From Michael Gove MP <[email protected]>
Subject October Newsletter from Michael Gove MP
Date October 31, 2023 7:36 PM
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** Welcome to my October 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
Lightwater to Bagshot M3 Footbridge: I was disappointed to learn of National Highways’ sudden closure of the footbridge over the M3 from the Lightwater Country Park to Whitmoor Road in Bagshot. I have been in touch with National Highways and the Department for Transport, and have made it clear that the mooted 24-month timeframe for a replacement footbridge is unacceptable. To keep up-to-date on the work that I am doing to expedite its replacement and to restore this crucial route for residents, please visit my website ([link removed]) .

Simply Dine: It was an absolute pleasure to pop in to Simply Dine on 6 October, a delightful new coffee shop in Chobham. They make delicious coffee that I thoroughly recommend, and the food menu looked sublime! Do drop by if you can.

On Demand Bus Service: Last month, I wrote to Surrey County Council regarding its new On Demand Bus Service, which is being rolled out in certain areas in Surrey. I asked if the service can be extended to Lightwater and other parts of Surrey Heath where I have received complaints about local bus services. I am pleased to report that I have been informed the scheme will be rolled out Surrey-wide in 2024, and you can find out more here ([link removed]) .

Lightwater Leisure Centre: It was an honour to attend the relaunch of the newly refurbished Lightwater Leisure Centre at the beginning of the month. This is such a vibrant local amenity loved by all, and I was hugely impressed by the new facilities, which will no doubt be very popular.

Business Breakfast: It was a pleasure to welcome guests to another Business Breakfast at Frimley Hall Hotel this month. I was asked many questions about global, national and local politics, and am grateful to those who came along. My Business Breakfast Club meets quarterly and is a great opportunity to strengthen ties with local businesses and Conservative Councillors. If you would like to join or find out more information, please email: [email protected]

Frimley Park Hospital: It was a delight, as ever, to visit Frimley Park Hospital on 13 October to catch up with the Chief Executive, Neil Dardis, following the announcement of Government funding to build a brand new Frimley Park Hospital. You can see further details on my website ([link removed]) .

Service Family Accommodation: For some time, I have been supporting a number of Service Families in Camberley who have been receiving totally inadequate support in their Service Family Accommodation. The state of the homes, and the massive complications they are having with contractors and repairs is well below the standard they deserve. I visited some of the families earlier this month to catch-up on progress, which has unfortunately been limited, and I have since written to the MoD once more to stress that rapid improvements need to be seen imminently.

Farnborough Airport: I am grateful to Farnborough Airport for welcoming me to discuss their consultation on proposals to extend the operating hours of the airport and to increase the annual flight limit from 50,000 to 70,000 flights per year. I understand the business case for expansion of the airport, which I recognise would be valuable for the local economy, but that must be balanced against environmental and other concerns. I am worried about the increase in pollution and also the loss of quality of life, peace and amenity for my constituents who live under the flight path, and therefore feel that expansion of the airport would be wrong. I know many people will have differing views on this topic, and each side has its merits - but the well-being of my Surrey Heath constituents, as ever, is of paramount importance. The airport’s consultation closed on 18 October, and I am looking forward to further news.

Solidarity with Israel: On behalf of all Surrey Heath’s citizens, I stand with Israel against the barbaric terrorism we are witnessing. On 13 October, I wrote to the Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council to ask for the Council to show solidarity with the people of Israel by flying Israel's flag and condemning the evil of Hamas. You can read my letter here ([link removed]) .

2023 Christmas Card Competition: For the past few years, I have very much enjoyed holding my Christmas Card competitions, and it is always a huge delight to see the amazing designs from talented pupils across Surrey Heath. I have written to all primary schools in Surrey Heath to invite submissions from their pupils, and the deadline for submitting entries is 22 November. A judge will view all entries and will choose the winning designs.

