Monday, 25 March 2013

Snow, snow and more snow and Ambulance Stations.

Snow, snow and more snow and Ambulance Stations.

Well if you haven't been watching the television, listening to the radio or just opening your curtains you may have missed the fact that the High Peak has been in the grip of quite arctic conditions. As usual for a modern western country, everything ground to a halt and everyone with a Facebook page or Twitter account (very guilty of this myself) announced that the snow had come, schools and roads were closed and no one could get anywhere. Just in case any of their Facebook friends didn't have a window to look out of.

I have to admit it's the first time that I have seen the A6 from Buxton to Dove Holes closed for so long.

Sky News did manage to get to Buxton and report on a crash on this part of the road. Sky News

People checked on their neighbours, elderly or otherwise, people emailed the local weather station webpage with traffic reports and local weather conditions Buxton Weather. As well as contacting the local radio station with how they were struggling to get through anywhere. And interesting point was the fact that regardless of how good your 4-wheel drive maybe. If you drive past a 'road closed' sign then you invalidate your insurance. So if you hit anything you pay for it.
A6 Buxton to Dove Holes Sat 23/03/13 around 19:45hrs

The wind seems to have been a problem, no sooner have the ploughing and gritting teams cleared a stretch of road than 15 minutes later the wind has replaced the cleared drifts with brand new ones. I do feel a certain amount of sympathy for the ploughing teams as they have had quite an extensive King Canute battle with the weather over the past few days. As well as having their lives put at risk by people ignoring 'road closed' signs. It has snowed for nearly 72 hours none stop. As the clouds have cleared there is a chance for everyone to get back on top of things, however, the BBC have said that there maybe more snow before the end of the week!
Here's some photos of the weekend.

Buxton Town Hall
Pavillion Gardens, Buxton


A6 Buxton-Dove Holes

Ploughing the A6 Buxton-Dove Holes
The mountain rescue teams from Edale, Buxton and Derby have all been busy, helping where they can. They assisted Derbyshire Police on friday night on the A515 Buxton - Ashbourne road, with many driver stuck due to snowdrifts or jack knifed lorries. On Sunday they assisted EMAS and the police helicopter in getting to a lady who had broken both her wrists in a fall.

Chief Inspector Tracy Harrisson said   “We would like to thank mountain rescue teams and all local volunteers for their valued assistance in helping to clear the roads and keep motorists safe, especially at a time when emergency services are stretched due to the volume of calls.”

They have also rescued farmers who were snowed in and running out of fuel as well as people staying in holiday cottages who had run out of food. Buxton Mountain Rescue Edale Mountain Rescue

A big thank you from me as well.

EMAS East Midlands Ambulance Service

East Midlands Ambulance service have now decided what they are going to do with the stations in the High Peak area. They are going to keep a station in the High Peak. They met stiff opposition to their proposals EMAS 'Being the Best' from people throughout the High Peak area. As well as the wider area of the East Midlands ITV Controversial Ambulance Talks

The details are that they will keep a High Peak ambulance station, where this is or how it will be manned is not revealed.

They have different levels of 'station'.

There are ambulance hubs where ambulances can start and finish their shifts, along with make ready crews, mechanics, deep clean teams if anything needs addressing.

Then there are ambulance stations where ambulances are garaged and start and finish their shifts.

Then there are community ambulance stations which are nothing like they sound, they are just standby points, comments on the Buxton Advertisers web page that there are currently not enough staff or vehicles to cover all the areas throughout the East Midlands Buxton Advertiser

There will be 9 hubs, 19 ambulance stations and 108 community ambulance stations throughout the East Midlands area.

There are three standby points sorry Community Ambulance Stations in the High Peak, one in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith and one in New Mills. Does this mean that the High Peak ambulance stations will only have three ambulances? EMAS doesn't appear to be saying.

