LETTERS - Ipsley Meadow, council budget and homelessnes - The Redditch Standard

LETTERS - Ipsley Meadow, council budget and homelessnes

Redditch Editorial 9th Mar, 2024   0

‘MP must make sure we defend Ukraine’

RACHEL Maclean MP tells us proudly she voted to Stop the Boats on our behalf.

I hope she is as determined to prevent hostile submarines taking up position off our shores.

Vladimir Putin’s legacy-building attempts to conquer Ukraine are now entering their third year, and Russia is pouring resources into buying and manufacturing munitions.

UK politicians are swift to appease the Russian leader and his posturing against NATO – but among our own communities they sow discord and division, failing to unite even in support of the women and children of Gaza being murdered by Netanyahu.

It is now clear these times demand significant investment in our defences and our military, alongside health, social care and education, as part of a strong state for us all.

We voted for Brexit because sovereignty matters to us.

I hope that our MP will speak in favour of investing to ensure that sovereignty, and defending the independence of Ukraine and the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.

Oakenshaw resident


‘Our politicians need to be professional’

A LOT has been written and said about a Redditch Labour councillor elected in May 2023 defecting to another party in February 2024.

This is of course within the rules, but in no way heroic or cause for celebration.

It is at best disloyal, but worse, it is a clear indication of a person’s lack of understanding of being given a mandate via the electoral process on political grounds.

It demonstrates a lack of respect for the 981 residents who voted for a Labour councillor.

Residents have now been given no choice on the politics of their representative.

Fortunately in May this year they will get that opportunity.

Despite being a Labour Party member I would be critical of anyone from any party switching allegiances mid-term, and resent being threatened for making my views known.

There is a principal at stake here, and it is not unreasonable to expect professional behaviour from all our local politicians and their teams.

Jayne Sillitoe, Astwood Bank

‘Labour Group has no credibility on budget’

I WAS surprised to read letters in last week’s edition of the Redditch Standard criticising the council’s new budget from the Redditch Labour Party.

Labour’s ‘Alternative Budget’ endorsed all of the Conservative’s taxation plans, all but one of the fees and charges, every single item of current revenue spending and even the move of the library into the Town Hall with a new hospitality offer in its current location.

If Labour truly thought our budget was as damaging as it claims, it would not have copy and pasted it.

The truth is the Labour Group’s position has no credibility.

You cannot simultaneously claim that the Conservatives have led the council into a dangerous financial position and then put forward a near identical budget with additional spending commitments that eliminates almost all of the Conservatives hard-won budget surplus.

Labour is betting Redditch residents will not see through this clear political game playing at the May 2 local elections.

I firmly believe they will.

Coun Luke Court,

Portfolio Holder for Finance 


‘Tories taking council to borrowing millions’

PLEASE stop listening to hearsay if you want to ask questions or find out information. I am happy to be transparent about what the Labour Group is doing.

1: We have never supported the library to be moved into the Town Hall.

2: We are not against the redevelopment of the Town Hall, in fact we are happy with it. We just don’t want the library going into the town hall.

3: We are in the process of obtaining more information concerning contracts and costs and if it is financially safe to do so, we can go ahead if we take control and try to stop the move of the library, I have said this all along.

4: Councillor Dormer has not provided any proof that the library is riddled in asbestos.

5: We put forward our alternative plan for the budget as an option going forward if we can not stop the move of the library.

6: The Tories cannot for definite freeze the council tax next year as they do not know what their financial situation is going to be. They have not produced audited accounts for nearly three years, hence the Section 24 notices to say so is misleading the public.

7: We will, if we take control, review and look into alternatives for the cemetery.

Our campaign is all about listening to you and doing what is open and transparent.

I will always be upfront and honest and, as things change, we will always look for options that take your thoughts into consideration.

Can I remind everyone it is the Conservatives that are rushing through contracts so they can make sure their plans are stitched up and to push through their vanity projects.

It is the Conservatives that have ignored the consultations on the library and who have ignored the objections to the cemetery.

It is the Conservatives who have miscalculated the cost of these projects and will take this council down the road of borrowing millions.

As a Labour Group we will keep you informed as to what is being done and what we are looking into to try and keep you at the heart of all we do.

