June 2019: News from your local MP
AS the local MP, I come across many problems where the solutions sit across different levels of government and therefore I and my fellow South Glos MPs need to work closely with local councillors on both South Gloucestershire Council and on our town and parish councils across the constituency. The recent local elections at both district and town/parish levels are therefore critical in being able to deal comprehensively with the issues that residents come to me with.
The elections saw a number of long-serving councillors from all parties retire after many years of dedicated service to the Kingswood constituency and South Gloucestershire more widely and, as the local MP, I want to thank them on behalf of our communities for what they achieved during that time. These elections also saw a number of new councillors elected for the first time, who will bring fresh energy and new ideas to how we can make our area an even better place to live and work. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.
Residents are clear that they want value for money local services that ensure that school standards are driven up, more effort being put into cleaner, greener and safer streets, alongside additional support for our high streets, infrastructure and local economy. There’s a story of significant improvement to be told on all of these issues and I am delighted that the new administration at South Gloucestershire is continuing to make these areas of focus.
Now that the elections have taken place, I look forward to working on key local priorities that I share with South Gloucestershire Council. Locally there are many exciting projects that will benefit Kingswood. These include £3m to improve Kingswood High Street - money which was secured from the Conservative West of England’s mayor Tim Bowles, and more investment in resurfacing our local roads and street cleaning funding. I will be working locally to ensure that the regeneration extends to other areas as well as the Kingswood Tabernacle site and other dilapidated buildings. I will continue to work to support the creation of new schools and expanding existing ones alongside a fairer funding formula and invest in our transport infrastructure to keep our area moving. Parking has also been kept free in Kingswood as a result of a Conservative manifesto pledge - in contrast to Bristol council’s car parks. And I look forward to now seeing the progress on the Mangotsfield Sort It Centre expansion thanks to the pledge to spend £600,000 on this.
With a huge number of promising initiatives beginning to be put in place, that respond to what residents are saying, it’s an exciting time to be the local MP and I look forward to reporting back on progress in future columns. As they say in politics, the hard work begins now.