Currently in New Mills there is a patient carrying ambulance (what EMAS refers to as a DCA, I don't know what it stands for) and a 4x4 car. In Buxton there are three ambulances and another 4x4 car. So if we have just three ambulances or perhaps three (and watch the wording here) ambulance vehicles that's half the number we already have. Not quite sure how that is going to improve patient care. If one of the patient carrying ambulances is swapped for a response car I'm sure the response times will improve which will make things look good for EMAS. However, if you need transporting to hospital quick sharp it's not much use.

Before all the campaigners start celebrating the victory of keeping their ambulances in the High Peak area, I think checking out the small print first would be good.

With the recent events I'm sure EMAS have factored into their decision that we need more not less cover in the High Peak area. And if Dove Holes is your choice of location for the ambulance station Mr Milligan EMAS Chief then check out the photo's above and see how the response times may fall even further (currently 73% for Buxton, should be 75%) if positioned there.

Looking at a map in Nottingham all very well and good but it doesn't beat knowing the local geography.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Snow and wind and not much else.

Snow and wind and not much else.

Today we were hit with the snow storm that is crossing the UK at the moment. I went out to fill the car up at around 0630hrs this morning. The side streets admittedly weren't great, but the main A6 Buxton to Dove Holes (Fairfield Road) route was fine. Stopped at Morrissons to get some more unleaded and then back home. I saw snowploughs and gritters.

Buxton weather station has a site  Buxton weather site link which is updated every 10 minutes or so, where they post traffic reports too, as usual the A537 Buxton to Macclesfield road, Buxton to Leek roads the A53 Axe Edge and A54 were shut due to the weather. The problem seems to have been the wind mainly blowing drifts into awkward places across the routes. A crash outside Hayfield also seemed to have slowed things down.

Then off to do some shopping around 0930hrs, over to Harpur Hill to Redferns the Farm Shop Redferns Farm Shop , listening to High Peak Radio  as I went for any updates weather or traffic wise High Peak Radio 

Passing a chap who appeared to have a bump on St John's Road, no one hurt, I did stop and ask. I passed through Burbage to where a large traffic sign noting that the Cat & Fiddle and Axe Edge roads were closed to snow. Just in case any driver didn't notice the blizzard they were currently driving through. I travelled down Grin Low one of the roads which are described as passable with care and up into Harpur Hill. Harpur Hill was in dire need of ploughing. Several lorries appeared stuck and the local bus was struggling but managed to get through, well done that driver.

After Redferns, I joined the A515 which was delightfully clear of snow and carried on into Buxton to stop at a friends to help him out with the weather. The B5059 West Road and Macclesfield Road were not in a great state and another route in need of ploughing at that time. Then onto to check on other friends and a spot of shopping at Aldi. Then I started to see the ploughs, some big, some land rovers with a scoop on the front and also a quad ploughing the pavements. I was very impressed and I thank Derbyshire County Council's ploughmen for their stoicism in fighting the blizzard.

The current temperature is still -1'C, but the snow has thankfully stopped and the wind is playing with what it can to make drifts. Most roads are clear and gritted, still be careful when you are driving. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

More on the Ambulance Changes

Well I have had a look at the information provided by East Midlands Ambulance Service, obviously it covers the whole of the East Midlands, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leciestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire. The bit I'm interested in is the High Peak area of Derbyshire and there is a not so skillfully placed blob on one of the maps noting a High Peak ambulance station. It appears to have been positioned in the 'pin the tail on the donkey' method of highlighting a location. It does note that there will be community ambulance stations in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith and New Mills. Whaley Bridge was mentioned in the 1st proposals instead of New Mills, but it would appear EMAS have amended their positioning of these community ambulance stations.

Before get too happy at these 'community ambulance stations' being located in places that did not have an ambulance station present like Chapel-en-le-Frith a community ambulance station is a standby point. While driving through the High Peak I have seen the ambulances on standby at the Bridgemont roundabout on the A6 as well as the Chapel roundabout near the Fallow Deer pub. As well as at the bottom of Fairfield Road in Buxton, in the car park where the ROSPA chaps hang out and on Long Hill the A5004 between Buxton & Whaley Bridge. These 'community ambulance posts' already exist in the form of laybys around the High Peak area.

