Biggles on Biodiversity

Today our Elected Mayor Mark Meredith is speaking at the Regional Annual Biodiversity Conference in Birmingham.

We have asked our regular commenter, occasional contributor and self confessed Tree Huger Biggles to read the speech Mayor Meredith is making and comment on it for PnP.  The text of Mayor Merediths speech can be read here

[Contributed Post] By Biggles

As you may have guessed from previous posts of mine, I work in the environmental sector and I am what is commonly referred to as a “Treehugger”. I make no apology for that; but I am also a realist and a businessman and my views are more often than not tempered by those two things.

As a realist, I realise that I do not know everything, I realise that the sum of all knowledge is beyond my comprehension and that I know remarkably little about many subjects; the majority of subjects if I’m honest.

This world is, however, inhabited by a growing number of people who believe that they do know an awful lot about an awful lot and are quite prepared to spout on about subjects that in reality they have absolutely no knowledge of whatsoever.

Unfortunately, knowledge is often trampled by the stampede of opinion; to the detriment of us all.

Why this intro, you may ask? Well, it’s because as I write our Mayor is due to speak at the West Midlands Regional Biodiversity Conference in Birmingham on a subject he clearly has no understanding of.

His topic is “Why we signed the Pledge”.

He isn’t referring to a latent tendency towards alcoholism here; rather he is referring to the West Midlands Biodiversity Pledge signed in November 2008 that commits this City to considering biodiversity in all its decision-making.  This is either a noble commitment or a PR exercise depending upon your degree of cynicism, but if I tell you that the commitment is a legal requirement of Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, you can make your own minds up.

Biodiversity is the word used to describe the richness of a landscape. It is the mix of species not simply the numbers that matter. It is often the case that the most beautiful places in the UK and the rest of the world are all landscapes with the highest level of biodiversity.

As a parent I want my children to have the opportunity to experience the same pleasures in their lives as I have in my life and to me that makes it essential that societies work to protect our natural heritage as much as we do our industrial and social heritage: but I know this is not a universal view.

Setting aside the moral argument for preserving the Natural World for the moment, I would say that Biodiversity matters because throughout the world, societies that have pleasant, green spaces to inhabit tend to be thriving, with lower rates of criminality, drug taking etc. It’s nigh on impossible to determine causal links between the two (although many researchers believe they can) but what is clear is that Governments throughout Europe believe the link (or public opinion) to be sufficiently strong to enshrine the need to protect and improve biodiversity in Law.

Stoke-on-Trent, emerging from its industrial phase into the next phase, demolition & regeneration, is in an interesting and promising situation. It is undoubtedly true that Stoke has many green spaces, much more than the average for a City in the UK and we are clearly blessed by that.

Whether it’s a walk through our Victorian Parks, dodging fishing rods on towpaths or rambling through our nature reserves, Stoke has much to offer. But the quality of these landscapes is actually quite low in biodiversity terms; in this regard, we are still suffering from our industrial past. In saying the quality is low, I mean that the numbers and variety of species present are not as high as they might be; the places are as a result arguably less beautiful and less interesting than they could be. We have many sites that have the potential to be host to much less common species than we currently see, but this will not occur without our help.

Improving biodiversity in Stoke ought to be relatively simple because of the opportunities we have and the sites that already exist. We are not trying to create from scratch here, merely improve upon what we already have.

So it is good that our Elected Mayor is speaking at the Regional Annual Conference but it would be better if he knew what he was talking about and actually spoke about Biodiversity rather than using the opportunity to showcase his “successes”.

The speech points out that the City is crisscrossed by rivers, canals and disused railway lines, providing links for wildlife to move. Whilst this is true, it’s also misleading. Simple linear corridors are often of less value than islands of wildlife friendly “stepping stones”. The reason comes down to the quality of that environment. Sensitive species will not move down narrow linear corridors that are not of themselves suitable environments, especially where these corridors are also intensively used by cyclists and dog walkers.

