Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
JOHN Harris and Sons of Stratford-upon-Avon has gone into voluntary liquidation.
Widely acknowledged as one of Stratford’s oldest and finest builders, the family run company, founded in 1875, has a reputation for building prestigious and quality structures which were built using specialist expertise and traditions established by one of the best known family firms in town.
This week, Roger Harris, the company’s director told the Herald he was left with no choice but to cease trading – after nearly 140 years – because John Harris and Sons had lost a claim for quarter of a million pounds which was owed to them by a third party.
“We had been led to believe that our claim was likely to be 90 per cent successful so we pursued the money we were owed but the adjudicator in this case ruled against us and we were instructed to pay all costs,” said Roger.
“With a turnover of £2 million a year and bundles of red tape to constantly battle against, we just couldn’t cope in such a tough economic climate.
“I recently spent a whole day on a Health and Safety Executive course learning how to teach my staff to wear face masks safely!
“I was also told that builders with beards weren’t allowed to wear them at all, so you can see where we’ve got to in the construction industry. This is a very sad for all of us.”
Mr Harris said unlike the bespoke buildings he and his team specialise in, large building companies can turn out houses quicker and cheaper and also have large departments to deal with the “bureaucracy of the building industry.”
“We’ve been through two world wars, countless recessions and jumped through hoops to make this work but in the end it was just too much to take on anymore,” he said.
About 16 people will lose their jobs but some have already found new work and Mr Harris is keen to help his colleagues as much as he can because he believes that’s the family’s tradition.
“Although saddened by the closure we can all take pride in our work. When we look around and see the things we’ve built we know they’ll still be standing years after we’re gone,” Mr Harris said.
John Harris and Sons has been passed from father-to-son for generations. The year it was founded in 1875 Queen Victoria was on the throne and Benjamin Disraeli was Britain’s Prime Minister.
It’s believed the company constructed over 1,000 buildings across the district including Stratford’s iconic black and white timber-framed public library in Henley Street which was built in 1921.
In addition to that notable landmark, which is often photographed by visitors because of its close proximity to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, John Harris and Sons also built the Christadelphian Hall in Rother Street, most of the terraced houses in Evesham Place, and more recently St Peter’s Mission in Manor Road.
In later years the company developed a reputation as expert builders in quality new builds, bespoke housing and conservation projects.
A meeting of creditors is scheduled for Friday 2nd May.