The thing that interests and concerns me is that it doesn't, and I'll admit I may have missed it in the 80+ pages of facts and figures, the amount of vehicles we would have. Currently we have three ambulances and a 4x4 car running out of Buxton, and another ambulance and 4x4 car running out of New Mills. If they assume a vehicle at each 'community ambulance point' that would halve the number of vehicles we currently have? Surely that wouldn't improve any response times in the High Peak?

Other issues of note is that the nearest ambulance station to us outside of the High Peak is Bakewell and that is moving to Matlock! So if we need back up in the High Peak it won't becoming from Bakewell as it's disappearing, if the report is to be believed in early April 2013.

Also the paramedics that retire appear to be replaced by ECA's (emergency care assistants), EMAS are no longer using EMT's (emergency medical technicians) . An ECA is someone who can help the paramedic and drive the ambulance. Whereas a EMT can do the same but has also more training and can treat a patient themselves. Most paramedics did several years as an EMT before progressing to paramedic. My feelings is if a paramedic and ECA arrive at a car crash they can treat only one patient (in theory), if a paramedic and EMT arrive then they can treat two. Something pointed out by John Mann MP John Manns concerns posted by the BBC something that the ambulance service in Yorkshire is prepared to strike over Strike action by ambulance staff in Yorkshire. 

Protests are still going on across Derbyshire, focused on the Amber Valley where the proposals have left a gaping hole regarding cover  Amber Valley Council

I agree with EMAS on one point that something needs to be done, they are the worst performing ambulance service in the country, however the staff appear to be under so much pressure that they are reaching breaking point Ambulance staff off with stress.

As I have said before I hope EMAS prioritise the care of patients and staff over hitting targets.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

East Midlands Ambulance Service Ambulance Changes.

East Midlands Ambulance Service have finally published their proposals for changes to their ambulance station structure in their 'Being the Best' public consultation. New EMAS proposals can be downloaded here.

I have been watching this from afar and was present at the meeting on Pavillion Gardens in Buxton when the Chief Executive fielded questions from the public. I was at the back as usual keeping a low profile. People were not happy and to be honest you could see why. The changes would have left the High Peak without an ambulance station currently in Buxton and New Mills. They were going to remove these and base everything in Chesterfield the rumour was near Junction 29 on the M1. Needless to say there were plenty of objections and with the Peakland weather the way it is one can see why. Seen mainly as cuts cunningly disguised as efficiency savings. However it looks that High Peak will get an ambulance station. Whether it will be manned with the same amount of vehicles and staff will be another question I guess.

Various petitions in the form of e-petitions, personal ones on peoples websites and the good old signatures in the street were submitted. According to High Peak Radio 870 people from the High Peak wrote to EMAS of which 12 thought the changes were a good idea and the remainder 858 thought not and objected. Also half the population of New Mills and Hayfield signed a paper petition to save their station which is based at the retained fire station in New Mills. A Facebook group was set up which quite quickly gained pace Save High Peak Ambulance Stations with nearly 3000 members.

Not just the locals objected, a strong objection from Andrew Bingham MP Andrew Bingham's website as well as Derbyshire County Council and the more local High Peak Borough Council. Caitlin Bisknell leader of the High Peak council has this to say about the latest proposals Caitlin's Blog. Across the political spectrum councillors and MP's from throughout the East Midlands have objected to the changes. As well as the soon to be disbanded PCT's, GP's and other medics who see the changes as absurd. No doubt the local paper will have some information in it as well this coming Thursday.

One Unison person told Sea Duck that EMAS really hadn't expected the amount of objection from various sectors throughout the East Midlands and were amazed at the degree of opposition.