He also points out that approximately 13% of the City is “managed” greenspace, be it allotments, parks or Nature Reserves. Ironically, allotments value to biodiversity comes when they are abandoned and allowed to grow wild rather than when they are “managed”.  The value of “management” though really comes down to how it is done. Management sympathetic to wildlife is often less expensive than existing management methods; for instance mowing grass to within an inch of its life in our parks is costly and counterproductive for biodiversity; much better to mow some areas less frequently or at higher heights to encourage wildflowers and insects. Less cost, lower carbon, more biodiversity.

Why don’t we do this? Ignorance.

I don’t mean that as insult, it’s simply a statement of fact; none of us can be experts in every field and managing landscapes for wildlife is still not widely understood.

Of course mismanagement plays a part too.

Much of the Mayor’s speech however is only loosely connected to the subject at hand, instead being a list of “successes”.

Some of the real successes that are relevant get remarkably little coverage either in the speech or in the local press or indeed on the Council website. The education initiatives are worthy, Forest Schools, School Holiday Clubs and events, a Natural England funded project called Natural Connections; but are participation levels as high as they might be?

Take a look at the Council website and you’ll struggle to find anything other than a reference to the Call Centre. Our Council does much that is worthy of criticism but it also seems so busy with “spin” that it’s few real successes are overlooked.

One success was securing funding from English Nature to set up Local Nature Reserves and a number of reserves were set up in 2004 and Friends of Groups established. Take a look at the website, very poor, very little current publicity and no real attempt to get people involved beyond that initial effort.

Take the recent initiative to spruce up the Kingsway and to plant new trees. Many comments on the Sentinel website were along the lines that it would not have been necessary had the Council maintained the previous planting scheme and not allowed it to degenerate as it had. Other comments were about the irony of this announcement only months after the Council uprooted several mature trees to plant a steel one.

It’s hard to think of much that this Council has done in recent years to improve the biodiversity of our City and it’s rather disappointing therefore that Mayor Meredith feels he can speak authoritatively on the subject.

Stoke is a relatively green City in a beautiful part of the UK. We have more green spaces than most other Cities. We have passionate people (take a look at TAG, whether you agreed with them or not, they showed that Stoke folk have commitment in bucketloads). We have the right basis to start from.

We have the potential to show the rest of the UK what a biodiverse City can be, thriving, interesting, healthy and a pleasure to live in; a place where people would wish to live, not leave; a place where people wish to do business, but to get there we would need a plan, a commitment from the public, and a Council capable of inspiring, communicating and managing that plan.

I’d like to think this could happen; but being a realist, I’m fairly confident it won’t.

Paul Billington Calls for 100 Days of Action! – Leave Our City Fit For Purpose!

Wednesday 25th February is a significant date for S-O-T. It marks exactly 100 days left of the Electedbillington Mayor system before Mark Meredith vacates Mayoral office on 05th June 2009.

Many Councillors recognise that this City MUST have a solid plan of action in place before June if it is to be deemed to be fit for purpose by Inspectors and be able to build on its last rating (Oct08) 3* and improving well.

The new Comprehensive Area Assessment Framework will look not only at the work of S-O-T City Council, but also that of its Public sector partners, relying on shared evidences and organisational assessments as well as key National Performance Indicators to reach a much more holistic conclusion of what life is really like for the Citizens of S-O-T.
With this in mind, I call on the Mayor, and Executive and our Partners with a 100 Day challenge.

1) Â Ã‚  We request that our Policy Officers analyse every Service, area by area against the Audit Commissions Key Lines Of Enquiry (KLOE) for CAA and develop policy proposals and changes that are concordant with those aims (Days 1-5)
2) Â Ã‚  We Request that our Service Heads analyse current Service provision, area by area against the KLOE based proposals at 1) and recommend to Council whatsoever changes are necessary in order to implement them (Days 5-10)
3) Â Ã‚  We request that our Performance and Best Value officers evaluate the BVR (Best Value Review) Recommendations for All Services from past 10 years, and produce a report for Council, detailing whom had accountability for delivering the Reviews Recommendations, which measures had been implemented, which had failed to be implemented (and why) and which could possibly still be implemented to make our Council as efficient as possible. (Days 1-5)
4) Â Ã‚  We request that Days 10- 100 are broken down into  appropriate 10 day milestones and used to implement an “Ëœimprovements action plan’ that underpins actions 1), 2) and 3). These action plans should cover step by step what is necessary, who is responsible for delivering what and what pressures in resource terms will be encountered, and be aligned to fit the milestones as described, and be reported to the respective Scrutiny panel for comment.

