Article for Tiptree Tribune

At the Tiptree meeting, residents commented in detail about the proposals being circulated by Tiptree Parish Council for a Neighbourhood Plan. In principle, I welcome the fact that the Parish Council is pursuing the introduction of a Neighbourhood Plan for Tiptree. Neighbourhood Plans give local communities the opportunity to decide the planning and development priorities for the areas they live in covering the sites that should be protected and sites which are suitable for commercial or residential development. Since the Government introduced the legislation to empower local communities to establish Neighbourhood Plans, I have encouraged parish councils and community groups across the Witham constituency to consider developing them and am pleased to see that a number are doing this.

In a village like Tiptree, which has already suffered from the extensive development and house-building plans imposed on them by the Liberal Democrat and Labour run Colchester Borough Council, a Neighbourhood Plan could make a positive and lasting contribution to the community. It is better for Tiptree to devise and approve its own development framework than have one forced upon it by Colchester Borough Council.

However, any Neighbourhood Plan for Tiptree must reflect the views of local families living the village and carry their confidence. In fact, to ensure that Neighbourhood Plans are effective and widely supported, the Government has made sure that a Neighbourhood Plan can only take effect once it has been approved by a local referendum. As this Neighbourhood Plan is in the early stages of being developed, I encourage residents in Tiptree to let the Parish Council know their views and for the Parish Council to look very carefully at the concerns that some residents have with the current set of proposals and make appropriate changes. If any resident has any queries or questions about this matter, they are welcome to contact me as I have been and will continue to make representations to the Parish Council.

Another issue which was discussed at the public meeting was the condition of some of the roads and pavements in and around Tiptree, road safety, and speeding. I have raised with Essex County Council the problems with the roads referred to by residents and pressed for action to be taken. Last year, after receiving hundreds of responses to a survey, I notified Essex County Council of a number of local roads which residents felt needed maintenance. Following my representations, these roads were checked by Essex County Council and some repair work was undertaken. If any other resident has concerns about the condition of a particular road or footpath, they are welcome to forward details of the location and problem to me as I would be glad to support them by approaching Essex County Council to get the problems identified fixed.

In all parts of my constituency, my constituents take a strong interest in the performance of the economy and the Government’s long term economic plan. They remember the atrocious state that the last Labour Government left the economy in having experienced the deepest recession in modern history. Families and businesses had also been hit by the effect of Labour racking up the largest budget deficit on record, higher taxes, and large numbers of job losses. My constituents are therefore keen to see this Government’s long term economic plan succeed and build a strong economy.

I am pleased to report back that as a result of the long term economic plan, growth in the UK is stronger than other developed countries. Recently released figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown that in 2014 the UK economy grew by 2.6%. These strong levels of growth are creating more jobs and this is leading to unemployment in my constituency continuing to fall. The numbers of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the Witham constituency is now 63% lower than its peak under Labour and youth unemployment covering those aged 18-24 is now two-thirds lower.

Hardworking families are also feeling the positive effects of average increases in wages being higher than inflation. Furthermore, the falls in fuel prices have meant that people are paying less in petrol and less for their energy. These costs have also been kept down as a result of the Government reducing fuel duty and the green levies added to energy bills. By contrast, the Labour Party supported fuel duty being a colossal 20 pence per litre higher than it currently is – adding hundreds of pounds a year to the cost of filling up a family car – and a freeze in energy prices when they were at their highest, which would leave people worse off. This shows that the biggest risk to our economic recovery and household incomes is Labour’s incompetent policies.

If any constituent has an issue they would like to raise with me or needs assistance, I can be contacted by email to: [email protected]; by post to: Priti Patel MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA; or by telephone on: 020 7219 3528.

Priti Patel

Member of Parliament for Witham

A12/A120 Consultations

Strategic Road Network Consultations

There are two important consultations running at the moment on key strategic road infrastructure improvements - the A12 widening scheme and the upgrading of the A120. Priti has been campaigning to secure new investment in these roads and has welcomed the consultations taking place. Members of the public can review the proposals for the A12 and A120 at the weblinks below, attend consultation events, and respond to the consultation. Feel free to also contact Priti by email to: [email protected] with your views too.

Widening the A12

Upgrading the A120

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