I do hope that the EMAS executive have got their sensible heads on when it comes to deciding this matter and not get hung up on hitting targets rather than meeting the needs of the people they serve. It's not about hitting targets it's about caring for the patients. We get the final answer Monday 25th March 2013.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Previous blogs

This is just a bit of what I have blogged about before, my blog really has been in hibernation for nearly two years. Here's what I wrote before hand from the 24th June 2010 to 7th July 2011

A cyber blog
The Papers
A friend from one of Buxton’s local newsagents has noted that today no one appears to be buying the Sun or the Times. Is there a backlash against not just the News of the World but it’s parent company? I think we’ll know more in a week or so.

Yes to Tesco, No to Tesco and three bags.

The No to Tesco campaign seems unchanged with letters in the paper the other week and the Facebook Group growing. More of the ‘No to Tesco’ posters and signs are appearing around Buxton. A rumour has it that there are now 90 of them outside shops. However, it appears that they are not having it all their own way. A new group supporting a Tesco in Buxton, with posters has appeared on Facebook.

The group has fewer members than the no campaign and I haven’t seen any ‘Yes to Tesco’ posters around Buxton but there are those commenting on the page saying that they have printed them off and posted them. The group does seem to have a large number of students who are not from the Buxton area. The group has or is advertising on Facebook with Facebook adverts. Something the ‘No’ campaign took note of and followed with their own ad campaign on the social networking website.
I am a little surprised that the Yes and No campaigns haven’t yet filtered through to the Twitter network?
The Yes campaign is being assisted, it appears by a PR group based in Manchester. Whether local people in Buxton run it is unclear, though many have voiced their support on the page. High Peak Radio news is running a Facebook vote on whether people want a Tesco or not. At present 78 people have voted ‘Yes’ and 71 people have voted ‘No.’ The vote was posted on the 23rd of June and is still running it appears.
I am meeting more people who want a Tesco. Though most don’t like the look of the building, they see Tesco providing employment, add variety to the shopping options available in Buxton and supply things that they have to purchase off the internet mostly DVD’s, Blue Ray and CD’s. One chap noted he already worked for one of our supermarkets and wished he could find a job in the same line of work but with better prospects and was all for a Tesco.

Both the groups seem to be growing, as more people get involved. An interesting thing is the discussion. The ‘Yes to Tesco’ site only posts Tesco positive comments from people, if someone posts an argument against Tesco it is deleted. Whereas the ‘No to Tesco’ site allows people to post comments and their reasons for wanting a Tesco, which are then argued out and discussed. This leads to the effect that the ‘No to Tesco’ group seems more real than the other one.

Not a mention of it in the Advertiser this morning apart from page 18, with a picture Jeff Perks winning entry in a sculpture contest. Totally absent of any letters.

But enough of this cyber sleuthing, what about the real world? Well the other week Sea Duck decided to go to Tesco in Whaley Bridge to do his weekly shop. One of the things that I was delighted to see was that you do not need a token or pound coin to get a trolley. They had a huge range of products, some that I wasn’t able to get in the shops in Buxton. The prices were a little higher than I was used to paying, the fresh fruit and veg has lasted as long as can be expected for such things. The chillis did seem to mature a little in the fridge though. Service was marvellous, the young lady who helped catch one of the ducklings I had brought with me as they made a bid for the biscuits aisle and the other young lady who served me at the till. Both were very nice, friendly, chatty and helpful. My only downside to the shop was I witnessed a shopper at the fishmongers asking how to cook the mussels they had bought only to be told by the person behind the counter that they didn’t know? Also it was around £6.00 more than I would usually pay (but I did buy quite a bit.) Parking was not a problem, even with the ducklings. I would certainly go again.

Our local councillors seem to be very quiet on the subject. Not a bad point as I’m sure they have to been seen as neutral in the planning application process. Whereas they have been very vocal in the Corbar birthing centre campaign.

A noble quest

Quite a bit to blog about, the post election in the High Peak, the joy at seeing the swallows, swifts and house martins return. The fact that the local PCT is thinking of closing down the Cobar birthing unit, something Sea Duck was aware of before it hit the paper the previous Thursday, I suppose I could have had a scoop but never mind. However, it was the current Tesco discussion that really caught my eye. There are many posters and banners saying 'No to Tesco.' Quite a condescending letter from a Mr Magee of Tesco in the Advertiser the previous week with responses from the public this week. Mr Magee noted that the majority of people in Buxton wanted Tesco, something that I don't think he thought through, I've met two, one of which changed their mind when I told them about the other places to shop.

