Thursday, November 03, 2016

Anger after locks changed on public notice board

Volunteers have blasted a decision to change the locks on a public notice board. Hindley Residents Association (HRA) in Wigan, Greater Manchester, had been used to putting up its literature and posters in the cabinet outside the former library. But when chairman Brian Ellis tried to open the cabinet recently to pin up a new communication from the group, he found his key didn’t work.

Following inquiries, HRA found a local locksmith had been asked on behalf of Hindley’s three ward councillors, Jim Talbot, Paul Blay and Jim Churton, to replace the locks. A new notice has now been placed inside, telling townsfolk that the display cabinet is the property of the council, and they needed to approach the councillors directly if they want notices to be displayed.

No copies of the new set of keys have been given to the HRA. Now the residents’ group has made a legal complaint about the behaviour of the three councillors to the local authority’s Standards Committee. Coun Talbot said that he and his two council colleagues had now given their response directly to the on-going council investigation, and so they wouldn’t be commenting publicly ahead of its findings.

The council have denied any involvement with changing the locks to the notice board – or any knowledge of it or plans to do it. Assistant director for leisure and property at Wigan Council Penny McGinty said: “We are not aware of any requests for this cabinet lock to be changed.” Hindley Residents Association have administered the notice board on behalf of the community for the past four years. The councillors, HRA points out, have their own notice board in front of the former town hall building.

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