It’s been a strange and unsettling few weeks with glorious sunshine and summer time temperatures, followed by six inches of snow that saw Buxton cut off.
Now it seems normal service has resumed, no sooner was High Peak declared a drought zone, than it started raining – and it has hardly stopped since!! Although at the time of writing the skies are clear and we look to be in for a lovely spring evening, with curlews whistling across the fields on Brown Edge Road.
Politically too the scene as been quite turbulent but in Buxton at least, Labour has a good story to tell, winning the Buxton central by-election and doubling our majority into the bargain – in a seat the Tories were convinced they would win back.
The significance of this win should not be underestimated, it leaves Labour still one short of overall control on High Peak Borough Council, but that’s considerably more secure than being two votes short.
So life the on the Council appears, for now at least, to have calmed down.
With the election over the Council was finally able to announce that the deal to develop The Crescent has finally been signed – and this week we’ve seen the first signs that work has started to repair and renovate this magnificent building. More about that in my HPBC Leader Blog: http://www.highpeak.gov.uk/hp/your-council/about-the-council/leaders-blog and in the official press release: http://www.highpeak.gov.uk/hp/news/historic-agreement-paves-way-for-crescent-development
It’s still not all plain sailing – as the project is still £5m short – thanks to the short sightedness of the Coalition Government in abolishing regional development agencies and failing to recognise the importance of this scheme through the Regional Growth Fund.
Perhaps fittingly we have also been able to announce plans to spend £3m bringing empty homes in Buxton back into use as affordable housing and offer apprenticeships to local people. The next step is to use this experience to bid for Government funding to extend the scheme to the rest of the borough.
As for the Tories and LibDems they are still trying to clear up the mess left by Chancellor George Osborne’s hapless and hopeless budget. First the Granny tax then it was the pasty tax, not to mention the cuts in working families tax credits which were announced before the Budget and will probably have the biggest single impact. If that wasn’t enough they had to create panic at the petrol pumps – and the Post Office, with the announcement that the cost of stamps will rise by 30%.
Locally the Tories ran a largely negative campaign in the by-election, seeking to frighten voters back into their fold. It didn’t work, partly because locally Labour is proving that it is listening to people, taking up their causes – and despite everything is helping to make a positive difference to people’s lives in High Peak.