A vacancy in Carfax Ward – questions Labour has to answer

I am delighted to tell you that at the close of nominations today, I am a validly nominated candidate for a by-election in Carfax Ward of Oxford City Council – the ward I served as a councillor from May 2010 to May 2014.  I look forward to the opportunity to continue campaigning for the people of Carfax on such issues as the Covered Market, late night noise, cycle and pedestrian safety and making sure those that live in the South part of the ward are properly looked after during the reconstruction of the Westgate site.  I also hope to hold the account the Labour council’s dreadful recent history of planning recommendations and decisions in and around Carfax ward, as well as continuing to work with local social housing providers to tackle the problems of prostitution, drug dealing and other antisocial behaviour around their homes.

The reason for the by-election is that the Labour Councillor for the ward who was elected in 2012 decided to resign late last month, little more than two months after the last election and then two people from within Oxford (although neither in Carfax Ward) asked the City Council to hold an election almost immediately afterwards.  I should be clear that we don’t know why Anne-Marie resigned and I am not criticising her for resigning, I am criticising Oxford Labour for calling a by-election at such a ridiculous time for a student-heavy ward.  A resignation does not in itself cause a by-election.

I had just left the UK for three week camping holiday in Spain and France just before Anne-Marie Canning’s resignation. Despite that I am happy to say that I was able to complete the vital parts of the nomination while in Spain and then post them to Tim Bearder, my agent, in time for him to deliver them in person (as required in law) to Oxford City Council before today’s nominations deadline.

commonIt is extremely frustrating that Oxford Labour appears to be calling a string of by-elections at the moment.  Not least because the City Council reckons they cost about £4,000 of taxpayers money each time but also because having them over the summer, particularly in school and University holidays, disenfranchises a huge number of voters.  In my mind, to call a by-election in Carfax Ward which has a vast majority of students, with polling day to happen on 4th September is incredibly cynical and a clear attempt to maximise chances of winning by minimising turnout in the election.  I’ll be surprised if we see 10% turnout. Hardly good or fair democracy in my mind.  If anyone is in any doubt about the Carfax by-election being caused by Labour then do take a look at the photo adjacent.  It shows that one of those calling the election has 8 facebook friends in common with me – all of whom are strong Labour activists, councillors or ex-councillors.  That person also gives his address as Rose Hill – so hardly a Carfax resident!  The other person calling the election lives in a different part of the City again and has previously nominated a Labour candidate in a recent by-election.

This is the second by-election Labour have called since the main May local elections and another Oxford City Labour Councillor has resigned today.  They seem to be carefully timing them so they can move the Labour machine from ward to ward, election by election – and causing more cost for taxpayers than if all three had been held on the same day.  Again I don’t think this is good or fair democracy.  It also seems that they’ll all be over just before Labour conference.  How convenient, and self-serving!

So the questions I think for Labour are:

1. Why are you calling these by-elections one-by-one?

2.  Do you think it is acceptable to make the City Council spend £4,000 of taxpayers money every time rather than having a batch of by-elections on one day or better, doing the above and resigning in a timely manner?

I think the people of Oxford need answers to these questions and I will certainly be seeking them over the coming weeks.  In the meantime I look forward to getting down to some serious campaigning on the issues that matter to the people of Carfax ward.

Bus stops right outside student rooms and windows!

beaumont bus accommodationI received a very worried email from a student yesterday who’s college accommodation is on Beaumont Street. The County Council has temporarily relocated some bus stops from George Street to right outside his accommodation for the duration of the George Street Closure (several weeks).  As you can see from the picture, the pavement is narrow and the stops really are within centimetres of people’s windows.

The student is understandably concerned because this is a critical time of the year when many students are studying extremely hard and have finals exams in the coming days and weeks. I remember my own finals exams so am acutely aware of what a sensitive time this is for those with exams and how destructive noise disturbance is to study and potentially exam results.

I have today written the Stagecoach and the County Council to try to mitigate or remove the problem and will keep those reading this page updated with any responses I get.  I don’t believe any Oxford Bus Company buses use this route but have also written to them to check.

beaumont busTo Stagecoach ([email protected]oachbus.com) I wrote:

I’ve had an email from some residents of 5-7 Beaumont Street in central Oxford, very concerned about the temporary bus stops right outside their windows. According to the attached snippet from the Oxford Mail today I think S1, S2, S3, 14, 17 and 18 routes will be using those stops so would you confirm if that is correct, while George Street is closed, and let me know the earliest and latest times that the stops will be serviced by buses please? I am trying to gauge the extent of the disturbance the residents of 5-7 Beaumont Street might be subjected to.

Would you also let me know if there is anything you can do to mitigate the problems of noise that will disturb study and sleep of those living and working at 5-7 Beaumont Street?

To County Highways ([email protected]) I wrote:

Dear Highways,

I’m afraid there is a serious problem with the relocation of the bus stops from George Street to right outside 5-7 Beaumont Street for the duration of the George Street closure. 5-7 George Street is occupied by some 35 students of Oxford University and many of them are currently studying very hard for their finals exams that are in the coming days and weeks. The bus stop relocation could not have come at a worse time for them as they are at a critical stage of their education and indeed lives. I quote the email from one of them:

“Today myself and the other 35 or so students living in these houses in Beaumont Street have discovered that the Council has installed bus stops directly outside our houses and is intending to use them to serve the bus services that currently run down George Street for 10 weeks. We have received absolutely no notice of this change or proposal, and the College have also informed me that they haven’t received any information about this either. Given that we are all final year students with upcoming exams we are very concerned that what is currently a coach loading bay (used fairly irregularly and only really in daytime hours) and double yellow lines is now going to become several crowded bus stops with dozens of people standing around directly outside of our houses at peak times and into the late evening. We already suffer from quite severe noise from the infrequent use of the coach bay, and are very concerned that this looks likely to worsen severely.”

So I am asking you as the Highways authority if there is any way that the location of these stops can be adjusted so as to reduce the impact on my constituents. Everyone appreciates that the George Street closure is needed but this really is a dreadful time this is to disturb (for about 18 hours per day, 7 days per week) those studying for critical exams. Starting it at the end of June would have been far less disruptive too but I imagine it’s too late to change the schedule now.

Is there anything you can to do help?

So I’ll keep people updated on this and if you are affected I urge you also to write to Stagecoach and to Highways to see if volume of requests to re-think this will have the desired effect.

Update 1151hrs 13 May:  Oxford Bus Co don’t use these stops.  Stagecoach has just sent me a load of timetables.  No reply from County Highways at all.  I have nagged the County Council.

Update 1755 14 May:  I have now spoken with Highways Officers.  There is to be a meeting tomorrow morning (Thursday) to discuss this.  I will speak again to officers first thing to see if the bus stops can be moved a bit further down Beaumont Street to where the first floors of the buildings are not residential accommodation.  This should help a lot.

Update 0839 15 May:  I have just had a really helpful call from a County Council officer.  I feel he completely understand the problem and while the bus stops probably can’t legally be moved in the short time needed, he has agreed to informally ask Stagecoach to see if they can stop a bit further down the road and turn engines off quickly. He’s also going to see about putting some laminated signs on the bus stops asking people to wait quietly as there are residents needing to study very close by.  I’ll monitor the situation – please comment here if you are noticing problems or changes.

Presenting a NACE award to Horspath C of E Primary School

I had the pleasure today of attending a celebration assembly at Horspath C of E Primary School as the Lord Mayor of Oxford is just off on some town-twinning business in Bonn then Leiden for the next few days.  I was really thrilled to be sharing in celebrating the fact that School has achieved the prestigious NACE Challenge Award for excellence in provision for able, gifted and talented pupils (on the 12th of February this year).

Emma Coleman, Munaza Dogar and me with the award

The assembly was attended by a large number of children, many teachers and the Head teacher, Emma Coleman. Proud parents, grandparents, relatives and carers were there as well as governors and Karen Burnham from NACE.  The children played some music, read some poems in French, demonstrated some karate and showed some art, among other things.  There was also a band that played at the start and finish of the assembly.

It was an honour to present the award to Munaza Dogar, the Chair of Governors and I felt we had to have the Headteacher in the picture too!  Munaza also did a great speech and presented the Headteacher with a nice bouquet of flowers as a thank you for all her hard work.

The Challenge Award for Excellence is rigorous and takes years to achieve and is awarded by NACE, the National Association for Able Children in Education, a leading national education organisation and registered charity established for over 30 years. NACE provides advice, training and support for teachers, including The NACE Challenge Award Self-Evaluation Framework which Horspath C of E Primary has used to audit and plan what it provides for all pupils in the school.

Horspath C of E Primary is the 303rd school in the UK to achieve the Award, which puts it on the national stage for excellence. With about 16,500 in total that puts it in the top 2%.  The Challenge Award is given for High Quality work by the whole school, teachers and governors in challenging all students, including those with high abilities, to achieve their best and for students to rise to that challenge.

Thousands of primary and secondary schools today are using The Challenge Award Framework to develop their work. Assessors scrutinised the school’s portfolio of evidence against criteria and spent a day in school, observing lessons and interviewing pupils, teachers, parents and governors.

Assessors were impressed by the school leadership which has embedded the robust systems to meet the needs of able learners and to challenge all abilities throughout the school. Assessors said:

A commitment to and passion for challenging all learners permeates Horspath Primary School.
..all children ….. are challenged and inspired to achieve their full potential.

Pupil behaviour is exemplary and conducive to developing learning; they are engaged in lessons whether working in groups or independently; they understand themselves as leaners and have exceptional work ethics.

Lessons are well planned against high level learning outcomes, which are continually shared with pupils. Challenge for all was embedded within the lesson content

As Chair of Governors at Oxford Spires Academy I am delighted to see this excellent work going on and really do congratulate all involved on behalf of Oxford City Council and the whole City. It couldn’t have happened without hard work by pupils, teachers, parents and governors and is a fantastic team achievement. I hope that this process, the Assessors comments and the Award will encourage all involved in the  to continue to do well and that it will go from strength to strength a a leaders in primary education.  It’s a great example to primary schools everywhere!

(Photo by kind permission of Richard Hughes)

World Literacy Summit

I had the great pleasure of being part of the opening ceremony of the World Literacy Summit 2014 today. The ceremony was at the Sheldonian Theatre with a lunch afterwards in the famous Divinity School of the Bodleian Library.  Speakers included Dr Anthony Cree, the Chairman of the Summit;  Mr Nigel Portwood, the CEO of Oxford Unviersity Press; Professor Sally Mapstone, the Pro-vice chancellor for Education of Oxford University; Mr David Perrin, the CEO of the Summit, Linda Bakkum, a Youth Ambassador and Ms Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, the Founder-Chairman of the Arab International Women’s Forum.  We also had a recorded message from HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, the patron of the event and a strong advocate of literacy.

world literacy

The theme of the summit was Literacies: the Power to Change. The aims were impressive:

  • Exploring the key issues impacting literacy around the world;
  • Analysing the latest literacy delivery methods and teaching approaches;
  • Increasing awareness of the global literacy crisis;
  • Creating opportunities for each other to collaborate in supporting literacy;
  • Revisiting and updating the Oxford Declaration.

775 million people worldwide are illiterate so it is quite some achievement to bring together more than 70 literacy experts, politicians, civil servants, teachers, business leaders and charities to take some positive action about this.  These events are a great opportunity to hear inspiring insights from world leaders in the field and to enjoy some high-powered debating that will help to shape policy into the future.

Although the conference is global, I am extremely pleased to know that it also shows great local commitment.  Many are engaged in the vital work of supporting literacy in Oxford itself and it’s great that the summit involves Oxford students at University level and below.  It’s good to know there is an ongoing programme of advocacy after the summit, that it sponsors.

Oxford has some of the best education in the world, but sadly it is also home to many children experiencing quite severe deprivation.  Many come to education with extremely low levels of literacy and a significant number do not have English their first language.  As a governor at Oxford Spires Academy I have first-hand knowledge of just how important literacy is to our young students as the gateway and enabler to successful learning. At Oxford Spires we are very proud to ensure that every teacher is a teacher of literacy so I was delighted to be able to take Debbie Clark, our literacy coordinator, along with me to see the life-changing work summits like this encourage.  I know Debbie caught up with some old friends and had some good conversations after the speeches.

I hope the rest of the Summit is a huge success – it certainly deserves to be, as literacy is so important to everyone as a vital enabler to future success.

 

 

Imminent risk of flooding of properties in West Oxford: Bulstake Close, Earl Street, Duke Street, Osney Court

floodDuring the night and today water levels have continued to rise. The Environment Agency advises that they are likely to continue to rise for the next 24hours.  At Bulstake Close during the night water started to significantly pass under and around the barrier and in the early hours Oxford City Council staff had to move to the next stage and in a controlled manner allowed water to cross the Botley Road but guided away from the houses in Bulstake Close and Duke and Earl street.

The situation is now becoming serious and staff are not sure that they can cope with the volume of water and continue to protect the properties. Accordingly a joint operation with the Environment Agency, The County Council, The Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police commenced at 4pm advising householders of the risk of flooding, sensible precautions, evacuation and rest centre arrangements.  This is the advisory note which you should read if you live in that area.

Things to do are:

1. Move any valuable belongings off the ground floor and consider what you will do with your car if it is not in use – please bear in mind that emergency services may need access

2. Make arrangements to vacate your home for at least a few days (can you stay with family / friends?)

3. Check with any insurer, whether the cost of temporary accommodation will be covered – if not, then there is a reception centre, Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre, where the council will assess your requirements and assist you in finding accommodation – transport will be provided for those who need it

4. If you can – block airbricks, protect doorways, put down toilet bungs for ground floor lavatories

5. Switch off your electricity/gas

6. Keep yourself up-to-date with the latest information on the radio, website, facebook / twitter etc.

Agencies are continuing to monitor the situation in the other areas of the city which are vulnerable which is serious but not critical. There is a 24/7 operation from the Emergency Control Centre in St Aldate’s Chambers.

Please also keep an eye on these websites:

http://oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decN/newsarticle.htm?newsarticle_itemid=51158

http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/news/2013/dec/updates-flooding-situation-oxfordshire

The Oxford Mail has a useful blog with updates too.

Emergency phone numbers are:

Police, Ambulance, Fire 999 (emergencies only)
Thames Valley Police 101 (non-emergency)
Oxford City Council out-of-hours 01865 249811
Thames Water 08459 200 800
Southern Electric 08457 444 555
National Grid (if you smell gas, call from a telephone outside your home) 0800 111 999
Oxford Fire & Rescue (non-emergency) 01865 842999

Full Council: Labour denying any errors with Covered Market

Jim presenting his motion

I’m going to do two blog posts about today’s full council meeting as there were two important issues I want to mention. The first is a motion from Cllr Jim Campbell, and Cllr Elise Benjamin about the findings of the Covered Market Scrutiny Review. The motion was fully supported by Cllr Mary Clarkson, a member of the Labour administration of the Council.  Jim, Elise and Mary have all spent many hours working on a big review of the Covered Market, working with The Retail Group who have produced an excellent and comprehensive report.
Jim’s motion read:

“Council:

noting that the latest edition of Your Oxford has a full page  advertising “Oxford’s Amazing Christmas Markets”, which highlights new arrangements at Gloucester Green but makes no mention whatsoever of the Covered Market;

noting further no provision has been made during the Three Day Winter Light Festival to include the Covered Market in its programme;

regretting the lack of trust that has developed between the Council, as  Landlord, and the Traders, as tenants;  

welcoming the excellent report of the Retail Group, its analysis of the reasons behind the current under-performance of the Covered Market, and its proposals for how it can once again be a key part of Oxford’s Retail Offer;

hoping that the residents of Oxford will respond, in numbers and in depth, to the four week public consultation on the report;

supporting the Council’s already stated intention to appoint an interim Market Manager,

therefore calls on The City Executive Board:

• to recognise that, in recent years, there has been a lack of effective  management by the Council and that this has been a significant contributory factor to the poor performance of the market;

• to consider thoroughly the findings of the Public Consultation on the future of the market;

• to ensure that the Covered Market has a key role in future City Centre events;

• to respond positively to the short term proposals put forward by the Retail Group;

• to examine in detail the long term proposals made by the Retail Group, and to draw up, by November 2014, a full report of how it will respond to these proposals.”

I was highly dismayed to see and hear Bob Price, the Labour Leader of the Council propose what can only be called a wrecking amendment to the motion that completely removes any suggestion that the council might have done anything wrong or been at all remiss in how it manages the market  Colin Cook, Executive councillor with responsibility for the Covered Market also entirely supported the amendment despite objection to it from fellow Labour Councillor Mary Clarkson who has a huge amount of experience of the Covered Market and has spent many hours as part of the scrutiny review of it.  Colin Cook said he must be a Market Supporter and must be right because he had recently bought some cheese there.  I was quite disgusted that the whole of the rest of the Labour Group, even my Carfax ward colleague Cllr Canning, supported the Labour amendment that essentially takes all the blame off Labour and puts it all on the traders.  This is absolutely not the way the political group leading a local authority should behave.  I am quite ashamed.  This is not the first time I have commented about Labour neglect and arrogance towards the Jewel in Oxford’s Crown that is the Covered Market either.

