Robert Buckland MP and Justin Tomlinson MP have written to the Chief Executive of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership to oppose Place of Safety Removal from Sandalwood Court in Swindon.
Dear Dr. Richards,
We write in response to the consultation on changes to Places of Safety.
We are incredibly disappointed to hear that Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership intends to close Swindon’s place of safety at Sandalwood Court.
As we are sure you are aware, one in four people suffer from mental ill health each year and, at a time when the Prime Minister has rightly said we need to ensure we treat both mental & physical health equally, it cannot be right that residents in need of urgent, specialist support will be asked to travel 40 minutes to Devizes.
Requiring a Place of Safety is, by definition, an urgent matter and in addition it is crucial that support is provided to the most vulnerable people in a place which is welcoming and close to family & friends. As constituency Members of Parliament, we know from our conversations with individuals who have required a Place of Safety just how vital they felt sites including Sandalwood Court were to their treatment and recovery.
Assessments are designed to be conducted in a way which allows the individual to feel most comfortable including, where possible, incorporating a clinician who is aware of any previous assessments. In removing the Place of Safety from Sandalwood Court, we fear you may inadvertently remove an individual’s access to a clinician they may know and trust, seriously harming that individual’s chance of receiving the most accurate assessment and most appropriate tailored support.
While it is welcome that you intend to increase overall capacity, when (according to AWP’s own data) more than one in four people seen under s.136 are then admitted to hospital, we cannot support a change which will likely see residents from Swindon transferred to Devizes to be seen at the Place of Safety, only to then be admitted and transferred back to Sandalwood Court. This cannot be clinically or financially sensible.
We fear that in proposing these changes you are also beginning the process toward closing Sandalwood Court and centralising all mental health services in Wiltshire.
In addition to this, there is a possibility that individuals detained under s.136 may need to be transported to a Place of Safety by police officers or ambulance staff. In moving an individual to the proposed Green Lane site, it is likely that on these occasions two Wiltshire Police officers or ambulance staff on duty in Swindon will have to transport the individual to Devizes and likely wait until an assessment has been carried out. This may prevent them from being able to continue frontline duties within the Borough.
In your consultation document, you also note the strong objections both of Swindon Borough Council and Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group. Located to the eastern edge and with a population of well in excess of 200,000, Swindon accounts for almost a third of the health economy area covered by AWP. As the largest single conurbation in the Trust area, surely the town is a prime location for at least one Place of Safety bed.
We would also like to highlight that neither key stakeholders nor I were given prior warning of this consultation, a fact which has caused great concern in Swindon. Like many of our constituents, we first read of the proposed changes in the Swindon Advertiser and were therefore unable to provide them with AWP’s rationale for any changes.
We trust that you will accept this letter as a response to the ongoing consultation and hope that you will be able to address the concerns we have raised.
Justin Tomlinson MP Robert Buckland QC MP
Some said the pound would tumble more when we sent the letter.
Instead this week in the run up to its delivery the pound has remained fairly steady at around $1.24 and Euro 1.15, above the lows of October last year when the pound reached $1.20 and 1.10 Euros. The cut in UK interest rates last summer and the rises in US interest rates have of course led to a stronger dollar. The world’s leading currency has also risen strongly against the yen and the Euro.
The pound hit an all time low against the Euro of 1.04 in December 2008 when we were firmly in the EU and is now 10% above that. It is also well above its all time low against the dollar.
What happens next?
- 29 March, 2017 - UK triggers Article 50
- 29 April - EU summit of the 27 leaders (without the UK) to agree to give the European Commission a mandate to negotiate with the UK
- May - European Commission to publish negotiating guidelines based on the mandate the EU leaders give it. The EU might say something about possible parallel negotiation on a future EU-UK trade deal
- May/June 2017 - Negotiations begin
- 23 April and 7 May - French presidential elections
- 24 September - German parliamentary elections
- Autumn 2017 - The UK government is expected to introduce legislation to leave the EU and put all existing EU laws into British law - the Great Repeal Bill
- October 2018 - Aim to complete negotiations
- Between October 2018 and March 2019 - The Houses of Parliament, European Council and European Parliament vote on any deal
- March 2019 - UK formally withdraws from the European Union (The Article 50 negotiations could be extended, but this is subject to the approval of the other 27 EU member states)
The detailed version of this is from the BBC
The PM will have delivered the letter today and will at 12:30 make a statement on the issue to the House of Commons after Prime Ministers Questions.
