ON THE same day earlier this month there was good and bad news, writes Mike Heenan, leader of Stafford Borough Council.
The good news?
It was confirmed that more than 1,000 servicemen and women will be relocating to Stafford when they leave their base in Germany.
Hundreds of families will become part of our community which will be a welcome stimulus to the local economy.
I have previously mentioned the respect and the affection the people of
the borough have for our military. They have been part of the fabric of this borough for decades and that warmth of feeling can be seen by the hundreds of people that turn out to cheer them on when members of 22 Signal Regiment or the Tactical Supply Wing of the RAF march through our town.
The bad news? I was devastated by the announcement of recommendations to downgrade our hospital.
If they are implemented it could see
major services going elsewhere - for example the hospital would lose maternity, intensive care and full A&E.
But there is a long road to travel before any recommendations go ahead and we will have the opportunity to make our views that we will not accept a downgrading of the hospital in our county town known.
That is why the council is enthusiastically helping the “Save Stafford Hospital group.
Are we wasting our time? Is all lost? Well remember this: Nearly a decade ago we feared the town would lose a military presence with the announcement that units from RAF Stafford would be moved. Yet now, following eight years of hard work alongside our partners and the government, the story today is of a thriving MOD Stafford.
Take it from me, the Stafford Hospital story is a long way from being over yet.