Wednesday, April 21, 2004
RAF Stafford To Close
The news that the whole town has been waiting for has finally broken! RAF Stafford is to lose it’s strike command personnel despite the valiant fight that’s been fought by the Council and the local community. I was told the news by a reporter from one of the local papers in an 8.15am phone call. Without been given anytime to consider the news I was asked for a comment. I told her that as far as I, and the rest of the Lib Dem Group on the Council was concerned, the whole public consultation exercise had been a sham and that the Government had all along intended to shut the camp. My own worry is that this closure is just the first step in the camp closing completely! At one of the briefing meetings I went to some months ago a representative of the RAF made it quite clear that some of the other RAF units bases at Beaconside were only waiting for the outcome of this review before starting on one of there own! At the moment just over 400 service personnel will be moving out, but even this will mean many millions of pounds lost from the local economy. What the Council now has to face is how to replace these jobs, but we must ensure we are not rushed into making bad decisions which we, and the residents of Stafford, will later regret.
Monday, April 19, 2004
Fire Escape Windows
This afternoon I visited a couple who live in an upstairs flat in Royds Close in Haughton. The flat is currently having new windows fitted as part of the modernisation programme. The couple asked me call to look at the windows and how they were expected to escape if there was a fire. Quite rightly the Council were providing two fire escape windows, but these had been placed at the front of the flat and overlooked a sheer drop to the ground below. As the couple pointed out wouldn’t it have been better to put them at the back of the flat which meant they could have escaped onto the walkway outside their home. This does seem to make sense, but I think the Council will tell me that this walkway could easily get blocked by flames – hence the reason for putting the escape windows where they are. However this could all be a fruitless exercise as they windows seen extremely difficult to open correctly. The catches certainly need quite a bit of force to get them to work and I’m sure many of the elderly residents in Royds Close will never manage them! I’ve promised the couple I’ll take up the matter with the Council but I think I’ll be beating my head against a brick wall. If they can’t move the windows for a technical reason lack of money will be the downfall!