Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Feedback from Copeland Borough Council

Copeland Borough council's January meeting took place in Whitehaven this afternoon.

This was the least controversial and shortest meeting for some time. Some highlights and lowlights:

1) As mentioned in a previous post, the meeting began on a sad note with a minute's silence in memory of Maggie Chadwick, the chair of NHS Cumbria, who died a few days ago after a short illness.

2) The long-awaited website to keep people in touch with the redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital has finally been launched. The URL is www.buildingyourhospital.ncuh.nhs.uk.

I asked the leader of the council if it would be worth contacting the NHS Trust to ask if there is anything the council can do to help and support the submission of the final business case, and she agreed to do so.

3) A number of councillors - including myself - have been getting phone calls from Copeland Homes tenants who have been getting letters telling them that they may have to pay a service charge in addition to their rent. The figure quoted in the letter is £2.50 per week (though I have been told that this is only "indicative".)

There is considerable concern among councillors about the way this has been handled. Council representatives on the Copeland Homes Board were not consulted about the proposed charge.

I had already queried this through council officers and it sounds like I was not the only councillor asking questions: it was agreed this afternoon that those inquiries should continue with the weight of the Full Council behind them.

4) I asked about the Sustainable Communities Act, which will be the subject of a separate post.

5) It was noted that Whitehaven Swimming Pool has worked with DCMS and Sport England to obtain £215,000 of funding for improved changing facilities. The plan is to replace the existing and aged single sex changing rooms with unisex facilities. However, unlike the way a certain council of which I used to be a member treated Westminster Lodge swimming pool, there will be consultation with residents and customers before the plans are finalised. This is due to happen this month.

6) Following on from this we asked about the proposed Millom Swimming Pool and asked who is invited to the planned Stakeholder meeting on 5th February.

We were told that this is a closed meeting with the North West Development Agency and that the Leader of the Council would represent Copeland Borough Council.

I was a little concerned about this. The Swimming Pool Project has cross party support in Millom, and the great majority of elected representatives from Millom at Town, District, and County levels are Conservatives - I hope that both parties will be represented in discussions on how to secure funding for the project.

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