Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Supporting the National Garden Scheme in Bowers Gifford

With John Spooner supporting the National Garden Scheme
I was delighted to visit John and Barbara Spooner's garden in Bowers Gifford, which they kindly opened up to the public to support the National Garden Scheme (NGS).

NGS encourages homeowners across the country to open up their private gardens to the public in support of a number of nursing charities, including Macmillan Cancer Care, Marie Curie, and Hospice UK.

So far this year NGS has raised over £3million, with the garden season now entering full bloom.

I was very grateful for the invitation to visit their beautiful garden, for their hospitality, and also for their dedication and hard work in supporting the National Garden Scheme - which helps to raise crucial funds for nursing charities across the country.

I would encourage anyone from the local area and beyond to visit next time it is open, or check the NGS website for other open gardens!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Traveller occupation of Rushley Park

At Rushley Park, Basildon, after recent events
Recently we saw the third occupation of Rushley Park by travellers. This incursion has again caused much distress to local residents with reports of intimidation, fires being lit on both park furniture and in the trees, fly tipping on an industrial scale, and a general disregard for acceptable behaviour.

These events have again rightly resulted in a call for more action to be taken to ensure that everyone, regardless of social status, is treated equally under the law. Trespass, malicious damage, fly tipping, and intimidation of others are all criminal acts and anyone breaking these laws should be treated in exactly the same way.

Local residents are rightly concerned about the impact of the occupation on the local park, a much loved public place. It is also the third time in nine months that the local community has been affected by such an incursion.

I am grateful to the Police and the local Council for the actions they have taken to clear the site, but I am calling on all authorities - locally and nationally - to do more. I have therefore written to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government asking what more we can do collectively to ensure the protection of our public spaces and how we can prevent such trespass in the future.

Likewise I am opening discussions with Basildon Borough Council, Thurrock Council, and Essex County Council to explore putting in place a borough-wide Section 61 order similar to that imposed by Harlow Council. This could help to protect the environment and residents from the constant abuses both during and after such incursions.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Opening the Horndon Feast & Fayre

It was a tremendous honour to help open the Horndon-on-the-Hill Feast & Fayre with Thurrock mayor Tunde Ojetola and cut the ribbon!

The event dates back to the 13th century when Horndon-on-the-Hill was granted a Royal Charter to hold the annual end-of-June celebration.

More recently it has hosted the Horndon 10k run and brings different parts of the local community together to celebrate summer in the village.

I look forward to hopefully attending the event again next year!

Meeting the new student leadership team at Hassenbrook Academy

I was recently delighted to visit Hassenbrook Academy to meet the new Head Girl, Boy and their deputies, who were all optimistic about what they can achieve at, and for, the school.

It was also very encouraging to see that Hassenbrook continues to make progress under the leadership of Executive Head Dr Asong and her teaching staff.

As MP I always enjoy the chance to catch up with local schools and see first-hand the hard work all our teachers do to drive up standards and give pupils a great start in life. Education is one of the most important gifts we can give to local young people and it can make all the difference.