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Fine Fettle - 🎆 Big in 2019

Fine Fettle is a weekly round-up of Cumbrian news. Send me your favourite stories to be featured: le
December 22 · Issue #2 · View online
Fine Fettle
Fine Fettle is a weekly round-up of Cumbrian news. Send me your favourite stories to be featured: [email protected]

A merry Xmas and Happy New Year from the BBC Radio Cumbria model train
So this is Christmas!
And we haven’t done anything yet except suffer through a bit of a damp squib, courtesy of Storm Deirdre.
But with the Beast from the East still fresh in people’s memories from last year, it’s not a bad idea to be prepared.
This week, a look ahead to the stories that will mostly likely be making the front pages and leading the bulletins in Cumbria next year.
What to watch out for in 2019: part 1
MOORSIDE: A brand new nuclear power station next door to Sellafield all seemed like a done deal, with the government’s newfound enthusiasm for nuclear power until, well, it wasn’t.
Toshiba’s US arm Westinghouse took the whole company down a few pegs leading the Japanese firm to abandon nuclear and the Moorside developer NuGen too.
West Cumbrian MPs Sue Hayman and Trudy Harrison have been making encouraging noises about Chinese investment after visiting the country earlier in the year.
FLOOD DEFENCES: In Winter 2015, thousands of homes and businesses were flooded as Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank passed over the county.
But three years on, the hard work might have just started for the Environment Agency.
I wonder how prepared the agency was for a vocal backlash against its Kendal flood defences proposal, along with all 779 trees which would need to be chopped down in the process.
March sees this go before council planners, while the agency unveils its proposal for Carlisle in January (while hoping for a different reaction, no doubt).
NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY: So I had to start this one again on Thursday…
Note to self: never plan too far ahead
Cumbria came closest to hosting one of these during the last search period, but any hopes that Copeland or Allerdale districts had for being the underground home to the UK’s worst nuclear waste were dashed when county councillors vetoed the idea in 2013.
Now, with the search starting again, county councils are unlikely to get that same power of veto.
Don’t expect loads to happen straight away though, it could be 15 years before a site is made official.
Talking balls...
Sports Personality of the Year: England netball win Team & Greatest Sporting Moment awards (BBC Sport)
Rare England football programme signed by football legend auctioned to support Tony Hopper charity (News and Star)
What to watch out for in 2019: part 2
MENTAL HEALTH: The reforms introduced by former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in 2012 - which created a line in the sand between GP-run bodies who make funding decisions and trusts who deliver that care - seem to be on their way out.
Both North and South Cumbria are moving towards a system where there’s one umbrella body for each area overseeing everything.
In some cases, there’s a formal merger (which wasn’t a merger in January 2018) on the cards - such as between the Cumbria Partnership Trust and the North Cumbria Hospitals Trust - while elsewhere the old trusts will stay in place but just work more closely together.
Part of the move will see the Cumbria Partnership trust hive off its mental health and learning disability services for north and south Cumbria to a trust in the North East and one in Lancashire respectively, although there’s some delay for the south Cumbria plans at the moment.
By October 2019, mental health care for north Cumbria is likely to be run from Newcastle but by the end of the year, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s much of the Cumbria Partnership trust left at all.
UNITARY: In last week’s email, I mentioned how county councillors were considering if they should push ahead with a plan to reorganise how local government works in Cumbria.
This week, they decided that, yes, they should try to do just that.
If the government agrees (which is very much up in the air), 2019 could mean the end of Cumbria’s two-tier system comprised of six districts and one county council, in favour of one or two unitary authorities.
Unsurprisingly, the six district councils aren’t big fans of this because they say the new bodies would be less democratic and more distant from the Cumbrians they serve.
Taking a dip...
Going swimming with naturist group at Wigton Baths (News and Star)
Farming Today - Tree flood protection (BBC Radio 4)
NUJ newspaper journalists on strike in Cumbria (National Union of Journalists)
What to watch out for in 2019: part 3
I put a call out to find out what other people thought would be the big Cumbrian stories in 2019…
  • LADY IN THE LAKE: The remains of Carol Park were found in Coniston Water in 1997, decades after she went missing. Her husband Gordon Park was later convicted of murder and took his own life in prison. It’s likely that the case will be considered again this year by the Court of Appeal, after a referral from the Criminal Case Review Commission.
  • COPELAND MAYOR: 2019 will see the second ever vote for an elected mayor of Copeland. The area is regarded as a Labour stronghold but last time independent Mike Starkie came back from behind in the second round of voting, thanks to second preferences from Conservative voters. Could it happen again?
  • WHITEHAVEN ACADEMY: After years of campaigning, many news stories and a Panorama documentary, the Whitehaven Academy has a new sponsor, Cumbria Education Trust which grew out of William Howard School in Brampton. Will 2019 be the new dawn that West Cumbrian parents are hoping for?
White Moss gates sawn off in 'peculiar' vandalism case (BBC News) White Moss gates sawn off in 'peculiar' vandalism case (BBC News)
Something missing?
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