Tag Archives: Medway

MP urges residents to respond to Southend airport consultation

Mark Reckless MP is calling on Rochester and Strood residents to respond to the proposals by London Southend Airport to re-establish controlled airspace around the airport which could result in an increase of low-level flights over Medway.

Mark is particularly concerned for residents living on the Hoo Peninsula and St Mary’s Island who would be most impacted should this large area of controlled-airspace be established. However, potentially all residents living in Medway could see their lives and homes blighted by increased noise and pollution, though to a far lesser degree than if the Thames Estuary Airport went ahead, and Mark is urging everyone to respond to the consultation before the closing date of 13th December 2013.

While the proposal is quite technical and complex, to summarise; Southend Airport is proposing to establish a large area of controlled airspace below the existing London controlled airspace. It would stretch from Rochester to Walton-on-the-Naze and from Maldon to the Isle of Sheppey covering some 2000 sq km:

Southend_ControlledAirspace

Click to enlarge

  • Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 4,500ft, 5500ft or 8500ft it would be lowered to 3500ft.
  • Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 3500ft amsl it would be lowered to 2500ft, 1500ft or to the surface depending on the section

Mark is in agreement with The Royal Aero Club of The UK which believes the proposals are unreasonable and contrary to existing airspace principals. It would exclude other airspace users and have significant implications for those living beneath the proposed airspace.

Mark believes aircraft using the airport should be integrated into the existing London controlled airspace which already overlays the whole area and not fly lower than those using Stansted and Heathrow. Southend’s proposal would increase noise and air pollution for local residents, as well as presenting access and potential safety issues for other airspace users such as Rochester Airport and Medway Airsports Club.

Although the consultation document suggests there will be no environmental impact near the airfield and reduced noise exposure further away, this proposal will lower the base of controlled airspace over the whole area enabling substantial numbers of jet aircraft to fly below the existing London Terminal Control Area. The number of jet aircraft flights using London Southend Airport last year was 8,000, but the consultation document proposes to increase this to some 26,000 jet flights by 2020 and the airport already has planning permission to increase the total to 53,300 flights per year. This means that a wide area of Essex and North Kent would be exposed to more disturbance from aircraft noise and pollution than at present, both day and night. Once the controlled airspace is approved there is unlikely to be any means to challenge it effectively.

200241_10150165354751068_5938208_nUrging constituents to respond to the consultation, Mark Reckless said:

“I do not support the establishment of the proposed airspace because of the significant negative impact which it would have on us all. Residents living on the Hoo Peninsula already experience increased noise and pollution due to frequent low-level flights into Southend Airport which we were never consulted on.

At a time when we are fighting off proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport, I am concerned that residents now have the threat of increased low-level flights into Southend Airport and all the concerns which that will bring, albeit on a lesser scale. However, many of the same concerns regarding the Estuary Airport – noise, pollution, increased danger of bird strike – apply equally to flights into Southend which may come in low over the North Kent Marshes.

I am asking all concerned residents to make sure they respond to the consultation by writing directly to London Southend Airport.”

Responses can be made to the e-mail address lsacas@stobartair.com or in writing to:

Ms Sam Petrie
Airport Development Coordinator
London Southend Airport
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS2 6YF

Please indicate clearly that this is a RESPONSE to the consultation in the subject heading. The consultation closes on 13th December 2013.

View Consultation Document with information on how to respond – Click Here

Future Airspace Strategy – Click Here

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Mark Reckless MP: Website Survey

In order to ensure Mark Reckless MP continues to deliver the very best access to his local constituents in Rochester and Strood, we are conducting a short online survey regarding Mark’s website and we would really appreciate your response. If you would like to help us with this short survey, please click here:

Mark Reckless website survey – Click Here

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VIDEO: Mark Reckless speaks up for Hoo Peninsula during aviation debate

I was determined to rise to the challenge when the speaking time limit was cut from 7 minutes to 4 minutes in today’s Aviation Strategy Debate. It was almost as if repeated interventions from Bernard Jenkin, described as the only other person mad enough to support Boris’ scheme, were designed to time me out!

Thankfully our excellent Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle managed to get me in to speak (not sure if this meant cutting short Adam Afriye instead).

I was short of breath by the end. However, I hope that years spent living and breathing opposition to an Estuary Airport meant I was able to get in most of the key points.

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Meet Ann Widdecombe

ann_widdecombeAnn Widdecombe is coming to support the Rochester and Strood Constituency Conservative Association on Saturday 9th November 2013.

