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Drop-in sessions for investment in Lakes

Cumbria County Council has organised two more drop-in sessions for people to discuss its plans for £2 million of investment on roads in the Lakes.

People can give their views and ideas at events being held on:

  • Tuesday 20 January, 11am-2pm, at Windermere Room at Brockhole, Lake District Visitor Centre.
  • Wednesday 21 January, 12noon-3pm, at Bowness Bay Information Centre, Glebe Road, Bowness on Windermere.

The council says the plans will affect four "key locations": Glebe Road, Bowness-on-Windermere, and the A591 at Brockhole, Low Wood Bay, and Town End, Grasmere.

The council is keen to hear public feedback.

“The response from local communities to the first round of community drop-in events was encouraging, with many sharing their views.

"We want to hear what people have to say about these locations, to help us design effective improvements."

– Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for transport

Anyone unable to attend the latest drop-ins can view the plans on the council's website, and should email kelly.alty@cumbria.gov.uk by the 31st of January.

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Treasury agrees to funding

The Treasury has agreed to fund a new radiotherapy unit at Westmorland General Hospital provided the business plan is approved Credit: ITV Border

The Treasury has agreed to fund a £15 million radiotherapy unit at Westmorland General Hospital.

However, the funding is dependent on the approval of a business plan.

MP Tim Farron believes that this announcement is a step forward in securing the unit.

"Over the last few years, I have pressed and pressed ministers and civil servants about agreeing to bring a radiotherapy centre to Westmorland General.

"It has been a long slog, but this announcement means that, like our recent success securing £15 million for the Lakes Line, if the business case stacks up the money is there for the radiotherapy unit."

– Tim Farron, MP for South Lakes

£635,000 project starts on A595

Work on a £635,000 road project has begun Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive

A £635,000 Highways Agency project to boost safety and reduce congestion around a key junction Cumbria is underway.

The A595 Egremont Road, south of Whitehaven, is to get traffic and pedestrian signals at the T-junction with the local Mirehouse Road.

Work on the improvements started on Monday 5 January and should be completed by Monday 2 March.

Drivers are being advised that some disruption to normal journeys is inevitable during the project.

There will be no entry into or out of Mirehouse Road for about 8 weeks and temporary traffic lights, as well as a 30mph speed limit, will be in place along the A595 itself.

Jobs cut at MOD Eskmeals

The number of employees at MOD Eskmeals will be reduced as part of money-saving plans announced by the Ministry of Defence.

QinetiQ, the company that runs MOD Eskmeals on behalf of the MoD, released a statement saying that the site will stay open and that 34 jobs will remain there.

However 44 jobs are to be cut, with employees either facing compulsory redundancy or reemployment within the company.

The cuts will reportedly save the MOD £3million a year.

"We are sorry that this decision has had to be taken which supports the Government’s drive to reduce budgets and make savings. These changes will lead to a £3 million saving to the MOD.

“The site will not be closing, 34 employees will remain in place, and work will continue. When necessary, there will also be the ability to increase numbers at the site temporarily for additional testing."

– QinetiQ spokesperson

Council cuts: last chance to have your say

People have just one week left to respond to Cumbria County Council's savings proposals.

The council is inviting people to give their views on issues including the level of council tax and the changes the council should make as it strives to save £213 million a year by 2018.

The council says feedback is important as these changes will impact the public, with the council set to cut 1,800 jobs over the next three years:

"The council has to make tough decisions given the magnitude of the savings we need to find. We have already predicted we are going to need to lose 1,800 jobs over the next three years and the council will be roughly half the size it was at the start of the decade.

"That is going to affect individuals, families and the local economy."

– Cllr Patricia Bell, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member

More than 400 individuals and organisations have responded since the council began its 12 week ‘Secure your future' consultation in October.

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New system will be "much improved" say D&G Council

Dumfries and Galloway Council says that the new system for learning support across the region will be much improved when compared to the current one.

The council plans on giving additional training to current teachers, who will then be in charge of looking after children with additional needs, as well as the rest of the class.

But the teachers' union is concerned that these proposals will only add to what they say is an already overstretched workload:

"The problem is finding the time when that's not normally done by learning support teachers, it's going to have to be done by classroom teachers who are not going to have the time to do all the other duties, particularly with the new courses.

"So we're going to be advising people to stick to their contractual hours."

– John Dennis. Educational Institute of Scotland, D&G Branch

Supporting Learning Family Information evenings

Dumfries and Galloway Council are planning to cut 52 learning support jobs.

You can find out more by attending one of the following information evenings that will run from 6pm until 7.30pm:

  • Tuesday 13 January: Moffat Academy
  • Thursday 15 January: Castle Douglas High School
  • Tuesday 20 January: Dumfries Academy Hall
  • Thursday 2 January: Douglas Ewart High School
  • Tuesday 27 January: Stranraer Academy Hall
  • Thursday 29 January: Sanquhar Academy Hall
  • Monday 2 February: Annan Academy

Concerns over council cuts to learning support

Lewis and Ryan both benefit from additional needs services Credit: ITV Border

Parents across Dumfries and Galloway are concerned about the council's proposals to cut 52 learning support jobs.

The cuts are being put forward as part of a review into the Supporting Learners Service across the region. The council has to save £32million by 2018, and says it has tried to protect the education budget as far as possible.

However, some parents of children with a range of disabilities are worried about what the cuts will mean.

Demi Powell is worried about the impact of the cuts on her sons. Credit: ITV Border

Demi Powell is a single mother of two from Dalbeattie. Both of her sons, Ryan and Lewis, have different disabilities and require one-to-one support during school.

She has worked closely with various specialists for around five years to ensure they receive the best support possible, and feels the cuts will undo any progress already made:

"One of the things that's been really difficult is that the impact of it is just not clear at all.

There are cuts right across the service from educational psychologists and the speech therapists who provide the expertise down to the classroom assistants who are there on a day-to-day basis with the children.

I think that's part of the issues- it isn't possible to tell how it's going to impact on your child until it happens."

– Demi Powell
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