• Tipton St John schoolchildren raise a few issues!

    18th June 2013 | News | Claire
  • I had been asked to come in and talk to the children about my role, by their teacher, Mrs Ladbrook. 

    I was surprised how switched on the children were about local issues and problems and how clear their thoughts were on what needed sorting out.

    After I explained the sorts of things I do as a councillor, for the residents I represent, a forest of hands went up, all with ideas about what they wanted to see changed!

    Issues that the children raised included:

    – dog fouling (with plenty of examples of the problem)
    – potholes (comments included the risk of accidents and damage to cars)
    – the width of the pavement between the school and the bridge
    – speeding traffic
    – CO2 emissions from traffic

    And there was considerable excitement and debate about the proposed cycleway, from Feniton, to Ottery, to Tipton, to Sidmouth.

    I asked how much the children thought it might cost to build the Feniton to Ottery stretch and guesses ranged from between £50 to £1000.  When I told them it would cost between £1 and £2m just for this section, jaws dropped in amazement.  The children also thought what a shame it was that the railway line was ripped up by Beeching and wondered whether it would be possible to reinstate it, perhaps by building tunnels where there were obstructions.

    After a conversation about the parlous state of council finances, I was asked a very good question by one girl, who wanted to know what I would prioritise money on, if I had the choice. I replied it would be services to help people, such as the NHS and children’s services.

    The children will take a walk around the village and report back on specific issues in specific places, which I will then take up on their behalf.

    Photograph:  Me with Esme and Georgia, who wrote me a letter about the sorts of things children at the school were concerned about.