The House of Commons doesn’t sit for over six weeks over the summer. For some MPs, it’s an opportunity for a long holiday, but I’ve spent the time in the Woodside and South Norwood part of my constituency calling on constituents to introduce myself and find out what issues people are concerned about.
In total, my team and I knocked on over 5,000 doors. There were four main issues people raised, all of them local (evidence perhaps of the old maxim that "all politics is local"):
- the state of Portland Road. It’s in dire need of investment - I met the Leader of the Council on Friday afternoon to press for similar improvements to those the Council has made on Lower Addiscombe Road;
- flytipping. There are a number of sites in the area where people are persistently dumping rubbish. I’ve lobbied the Council for CCTV cameras to help catch those responsible and it also needs to make sure that when properties are converted to flats adequate provision is made for bins and recycling boxes;
- Love Lane Green. The Council needs to find a way to bring this back into public ownership. It’s an eyesore and local children need somewhere safe to play; and
- the proposed secondary school either on the Arena site or split between the Arena site and the CALAT centre. If there has to be a new school - most people would prefer there wasn’t one at all - then there was a preference for Rylands School to move to the CALAT site so that the secondary school is not split between two sites. Beyond that, the Council needs to do a much better job communicating with people about what is happening, ensure that the Country Park and surrounding Metropolitan Open Land is protected and come up with a realistic plan to deal with the traffic and parking issues.
I’ll be reporting back to residents on all these issues.
And when Parliament has another recess during the party conferences, I’ll be calling on constituents in Shirley.