employment & Equalities Committee' and the 'Standards Committee' in order to achieve political balance. Given Mr Farooq's recent run-in with the law, Fatty said that the Rochdale First Group had never stood as such in a democratic 'election in this borough'. Fatty clearly regarded it as outrageous that, with Councillor Farooq Ahmed having a bit of a 'history', this newly formed party, led by Councillor Shefali Farooq Ahmed, should have the audacity to expect to be awarded a place on the Standards Committee.
Councillor Duckworth raised the recent problem of 'bad headlines' for Rochdale and the need of the Council to promoted the good news about 'our town' such as the town's medieval bridges still encased in concrete beneath the town centre; Rochdale's splendid Town Hall which many would regard as something 'to die for'; the proposed statue to commemorate our Gracie, but not Turner Brother asbestos factory or since November 2012, Cyril Smith.
'Heritage at Risk'
Questioned about the peril to four conservation areas in Rochdale identified as 'at risk' by English Heritage, Councillor Biant, Portfolio Holder for Public Health & Regulation, was not able to say what kind of risks were at stake as she had not yet read the report which would be published by English Heritage in the Autumn of 2014. The areas identified as 'at risk' included Rochdale Town Centre, Middleton Town Centre, Wardle and Castleton (South) Conservation Areas.
Turner Brothers' Site Awaits Advice from Lawyers
There were no questions on the controversial former asbestos factory Turners Bros., as though Building Control had had talks with 'interested parties', including the owners of the site, which has been the subject of concern for years owing to persistent vandalism and arson, the Council is still waiting for further legal advice. In this case it is the Health & Safety Executive that is the 'lead enforcement authority on this site with regards to asbestos removal – and not the Council'.
Blue Plaques for Gracie Fields
Plans are continuing to build a statue to commemorate Gracie Fields who was a celebrated singer in the last century and who was born on Molesworth Street, Rochdale. She came from a poor background to become a famous film star and distinguished singer. The Council aims to put up eight blue plaques to pinpoint key locations in her life as part of a heritage trail. One hopes they have more luck with this venture than they did when they put up a blue plaque for Cyril Smith in 2011.