• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    18 March 2016

    Last week I was busy right across our vast constituency. In Okehampton I was delighted to launch an autism awareness day. Local Okehampton borough councillor Mike Davies was approached by a family who were having problems obtaining an autism assessment for one of their children. He started to look into this disability and the challenges around it. He hooked up with the National Autism Society - who have around 3,000 staff nationwide - and has now started on a quest to raise awareness of this developmental disability within his local area. Around one person in a hundred is autistic and it is becoming more prevalent through time. Males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than females. Mike should be commended for his thoughtful and positive work in this area and what is really great is the way that he is championing this issue by drawing local people together. Community is so strong in our part of the world and it is very special to see it alive and working. I also visited Crediton Hospital to again review the services provided – it was good to see this much loved local hospital busy with patients and activity. My thanks to Maggie Waltho for showing me around and for providing me with such a comprehensive update on the progress that is being made to further develop the hospital into a successful health and wellbeing hub. There are challenges ahead but I sensed that the hospital is in a good place which was reassuring after my less satisfactory visit to Moretonhampstead Hospital (please see earlier article) a month ago. I also spoke on the EU referendum at a lunch in Cadbury (in the North of the constituency) – interestingly I found the same pattern that I have found elsewhere. Most people are just not sure about which way they are going to vote. Many saying that they need more and better information on which to take a decision – if you are feeling the same way I recommend contacting the official Remain or Leave campaigns once they have been designated by the Electoral Commission. The government’s white paper can be found online by googling ‘best of both worlds EU.’ I also visited Finlake Holiday Park near Chudleigh which is embarking on an exciting new phase of development that will result in 100 new super chalets, 80 new full time jobs and around 100 jobs during the construction phase. Critically it will also mean around 15,000 people coming into the local area over the year and the resultant trade that will follow. I was also delighted to spend time appearing before the Mid Devon District Council Scrutiny Committee. A very large number of issues were covered including broadband roll out, affordable housing, planning, the guidance around council cabinet meetings and the local government financial settlement amongst a number of other issues. As ever when I spend time with local councillors I am reminded how much we owe them for their hard work and diligence.