Royal Mail delays: During my visit to Camberley Delivery Office last month, Royal Mail recognised that it has been underperforming in Surrey Heath, and promised that positive changes are being made to improve its service. I wrote again to Royal Mail on 26 September to keep in close contact with the team to monitor progress but, disappointingly, constituents are still reporting to me that they are experiencing significant delays with deliveries, so I have written yet again to Royal Mail to ask for a further update. It is evident that the Camberley Delivery Office is still struggling with a large number of colleagues being away from work through sickness, but Royal Mail is currently looking to recruit more postmen and women. Vacancies at Camberley Delivery office can be found at [link removed]
([link removed][0]=AT25x7ScR2GDdi_n8qIEo-e63bRrqzY3XmTKG1ifk3wieOjZkAlGWY2ifkbGpxMgoTGyvfBChN-nMGPzhQMzAAx0aRxWiVGfKfBehtMzQwSmrmhcq4Kiz7Q-BpdPNFe0IhnsX8T2obQO35rzu1xY5rw5r_P5DeOHBgyNfo3CNMXFDFGLxqSV5ItAbLRUskp0IvEQoiZ5h958) and if you know anyone who might be interested in taking up a role with Royal Mail in Camberley, please do share these details.

HMP Coldingley: Earlier this summer, I visited HMP Coldingley in Bisley with a former Judge and the Director of the Prisoner Reform Trust to meet a group of 14 prisoners serving life sentences. Many of those in the group had complex and painful histories, and had grown up in prison, having been convicted as juveniles, and we discussed some of the challenges they faced when transitioning from a youth offender institution to an adult prison. I was so impressed by the work that was being done regarding rehabilitation and support for these prisoners that I wrote to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Alex Chalk ([link removed][0]=AZXGaPIMib8CIHxKWqIHMuEK3ypEi8X8vlAQe8vG51uLNjSmUnIzpKC2M7VShlEd3Re_bZVQ8VDGhsUgdPojy2Gi0rPOZbj8buL8jI_1DpKw2Q4G7jhwLvYHufHE3hmT5u2tzxdxN0ofrIugyFZtWAA5iQJW4TzLbA6HCMWTpKnyvk-cekqpRhxzB-n0irYov3Y&__tn__=-]K-R) KC MP, to ask him to join me on a further visit. That visit took place on 26 October, and I am
incredibly grateful to the Justice Secretary for joining me in such an important discussion with the group, and I know he very much appreciated seeing the great work going on at HMP Coldingley.

NHS Frimley: Last week in Windlesham, I had a most helpful catch-up with Fiona Edwards, Chief Executive of NHS Frimley, together with her colleagues Tracey Fararday-Drake, Place Convenor for Surrey Heath, and Mark Pugsley, Clinical Lead. I very much appreciated the update on local healthcare services, and we covered a number of important topics, including winter pressures, mental-health services and suicide prevention.

A322/M3 Junction: I met Cllr Richard Tear ([link removed][0]=AZWhp07t3E6kuKzZBWCXBjmuViehYI6jiPEQJWPApr-K26CEZDKc2QRPps60zx34COfEIn9Y88Zi0kLfb1-UXg1rinJpqFFzbo-TmcuXgbaVqCrhMNe9dGBYVL78q-segO5240IVlCIlfBFnD1bN6un73CtkUi0fPEWjhRXxBPYL5zukeCTHsV1rVB2vsGKvVcj0-3tnAazwMth115OaquZO5ICT3CSTLQWrwyoKK_35PQ&__tn__=-]K-R) last Friday for a catch-up on the congestion problems of the A322/M3 junction. Richard, Cllr Rebecca Jennings-Evans ([link removed][0]=AZWhp07t3E6kuKzZBWCXBjmuViehYI6jiPEQJWPApr-K26CEZDKc2QRPps60zx34COfEIn9Y88Zi0kLfb1-UXg1rinJpqFFzbo-TmcuXgbaVqCrhMNe9dGBYVL78q-segO5240IVlCIlfBFnD1bN6un73CtkUi0fPEWjhRXxBPYL5zukeCTHsV1rVB2vsGKvVcj0-3tnAazwMth115OaquZO5ICT3CSTLQWrwyoKK_35PQ&__tn__=-]K-R) and I are continuing to work on this issue, and I have also just written to National Highways regarding M3 noise pollution to ask for an update on its discussions with Surrey County Council and the Department for Transport following our
meeting earlier this summer.

