Dear David: Eight issues impacting our region that the Prime Minister needs to know about - what do you think?
09:24 17 January 2014
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013
As David Cameron prepares to visit the region, we look at eight ofthe key issues we are facing.
TRAINS: For too many years the region has suffered from a poor train service and the Norwich in 90 campaign - made up of key figures from Norfolk and Suffolk - have teamed-up to try and improve services from Norwich through to London. There is expected to be news on this today.
A47: Campaigners, including the EDP and Evening News, are calling for a raft of improvements to this key road, which would bring untold opportunities to places from Peterbrough, all the way to Lowestoft.
A11: This is one thing Mr Cameron will soon be able to tick off his list as complete dualling nears completion.
AMBULANCES: It is more than a year since we launched our Ambulance Watch campaign. There has been a high profile change of leadership, promises of more front-line staff, yet all is not still right and targets are being missed.
MENTAL HEALTH: An investigation by the EDP last autumn revealed that the Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust had ordered a review into the reasons behind a spike in unexpected deaths in Norfolk after 20 patients in their care died during a five-month spell. Yet GPs in charge of NHS purse strings have ruled out any significant increase in funding for mental health services.
NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL: The authority is wrestling with £189m worth of savings at the same time it is grappling with a number of big issues. King’s Lynn incinerator plans remain unresolved. A £169m government PFI credit was pulled last year, but the cabinet plans to continue with the project, however it is still waiting to hear if it will be given planning permission. Elsewhere social workers have been struggling to cope with “unmanageable” case loads in children’s services and Ofsted has also criticised the support it gives to schools.
FLOOD COMPENSATION: Norfolk and Suffolk councils are facing a huge costs in the clean-up operation following the floods at the beginning of December. There are concerns about the cost of fixing flood defences and the clean-up operation and DCLG will only cover some of those. With Environment Agency cutbacks, there are very real concerns about our ability to cope with future storm surges.
PHONE SIGNAL: Our communication infrastructure continues to be a problem in our rural area. Many communities still struggle to get a decent, if any, broadband connection.
Have your say on what issues matter to you by leaving a comment below.