Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!- Challenges ahead in 2017

As the Mayor points out in his end of year message, 2016 has been a positive year for the town. On the business front, most of the local trades people have been extremely busy and occupancy of the shops in the High Street has remained high and stable throughout the year. The Freeport has benefitted from the take over by its new owners. For some traders the year ended on a sour note as several shops were broken into this month by a gang of thieves. The perpetrators have been caught, however, and it is to be hoped that this was just a one off incident. All of the major events were blessed with good weather (the latest being a highly enjoyable Lights Night) which helped them to attract large crowds and plenty of new visitors to the town. Their spectacular success undoubtedly contributed to the general ‘feel good’ factor generated by a thriving community with a wealth of group activities and initiatives. Many of those have taken place at what is surely one of our biggest success stories- The Floral Hall. (See page 15) Nationally and globally the year was notable for two major shocks to the political establishment in the form of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US President. To what extent they will impact on us here is as yet unknown and it is impossible to foresee what consequences these decisions will have in the coming years. One trend that does look set to continue into the coming year, however, is the application of austerity measures and the cutting back of public services. As we have reported in previous issues, this has manifested itself most notably in the threats to our Cottage Hospital and public transport infrastructure. MIU On Friday 2nd December the Hornsea Cottage Hospital League of Friends presented the petition signed by 6,000 local residents together with the petition from Withernsea (total 10,000 signatures) to the East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group at Health House, calling for the Minor Injuries Units in our towns to be kept open. The consultation process closes on the 17th January and we must then wait until March for the decision to be announced. Spokesperson for the League of Friends June Barton reported that the public had been “appalled” by the way in which the consultation had been conducted, with the option to keep the Minor Injuries Units not even on the table. In the event that closures are declared June believes there is the possibility of a legal challenge on the grounds that by not including the option to maintain the status quo the consultation process was flawed. You can read the full letter presented by the League of Friends as well as a statement from the CCG on page 6. Transport Again, despite many objections from local residents it seems that cuts to our bus services are to become a reality in 2017. ( see page 3). As well as presenting even more difficulties for those without access to a vehicle to reach the out of town medical services, this will create ever greater dependency on car travel and add to the already serious congestion on our roads – in particular, our town centre. Despite our best efforts this year to persuade the East Riding Council to address the situation they have made it clear that with the demand to deliver major cutbacks in their budget, this is considered a low priority issue and they have no plans to make any changes. Do we have the collective will and energy to mount major campaigns and resist these cutbacks as we did with the Floral Hall or will we meekly accept our fate? 2017 will certainly be an interesting year!

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