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Welcome to the twenty fourth edition of my Westminster Report.
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Tom Pursglove MP's Westminster Report

It's a huge honour and a privilege to be your Member of Parliament for Corby and East Northamptonshire.

Welcome to my Westminster Report, where you can find out more about what I've been doing as part of my Listening Campaign, both in Westminster and across the constituency.

As always, if I can ever be of any help to you, please feel free to contact me at any time using the following details:

Address:
Tom Pursglove MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA

Email:
pursglovet@parliament.uk

 

Telephone:
020 7219 8043

I also hold weekly advice surgeries around the constituency, and as I said in the run up to the General Election, I remain committed to being Corby and East Northamptonshire's voice in Westminster and not Westminster's voice in Corby and East Northamptonshire.


Now, for some of what I've been getting up to, both locally and in Westminster!

With best wishes,




Tom Pursglove MP
Member of Parliament
Corby & East Northamptonshire


Address:
Tom Pursglove MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA

Email:
pursglovet@parliament.uk

Telephone:
020 7219 8043

Website:
www.votepursglove.co.uk
Contents:

Introduction

Tom in Westminster

Tom in Corby & East Northamptonshire

Lobbying Campaigns

Tom in the Press
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TOM IN WESTMINSTER
As we are just returning from the summer recess, there has been less news than usual from Westminster. However, it has been the perfect opportunity for me to catch up on various jobs both in Westminster and the constituency, as well as to visit some local businesses and do some all-important local campaigning!

Three weeks ago, I received a response from the Department for Communities and Local Government regarding the petition I presented back in May, about homelessness in Corby, which was originally signed by 677 individuals. The petition declared that there were 35 homeless people living in Corby during the winter of 2014/15. It also described how the work of local charities and other organisations are not sufficient to ease their situation. The petition asked the Government to put pressure on Corby Borough Council to provide adequate housing.

In the Government's observations in response to the petition, they assured me that the Government remains committed to preventing and reducing homelessness. Funding for the central programme to reduce homelessness has been increased; additionally, homelessness prevention funding at the local authority level has been protected to ensure that they can continue to play an active role in preventing homelessness. Of course, I will continue to keep a close eye on the local situation and work closely with the local authorities to make sure that all appropriate help and support is provided to those who find themselves in these difficult circumstances.

Two weeks ago, I was pleased to see that the newly released figures for employment showed that there is a record high employment rate, with more people being employed than ever before. The rate of employment currently stands at 74.5% – the highest since comparable records began in 1971. Corby and East Northamptonshire, in particular, has seen a drop in unemployment of 55%. This is great news for our area, and the UK as a whole.

I have recently received a communication from the Department for Education concerning the petition I submitted in May about children's centre services in Corby. The petition stated that children in Corby statistically fair worse in education than children in many other parts of the UK, and that many families in Corby depend on the services provided by their local children's centre, which go some way to address these educational challenges. The petition also described how Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) proposed to cut the funding to Corby children's centres by 25%, and urged the Government to put pressure on NCC to stop these funding reductions.

In the Department for Education’s observations in response to the petition, they acknowledged the importance of children’s centres, outlining how over 1 million families are frequently accessing children’s centres, and that any local authority has a duty to ensure that there are sufficient centres to meet local need. The Department also explained that the Government’s role is to set a clear framework; however, it is up to local councils to ensure that they are providing necessary children’s services. In their response, the Government also assured me that it is a priority to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach their potential; therefore, the Government will be increasing their spending on funding for early years, and will be considering the future of children’s centres as part of their life chances strategy. Rest assured, this will continue to be a priority of mine, to ensure that children living in Corby receive as many opportunities as possible - most certainly on parity with children living in other parts of the UK.

TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

In the first week of August, I wrote to Northamptonshire County Council in order to state my strong objection to the proposed waste gasification plant development at Shelton Road in Corby. There are strong, longstanding, local objections to this proposal, and there has been an extremely well-run local campaign, pressing that it is rejected. Amongst other concerns, this proposal would result in a huge increase in traffic on local roads, have a detrimental visual impact, and there are serious health concerns related to gasification plants such as this. I very much hope, therefore, that this application is refused and the wishes of local people are respected.

I have recently been contacted by the Post Office, in respect of the Greenhill Rise Post Office in Corby. The Post Office has decided to modernise this branch, involving a complete refurbishment, and to introduce longer opening hours. In order to carry out these works, the Greenhill Rise branch will close on Thursday 8th September, and reopen on Monday 19th September. Although this will cause some disruption, this is very positive news for local residents, as I know what a vital service this is for many people.  At the same time, I am also pressing for speedy resolution by the Post Office to the lack of a main branch in Corby town centre – they are currently consulting on a proposal, but we need this to move forward rapidly, as it is unacceptable for a town the size of Corby not to have a main Post Office in the town centre.

My annual Westminster Report for 2015-16 is currently being delivered to every house across the constituency; something I have spent a lot of time in August doing! It details some of what I’ve been up to as part of my Listening Campaign, both in Parliament and the constituency over the last year, as I believe it is crucial that I feedback regularly to residents on key local priorities.  If yours hasn’t yet arrived, I’m sure it will in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, you can also find the electronic versions for both Corby and East Northamptonshire, here.

At the beginning of August, I wrote to NHS England, in support of an appeal submitted to build a new pharmacy at Priors Hall Park. I believe that the proposed pharmacy would not only improve the availability of services for local residents generally, but also give residents at Priors Hall a pharmacy within walking distance; ensuring that this new, and rapidly growing development, starts to have the infrastructure and amenities it requires.

I have recently received correspondence from Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) regarding the Cotterstock crossroads. In light of the recent awful school bus accident, I immediately wrote to NCC's Chief Executive, raising a number of concerns brought to me by constituents, and urging that a review of the stretch of road took place as part of the investigation into what happened.

