Investment in new hub is good news 

Dear Sir, — We had our first flurry of snow last week but it didn’t stay for very long, and since then the weather seems to have improved a little, rather windy but with the sun shining nothing seems as bad. The first snowdrops are popping up around the town which is always a cheery sight, and daffodils look set to follow quite soon. At last spring is on the way.
Arriving at the letters pages in last week’s Chronicle I firstly noticed the length of the initial letter, and looking at the sender I saw it was none other than Biddulph’s Coun Jill Salt. 
Ploughing my way through the contents, I seriously thought it had the incorrect signature and was from a Leek councillor, but no that wasn’t the case. 
The reason for my scepticism was that while it is not good for the people of Leek and its close neighbours that Leek Hospital is to close, the fact that there is to be a big investment in a new hub is surely good news for all Moorlanders as this will provide state-of-the-art facilities to treat various ailments. 
It is a fact that there haven’t been beds at Leek Hospital for some substantial amount of time now, (a detail omitted from such a long letter). When there were beds, bearing in mind the weather conditions that can often be problematical such as intense fog or snow and ice, travel between Biddulph and Leek could not be guaranteed. 
In Biddulph we are fortunate to have two doctor’s practices in the town centre, a bus service that can take us to The Haywood Hospital walk-in centre, and our main hospital in Stoke, where the services referred to will doubtless be available. Why Coun Salt took up so much space in a Biddulph paper is rather odd, but no doubt she will have some response to give.
Since the general election, I detect a feeling of optimism, and Parliament does at last seem to be getting things moving in the right direction hopefully resulting in action on some of the promises made prior to the election. 
As you read this letter we are now an independent country, but I accept there is a very long way to go, and I also accept that there are many people who are less than happy that we have now removed ourselves from the rule of the European Union. 
But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if other countries follow our lead in due course. 
I am, of course, very pleased that most Europeans working here are welcome to continue provided they are registered, and it seems that many holiday companies are swamped with folk booking their holidays in Europe so things seem to have started well, and the leaders of our country seem to be showing an air of confidence.
A few items from Staffordshire County Council.
A decision has been made by the director of health and care to award a contract to provide the services of council-owned care homes to an external provider or to a council-owned local authority trading company.
Also the council wants to increase nursing home capacity for older people through council-owned nursing homes, to be operated by the local authority trading company or an external provider. 
As I mentioned in my letter last week our local highways group has requested that if you have faults to report please do this directly as this will ensure that highways has a correct information trail for future reference eg claims etc. The address to use is https://2.staffordshire.gov:uk/web/reportfault/divselectionheader.
As many of you are aware, community funding has been cut to £2,500 per county councillor and one or two people have been disappointed by the new way of applying for this funding, which is rather complicated.
I can advise that this is now being looked into for next May’s round of funding. 
In the meantime, it is announced that Tesco’s Bags Of Help programme opens for 2020, and grants are available to support a wide range of community groups, organisations, charities, schools and other not-for-profit organisations, so for further details why not apply to your local Tesco store. 
Applications are now open for Severn Trent’s Community Fund, and this new fund will give away more than £10m to charities and community groups over the next five years, and while I don’t have any contact details, I would suggest information could be found on Severn Trent’s website. There is money out there folks you just have to dig around to find it!
I shall be having my usual “drop in” session at the Conservative Club on Saturday morning from 10.30am to 11.30am and you are most welcome to call and make me aware of any problems or concerns you may have which I will be happy to either deal with directly or make sure they go to the right people to assist, other than that you can always email or call me as you have my details at the foot of this letter. Have a good week, not forgetting to keep a look out for anyone needing some tlc. — Yours faithfully,

(COUN) IAN LAWSON
Tel: 01782 522 614.
Mobile: 07553 293 343.
ian.lawson@staffordshire.gov.uk.