Throughout my time in politics, I've campaigned for a liberal Brexit. Today, the Prime Minister is making it happen by triggering Article 50 – and I couldn't be happier.
As a founding member of Vote Leave, I'm heartened that the government has opted for our vision of Brexit: taking back control from the supranational regulatory system misleadingly referred to as the single market, and embracing free trade, outside the EU's protectionist customs union.
The government is right to be ambitious about the trade deal it will now negotiate with the EU. For all the tough talk from top Eurocrats, the key figure in the negotiations will be the German Chancellor, who will take a much more pragmatic approach.
Crucially, Theresa May has made clear that she is prepared to leave without a deal. She mustn't waver on that. Not just because trade on WTO terms is workable – after all, facilitating trade is the entire purpose of the WTO. But because being prepared to take a deal at any price will result in a bad deal. David Cameron proved that last year.
But Brexit isn't just about our future relationship with the EU. It's also about the kind of society we want. Restoring parliamentary sovereignty means giving voters a say over policy that they have been denied for decades. Power is returning to the British people.
So cheer up! Democracy is coming home.
This morning Florence Eshalomi AM and I met Southwark Borough Commander Simon Messinger to discuss the Met's proposal to merge Southwark and Lambeth for policing, as part of a wider proposal to reduce borough commanders in the capital from 32 to 12. We expressed our concern about the impact of this on the relationship between Southwark police, and the local community and council, and will continue to oppose these proposals.
Yesterday I took charge of a Commons debate in Westminster Hall spawned from an E-petition signed by over 100,000 people which called on the government to end their cruel and unscientific culling of badgers. The Minister George Eustice's response and my closing remarks are below.
George Eustice (Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs)
It is a real pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Paisley. I congratulate all the petitioners. I understand that more than 108,000 individuals signed the petition, led, as has been said, by Mr King. That shows that this is an emotive, but incredibly important, issue, and it is right that we spend this time debating it. The hon. Member for Penistone and Stockbridge (Angela Smith) declared an interest, in that she is a member of the Wildlife Trusts. If that is considered an interest, I should probably join her by declaring that I am a member of the Wildlife Trusts in Cornwall. They do some fantastic work, but it has to be said that this is one area on which I and my local Wildlife Trust have to agree to disagree. The truth is that TB is an incredibly difficult disease to fight. It is slow growing and not easy to detect. We are constantly trying to improve diagnostics, and I will come on to that. No vaccine is fully effective. The best we have is the BCG vaccine, which we know is only about 70% effective. The disease has a huge impact on our livestock industry. Last year, we slaughtered about 29,000 heads of cattle. This is a disease that costs us £100 million a year to manage and fight. There are no easy solutions and there is no single measure that provides the answer to a disease of this sort, which is why the Government have set out a comprehensive 25-year strategy that involves us using all the tools at our disposal to bear down on the disease. The hon. Member for Penistone and Stockbridge pointed out that the previous Labour Government decided not to proceed with a badger cull. I have to say that had they acted as one should with any animal disease—swiftly and assertively to get it under control—it might have been easier to turn the situation around. The reality is that we had 15 years that can be best described as a period of dither, when clear action was not taken on all the available fronts to tackle the disease.
An interesting claim was made about possums in New Zealand. In 2009, the New Zealand Government reported that the incidence of bovine TB in possums was 0.004%, which is vanishingly small, and pointed out that the virtual elimination of the disease from the possum population was to do with cattle control—reducing movements of cattle around the country—and nothing to do with culling. It is entirely false to pretend that it was. Some Government Members put forward a sort of Enid Blyton view of wildlife—that wild animals should abide by the ten commandments and not go out and eat other animals, or follow their natural life. That view is put forward sentimentally by some to defend what are barbaric acts against these dumb animals.