We would like to extend an invitation to you to reserve one or more places for our evening event. It will be a buffet (with drinks provided) and will be held Chatham from 7.30pm.

Tickets are £20 per person, but as we expect a very high demand for tickets it is necessary for you reserve any places by responding directly by e-mail asap.

Dress is ‘smart casual’ and we may have some live music. We also anticipate that we will have a stock of Ann’s books to hand, which she will be pleased to autograph for any purchaser.

Please respond as soon as possible to this invitation to reserve for the 9th November – click here. 

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Constituency office move

Please note that Mark Reckless’s constituency office is moving with immediate effect to Suite 1, 4 Castle View Mews, Castle Hill, Rochester, ME1 1LA. Telephone number for the constituency office remains the same.

The office move may cause some disruption over the next couple of days and written or emailed correspondence may not be responded to as quickly as usual. If you have any problems, please call the Parliamentary office on 020 7219 7135.

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VIDEO: A day in the life of Mark Reckless MP

An exclusive behind the scenes look at a typical day in the life of Mark Reckless, Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood. A revealing video which highlights the vital work which MPs undertake on behalf of local children, residents and businesses in their constituency:

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Mark Reckless calls on France to take on migrant responsibility

Speaking on this evening’s BBC South East news programme item, Mark Reckless MP called for France to take greater responsibility in shouldering the burden of non-EU migrants seeking a better life in Europe:

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Supporting Medway jobs and apprenticeships

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From left: Sue Harrison (Employer, Provision and Partnership Manager for Medway, Jobcentre Plus) with Mark Reckless and Tracey Crouch

Since the General Election in May 2010, unemployment in Rochester and Strood has fallen from a rate of 4.5% claiming Jobseekers Allowance to 3.9% currently. While this compares favourably with the national average of 4.4%, it is obvious that there is still more to do to get people, particularly our young people and the long-term unemployed, into work or training. More employers in the private sector are starting to create full-time, permanent jobs, moving away from the part-time, low-paid jobs which we’d seen previously, and, nationally, employment has risen by 80,000 in the past three months alone.

So I welcomed the opportunity last Friday to attend two events in Medway which highlighted the fantastic work which is being done in both the public and private sector to increase the employment and training opportunities which are available.

From left: Mark Reckless MP, Mike Rayner (Early Intervention Office, KCC), Tessa Oversby (Head of Employability, Barclays), Jade Dellbridge (Cashier, Barclays) and Marin Adamson (Senior Barclays Business Manager)

From left: Mark Reckless MP, Mike Rayner (Early Intervention Office, KCC), Tessa Oversby (Head of Employability, Barclays), Jade Dellbridge (Cashier, Barclays) and Martin Adamson (Senior Barclays Business Manager)

First up was the Barclays LifeSkills breakfast meeting where I met the extraordinarily impressive Jade Dellbridge who joined Barclays as an apprentice, and has progressed to becoming a cashier at their Chatham branch. Jade was a most persuasive ambassador for the Barclays apprenticeship scheme.

Launched in 2012, Barclays has already employed over 1,000 apprentices, with the hope of another 1,000 to come, and is aspiring to get another 10,000 additional apprenticeships created in the wider business community through their LifeSkills Bridges into Work programme.

I am really encouraged that a large national employer like Barclays, one of the banks which declined to be bailed out at the taxpayers’ expense, is creating opportunities for our young people locally through its apprenticeship scheme, and I hope that other companies, particularly those which have benefited from public money, will follow their lead.

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I then popped over to the Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham to open the Medway Jobs and Apprenticeship Fair 2013, along with my colleague in Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch.

Organised by Medway Council and Jobcentre Plus, the Jobs Fair attracted businesses from across Kent who were looking to recruit staff, and I was pleased to see so much interest from the public.

With a number of important indicators pointing towards a faster than hoped for recovery thanks to the actions which Conservatives have taken in government, it is important that we ensure that everyone benefits from the increased opportunities presented as our country turns the corner.

In his speech at the Conservative Party conference earlier this week, David Cameron stated:

Aspiration, opportunity: these are our words, our dreams. So today I want to talk about our one, abiding mission. I believe it is the great Conservative mission. That as our economy starts to recover, we build a land of opportunity in our country today.

As the recovery takes hold, we must ensure that we build a land of opportunity for the many, not just the few, and it is vitally important that nobody gets left behind or condemned to a life on welfare and handouts.

My congratulations to everyone involved in organising the jobs fair, and to all of those working to provide the jobs, training and opportunities which benefit our whole country.

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Making Medway Hospital Better

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, today announced that the government will give £6.12 million extra to Medway hospital.