So I set out on a quest, for a bacon sandwich, more precisely for 1lb (1 pound, that’s 453.59 grams in new money) of streaky bacon (unsmoked) to make it with.

In Buxton we have the following places to shop.

On or around Spring Gardens; -
The Co-op, Waitrose, Aldi, Iceland, Marks & Spencer, Lomas

On or around the Market Place; -
Mycocks the butchers, Burnham the butchers, The Co-op, Sainsbury's.

The surrounding area
We have Redferns farm shop in Harpur Hill and Morrison’s on Bakewell Road. There is also the Tesco express at the Esso garage on London Road.

Online companies who deliver to the High Peak area; -
Tesco online, Sainsbury’s online, Asda online.

A total of 16 retailers that I could buy my bacon from.  There are other places smaller off-license shops to buy from, but I didn’t have time to get around them all. I came back with the following results and a large amount of bacon, making my arteries shake with fear.

Spring Gardens

The Co-op                (they didn’t have any streaky bacon!)
Marks & Spencers       £4.00 for 300g that’s £6.05 per lb
Aldi                              £0.99 for 250g that’s £1.80 per lb
Lomas                          £1.10 for 184g that’s £2.71 per lb
Iceland                         £1.50 for 305g that’s £2.23 per lb
Waitrose                      £1.79 for 275g that’s £2.95 per lb

Market Place

Mycocks                      £3.00 for 453g that’s £3.00 per lb
Burnham                       £2.35 for 453g that’s £2.35 per lb
The Co-op                    (they didn’t have any streaky bacon either)
Sainsbury’s                   £1.00 for 135g that’s £3.36 per lb

Buxton Area

Morrisons                     £1.74 for 250g that’s £3.18 per lb
Redferns                       £2.23 for 453g that’s £2.23 per lb


Tesco online                 £1.74 for 250g that’s £3.18 per lb (plus the cost of delivery, not revealed without logging in)
Sainsbury’s online        £1.98 for 300g that’s £2.99 per lb (plus the cost of delivery, up to £5.50 for Saturday)
Asda online                  £1.74 for 250g that’s £3.18 per lb (plus the cost of delivery, not revealed without logging in)

So there you have it, should you too go on a quest for some streaky bacon.

The letters in the local paper, the Advertiser, were from a variety of people; I doubt that the other businesses in Buxton are looking forward to a large Tesco opening. As I have listed we already have 16 other places to shop this doesn’t include the pet shops, bakers, clothes shops, newsagents etc. Would Tesco be good for Buxton? I’m not sure, they would (so they say) bring in 200+ jobs to the town, which we sorely need. But would there be lay-off from other retailers? Would the closing of the local shops effect our standing as a tourist place? Simply would Tesco be good for High Peak Borough Council with regard to investment and tax but not good for Buxton? This could be the first test for the new Labour administration. I can remember the backlash against the councillors at the previous local elections who voted for the food store at Pavilion gardens, which was very unpopular. Then again with Buxton mineral Water moving to Waterswallows who else could take their previous building on?

The Election Results.
The results for the Buxton area of the High Peak in the High Peak Borough Council elections are as follows.

