Louise Baldock

Standing up for Stockton South

Louise Baldock, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Stockton South

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This is the response I have made formally to the consultation:

Having spoken to the Chief Executive at length, along with some of the clinical commissioners, I can certainly see the need for improved hospital services. I understand the drive for en-suite rooms and for larger theatre space and larger recovery rooms for instance.

And I can see the attraction in a new hospital with all the added benefits that would bring but I remain to be absolutely convinced that it is the only answer.

However, starting with the assumption that there does have to be a new hospital, I have major issues with the plans as they were proposed back in 2010.

 

1. I am very unhappy with Wynyard as the proposed site. I can see that it is physically central to the communities it strives to serve, but it is also inaccessible to the vast majority of those communities too in my view. I don’t rightly know how patients or their visitors, or workers, will get there.

I seek to represent patients at the southern end of the Trust area and many of them are already struggling with bus services. For instance I met a lady a few weeks ago who is a pensioner on £88 per week. Her husband has been in North Tees for 6 weeks already. She lives in Kirklevington where there is no bus service and it is already costing her a lot of money in taxis to Yarm for on-buses to the hospital. Sometimes she has to get a taxi all the way. Wynyard is about as far away as it is possible to be for her. Likewise for many Ingleby Barwick residents bus services to North Tees are long and tortuous. Just going to Stockton town centre can take 40 minutes on its own. Evening services are the ones first to be cut and yet that is when most visiting times are.

For car drivers many of them south of the river in Thornaby, Yarm, Ingleby and the villages will inevitably be using the A19 and that has been subject to endless road closures in the last year.

Here are just a few from only the last few weeks for instance.

It was closed on

27th November after a six vehicle crash on the flyover

28th November after a two vehicle crash on the flyover

and again on the same evening on the southbound carriageway, close to the A174 Parkway turn-off after a three vehicle collision.

Further delays were caused when another vehicle broke down on the northbound carriageway of the A19, close to the A174 Parkway, just before 6pm.

11th December at Ingleby Arncliffe, closing the A19 all the way to the Parkway after a crash

17th December on A19 at Thornaby/Acklam turn off after four vehicle crash.

25th December on A19 at Thornaby Acklam with a woman threatening to jump off the bridge

and again today near Osmotherley with long tail backs after a car crash up as far as the Parkway

And that is just a few that I have spotted. It seems almost every morning it is reported and the delays caused by the unexpected closure of Newport Bridge were very well documented. They went on for months.

Given that Wynyard will be accessible from the A19 first and foremost this is a big concern and would be a problem for all drivers, whether in a car, a bus or indeed an ambulance.

I know you have made efforts to put together a ten year transport plan but this is not a hospital with a ten year life span. I understand that the patient bus service between North Tees and James Cook is already under threat if it has not already actually been axed, so how are we going to manage if a new hospital is even further away? And what happens after those ten years?

I would like to see a detailed risk assessment about the long term plans for accessibility and transport. Also a detailed Equality Impact Assessment with full mitigation planning.

The point is that nobody can walk to Wynyard, nobody can just pop in, nobody can go on their bike either. It has to be reached by vehicle and we are simply not geared up for that. I would also like to reiterate my desire for free parking if this does go ahead at this location. Money should be found for extra land to make this possible if it does come to pass.

So my first conclusion is that if we are to have a new hospital, it should not be in Wynyard. I would have much less issue with a new hospital if it were located in Stockton.

 

2. My second concern is over PFI. I think any new hospital would need to be funded through a different mechanism. Whether that is through general taxation, through a Government long term infrastructure plan or some other means. I want to avoid PFI in future projects because I don’t believe it gives value for money.

 

3. A third area of concern is that we should all be clear about the actual need for a new hospital as opposed to a major upgrade.

We need to explore fully what improvements can be made to North Tees so that it becomes once again fit for purpose. I would like to see a piece of work undertaken which looks at which improvements would be the most desirable and have the biggest impact and then assess whether they can be physically and affordably carried out to the existing building or site.  I note that the Trust will find £50m for an immediate programme of works.

Please can you say what those works will be and how far they will go to address the current needs?

How much more cash would we need to find to do everything you would want to do in Hardwick if you stayed there?

 

4. Fourthly I want to know how the building of a new hospital might affect any potential mergers with South Cleveland NHS Trust, or any other sub-regional provision of acute care. For instance, there are some voices within Health Care at the moment suggesting that a long-term view of hospital services might involve local A&Es with walk in centre and primary care also on offer within a neighbourhood, where specialised services might be provided on a wider geographical level. So one hospital might be a specialist for cancer, another for heart, another for children, another for maternity and so on. There would be savings in terms of senior executive positions with such a model so it seems foolish not to imagine that it might be suggested at some point in the current climate of cuts to public spending. If such a plan was to come to pass, how would we then again make changes to our plans, possibly mid build, or within say the first five or ten years of a new hospital so that it could be refocused.

Again I would like to see a detailed risk assessment and mitigation plan for this.

I realise there is Hartlepool to think about and the health of people there is important too but my first concern must be for the people of Stockton South.

Formal Response to Consultation on future of services at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust

This is the response I have made formally to the consultation:

While I was knocking on doors at the weekend on The Rings in Ingleby Barwick I was asked many times about a council consultation over secondary school places which was getting parents very cross so this evening I took the time to go to a public meeting to understand the facts and the strength of feeling.

Let me begin with the background for you which I have taken the time to learn since my conversations on Saturday on Apsey Way.

With the advent of Ingleby Manor Free School, now offering 120 pupils aged 11 years a place each year, Stockton Borough Council have initiated an interim review of secondary school catchment areas covering children who live in Ingleby Barwick.

(It has to conduct a borough-wide review approximately every 7 years, the next of which is due in a couple of years time, however it is also required to submit an annual interim report to the Government including any proposed changes on a smaller scale where schools have opened, closed, grown or there has been a new estate built which changes the demographics etc. This year the review looks specifically at the September 2016 intake. Any proposed changes would be for this year only. The response is due with the DfE by mid April 2015).

Because Conyers (where I went to school) and All Saints, two schools which also serve Ingleby Barwick are now both academies, their catchment areas are a matter entirely for themselves. The council has no power to review the areas from which they chose to draw their pupils. Both schools have currently chosen to continue with the catchment areas that were set for them when the schools were part of the local authority. However, they are free to change their admission criteria as they see fit.

Therefore the only school whose catchment area the borough could legally review, in the light of the opening of Ingleby Manor Free School is Egglescliffe which remains one of very few Community Schools – under the direction of the Local Authority in the borough. Currently children in the north and west of Ingleby Barwick, specifically in the villages of The Rings and parts of Broom Hill fall within the catchment area for Egglescliffe which is a very popular, high achieving school and is regularly over-subscribed.

This year Egglescliffe was unable to take approximately a dozen pupils into year 6 from the villages of Carlton, Stillington and others to the north of their catchment area. Many of those children then, ironically, chose to attend Ingleby Manor Free School and travel every morning towards Ingleby Barwick while other 11 years olds come the other way.

Stockton Borough Council is therefore currently consulting on proposals to class the Ingleby Barwick part of the Egglescliffe School catchment area as a new zone – Zone B, giving priority first to the rest of its current catchment area as Zone A. This in effect means that once special needs and sibling links have been taken into consideration, children from Eaglescliffe itself and the western parishes of Long Newton, Elton, Stillington, Carlton etc will take first preference before the pupils of Ingleby Barwick.

This would leave parents on The Rings and Broom Hill in the unfortunate position of being outside the catchment for Conyers and All Saints, taking pot luck with children across the estate for the Free School and having only a B rated chance of getting into Egglescliffe.

