Weekly Newsletter 28th June

Welcome to my latest newsletter. Please forward it to anyone else who you think would like to receive it, and they can sign up at my website (www.peterheatonjones.org.uk). If you would prefer not to receive it, please use the unsubscribe button below. And please get in touch if there are any issues you would like to discuss. 
Armed Forces Day
Today is Armed Forces Day, and a time to remember North Devon’s proud links with the military.  This year it has a special significance, because it’s also the 100th anniversary of the event which sparked the beginning of the First World War.  When a young archduke was assassinated in Sarejevo on 28 June 1914, nobody imagined that, just six weeks later, Europe would be plunged into one of the bloodiest conflicts in its history.  It’s certainly a day for reflection.
Here in North Devon, we are rightly proud of the fact that we play host to a number of military bases, including RMB Chivenor, Arromanches Camp at Instow and the Royal Wessex Yeomanry in Barnstaple.  Last year, I was invited by our local Army Reserves to accompany them on a major tank training exercise in Dorset, as you can see from the photo.
I took the opportunity to discuss the future of the Barnstaple base with officers and soldiers, because an Army report had suggested moving the Reserves to Exeter.  Our communities in North Devon have close links with the military stretching back many years, and I’ll fight hard to ensure that continues.
If I become North Devon’s next MP, I’ll always stand up for our armed forces and their families.  Today, on this special Armed Forces Day, I’m happy and proud to make that pledge.
North Devon Local Plan
Of all the issues that residents ask me to help with, the one that crops up most often is planning.  People are rightly concerned about developments in their area.  That doesn’t make us ‘NIMBYS’ (Not In My Back Yard), or even ‘BANANAS’ (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone) – labels which critics often use.  Very few people I’ve met want no new development at all.  After all, everyone lives in a house that was a new build at some point!  People just want to make sure their voices are heard.  And now, more than ever, is the time to do that.
Thursday saw the start of the final round of public consultation on the new North Devon & Torridge Local Plan.  This is the blueprint which shows where new developments might be built right through to 2031.  It’s probably the most important document in the district for years, and I would urge everyone to have their say.  All the details are on North Devon Council’s website.
I will be submitting my thoughts before the deadline on 8 August, and I would urge you to let me know what you think.  But it’s important that everyone makes their own individual submissions as well.  The future shape of North Devon is at stake.
Link Road
There was a huge reaction to my newsletter last week calling for major improvements to the North Devon Link Road.  There is overwhelming support for the A361 to be a proper dual carriageway between Tiverton and Barnstaple.
As I said, this is ambitious, but I think we should be ambitious when it comes to fighting for more investment in North Devon.  It’s vital for the local economy that we have a proper dual carriageway.  And of course there’s the safety issue.
A fortnight ago we had the tragic accidents which led to two deaths.  Just yesterday there was another serious incident on the same stretch of road near South Molton, where two people had to be cut free from their vehicle.  Once again there were long hold ups.  They were still causing significant tailbacks when I drove from Tiverton up to my home in Bishops Nympton at the tail end of yesterday’s rush hour.
The debate that my comments have sparked is welcome.  The more we can talk about this, the more the holders of the purse strings will realise that something has to be done.  I will continue to bang that particular drum for North Devon.

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: @PeterNorthDevon
Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PeterNorthDevon

Many thanks. 
Until next week......

Peter Heaton-Jones
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate