JANUARY 2022: New from your local MP Chris Skidmore
HAVING left 2021 behind, we can look ahead to 2022 with great optimism. As the local MP, I am looking forward to the opportunities presented to our area over the coming year.
As we continue to manage the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and gradually exit the pandemic, it is important that we continue to put in place the foundations for our economic, social and environmental recovery so we can build back better and greener from the pandemic.
We can expect a decision on creating a new Kingswood Town Council, as well as continued regeneration of the town centre – as set out in South Gloucestershire Council’s Masterplan.
The council’s purchase of the Kings Chase Shopping Centre in 2021 means that the multi-storey car park area can be considered as the location of a new leisure centre and we can expect a consultation from the council on the details on what a new centre would look like and the services and facilities it would offer the community. My campaign to introduce free car parking will continue so we can attract more shoppers to the area.
The restoration of our historic Whitfield Tabernacle will move into its final £2million phase, the conversion of the Masters Church into new homes will finish and a new park will be handed over to the community - these are just some of the heritage improvements to our local area that 2022 will see.
Alongside submitting a multi-million pound lottery bid for Kingswood Park, our environment will be further boosted through the exciting new Common Connections initiative led by SGC. This is a £1million four-year landscape and habitat restoration project to improve links between registered common land, woodlands and other natural habitats to create a Wildbelt - an area of land where building is not allowed, so that nature can be protected and restored stretching from Lyde Green southwards to Willsbridge.
2022 will also be a year to grab the exciting local opportunities we know are coming – not least in the hi-tech businesses in our local economy. I was reminded of these when visiting the National Composites Centre (NCC) at the Science Park. The NCC is next door to the new Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems currently under construction and which will open later this year in providing yet more opportunities for local people to help solve global challenges.
I wish you a Happy New Year.