** Welcome to my July Newsletter!
My newsletter is designed to give an overview of what I've been doing as Member of Parliament for Surrey Heath, so please feel free to forward this on to your friends, family and neighbours. They can sign up to receive it directly by clicking here ([link removed]) .
With every good wish,
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Member of Parliament for Surrey Heath
** Surrey Heath News
Frimley Park Hospital: On 22 July, I had a very positive catch up with Neil Dardis, Chief Executive of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, to discuss the brilliant work being done at Frimley Park Hospital to keep Surrey Heath healthy. It was great to learn more about the new inpatient and diagnostic block that is being built, improving bed capacity, which will remain operative following the hospital’s upcoming move to a new site. I was also really pleased to hear how well the hospital is performing under Neil’s outstanding leadership, with staff winning numerous national awards and A&E waiting times improving. I will be catching up with him again soon for an update on the progress of finding a location for the new hospital, and I will be sure to share as much information as possible with constituents.
Camberley Sewage Treatment Works: I have been concerned about reports from constituents about the odour emanating from Camberley Sewage Treatment Works for some time. I am in touch with Thames Water, the Environment Agency, and Surrey County Council, and you can read my latest update on the action I have taken here ([link removed]) . I will be sure to continue to share any news on my Facebook page.
Old Dean Community Library: I was delighted to be at the official opening of the Community Library at the Pavilion in Old Dean on 27 July with Cllrs Lewis Mears ([link removed]=AZX0JWeHbbYE0GMzdRGPufUjFZYai1w6wMcTJzPnnh0-ZMSf3HOVNZuwk28ie7jsLjgPysu1gusJqfU4p7hcNOin-2fo_KI4I0xuPNxeEjOJn9AgB0FeDcOGNSsuCVgjwlAxQSBkP0CO6Viev_CgAxaKWA3JUYzXWq78LonMnvinV5gf1VdDvgsa5JQ9TlqBQJU&__tn__=-]K-R) , Shaun Garrett ([link removed]=AZX0JWeHbbYE0GMzdRGPufUjFZYai1w6wMcTJzPnnh0-ZMSf3HOVNZuwk28ie7jsLjgPysu1gusJqfU4p7hcNOin-2fo_KI4I0xuPNxeEjOJn9AgB0FeDcOGNSsuCVgjwlAxQSBkP0CO6Viev_CgAxaKWA3JUYzXWq78LonMnvinV5gf1VdDvgsa5JQ9TlqBQJU&__tn__=-]K-R) , and Trefor Hogg ([link removed]=AZX0JWeHbbYE0GMzdRGPufUjFZYai1w6wMcTJzPnnh0-ZMSf3HOVNZuwk28ie7jsLjgPysu1gusJqfU4p7hcNOin-2fo_KI4I0xuPNxeEjOJn9AgB0FeDcOGNSsuCVgjwlAxQSBkP0CO6Viev_CgAxaKWA3JUYzXWq78LonMnvinV5gf1VdDvgsa5JQ9TlqBQJU&__tn__=-]K-R) . It was wonderful to see how
this building has been transformed into such a welcoming place for families in Old Dean to enjoy. I would like to say a huge thank you to the brilliant team who made this happen, and for all the generous donations given by businesses, local schools and so many others.
North Court Meeting: I recently visited North Court in Camberley to join my constituent, Sally Shiels, together with some of her neighbours on a virtual call with the Chief Executive and other representatives of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing. North Court residents have been suffering a series of major issues owing to an inadequate service from MTVH, and it was important that their understandable concerns could be relayed to the Chief Executive of the Housing Association directly. MTVH explained that a number of changes have been made to improve their service moving forward, and have also explained that they are trying to commence and complete remediation works to the building as soon as possible. I can appreciate, however, that residents have little confidence in the promises made and MTVH will need to work to rebuilt trust. I will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it progresses, ensuring that MTVH is held accountable.
South Western Railway: On 25 July, I met Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, to discuss rail services in Surrey Heath. I know that many constituents will be aware that I have been pushing for improved services and faster journey times for several years. Whilst it is frustrating that the hugely complicated and intricate network of lines leaves little leeway at present for the tweaking of timetables, I was encouraged to learn that SWR is hoping to introduce a brand new fleet of faster, more spacious, and more reliable trains towards the end of the year, which should free up capacity leading to greater flexibility across the network – hopefully leading to faster journey times for those in Surrey Heath. I will be sure to continue to follow how this progresses. I was also updated on SWR’s station change proposals, and you can read the latest news here ([link removed]) .
Ash Vale step-free access: I want to assure constituents that I am continuing to fight for a more accessible Ash Vale Station. The station has been without step-free access for far too long, and given it has almost been three months since I received a response from the Transport Secretary, I have chased for news on when the successful submissions to the Access for All Programme will be announced. I can’t think of a station in greater need of this funding than Ash Vale, and have my fingers crossed for what would be a big win for so many of my constituents.
M3/A322 Junction congestion: I know that congestion at this junction continues to be hugely frustrating for Surrey Heath drivers, and resolving the problem remains a top priority of mine. Last week, I wrote again to National Highways to enquire about the progress of pre-project planning for a future submission to the Department for Transport’s Road Investment Strategy for significant investment towards a substantial infrastructural overhaul of the junction. Whilst this will not happen overnight, I am very anxious to ensure that all of the necessary groundwork is being done in the meantime to give any future bids the best possible chance of succeeding.
