|‘Twas the week before Christmas and Parliament was busy as ever! |
With Covid vaccines being a popular topic raised to me by constituents, I was delighted to host a Facebook Live Q&A with Dr John Doddy this week. It was another useful way to learn more as well as a great opportunity to learn more about coronavirus, the vaccines and our local efforts to lower our R rate.
On this note, I am relieved to see that rates in Broxtowe have gone down significantly since we were placed in tier 3. However, it has been confirmed that Nottinghamshire is to stay in Tier 3 as concerns remain for our community and those who care for us in the NHS.
I have spoken extensively with Jonathan Gribbin Director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire and also the local Clinical Commissioning Group. Clearly, the lower the number of cases gets the more likely we are to move down through the tiers and start to feel like things can return to normal again. But, in the meantime, our local health and care services continue to experience severe pressures. I know this is tough but staying in tier 3 does give us better hope – with financial backing in the meantime – to see us reach tier 1 in the coming months. Be assured, I will continue to monitor all coronavirus restrictions closely and will reflect this strength of feeling with colleagues in Parliament.
As ever, business in Broxtowe has been at the forefront of my mind, so I was delighted to attend the ‘Welcome to Beeston Business Network’ event. The response I have seen from local businesses during this time is extraordinary – showing the very best Broxtowe has to offer. I send my thanks to those local businesses who have been in contact, working with myself, my team and local leaders to provide astute suggestions to take forward to the Government.
But, of course, businesses thrive only when connected – both literally and digitally. Now more than ever it is important we not only recover from the coronavirus pandemic but thrive in the Midlands. This is a key message that I presented to Number 10 on Thursday. After all, we are the largest regional economy outside of London and I want to make sure the Government invests in development to provide skills, jobs and infrastructure to our area.
This week, I have also held another meeting to discuss practical steps to help with flooding in Broxtowe – this time, focusing on Bramcote and Trowell. Building on my previous meetings, I am working towards solutions to target flooding, especially over the winter months.
Another issue people have raised to me centres around planning reform from the ‘Planning for the Future White Paper.’ So this week I attended a planning roundtable with the Secretary of State and a private surgery with the Minister, Chris Pincher, to discuss further how planning reforms will affect Broxtowe. It is good news that the Department has scrapped the proposed algorithm that dictated the scale and location of housebuilding. It has also agreed to prioritise house building on brownfield sites and in urban areas in the north. This is good news and it is good that Ministers have listened to members of the public, Councillors and MPs regarding the algorithm. There is still more work to do as the targets remain too high, so the fight continues but we are certainly making progress.
I was glad also to hold my second Pushbike Broxtowe Cycle Forum (PBCF). Here, I provided updates on Stapleford Towns Fund and the Active Travel Fund providing over £2 million to Nottinghamshire, of which Broxtowe will get funding for a point closure to through traffic on Dovecote Lane to provide a quiet route for cyclists, and additional secure cycling hubs at Beeston Train Station. I am grateful to have heard from 48 people about the difficulties for cyclists, particularly for children cycling to schools. Going forward, a small committee will be set up to look at holding a Pushbike Broxtowe Festival next year and I will look into funding for more secure bike storage around Broxtowe.
I am delighted to have been voted in as Co-Chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Armed Forces Covenant. The Government is committed to supporting the Armed Forces community by working with a range of partners who have signed the covenant. The covenant is a national responsibility involving Government, businesses, local authorities, charities and the public. Going forward, we will be continually looking to identify areas in which the Armed Forces community is at a commercial disadvantage. Specifically, I will be working to ensure veterans in Broxtowe receive the support they need.
Finally, I have just left a Stapleford Towns Deal Executive Board Meeting. Much progress has been made and this week I have been continuing my research into how we can best make Stapleford the best it can be. With the sheer amount of economic regeneration coming off the back of HS2, the proposed Innovation Campus and Toton-Chetwynd housing development, Stapleford emerges as the established town and high street central to it all.
For now, I wish you the very best over the holiday season and hope that however you celebrate, and whomever you are with, you are able to relax and to rest in spite of a year quite unlike any we have known before!
168 Derby Road,