Some other points made in this debate were entirely false. The figures about Wales that one Government Member gave were just untrue. We know that the system in Wales is working, but the system in England is not. Between November 2015 and 2016, there were 36 new herd incidents in which official TB-free status was withdrawn—we are going backwards with those—and the number of cattle destroyed was up 8% in some areas. We know, too, that the number of herds that are identified as infected with bovine TB at slaughterhouses is in the hundreds. The crude, unscientific system that we have for detecting TB is not working. The Minister gave some pie in the sky hope for the future about things that are unlikely to come to fruition for many years, but the Government have shown a lack of conviction in this policy by setting a 25-year target for its delivery. I do not think many of us will be around to see that, and the Government will constantly use the excuse, “You must give us time to deal with this.”
I accused the Government of being crowd-pleasing. I was talking about the farming crowd, not the general crowd. The Government have outraged the majority of the public. It is not reasonable to mock those who sacrifice their time and safety to protest vigorously against unnecessary acts of cruelty that have no basis in science or what happens throughout the rest of the world. The worst mistake that politicians make is to say, “Something must be done. We can’t think of anything intelligent to do, we can’t think of any practical to do that will work, but we must do something.” I am afraid it is one of the great sins of this House and the way that we legislate that the worst mistakes we make are often in the pursuit of “something must be done”. Badger culling is a very bad idea. It is cruel, and the country will rightly show its contempt for a Government who continue with it.
Ed opened the offices of Qube Learning in Milton Park on Friday. A leading training provider, Qube Learning specialise in apprenticeships, traineeships and vocational qualifications.
As one of those who was very much involved in the 1975 Referendum campaign when Britain voted overwhelmingly “yes” to joining the European Union, I think it is worth spending just a little while to reflect why it was in the referendum that Britain voted to leave the European Union.
There are, I think, a number of reasons.
Firstly, because the United Kingdom was not a member at the outset of the Common Market, we weren’t in a position to make a contribution towards the way in which the Common Market and subsequently the European Union actually worked, with the division of powers and responsibilities between the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament.
The founding members of the Common Market had, at different times, all been occupied as a consequence of the Second World War.
In those countries, in post-war Europe, there were understandably mixed feelings about politicians, and hence the check and balance of a Commission run by Civil Servants as guardians of the Treaty of Rome, and subsequent Treaties, and the Council of Ministers representing elected Governments amongst the member states.
This was, and has always been, something of an alien concept to the UK, where Civil Servants are always accountable to elected politicians, and so not surprisingly over the years, elected politicians in the UK found it increasingly rankling being told what to do, as they saw it, by unelected officials in Brussels.
However, forty years of headlines on the basis of the UK being bossed about by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, eventually starts to have an effect.
Secondly, there is no doubt that for many of the countries of Europe, for reasons of history and otherwise, genuinely believe in “ever greater union”, with a single currency, and as is I think now understood by everyone, a single currency increasingly means ever closer harmonisation of fiscal and economic policies.
However, I think it has been clear now for decades, ever since the UK opted out of the Euro at the time of the Treaty of Maastricht, that Britain was not up for “ever greater union”. Britain was never going to join the Euro and to that extent was going to be different from the other EU member states.
I think when history comes to be written, historians will observe that the outcome of the referendum may have been very different if Angela Merkel and other heads of Government had the imagination to enable the UK, under David Cameron’s Premiership, to have a somewhat, admittedly an acknowledged, semi-detached position from the rest of Europe, as the rest of Europe moved to “ever greater union”.
The reality is that Merkel and others said that they wanted Britain to remain a member of the European Union, but were not willing to give David Cameron any, or any meaningful, concessions to make that happen, and indeed, I suspect that history will also show that the time when both Michael Gove and Boris Johnson both decided to campaign for a “leave” result, was when David Cameron returned from the renegotiation talks with the rest of the European Union having made so little effort to understand the UK’s position and so little imagination as to envisage a different sort of relationship for the UK but yet still within the European Union.
