• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    19 February 2016

    Last week I was flat out criss-crossing our vast constituency – it takes over an hour to drive from one side to the other and comprises 125 parishes. In Bovey I caught up with the town’s excellent clerk, Mark Wells who took over from Terry Westwood  - a huge act to follow. Bovey’s is a proud and close community but not without its challenges. I continue to battle with Bovis Homes over the road closure at Bradley Bends and with the CCG to press for a swift re-opening of the beds at the hospital. I also spent time at County Hall reviewing the plans for new school provision to support the South West Exeter development much of which will be in Exminster parish. Extra school places are critical with demand within Exminster itself already high – I have agreed to take up various funding issues with government. I was also updated on the new school development in Chagford, Okehampton and Newton St Cyres. Just outside Trusham I was delighted to spend time at GM Coachwork who employ around 150 people there and at Heathfield and adapt over 1,300 vehicles a year to suit the needs of the disabled. These adaptations include drive from wheelchair vehicles as well as vehicles that transport wheelchair users in safety and comfort. I was hugely impressed by Managing Director and owner David Vooght who has grown a very successful business - that pays its taxes to support the public services we need - and provides vital local employment. I have agreed to arrange a meeting for David and the transport minister to discuss various regulatory concerns faced by the company and to connect his business with local advice services on apprenticeships. In Okehampton I had a very positive meeting with our youth parliament representative, Ryan Harnell who is doing great work including campaigning for better mental health care provision and improved rural bus services for young people. Ryan Harnell will go far – you heard it here first. Also in Okey I chaired a public meeting on our membership of the EU with our guest speaker Ashley Fox MEP. The hall was packed and the debate measured, thoughtful and well informed. We need more of this in the months ahead. Our decision in the coming In/Out referendum will be one of the most profound choices that our country makes in a generation. Currently, I am receiving very little correspondence on our membership of the EU and I am hoping that interest will increase when the referendum date is announced which could be as soon as 23rd June. In Crediton along with holding a surgery I met with Crediton Age Concern who are providing excellent support for elderly residents at their day centre in Deep Lane. I will be continuing to work with the charity to see how further funding can be raised to support this vital facility. With an increasingly elderly local population and the growing pressures mounting on local social care provision this centre really matters.