It’s great that our area is on map!
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore writes for Hanham & Longwell Green Voice
As the local MP for this area, I was delighted to hear that Hanham and Longwell Green Voice was being launched. The Voice magazines have already been a great hit in areas such as Downend and Keynsham, so it’s fantastic that this monthly publication will be hitting the doormats of Hanham and Longwell Green residents, keeping you in touch with the latest local news and events.
I'm also perhaps slightly biased, having been born and raised in Longwell Green - this area is my home, and I now just live round the corner in Willsbridge with my family, so anything that puts Hanham and Longwell Green on the map is a good thing by me!
It's been six years now since I was first elected as your local Member of Parliament, but it seems that life is as busy as ever, if not more so. Things have obviously changed since I was first elected- I'm now married to my wife Lydia and we have two children, Clemmie, who has just turned two, and Henry, who was born this March. Getting used to being a parent to '2 under 2' has been quite a challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Its also opened my eyes to some of the great facilities we have round here: Hanham Common has become a regular place to take the kids, as well as the fantastic swimming facilities at Aspects Leisure Centre or the soft play centre at 'Ugly Bugs'.
Alongside becoming a father for the second time, 2016 has already brought other political challenges. In July, after Theresa May became Prime Minister, I was appointed as a Minister for the first time. I want to reassure people that although I have taken on extra ministerial responsibilities - officially I am now the 'Minister for the Constitution', covering all aspects of elections, democracy and devolution - I am still determined as I have always been that I will work as hard as possible for my home area as your MP.
There have been a significant number of local issues to Hanham and Longwell Green that I have been working as your MP to help with. As an author and historian, I value the knowledge and public benefit that our public libraries give to communities. I occasionally hold my MP surgeries in Hanham library, so I have been determined to give my backing to Hanham Library having no reduction in its opening hours. Earlier this year I sent a leaflet to every Hanham property conducting a survey of local residents, and held a public meeting on the issue in Hanham Baptist Church. As a result, I have campaigned and lobbied the council to alter its plans. We are currently awaiting the results of their consultation.
There have also been significant changes to our bus timetables by First Bus - many of which I haven't been happy about, and have expressed my views to Chief Executive James Freeman. For many constituents, bus services are a vital lifeline, and it is vital that they are maintained. Then there has been the issue of the council's plans for smaller black bins - I managed to secure a debate in Parliament on this issue in January, and I'm delighted that the council has now decided to ensure that every household will have the opportunity for unlimited recycling boxes- to be emptied weekly- as well as an additional nappy collection service for parents.
I'm sure that there will be many other issues that residents like yourself will have: all I ask is please do let me know if I can help in any way as your local MP, I am keen to help where I can. I can always be contacted on 0117 908 1524 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org