Thirdly, there was an inherent conundrum about the arrangements for the Single Market.
You may recall that when we first joint the Common Market, every member state had a veto over any issue which they declared to be in their essential national interest – and as that was a card that countries could play as often as they wanted, in practice if the Commission were proposing something that a member state didn’t like, they simply opposed it as being against their national interest, and exercised their veto.
It soon became clear that there was no way in which one was going to be able to create an effective Single Market if every EU member state simply used their veto to protect what they saw as being inherent national commercial advantage. And so great efforts were made to create a Single Market, with a Single European Act of 1986, and no one was a great advocate for the Single Market than Margaret Thatcher.
However, of course, it meant that we went overnight from a system of Veto to a system of Qualified Majority Voting and everyone’s behaviour changed quite dramatically as a consequence.
When the veto was still in place, of course the President of the Councils of Ministers would lavish great attention on those countries whom he or she thought might veto a particular proposition – if that were the UK, a lot of time, energy and effort was spent on getting Mrs. Thatcher on side.
However, with Qualified Majority Voting, all this changed dramatically, because with QMV, the President of the Council of Ministers, rather than starting with the most truculent, started with those whom he or she felt would support the proposition and work down the list until they were confident of having their qualified majority. And, having done that, they didn’t actually need to spend any or very much time on other member states who might be planning to vote in the minority.
But this of course meant that in a number of instances where the UK had concerns, we found ourselves in a minority and no longer able to exercise a veto where we considered an essential national interest was in some way at stake.
One of the principles of the European Union was effectively the free movement of peoples within the Union and this has resulted in millions of UK citizens moving and living elsewhere in Europe, notably in Spain and Portugal. But in recent times, it also led to millions of EU citizens, principally from Poland and Romania, coming and working and living in the UK.
And now we could have a very long discussion devoted just to this topic – and I think there is little dispute that there are numerous sectors of the UK economy which in recent years simply would not have functioned without migrant workers from elsewhere in the EU, including the NHS and our care system, the construction industry, and agriculture.
But at a time when real wages for many have levelled off, and where many have seen a limited improvement in their standard of living in recent years – the “Just About Managing”, as the Prime Minister now describes them – there was clearly a sense amongst many in large parts of the country, including the North and Midlands, that migration from elsewhere in the EU was a contributory factor in keeping down wages.
Also, it did not help that the Referendum campaign took place as against the backdrop of the disintegration of Syria, and almost nightly footage on our television screens, of boatloads of Syrian refugees risking life and all to escape from Syria to Europe in anything they could find that would float.
So the Referendum campaign was fought as against the background of nightly television wallpaper of literally thousands of refugees and asylum seekers seeking to get into Europe and the refugee camps at Calais and elsewhere, have for a long time been powerful testament that, for the vast majority of those refugees coming into Europe, their ultimate destination of choice is the UK.
This particular dynamic of the referendum result has clearly led the Prime Minister to conclude that the UK Government has an obligation not simply to take us out of the European Union, but also to prevent, or seriously contain and control, “free movement of labour”.
However, other EU member states have made it equally clear that they consider “free movement of labour” to be a fundamental, unassailable principle of the Single Market and thus leaving the Prime Minister to conclude that if she wants to control migration into the UK from elsewhere in Europe, the UK has no choice but to leave the Single Market.
You will have noticed that there are a number of commentators who campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, such as Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph, who for as long as I can remember has had a weekly column attacking the EU, is now desperately trying to persuade the Prime Minister of the merits of remaining within the Single Market, but I think one has to be careful of what one wishes for here. If you have campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, you can’t be surprised if that is exactly what the UK Government then seeks to do.
The fact is that Britain did vote to leave the European Union, and the Prime Minister and the Government are seeking, quite properly, to implement that referendum decision.
With the triggering of Article 50, we are still very much in the foothills of the negotiations. There are bound to be numerous alarms and excursions along the way.
