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.
VULNERABLE and elderly patients who cannot drive have no way of getting to Bidford-on-Avon’s new medical centre after a shuttle bus promised to its 11,000 patients was cancelled on the eve of its opening.
Located a mile outside the village at the old Crabtree Garden Centre on Stratford Road, the new medical centre is due to replace the existing High Street surgery in May.
But doctors have revealed there’s no money left for the shuttle bus service and now hundreds of elderly residents will be unable to get there.
“This has made us so angry, it’s just been withdrawn, no apology,” said High Street resident Phyllis Losh. “This beautiful medical centre is in fact useless unless you have wheels.”
Bidford doctors have been trying to move out of their cramped and ageing surgery for ten years.
Patients were delighted with the idea of a shiny new medical centre – 96 per cent of 900 people surveyed supported the idea.
Now they say they’ve been “bamboozled” and “mis-sold” the new facilities.
Bill Fleming, chairman of Bidford Parish Council said: “We were sold a package and part of that package was the shuttle bus. That bus was on it and all of a sudden it’s not.”
Nearly 5,000 of patients live in Bidford itself, the rest come from surrounding villages.
The majority do drive to the doctors’—around 80 per cent—but that still leaves hundreds of people unable to get to the new medical centre.
Residents only found out the shuttle bus had been cancelled when Dr Tim Shackley from the surgery dropped the bomb at a meeting with the local Senior Citizen's Advice Network (SCAN) at The Jolly Teapot on Church Street.
Then, a poster advertising the new shuttle bus in the High Street surgery suddenly disappeared.
MP Nadhim Zahawi meets residents at St Laurence Parish Church in Bidford.
Residents recently called Stratford-on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi to an emergency meeting inside St Laurence Parish Church.
Promising to meet the doctors, the MP said: “Clearly the community feels very strong about this, you should have a solution before the surgery has a ribbon across it.”
The 50mph Stratford Road has no footpath or cycle path. Installing these would cost over £100,000.
Bus stops on either side of the road have to be built before the medical centre can open and so another idea is to get the No 28 service, which runs every half-hour between Bidford and Stratford, to stop there.
Mr Zahawi promised to meet the managing director of Stagecoach to talk about this possibility, but residents are concerned about the safety of crossing such a fast road, where many motorists exceed the 50mph limit.
More than 6,200 cars travel along that road between 7am and 7pm and installing a zebra crossing or traffic lights may be inappropriate.
Although the cost of the medical centre is unknown, local district councillor Daren Pemberton said it was definitely “in six figures”.
“I know it’s a lot of cash; the doctors are into second mortgages,” he said.
Provided by the doctors, the new medical centre is essentially a private enterprise. Three doctors at the Bidford surgery are partners, and the surgery has around 40 members of staff in total.
Dr Shackley, who is one of the partners, was repeatedly contacted by the Herald over the past week but did not respond. Nobody else at Bidford surgery was able to answer our enquiries.