Last week Parliament broke for the summer recess but it turned out to be one of the busiest weeks of the summer.
The main news of course was the long awaited publication of Highways England’s work on the A27. It may have been long awaited but I am afraid it turned out to be a damp squib and not a realistic or sustainable solution. The study has identified other more substantial proposals involving grade separation that would be effective but which they have been unable to pursue because they exceed the Department for Transport’s indicated budget. We have been saying this all along and so Peter Bottomley and I went straight to see Chris Grayling last week to explain how we need to look at a larger budget more in line to that which the Arundel stretch is working on.
We have now written to him formally asking if the work on these additional options can be published and work continue as clearly there will be no public support for what is considered in the study. I will publish all this correspondence on my website.
We also heard that the full planning application for the controversial New Monks Farm development has now been submitted and Adur District Council will publish it soon once planning officers have checked it through. Bizarrely the A27 study admits that no account has been taken of the impact of a possible IKEA in their traffic study. This only adds to my concern that this application is unsustainable if it includes IKEA and I will be writing to all households in the area over the coming weeks with a survey.
On Tuesday I arranged a meeting for all local MPs with the General Secretary of ASLEF to try to find a way ahead to resolve the rail dispute. We were told categorically that ASLEF could not sit down alongside the RMT union and Chris Grayling had refused to meet them.
Later that day we heard that the heads of both ASLEF and RMT had held a meeting straight after with another MP and agreed to talks with Chris Grayling – which he had in fact written to them to offer no fewer than eight times in recent months. Well at least this is progress of sorts but it is a funny old world.
On Thursday I held a meeting with about 20 heads and governors from local schools about the funding situation in the light of the Education Secretary’s latest offer of new money and I will write that up in full in my next newsletter next week.
A busy Saturday as I started off at a fantastic Broadwater Carnival and tried out a new set of wheels with the youth mayor and deputy, followed by the formal if damp opening of the very popular new Lancing Green skateboard park; an even damper end to the world croquet championships at the second largest croquet club in the world at Southwick.
Then after a bit of retro ‘bopping’ at the More Radio concert in Steyne Gardens it was good to see such an energetic group of young people enjoying the Electric Storm Youth barbecue in Lancing, of which I am proud to be patron.
What a lot going on in the constituency – just the way I like it!
• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at email@example.com
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