A public meeting was held this evening in Barleyfields Junior School in Ingleby to talk to parents about these proposals.

Approximately 50 parents turned up and there was standing room only as officers from the council talked through the consultation.

There was a lot of anger and frustration and the view in the room was unanimous that the plans for 2016 intakes are not acceptable to parents and that the status quo should remain for the time being.

Most parents said that they are not fighting to get their children into Egglescliffe in particular, they are fighting for a fair deal for their children, that they did not want their families to be the only ones on the estate with a limited choice. They were particularly and vociferously opposed to the idea of being in Zone B with all the connotations that gave about playing second fiddle to other parents and pupils on the estate.

(Anyone on Ingleby can apply for the Free School or a Catholic school education but these particular parents would find it harder to successfully apply for a place at All Saints, Conyers or Egglescliffe)

I have responded to the formal consultation myself saying:

Parents are rightly angry at any suggestion that their children should be second-class when it comes to finding a place in a secondary school. Having listened very closely to their views on the doorstep and at the public meeting I am making it clear to the council that no changes should be considered until borough-wide school boundary reviews take place (as they must) in a couple of years time. There must be equality in the system. It would be grossly unfair to deny local pupils the same chance as everyone else just because they live in the newest part of Ingleby.”

There was broad support and enthusiasm for the junior schools catchment area proposals which are also part of the consultation review.

The consultation can be found at this link and I urge you to respond if you are affected or have a view to express.

http://www.stockton.gov.uk/stocktoncouncil/consultations/currentconsultations/schooladmissionconsultation/

Labour candidate backs parents in Ingleby Barwick school places row

While I was knocking on doors at the weekend on The Rings in Ingleby Barwick I was asked many times about a council consultation over secondary school places which was getting...

Louise_Blog_Image.pngWith the news that the Secretary of State has stopped the building of 550 houses on Little Maltby Farm, close to Ingleby Barwick, while the Developer considers the option of a Judicial Review, I am calling on the land owner of the neighbouring field to withdraw his own appeal to build a further 550.

It costs the council – and that means taxpayers – thousands of pounds to hire barristers to fight appeals. Money that could be spent on vital public services, And it costs residents and their representatives time and money to attend a public enquiry every day and make sure their concerns are heard.

We are due to begin in three weeks time yet there is so much uncertainty. The land owner and developers should withdraw their appeal, save themselves and the council money and give local people some respite from this long battle to save our green wedge. 

Louise calls for immediate withdrawal of housing appeal on Low Lane

With the news that the Secretary of State has stopped the building of 550 houses on Little Maltby Farm, close to Ingleby Barwick, while the Developer considers the option of...

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A busy and fulfilling day today.

At lunchtime I was joined on the doorstep by Kevan Jones MP, Shadow Armed Forces Minister and a very old friend of Stockton South. He pops down from Chester le Street most weeks for an hour to help me have good conversations with local residents about what matters to them. 

It was doubly good today as the campaign team and I were also able to welcome another special visitor when Dan Jarvis MP for Barnsley and Shadow Minister for Justice came as part of his 9 days, 9 regions, 900 miles #roadtrip

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Dan has spoken to many hundreds of people personally over this last week and was particularly interested to hear from so many struggling bus passengers in Thornaby. Action on public transport will be a top pledge for me.

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After knocking on doors Dan and I went off to Endeavour Housing, part of North Star where the excellent Chief Executive Angela Lockwood hosted a round table discussion for us. We drew together people from across Stockton who work with or support victims of domestic violence. I wanted Dan to hear first hand from the great staff and leaders at Endeavour, Harbour, Thirteen and Hewitts Family Law specialists about the ways in which (mainly) women are abused all over again by the system letting them down - particularly with the loss of legal aid. We also paused to reflect on the terrible plight of dads who suffer from the bedroom tax while keeping bedrooms for their children who live with them perhaps at weekends. 

