Last Friday, as part of my regular “village action days” where my team and I spend a morning visiting one of the 92 parishes in South Northants and speaking with residents, I stopped by Farthinghoe to discuss the issues of the day.
Despite a cold and blustery February morning, over 50 residents turned out to the beautiful St Michael & All Angels church to hear from me and to ask me questions. The key concern for nearly everyone was the traffic through the village on the A422 and the conditions of the local roads, including pothole problems. Of course, the solution we are all working towards is the delivery of the Farthinghoe Bypass which has been needed – some residents tell me – for over 50 years! I hoped I reassured those at the meeting that I am doing all that I can to press for it to be built as soon as possible, and I am optimistic that progress can be made this year by bringing together the County Council, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, and England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance to put forward a joint bid for funding through the Department for Transport’s newly announced Major Road Network Fund. On behalf of local residents, I engaged fully in the recent consultation by DfT, and managed to secure concessions about including the design of bypasses within funding bids as well as including projects less than £20m (the Farthinghoe Bypass is around £11.5m).
Several other issues were discussed, including Brexit, and I would encourage residents to look at the EU section of my website for more information on recent developments. I also know, from speaking with Cllr John Grant on the Parish Council, that there is a push to secure funding for a new heating system in the church, and my Parliamentary Assistant (Tommy) has sent John details of the Community & Environment Fund being promoted by HS2 Ltd for affected communities.
I also had the pleasure of being taken around Farthinghoe Primary by Wendy Whitehouse and Cllr Mick Morris, and was hugely impressed by the fantastic work being done there to support the students in their learning. I was given a fantastic overview of the school’s concerns about the traffic through the village by Maggie and Lauren, and had the opportunity to speak to all the classes, including an in-depth Q&A with years 5 and 6. I have suggested to Wendy that the school may wish to consider visiting Westminster and coming to the exciting Education Centre we have here, which caters for all ages and provides specialist tours of Parliament, and I would be delighted to see the students again here in London.
I’ve had an overwhelming number of responses to the survey, and will be sending the data (anonymised) to Mick and the Parish Council so they can choose how to act upon it. For those individuals or households who provided me with their names and addresses, I will write in due course to provide some more information about the various issues you highlighted.
If anyone had any specific concerns that I didn’t address when I visited, or was unable to get to the church to see me at the fantastic coffee morning, then please do get in touch with me directly.
Thank you again for having me!