My Week 10/09/18

On Monday I met some constituents who came to Westminster to attend an event hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Listed Properties, of which I’m a member.

The listed property sector is often overlooked despite there being roughly 500,000 listed buildings in the UK, of which 98 per cent are privately owned, including many within my constituency.

There are challenges associated with owning a listed property, including high costs and exceptional planning red tape. 

The Listed Property Owners Club is currently leading a campaign to reduce the VAT on listed property alterations to 5 per cent.  There used to be a zero rate on all authorised works.

Also on Monday I chaired a roundtable discussion at Parliament about violent crime and how it could be prevented, and later I took part in a Guardian roundtable discussion about tuberculosis.

I was pleased to be re-elected to chair the All Party Parliamentary Group on TB, and later this week I will be speaking at an event on TB in the Sudanese Parliament in Khartoum.

On Wednesday I attended an event to support British farming, and then a debate about fracking.  I share the concerns of many of my constituents about proposals to bypass local planning procedures for conventional drilling.

I think it is appropriate that West Sussex County Council is able to assess things like the impact of lorry movements on local communities.  There are a number of conventional oil wells in my constituency that operate without public concern because they are sensibly located, but others have been proposed in locations which would mean significant disruption to villages.

Also on  Wednesday I once again met senior managers from GTR and Network Rail to discuss the local rail service.  There is less disruption, but only because many services have been removed altogether under the temporary timetable.

A total of 107 trains were cancelled at Hassocks last week.  This compares with 162 trains cancelled the week before.  72 of these trains were scheduled to be cancelled as part of Thameslink’s emergency timetable but this still leaves 35 trains that were cancelled this week that should have ran but failed to do so for various reasons.

The situation is better than in previous months - in the worst week in July 369 trains were cancelled at Hassocks - but it is still not good enough.