5) Â Ã‚  In order to ensure that this challenge is successful, a strategic group of competent Members and Officers(including Partners) should be
drawn together to oversee the administration aspects of this Â Ã‚ Ã‚  proposal, and meet as necessary to receive updates and ensure the Â Ã‚ Ã‚  business meets its timescales. (days 1-100)

If this plan is followed and implemented properly, I believe that no matter who is in the “Leaders” position in June, we will as a Council all have something tailored and tangible that will not only place us in an ideal position for CAA and other inspections, but that sets out a Service Delivery roadmap that is both forward looking and fit for purpose no matter who is in charge.

I acknowledge that this is an ambitious challenge.
I seriously hope that the Mayor, and Executive will accept the challenge.
I believe that if they do, in addition to the benefits described above, the Governance Transition Board will see that at least some  S-o-T City Councillors DO recognise the importance of the job at hand and are still worthy to be masters of their own destiny.

The timescales are tight, 100 days is NOT very long, but every elected Member seems to agree, enough is enough and there is no time to lose.

I am committed to personal participation in this challenge and urge all forward thinking Councillors in the City to do likewise regardless of their Political persuasions. 100 Days from now will be too late to decide what we should do, yet nobody else is suggesting any other plan! It will take most of us to buy in for this to work. The time for action is NOW.

P Billington
Liberal Democrat
Stoke and Trent Vale

Tony went along to the Civic Centre and spoke to Paul about is call for action. Listen to the Audio Interview here:

[audio: http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/audio/0209/paul-billington.mp3]

If you want to visit the Audit Commission website and view Stoke’s last Audit letter click HERE. You can also browse the Performance Indicators.

CRITICS OF TRENTHAM CAMPAIGNERS SHOULD GET FACTS RIGHT

trentham2

This just in from one of our new contributors Matt Taylor from the Radical Press, Ive followed Matt’s work for awhile now and have always been very impressed. We here at Pits’n’pots are delighted to bring you this……………

Campaigners trying to save an achieving high school have been dubbed “snobs” by a councillor whilst a James Brindley High Governor claimed they are holding up the whole reformation process.

“They just don’t want their kids to mix with Blurton kids. I think they are just a bunch of snobs”, said councillor Dave Sutton rather rashly and Governor Wilf Stanforth added “I could understand it if it just affected their own school, but it has held up the whole programme for two years now”.

As the story emerged yesterday, steam began brimming as I couldn’t believe my ears. First of all, what on earth does the issue have to do with councillor Dave Sutton, who is (presently) elected in the ward of Northwood and Birches Head? The circumstances in which this Lib Dem got elected were dubious in the first place: three or four (nobody has yet agreed) recounts were held before he was declared winner, and the runner-up is in court this week to contest the result. Besides this, the Northwood representative lived in Abbey Hulton last time I checked ““ so I fail to see why he has been quoted as some sort of local spokesperson in his comments about the Trentham parents not wanting their kids to mix with the Blurtonians.

And his lack of knowledge is apparent. Snobbery is far from the minds of most of those who disapprove of the Trentham closure plans. They simply want a school which is actually local, one which can be considered a “Ëœcommunity’ facility, and don’t want to knock-down one which is performing well only to put in its place an academy ““ the track record of which are appalling. One in Carlisle was actually forced to shut after a pupil protest, as parents voted for a lack of confidence in the Academy’s management after poor exam results. And we are not alone in our views; in Derby a massive 90 percent of residents polled opposed plans there to turn Sinfin Community School into an Academy.

