The elections on May 5th have some good news for us all. We are back to winning in Council elections!!! We have taken more seats than any other Party and are the only Party to take control of a Council - Watford. See table below.
Scotland shows we can take seats from the SNP, here in England good candidates and hard work are now paying off again and sadly in Wales only Kirsty Williams held and improved her majority. The other 4 seats were all Regional list seats and there was little targeting to keep the list vote up and 4 good Assembly Members lost their seats to UKIP.
The Governments climb down on forcing every school to become academies has been greeted with delight by Councillors in the rural West of the County.
Cllr Nigel Hartin (Clun Division, said; "The announcement in the Budget about academies would have had a huge impact on our schools. The Government stated that no school of 70 pupils or was viable as an academy would have put at risk almost every primary school in South West Shropshire .
Heather is making an urgent plea to Telford and Wrekin Council to urgently upgrade signs to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford following an emergency involving her daughter on Wednesday (27th).
Heather explained: "My eldest daughter was rushed to the Consultant Maternity Unit at the Princess Royal on Wednesday - from Welshpool Hospital- after complications with the birth of her son. The ambulance team were excellent and got her to Telford in less than 40 minutes however the rest of us were left wandering round Telford roundabouts due to the poor directional signs to the hospital.
Shropshire Councillors from the West of the County have written to Jeremy Hunt, MP Secretary of State for Health, to ask him to urgently review his proposals to slash funding to rural pharmacies.
Cllr Charlotte Barnes (BIshops Castle) explained: "The Government wants to cut funding to 'Community Pharmacies' which receive a fixed amount per prescription to help them survive in sparsely populated rural areas like ours. The problems is that chemists are few and far between in our part of the world.There only 2 - one in Bishops Castle and one in Pontesbury. Their loss would mean residents having to travel to miles to get a whole range of medical products and supplies."
Heatheris calling on the council to urgently overhaul the way the Council manages its road contractors after one job saw major disruption in the West of the County with residents subjected to abusing and sexist language by workmen.
Heather said "Once again the Council's roads contractors RINGWAY have excelled themselves. It was a relatively straightforward project to resurface the Marton to Brockton Road B4386.
There will be a really important Local Joint Committee meeting on 14th April at SpArC in Bishops Castle at 7pm. Please come along to understand what we might lose and how we might deal with that.
PRESENTATION - The Future of Shropshire Council Services in South West Shropshire and its funding.
Councillor Malcolm Pate, Leader of Shropshire Council and Clive Wright, Chief Executive of Shropshire Councilto give an update on the Shropshire Council Financial Strategy 2017 to 2020 and its implications for South West Shropshire.
It does appear that the changing of the Hanwood dates for work seriously affected the work on the Brockton /Marton closure. Much of that work could- in my opinion be done under traffic lights and reduced the disruption. I will be following this up with the Council Officers in charge of road closures. The obsession(or excuse) with Health and safety makes an excuse for closures which may not be needed.
The Clinical Commissioning Group is planning to reduce the number of beds at community hospitals in Shropshire by around 40%. At Ludlow, this would mean a reduction from 24 to 14 beds. The CCG's intention is to rely more on community services and adult social care to ensure the wellbeing of patients that would otherwise have been treated at Ludlow.
Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East and a practising nurse, believes the plans will be harmful to the health of patients.
"I despair for the future of hospital services in South Shropshire."
"Once again we are to see community services cut back despite the desperate need for local beds. Health managers seem to expect community service teams and local GPs to care for people who would usually be in hospital. This won't work without huge extra funding and that money is not available. Elderly and vulnerable people who should be in hospital will be left in isolation at home with infrequent medical visits."
"These plans are driven by budgets and overspends in the health system, not the needs of patients. The whole idea of Future Fit was that we would have a joined up approach to health services across Shropshire and Telford. But there is nothing joined up about this proposal which simply tries to move the costs from hospital to community care."
"A reduction in beds will threaten the future of Ludlow hospital itself. Stretton Ward was closed in summer 2015. Shropdoc, which works out of the hospital, is threatened by moves to merge it with the national 101 service. With a further reduction in beds, health managers are bound to ask why they should keep any hospital facility in Ludlow."
"I have written to Councillor Gerald Dakin, chair of the health and adult social care scrutiny committee, asking for urgent inquiry into plans to reduce community hospital beds. In particular, the committee should look at the impact the plans will have on rural communities, especially in the south of the county."
SpArC: The Conservative Administration of Shropshire Council have made it clear that they want to cut funding to all leisure centres, including SpArC by 2017-18. Whilst this is bad news for all our leisure centres, this is particularly bad for SpArC as this is the only major leisure facility for miles incorporating a pool, fitness suite and theatre. It also plays a key role for local schools'providing swimming lessons etc.
In response to growing fears about the Government's plan to turn schools into academies and the impact they will have on our area, three Shropshire Councillors have invited Pank Patel*, the Government's Schools Champion, to visit a number of schools in the rural west of the County.
Heather Kidd said : "The wish is for all schools to be 'Academies' free from local authority control by 2020. The Government view is also that no school of 50 pupils or less can become an Academy. This would puts at risk almost every school in South West Shropshire .