Thursday, 21 April 2016

Lower Thames Crossing meeting with Roads Minister

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has met with local campaigners and councillors to discuss Lower Thames Crossing plans with Roads Minister Andrew Jones MP.

(l-r) George Abbott, Matt Jackson, Andrew Jones MP,
Cllr John Kent, Cllr Brian Little, and Stephen Metcalfe MP
At the private meeting, which took place yesterday in Westminster, the group discussed the recent Highways England consultation that received in excess of 30,000 responses and sought assurances from the minister that no final decision has been taken on plans for the new crossing.

Also in attendance were Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, Orsett Cllr Brian Little, Chair of the Transport scrutiny committee, and local resident campaigners George Abbott and Matt Jackson.

Mr Metcalfe commented: "I was pleased to help organise this productive meeting with the minister from the Department for Transport, Andrew Jones MP.

"We all made the case to the minister that the Lower Thames Crossing will involve huge levels of investment and that the ongoing process must be handled carefully and properly.

"The minister assured us that no decision has yet been made. He agreed that he would consider the points we made about problems with the existing crossing and Option C, and that he would also investigate how the possibility of a crossing further east from Option C came to be discounted."

He added: "The Lower Thames Crossing is a key issue for our area and it is crucial that the right decision is made. I will keep working hard to ensure that our local communities have a voice in Westminster."

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes c2c deal bringing thousands of extra train seats for commuters

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has welcomed the announcement by train operator c2c that commuters are to benefit from 13,000 extra seats at peak times every week.

Stephen meeting with Rail Minister Claire Perry MP
A new deal between c2c and the Department for Transport will deliver 24 brand-new additional carriages in 2016 - three years earlier than previously planned.

Subject to the final signing of contracts, the new carriages will start entering passenger service this October, with all of the new trains to be delivered by the end of the year.

Mr Metcalfe commented: "I am delighted that a deal has been reached between c2c and the Department for Transport, bringing thousands of much-needed extra seats to commuters who use the busy rail service.

"For months, John Baron MP and I have been working with both c2c and the government to help find a way forward. I have met with c2c and the minister from the Department for Transport, Claire Perry, on a number of occasions and I am pleased that diligent, behind-the-scenes hard work on all sides has delivered a good outcome for everyone involved.

"I am now in the process of arranging a meeting between passengers and c2c to start to get both sides working together. It is vital that the good news does not stop here and that commuters who rely upon efficient train links to London see even more improvements in future."

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Stephen Metcalfe MP meets Basildon taxi drivers to discuss future of Trafford Bowl

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has met with members of the Basildon Taxi Drivers' Association to discuss the future of the town's "Trafford Bowl" car park.

Stephen Metcalfe MP (left) with Ralph Morgan (centre)
and Mark Waller from Basildon Taxi Drivers' Association.
The car park was threatened with closure following the discovery that South Essex Parking Partnership had been charging people to park there without permission. It has now been temporarily re-opened while its future is discussed by owners the Homes and Communities Agency.

Mr Metcalfe said: "It was good to meet with local taxi drivers and listen to their concerns about the future of the Trafford Bowl car park.

"The bowl is an important site for commuters accessing Basildon and our train station. It is clear that they could lose out if nothing is done to protect the facility of a designated taxi rank.

"I have written to the Homes and Communities Agency to make sure that these concerns are heard and that commuters are kept in mind throughout the decision-making process."

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits The Business Association

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has met with members of The Business Association of Basildon and District to listen to the concerns of local businesses and discuss how they can be further supported.

Stephen Metcalfe MP (right) with TBA chairman
Alan Osborn (centre) and Caroline Gerrard
from Essex-based charity Peaceful Place. (Credit: TBA)
The Business Association, chaired by Alan Osborn, welcomes all types of business from the self-employed to the largest employers and includes members from a wide range of sectors including accountancy, web design, and security.

The lunch meeting took place at Club Kingswood in Basildon and a variety of issues were discussed including current Government policy and the forthcoming EU referendum.

Mr Metcalfe said: "I enjoyed the chance to visit The Business Association and talk to its members, whose businesses form the backbone of our local Basildon economy.

"The recent tax reforms introduced by the Conservative government will help Basildon's businesses to grow. The government must continue to ensure that local businesses receive the necessary support to thrive and create more jobs."

He added: "It is also clear that the EU referendum is a hot topic of conversation for businesspeople in the local area.

"This will be the biggest decision for business in a generation and I believe that although there might be some short-term risks in leaving the EU, businesses like those represented by The Business Association could see long-term benefits, and I was pleased to see that the majority present seemed to agree.

"Ultimately however it is for the British public to carefully consider the arguments on both sides and make a final decision on 23 June and vote in the interests of themselves, their family, our country and of course, in this case, their business."

Monday, 11 April 2016

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits Woodland Warriors

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, recently visited Woodland Warriors, an outdoor programme that teaches young children basic skills through play.

Stephen receiving 'carbon footprints' from
Tiffany Belford-Fry and the Woodland Warriors.
Woodland Warriors, based in Wat Tyler Country Park, helps local children to become more self-confident and to care about the environment, while encouraging them to try cooking, whittling, den-building, and mini-beast hunting.

Mr Metcalfe said: "It was great to visit Woodland Warriors and see the amazing work that they do with local children and to be presented with the childrens' thoughts on how they can help the environment, written on their own cut-out 'carbon footprints'.

"I was very impressed by the dedicated and friendly staff at Woodland Warriors and also by the children, who enjoyed a fantastic opportunity to learn about the environment."

He added: "It is crucial that the next generation grows up with good environmental awareness, as protecting the planet must be a key priority now and in the years ahead."

Stephen displaying the childrens' thoughts on
the environment in Westminster Hall.