See my previous posts about Labour Contempt (Oct 12) and Neglect (Sep 11) of the Covered Market.

You can see the briefing note for the meeting, that includes the motions at http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=3120

Proud to be part of a City Supporting LGBT rights in Russia

Russia-LGBT-low-resThis is my second post about full council today and concerns a motion that I was extremely pleased to put to Oxford City Council.  I (think) I am the first openly LGBT (G in my case) Civic Office Holder in Oxford CIty, as Deputy Lord Mayor, and this made me even more proud to be able to put this motion and have it (almost) unanimously supported.  I chose to target Perm because it is a city that is twinned with Oxford.  My motion was seconded by Cllr Mary Clarkson and reads thus:

“Oxford City Council notes with horror the appalling human rights abuses happening in Russia that are denying LGBT people their basic rights to be themselves, to express themselves freely and to live in relationships with whoever they choose, free from government and police persecution.

This Council notes that Oxford enjoys a twinning arrangement with the City of Perm and, while a strong supporter of all human rights the world over, is concerned particularly about the plight of LGBT people in that city. This Council, further notes that some cities have chosen to sever twinning relationships with Russian cities because of Russian’s LGBT human rights actions but considers this may be a disproportionate response in the case of Oxford and Perm as the abuses come from Russian central government, not from Perm local government.

As a more appropriate action for this situation, this Council therefore resolves to ask the Leader of the Council and the other Group Leaders to write a letter to their opposite number in Perm expressing Oxford’s concern for Perm’s LGBT people and their human rights situation, offering our solidarity and friendship to them in any way they feel able to request.”

I gave a short speech supporting the motion and Mary Clarkson was also very supportive, telling the council of her experiences in a recent trip to Perm.  I was grateful too, to David Williams, leader of the Green Group, for speaking also strongly in favour of the motion.  On voting, virtually everyone in the room voted in favour with no objection.  There were two abstentions, one from Cllr Shah Khan (Lab) and one from Cllr Mohammed Altaf-Khan (LibDem).  The Sheriff, Cllr Mohammed Abbasi, left the chamber just before the vote and returned shortly afterwards.

The three abstentions aside, I am very pleased that the City Council is such a progressive place.  It’s easy and safe to live as an openly gay man in Oxford and I think it good for all of us to remember that doing the same in Russia is now a completely different proposition.

A victory for Gloucester Green residents and their right to sleep at night

roostersI attended a licensing hearing yesterday as ward councillor as I had made a representation against an application for yet another late night takeaway on Gloucester Green. The application was by a food outlet very similar to the other two that are already there with late night licences.

Although I like to see businesses thrive in my ward, there always must be a balance between the needs of business and the needs of residents. The problem with having lots of late night food outlets on Gloucester Green is that it is more-or-less en route to taxis and buses for people leaving the bars and clubs.   Many of these now shut at 3am and do so for most nights of the week what with different themed nights for students, locals, and other groups etc.  The effect of the takeaways is to make the (often drunk and aggressive) people gather and it makes it very hard for the Police to encourage them to go home.  As Thames Valley Police said at the hearing there has been a marked increase in crime and disorder or Gloucester Green since the later food outlets have been open and this is in direct contravention to the licensing objective of reducing crime and disorder.  Although CCTV and SIA-registered door supervisors were requested, these still won’t stop drunk people making a lot of noise and causing much public nuisance for the residents of Gloucester Green – the flats called the Chilterns and the Heyes.  Prevention of public nuisance is another licensing objective that the licensing act says licences should encourage.  It seemed clear to me that this one would not do that.

In my speech I did suggest it might be just about bearable to allow this new business to trade until 2am and that would mean it closed before most of the club but unfortunately the applicant was not able or willing to pay for door supervisors so in the end the panel made what I think was the right decision and rejected the application in its entirety.  This means the outlet will not be allowed to trade past 11pm, as is the current situation.

I have written to all residents of Gloucester Green today to tell them this good news and hope it might well be the start of a move to cut back the hours of some of the other food outlets in the area so that they don’t attract the crime and disorder and public nuisance that is currently blighting Gloucester Green in the small hours at a totally unacceptable level.

