My Week 15/06/2015
It is the greatest honour to have been elected MP for Arundel & South Downs for the fourth time and I was especially pleased to have received another increased share of the vote.
As I said in my election literature, I have always tried to work hard for the local community, and I will continue to do so.
There are a number of pressing issues in the constituency that will be commanding my attention.
Development in our small market towns and villages is an ongoing concern and I will be liaising with our district and town or parish councils to do everything I can to support neighbourhood plans.
The route options for the Arundel bypass will be published for public consultation later this summer. I support the One Arundel (www.onearundel.co.uk) campaign for a bypass on the original ‘pink-blue’ route. I will also continue to press hard for a better rail service.
School funding has been a major issue, and I will continue to urge fair funding for West Sussex schools. I made a strong submission to the Department for Education on this before the election, and we now await the response to the consultation.
The proposed new formula does produce more money for West Sussex, mainly for our secondary schools, but there is further to go. There was concern that some of our primary schools would have lost out, but the Government has now committed not to allow any school to lose from the changes.
Drilling for oil at Broadford Bridge has also been an issue and I have been seeking assurances from West Sussex County Council and the Environment Agency about how this is being regulated.
This is not fracking, as some have claimed, and oil production has gone on locally for some time without public concern.
However, there are legitimate concerns about drilling, and I have said that I want to ensure that the environment is protected and that the countryside is not carelessly industrialised. I will try and provide accurate information and represent my constituents’ concerns.
Later this year I will be holding a local ‘summit’ on young people’s mental health, an issue which has been raised in my surgeries. I hold these surgeries across my constituency, and if you would like an appointment please let me know.
On Saturday I will be attending Thakeham Village Day. If you would like me to support a local event please get in touch.