News from your MP

Published: 26 May 2020

a note from Tom

We're gradually getting back to normal and lifting restrictions so that we can get our lives back, but we know we must still be careful about what we do and where we go. That's the clear advice from scientists advising the Government.

We now need to lift the restrictions while taking all the appropriate precautions. The courage and responsibility of the British people has been inspiring and I'm privileged to represent such amazing people.

While the rate of infection is, thankfully, continuing to fall we are by no means clear of the virus yet. I continue to be in touch with our local NHS many times a week and kept up to date on the recovery plans in our communities.

I hope that you find the information below helps answer any questions you have and provides clarity on certain important areas. As ever, this is just a snapshot of what I'm working on. I can't put everything here so please look at my website (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=f653f3bf2a&e=e1a41284bd) , which has more information about what I've been up to. If there's something you think I should be doing, please get in touch. You can always contact me by e-mail on tom.tugendhat.mp@parliament.uk or by phone on 01732 441563.

I look forward to hearing from you.

In the Community

Since the gradual lifting of the lockdown earlier this month, the Government has produced a very useful document explaining the process to get back to normal, which you can read here (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=5c4f6e8474&e=e1a41284bd) .

Please do read it as it explains not only the advice from scientists on how best to keep the 'r' rate low, but also when we can expect certain parts of our economy to re-open.

One of the key decisions the Government has to make to control the recovery is when our schools go back. It's a priority for every parent - me included. I'm working with some to make sure that social distancing measures can be introduced ahead of a gradual re-opening.

I am concerned that Year 5 isn't one of the priority years to return in Kent. It's crucial to make sure there is teaching time before the Kent Test. With other Kent Conservative MP's, I've asked the Department for Education to look again at this. We want a short delay, but not cancellation, as so many have put in so much work already.

Having shared details of our wonderful Independent Shops in my previous newsletter, as well as the revised Supermarket opening times, I have produced a further poster with details for some of the smaller shops in our community. Please do support them if you can during this difficult time.

In other news:

Highways England proposed using the M26 as a car park for HGVs when there is disruption at the Port of Dover. This would have a significant impact on villages such as Borough Green, Platt and Wrotham. They would have been cut off as even more traffic would use the A25 and surrounding roads.

I am delighted that our campaign to stop this plan has succeeded. You can see the response I received from Highways England following a meeting held just before lockdown here (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=cbfc071f53&e=e1a41284bd) . The idea that the A25 through Platt and Borough Green could handle the M26 traffic levels on top of its own traffic is totally unrealistic.

Highways England also announced that works had finished on the M20 Smart Motorway scheme. While this will be a great relief to everyone living on the A20 from West Malling to Wrotham Heath who has been affected by so much diverted traffic, I'm concerned they haven't actually completed what they promised.

The picture above was taken from Trottiscliffe Road in Addington and shows that while Lane 4, on the right, has been resurfaced with the low noise surfacing promised, Lanes 2 and 3 have not, and potholes remain on the carriageway.

I’ve joined Tracey Crouch in asking Highways England to return and properly finish off the job. You can see our letter here (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=8ce746d84e&e=e1a41284bd) . There are other areas which need resurfacing still – such as the Junction 4 slip roads. I hope that Highways England can return and do this as soon as possible.

Unauthorised development at Hever Road, Edenbridge

I am very concerned at the activity that is taking place at the 'Horses Field' on Hever Road in Edenbridge. This is protected greenbelt land with no planning permission, and very little chance of it being granted.

I have spoken at length to both Kent Police and Sevenoaks District Council and am hugely impressed with their proactive response to the issues. An 'Article 4' direction has been issued by the District Council which prevents any further development, with a warning to potential buyers of plots. You can read it here (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=a3cadf9a13&e=e1a41284bd) .

My thanks go to our Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, as well as District Councillors Alan Layland and Margot McArthur for taking this so seriously.

Leybourne Chase Charges

Leybourne Chase is an example of a new development with a wonderful community spirit. It is growing into a place many people want to live, but those living there should not have excessive charges for local services provided.

I've asked Trinity Estates for an explanation of the latest increase in the service charge. While it is important that the Community Centre and other facilities can thrive, there must be value for money. My survey (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=b94037ff97&e=e1a41284bd) last year showed this was not the experience of the majority living here. Trinity must do more to address this.

A green roof for Tonbridge High Street

Tonbridge High Street is getting its first green roof! The offices above Poundstretcher on the Vale Road roundabout are being converted to flats, and as a condition of the development is the installation of a green roof (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=f6e04480ee&e=e1a41284bd) .

Like the living wall (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=0d190f24e2&e=e1a41284bd) in Wateringbury, this will help improve air quality at this notoriously busy junction. I'm thankful to Borough Councillors in Wateringbury and Medway Ward for their commitment to making our towns and villages cleaner.

I'm very glad Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council are working hard to improve the lives of everyone in our community.

Help make our roads safer

We all know a road in need of resurfacing, or a pothole which needs filling in. Fortunately Kent County Council have made a really simple website where we can report any faults on our roads or pavements.

You can put in details about the roads you are concerned about here (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=66ca575536&e=e1a41284bd) and follow up to make sure it gets completed as soon as possible.

Thank you to KCC for setting this up and I trust many of us will use it!

Kalido

In my last newsletter I mentioned how Kalido (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=6946617444&e=e1a41284bd) was making a difference to so many. We have a fantastic community network across our area but sometimes it can help to reach out a bit further. That's why I've set up a page which matches people to services based where you are and what you need. If you have a skill, or need one, perhaps you can find someone on the 'Invicta' network.

On your phone, you can download the Kalido app and it will match you to people who need help. You need to enter a few personal details and, like with other social media, you need to decide what you want to share. I hope this online community will help support the real community too.

Upcoming Surgeries

For the foreseeable future my surgeries have all moved online, and will be done through Facebook Live, as face to face appointments will only resume once it is safe to do so.

If you would like to raise something in private then please e-mail me on tom.tugendhat.mp@parliament.uk and I will get back to you.

My next Facebook Live surgery will be on:

Friday 29 May 2020
2.30pm-3.30pm
Live on my Facebook Page here (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=abb3ff4ea8&e=e1a41284bd)

Follow on Twitter (https://tomtugendhat.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2df5adf4808114459f8b3ec25&id=e810dcb1f1&e=e1a41284bd)

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