This blog post has no official status as a record of the licensing hearing and I can’t guarantee it’s error free so please don’t rely on it. Written notification of the decision is available from the Council.

A letter about Christmas light night road closures and of introduction to JCR and MCR presidents

I sent the following letter today to all JCR and MCR presidents at Colleges of Oxford University that are in my Carfax ward today:

Dear JCR/MCR president,
Introduction and news from your Oxford City Councillor about major end of 6th week event.
closuresI’m writing to you at the start of this academic year, firstly to introduce myself, so you and your common room members know how to contact me (see phone and email above, or tweet @tonybrett) for any city issues while you are resident here; and, secondly, to let you know about the City Council Christmas Lights event that is planned for the end of sixth week as it will involve some multi-day road closures and parking suspensions in large parts of the City Centre that will affect you.
An Oxford graduate myself, I’ve been representing Carfax ward since 2010. About 65% of its people are students so I am very keen that I am accessible to you so I can help you with anything you need while you are here in Oxford. I work at IT Services at 13 Banbury Road, so I’m very close at hand if you or any of your college’s students have any questions about city issues. You can ring me on internal 83354.
I want to do all I can to ensure you and all your fellow students feel as welcome in this city as possible, and part of it. I’d be really pleased to come along to a suitable common room meeting or any other appropriate event, perhaps to give a quick 5-minute run-down on what councillors do for people, how we can help and to take any questions. Would that be useful? Did you know, for example, that Oxford City Council is responsible for shared houses; parks; licensing live music venues; pubs, clubs, taxis and kebab vans; planning permission, collecting rubbish, and dealing with complaints about noise nuisance? I’ve helped students with all of those. Remember my job is to represent you to the council – not the council to you! You can read more about my work at http://tonybrett.mycouncillor.org.uk/
Turning to the Christmas event at the end of sixth week I am very keen that students get advance warning of the road closures as I think the Council has been pretty poor at keeping you informed. I only found out about them myself last month! All of St. Giles and some surrounding roads will be closed from 7pm on Thursday of 6th week right up until Monday of 7th week. That will mean no cycling and certainly no driving into town for friend or parent visits etc. I’m sure the Christmas event will be good but I wanted all your college’s students to know about it as I thought you might have concerns or questions. I’ve put a map of the closures on the back of this letter – I’m assured, after querying the council, that the green area will actually be closed from 7pm, not 4pm on Thursday of sixth week. Please do let me have any queries or comments and I will make sure they are passed on to the appropriate council officers and dealt with properly. As a past student of Oxford myself I know how important it is to be able to get around the City when you live right in the centre of it.
Thanks very much for taking time to read this and I wish you a happy and successful Michaelmas Term and academic year.

I hope some will find it useful.  You can click the image to see a larger version.

Opening of The Individual Funeral Company

individualI really had no idea what to expect today, being asked to open a funeral directors.  I needn’t have feared though as the owner of this new business, Lucy Jane, was really lovely and made me feel so very welcome.

I know that Lucy Jane has a local history in this business, training in Oxford and then becoming the first female hearse rider in the world for Motorcycle funerals. That sounds very exciting and quite fitting for those who have motorbikes and indeed probably petrol in their blood.

I am delighted that Lucy Jane has decided to come back to Oxford to fulfil her dream of helping local families to have an individual funeral tailored exactly to their needs and wishes. She says that people are not gold, silver or bronze packages and that the Individual Funeral Company won’t treat them as such. I think that’s really important as funerals are a very difficult time for friends, family and loved ones of those that have passed away. Getting the details right, including treating everyone with dignity and respect is so important in properly enabling the grieving process and helping those that are left to come to terms with their loss.  I loved the way everything was accessible and there were some really beautiful decorated coffins on show in the window as well as a model of the motorcycle hearse.

windowThe individual Funeral Company is a small independent company and although it is principally a funeral directors I am pleased that the intention is very much to become an integral part of the community where people can just come and say hello to Lucy Jane and her staff as friends as well as providers of this important service that we all ultimately need! It’s great that the company is family owned and managed and is happy to give honest advice on any matters to the local and wider community. I’m sure that as a small local company it will be a great asset to the Rose Hill community and beyond.

It was an honour to give the business, its owner and all its staff the formal blessing of the City.