Old Dean Community Leaders Lunch: I was delighted to join the Old Dean Community Leaders Lunch at St Martin’s Church in Camberley on 27 October. The community spirit in Old Dean is truly inspiring, and it was wonderful to see so many senior representatives from Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey County Council, Frimley Health ICB, Accent Housing, Frimley Fuel Allotments, Surrey Heath Age Concern, together with many others, who do so much brilliant work to support the local residents. I am hugely grateful to Cllr Trefor Hogg ([link removed][0]=AZXFbgJI73LwFwDnXTy3QzVHT7JJ7Ch6rUG_PqVHSjYW5_y99KpZmKgpacUQOyOiygE22RzK-1Oj_dhFJNeMZyxNimrtHAbrVCdqF2qdJEnRT6siG70Z-FuWXTtOAnMrMdmVlNVNc7T2ZGnqRp7zMp5Mj3q4Aq0CleBVNbYvYPTStMxqMKQbBukwyA6vh8FlKck4ul2cUJTG5AaI4zbdHXgoyfJ1G_FKzPbvsDgu9zN33Q&__tn__=-]K-R) , Chair of the Old Dean Community Group, for bringing everyone together, and for inviting me to speak and to take part in a short question and answer session. Many important
issues were discussed, including health and special educational needs, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to chat to everyone.

Junior Adventures Group: Also last Friday, I met the team behind Junior Adventures Group at Places Leisure Camberley to discuss school-aged childcare provision. We talked about the challenges their industry is experiencing, and the changes they would like to see to the funding model for school-aged children. It was evident they are passionate about raising standards and investment in the sector, and they made very pertinent points, which I will raise with colleagues.

Camberley Sewage Treatment Works: The Water Services Regulation Authority, Ofwat, together with the Consumer Council for Water, has decided to commission research into how people feel about Thames Water's handling of the foul odour incident this summer in Camberley. Ofwat would like to hear the experience and views from residents directly affected, and through this research it will consider what could be improved for the future. The research will take place over the next few weeks, and Ofwat will be using a variety of recruitment methods to invite people to take part in the research. I will provide further information on this as soon as possible. Furthermore, last week, I stressed to David Black, Chief Executive of Ofwat, my disappointment in Thames Water’s failure so far to make a serious effort to make amends with the community for the misery caused to my constituents during the summer months. To keep up-to-date with my action on this issue, please visit this webpage
([link removed]) .

Federation of Small Businesses: On 27 October, I took part in a roundtable discussion in Camberley with several members of the Federation of Small Businesses, who were representing local businesses from across Surrey Heath. We had very interesting discussions on inflation, interest rates, VAT, artificial intelligence, social care, Brexit and air travel, and I greatly appreciated hearing their thoughts and policy ideas.

Spare batteries for hearing aids: A huge thank you to Cllr Shaun Garrett ([link removed][0]=AZVFUcSvL2yuIy3YvjOrbnQkHWKCDbywxzVyv5FoDfbwu2YfoYCtVcDFj6AK9onHYFCvRJhV4KaKeRrrABV-Wfw80PMrSV5Qu3u_m4b3fhIfMAhomPj3G8SVuJWHDejDoyw6bnpffGCcqjF3V80ioGwlNqUOLysbadBBabTpodQp5KFuQ5P1pQ70nurm2sO2cR4&__tn__=-]K-R) , local borough councillor and trustee of Camberley-based charity Chloe’s and Sophie’s Special Ear Fund, for alerting me to the difficulty many experience in obtaining sufficient spare batteries for their hearing aids. I have recently raised this issue with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, highlighting the importance of children having enough spare batteries for both home and school. I very much hope this proves helpful.

** Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities News
New laws to speed up planning: New laws came into force on 26 October to speed up the planning system, hold developers to account, cut bureaucracy, and encourage more councils to put in place plans to enable the building of new homes. You can read further details here ([link removed]) .

Support for flood-hit areas: Communities impacted by flooding will benefit from thousands of pounds of Government funding to help them recover from the impact of Storm Babet. You can read more here ([link removed]) .

30,000 extra hours of patrols help reduce ASB: These extra patrols, along with hundreds more arrests and stop and searches, were just one part of the government’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan ([link removed]) , launched 6 months ago. For more details, please click here ([link removed]) .

Social housing tenants encouraged to 'Make Things Right': We are urging tenants in social housing to put pressure on failing landlords to improve their living conditions, with the government’s latest launch of the ‘Make Things Right’ campaign ([link removed]) . You can read more here ([link removed]) .
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