29 NOV 2016

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group Consultation

I have written to David Smith, Chief Executive of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, to raise constituents' concerns about the OCCG's split consultation on the future of health services that local residents depend on.

You can read a copy of the letter here.

I continue to work with my friend and colleague, Victoria Prentis MP, to find a solution to this ongoing situation.

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29 NOV 2016

Towcester Relief Road Update

I held a series of productive meetings last Friday on the Towcester Relief Road and spoke with representatives from Northamptonshire County Council, South Northamptonshire District Council, and Highways England. We are all agreed that the early delivery of the relief road is vital to the town, and we are writing collectively to the developers (Persimmon and Bloor Homes) to suggest a possible way forward.

I will keep the community updated as we continue to progress - my team met with Catherine Morris of the Towcester Bypass Action Group that day on my behalf - and I hope to hold a public meeting in early 2017.

As ever, please do get in contact with me if you'd like further information via andrea.leadsom.mp@parliament.uk.

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04 NOV 2016

Final Call for 2016 Christmas Card Competition

With only a week to go in my annual Christmas card competition, I've already received some fantastic designs from schools across South Northamptonshire! Please do keep sending me your entries and I look forward to picking the winner. You can read a copy of my letter to our local schools below.


Welcome back! I do hope you and your staff have had a great summer break and are ready for the new academic year. As ever, if an opportunity arises for me to pay a visit, please don't hesitate to let my office know and I will do my best to find a suitable date.

Following a successful competition last year with lots of wonderful entries, I have again decided to run the Christmas card competition amongst Primary Schools in South Northamptonshire, and would be delighted if any of your students would like to participate. In the past, schools have held their own contest to select who should represent the school in the final round, however, if you prefer to send in a few entries that is fine, too.

The deadline for submissions will be Friday 11th November in order to give my team and me the chance to judge the winner and runners-up in time to get the cards printed. I would be grateful if all entries could be posted to my Constituency office at:

The Rt Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP

1, 138 Watling Street East

Towcester

Northants

NN12 6BT

As well as being printed on my own Christmas cards, the winning pictures will also be displayed on my website and the winning student, together with a parent, will be invited to visit me at the House of Commons for tea.

I am looking forward to seeing your students' work!

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02 NOV 2016

Community Development Fund

I was delighted to hear the recent remarks by Councillor Peter Rawlinson regarding community development.

Cllr Rawlinson, South Northamptonshire District Council's portfolio holder for finance and procurement, has urged communities to come forward with proposals to improve their local area.

Most SNC Community Grants are currently funded by the New Homes Bonus, a grant paid to local authorities by central government for every new home built in the area.

This funding is available for a wide range of projects and activities, from large building and infrastructure projects to smaller projects such as the purchase of new sports equipment or the delivery of local schemes.

As you may be aware, last year I launched a youth survey aimed at gauging the opinions of under 25s in the local area, and to establish what their priorities are for improvements in South Northamptonshire. I am working closely with SNC and other partners to begin to push for funding for these projects, and I very much welcome Cllr Rawlinson's announcement.

For more information on SNC Community Grants, please contact Grants Officer Katie Arnold on 01327 322216 or via email. Alternatively, you can find details on the Council's website.

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24 OCT 2016

Response from Rail Central to Phase One Consultation

Rail Central have provided a response to my feedback on the first round of their formal pre-application consultation process. You may read a copy of their letter here.

I am meeting with the developers, Ashfield Land, in December and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my constituents' concerns in more detail.

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21 OCT 2016

Rail Central Phase One Consultation

Ashfield Land, the developers of the proposed strategic rail freight interchange between Blisworth and Milton Malsor, Rail Central, have sought feedback from the local community in the first round of the formal pre-application consultation process.

On behalf of all of my constituents who have been in touch with me regarding this proposal, I have today submitted my response to the Phase One consultation.

You may read a copy of that letter here.

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13 OCT 2016

Year 6 at Towcester C of E Primary School - Visit to Parliament

Parliament's brand new Education Centre, opened officially by Professor Brian Cox in July 2015, is a world-class education facility that inspires and connects young people with Parliament and democracy. It makes use of creative and immersive technology to create a unique learning experience that generates a sense of anticipation in groups entering the space, and from which groups depart feeling inspired and excited about their Parliament.

Towcester C of E Primary School, which has gone from strength to strength under the excellent headship of Richard Camp, visited the Education Centre late last month. From all accounts, the students and staff had a wonderful time and left Parliament highly recommending the experience.

