• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    21 July 2017

    Last week I was out and about right across our vast constituency. I spent valuable time door to door in Ashburton listening to thoughts and concerns. Points raised covered a wide spectrum from Health to Education to Terrorism. A number of local issues were raised which I passed onto local Councillor Charlie Dennis who was out with me. At Okehampton Hospital I held a key meeting with CCG and RD&E leaders. I have been dissatisfied lately with the performance of the NEW CCG due to the lack of consultation with local people regarding the additional health services that will be provided in the Okehampton area - including from the hospital. They have agreed to step up their local engagement and I made it clear that I will be holding them to their commitments. I also visited Blackpool school in Liverton to speak with year 5 and 6 children about Parliament. This was part of helping to support their project work. I always enjoy visiting schools – we have 50 in the constituency and Blackpool, as part of an academy federation is of the highest quality with their last OFSTED inspection grading them as ‘outstanding’ in every category. As with most impressive schools you can immediately sense how good they are by the way the children behave. As they filed into the hall and quietly sat for the talk and question and answer session you could immediately tell that this is a well run and happy place. Questions as always included discussion of the history of Parliament, why it is called Parliament, the age of the Palace of Westminster, why the Queen is not allowed to set foot in the House of Commons Chamber, why Guy Fawkes wanted to blow it up and much more. My thanks to all the staff for making Blackpool Primary such a great success and for all they are doing to enhance the life chances of those lucky enough to be educated there. Teachers matter and good ones make a massive contribution. I also spent time with the Devon Rural Housing Partnership. Affordable housing is a passion of mine and it was good to catch up on the various affordable housing projects with which the partnership is assisting. These are generally small developments within villages, where local people get together and identify land that might be suitable for development and then use Community Land Trusts to ensure that the housing is not just affordable but there for local people alone. My recent visits to Creedy View in Sandford and a stunning virtually zero carbon development in Christow in the Teign Valley lifted my spirits no end – we can if we work together as communities provide new high quality affordable housing for local people. In Sandford I revisited the new sports pavilion and met with members of the local Parish Council. Afterwards I spent the evening at a speaking engagement with a mammoth and especially vigorous Q and A. Politics face to face and at its best.