After taking into account comments from local people and visiting the site, NCC has decided to implement several measures in order to improve the safety of this particular section of road. First, the council has enhanced the road markings and advanced warning signs on the minor road approaches. Secondly, the 30mph speed limit just prior to Cotterstock is under review, and it is being considered if it would in fact be better to implement this speed limit ahead of the crossroads intersection. Additionally, the council have also reduced the height of a section of hedgerow on the approach to the crossroads, in order to increase visibility. I am also assured that the council will continue to monitor the situation.

This is encouraging news and whilst I will continue to keep a close eye on the situation, I do hope that these measures improve matters considerably.

At the beginning of August, I received a communication from Corby Borough Council in respect of Stanion. Stanion Parish Council submitted an application for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area for the parish back in May, and Corby Borough Council have approved this application, meaning that the Parish Council can now prepare their Neighbourhood Plan. Great news for Stanion, and the best way of ensuring the community has the power to decide where development is, and isn't, acceptable!

Two weeks ago, I received correspondence from the Planning Inspectorate regarding the Gladman planning appeal at Brigstock. This was to state the outcome of the Planning Inquiry, which sat for 7 days in July, and one which I spoke at in order to voice my support for the strong local opposition to this application. The application was for 110 dwellings which would have increased the size of the village by about 20% - a clear case of overdevelopment - and would also put a large amount of strain on local services. I am delighted to say that the Inspector has decided to reject this appeal, and respect the wishes of local people. A great success for the well-run local campaign by Brigstock residents!
This week, I was pleased to receive correspondence from the Rt. Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, announcing that Danesholme Infant School is to become an academy. Academies are an integral part of the Government’s education policy to bring about improvements in schools and raise attainment for all children. This is exciting news for Danesholme Infant School and the local area, and I look forward to seeing them make a great success of their new academy status!
On Wednesday, after having an interesting catch up with Jo Lappin, the Chief Executive of the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, to talk about growth and jobs locally, I made a visit to Cransley Hospice in Kettering. Cransley Hospice is an adult, in-patient unit, providing specialist palliative care for people with life-limiting illnesses. During this visit, I learnt about the type of care offered at Cransley, which is focused on the whole person, including their emotional and social needs, rather than just providing medical care. I also heard about the amazing fundraising efforts of the Hospice, which raises a substantial amount of money each year so that patients can continue to receive excellent quality care. It was also great to meet some of the staff and volunteers and to see their amazing commitment; something I will always be extremely grateful for, with my family having experienced their remarkable work first-hand. You can find more information about Cransley, and support their fundraising efforts, here.
This week, I was pleased to receive a letter from East Northamptonshire Council, regarding the Gladman planning appeal at Stanwick. I have been very aware of the strong levels of local objection to this proposal, and I wrote a letter of objection to it back in February on behalf of the Stanwick Village Residents Group. However, I am pleased to say that the developers have now formally withdrawn their appeal - something now confirmed in writing! This is great news for the village, and a huge congratulations are in order for everyone involved in running such an excellent local campaign!
Despite the summer recess, my weekly surgeries have continued and yesterday was no exception!  After my surgery in Thrapston, I did some constituency work before heading to Corby to meet all involved in the Corby Community Safety Partnership, including Northamptonshire Police, the national Community Alcohol Partnerships co-ordinator, and Corby Borough Council officers.  The incredible work they have been doing in recent years has had a real impact – driving down incidents of antisocial behaviour, providing opportunities and focuses for local young people, whilst at the same time delivering important education and advice about the dangers of alcohol.  I hugely appreciated the opportunity to see this joint-working for myself, including the summer football project in Kingswood, and going forward, I will do everything I can to help support this initiative.  It is clear to me that Corby is leading the way with this cutting-edge work and I am very grateful to all involved for all that they do.
Not only did last week see a well-attended Parish Council meeting, but a significant number of Cottingham residents have also contacted me in relation to planning application 16/00337/RVC: to allow for six mobile homes, rather than the current permission for two caravans, to be stationed on the site at Meadow Lane.  The correspondence I have received has made a number of very valid arguments against this proposal, including the harmful impact on the rural environment and the character of it, and the highways impact on what is already a hazardous and fast-paced stretch of unlit road.  Furthermore, Corby Borough Council has already exceeded its required allocation for traveller pitches in the Borough, and there is no evidence of additional need.  Indeed, a number of aspects of this application are contrary to Policy 31 of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy, meaning that there are strong planning grounds upon which the application can be refused.  As such, last week, I submitted a letter of objection to Corby Borough Council, emphasising the views of local residents and calling on planners to reject this application.  You can also find more details about this issue on the Cottingham and Middleton News website:  http://www.cottinghamnews.co.uk/News-LittleMeadow.htm.
LOBBYING CAMPAIGNS
As you might be aware, I am now responding to standard campaign emails via my website, here.  For ease, I also wanted to share the links to the most recent replies, which you can find below:

Maximum workplace temperature 08-08-16

Audio-visual announcements on buses 09-08-16

Education and Development of young boys 09-08-16

NHS Funding Campaign 08-08-16

Second Stem Cell Transplant 09-08-16

Snares 11-08-16


Dog fighting 11-08-2016

 
TOM IN THE PRESS
Raunds man distraught as wife given Ukrainian prison sentence after his painkillers were found in her bag

Northants Telegraph, 2nd August 2016

Hedgecutting ban: Frustrated contractors sit out August

Farmers Weekly, 16th August 2016


Oundle street dug up for ‘urgent work’ – just three days after it was resurfaced

Northants Telegraph, 2nd September 2016
 
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