Jo Brown, Deputy Head, said of the trip:

"On Wednesday 28th September, Year 6 students from Towcester C of E Primary School took the train up to London to visit the Houses of Parliament. There, they had a tour of the Palace visiting the Queen's Robing Room, the Royal Gallery, the House of Lords, the House of Commons and Westminster Hall.

"They had two guides who were brilliant at explaining all the different rituals and processes that make our society democratic.

"The children enjoyed looking at the ornate rooms and paintings and finding out about the history of the building and parliament itself. After the tour, the children took part in a workshop where the children explored statements and made a stand for what they believed and why.

The motto of the Education Centre is 'Parliament is relevant, Parliament is yours and Parliament is evolving'. These elements were clear to us on our visit. It was a truly fantastic and memorable experience and the children enjoyed the opportunity."

I would encourage any school in South Northamptonshire who would like to visit the Education Centre to get in touch with my Constituency Office Manager, Hilary Edwards, on 01327 353 124 or via email at hilary.edwards@parliament.uk and she would be happy to help you arrange this.

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23 SEP 2016

Towcester Shop Front Improvement Grants

It's great to hear about the £140,000 of funding to regenerate shop fronts in Towcester town centre, as part of a developer agreement with South Northants Council to allocate money to the scheme. The project is aimed at improving the ground floor of freehold and leasehold properties along the high street, and is part of a wider push for beautification and the improvement of the town's appeal.

The scheme continues the work of the Moat Lane regeneration project in making Towcester a hub for shopping in the area, and proposals for a similar scheme for Brackley are currently being drafted. Whilst great efforts have been made to improve parking in Towcester, the regeneration of the high street will allow for a fresh look at the use of spaces in the market square. Of course, the biggest achievement for the town will be the early delivery of the Towcester relief road and I am working closely with SNC, the developers, and the Towcester Bypass Action Group to push for this.

The Towcester Shop Front Improvement Grants project is open to applications for all shops facing the high street, with the deadline being Wednesday, 30 November 2016. The application form can be downloaded from the Council's website at www.southnorthants.gov.uk/7898.htm. You can also receive an electronic copy by calling 01327 322 216 or by emailing katie.arnold@southnorthants.gov.uk.

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12 SEP 2016

Bell Ringer Rung In!

One of the truly great things about Parliament is that MPs frequently have the opportunity to showcase and celebrate the best food and drink that their constituency has to offer. One of the easiest and most popular ways to do this, for workers and visitors alike, is to request that one of the two cask ales available in the Strangers' Bar each week is from an independent, regional brewer in your area.

I was absolutely delighted therefore to welcome David Williams, one of the three Directors of the excellent Towcester Mill Brewery, to Parliament in the week that the Strangers' Bar was hosting our local Bell Ringer ale. The Towcester Mill Brewery has become a true success story for the town, bringing commercial brewing back to Towcester for the first time in over a hundred years, and continues to go from strength to strength since they opened in 2014.

David said:

"It was great to experience the Houses of Parliament and to see a Towcester Mill beer at the very heart of British democracy!

"Being our local MP as well as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, it was really encouraging to see Andrea Leadsom's support for our brewery and to see Bell Ringer being served in the Strangers bar in the Houses of Parliament.

"My thanks go out to Andrea and her team for making this happen and to really put Towcester Mill Brewery on the map!"

We had the opportunity to catch up and talk about their growing business and the opportunities that the Mill site has offered them, as well as to pull a pint together behind the bar! A number of colleagues have commented on the refreshing and clear qualities of the ale, and my own parliamentary team are all big fans!

I would happily recommend Bell Ringer to everyone (over eighteen!) who enjoys a good beer, and I look forward to stopping by the Mill again soon.

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08 SEP 2016

St. Crispin's Clock Tower Future Secured

I am delighted to hear that the proposals to save the Clock Tower, as part of the redevelopment of the St. Crispin's site, have been given the green light. Much like the old Express Lift Tower, St. Crispin's Clock Tower is a longstanding feature of the local skyline, and many residents have raised its future as a concern over the years.

This victory for the residents of Duston, Upton, and the surrounding area has been hard fought for, and is certainly welcomed by everyone who has been in touch with my office. Specific thanks is very much due to Cllrs Matt Golby, Brian Sargeant, and Alan Bottwood for their tireless work on the campaign and for the way in which they have brought the community together in support of the Clock Tower's restoration. I know that the many residents who have raised this with me on the doorstep will also be as relieved as I am that this local landmark will be restored thanks to the efforts of many in the community.

Now that planning permission has been granted to the developers, I look forward to seeing W.N. Developments Ltd breaking ground as soon as possible and restoring the site to its former glory!

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