Rachael Quinn     Labour          329 votes     Elected
Bill Barratt          Conservative  247 votes
Turnout 37.25%

John Faulkner     Conservative 566 votes     Elected
Ian Hamilton       Labour          291 votes
Turnout 44.64%

Philip Ashmore   Labour              566 votes     Elected
Chris Payne        Labour              466 votes     Elected
Bill Fiddy           Conservative      455 votes
Bob Morris        Conservative      452 votes
Matthew Bain    Green                190 votes
Peter Ashenden  Lib Dems          150 votes
Turnout 36.18%

Linda Baldry     Conservative       748 votes     Elected
Tony Kemp       Conservative       743 votes     Elected
Martin Thomas  Labour               535 votes
Chris Weaver    Lib Dems            336 votes
Turnout 47.21%

Lynn Stone       Labour               556 votes     Elected
Keith Savage    Labour               525 votes     Elected
Colin Boynton  Conservative       521 votes
Linda Gooby    Conservative      506 votes
Turnout 38.55%

Caitlin Bisknell  Labour               673 votes     Elected
Fiona Sloman   Labour               616 votes     Elected
Pam Reddy      Conservative      356 votes
Mick Reddy     Conservative      341 votes
Turnout 32.77%

Emily Thrane   Conservative       524 votes Elected
Roger Cooper Labour                272 votes
Turnout 53.8%

High Peak Borough council is now a council where there is no overall control. A hung council I guess.
Turnout doesn't appear to be great, but according to High Peak Borough council's website only Buxton
Central ward showed a drop in turnout.
In some areas, like Buxon Central and Cote Heath it appears to have been very close with only 4 votes in
deciding who was elected. In other areas like Stone Bench it was very clear victory (in that case for Labour).
One cannot help wondering if more people stood what the result would have been. In Buxton Central only one
Lib Dem stood for the two places as well as one Green. In Cobar ward only one Lib Dem and one Labour stood
would more candidates have increased they're election 'potential' if they had more candidates? In Stone Bench
no Lib Dems and no Greens stood. Is that because they had no one interested? They thought they wouldn't do very
well therefore didn't stand? Did the voters who would have voted Lib Dem vote for Labour or the Conservatives?
Did other factors like new comer Mr Payne joining in the 'No to Buxton Tesco' campaign win him some votes,
Matthew Bain of the Greens also noted he was against the new Tesco's, but he came fifth out of six in Buxton Central
Hmm, there is change afoot but not as large or as quick as I think some people were suspecting. The party
results are:-

Conservative      15
Lib Dems           3
Labour               21
Independents      4

Labour are the biggest party in the council.
So far today
Well Sea Duck voted today, first thing in the morning. I always vote even if I don't agree with the candidate I vote for 100%. I try to pick the nearest one to what I want. I try to encourage others to vote as well.

My own exit poll (people I have bumped into and had a chat with, a total of five) show votes for the Conservatives, Lib Dems
the Greens and Independents.

YouGov show that voting intention shows a fall of 4% for the Conservatives at 34%, a rise of 16% for Labour at 38%, a fall of 11% for the Lib Dems at 13% and others on 15% of the vote. But local elections are fought on local issues (see my previous blog).

With regard to the AV referendum it really does seem to be neck and neck from the people I have spoken to
much too close to call. We'll find out soon I guess.
Local Elections (Buxton)

We now have a list of the candidates for the local elections for Buxton at High Peak Borough council.

In BARMS ward which covers Fairfield Road, Waterswallows, Nunsfield Road, the area of Fairfield near these roads
north towards Fairfield Road and Waterswallows road from Queens Road that leads into the estate. You can vote for
just one candidate from the choices of Bill Barratt Conservative and Rachael Quinn Labour.

In BURBAGE ward which covers quite a large area, covering the majority of the Goyt Valley up to the Cheshire boarder,
the A5004 from where it turns into Long Hill rather than Manchester Road, stopping at Fernilee. Burbage of course, also
St John's Road as far as Gadley Lane and the last third of Macclesfield Road. Landmanlow, Brandside and Dove Head
Hindlow, Sterndale Moor. You can vote for just one candidate from the choices of John Faulkner Conservative
and Ian Hamilton Labour.

In BUXTON CENTRAL ward which stretches from the railway station up the A515 to West Road and Byron Street, to
Hartington Road and Dukes Drive. You can vote for two candidates from the choices of Peter Ashenden Lib Dems,
Philip Asmore Labour, Matthew Bain Green, Bill Fiddy Conservative, Bob Morris Conservative and Christopher James
Payne Labour.

