I'm learning so much about how our county status was under threat due to its size so many times, before it finally was absorbed into Leicestershire in 1974. From 1961, visits from the government examined ways of merging us with our neighbours, and in 1994, the government was again convinced we could go it alone again, although the model included 'buying' some public services from other larger authorities nearby. The plan to bring back the county was supported by over 80% of the locals in a Gallup poll, and the idea was sold to residents as being 'cost neutral', which was what our local councillors and officers believed. When the final calculation was done though, the final bill for Leicestershire & Rutland's public services was thought to be £3 million underestimated, and Rutlanders had to find an extra £100 per average household to effectively 'buy out' our deal with Leicestershire, something which some locals have not forgotten in 20 years. Our county also suffers with government underfunding - typically local authorities receive around 70% of their money from central government, meaning they have to find the remaining 30% from council tax - in Rutland it's around 50/50.
Soon after the county's independence was questioned back in the 60's, the government supported the water authority passing a bill to force upon the county Empingham Reservoir, but 18 year old Rutland Sixth Form College student Jane Merritt collected over 4,000 signatures which forced Anglian Water's hand to change the name to Rutland Water. And in late 1976, that duly happened, meaning when the opening happened in 1977, Rutland Water was it's official name. Do you know Jane? I'd love to interview her for my show about this. I have tracked down Alison McFarlane who when working for Rutland District Council planning department was given the honour of raising the Rutland Flag at independence in April 1997, and made the national papers doing so.
Tim Appleton, manager of the Rutland Water Nature Reserve for 42 years, remembers some locals physically lying in front of bulldozers during the construction, but then six years after opening when a decision was made by Anglian Water not to pump for a year to save some money, there was a packed meeting in Uppingham where many said our new reservoir couldn't be neglected.
STAMFORD - back in the news, in the top 20 places to live in the country, thanks to its Georgian houses with sash windows and a Waitrose, according to one paper
DOWN YOUR STREET - around Stamford tomorrow - Red Lion Street and Red Lion Square
MYSTERY VOICE - back on Wednesday morning after 8, and worth £20 with a new voice