There are genuine concerns that the City Council’s agenda on improving schools for the future is not the correct one, and that many will suffer as a result of the huge upheaval that would ensue. This is not a case of awkward whingers wanting to get in the way of “progress” as Mark Meredith would no doubt put it, it is an example of parents fighting for what they think is best, against what they consider would be a disaster.

And whilst Children’s Services director Ged Rowney says he is “still very bullish that we will deliver the plans” and that the local authority has a “history of not delivering the BSF plans”, the council’s history of being unable to agree on a plan for the future should be grounds to affect the lives of those now battling in Trentham, nor does it mean that the current policy is correct.

Furthermore, as campaigner Julian Teed said, people attacking their strategy should get their facts right: they have not been holding up anything for the last two years, Governor Wilf Stanforth, the consultation process which disregarded their views has only recently come to an end.

Matt Taylor

The Radical Press

BREAKING NEWS! MIKE BARNES SPEAKS OUT!


Following his debate with Paul Breeze on the politics show today Mike Barnes of Democracy for Stoke has just posted this comment on our blog:

Mike Barnes said…

Firstly,

Don’t let Paul Breeze con anybody into thinking he is just a concerned resident. He’s an ex-deputy Elected Mayor, and a councillor who lost an election in his own area. (All deputy elected mayors have lost their next election!).

So far the Elected Mayor system has closed over half of all elderly care homes. It has led to the council, for the first time in its history having government intervention in Children’s Services – effectively paying a private company to close decent schools – when we had already agreed (and had government agreement) on other proposals.

It tried to close Dimensions – but failed due to campaigners and a few brave councillors.

We had the ice rink farce that cost £150,000. We’ve had the gravestones heartache where thousands of headstones were knocked down only for the council having to compensate them.

Now EM wants to close our community centres to save money.

You know what I find odd? 5 months ago the Elected Mayor wanted to close Dimensions to save £60,000. Yet when we recently lost £5m in that Icelandic bank, council comment was, it doesn’t impact on services????!!!!

Elected Mayors are more open are they? Well tell me why the cabinet have a private meeting the week before the open one with exactly the same agenda? How open and democratic is that?

Finally it has led to having 9 BNP fascists on the council, with a good possibility of having a BNP Mayor next May. If we still have a Mayor system on 24 Oct, my advice will be: get yer coat, yer bag, yer hat and yer loved ones, and get as far away from Stoke as possible, as it could be burning next summer if the BNP have their way.

It is time for me to nail my colours to the mast and say that I fully support the Leader and Cabinet model and I will be voting YES on Thursday 23rd October.

There is no point in having 60 councilors and having them paid £7000 per year and when we need them to act on our behalf they have no powers to act. Rob Flello is 100% right in my opinion when he says that we need a “time out” from the mayoral system. We need our councilors to represent us, not to be able to go so far and then fall at the last hurdle because of the ego of one man.

We have three excellent ward councilors in our ward and they work tirelessly on behalf of their electorate and I want them to have the power to follow their hard work through to a conclusion.

Finally, if I am unhappy with my council leader then i will have the opportunity to kick him/her out a lot sooner than four years!

For these reasons I urge everyone to vote YES for a leader and cabinet model on Thursday 23rd October….. You know it makes sense!

This is my opinion, other bloggers may have different views and they may post their thoughts as is their right to do so, after all we live in a democracy don’t we?
This is what we want isn’t it? Democracy for Stoke!

Nicky, in her very accurate way will be posting her views on the mayoral debate that took place on the BBC’s Politics Show later on tonight………………….

PAUL BREEZE OF THE PEOPLES CHOICE SPEAKS TO PITSNPOTS!

Following on from my earlier blog when Mike Barnes of Democracy4Stoke spoke to us it’s now the turn of Paul Breeze to give us his reasons why we should vote to keep the Mayoral system. So in the “VOTE NO” corner weighing in with the “Peoples Choice” argument:



WHY PEOPLE SHOULD “ËœVOTE NO’ ON OCTOBER 23rd.

