Today it’s 200 days until the most important general election for years. Nationally, either David Cameron or Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister; voting for anyone other than the Conservatives makes a Labour government more likely. And locally, it’s time for a change; I’ll bring new energy and enthusiasm to the important task of representing North Devon.
I wanted to use this opportunity to set out my six pledges for North Devon. These are just the headlines; in the next 200 days there will be far more. But I hope this gives you a good idea of what I stand for and how I want to represent you.
- I will fight for a funding fairer deal, especially for our schools, NHS, police and rural communities, and for our local council services. I will shout loudly for what we want, because that hasn’t happened enough in recent years.
- I will keep campaigning for big improvements to the North Devon Link Road as well as to our rail services, and more investment for sustainable transport. It’s vital for our local economy.
- I’ll push for fairer planning rules, with more say for local people and less power for big developers. We must protect North Devon’s greenfield sites, countryside and coast.
- I want an EU referendum, which only the Conservatives can deliver. North Devon's businesses, farmers and taxpayers deserve better. Britain, not Brussels, should control immigration, justice and human rights.
- I’ll never forget local issues. Rubbish collection, potholes, grass-cutting and parking problems must not be ignored by our MP. My first priority will be your village, not the Westminster village.
- I will be an MP who fights for North Devon with renewed energy and enthusiasm; someone who listens to local residents and takes action. Nobody will work harder than me.
As I say, there will be much more to say in the next six and a half months. And in that time I hope to be having conversations with thousands more people on the doorsteps. Please let me know your views, because I want to listen more than talk!
Link Road Campaign goes to Number Ten
On Thursday I was invited by the Prime Minister to 10 Downing Street for a reception to recognise the vital role played by local newspapers in our democracy. My guest was Lisa Templeton, Editor of the North Devon Journal.
David Cameron came and spoke to us, and Lisa asked him about my campaign for improvements to the North Devon Link Road. The Prime Minister described it as 'a lifeline for North Devon' and said I was right to be highlighting the need for improvements.
He then reminded us that the Chancellor's Autumn Statement is only a few weeks away, when decisions are made about spending plans. He wasn't suggesting there will be any quick fix of course, and a dual carriageway is a long-term ambition, but it was certainly an encouragement to keep lobbying.
I was delighted to be able to remind the Prime Minister directly about my campaign for North Devon, and to give The Journal the opportunity to speak to him about it in person.
On Tuesday a team of eight of us were out and about in Braunton all day, delivering about 2,000 copies of our latest campaign newspaper and talking to residents. Not surprisingly, traffic was one of the issues raised time and time again.
In the last few weeks I’ve been carrying out a residents’ survey in Braunton, and the results are coming in quickly. Interestingly, people seem to be split over whether a by-pass is a good idea. The concern that’s most often raised is where exactly it could go without having too great an impact on the environment.
Two residents have now come to me with sophisticated plans and drawings showing their possible solutions to the Braunton bottlenecks. I’m really grateful that people have gone to so much trouble.
Local roads, and particularly the pothole problem, are also often mentioned. People want to know when repairs will be carried out. As you can see from the photo, while we were out delivering this week we came across evidence of overdue roadworks ourselves! It’s an issue I have raised with Devon County Council. To be fair, they have a huge job looking after all the county’s roads with a limited budget, so not everything can get done quickly.
There’s still time to have your say on Braunton’s traffic. Even if you don’t live there, you must have a view, because so many people have to drive through the village to get to the coast. Do let me know what you think.
A reminder that this week there are four events when you can come and say hello, have a chat and tell me what you think about local or national issues. Full details were in last week’s newsletter, but the dates, times and places are as follows:
Monday 20 October The Dolphin Inn, Combe Martin, 10.30am
Wednesday 22 October The Commodore Hotel, Instow, 10.30am
*Thursday 23 October Trimstone Manor Hotel, West Down, 7.15am*
Thursday 23 October Trimstone Manor Hotel, West Down, 10.00am
*Please note this event is particularly aimed at people in the local business community. Cost £8.50, please ring to reserve: 01271 862841*
These are just the first four. There will be many more - not all in the morning and not only on weekdays. If you have ideas for a venue that could host such an event – maybe even a private house where you just want to invite a few friends and neighbours – then do please let me know. I look forward to meeting as many people as possible.
Keep in touch
I am active on social media, which is a good way to keep up with what I am doing so please:
Follow me on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/PeterNorthDevon
Like me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PeterNorthDevon
Until next week......
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate