Drought and floods in the same week. But a proud month!

Drought and floods in the same week, it could only happen in this great country of ours.  Or as the Chaplin at the National Memorial Arboretum said to me at the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant, “Don’t blame me for the weather, I am not management, only sales!” At least the water is filling our reservoirs!

You should all feel proud this week following the signing of the county’s first Armed Forces Community Covenant at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.  Staffordshire has always had a proud military presence in the county and the Covenant is a dedicated commitment to our armed forces.  The signing is also well timed as over the coming years we will be welcoming thousands of personnel and their families as they are re-deployed to the county.

I’ve also been down to Birmingham at the West Midland Council, first to discuss how mutual organisations can help deliver services by bodies owned by employees, communities and customers, at a management steering group and again with the Association of Colleges in a discussion on colleges and their communities.

The Staffordshire Hoard featured on Time Team two weeks ago, showing how much more work has to be done. The Mercian Trial will help this great local history opportunity.

And don’t forget to watch out for the President narrow boat which will be flying the flag for Staffordshire in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant on 3 June.  We proudly waved her off last week on her 300-mile journey down to London.

Last week I spent more time on my own patch with a packed meeting in Stramshall about the proposed 87m tall wind turbine at Uttoxeter Quarry where residents made clear their objections in a calm professional manner. It looks like tourism fears are also to blow wind turbine plans off track in the Staffordshire Moorlands.  The plans have been thrown out amid concerns the towering structures would put off visitors.  They warned that the Moorlands could not be advertised as offering ‘stunning views over unspoilt countryside’ if the landscape was ‘turbinised’.

And there was lots of good news from Rocester village groups at the Annual Parish Meeting about a thriving and living rural community, village hall, Children’s Centre, allotments and Academy. I am glad I circulated an Annual Report to all the 14 Parish Clerks in Uttoxeter Rural Division as I cannot get round all of their Annual Meetings. And there is a lot to tell. At the Staffordshire’s Members Spring Event we heard about “Feeling the Difference” and “Exploring the Impact of Our Way of Working”, looking at what has been achieved so far in Staffordshire. These include in the last year investment in superfast broadband, Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, Staffordshire Cares, Integrated Trust, i54 South Staffordshire, £50m in highways and our new ways of working. We have also pledged to keep school meals at the same price until at least January 2013, bringing welcome savings for parents. 

And finally a bit closer to the farm, I have finished taking the last load of the 2011 harvest wheat to the mill. The 2012 harvest will be about the same time as the London Olympics.

Obviously the Olympic Games are fast approaching with the torch relay making its first appearance in the county on Wednesday 30 May.  It’s definitely a once in a life time opportunity, and I’d like to see everyone out on the streets celebrating and cheering the local torch bearers along.  Find out what’s happening in your area at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/2012

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