Article for Tiptree Tribune

The House of Commons has stopped sitting until September. As in previous years, the summer recess continues to be a busy and enjoyable time for me in the constituency. With fewer commitments in Westminster it is an opportunity to spend more time with local businesses, community groups and residents.

Since the recess began, I have been to visit some excellent businesses. I was delighted to visit Chigboro Fisheries in the south of the Witham constituency. They are doing some brilliant conservation work there and are maintaining a beautiful habitat. It is a fantastic site for trout and course angling and it is great to have a world class facility like this attracting customers and people into this part of Essex.

I have also had the privilege of visiting the Coode-Adams blackcurrant farm in Feering. They were harvesting their fruits, which will be sold and used in popular drinks like Ribena. In Coggeshall I met with Jane Mohan, the owner of the West Street Vineyard in Coggeshall. They are producing world beating award winning English wines and have some superb facilities on site, including a restaurant and conferencing rooms. 

Our rural businesses are thriving, which is great for our countryside. 

To make this part of Essex an attractive place for rural businesses, the Conservative Government is supporting investment in new infrastructure including transport links and broadband. The Superfast Essex project to roll faster broadband services out to parts of the County not yet covered is making progress. If any reader has an enquiry about broadband provision in their area, please do get in touch.

Regular readers will also know of the Government's commitment to invest in the widening of the A12 to transform it into a three-lane carriageway between Chelmsford and Colchester. I am in close contact with Highways England, Essex County Council, local authorities and parish councils, and a number of residents about this scheme. Highways England are in discussions about the scheme and within six months it is likely that further information through the Options Identification phase will be available. I am pleased that Essex County Council shares my view that the widening scheme must be used as an opportunity to upgrade the surrounding local road network too and are working on these matters.

My campaign for improvements to rail services continues to make progress. I know how fed up and frustrated commuters are with the old carriages and rolling stock they travel in. This is why the Great East Main Line Task Force which I was a member of recommended that modern rolling stock be delivered through the new rail franchise from 2016. I am in contact with the Department for Transport about this and the Rail Minister has confirmed to me that they expect the three companies bidding for the franchise to run rail services in East Anglia to include plans to bring in new rolling stock. We will have to wait and see the outcome of the bidding process. However, the three short-listed companies should respond positively to this demand if they are serious about their desire to run our rail services.

I also recently met with the Area Manager of the Environment Agency to discuss the work that they have done preparing some potential options for a flood risk management scheme to cover the Coggeshall, Feering and Kelvedon areas. The options for consideration have been published and I have put them up onto my website with an online survey for residents to respond to. The weblink to find a copy of the options paper and the online survey is below and I would encourage everyone concerned about flood risks in this area or affected by flooding to take part.

Regular readers may recall the campaign for a school crossing patrol at Tollesbury. The arrangements are now in place with Essex County Council and Tollesbury Primary School for the volunteer patrol to begin. Volunteers are now being recruited and full training and uniform will be provided. The times are 8:35-8:55am and 3:05-3:30pm. Volunteers can cover as many shifts as they feel able to, from two shifts to the full ten per week. Anyone interested in sparing some time to help local pupils get to and from school safely can get in touch with me.

If any residents or businesses need help and advice or would like to raise an issue with me, I can be contacted by email to: [email protected], by address to: Priti Patel MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, and by telephone on: 020 7219 3528.

The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP

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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