Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Saturday, 28th May 2016, 16:49

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COUNCILLOR JOHN NICHOLSON

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WARD MEMBER FOR COWES SOUTH & NORTHWOOD

MEMBER OF IW PLANNING COMMITTEE

MEMBER OF HEALTH AND COMMUNITY WELLBEING SCRUTINY PANEL

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SUNNYSIDE

PALLANCE LANE

NORTHWOOD

PO31 8LT
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Tel: 01983 209642 (evenings best)
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Email: cllr.john.nicholson@btconnect.com

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See the I.W.Councillor’s section

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WARD REPORT – MAY 2016

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Northwood Community Partnership Landmark Changes
At the Community Partnership AGM, on Tuesday 17th May, a new Chairman and Vice-Chairmen were elected by unanimous vote. The new Chairman is Cllr John Pullen, ex long-standing Chairman of Northwood Parish Council, and the new Vice-Chairman, myself (Ward Councillor and member of Northwood Parish Council too). The change has been welcomed by all, although it is fair to say that neither John nor I were quite expecting it. Ron, Alan, Colin and Eileen have put in many years of voluntary devotion into the Partnership and it was their decision and vote to make this move. We, jointly, see it as a good move because it will enable the continuation and development of the fantastic, and exemplary, legacy that the Partnership has built up over the years, and our appreciation goes out to all the members of the Partnership for the tireless effort and all the good work that they have put in. Of course, they will still be active members, and Eileen will still be Secretary, and both John and I feel very honoured to be chosen to now lead such an important community asset.
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Northwood Parish Council Review
Northwood Parish Council have voted to reduce the number of formal meetings to bi-monthly for a trial period of 6 months, during which time we can review the way that we do our business and serve the community that we represent, taking the in-between months to go out and engage with the local community to find out what people think and care about, what the needs and desires are, and how we can best address this.
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Isn’t it strange how life synchronises at times, and this movement has coincided with the unexpected development in the Community Partnership, which brings Parish Council members into greater involvement with an organisation that has served and facilitated community needs, connections and participation, at a time when the Parish Council is considering its position in just this capacity. I have talked with other Parish Councillors about these developments and there is a will and enthusiasm to drive and develop community in Northwood, the Parish Council already being one of the first to officially sign up to support the Community Wellbeing initiative, led by our IW Council Public Health directorate.
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Do You Want a MUGA (Multi Use Games Area)?
The Parish Council is considering creating a new Multi Use Games Area on the green in Venner Avenue, and some funds that have been donated to the Council for use in the benefit of the Community, which could go some little way towards the cost of providing one. However, to be able to do this, we would have to seek additional grant funding, but before we do so we would need a mandate of support from our residents to demonstrate that it is a popular requirement. There will be a separate flyer in Northwood News to this effect, giving more details and directions of how to register your opinion.
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The School Attendance Question
I am sure that most will be aware of the challenge mounted by an Isle of Wight family for the right to be able to take children out of school during term time, to enjoy a family experience. People have different opinions about this; some say that school attendance is sacrosanct, and that any leeway on this will lead to a decline in standards and attainment, others argue that provided attendance and attainment are good, it makes little difference, others that they cannot afford to take their children away during the peak official holiday period because it is financially prohibitive or that they have to work those periods themselves, and that holidays are a valuable bonding period that they are being denied through no fault of their own.
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I think all these arguments are valid and that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. The first and foremost important thing at school is attainment within your band of capability. It is the learning that is important, not the teaching, and not everyone is academically orientated. Many successful people were prophesised a life of doom when at school, which shows that there is more to learning and success than what is taught at school; indeed, as an employer, some of my best and most highly skilled craftsmen were no good at school, but through their work have become very skilled, able and rounded people on many levels, both inside and outside of work; becoming a credit to community and society.
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Personally, I would prefer to see a balance and some reasoned leniency that recognised achievement within a person’s academic capability and also recognised the value of family time and holidays, and the practical issues that some people face in this regard. We talk about work/life balance; this should also apply to school/ life too. What do you think?

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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