THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
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.
THE failure of Warwickshire police and crime commissioner Ron Ball to attend a public meeting in his home village of Bidford has caused a bit of a stir.
Mr Ball had been due to take part in a meeting of the Alcester and Bidford Community Forum on Tuesday evening last week. Indeed, the whole event had been constructed around his anticipated presence.
But on the previous Thursday—less than a week before the meeting—Mr Ball announced that he would not be taking part in the proceedings because of a personal engagement but sent his deputy, Dr Eric Wood, instead.
This did not go down very well with Stratford district councillor Daren Pemberton (Lib Dem, Bidford and Salford), the chairman of the forum. In fact, Cllr Pemberton saw red.
Shortly before Tuesday’s meeting Cllr Pemberton said the invitation to Mr Ball had originally been made informally about three days after his election as police commissioner last November.
“The formal invitation was made just before Christmas and he accepted in January,” said Cllr Pemberton. “We’d done the advertising and leaflets were printed with the use of public money. Then at about three-thirty last Thursday we received an e-mail from his office saying he was not coming.
“I thought he must have been summoned by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to a meeting in London, but in fact he’d decided to pull out because some friend he hadn’t seen for a while decided it was the only night they could get together.
“I sent a stroppy e-mail to him yesterday [Monday] that prompted him to ring me about five o’clock. He said, ‘I’m entitled to a private life’. But the whole thing had been built around him. The other person was the crime prevention officer. We built it up as a crime and policing evening.”
Cllr Pemberton said being police and crime commissioner was an important job. “You don’t apply to be the police and crime commission and think it’s a two-day a week job—certainly not on £65k,” he said.
“He was quite happy to make time to talk to Victoria Derbyshire on Radio 5 Live three weeks ago about police and crime commissioners engaging with the public and how
important it was. He will make time to speak to Victoria Derbyshire, but not the people who elected him.”
Dr Wood told the Herald it had been “a very lively meeting” at which he had outlined the role of the police and crime commissioner and spoken about the police and crime plan and the budget for policing.
He said: “Whilst I can understand Cllr Pember-ton’s disappointment that Ron was not present, the residents seemed more concerned with discussing issues rather than personalities. The matter was not raised during a wide-ranging question session.
“I was personally grateful to Cllr Pemberton for his warm welcome and I’m sure he’ll extend the same courtesies when Ron attends a future meeting of the forum.”
Cllr Pemberton said more than 50 residents attended —a big turnout—and they were disappointed to hear that Mr Ball was not attending. But he agreed with the comments made by Dr Wood in his statement.