A community leader has confirmed that she will be “disputing the delivery” of a gift guide which cost £17,000 to produce. The statement from councillor Sybil Ralphs, who is the leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, comes after many residents, as well as businesses, across the Moorlands have stated that they never received a copy of the SMDC Christmas Gift Guide which was produced using part of the Government’s Welcome Back Funding.
A community leader has confirmed that she will be “disputing the delivery” of a gift guide which cost £17,000 to produce.
The statement from councillor Sybil Ralphs, who is the leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, comes after many residents, as well as businesses, across the Moorlands have stated that they never received a copy of the SMDC Christmas Gift Guide which was produced using part of the Government’s Welcome Back Funding.
The gift guide featured a small number of the independent businesses within the three Moorlands towns of Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph.
Cllr Ralphs has also confirmed that the council are not using the “same delivery company” for a food version of the guide which has started to be delivered across the Moorlands.
The Times & Echo first reported about the lack of delivery of the Christmas Gift Guide in December after receiving a press release from SMDC about the publication, in which the council stated that it had been delivered to “all households” in the Moorlands.
At that time we quizzed the council about the delivery after noticing that none of our team members who live in the Moorlands had yet received a copy. We also, at the same time, quizzed how much it had cost to produce the gift guide.
In response SMDC then confirmed that the cost was £17,000 and that: “Distribution of the guides to households started last month (November) and should have been completed by end of the month but was impacted by severe weather. We are liaising with the distribution company regarding progress.”
Since then, it has transpired that many people across the district did not received a copy of the Gift Guide and this has been further scrutinised and questioned by councillors – most recently at the SMDC Service Delivery Overview & Scrutiny Panel.
At that meeting cllr Ralphs stated that she would: “set up an enquiry between our officers and the (delivery) company” about the councillors’ concerns of lack of delivery.
The Times & Echo has since asked for a further update on this enquiry, to which cllr Ralphs said on Monday (February 14): “The council is disappointed and frustrated about the issues with the distribution of the Christmas Gift Guides which were with the company in early November in good time to reach households by early December.
“We are disputing the delivery and are in ongoing discussions with the company about the issues with the distribution. They are aware of our dissatisfaction.”
Cllr Ralphs added: “The campaign to encourage people back to the high street was funded using external funding – not council tax – and the other elements of it, including bus advertising and the virtual advent calendar and messaging on social media platforms, all went ahead as planned.
“The council will be able to use this branding in future years.
“The Local food guide is not being distributed by the same company and should start to reach residents doorsteps by early March as well as being sent to local self-catering and B&B accommodation providers.”
The Times & Echo understands that some households in the district have indeed, this week, received their copy of the latest food-related guide published by SMDC.
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Leek & Moorlands Echo.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
T. 01538 752214 or 753162
18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG
(Uttoxeter Office is a postal address only)
Other useful contacts:
CURRENT OPENING TIMES
Mon & Tues 9am-11am