You would be forgiven for wondering what ever has Kidsgrove done to Newcastle Borough and Staffordshire County Councils?
The shoddy treatment of Kidsgrove over the past few months will leave many Kidsgrove residents wondering what can we expect from our councils? These are organisations who are only too happy to collect council tax from us, however when it comes to spending it, Kidsgrove sadly appears to be way down on the list! It is very easy for the political activists, who will always put party before people to try and blame anyone other than "their own party" for the actions taken - however the simple reality is that the problem really is closer to home.
Its all about choices in life. Locally, we have Stafford Borough Council actually spending money on building a new sports centre in Stone. This is actually a similar sized local authority to Newcastle, which has 2 swimming pools (the same as Newcastle used to have) actually investing in leisure. They have made the choice to spend money on a new centre, yet here in Newcastle our councillors made the decision to spend over £4m on building themselves a nice new vanity project - the Civic Hub! There is no remorse from the local councillors though at this self-interest.
Now we learn that Kidsgrove is to lose its town bus service. This is a bus service that is provided to help some of our most vulnerable and socially dependent to have an accessible life style. It is easy as a car user or someone younger to just overlook this issue, however what we are talking about here is something for some people that is very much the only means of accessing the outside world. This is a bus service that is fairly well used with up to 75 passengers per day who use it for a mixture of social and health reasons, yet come 2018 in Kidsgrove they may find they are confined to a life stuck at home. How does this help to encourage an independent life?
You could expect the excuse to be used by Staffordshire County Council regarding cost, however if this is the case, why are other towns keeping their bus service when Kidsgrove is losing its one and only subsidised service? This again comes back to choices and it appears that if you live in Kidsgrove then the council will look to cut what services it provides. The consultation that is taking place will offer scant comfort given that all 4 options are would see Kidsgrove lose its bus service. What is needed is for Kidsgrove residents on mass to complete this survey (please see our video guide how to do this here), rejecting all options and requesting that Kidsgrove is provided with a service that is needed and deserved for the vulnerable within our society.
It is easy to accept the treatment of the local councils, who expect Kidsgrove to vote for the same party regardless of how they are treated by them. However I firmly believe Kidsgrove should and could have a much more positive outlook, if Kidsgrove can start to look for something different. I have always made the commitment to put Kidsgrove first and that is exactly what I would be doing, should I be elected next year. I will not stand back and make the usual wall of silence that we have come to expect from our local councillors when the difficult decisions have to be made. This is all because they put party interests before those of Kidsgrove interests!