Well here is a rapid round-up of last night at Ebley Mill - especially liked Fi's question re canal - last item below:
Photo: view of Ebley Mill
- we learnt that the stakeholders bid for a local health care social enterprise that had been proposed has been rejected although the Council will appeal (see original proposal here)
- Chris Acock (Neighbourhood Warden in Stroud District) won the national competition for the coveted Encams Wardens Creating Sustainable Communities Award - recognising the dedication and achievement of Neighbourhood Wardens in enhancing community life.
- the Stanleys waste trial focus group won a national award ahead of the Eden Project and big players like B&Q
- Ted Lane, local taxi driver used public questions to query the lack of space for taxis in the town
- a claim has been lodged re monies in Iceland Bank
- it was confirmed again that the Council will look at local and ethical investment - see more here
- the centralisation of community legal services in the County - after listening to the debate in the end there seems little option and deferring to the experts in this matter, I placed trust in the views of Stroud & District CAB who have stated they "are wholeheartedly supportive of council's declared aims." Clearly there are still many concerns like commissioning as opposed to making grants but assurances were given that Stroud will not accept the move if the detail doesn't ensure we keep our local offices and share of funding - difficult times are ahead and it is crucial we get this right so that those in need will have the help there - already such services are stretched yet Stroud has traditionally prioritised this area of help - long may that continue.
- other stuff incl Homelessness strategy, Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning and Frampton on Severn Conservation area - all of which had been discussed previously.
- Green councillor Fi MacMillan used the Members question time to ask about the canal and what return could be expected - she gave the example of the Council's programme of business audits which will release between £45 and £55 of value to local businesses for every £1 invested: money saved in their energy bills - savings will accrue over a 10 year period and directly support small and medium businesses which are at the heart of our local economy - and potentially save 9,000 tonnes of carbon. The answers re carbon savings re the canal were understandably vague - and a 6 to 1 return on investment was expected on money invested - but as Fi pointed out the figures for the project were done in a time of economic growth and when climate change was not seen as such a priority. To me it is becoming increasingly clear that with limited money and rising oil prices and climate change we are not going to have the luxury of spending money on anything that doesn't directly lead to gains like the money invested in the audits - Full Council to discuss the canal will now be at a special meeting to make a decision on 16th December at 7pm - and so far Greens still have most of their questions raised re the canal unanswered.