Don’t be confused about this referendum. What it boils down to is very simple.

IF YOU WANT A LEADER AND CABINET SYSTEM WHERE JUST 60 COUNCILLORS CHOOSE WHO RUNS THE CITY ““ VOTE YES.

IF YOU WANT AN ELECTED MAYOR AND CABINET SYSTEM WHERE 186,000 PEOPLE CHOOSE WHO RUNS THE CITY ““ VOTE NO.

I am one of those 186,000 Stoke-on-Trent citizens. I don’t want to give up my vote to just 60 councillors. I am appalled at the arrogant contempt the majority of councillors have towards us as citizens that they have actually forced a referendum to put this insulting proposition to us.

I will categorically be voting NO in this referendum. I urge every fellow resident of Stoke-on-Trent to do the same ““ because if you vote YES, you will be giving up your own vote and choice, and also that of your children and the next generations to come. We will no longer have any say in who runs our own city.

We already had a referendum in 2002. We, the people, chose to change the governance arrangements of Stoke-on-Trent to give ALL current and future residents across the city the opportunity to choose to vote for the person we wanted to be the directly accountable city leader, a directly Elected Mayor; and more importantly, the power to remove them if we don”Ëœt like them or we don’t think they are doing a good job.

In a Leader and Cabinet system, councillors choose, from amongst themselves, the leader they want. We have no power to remove them.

The reason we voted for an Elected Mayor system in the first place was because our existing Leader and Cabinet system, under councillors and MPs control, led our City to: *decades of chronic decline; *a clueless lack of visionary leadership; *absolutely no adequate political, social, economic response to the decimation of the mining, steel and pottery industries; *behind-closed-doors deals, open to rampant corruption; *repeated financial disasters like the Cultural Quarter and Worldgate; *£millions of crippling debt, which ordinary council tax payers suffered from; *a rise of deep public cynicism and resentment, leading to many veering towards extremist views as a protest; *and ultimately Stoke-on-Trent shamefully being named in 2001 as the worst place to live in the UK.

Since 2002, under an Elected Mayor system our city is now on the right track. We are progressing: *up from a poor one star council to 3 stars and improving; *introduction of Building Schools for the Future programme; *investment of £millions of Renew regeneration money; *introduction of co-ordinated Area Implementation, Neighbourhood Management Teams tackling local issues; *reduction in crime; *£millions of investment coming through North Staffs Regeneration Partnership business plan; *rated as the best place to base a business in the UK; *the real, exciting prospect of Stoke-on-Trent being transformed into a dynamic, modern, city environment taken seriously across the country; *and the true democracy of a directly Elected Mayor accountable to all the citizens of Stoke-on-Trent.

Don’t be fooled. *Scrap the Mayor = Scrap your vote. *Democracy4Stoke = Democracy for 60 councillors and NO democracy for the rest of us. *The cost of an Elected Mayor & Cabinet is just the same as a Leader & Cabinet. *On the threat of extremism: you don’t disenfranchise the whole city population because some people might vote for something you disagree with. *On the complaint that Mayors have 4 years in office: so do councillors, MPs and MEPs.

The simple questions to bear in mind on October 23rd are: *Do you want to lose your vote? NO. *Do you want just councillors to choose who runs our city? NO. *Do you want this city to go backwards and return to the dark old days? NO.

If your answer to those questions is also NO, then make sure you vote NO on October 23rd. ““ and keep the power in the hands of all the people of our city.

Deciding who runs this city is everyone’s democratic right. We don’t need a handful of people deciding for us. It should ““ and must always be ““ the people’s choice in Stoke-on-Trent.

That is why we must VOTE NO on October 23rd.


Paul Breeze

Organiser/Chairman “ËœPeople’s Choice’ Vote No Campaign

Follow this link to the Sentinel article:

http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/news/D-day-looms-Stoke-Trent-elected-mayor-referendum/article-397328-detail/article.html


MIKE BARNES TALKS TO PITSNPOTS!

