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Politically Speaking - Mixed bag of news for county town

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 06, 2014

By Stafford Borough Council leader Mike Heenan

Mike Heenan.

Mike Heenan.

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TIME for leaders to keep lights burning brightly.

It has been a mixed bag of news for our county town.

On the one hand we face a hospital downgrade and a university leaving. On the other we have a multi-million pound retail development starting and 1,000 troops coming.

But it is when you are up against it that you want leaders to stand up and be counted.

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It may be in the sporting field, in business or in the political arena.

What you don't want is people giving up and talk of "turning the lights off" – which I was disappointed to see from one elected representative on social media recently.

Who can forget the 50,000 who marched in support of the hospital?

"Turning the lights off" was not an option for the tremendous organisers and leaders of the Support Stafford Hospital group.

And neither will it be mine.

Remember, around 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 many, many years of hard work alongside our partners and the Government, our story today is of an expanding MOD Stafford.

Yes, the university announcement at the end of January was a body blow.

But no, we won't be "turning the lights off".

Now is the time to look at opportunities to keep the light of Stafford burning brightly.

Now is the time for leadership.

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