Parliament has risen for the summer recess and like other MPs I will continue to be working in the constituency. There is a great deal to report back on both locally and from Westminster
I have been very busy in Parliament raising local concerns about school funding, HS2 and other issues, including the safety of the A52.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend,
HS2 Campaign Success as Electrification of Midland Mainline Hits the Buffers
There was good news for residents in Trowell as HS2 announced they would extend the rural compensation scheme to the village. This comes after I campaigned for proper compensation for villagers. The bad news is that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling also announced there were no changes to the plans for a 60 foot viaduct through Trowell as part of the HS2 route from Birmingham to Leeds. I will continue to campaign against the viaduct and will write to everyone again, in Trowell.
Within days of the Government announcing the plans for HS2 the Transport Secretary disappointed many of us with the news that the planned electrification of the Midland Mainline from St Pancras to Sheffield will stop at Kettering. The new proposal is to continue to improve the line and introduce a new fleet of trains that run on both diesel and electricity. Chris Grayling is adamant journey times will continue to improve. Many people feel that the east Midlands has lost out. I am disappointed but my priority is that the time of journeys, quality of carriages, passenger capacity and services are all significantly improved. I do believe the modified plans can achieve these aims.
Beeston Weir Tragedy
The Speaker of the House of Commons joined me in paying tribute to Owen Jenkins, the 12 year old from Beeston Rylands who lost his life at Beeston Weir. Owen went to the help of two other youngsters who got into difficulty in the Trent, at a popular spot for people of all ages. I understand that Owen knew how dangerous the River Trent can be, which makes his actions even the more remarkably brave.
I raised Owen’s death in Parliament not only to mark his tragic passing but also to raise the issue of safety in open stretches of water and the fact that no one Government department has responsibility for the matter. This is something I will continue to pursue over the recess.
Broxtowe Borough Council has helped organise a meeting of all the relevant authorities next week, to discuss satety at Beeston Weir and generally along the Trent through Broxtowe. I will be attending and am particularly keen to ensure youngsters know the potential dangers of open water and have the requisite skills. There are many concerns about the lack of signage and safety equipment at the Weir in particular – all of which will be discussed. Most importantly action must be taken; something positive must come out of this terrible accident.
Water Safety event – Thursday 27 July at Nottingham Casuals, Beeston Rylands.
Owen was a fine athlete (he had just broken two long standing school running records) and he played rugby for the Under 13 side at Nottingham Casuals. They have organised a water safety event next Thursday. The Royal Lifesaving Society will be doing sessions from 6pm til around 8.30 pm for under 10’s and separate sessions for over 10’s. Everyone is welcome at the Casuals ground on the canal side in Beeston Rylands.
Highways England Survey Towards Safer A52
Highways England is conducting a lengthy 24 hour survey of the A52 between Bramcote Island and the QMC as part of a full review of road safety on this stretch of the road. The review is all thanks to Bramcote campaigner Tony Smith. Tony and I have been campaigning to get safety improvements to the A52 following a spate of serious accidents including a double fatality last November. We believe the road is being used for racing as there are no speed reduction measures or speed cameras.
On Wednesday Tony and I met roads Minister Jesse Norman and Highways England (HE) officials in Parliament. They informed us they will report back on the review in late August and will include proposals on how the road could be made safer. HE said they want to work with residents to find the best way to make the road safe. Tony and I also raised the issue of pedestrian safety on Bramcote Island as well as the dangers for vehicles exiting from Town Street. Highways England undertook to improve existing road markings and review safety issues at the roundabout. Average speed cameras will be amongst the measures to be considered. We will keep you updated and ensure all residents have their say when the proposals are published.
Moorgreen Speeding – Action Promised
“We are going to get this sorted!” that was the message to County Councillor John Cottee and his officer Dave Walker who joined residents and me at Moorgreen yesterday morning. We are still campaigning to get traffic calming measures on local roads. We need a permanent solutions, but better road markings and signage, a speed survey and other measures are a good start.
Supporting Send my Friend to School (and a fond farewell)
It was a pleasure to welcome two George Spencer Academy pupils to Parliament as part of the national ‘Send My Friend to School’ campaign. Charlotte Cassidy and Sophia Buxton, both in year 9, visited Parliament as champions of the campaign in order to lobby the Government to increase the amount of spending on education in the poorest countries in the world.
Charlotte and Sophia followed up on their campaign with an excellent presentation to a Year 7 Assembly at George Spencer on Monday which I was very pleased to take part in.
I have written to the International Development Secretary Priti Patel, in support of the campaign and have undertaken to report back on progress. My thanks in particular to Charlotte and Sophia, and also to all pupils who have joined the campaign and lobbied me with their own work, which was later presented to me.
Learn more about Send My Friend to School; visit the sendmyfriend website.