In COBAR ward which stretches from the A5004 Manchester Road, St John's Road as far as Gadley Lane. Macclesfield Road
as far as Burlington Road. The areas surrounding Cobar road, Lightwood Road and Brown Edge Road. You can vote for two
candidates Linda Baldry Conservative, Tony Kemp Conservative, Martin Thomas Labour and Christopher Weaver Lib Dems.

In COTE HEATH ward which covers the housing around Heath Grove and Sherwood Road, Harpur Hill, Cowdale and King
Sterndale, the housing around Central Drive and Staden. You can vote for two candidates from the choices of 
Colin Boynton Conservative, Linda Grooby Conservative, Keith Edward Savage Labour and Lynn Stone Labour.

In STONE BENCH ward which covers Fairfield estate from Queens Road to Grandby Road. As well as Lesser lane and
Redgap Lane. You can vote for two candidates from Caitlin Bisknell Labour, Mick Reddy Conservative, Pam Reddy
Conservative and Fiona Sloman Labour.

In TEMPLE ward which covers the housing from Macclesfield Road to Solomon's Temple and West Road and London Road
as far as the cottage hospital towards Solomon's Temple. You can vote for just one candidate from the choices of
Roger Cooper Labour and Emily Thrane Conservative.

Information taken from the Buxton Advertiser of Thursday 29th April 11 and

Interestingly when I have spoken to local people most are disillusioned with the whole thing. Most have not even considered the
AV referendum. One of the things seems to be the lack of variety of people and parties to vote for, where's the Monster
Raving Loony Party when you need them. The main local issue seems to be the building of Tesco at the Buxton Mineral water plant in Buxton.
And that a large part of the local population seem to see it as a threat to their jobs in the retail/tourist sector in Buxton. Anti-social behaviour when the pubs close, usually this is aimed at the students of Derby University. A little unfair as I'm sure it's not just them. The pot holes galore that cover the
roads, Hardwick Mount is in dire need of re-tarmacing.

So far I have only had leaflets from the local Conservatives and Labour and the no to the AV referendum through the door.
The Labour ones had to be reassembled after someone else in our block of flats tore them up. Very similar leaflets saying that
the Conservative controlled council isn't clearing the roads of snow and not collecting the bins (I can remember the same under the council
when it was labour controlled). The Conservative leaflet noted that these were not anything to do with High Peak borough Council.
That these are County Council issues? (Which is under conservative control).

Also the lack of healthcare, people are missing a proper hospital (however, plans are in place to provide this) and what appears (from
anecdotal evidence) of a lack of patient carrying ambulances in the area.

The issue regarding the local Buxton swimming pool which is constantly covered in the local paper the Advertiser and the delay in getting it ready. Doesn't seem to be as big an issue as the paper makes out. People seem to accept that more work was needed on it than was first
thought and that they accept that this caused a delay in it reopening? Most people seem to want a council that doesn't snoop on them, will not raise the council tax and make it fairer for families and gets the bins emptied at no extra cost. The recycling seems to
be an issue with most Buxtonians happy to recycle but would like to go back to weekly bin collections for mainly health reasons? Is there any evidence of the fortnightly collections leading to an increase in viral, bacterial infections? I don't know. I know that

Quite a bit to blog about going on in the High Peak. One of the main discussions seems to be about the new Tesco proposal. The Buxton Advertiser had an article in it noting that this would increase footfall into the town centre of Buxton by 20,000 per week.However, the Sea Duck is going to look into this a little further and I may blog about this later.

The thing that has caught my eye this week is the emerging discussion on the Alternative Vote (A.V. referendum.) As far as I am aware this means that if someone has more than 50% of the vote from an area they are elected handsdown. However, if no one has 50%+ then the candidate with the least votes has their second options added to the others until someone has 50%+ and is elected.
Does this mean that the person elected will be more favoured by the voters in their area? Or would it lead to second favourites winning? Will this mean that those wishing to be elected have to work harder for your vote or will it lead to more negotiations in back rooms away from the electorate.
The political parties in favour of AV are Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Greens, English Democrats, Christian Peoples Alliance, and Respect.