So, for example, on funding the UK would appear to be saying that we are not obliged to pay the rest of the European Union anything on our leaving the EU, and indeed are saying that we think the rest of the European Union owe us £9 billion by way of rebate, whereas M. Barnier, the Commissioner responsible for the UK/EU negotiations, seems to be suggesting the UK will have to agree to stumping up £60 billion before any further talks can take place.
The truth is however, that everyone sensible in Europe, will want to see an amicable outcome with a conclusion that both the UK and the rest of Europe will see as being fair and just.
Whatever the structure, we shall continue to be trading partners, and many EU countries, and head of other EU States recognise that they export considerable more to the UK than we export to them, and making life difficult for us, in trade discussions and structures, would effectively just simply be cutting of their own noses to spite their faces.
Also, Britain, and our European allies – because the will still continue to be our allies, have a whole range of common interests when it comes to defence.
The complexities of Russian and Foreign Policy, Chinese Foreign Policy, cannot be underestimated.
Countries such as Turkey , which used to be resolute and uncomplicated allies, have become much more complex.
Transat antic discussions with the President of the United States and President Trump are more complicated than with his predecessors.
So of course we can leave the European Union but we can’t leave the European Continent and we and all our friends in Europe have a joint and shared interest in finding and establishing a successful modus vivendi that enables us and our European allies to work together effectively on issues of common interest.
The negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union are inevitably going to be complex.
It would be surprising if it were otherwise.
This is one sovereign state, seeking to leave a treaty-based organisation, made up of 27 other sovereign states, but also involves forty years of close involvement of the UK within the European Union.
So it is not surprising that Whitehall advisors are suggesting that Parliament will need to pass at least seven separate Acts of Parliament to prepare Britain for life outside the European Union.
New laws covering immigration, tax, agriculture, trade and Customs regimes, fisheries, data protection, and sanctions – and further Acts of Parliament may be necessary to deal with matters such as EU Migrant benefits, reciprocal health care arrangements, road freight, nuclear safeguards, emissions tradings, and the transfer of spending from various EU funds to individual Government Departments.
What I think is important as we go through the Brexit exercise, is to remember that the people with whom we are negotiating are our friends, our allies, and whether within or outside of the EU, in many parts, our trading partners.
There will inevitably be parts of the UK media and indeed, a number of politicians, who will wish to caricature every move, every bit of negotiation, in the context of either “victory” or “defeat”.
Such rhetoric will not be helpful.
What we are seeking to achieve is a fair, equitable and workable exit from the European Union, that achieves what the UK wishes to achieve to leave the European Union, but to do so in a way which is as positive as possible for us, but as importantly as positive as possible for the remainder of the European Union.
Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry DL
20 March 2017
Visitors to the second of Karen Lumley MP's Pensioners' Advice & Information Fairs said they found the event very useful and interesting, while groups taking part found the connection with like-minded organisations to be invaluable.
Some 22 organisations took part in the event, at the Mettis Social Club, Batchley, on Friday (17 March), with around 100 visitors turning up to take advice and information from them. And as with the first event on 3 March at the Rocklands Social Club, a number of Conservative Redditch councillors also turned up to talk to residents.
Organisations taking part in the one-stop shop designed to introduce support, voluntary and other services and organisations to those of pensionable age in Redditch, included Act on Energy, Age UK, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, The National Trust, West Mercia Police, Home Instead, Carers Careline, Redditch Association for the Blind, Healthwatch Worcestershire, Care & Repair Worcestershire, Redditch Borough Council Health Improvement, Severn Trent Water, Trading Standards, Onside Independent Advocacy, Bromsgrove & Redditch Network, British Red Cross, Independent Age, Contact the Elderly and Helping Hands.
Karen is off sick from Parliamentary duties presently, but she did pop into the event on Friday.
She said: "As with the first event, visitors were delighted with the information they were able to gather, and exhibitors were happy with so many people to engage with all under one roof.
"I have to say that I was most impressed all round and am now looking forward to another two similar events that we have pencilled in for June and July. In fact I will almost certainly be making these wonderful community events an annual occurrence in the diary."