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It was useful and constructive to be able to bring a listening ear, someone who may be in a position to make a difference, to hear deep concerns they have previously expressed to me. Bringing people together and forging connections and partnerships has always been the way I operate. 

After a few short hours to catch up on some paperwork we were out tonight again on the doorstep in Ingleby where another big team pushed on to engage with, in this case, my neighbours.

We were joined by the BBC who wanted to film my brilliant team at work. Tune in to Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria this weekend to see our Anne in the spotlight.

A very positive and empowering day where I feel I have been able to make a difference.

Thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Putting victims first - and another busy day

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Great news! We have won our campaign to prevent the building of 550 houses on Low Lane, Ingleby Barwick and I am absolutely delighted that our long fight has been such a success.

Working with local residents, town and borough councillors I have lead this campaign for over a year; addressing countless committee meetings, spending three days in the planning enquiry, writing numerous letters and collecting petitions. 

Stockton South has previously lacked a champion, our MP has never objected to a single application or turned up at any formal meetings. 

I promised to fight every step of the way to prevent these houses being built and the difference that has made will be clear to people.

Hopefully we can now use this decision to stop the plans for a further 550 houses in the neighbouring field – a planning enquiry is due to be heard in a few weeks time.

I will write something more formal later, I am rushing off to knock on some more doors.

Ingleby Barwick wins campaign against housing on green fields

Great news! We have won our campaign to prevent the building of 550 houses on Low Lane, Ingleby Barwick and I am absolutely delighted that our long fight has been...

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Cameron’s classroom squeeze: almost one in five schools is over capacity, as parents rush to meet deadline to apply for a primary school place

As parents rush to meet the deadline for primary school applications this week, new analysis of Freedom of Information requests reveals that almost one in five primary schools does not have enough capacity for its pupils – forcing many children into large classes or temporary, make-shift classrooms.

This is a big problem in Stockton as you will see below.

 

Nationally schools feeling the squeeze on places include:

A primary school in Northumberland that has bought and converted a double decker bus into a classroom, after running out of space in the school building, with toilets and cupboards already converted into teaching spaces.

A primary school in Bristol that has annexed and converted a police station to cope with the demand.

Responses to Freedom of Information requests also suggest that this problem is likely to get worse, with many local authorities still facing a desperate need for more school places – more than three quarters of councils are in need of additional primary school places over the next three years.

At the same time, hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent on David Cameron’s flagship Free Schools in areas where there is no shortage of school places. Responses to recent Freedom of Information requests show that four in five of the new Free Schools this academic year had not filled all their places on opening - just two of the new mainstream primary Free Schools had all the pupils they planned for.

 Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

"Parents have a big choice to make at the election in May. On education the choice is this: a Labour Party committed to sensible and pragmatic solutions for overcome the growing pressures on school places, or David Cameron's irresponsible schools policy that prioritises money for new schools in areas with surplus places.

"David Cameron told us before the last election that he would deliver small schools and smaller class sizes. Instead Cameron’s classroom squeeze has seen a two-hundred per cent increase in the number of infant children taught in classes of more than thirty. Labour will ensure that spending on new schools is prioritised in areas of need.”

Louise Baldock, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate said

“This is a real and vital issue in Stockton South. For instance in Ingleby Barwick our junior schools are full; I was recently contacted by a resident whose house sale fell through when the prospective buyers realised there was no school place for their 6 year old on the estate. Yet the Government is spending £11million on a new Free School for secondary school children when there is a glut of places for that age group already in the south of the borough.

I recently visited Levendale Primary School in Yarm where children are desperate for more space, one hundredth of the sum being spent on the Free School would make all the difference in the world to them. The Conservatives are letting our children down.”

Cameron's School Places Crisis

Cameron’s classroom squeeze: almost one in five schools is over capacity, as parents rush to meet deadline to apply for a primary school place As parents rush to meet the...


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