My Week 8/10/18
On Saturday I attended an event hosted by Nyetimber to celebrate 30 years of the winery. I am proud to have one of the country’s leading English sparkling wine producers in my constituency. Indeed, Arundel & South Downs has more wine producers than any other constituency.
This week the House of Commons returned after the conference recess, and apart from a short break in November we will now sit until Christmas. I responded to a statement on aid from the International Development Secretary, who had called for more private sector investment in developing countries.
I agreed with this, pointing out that, whatever the size of the aid budget, it will always be dwarfed by private sector trade and investment flows. However, aid is particularly important where private sector investment fails—for instance, in the development of new drugs that are essential to beat diseases such as tuberculosis.
I held a meeting with Highways England to discuss the Arundel bypass. I hope and believe that the judicial review of the bypass consultation will uphold the process, and this much-needed road to relieve the historic town and the South Downs of traffic will go ahead as soon as possible. I believe most local people share this view.
I also held a meeting with fellow MPs to discuss our concerns about the Government’s proposals to allow for drilling for oil and gas through ‘permitted development’, rather than the usual planning procedures.
By contrast, I believe that the Government’s policy to allow the conversion of office buildings to residential use through permitted development is a good idea, as I explained in article in the London Evening Standard this week. The policy has saved a greenfield site equivalent to the size of Bournemouth, or larger than Oxford or Exeter.
On Wednesday evening I joined a number of Arundel residents and Chichester MP Gillian Keegan to ‘sleep out’ at the Oval in London in support of World Homeless Day and the homelessness charity DePaul.
On Friday I will hold constituency advice surgeries as usual, and will also be meeting leaders of West Sussex County Council, along with fellow MPs, and opening a new business premises at Ashington.
In the evening I will attend an antiques roadshow-style fundraising event in Wisborough Green, and on Sunday I will be at Goodwood racecourse for their final meeting of the flat racing season.
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