I READ with considerable interest your article about the severe squeeze on Redditch Borough Council finances and the chief executive’s comments that, “These are the most challenging time I have faced in local government” (Redditch Standard).
Worcestershire County Council’s challenge in the next couple of years is even more concerning.
The governing Conservative group are putting forward a budget which proposes to increase council tax by 2.5 per cent, while using £3million of reserves.
However the major issue is the outlook for 2022-2024.
The predicted deficit for those two years is £76million.
This is a truly frightening state of affairs and shows that without sizeable government intervention, there will be massive cuts to services from a council which spends 70 per cent of its revenue on adult social care and looked after children.
This also does not tackle the position of whether, after what the country has gone through for the last 10 months, any council tax rise is appropriate.
It is vitally important that politicians everywhere lobby central government to ensure that local government can carry out even its most basic services.
The sterling work of local public health teams compared to the national test and trace scheme, show what local government can do if it is properly financed. We will continue campaigning to ensure this is the case.
Robin Lunn, County Councillor. Redditch North
LET us assume that the planning application for a new cemetery at Ipsley is not approved.
If a possible site on the private Abbey Golf Course – just across the River Arrow from the present site isn’t possible, might I suggest an alternative place to put it.
How about putting it just across the road on land near Weight’s Lane which I think is under Bromsgrove District Council’s jurisdiction?
I’ve noticed BDC appears to have a habit of approving developments on Redditch’s boundary and ‘green belt’.
A cemetery might be better than another huge housing development.
REPLYING to I Willcock in last week’s paper who is encouraging people to object to the proposed burial ground at Ipsley meadow (Letters) he didn’t give reasons why we should object.
Assuming we need a new burial ground I think using an area of open space seems reasonable.
No houses or buildings need knocking down, few trees need cutting down, a cemetery is a quiet, peaceful place where people can still walk and exercise their dogs so the change of use of the area wouldn’t be drastic.
I think nine acres of land is required is a comparatively small part of the 900-plus acres of Arrow Valley Park.
In excess of 600 letters of complaint is not many in comparison to the town’s population.
M Jones, Callow Hill
ON Monday, January 18, I addressed the Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny committee about the lack of public engagement over the Town Deal.
It was made clear from the start that community engagement and participation was key.
The prospectus asks the Town Deal board to ‘Encourage local people to get involved and to generate ideas’.
‘Communities should have a meaningful role in decision-making’ is what we were told in the prospectus.
A promised dedicated website never materialised, although in the past few weeks ‘Redditch Town Deal’ has its own web address.
This takes you to the page on the RBC website. There is still no direct link from the RBC homepage.
The information when found is uninspiring and sparse.
The terms of reference demand a page which is ‘prominent, accessible and easy to navigate’ and ‘updated regularly to ensure that information remains current’.
I feel that the Town Deal Board has largely failed in this obligation.
The main opportunity for engaging with the town deal was 13 months after launch when an online survey was opened, and according to the council report ‘over 650 local residents took part in this and in online group discussions’.
Can these few responses be truly representative of the whole community?
S Harvey, prospective Labour candidate for Winyates
I WRITE regarding Paul Crampton: This postman is a amazing man he goes over and beyond his job he dropped every house on his round over Christmas a dog advent calendar which was amazing and a dog treat everyday.
My mom and dad had to have their dog but to sleep yesterday and wow he turned up with a bouquet of flowers today and said I thought you may need these today what an amazing man.
I AM writing on behalf of the many Redditch folk who like me watched the destruction of our lovely old town centre.
I grew up and lived in all corners of Redditch until I was 62.
So many beautiful Victorian and Georgian houses, churches and pubs etc. There was a lovely feel to old Redditch and so much of our history was destroyed.
Although the lovely buildings on the Parade, Market Place and Church Green East have been saved, many have been ruined with tacky hoardings – haven’t the planners any respect for our old buildings?
I feel we now need the Borough Council more than ever to get behind the town centre museum that is so badly needed.
We need someone to start caring about the town after so many years of destruction.
I have sent this letter to the leader and deputy leader of the council and hopefully they will get behind the efforts of Derek Coombes, Graham Smith and others who would like to preserve what’s left before it’s gone forever.