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.
TYPICAL Band D householders in the Stratford district should be paying £1,483.88 a year in council tax in 2014-15, plus whatever they pay to their town and parish councils.
Both Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police have increased their council tax demands by 1.99 per cent—to keep them within the government limit— but Stratford District Council has again imposed no increase this year.
The Stratford District Council share of the cash—which represents 8.3 per cent of the total council tax demand—stands at £128.05 a year.
The county council takes by far the largest proportion of the tax—76.3 per cent—and the police 12 per cent. Parish and town precepts work out at an average of 3.4 per cent.
Cllr Chris Saint (Cons, Tredington), the leader of Stratford District Council, said: “We are delighted to be in a position to freeze council tax, despite receiving 11.6 per cent (£627,000) less core government grant on top of the 31.6 per cent (£2,003,518) reduction over the previous three years.
“We continually strive to provide services at a reasonable cost and work hard for residents to reduce our costs, in line with the national programme to reduce public sector expenditure. We don’t underestimate the challenges in future years, but residents can be assured we will continue to manage services in a financially prudent way.”
Cllr Saint added: “The district council has a strong track record of delivering savings, year on year whilst maintaining key services. We are making good progress on joint working with Cherwell and South Northants Councils and have budgeted for further savings of £200,000.
“Additionally we plan to recruit an additional neighbourhood planning officer, funded by CLG [government] grants; recruit temporary development management staff, funded by application fees and following recent consultation results will take at look at how the CCTV service is funded.
“Above all, this budget protects important expenditure and valued services and looks critically at how we manage the future, preparing ourselves for some difficult choices ahead, but maintaining a sustainable position. It is robust and contains modest but sustainable changes.”
But the opposition Liberal Democrats on the district council were critical of the ruling Conservatives at Monday’s budget meet-ing of the authority voting down an idea that it should build affordable houses on its own account.
The proposal, from the Lib Dem group, was that the council should investigate whether to invest funds in housing for rent, in order to boost the amount of affordable housing in the district and provide a better return on council taxpayers' money than was currently being achieved.
Commenting after the meeting Cllr Richard Cheney (Shipston), leader of the Lib Dem group, said: “We find it quite extraordinary that the Tories are not even prepared to look at ways of using the council's resources more effectively.
“This could have been a win, win situation but the Tories are so blinkered in their approach to managing the council that they could not see the advantages of our proposal.”