I went to the Area Panel meeting at St Swithun’s last night. We had a good discussion about the stations plans to restrict pedestrian access. There is massive local feeling against these proposals, yet in the end it seems that East Midlands trains could do it, as the land belongs to them. It is very important that we keep up the pressure on them so that they realise we are not a walkover. We don’t want to have to organise demonstrations at the station, but we will if we have too! The main result of the discussion was that the station manager would be invited to the next area panel meeting which we think will be on Tuesday 3rd June. Urban Flash will also be invited to this meeting, so they will hopefully further reinforce how unpopular the station will make itself if it goes ahead with the plans. We will also get a chance to question Urban Splash on their latest plans to make the Park Hill redevelopment more environmentally friendly, something I have been lobbying for since the plans were first published.
The main item on yesterday’s agenda was the new Area Action Plan for Manor, Castle and Woodthorpe. This is now in its second draft. The main theme in this is to develop a local worklessness programme. This is a worthy idea, but we shouldn’t just be challenging worklessness, as many of the jobs created by multi national corporations still leave people with little sense of self worth. We should be promoting “good work”, work that will improve our communities, and make them more sustainable and self sufficient.
I suggested that the Area Panel should seriously look at promoting schemes to make our housing stock, both private and council housing, more energy efficient. This would create jobs, alleviate poverty and reduce our carbon emissions all at the same time. A first phase might involve ensuring all roofs are properly insulated, but then we could go on to consider cavity wall insulation or enveloping for older houses that don’t have cavity walls. Individual householders are unlikely to tackle such a project, but if a scheme for a whole street was organised it might then become very much more affordable.
If you would like more information about making your home more environmentally friendly, pay a visit to South Yorkshire Energy Centre at Heeley City Farm. This is the centre that the Green Party ensured funding for in the Council budget- without the pressure from the two Green Councillors its future would be completely uncertain.