Organisations who didn't get the chance to take part in these first two events and who might to interested in joining in with the summer Fairs should call 01527 591334 and speak to Karen's office manager, Andrew Powell.
Picture 1: Visitors at the police and Home Instead stands at the Mettis Social Club.
Picture 2: Karen in conversation with one of the exhibitors on Friday (17 March).
Picture 3: Some 100 visitors were able to gather useful information from 22 organisations at the event.
The newly redeveloped station building at Snodland was officially re-opened by Tracey last week after a £1.1Million investment.
Passenger numbers have increased significantly at Snodland since Southeastern's successful High Speed service was introduced in 2009. This coupled with growth and investment in the area, has resulted in the ticket office being reopened for a growing number of commuters, three decades after it was originally shut down
The redevelopment of the station has created a new ‘transport interchange’ at the front of the station with an extended car park and included work in the main station building to reopen the ticket office for the first time since 1986.
Tracey was joined by Southeastern’s Managing Director, David Statham, local councillors, contractors who carried out the work, members of the Railway Heritage Trust and the Department for Transport for a plaque unveiling and a slice of cake.
In the new booking hall, Southeastern who organised the event, displayed picture montages of the work taking place at the station before, during and after the work was completed, as well as having light refreshments provided by a local caterer in Snodland.
With passenger numbers steadily on the rise, up to 40% in some areas, the upgrades to the listed building and forecourt are a welcome improvement to the station.
The station ticket office at Snodland was closed by British Rail in 1986.
David Statham, Managing Director at Southeastern, said: “We are over the moon to be re-opening the station ticket office and upgrading the station building at Snodland. Since the introduction of high speed services the number of passengers using Snodland station has grown significantly and we want to give those passengers who use the station a better experience.”
Tracey said: “It’s fantastic to see that after years of being closed the station ticket office is now in use again for passengers. This is much needed as housing developments in the area are completed, seeing more and more people use the station. This is very welcome investment to the town of Snodland and I’m very humbled to be asked to officially open the station building.”
The work was completed at the end of September and was jointly funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) with £600,000 from its National Station Improvement Programme (NSIP), Kent County Council with £485,000 from its Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) and the Railway Heritage Trust (£32,000).
Network Rail carried out some of the work at the station and their Route Enhancement manager Mike Smith said: “Our Railway Upgrade Plan is not just about trains and railways, it’s about people.
“The rebirth of Snodland is a great example of how the railway industry can work with local partners to the benefit of the people who make the community and the local economy across Kent.”
Other partners include Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, Kent Community Rail Partnership and Network Rail, which Southeastern is working with to improve facilities at stations across the network.
My father died just over a year ago. I dreamt about him last night. Thinking about him, I’m reminded of two things today: first, that he loved me; and second, that he was – to put it mildly – puzzled by my choice of profession. He never saw the point of parliament, which he thought a ‘giant talking shop.’ […]
Related posts on this blog:
- Why is Labour now fighting shy of nationalisation? July 4, 2014
- Osborne is beginning to make some serious mistakes September 28, 2015
- It’s about the fundamentals, silly September 4, 2015
- Blairites still don’t get it over public ownership August 10, 2015
- 251,417 votes. Wow! September 12, 2015
The Haringey Indepedent asked me to outline reasons why people should vote for me… Here’s my response!
“Starting with the very basic – I am local! I grew up in Haringey, went to Highgate primary, and still live in the constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green today.
“It’s so important to know the area you want to represent.
“I also have a 20 year record of working with residents and campaign groups to protect and improve our local services.
“If I had to pick the single most important campaign – it would be saving the Whittington A&E from the previous Labour Government’s closure plans. The second I got wind, I posted the information on my website (where it remains today!) and kicked off a massive campaign.
“Joining forces with local residents and campaign groups – I marched, I petitioned, I secured a debate and asked questions in Parliament, and together we were successful and Gordon Brown’s Government backed down. If we hadn’t saved it – I don’t think we’d still have a hospital.