The political parties against AV are Conservatives, DUP, BNP, and the Communist Party.

The political parties that are currently undecided are UKIP, SNP, Alliance party, Sinn Fein, Jury Team and the Monster Raving Loony party.

Though various members of the above listed parties are for or against AV regardless of their 'party's' stance.

This May's local elections should be interesting enough and now with the referendum, even more so.
Happy New Year (ish)

Hi well this blog has been dormant over the winter period so it's hight time it came out of hibernation and commented on a few things happening here in the High Peak. We have local council elections this year, there appears to be road works around that are going to cause delays for months, new 'legal' high's on the streets causing people to come on to the police radar and escorted to the nearest A&E. Mountain Rescue are busier than usual. We're all facing cuts and fuel price rises. There's alot to comment on and discuss.
Also Spring is on its way (well at least today it looks like it), we've got the various well dressings and festivals around the High Peak area to look forward to. It's a new year with new challenges and oppertunities and experiences to be had.
So lets not get too glum about things at the moment, though the general media would it seems like us to.

So what's to come?

Who knows but we'll find out sooner or later. how these cuts are going to effect us personally and as a community. Which political animals will jump on and off the various band wagons that arrive (the latest being the VAT rise). What local developments we will have with regard to new housing, quarries etc. What will disrupt and what will enhance?

I hope 2011 brings everyone the best oppertunities for themselves and their familes. So let's let the year begin and hopefully we'll all be off to a good start.

Solstice Budget and the Kinder Boggart.

Well we've had our emergency budget, using the BBC Budget calculator ( it appears me and Mrs Sea Duck are about £200 better off over the year. Obviously not all are pleased with the budget. Most of the 'savings' are from spending cuts. But what are the cuts, I think we are not going to see the full effect of this budget for well over a year. The union UNISON noted that the cuts would mean the loss of between 300,000 to 400,000 public service jobs. Some thing which would no doubt echo onto the private sector with these people no longer spending, everything from buying houses to shopping at the local newsagent. We are told that the weakest and most vunerable in our society will be protected, but surely these are the people who most rely on public services? Then again private sector workers have had to bite the bullet with regard to perks, wage rises etc in light of the recession, can we expect any less of the public sector workers? One thing that I found interesting is that people on a joint income of £83,000 will not longer get tax credits, I am so surprised that they were eligible in the first place. I hope there will be a common sense approach to the budget, for example I would hate to see the NHS walk-in centres in the High Peak and the Buxton cottage hospital to disappear. With the nearest major hospitals in Chesterfield, Macclesfield, Tameside and Stockport these medical facilities are essentials in the High Peak area.

Having spoken to various people it would seem that they are accepting of this budget rather than liking it. They see these cuts in public spending as an inevitable consequence to living beyond our means for so long. I know Labour say this is a global recession and I do agree with that, but the previous govenment cannot however wash it's hands of the fact that this country was in poor health to weather this financial storm. Speaking of the politics of the budget, I have spoken to several Lib Dem voters, some first timers in voting for the party, they do not feel betrayed by them, they are quite happy with what the Lib Dems are doing in government. As I noted at the start I think we will have to wait and see how hard these cuts hit us and where the save the most money and do the most damage. Of course you have the chance, if you are a public sector worker, to suggest where these savings could be at

Big Cats

There is a report of a big cat sighting near Buxton, the Beast of Buxton if you will. Not the first one that I have heard of either. There have been a number of sightings over the years around LadyBower and also sightings reported in the aptly named 'Cat and Fiddle' road the A537. I know that the remains of European Lynx have been found in Lathkill Dale, Creswell Crags and just over the border in the Manifold Valley, but these were found to be around 9000+ years old when carbon dated. These big cat/beast sightings remind me of the mythical Kinder Boggart, a black dog usually seen as a portent of doom. Not really encouraging considering the budget and the state of the countries finances.