Council forms team to tackle Weston town centre's deprivation problem
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 September 2017
Although the levels of deprivation in Weston town centre 'are some of the highest in the country', a local authority is 'positive about the future' after forming a panel to confront inequality.
Weston Town Council has created the Central Ward Working Party, which hopes ‘to engage with the local community in central Weston’ and tackle deprivation in the town centre.
In the past year, the Mercury has revealed Central ward lags behind other parts of the town in health and living standards.
Life expectancy is significantly lower in Central, with men expected to live to around the age of 71 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – a staggering 14 years fewer than people living in neighbouring wards.
And the ONS reports almost four in 10 households in Central live below the poverty line – double the number in some other areas of Weston.
The working party’s terms of reference state it hopes to scrutinise bodies providing health services in Weston, including the NHS, GPs, schools and children’s centres.
The panel also wants to ‘identify possible solutions and changes which could address the issues and needs’ of Central.
Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale has been appointed chairman, and he hopes the working party can challenge the issues plaguing residents.
He said: “Until very recently the lack of facilities and the health and wellbeing of residents in Central ward haven’t been extensively highlighted.
“The levels of deprivation are some of the highest in the country and this is something I am determined to change. To solve these complicated issues in the past we have commonly looked to government agencies such as NHS England.
“There is a growing awareness that everyone can play a part in addressing these issues. By starting this investigation the town council has clearly demonstrated that it wants to play an active part to solving this difficult matter once and for all and I welcome its involvement.
“Especially the leader of the council who has vowed to do everything he possibly can to help. With all the key players on board I feel positive about the future. Though the road ahead will be difficult, we must keep pushing for results, which is the exact aim of this investigation.”