I was glad to be able to get the opportunity today to have a sit down discussion in Parliament with the Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris. I was challenging and made clear to him how unhappy many of my constituents are with the issues there have been with the Rail services they rely on over the past month.
I remember last October when it was announced that Highways England had commissioned an aerodynamics study looking at the ways in which closures of the Orwell Bridge could be minimized and what measures could be introduced to prevent closures of the bridge at times of high winds.
Last Friday I was interviewed by the Ipswich Star regarding my views on the northern bypass. Please have a read. As you’ll see, I haven’t exactly held back when it comes airing my views.
Conservative MP candidate Tom Hunt calls on Labour MP for Ipswich to up his game when it comes to campaign for northern bypass
Tom Hunt statement regarding consultation for the proposed Northern bypass: “I’m glad that plans for a northern bypass are progressing through the various stages and that local people are going to be able to have their say through the consultation process.
I read with interest Paul Geater’s column in last Thursday’s Ipswich Star, “County needs a change of heart on major road projects” which calls for Suffolk County Council to drop its attempts to secure Government backing for a northern bypass. I disagree with this view.
This is clearly very good news and a step in the right direction. I pay tribute to the hard work that has been put in by a number of MP’s in Suffolk over a number of years to make this a reality. Particularly the former MP for Ipswich Ben Gummer who was instrumental in securing both the Ipswich in 60 service and the new trains that will be introducing over the coming months.
I write in response to your story in last Tuesday’s Star (“Row breaks out over slogan for Ipswich Tories’ housing policy”).
I find it extraordinary that local Conservatives have been accused of “dog whistle politics” by a former Lib Dem councillor because they are trying to ensure that local people are properly prioritised when it comes to access to council housing. What is so wrong about using the term, “Local homes for local people”.
I note the Labour leader of the council has responded by stating that council housing is not allocated based on the strength of local connection to the Borough but that it’s a major factor. Having looked into the matter I would argue that its not a major enough factor. As it stands anyone can join the local housing register even if they have no connection whatsoever with Ipswich.
If the level of need is exactly the same between someone with a local connection and someone with no local connection, then the person with a local connection will get priority. However, if the person with zero local connection has only slightly greater housing need then they will get priority over someone who may have lived in Ipswich their whole live. I don’t agree with this. We need local housing policies that put the people of Ipswich first.
I support the local Conservative proposal that states clearly that you need to live in Ipswich for at least six years before you’re eligible to join the local housing register and therefore access council housing. This is a sound policy that is practiced in other councils across the country, such as the London Borough of Havering.
When Ipswich Borough Council were asked what proportion of council homes went to people with no connection to the Town compared to those with a connection, they weren’t able to answer the question because they said “the data hasn’t been collected”.
Yes we do need far more affordable housing, both to rent and to buy, but lets make sure Ipswich people are put first.
Conservative PPC, Ipswich
I was glad to be able to get the responses to my transport survey in front of the Secretary of State for Transport yesterday. In total 83% of Ipswich residents who responded to my survey back a northern bypass. I was keen to make the arguments to the Transport Secretary yesterday.
I was also keen to stress the importance of there being a solution in the short term to prevent frequent closures of the Orwell Bridge. The Secretary of State said he’s instructed Highways England to carry out a study to look at what can be done and he said this should be completed over the next couple of months. I also called for a number of significant key investments to upgrade rail infrastructure across East Anglia. It will only be with these interventions that we can ensure that the new Ipswich in 60 service can become far more frequent and can operate at peak times. The cost of rail fares was also raised.
On Monday the Rail Minister visited Ipswich station and now I’ve been able to get the transport survey returns in front of the Secretary of State for Transport. I’m very glad the Government’s door is so open. I will keep on pushing to ensure that the views of Ipswich residents are heard loud and clear by Government.