Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Saturday, 26th May 2018, 12:09

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COUNCILLOR JOHN NICHOLSON

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Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South
Chairman of Policy & Scrutiny Committee for Adult Social Care & Health Committee

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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 – MAY 2018

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The Report appearing in the June 2018 edition of Northwood News:

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Northwood Business Regeneration Initiative
The Northwood business survey under the regeneration initiative is underway, and the results should be coming into the Parish quite soon. We cannot pre-judge what will come out of the survey, but we are expecting it to give us valuable information to be able to help and promote our businesses for the benefit of the local and wider Island community. The survey is, of course, just a start; a professional lead for the Parish to pick up on and continue to work with the businesses that employ local people and contribute to the wellbeing of our local economy and community.
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It is unusual for Northwood to be given prominence in such initiatives, but, with credit to our Parish Councillors, we were the first to recognise the opportunity and to get out name down, and we hope that our lead will inspire our neighbouring local councils to join the initiative, and so extend the regeneration initiative to the whole of the North end of the Medina valley.
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Celebrating Our Culture and Heritage
Many people think that Northwood is a sleepy village, where nothing much happens; a place that you just pass through. But, it wasn’t always like that. Those that know anything about the history of the Island and these parts will know that Northwood was, up until the end of the 19th Century, the principal location in this part of the Island, before Cowes became a town in its own right in its rise as one of the prominent sea-ports of its day.
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Northwood was also important because of its brickworks, and a recent exhibition, by Cowes Heritage, in Cowes library, on that theme, attracted a surprising amount of interest. During the war, of course, there was the airfield at Somerton, and Northwood played a significant part in the development of radar, and still does.
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There are many people who take interest in researching local history and you only have to talk with an elderly person who has resided in the area for most of their lives to get a fascinating, if not, surprising, insight to what used to be, and it is my wish, and that of others, to bring this heritage to life and into our cultural celebration.
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As the principal association for gathering and storing the local history of Northwood, Cowes and Gurnard, Cowes Heritage have their store and office in Three Gates Road, but more active members are needed to continue the association’s valuable work and to help bring our heritage to prominence. I am pleased to see places like Cowes Ale House, The Anchor and, now, the Harbour Commission take a hand in hosting exhibitions from local heritage sources that always fascinate visitors as to how rich and unique our culture here is, and it would be wonderful for other public places to join in that effort too, even if only in a small way.
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Understanding Our Healthcare System
I don’t think that anyone, starting out afresh, would think of organising our healthcare system in such a complicated manner as it has evolved into today. Even experts sometimes find it difficult to understand the chain of responsibility and accountability. This means that members of the public often direct their concerns to the wrong department. One example of this is with our care homes, where we have been rated the worst in the Country and people complain that the Council is responsible, but the mess that the system is in is that the Council only has direct control over its own care homes, and only has control over the places it pays for in other private homes. It has no direct control over private homes or private placements; it can, and it does, however, under its new directorship, work very hard at bearing influence, advocating best practice, but these efforts cannot be imposed, such is the system.
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This is not dissimilar to the system that has evolved with our schools, where the Local Authority has no jurisdiction over private academies, so protests like the recent one to support The Studio School in East Cowes, are misplaced if directed at the Council because the Academy Trust is autonomous, and its business decisions are not within the remit of the Council, although the Council does try to influence, link and support within the limitations of its reach.
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What is needed is sensible considered reform, to streamline Health and Education for the modern age in which we live, and, as citizens, we should, I believe, be constructive in aiding that process. You may note that the IW Health Service has announced a series of open meetings with the purpose of engaging with the wider community, and I would like to encourage local people to engage with this in a positive and constructive manner. That is not to say do not be critical, as constructive criticism can be most useful.

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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