Coun Joe Baker,

Leader of the Labour Group


‘Ex-prisoners heading into homelessness’

GOVERNMENT data revealed that shockingly, rough sleeping in England had risen 27 per cent in the past year. And more than doubled since 2010.

These are not just statistics, they are people, thousands of people, whose lives have fallen apart in a terrible way and have not had the support and back-up they needed at that critical moment.

As a result they are sleeping on our streets each night. This just should not be happening.

One important way to reduce the number of people rough sleeping is to break the link between rough sleeping and the criminal justice system.

A third of rough sleepers have been in prison, and we know hundreds of people leave prison into homelessness every month.

This is despite the importance of stable housing in reducing reoffending.

Where there are key moments like leaving prison, and someone is at risk of homelessness, we need to ensure that everything possible is done to help people find and keep a home for the long-term.

Campbell Robb,

Nacro, Chief Executive

* Nacro, is a national charity, housing thousands of homeless people, people coming out of prison and care leavers across the country

‘Setting the record straight on the cemetery’

THE LETTER by K Wass (Standard, March 1) makes several false assumptions about the proposed cemetery.

I would like to state some facts and correct the accusations made against me.

In 2008 the bereavement officers told councillors the cemetery at Abbey would run out of burial spaces sometime in the future and a decision would be needed on the council’s plans.

It was agreed to ask the officers to look for a piece of land in Redditch to be used.

Officers examined the possible expansion of the Abbey Cemetery to cater for the next 50 years and were told it could not be done due the only available area being a small one.

This is because the whole area is surrounded by English Heritage land, close to Bordesley Abbey, which cannot be allocated for cemetery usage.

Over the next 12 years the officers looked at various pieces of land and took soil samples and did other tests such as the water table – digging down 2 to 5metres before you reach any water which is difficult here in Redditch and is part of the criteria from the cemetery governing body.

It is the one which gives permission for any land to be used as a cemetery.

Throughout this both Conservative and Labour Councillors were involved in a number of decisions about the process.

Looking around Redditch, you will understand why our cemeteries are built on a slight slope and not on the level as in many towns and cities. One reason is the clay soil which retains water for longer.

Council officers looked at expanding the two other existing burial sites and found neither could be done for various reasons – also the council does not own the surrounding land.

There have been many misleading statements about the Ipsley site, such as there will be large gravestones, metal fences around the whole field and gates locked every night – none are true.

Redditch Councillors will vote later this year and residents will be consulted on the detailed cemetery site plans.

The field will be divided into four quarters – the first on the left hand side lasting around 25 years before moving onto the next quarter, meaning half of the field will still be the same as it is now for another 50 years for residents to walk or play on for quite some time.

There will be no buildings on site or tarmac roads on the field

The Ipsley Cemetery site will be one of the greenest in the country because we are working with The Woodland Trust and other bodies to make it so Redditch people will be proud of this cemetery and how it works for everyone.

The alternative to not using the Ipsley site would be for all burials to be held in Bromsgrove or Birmingham and this is not right way to treat our Redditch residents who wish to visit their loved ones in the area they lived in.

Coun Brandon Clayton

Portfolio Holder for the Environment

‘She has no mandate’

AS A RESIDENT of Brockhill I voted for Kerrie Miles to be my Labour representative on the council.

It is unfortunate that she has chosen to betray our vote and turn to the Lib Dems.

To follow this she had sent out a letter to us explaining the reasons why: ‘Labour do not support the disabled!’

Yet she has joined the Lib Dems who propped up a Conservative Government therefore helping to punish the disabled and those in most need through austerity.

She then has the nerve to call the local Labour Group ‘Tory lite!’ when on Monday night as I watched the live stream she voted with the Tories against the Labour budget therefore showing her true blue colours.

Councillor Miles you have no mandate to be on the council, people did not vote for you to join the Lib Dems.

Resign and stand down.

Brockhill Resident



IT IS FANTASTIC news that Redditch is to get a £5million funding boost to support arts and culture.

There is so much good going on in the borough which, as well as giving people things to do, watch and experience in their leisure time, also offers opportunities for performers.

What needs to be done now is to make sure Redditch Borough Council produces the right plan to maximise the cash to its full potential so everyone can get the most out of it.


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