Progress on Bradford on Avon Traffic, an update on local crime and news on additional investment for our area |
Welcome to my latest newsletter, I hope you are well. Apologies for the duplicate update - I spotted an error in the previous email. As ever, if there is anything I can do to help, or if you would like to speak to me at one of my upcoming surgeries, please do let me know.
Positive Step Forward On Traffic In Bradford on Avon
Last month I called for Bradford on Avon Town Council to get on and accept the offer on the table from Wiltshire Council to progress the modelling needed for a solution to the town's traffic issues.
This week the Town Council have finally accepted the offer and the modelling will move ahead - having pushed this for many years this is a positive step forward for the town.
👉 I have always been upfront that there is no silver bullet solution to the issue, but we do need to manage the traffic through the town.
👉 The temporary one-way scheme introduced during the pandemic overall worked well and reduced traffic levels, but changes do need to be made for areas like New Road - this is why the modelling is important.
👉 The Town Council agreeing in January to fund half of the modelling, rather than the 2/3 needed, was stopping a solution from moving forward.
👉 This is something which I thought was incredibly frustrating for residents, so last month I urged the Town Council to get on and accept the offer on the table from Wiltshire Council.
👉 The Town Council accepting the offer this week is a positive step forward. The modelling will take place over 6 months and assess the impact of any changes in detail - the results will then be shared with the community.
Short Story Competition 2023 - Enter Before Tomorrow!
✏️🌈 Don’t forget there’s still time for children to enter my Short Story Competition for 2023, extended to both Years 5 and 6 and closing TOMORROW. The submitted stories can be about absolutely anything and the competition is all about inspiring local young people to write and create stories with World Book Day coming up next week.
To allow as many children to take part in the competition as possible, I have made two different categories:
Category 1️⃣: A written short story of no more than 500 words in length. The story can be about anything and everything!
Category 2️⃣: For children who may find it easier to tell their story through drawing, painting or through audio.
WHO CAN ENTER?
Children from Years 5 and 6 in the Chippenham Constituency.
HOW DO YOU ENTER?
Please send your child’s story in via email [email protected] or drop them into my office: 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES.
Please include your child’s name, school/stipulate home educated, age and contact details.
WHEN DOES IT CLOSE?
The Corsham Bookshop and Edwards Stationery in Melksham are kindly supporting the competition by providing some excellent prizes for the winners. I will also be boosting these with some goodies I am buying from Parliament and a certificate.
Please do share with anyone whose children may be interested in taking part before the competition closes on Friday!
Update On Local Crime
👮♂️ Tackling local crime: Following the four Community Crime Forums I organised over the last few months, here is an update on local crime in our area. Generally we have seen a reduction in most crimes, which is good news 👇
🌾 Rural crime down by between 50 and 60 percent in the area
📈 Number of speeding prosecutions up by 67% in a year
🚨Prosecutions for burglary also increasing
Here are some of the actions and initiatives your local officers will be using going forward to help keep our towns and villages safe 👇
✅ 98 extra police officers in Wiltshire, delivering on our manifesto commitment
👮 Increased patrols with dogs and night vision cameras to clamp down on drug use
🚗 Deploying community speed watch and enforcement officers in the areas directly where you are reporting speeding to myself and the PCC for Wiltshire Philip Wilkinson:
📚 More engagement with schools and the community more widely to reduce anti-social behaviour
🚔 Deploying mobile police stations so rural areas and villages can have a point of contact and a recognisable face for raising concerns
📲 Improvements with IT systems and efficiency, so that our local officers can spend more time on the beat
📍 Greater flexibility with recruitment, and reforming how officers are organised to target resources where they are needed
📩 If you have concerns about crime in our area which you’d like to raise with me, please do get in touch - [email protected].
AB Dynamics - A Real Wiltshire Success Story!
⚙️ Fantastic to revisit to Bradford on Avon based engineering firm AB Dynamics, touring the site and meeting CEO Dr James Routh.
