Salcombe outdoor swimming pool reopened today with the help of a great team of volunteers, heat is provided from solar panels, definitely worth a dip!
This morning I visited the Salcombe Maritime Museum it really is a veritable treasure trove of Salcombe's past. Well worth a visit! A big thank you to all the workers and volunteers of the RNLI for all the work they do.
This afternoon I met with a group of childminders and their charges! It was a lively discussion!
I met with various Care Home owners to discuss care for the older an vulnerable within the constituency and to hear about the approach they are developing to deliver improvements through a collaborative method of working together.
I met with many constituents and discussed a variety of concerns; if you would like an appointment please telephone 01803 868378 or email email@example.com
Today I met with a number of local business owners who are concerned that the footfall to their premises has significantly reduced since the reversal of traffic flow through the town. Four businesses reported that unless this improves they could be forced out of business altogether.
Trade had only picked up slightly since the end of the gas works. Further concerns were expressed at the speed of traffic, so whilst there were fewer cars, businesses reported they were travelling faster down Fore Street. This is a contentious issue as I also hear from people who would like me to join the campaign to make the town centre car-free.
There is no doubt that businesses benefit from income that comes via passing trade from people who drive and want to pop into the shops having parked. I may be a keen walker and cyclist myself but the reality is that some people simply will not shop unless they can park very close by and this is often because of restricted mobility. Rather than driving their custom elsewhere and reducing the income for local businesses, we should in my view, carefully review the impact on their trade and of course on pedestrian safety over the coming months.
There may be a period of adjustment whilst visitors get used to the new layout but it would be dreadful to lose more businesses from Fore Street by not responding to evidence at a time when conditions are already challenging. I will be meeting businesses again to monitor the effects and calling on Devon County Council to do likewise.
In the meantime I am backing the call from Transition Town Totnes to shop locally as much as possible to support our High Street and keep money within our local economy. I am also keen to hear the views of residents and visitors on this matter, however I must recommend businesses to contact the Chamber of Commerce also as they are best placed to help them be heard on this matter, they can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can also submit your views on this matter to Devon County Council via this link
Another busy Advice Surgery! If you would like to meet to discuss issues of local or national concern, please contact my constituency office 01803 868378 to make an appointment.
I was pleased to welcome Greg Barker, Minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, to the constituency. He toured the town to see the work of Transition Town Totnes and visit the Atmos site. You may be interested to see the short You Tube film he made about Transition Town Totnes
It was good to meet Heads & Governors from the Totnes Federation of village schools at Diptford Primary to discuss education funding.
I visited Follaton House today to discuss homelessness and then to meet with the South Hams District Councillors.
Brixham for Global Action is group of committed local people who meet regularly to tackle the root causes of global poverty and injustice and tonight there was a question and answer meeting ; it was good to hear support for our commitments for 0.7% of Gross National Income on international development. I joined the panel along with Cllr Andrew Baldrey, Laura MacAdam Christian Aid, Alison Jackson Church Action on Poverty.
It was great to meet Erin, Youth Parliament representative for Churston at a Brixham Surgery. To make an appointment to meet with me please telephone 01803 868378
Planning Minister, Nick Boles MP, visited Dartington on Thursday the 11th of April for an open meeting in the Great Hall. It was an opportunity to discuss the Localism Bill, Neighbourhood Plans, The National Planning Policy Framework, Housing and the conservation of our environment amongst other topics. It was a measure of just how important this issue is that so many people rearranged their diaries at short notice following the Parliamentary recall.
I was glad that representatives from a large number of local organisations were able to attend including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Transition Town Totnes, The Dartington Trust, Totnes and District Society and the South Hams Society as well as representatives from a number of local planning campaign groups. Many councillors and those both for against wind turbines were able to put questions to the Minister.
The meeting was a lively but balanced event. Nick was honest that the expectations of localism were difficult to meet. He explained that it did not absolve communities from taking their share of the local housing need but could allow them to set out through neighbourhood planning where it went and how it looked.
He debated the competing priorities and the difficulty of balancing the need to grow food, house our young people and protect our natural environment as well as ensure nationally important infrastructure is not neglected.
Nick Boles heard a clear message that neighbourhood planning was an overly complex process that needed to be simplified and I am glad that he agreed that a review should be undertaken to make sure that this is the case.
If localism cannot work in Brixham and the South Hams where there is such a commitment to our communities it is hard to see how it could work anywhere. It will have been very clear to him that whilst people understand the need to meet the demand for more housing, we also want to see something more tangible from localism.
Photograph by kind permission of Andy Styles, Herald Express.
Extremely busy day today, with a Totnes Advice surgery this morning, followed by meetings with Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, a Brixham surgery and then a meeting with Brixham for Global Action.
If you wish to meet at an Advice Surgery to discuss any concerns, please telephone 01803 868378
It was good to meet today with Dr Vivienne McVey, director of Virgin Care, the company which now runs and manages integrated health and social care community services for children in the Devon County Council area, excluding Plymouth and Torbay.
Advice Surgeries are an opportunity to meet and discuss personal problems or concerns you may have; to make an appointment please telephone 01803 868378
This morning I met with Laurel & David; they are using local organic food that would otherwise be wasted for community benefit
Thanks to the enormous amount of support for the Hope Cove Lifeboat from very many areas, a new state of the art vessel has been bought and was today blessed the Bishop of Plymouth and vicar, The Reverend Faith Cully, and The Rural Dean and vicar of Salcombe, Father Daniel French
Today my Advice Surgery was held at Loddiswell Village Hall; if you wish to meet with me to discuss a concern, please contact my constituency office on 01803 868378 or email email@example.com
I visited South Devon College today to support National Apprentice Week. It was wonderful to hear the positive experiences of so many apprentices and to hear that South Devon College is one of the best colleges for apprentices nationally.
It was then on to the topping out ceremony of the new South West Energy Centre which will provide further opportunity for our renewable energy sector in South Devon.
Thank you to all the local groups who attended the Kingsbridge Forum to discuss the Care of the Elderly. The evening was well attended by local organisations, support groups and charities that were on hand to offer information and to Cllr Stuart Barker DCC , Emma Handley from the CAB and Elizabeth Bewley-Jones from Saltstone Caring who all spoke at length about the future of Social Care in the South Devon Area. It was also an opportunity to discuss the implications of the Dilnot Commission recommendations on funding Social Care.
Thank you to all who attended the Open meeting at Thurlestone Parish Hall. As always it was good to hear news on such a range of issues.