Hurst residents air concerns at MP's meeting

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert held a public meeting in Hurstpierpoint on Friday afternoon (13 June) to hear the views and concerns of local residents.


Mr Herbert was joined on the panel by County Councillor for Hurstpierpoint & Bolney Peter Griffiths and Mid Sussex District Councillors for Hurstpierpoint & Downs Gina Field and Susanna Kemp.  The meeting was chaired by Hurstpierpoint Parish Council Chairman John Lowman.

The audience received an update from Mr Herbert on a range of local issues including the campaign to save hospital services in West Sussex.  He welcomed the retention of A&E services at the Princess Royal but said it was "appalling" that the hospital could lose its consultant-led maternity unit, with no guarantee that it would be the location for a midwife-led unit planned for the north of the county.  He said that 80 per cent of mothers currently having babies in the Princess Royal or St Richard's in Chichester would, in future, have to use maternity services outside West Sussex and criticised the "hollowing out" of services from the county.

Mr Herbert said he would continue to support all three hospitals in West Sussex and argued that services should be "high quality and local".

Issues raised by members of the audience included the pressure for more housing in Mid Sussex, the lack of sewerage services for new housing developments in Hurstpierpoint, the Beachdown Music Festival at Devil's Dyke, the growth of unelected quangos in the UK, enforcement for disabled parking bays, the maintenance of grass verges and the local nuisance caused by feral peacocks.

At the end of the meeting, Mr Herbert invited a show of hands on the topical question of whether or not the Government should increase the period allowed for the pre-charge detention of terror suspects from 28 to 42 days.  There was a unanimous response from the audience against the measure, narrowly passed by a vote in the House of Commons last week.

After the meeting, John Lowman said: "The Parish Council welcomed the initiative taken by Nick Herbert to meet with local people and address issues within the Parish.  The meeting was very successful.  It was appreciated by all those attending and further meetings as part of an ongoing process involving the community are anticipated."

Nick Herbert commented: "It was an excellent meeting and a lot of interesting local and national issues were raised.  I'm organising regular meetings like this and the plan is to rotate them around the major villages in my constituency.  I'm very grateful to the Parish Council for playing host on this occasion."


Alexander Black