Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Saturday, 26th November 2016, 14:51

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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)

Mobile: 07918 757843
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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 – NOVEMBER 2016

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Dog Fouling
It has been brought to my notice, again, the prevalence of dog fouling around Northwood. I don’t need to say how unacceptable, to residents and visitors, the behaviour of dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs is. When we live in a civilised society, where everyone benefits from its processes and provisions, it is very difficult to understand the self-centred attitude of such people. But, we don’t have to put up with it – if anyone knows of a person who does not clear up after their dog, can they please let me know, with enough details that I can ensure they are taken to task and prosecuted, I will pursue the case. Any information that I am passed will keep the identity of the person telling me confidential (unless they wish me otherwise).
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Fixed Link Debate
I have had a few (very few) responses to my question about the fixed link debate, some for and some against. The against argument is based on the preservation of our Island way of life, and not wanting channels to be open to the things that are undesirable on the Mainland; crime, sense of urgency, loss of community, threat to our wildlife, and a feeling that the cost of the ferries was quite a reasonable price to pay for that protection afforded us in these regards. But, I was surprised that there was not such a widespread and strong response against as, I believe, there was a few years ago.
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Asking around, it seems that most people sympathise with the above views, but now accept that a link will inevitably happen, and that it is now necessary for support and enhancement of our Island life, that ferry fares and restrictions do not serve our interest as well as the addition of a fixed link would, but this should not allow a free-for-all which, effectively, would make us part of, and no different to, the Mainland. One gentleman, who prizes Island life, and, in his career, worked all around the world in major civil engineering projects, explained to me that the most practical means of connection to the Mainland would be via a tube, laid into a trench on the ocean floor, and in which trains could travel, linking up with the Mainland network. A tunnel, he explained, required boring, and would need a trajectory that would extend both its length and cost to an impractical and exaggerated levels. Having a train link would give us more control than an all vehicle link, and would complement the ferries, and make it easier to protect our wild life, providing the rapid link to the Mainland that we increasingly need to keep up with business, education, health and, even, government developments in this modern world.
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My personal view, which I think I can express now, is that we need to consider the things that make us unique and so attractive, so that we don’t become just an appendage to the Mainland. But, in order to survive and maintain the things that makes the Island so attractive, we cannot stand still whilst the rest of the world moves on (which would mean that we go backwards, in relative terms). Like most people, now, I believe that some sort of fixed link is inevitable, but all consideration must be given to the right type; one that will further enhance and enable Island people, and, particularly, encourage the establishment of business that will create decent waged jobs to boost our economy and provide meaningful employment for our youngsters without compromise to our unique and special environment. So, for me, a fixed link is not an end in itself; it must be a part of a much bigger vision that raises the Island, as a whole, and improves it in every desirable way.
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Community Wellbeing
There is, and has to be, a transformation in the way that we address Wellbeing. The model of it as being someone else’s responsibility is no longer sustainable (not that it ever was), and this is part of the trend of decentralisation, and devolution. The way forward is to build a fractal society, one in which the small replicates the big, and the big replicates the small, and, form a Wellbeing point of view; this means that individuals, business, interest groups, Town and Parish Councils, organisations and institutions, all take a responsible role as far as people’s health and wellbeing is concerned, supported by local area health and wellbeing coordinators. This can be in education and practice in dietary matters, exercise, and social networks, getting people to talk and encouraging mutual help, just like communities used to do before the advent of centralisation and the uplifting of responsibilities. If we can achieve this, it then frees our centralised authorities to do what they do best, to take care of the big things. In health, this would mean freeing our hospitals for acute and critical conditions, and medical centres for the treatment and monitoring of less severe and chronic conditions. This is happening, and we will all be part of it.

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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