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Hyperlocal site in cold weather payments win

A campaign by a hyperlocal news site will see residents on the Isle of Wight receiving cold weather payments they had previously been missing out on.

VentnorBlog ran a story last year when it emerged that residents in four areas were missing out on the £25 payment because of the payment trigger temperature being on the sea where it was warmer.

It reported that a weather station based at a lighthouse was being used to estimate the temperature in those four areas. As a result not a single cold weather payment was made in 2010-11, because the lighthouse never registered seven consecutive days of sub-zero temperatures.

After the issue was raised with ministers it was decided that, as of this month, the lighthouse – St Catherine’s Point – will no longer be used as a primary weather station and the residents will therefore get the payments they are entitled to.

Ventnorblog editor Simon Perry said: “We think this is a great example of a civic good that hyperlocal publications can achieve with an article and some behind the scenes lobbying.

“When the weather turns cold again, it should make a significant difference to the pocket of many Islanders, importantly those on low incomes and the retired. It’s a reminder of what assertive local journalism can achieve.”