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£300k Ipstones surgery bequest causes controversy

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 08, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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THE way a legacy worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is being distributed and delivered in a Staffordshire Moorlands village is causing controversy.

Residents of Ipstones and district have been left a bequest in the joint names of two donors, John and Joan Blore, formerly of Bottomhouse, to be used for the benefit of people from the village and surrounding area.

The bequest, which is believed to be a more than £300,000, has been made for the establishment of a doctors' surgery.

Planning permission has been granted for the construction of a purpose built structure as an extension to Ipstones Memorial Hall.

Doctors from Well Street Clinic in Cheadle have visited the village for a one hour surgery on Tuesday and Friday's each week for more than 50 years.

However, at a meeting of Ipstones Parish Council, members were informed that the money and the building of the new premises was being run by the hall's management committee, which had now formed a sub-committee of just a handful of people to take control of the project.

Now the parish council is to write to the hall committee seeking an urgent meeting as members feel that the dealing of such a large amount of money and the design of any building should not be taken by just a handful of people and that everyone should have a say.

Councillor John Barks said: "Money has been left to the people of the village. We need a public meeting to go through the parish council.

"We can't have just a few people making all the decisions. People have been stopping me as a parish councillor and asking what is happening over the legacy, which I can't answer.

"Some don't want to see another leg added to the hall.

"We have got to make sure the money is not squandered."

Councillor Heather Morris said: "Everyone should be involved as this is a really important issue.

"This is a lot of money, but it seems that the sub-committee is to make all the decisions."

Chairman of the council, Andrew Stevenson, said some assurance was needed on the project.

He said: "The money has been left to the people. The hall can appoint a sub-committee for the running of the hall, but not dealing with hundreds of thousands of pounds."

Councillor Linda Malyon said that the parish council already subsidised the doctors' surgery.

She said: "As we subsidise the present doctors' arrangement, what would happen if there were four doctors' practices wishing to use the facilities; would we have to subsidise them all?"

The council agreed with a proposal from Councillor Sandy Richards that the parish council write to the hall committee to let it know the authority's feelings.

The meeting would be open to everyone from the district to attend.

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