This very significant sum, and one of the ten largest grants to any hospital in England, is to support the hospital to reconfigure our Accident and Emergency (A&E) department and better deal with pressures this winter. The minister confirmed to me in Parliament that this was additional money and that our local GP Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) should not cut back the amount of money that it might otherwise have provided to the hospital.

Mark Reckless: Hospital staff have acted with extraordinary enthusiasm to, as they put it, reboot Medway following the Keogh review. Can the Secretary of State confirm that the £6 million or so extra that he may provide to help our A and E should be in addition to anything that the clinical commissioning group might otherwise have agreed to provide?

Jeremy Hunt: Yes, I am happy to confirm that it is additional money. I thank my hon. Friend for the interest that he shows in his local hospital, which is going through a very challenging time. We are absolutely determined that where hospitals are failing or delivering inadequate care, we will not sit on those problems; we will expose them and deal with them. That is the best thing we can do for my hon. Friend’s constituents and people all over the country where there are, unfortunately, problems with local hospitals.

I was also able to highlight to Parliament and the Secretary of State the huge amount which is being done at Medway hospital to improve following the recent Keogh Review.

Reboot Medway

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I have seen that work in train, not only at the hospital Board and in repeated meetings with the hospital Chair and Chief Executives, but through shadowing doctors and nurses in their work.

Steve Hams, Medway’s new Chief Nurse, has brought non-clinical staff, who usually work behind the scenes, on to the wards to help solve design, administrative and IT problems which can hinder medical staff. For example, when I saw doctors queuing to use a computer on one ward, I was told that this was due to there being one less data port than needed, something which Denise Harker, who chairs the hospital Board, has promised me she will now take up.

There is still much to do and I continue to have rounds of meetings with key decisions makers in the NHS to make sure the hospital gets the support it needs.

Partly support means money, and as well as the £6.12 million A&E money just announced we will get the necessary funds for additional training, but staff from most junior to the most senior at the hospital also need to know that they are valued, and that both their NHS partners and the wider community believe in them.

Let’s show them that we do.

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MP hears concerns of older residents from rural Medway

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Older people from the Hoo Peninsula have told Mark Reckless that he must ensure that the needs of older people in rural communities in England are properly considered by all levels of government.

The call came at an event hosted by Karen Treacy of Age UK Medway at The Village Hall, Mallard Way, Lower Stoke, Rochester on 23rd August 2013 and was part of Age UK’s nationwide campaign “Later Life in Rural England” which aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by older people living in rural England.

Issues and concerns raised during the meeting included:-

  • Loneliness and isolation: several residents feel lonely and isolated and wish she had someone to talk to on a regular basis
  • Policing in the area: a few residents complained of trouble caused by youths in the area and lack of police on patrol to deal with it
  • Bus routes and services: there was a general concern from residents that there is no direct bus route to the main hospital and that many have to pay for taxis to attend appointments.  Buses run far less frequently than in town areas and residents feel that there should be more buses running more frequently
  • GPs: It was felt that there should be a medical centre similar to the Will Adams in Gillingham available to all residents
  • Sheltered accommodation and residential care: residents complained that most of the housing is now owned privately and costs are extortionate
  • Post office: there was concern that the local post office was moving to a less convenient location but Mark Reckless said that this was now not going ahead
  • District nurse:  A resident claimed that the local district nurse was being removed from Hoo and they now have to travel to Rochester to see a nurse
  • Oil heating : A resident asked what is the government going to do to cut costs

Mark Reckless MP said:

“I was delighted to meet with some of the older members of our community to listen to and discuss their concerns about living in the countryside.

There are many positive aspects of living in a rural environment – people in the countryside do tend to live longer. However, as we heard, there are also a number of issues which we need to continue working on such as rural transport, energy costs, and access to health services.

I would like to thank Age UK Medway for organising this very useful debate, and also all the residents who took the time to come along and share their views with me.”

John Norley, Chief Executive of Age UK Medway said:

“Life in rural parts of Medway can be tough for many older people with too many struggling to get to the shops and hospital because of lack of local bus services.

“The charity’s campaign “Later life in Rural England”, is calling for all levels of government to:

  • “rural proof” policy and services that may have an impact on rural areas and make older people a priority in this process
  • Take the “rural premium” and social value of services into account
  • Support community participation
  • Target social isolation in rural areas

To support the Later life in Rural England campaign or to find out more, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/rural or contact Alice Woudhysen, Senior Campaigns Officer on alicewoudhuysen@agueuk.org.uk or 02030330516.

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