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 families of the firefighters who died as a result of the Atherstone-on-Stour warehouse blaze over five years ago now believe that only a full-scale public inquiry can establish the truth behind the tragedy.
They contend that the two court cases that have taken place in connection with the fire have failed to unearth the whole story. “We have to know, as families, what happened to them and why,” the mother of one of the dead firefighters told the Herald this week.
Last Friday Warwickshire County Council was fined £30,000 at Stafford Crown Court after admitting a breach of health and safety regulations. In May, at the same court and before the same judge, a jury acquitted three fire managers of gross negligence manslaughter.
The families argue that not all the evidence emerged during the court hearings that have taken place over the past few months. In the New Year they will be getting together to decide what further action to take and whether to press for a public inquiry into the tragedy.
This week Mandy Baylis, mother of one of the victims, Darren Yates-Badley, who was 24 at the time of this death, told the Herald: “We will be pushing for this to go further forward. It’s not going to go away. We have to know as families what happened to them and why.”
Julie Reid, widow of firefighter Ian Reid, aged 44, who died in hospital, is determined to dig as deep as possible to find out as much as she can about what happened on that fateful Friday night on 2nd November 2007.
She has already asked, under the Freedom of Information Act, for copies of the original witness statements given to the police by firefighters who were tackling the blaze on the night. The request has been refused on the grounds that the statements are the property of the police and would require the written permission of the witnesses before they could be handed over.
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