My Week 26/02/2015

There have been lots of visits from constituents to Westminster this week, some lobbying me on issues likes pensions or health, others claiming a prize of tea and a tour of the Commons which I've donated for a local charity auction.

This week the local causes I was supporting included the excellent LAMBS campaign against the Mayfield new town, and the popular Arundel by Candlelight event.

I always welcome visits to the Commons, though of course people can also see me at my 'surgeries' and events in the constituency on Fridays and Saturdays, if that is more convenient.

It's often useful to meet face to face with constituents who have concerns.  One example is the issue of Equitable Life, where many policy-holders still await compensation following the maladministration which led to the collapse of the scheme, causing a traumatic loss of lifetime savings.

I've been in touch with many constituents about this issue and last year met a group in Storrington to hear their concerns.  On Thursday this week I'll be speaking in a Commons debate on Equitable Life to press their claim.

On Friday I have surgeries and I'll also be visiting Midhurst Rother Academy to speak to sixth form students.  In the evening I'll be addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Arundel & South Downs Conservative Association in Storrington.

On Saturday morning I'll be speaking at a meeting at Haywards Heath, then campaigning in Brighton, then speaking at a lunch at Findon, and in the evening speaking at a supper in Bury.

Earlier this week at Westminster I met with telecommunications companies about the issue of broadband and my call to ensure that superfast broadband is made available in rural areas to close the digital divide.

I also had meetings with the Government about the new planning guidance which I have been promised.  This was given new urgency after the Planning Inspectorate this week allowed developments on appeal in Westergate.

Such decisions undermine localism, a point I will be making when I speak to a national summit on neighbourhood planning which is being held at Westminster on Monday next week.

Generally, neighbourhood planning is going well locally.  Hurstpierpoint recently became the fourth community in my constituency, after Arundel, Kirdford and Angmering, to endorse their neighbourhood plan overwhelmingly in a local referendum.

More villages have neighbourhood plans are underway, putting local people back in control - as they should be.

Nick HerbertPlanning, Broadband