Chobham Conservatives Summer Drinks Party: I had a great time at the Chobham Conservatives Summer Drinks Party on 23 July. It was so lovely to spend time with friends and colleagues, and you can see some pictures of the event here ([link removed]) .
South East Water Tongham works: Further to my update in last month's newsletter, Jeremy Hunt MP and I have received a further response from South East Water, including a briefing document giving details of the plans which you can read here ([link removed]) . I understand works commenced last Tuesday, and please do get in touch if you have any wider concerns.
Royal Mail delivery delays: You can read my latest update on delays to Royal Mail deliveries in the Old Dean here ([link removed]) , and I hope residents there start to see improvements soon. I am aware, however, that constituents have been experiencing similar delays in Frimley and Deepcut, and I have raised this with Royal Mail as well. If you are experiencing any problems with mail deliveries, please do get in touch.
Save Me Trust Rescue Centre: I always love visiting the Save Me Trust’s Rescue Centre and it was lovely to join the team in Windlesham on 14 July. It was enlightening to talk to co-founder Anne Brummer about what more the Government can do to protect our wildlife. The Trust does such crucial work nursing injured and unwell animals back to their best health, and it was inspiring to see this work first hand.
Bagshot Waitrose: I hugely enjoyed visiting Waitrose in Bagshot in early July, and even tried to help out on the fish counter as you can see pictured below. I was also delighted to see the amazing community hero, Cllr Trefor Hogg, receiving £500 on behalf of the Old Dean Community Group as part of Waitrose’s brilliant Community Matters programme, which provides much welcome support for local charities.
SHBC Chief Executive catch-up: It was extremely helpful to have a catch up with Damian Roberts, Chief Executive of Surrey Heath Borough Council, earlier this month to discuss several important issues across Surrey Heath, including certain pieces of casework from constituents, and I very much appreciate all his assistance.
Enterprise M3: It was great to speak to Michael Queen, Chair of Enterprise M3, on 7 July in Windlesham. Enterprise M3 is a Local Enterprise Partnership which brings together private, public and not-for-profit organisations to help drive economic growth across west Surrey, including Surrey Heath, and Hampshire. I was incredibly grateful for Michael’s time and we had a most helpful discussion about the regional economy, enabling innovation locally, and overcoming barriers to growth.
Lightwater catch-up: I had a very busy, and very sunny, afternoon in Lightwater with Cllrs Katia Malcaus Cooper ([link removed]=AZWsWHxvuVI5BlBSu5aEiZQAFdQEVtAfboJbhUv8_-ZyCxWn03Vj0XhvMtsBJzGbEq6nKA4ay-bd1NwYD0wikqoY7U2j3UL1RNVxww3_nUP7X6qUWFO-OPV4Xz28rwxwFw5ehJnDqRKxQYRQ8gq3O0VF9GzFQK_AJPJ4wgQum9UwwmG7-vR_WLwz6snuqMq1C7A&__tn__=-]K-R) and Rebecca Jennings-Evans ([link removed]=AZWsWHxvuVI5BlBSu5aEiZQAFdQEVtAfboJbhUv8_-ZyCxWn03Vj0XhvMtsBJzGbEq6nKA4ay-bd1NwYD0wikqoY7U2j3UL1RNVxww3_nUP7X6qUWFO-OPV4Xz28rwxwFw5ehJnDqRKxQYRQ8gq3O0VF9GzFQK_AJPJ4wgQum9UwwmG7-vR_WLwz6snuqMq1C7A&__tn__=-]K-R) at the beginning of the month. First, we visited the Lightwater Recreational Playground to look at (and try out!) the new play area and outdoor gym. Then on to Randall’s Coffee and Wine Bar, where I had the opportunity to speak to the owner, Matt, about energy bills. After that, we strolled along Guildford Road to look at the worn
white lining on the road and pedestrian crossing. I’m pleased this has been reported to Surrey County Council and is scheduled to be repainted later this summer. Finally, we visited Briars Avenue to look at the recent resurfacing and surface dressing works.
** Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities News
Long Term Housing Plan: Earlier this week, I set out further plans for regeneration, inner-city densification and housing delivery across England, with transformational plans to supply beautiful, safe, decent homes in places with high-growth potential in partnership with local communities. You can find out more about these plans here ([link removed]) , and you can read my speech with further details here ([link removed]) .
Social Housing Act: Lifechanging reforms to social housing became law as the government’s new Social Housing (Regulation) Act received Royal Assent on 20 July . You can read more here ([link removed]) .
Infrastructure planning changes: Major infrastructure projects that deliver tangible benefits to communities, including off-shore wind farms, transport links, waste facilities and nuclear power stations, will be fast-tracked through the planning process, under plans announced by my Department on 25 July. You can learn more here ([link removed]) .
Departmental OPQs: On 10 July, I was in the House of Commons chamber with my departmental colleagues answering Levelling Up, Housing and Communities questions, and you can watch the session here ([link removed]) .
Letter to Grenfell Residents: Earlier this month, I wrote to residents who live close to Grenfell Tower following the conversations I and Baroness Scott held with them in May. You can read the letter here ([link removed]) .
Local Government Association annual conference 2023: At the beginning of July, I gave a speech at the LGA annual conference which you can read here ([link removed]) .
The best way to reach me is by email or post, and please include your full address, including postcode, in all communications.