Schools Celebrating Important Birthdays!
Chilwell’s Eskdale Junior School celebrated its 50th Birthday this week.
I was honoured to be invited to St John’s CofE Primary School in Stapleford on Friday to celebrate their 180th Birthday.Stapleford Mayor, Chris Rice opened a beautiful mural made by pupils and staff at St John’s to mark its very special birthday.
Both schools celebrated with fabulous cakes. I had to cut St John’s cake which I can record was as delicious as it was a beautiful creation.
Broxtowe’s Youth Mayor Meeting
Samaira Saleem, Broxtowe’s Youth Mayor requested a meeting to discuss how more young people can get involved in politics. Samaira also told me about the excellent work she has been doing with Broxtowe Youth Council, including an important mental health consultation with Broxtowe Borough Council. I am keen to help Samaira in her work and gave some suggestions about how to get more young people involved in politics.
School funding / Contaminated Blood scandal/ Modern Slavery – just some of my contributions and questions in Parliament.
The Government has announced an extra £1.3 billion over two years for schools. This is welcome news and will go a long way to address the very real financial problems too many of our schools in Broxtowe are facing. I like to think that my letters to the Secretary of State and various “conversations” have helped persuade the Government to provide more money to our schools.
The announcement came on the same day I visited George Spencer Academy so I raised their specific situation by way of a question to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening.
You can read my question << here >>.
George Spencer will not be replacing 8 teachers and a Library assistant – because of the rise in their fixed costs (in particular the rise in National Insurance and pension contributions for their staff). I have already written to Justine Greening on behalf of one Primary School who cannot afford to replace important maths materials and their white boards.
Some of our schools like Chilwell School have had an increase in their funding (1.3%) but this is not sufficient to match the rise in costs.
I will continue to make the case that none of our schools should be worse off. It is critical we continue to invest in our children’s education.
Contaminated Blood scandal
I spoke in a debate about contaminated blood, which has killed and harmed thousands of people who had blood transfusions in the 1970’s and 1908’s. The blood was infected – notably by HIV/Aids and hepatitis C. Two constituents contacted me about their son who is a victim of the scandal and has built a remarkably successful life not withstanding what he has suffered and continues to bear.
When I was a health minister I unsuccessfully tried to convince the then Government to compensate all the victims and the families of those who have died as a result of receiving infected blood.
The Government has now announced a full public inquiry into the scandal which I hugely welcome – now we need to sort out full compensation.
You can read my speech << here >>
All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Chairs
I have agreed to co-Chair the APPG on EU Relations with Labour MP Chuka Amuna and the APPG on British Muslims with Labour’s Wes Streeting MP. Both APPGs will be controversial I reckon and I am looking forward to them both!
Field Farm Work Underway and Concerns at Development Plans in Awsworth
The foot path across Field Farm has closed as the work to build dozens of houses on this part of our Green Belt begins. This is despite protests from residents, Conservative Councillors and I. We opposed the plans and then the design of the development. I am sorry to say we lost the battle with the then Labour and Lib Dem Borough Council and the Planning Inspector.
The situation in Awsworth is different. I am told that last year representatives from the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Forum did not oppose the plans which will see an extra 250 homes on Green Belt land in the village. I have asked for a meeting between concerned residents and the relevant Borough Councillors.
Beeston Canalside Graffiti
I have had complaints about graffiti on the flood wall by Beeston Canal in the Rylands. The Environment Agency own the wall and I have again written to both the EA and Broxtowe Borough Council urging them to find a long term solution to the problem. There is talk of a mural – which may be a good idea but only if the community agree to it.
Travellers Evicted from Toton’s Manor Park
Broxtowe Borough Council moved swiftly to evict a group of travellers from Manor Park in Toton enabling last Saturday’s summer fair to go ahead. This is the second eviction Broxtowe has had to organise in almost as many months. Going to court and then instructing bailiffs involves considerable amounts of tax payers money. I am going to speak to the local police about the situation as entry to public places like Cator Lane and Manor Park involved damage to gates and locks which are criminal offences. Unfortunately, travellers tend to leave behind a lot of waste and rubbish which also has to be cleared and again at public expense.
Beeston Library Re-opens
Beeston Library will re-open on Saturday 5th August following extensive refurbishment. The library closed last year to enable a series of improvements to the building’s infrastructure, including: a new roof, windows, ceiling, lights, flooring and heating system. New shelving and a re-design of public spaces. Re-opening the original main entrance on Foster Avenue, a discovery room (a space for hands on learning, creativity and innovation) and improvements to the meeting areas and exhibition spaces.
Stapleford Gives for Grenfell Tower Families
I was sorry to miss today’s ‘Stapleford Gives’ fundraiser for victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster at Pastures Community Church. Congratulations to the organisers especially the Stapleford Community Group.
61, High Road,