First published in The Felixstowe Flyer, June 2020.
Cycle links between town and country
The lovely weather in May and the encouragement by the Government to get out and exercise whilst observing social distancing has brought out many residents on their bicycles or for walks in the beautiful Felixstowe countryside. A benefit of the reduced number of cars on our roads is a drop in pollution levels and a feeling of safety for cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders.
We will be encouraging East Suffolk Council to speed up plans to introduce a designated cycle route to link up the town and the countryside so that more people feel confident to make use of their bicycles without fear when traffic on our country roads begins to increase again.
Our open spaces are important
Much has been written about the need for us to all protect our mental health during the Covid-19 crisis which has turned life and work upside down for so many people. Having unspoilt recreational space is so important for outdoor pursuits and peace of mind. The area around Gulpher Road has been a lifeline for many Felixstowe residents during the Covid-19 crisis.
Brownfield before greenfield
The Planning Authorities from HM Government Planning Inspectors all the way through District and Town Planning Committees must now stop to take a breath of this newly fresh air and reconsider its intentions for housebuilding on Felixstowe’s green fields. There will be pressure to build homes to help reboot the construction sector and get people back into jobs when we come out of lockdown, but we really do need to refocus our attention on brownfield sites and use those first.
Preserve valuable farmland
The Chancellor has already indicated that the global impact of Covid-19 will inevitably lead the UK into a recession, the likes of which has not been seen by us before. This will mean an increase in food prices so it is imperative that agricultural land is preserved, particularly the highly fertile grade 1 and 2 farmland to the north of Walton, so that our farmers can continue to grow crops and herd cows.
Labour – supporting our community through lockdown
Lockdown has not been the countryside idyll of cycling and walking whilst enjoying birdsong for everyone. We are very aware that there are people in our community who are missing their families, who have lost their jobs, and are worried about money or are struggling on universal credit. We are continuing our constituency work to offer support and guidance to those who need our help, whether they are traditional Labour supporters or not.
The Government is being held to account by our immensely capable new Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer. His intelligent, polite and refreshingly adult approach to politics will ensure that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet have to up their game and a strong opposition party should result in better governance.
Whilst Covid-19 (coronavirus) is active our surgeries remain suspended, but we are continuing our work across various committees and you can continue to contact us at: