Having had to spend an unexpected week away on a customer's site, coming back to Scunthorpe it's clear just how quickly the town is developing and moving forward.
Typically we all make almost the same journey every day, so we take things very much for granted, but today having been away for a few days, it was clear just how much the town has moved on since Christmas.
Having not seen the Baths Hall for a week, the construction work there has reached a point where real change to the structure is noticeable.
The main building on the site has now now begun topping out and has the majority of its roof in place giving a good impression of the full magnitude of the auditorium.
It was good to see the head of SMG visiting the site in the week and showing that the new management company has a commitment to making the venture a success.
Just opposite the Baths Hall Sainsbury's has moved on at a real pace with the cladding going on to the sides of the extension showing just what a large development that's going to be, in a very central location.
Festival Gardens is in the middle of a landscaping redevelopment as part of the new park rejuvenation, designed to show of the new Pods to their very best its breathing new life into an important focal point of the town.
The central park fountain is also starting to look a bit more like. Construction fencing was erected before Christmas, but work has begun on the wall surrounding it and its starting to take shape following a donation from Tata steel to help with the construction costs.
We've also received news this week from the Anti Cuts Coalition about their planned public meeting taking place next week. Organisers have started a campaign to raise public awareness of the meeting
taking place on Thursday (20th Jan 2011), and have finalised a list of speakers to build support for a large TUC Demonstration in March.
Away from the town, I spent Thursday evening in a hotel room in West Yorkshire watching the Oldham East and Saddleworth results come in. Having spent some time living in that area, its no surprise to me that despite the legal shenanigans from the Liberals, that Labour retained their seat. 48% turn out was however quite shocking and does raise the question that if less than 50% of the constituency turn out to vote, is it really a majority?
However the real victory for Labour was not clinging on to a traditional Labour seat, but gaining an absolutely massive increase in their majority in just 6 months. This goes to show how dispossessed the voting public are with the current regime of cuts, and will hopefully encourage voters to support organisations like the Anti Cuts Coalition
in their fight back campaigns.
In local terms we have the North Lincolnshire Council elections to look forward to in May, and already the pace for this is hotting up. Of particular interest this year will be the battle for Broughton and Appleby which in the last local election was a very closely run (and indeed disputed) competition between the Tories and the Labour party.
We've received news that the Labour candidates for Broughton are planning a mass mobilisation of supporters buoyed on by their success in Saddleworth, so it could be a very interesting campaign to watch.
At the same time as the local elections, members of the public will also have the opportunity to vote on changes to the electoral system its self. The proposal is to introduce an "Alternative Vote" system, which allows voters to rank their favourite "First Choice" of candidate as opposed to selecting just a single candidate.
There are several benefits of this system as it will result in the winner having a calculated majority while reducing the need for tactical voting. It is also thought that AV reduces the potential of "negative campaigning" for fear of alienating what could be a candidate's second choice, which may have avoid situations like that in Saddleworth and save us all the cost of a by-election.
Visit Scunthorpe have received some messages of support for the case of AV, but to date are not aware of any local groups or individual's championing the case in North Lincolnshire. If you are actively campaigning on the case of AV then to get in touch, we'd be interested to hear from you.
We'd also be interested to hear from any local candidates standing for any of the seats up for election in May.
So with all this fun and excitement going on in just one week, it makes me think I should work away more often. I just hope future trips away don't result in me turning up to do a 2 day job, staying all week and having to buy a spare set of clothes while I am out there!