Last Updated: 30 December 2010
Created: 30 December 2010
Parliament has now risen for the Christmas recess, a welcome opportunity for me to spend all my time back in Swindon, catching up on local visits, constituency work and hopefully a good mix of local sport – weather permitting!
Throughout the recent adverse weather, we have seen fantastic efforts from those responsible for keeping our roads clear and safe. Local authorities are far better prepared this year, avoiding the dangerous grit shortages of last year. However, in Parliament I did take the opportunity to raise my concerns about the potential delays in tackling dangerous road conditions in unadopted areas of new build estates, where the responsibility of gritting and road clearing remains that of the developer. In my mind, like the other issues I have brought up in relation to my calls for a ‘developer bond’, this would allow the local authority to be able to step in if the work isn’t carried out.
As we all continue to work towards our much-needed town centre regeneration plans, it has been extremely frustrating that the bad weather will have impacted on the pre-Christmas sales. It will be interesting to see to how we have fared. The early signs had been positive with shoppers taking advantage of the cheaper car-parking, Christmas promotions and late-night openings, all pro-active steps I fully supported. As the MP, I will continue to do all I can to assist Swindon Borough Council and Forward Swindon in securing further long-term development projects to regenerate our town centre, building on the recently renewed plans for Regent Circus. With over 300,000 potential shoppers within 20 minutes of Swindon Town centre, I am sure once the developers can raise money again we will be first in the queue for further redevelopment.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote here about the government’s plans to remove the ring-fencing of the £162m funding to the School Sports Partnership. SSPs have helped co-ordinate sporting activity and opportunities, something of which I am a passionate supporter. I was invited to an SSP event in Swindon and saw firsthand what valuable work is being done, and then spoke in the Parliamentary debate on the subject. I’m delighted to say that this week the government has agreed to restore some of the funding and to look again at the whole future of school sports. Standing up for what you believe in really can pay dividends!
Finally, I would like to give special thanks to all those who are working over the Christmas period to keep our services running, and our brave troops serving overseas who will be away from their families over the festive period.
May I wish all readers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.