In my Blog last November, I raised the subject of the Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse Scandal facing Wigan Council regarding the Wood End facility at Atherton. There are two comments from members of the public in reply to my Blog who claim that they were abused - both have been informed that their personal records had been lost and both have given statements to Operation Milan, details here: http://garethfairhurst.
Since then, the BBC have focused on this story a great deal, resulting in Donna Hall, Chief Executive of Wigan Council being forced to come out today and issue her 'profuse apologies' on behalf of Wigan Council http://www.bbc.co.uk/
The Wood End facility in Atherton was opened by Lancashire County Council in 1969 as a remand home for boys aged between 10 & 17 years of age. In 1974, Wigan Council took over the running of the home until finally it was closed in 1994. Since it's closure, three Police Investigations have taken place. Greater Manchester Police are now investigating more than 40 complaints of Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse at the centre - two people have been interviewed under caution and three others are due to be questioned.
When the allegations of Historical Abuse first surfaced, they were hushed-up - it has taken all this time and Operation Milan - which is also covering the Cyril Smith Abuse Investigation at Knowl View - to finally come to the public attention. Lord Peter Smith has been the Leader of Wigan Council since 1991 - therefore it follows that some of the abuse probably occurred under his watch. A senior official at Wigan Council has confirmed to me that all the way through the allegations and Police Investigations that Lord Peter Smith has been aware of things - yet still said or did nothing. Therefore the Leader must go and go now! His time is up - he has quite simply let these victims down - both they and the people of Wigan Borough deserve better!
I have spoken with other opposition Councillors and group and they all support me in calling for - first an Extraordinary Council Meeting and secondly for an Independent Investigation of Wigan Council - if the Council refuse this we will simply ensure we get enough signatures in order to then call for an Extraordinary Council Meeting under the Constitution rules.
This story regarding Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse is not about to go away anytime soon - we owe it to the victims of abuse and their families to secure an Independent Investigation.