“Nationally, I’ve fought for policies that benefit our borough. The Lib Dems in parliament have taken the lowest paid workers out of paying tax, and introduced the Pupil Premium to get extra money to schools in more disadvantaged areas.
“These measures mean that thousands of low-paid Haringey workers have be taken out of paying income tax altogether, and £13 million extra has been given to our local schools, teachers and pupils.
“In Government, I’ve used my ministerial positions to push a progressive agenda. As Equalities minister, I was the originator and architect of equal marriage. I then moved to the Department for International Development, where I announced a £35 million programme to end FGM within a generation, and protected the aid budget.
Summer recess, however, is a great opportunity to catch up, take stock, and get on top of things as best as possible, so here I am again with a new (Parliamentary) year resolution to get back to blogging.
I hope I still have at least one reader left!
Prior to the meeting, I had already been in touch with Network Rail, to strongly urge them to deal with some of the key issues around the station. Network Rail confirmed at the meeting that, as a result of my request, they had immediate plans in place now to paint the station, address the rodent problem, board up unused windows and clear graffiti They had also requested additional litter bins from Hounslow Council. At the meeting, St George's highlighted the work they had been doing too to clear up graffiti in the local area.
I am very pleased that Network Rail responded so well and are giving Kew Bridge Station a 'facelift,' which will help local residents. It will make the station seem cleaner and safer and I welcome their efforts to improve it for passengers. As a group, we are also in discussion regarding the future of the station building at Kew Bridge. As it is a Listed Building, it is obviously of architectural importance. It would be excellent if it could be restored to its former glory and put to good use.
The group is going to meet again within the next month to review progress and discuss next steps.
Maria said: “This new legislation will make a real difference to how local matters are decided. The Community Rights measures, for example, will give new rights to local community and voluntary groups to protect, improve and even run important frontline services that might otherwise close down, such as local shops, pubs and libraries,.”
Maria added: “This Bill offers great opportunities for Basingstoke. Among other things, it will radically reform the planning system so that local people have a greater say and influence over what Basingstoke looks like in the future. Giving local people the opportunity to shape the development of the communities in which they live is something that I have long campaigned for, and I am delighted to see it being enshrined in law.
“The Borough Council’s current consultation on the number of new homes needed in Basingstoke is part of this process of taking local people’s views into consideration in developing a vision for the future. I would urge all residents to let the Council have their views on this before the end of the consultation on 14 January.”
The long parliamentary recess has started - weeks without time being spent in the weekly grindingly boring train ride to London and back. Mind you its a hectic pace back at Southport but you can control your agenda better.
Yesterday I found a little time for light exercise the odd game of table tennis and a workout with heavy weights.
I've done the latter all my adult life and it has a slight addictive quality. If you don't do it for a while you actually feel muscle cramps only relieved by putting the old system under pressure.
Constraints of time often mean I forego all the warm ups and warm downs etc. So there I was on Tuesday doing a few front squats in excess of 300lb. I finished, replacing the barbell on the shoulder-high squat stand or so I thought. The stand was not aligned right .It tilted sideways as I released the weight and as the weight crashed to the floor the stand was pulled rapidly down by it pausing on its way to hit the stooping me on the head and catching me on the hand.
If you wanted to dramatise it , it might be compared to being hit on the head by a 20 stone man with an iron bar from a short distance. I thought I'd better take a break. We've had enough by- elections recently
When the family saw me with a lump as though a tennis ball had been buried in my scalp I was advised to pop into A&E. So clutching a plastic bag filled with ice cubes to my temple and bleeding from my finger I was run there and tested by some very nice jolly staff who established so far as we could tell that there was no skull or brain damage.At any rate I could still recall who the Prime Minister and reigning monarch was. I left a wiser man with a determination to avoid photo opportunities for a few days.
This will be enough for the amnesty to achieve its real objective - photos of a smiling Minister in front of an impressive looking array of guns claiming that the government have "taken action".
But make no mistake the serious criminals will continue to roam the streets without any fear of being stopped and searched, (human rights) and knowing that even if by some chance they are found in poossession of a gun or knife the sentence will be minimal.
The toll of death will continue to rise.