👉🏻 They have grown by X4 in the last 5 years - a great local success story and job creator. The business are global leaders in the automotive industry, growing four-fold in the last five years with their work on autonomous vehicles and safety testing systems.🔧
🏎️ They gave me a demonstration of their market-leading driving simulator, which is used by Formula 1 teams and manufacturers across the globe to help design and test their vehicles. 🏁
🌎 Brilliant to see Wiltshire continue to be a hub for design, tech and innovation, with products developed here on our doorstep heading right around the world, and providing high quality jobs for local people. A real Wiltshire success story - something I am always keen to support however I can. 🚀
Access to Cash in Melksham Campaign
🏦 Access to cash in Melksham Update: You may have seen my ongoing campaign to preserve access to cash in Melksham following the closure of Lloyds last year, leaving the town without a high street bank. Since then I have been on the case, including meeting Rob Astley from Access to Cash in the last few weeks 👇
👉 I submitted a community access request for a Bank Hub to LINK, who manage bank services in the UK
👉 As a result, Melksham was identified as an area in need of access to cash, and we are in the process of securing additional deposit services, a positive step forward and something which I pushed for
👉 Now I want to see Melksham identified as an area in need of banking services - this would increase the range of services available to the community in addition to what is currently offered at the Post Office, which could include a dedicated counter, for example.
I believe these additional services are really important for the town in place of a permanent high street bank, and so to make the case as strongly as possible I am going to arrange a face-to-face meeting with local business owners and Access to Cash in Melksham. Do look out for further updates in the next few weeks!
Alternative Energy Bill Support
⚡️ Alternative energy bill support scheme now open: I know that those residents who are not connected to a domestic energy supply have also faced increased energy costs.
👉 Households without a direct relationship to an electricity supplier can now apply via a secure online portal to receive the support as a one-off, non-repayable lump sum.
👉 For those without online access, a dedicated helpline is available by calling 0808 175 3287.
👉 You can access the portal to apply here.
The link or phone number above is the only way to apply for this support, so please do be careful of scams. ⚠️
Between the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 discount, Government support with energy bills has reached 97% of households so far and has provided an average discount of £900 from energy bills since October. This comes on top of direct support for millions of vulnerable families, pensioners and those on disability benefits.
If you have a domestic energy supply but are having difficulties receiving the monthly support in place from the Government, please do let me know and I would be very happy to follow it up for you.
I have also held my regular surgeries across the constituency, most recently in Winsley, Monkton Farleigh and at my office in Chippenham. It is always great to see so many there - I am available to help with any issue local or national, so please do get in touch if you would like to get booked in to speak to me, or if I can help in any way in the meantime.
Other Recent Work
Just some of my other work over the last few weeks includes:
- Visited Hartley Farm Shop and Kitchen in Winsley - for those of you who haven’t been it’s well worth a visit. The business currently employs 60 people locally, sells its own beef, organic vegetables, and homemade produce from its bakery. Everything sold in the shop and café is sourced as locally as possible, supporting fellow local farmers and producers.
- Supported the extension of Government funding to cap single bus fares at £2 until June, with £155 million of investment. I know this is something which has been popular locally on our Stagecoach, First and Faresaver services, and this new funding will help to support people with the cost of living by keeping fares down and help cut emissions by reducing the number of car journeys.
- Secured over £1 million of extra Government funding in Wiltshire to combat drug and alcohol misuse over the next two years, giving more help and support directly to those who need it. This investment will be used to improve treatment and recovery services for people addicted to drugs and alcohol, helping to improve public health and reduce crime.
- Had a very productive meeting with members of the Country Land and Business Association Wiltshire branch committee. The agenda was broad and covered lots of topics, from tourism to water. It was fantastic to hear directly from local farmers about how the Environmental Land Management schemes are already working on the ground.
- Caught up with GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood CBE, who updated me on the work currently ongoing to make Chippenham station fully accessible from both sides of the railway. £1 million has been invested in this project that will provide step-free access to platforms on both sides of the track.
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest newsletter, if there is anything I may be able to help with or if you would like to speak to me at my next surgery, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Member of Parliament for Chippenham Constituency