Just a quick post to point out that the saga of Aldridge Manor, Youth Services in Aldridge and the wider Walsall Borough rumbles on. As I plugged here heavily last week, there was a public meeting last Thursday, and it didn’t go at all well for Walsall Council, who had hastily called it only a short time before as a damage limitation exercise when it became clear that they’d decided to close the Manor two years previously, and still had no practical plan to replace it.
It’s notable that whilst two Labour councillors from outside the ward attended (Barbara Cassidy from Brownhills and Gareth Illmann-Walker from Willenhall), none of the Aldridge North and Walsall Wood councillors did. The only immediately local ones to show were Tories John Rochelle and John Murray. We were told Councillor Flower is on honeymoon, but Councillors Sears and Harris could have shown their faces…
Also absent was the cabinet member for the service itself, Rachel Andrew, but locals were charmed instead by the appearance of her husband, deputy leader Adrian Andrew.
Stuck at work, I didn’t attend the public meeting either, but stoical campaigner Linda Mason did, and together with service users and concerned parents, they lost no opportunity to tell the authority representatives exactly what they thought.
There is an excellent writeup on Linda’s blog, and also by The Mushroom. The eloquent Plastic Hippo also commented in the usual sardonic style. This campaign really seems to have captured imaginations, and a number of people seemed to have changed position somewhat abruptly, such is Walsall political life.
There were a couple of excellent interviews on Radio WM which I’ll record and edit up tomorrow if I get chance, one featuring Adrian Andrew, in which he came over very badly indeed. There’s also c0verage by the Walsall Advertiser.
The issue clearly isn’t going to subside, and the powers that be have called another meeting at a later date. As soon as I have details, I’ll post them here.