** Welcome to my March Newsletter!
My newsletter is designed to give an overview of what I've been doing as Member of Parliament for Surrey Heath and as a member of the Government, 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]) .
Esso Pipeline and Turf Hill: During the past few weeks, I have held various intensive meetings with concerned local residents, Natural England, Affinity Water, and of course with Esso. I am working with local Councillors to try to mitigate the impact of the replacement pipeline through Turf Hill, and plan to hold a further meeting in the near future with all interested parties.
Policing in Surrey Heath: Last week, I went to the Guildford HQ of Surrey Police and spoke to the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Munro, and the Chief Constable, Gavin Stephens, about how we can make Surrey Heath safer. People are understandably concerned about a recent spate of burglaries, increases in anti-social behaviour and criminality overall. We need more officers, and thanks to the Prime Minister's commitment of 20,000 extra officers nationally, there will be more boots on the ground in Surrey Heath. I will keep you updated as those officers are deployed, and I am extremely grateful that the Chief Constable and our local Borough Commander, Bob Darkens, are doing everything they can to fight crime.
Supporting local businesses: I recently visited several businesses in Deepcut and in Camberley, and it is important that we all do what we can to help support local jobs and enterprises. One business in particular that I visited was Saffron restaurant in Old Dean, which has been transformed into a fantastic place to eat, and where you can be sure of a very warm welcome.
Rail Services: I have discussed improving the rail service in Surrey Heath with the Chief Executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, and he agrees that the day-to-day performance in our area has not been good enough. He will continue to work with the Transport Secretary's team and SWR to give passengers the better service that they deserve. I have also just written to Mr Haines and to the Transport Secretary about the possibility of re-opening the old Sturt Chord to enable a direct fast train from Camberley to London, and I shall post news in due course.
Shawfield Primary School: Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Willow Class Year 6 to discuss road safety outside their school gates. I was joined by Cllr Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Highways at Surrey County Council, and we were treated to a fantastic and inventive presentation by the pupils which underlined their fears about the dangers of speeding traffic outside their school. Cllr Furniss promised to investigate and will report back as soon as possible.
Camberley and Chobham Fire Services: I was delighted to visit Camberley Fire Station last month, and to meet Steve Owen-Hughes, Chief Fire Officer at Surrey County Council, together with local Councillor, Mike Goodman. We discussed the Making Surrey Safer Plan 2020-2023 and, in particular, the fire services in Camberley and Chobham. We also had time to view the stunning, brand new fire engine based in Camberley's fire station.
Charlie Chirico: On 7 May, we will once again be voting for our Police and Crime Commissioner here in Surrey, and during the past few weeks the local Conservative team and I have been out campaigning in support of the Conservative candidate, Charlie Chirico. Charlie is a fantastic, talented and dedicated person, and you can learn more about her on her website ([link removed]) .
A322: My postbag and inbox contain a great deal of correspondence about roads, and I am in touch with Cllr Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Highways at Surrey County Council, about future investment and plans for Surrey Heath. He has kindly provided this helpful map ([link removed]) displaying the proposed 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 planned maintenance schemes. One troublesome area in particular that local Councillors and I are determined to deal with, is the A322 junction of the M3 at Lightwater. It causes a huge amount of congestion, and is probably one of the worst traffic hotspots in Surrey. I discussed this with Cllr Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, at our recent catch-up, and he assured me that this is a priority for the Council. I am also in touch with Highways England, which is now leading the feasibility study to identify
the solutions, and it is due to be completed this summer.
Frimley Park Hospital: The appalling traffic around the hospital is intolerable, and although Surrey County Council invested £750,000 in the construction of an additional lane between the hospital entrance and the Waitrose roundabout several years ago, it is evident that further action must be taken to tackle the congestion. I have recently written to the Chief Executive of Frimley Park Health Trust, Neil Dardis, and I am working with local Councillors to find a permanent solution to the problem. I understand that there are plans to undertake a study to consider measures to reduce congestion both on and off the highway. I shall look forward to studying the findings.
Tours of the Houses of Parliament
Free guided tours of Parliament are available to constituents. The walking tour of the Palace of Westminster includes:
* Westminster Hall, the ancient hall at the heart of the Palace where Parliament first sat, and where many historic events have taken place;
* The House of Commons, including the Speaker's Chair, the famous green benches and the 'lobbies' where MPs actually vote;
* The House of Lords, including the Royal Throne;
* The Queen's Robing Room, Royal Gallery and many other fascinating parts of the Palace of Westminster.
Please note that tours are very popular and places are limited, so generally have to be booked about six months in advance. Please contact me to enquire about a visit to Westminster.
Future relationship with the EU: On 27 February, I gave a statement to the House of Commons regarding the Government’s approach to our Future Relationship with the European Union, which you can read here ([link removed]) .
Import controls: The government has confirmed plans to introduce import controls ([link removed]) on EU goods at the border after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee: I was honoured to be appointed by the Prime Minister as co-chair of the Joint Committee ([link removed]) with the EU, which will oversee implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. Further details will be set out in due course.
Coronavirus: Many people are understandably worried about COVID-19, but I wish to provide reassurance that the NHS is well prepared to deal with incidents like this, and the Government has a clear path to ensure the public is protected. You can find the latest advice 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.