Ripley & Heanor News Column

As published in the Ripley & Heanor News, 28th November 2013

There seems to be a never ending stream of proposed changes to public services in Amber Valley at the moment.

We have the Fire Service seeking to close stations at Alfreton, Heanor and Crich in favour of a relocated station in Ripley. While I can understand in the current difficult funding climate public services looking at how they can deliver more for less, this proposal seems to do the opposite; it would cost £3mn up front and an extra £150k per year, and deliver a slower service for many high risk areas. I’ve met the Chief Fire Officer to set out my concerns and would urge constituents to send in their objections.

We’ve also recently learnt of overnight closures at Ripley Hospital and the temporary closure of Heanor Memorial Hospital due to asbestos issues. I have again met with the directors of the Derbyshire Community Health Services Trust to discuss these issues. While I can regrettably see the logic of an overnight closure at Ripley given the very low levels of use and difficulty in ensuring availability of specialist nurses, it’s vital that the health provision in Heanor is not reduced by the permanent closure of the hospital.

The Heanor Memorial Hospital site was gifted to the town after the First World War. As we’re about to mark the centenary of that war, it’s time to deliver enhanced health services in Heanor and I call on the Trust, the local GP consortium and the Councils to work to ensure more services are brought to Heanor – not services lost.

On a happier note the 7th of December is the first Small Business Saturday in the UK. This is a great initiate to support our high streets and future entrepreneurs. I’m planning to support small businesses across Amber Valley that day – let me know if want to nominate one for me to visit!