The 23rd October is nearly upon us, the date of the most important referendum in the history of our City. Pitsnpots has been host to some heated debate on the subject of which system of Governance would best serve Stoke on Trent. Councilor Mike Barnes (pictured) who is heading the “vote yes” campaign has spoken to us here at pitsnpots and here is what he has had to say:


“In the forthcoming Referendum, Democracy4Stoke, is asking the people of Stoke-on-Trent to vote YES for change ““ YES to scrap the Elected Mayor. Democracy4Stoke was formed in 2002, and has gradually grown to over 100 members from all political parties and non, and from all walks of life. Our aim is to restore democracy back into all our public services ““ local government, health, police and many other quangos ““ so that everybody has a real says in their community and how things are run. Our greatest achievement has been to effectively force the council to have a referendum, following our 10,000 name petition that was delivered to London. Make no mistake, there would never be a referendum had the petition not been done. Those that support an Elected Mayor would have carried on and we would all have been denied our right to choose. For 5½ years now Stoke-on-Trent has suffered under the Elected Mayor system. Since its creation over half of all our elderly care homes have closed with more to come; we’ve had the scandal of over £100,000 wasted on an ice rink that went bump within days of its opening; who can forget the heartache cause by the Elected Mayor and Council Manager knocking down thousands of headstones in our cemeteries, then having to dole out tax payers money to compensate them. If you want to stop these things happening vote “Yes” to scrap the Elected Mayor. More recently, for the first time in the city’s history, we have had direct government intervention in a key public service, Children’s Services, handed over to a private organisation, SERCO, who torn up previously agreed secondary school proposals, in favour of closing some of our more success schools. Dimensions would have been closed if there hadn‘t been a major community campaign to keep it open: and now even our community centres are threatened with closure. The list could go on and on. Even a recent government report said that our city is “leaderless”, “fragmented” and desperate for change. Vote Yes for Change. The cost of having an Elected Mayor is spiralling out of control. The salary of the Elected Mayor alone is £1500 per week, added to which are two secretaries, a personal assistant, and ten political advisors paid over £17000 each, all costing us, the taxpayers, nearly £1/2m per year. The leader model, which we campaign for, costs just of 1/3 of this amount. An Elected Mayor, has now been proven to be distant and out of the reach of ordinary citizens concerned about their communities and their local services. Why should an Elected Mayor care when once elected, they don’t have to worry about what anybody else thinks for another four years. The leader model, by contrast, hands the decision-making powers back to local communities, through local representatives, councillors. Through councillors, once again, any leader, would have to listen to local people and councillors every second of every day, knowing that making the wrong decision could be their last as leader. This is real democracy accountable 24/7. No one system is perfect, but surely, having 60 people making decisions must be better than leaving it to one Elected Mayor. Sixty people from all over the city, from all walks of life, from Meir to Golden Hill, and from Trentham to Bucknall. 60 people or just 1 – which is more democratic? Having an Elected Mayor takes away a key plank of our local democracy. Removing the opportunity of every citizen to stand up and represent their local community, to make a difference and change things in their street, their community or their city. Instead the Elected Mayor is centralised at the Civic Centre, beyond the reach of all but the most elite and those with the money to get there. There is even the likelihood that the BNP could take it, this would be the final straw for anybody thinking of bringing jobs to the city. We want change: change that comes right from local communities – upwards. A council that takes everybody into account, and along with them, would be a council of real strength, leadership and vision. We cannot continue along our current path ““ leaderless, no direction and ridiculed by those outside with little chance of outside investment. Five years has already left us well behind other great cities. If we fail to act now we have an Elected Mayor forever, the law says we can never have another chance to get rid of this dictatorship of a system. Bring this government experiment to an end! I urge everybody to vote, and vote “Yes” for change ““ “Yes” to Scrap the Elected Mayor.

