We have two important local consultations coming up over the summer which I would encourage residents to participate in. The first is about the Chard regeneration scheme on which the District Council will be inviting further views on cycling and walking routes as well as car and coach parking provision.
I have written to the Council to suggest that there is an opportunity here for Chard to become a leading light in green transport by getting ahead of the curve with electric charging points and plenty of suitable parking. Along with cycling provision I think this could really encourage visitors from right across the surrounding areas and represent a solid investment for the future. Plans include a new swimming pool and library site both of which I know will be popular and great community assets but I do think thought should be given to how the plans might interact with local sports clubs.
The second consultation coming up regards a potential reconfiguration of local fire services with a focus on more preventative work and more flexible response to events. This has already attracted some controversy and I am seeking clarification from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service as to the background to this move including the financial position. They make the point that the model currently in use is decades old and that lots of factors that affect their work have changed over the years. However, I do understand the concern that as the Council looks to satisfy the demand for new homes in the area, part of the infrastructure consideration must be the emergency services.
More information about both consultations should be available soon on the relevant websites and so do get involved and have your say.
As the Conservative leadership continues it is generating some positive, fresh ideas and for me, Boris Johnson continues to be the right leader to take the country forward. His commitment to raise per-pupil funding at primary and secondary levels will help a lot of schools in Somerset. I have been asked to chair the All Party Parliamentary Group on Education and will continue to do all I can to champion our local schools and colleges. With his connections to Somerset and his love of the area I feel very positive about my dialogue with Boris in this area and he is incredibly enthusiastic about the sort of skills training and technical qualifications that would be great for us.
Boris is also the man to deliver a Brexit that works. Jeremy Hunt has many fine qualities but his flexibility on our date of departure will be seen at home and across the Channel as a continuation of our current negotiations which have not been a success. Only by sticking to the date of 31st October can we regain trust in the political system, unite the country and move on to seizing the opportunities and tackling the injustices that we all want to see addressed.