Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on 19 June 2021, 3:45 pm




Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South
Chairman of Policy & Scrutiny Committee for Adult Social Care & Health





PO31 8LT
Tel: 07918 757843



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The Report appearing in the July/August 2021 edition of Northwood News:

Medical Centre Update

With patients still experiencing difficulties in gaining access to our Medical Centre, this issue has now been brought to each of the local Town and Parish Councils for monitoring and review, also, because Town and Parish, as well as Ward Councillors, are also receiving representations from concerned residents trying to access service.

Just before Cowes Town Council’s meeting at the beginning of June, where the Medical Centre was an agenda item, we received an update from the Medical Centre, to inform us that their-long awaited new phone system would finally be installed before the end of July, also that the Centre would be offering a blood test service. This is amazingly good news and will, I am sure, receive great support from all the Centre’s patients.

Some have said it was a bit harsh to raise such open criticism of the Centre, but that criticism was out there anyway, in social media, in people’s homes and conversations, and it was disturbing to hear so much of it. Raising it into the wider public domain brought out yet more stories of people’s frustrations and experiences, one person having to transfer to another medical centre because their condition required reliable contact with a doctor when needed, not days afterwards.

We all want to see our Centre working well, serving the community efficiently and effectively, and we all want to support it getting there and maintaining such service, but, if there is a fault, you can’t begin to address it if you do not recognise it in the first place. I sincerely hope that we are on that route now, but I, my fellow Councillors and the local Town and Parish Councils, will continue to monitor the situation and represent people’s concerns when they are brought to our notice, and, also, give what encouragement and support we can to make our Centre one of the best on the Island.

School Places Debacle

For people involved in education, you really would expect better! Failure to effectively and accurately count the number of local pupils transitioning to their local secondary school, getting dates wrong in their eligibility criteria, trying to offload the blame onto somebody else, claiming not to be able to afford to put on an extra class, yet saving 99% of that cost for that funding in the previous year’s budget. On the one hand claiming to offer to put on an extra class to accommodate the disadvantaged pupils (provided somebody else paid for it) then being reported to state at the Appeals that to do so would mean holding classes in the corridors and dragging in primary school teachers, in my book is disgraceful!

When you read their testaments on how much they care for and nurture children, and then you see the hard-nosed financially driven way they actually treat local children, it rings rather hollow. The decision to reduce numbers, it appears, for whatever reason, was already made, and that bears out in the mock consultation that was undertaken. I say mock because it is a mockery to consultations. In my book, to consult means to confer, to openly discuss, then form decision on the result of those discussions. What was actually done was to send out a letter that contained a proposal, no evidence or options to consider, just what was proposed to happen, but with the assurance that should extra requirement be needed, that requirement would be met, and it hasn’t. As I said at the beginning, you really would expect better from people in education!

Cowes & Northwood Place Plan (

We have applied for grant funding to facilitate a Place Fayre, an opportunity to showcase our area’s businesses, organisations, heritage and facilities. It’s what they do on the continent all the time, and it works, and everyone enjoys the experience too. We are working on this with Cowes Business Association and Isle of Wight Council Regeneration.

One unforeseen effect of the Place Plan is the emergence of the description of Cowes, East Cowes, Northwood, Gurnard, Whippingham as the Northern Peninsula (or the Cowes Peninsula), identified by the interests that we commonly share, the particular environment that exists in this area, different to other parts of the Island, and, of course, the issues that we face in common. Whilst East Cowes has a Town Plan and Gurnard has a Neighbourhood Plan, we would do well to seek and pursue common aims and share common resources and work jointly to develop a common plan, even a peninsula plan!

John Nicholson

Ward Councillor for Northwood & Cowes South

See the I.W. Councillor’s section

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