The three city MP’s have come out in favour of the Leader and Cabinet system over the past few weeks.
Look out for an article by Paul Breeze the Chairman of the “Peoples Choice Campaign (vote NO) in the next few days.
Over to you what do you make of Mikes Blog?………
Follow this link to the Sentinel article:
http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/news/D-day-looms-Stoke-Trent-elected-mayor-referendum/article-397328-detail/article.html

Web Response of the Week Award!

We here at pitsnpots love to recognise examples of high quality web posting. The first recipient of the “Web Response of the Week Award” goes to Trentham Action Groups very own Nicky Davis!
In response to a letter sent by Tory Shaun Bennett to the Sentinel this week taking issue with Councillor Zulfiqar Ali’s letter supporting the Elected Mayor system Nicky left this response:
“I agree with you Shaun in favouring the leader model.A leader is less able to become dictatorial. Also can be more easily removed. I’m sorry but in SOT we clearly have to be able to do this. If they start to wreak havoc we don’t want them carrying that on for 4 years.I completely agree with you when you say “he goes on to argue that under a Leader and Cabinet model there would be constant backroom dealing between the various groups to negotiate positions of power in a coalition. But just what on earth does he think goes on now under the existing mayor and advisory cabinet system?”I commented as such on the web when Councillor Zulfiqar Ali’s letter was published.You go on to say;”Do we not have a coalition of the three main parties at present? Was this coalition not negotiated behind closed doors without any input not only from the electorate but from their own party members?” Very well said, bold of you.It would be good if you go that bit further though, you have not mentioned that one of the worst possible outcomes for mayor (also for leader) would be Roger Ibbs! But of course you couldn’t possibly say that could you?Ibbs is currently off on his own tack, pursuing some sort of land deal so he can build, on a green wedge, an academy school that Trentham doesn’t want and Blurton doesn’t want. Is this some crazed tory policy disaster or just something from planet Ibbs? Are you not concerned that if Ibbs has his way, children from your community in Blurton will have to travel to Trentham to go to school, in the absence of a safe walking route? What Blurton needs is a new school, in Blurton, as promised years ago. If families there are keen for it to be an academy then fine, but they should be given the choice. What Trentham needs is to keep the fantastic school it has. Trentham families want a federation, not an academy, so they should be allowed that.I’ve just seen Balls on BBC parliament spouting a lot of, well, as the name suggests, labour lies, on how much they want parents to be involved in their children’s schools. Well that’s not being allowed for us is it. So what does mayor Meredith think he’s doing in the labour name? Labour promote academies, but they are also suposed to support federations and other arrangements, so let us have what we choose for our community.But then I’ve also got these tory lies, sent to me in an email, 22nd September, from the Consevative Party Chairman’s office, CCHQ:”David Cameron has stated that we have to look at expanding the provision of education. But that any reforms have to be done with the support of the community and the parents which they serve.”That’s very far removed from what Ibbs is doing in the tory name! Don’t let your mighty leader tell you he is doing the best thing for Trentham and Blurton, he’s barely speaking to any of us, he doesn’t speak to me at all.Labour and tory alike are doing nothing for communities, just dictating to us! Neither of them are any good. Neither of them are communicating with us. And I know why, neither of them have any intelligent arguments to make. I recently emailed all 60 councillors about the schools issue. None of the 11 responses I received came from the conservatives, or labour, or libdems. All 11 were supportive.Disclaimer: Save Trentham High is a non-political organisation with the sole aim of saving Trentham High. Individuals within it may express their political views but do not necessarily speak for STH.”
Nicky Davis, Trentham
It’s a testing time for all concerned with the Trentham Action Group but there is one thing for certain these guys will NEVER give up. They have fought their fight hard and there is still a big desire to see it through. Nicky encapsulates the spirit within the Group and with strong leadership from Dan Jordan and Donna Dewar the council, mayor and Serco will know they are still in a battle.
Well done Nicky you are our first winner keep up the posting on the Sentinel and of course here on pitsnpots!