In light of the housing target set by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in Sevenoaks, Sir Michael wrote to the Housing Minister, James Brokenshire, urging him to reduce the unsustainable and unrealistic target: Sevenoaks is 93% Green Belt and 6% Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it one of the hardest hit by the new target.
Sir Michael said: “The Government’s housing target for Sevenoaks is just unrealistic and I have urged the Housing Ministry to reconsider. I have always pledged to protect the Green Belt and I will continue to do so. My hope is for a balance between the need to provide some new and affordable housing for the next generation on one hand, and protecting our villages from intrusive development on the other.”
Often referred to as “the suicide disease”, Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is a condition where any facial movement such as talking or smiling, or even light touch to the face, can bring on jolts of agonising pain.
Sir Michael this week attended a parliamentary reception on TN, a relatively rare condition which affects around 60,000 people in the UK, in the hope of raising awareness.
The Sevenoaks MP said: “At first, so many sufferers believe they are experiencing chronic tooth pain or a severe headache and end up going to their dentists and spending money on treatment they don’t need. Accurate and early diagnosing is crucial and we must make sure dentists are properly trained to deal with TN to help sufferers get the right treatment early.”
Sir Michael this week celebrated the 35th anniversary since he, and 100 other Conservative MPs, first entered Parliament. He started out as MP for Darlington in 1983, where he remained until 1992. In 1997, he became your MP for Sevenoaks.
Sir Michael was joined by 9 fellow MPs (pictured).
Sir Michael has today made clear that the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, needs to get a grip on the ongoing issue of train timetables.
During media appearances with BBC South East, BBC News and BBC Radio Kent, the Sevenoaks MP outlined that the Transport Secretary should use his ministerial powers to make peak time Southeastern services to stop at Eynsford and Shoreham on their way to and from London.
The Sevenoaks MP pushed for Thameslink to offer alternative transport solutions for passengers when rail services do not run properly, as well as a proper compensation scheme to be in line with the disruption that commuters have suffered. Answering questions in the House of Commons this evening, the Transport Secretary confirmed this would be rolled out, as would an independent review into the failings of the timetable implementation.
Sir Michael has this week written to the Managing Director of Southeastern, urging him to make Southeastern trains travelling through Eynsford and Shoreham stop to pick up passengers who have experienced severe delays and cancellations as a result of the Thameslink timetable changes.
The Sevenoaks MP said: “Eynsford and Shoreham are smaller villages with fewer peak-time services into London than places like Swanley and Bromley. Southeastern services stopping at Eynsford and Shoreham would ease pressure on Thameslink and I have urged them to do that so my constituents are not further inconvenienced.”
Sir Michael has urged the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, to deploy more drivers who know the routes to and from London in order to ease the pressure on Thameslink’s services.
Currently, Thameslink do not have a sufficient number of trained drivers who know the routes from Kent to London, which has led to widespread delays or cancellations to peak-time services, leaving many commuters stranded. Thameslink have failed to prepare for the new timetable by not training enough drivers in time. Sir Michael will fight to ensure his constituents are not further inconvenienced.
The Sevenoaks MP said: “I see no reason why we should pay the price for Thameslink’s logistical issues and management failings. My constituents are rightly angry at how these timetables have been implemented and I will continue to press for other rail operators to deploy train drivers who know the London-Kent routes. This needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency.”
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner wants to learn about your views on rural crime in our area.
I was pleased to see Kent Police receive additional funding, and I know some of that money will go towards SmartWater technology to mark equipment and help reduce theft, as well as the continued support for the Countryeye app.
If you want to have your say on rural crime in West Kent, then please do so here.
Sir Michael last week visited Darent Valley Hospital, where he met staff and the Interim Chief Executive, Gerard Sammon.
He said: “I was pleased to visit Darent Valley Hospital and hear about how well they dealt with increasing demand in the winter months. Staff recruitment is always a challenge for the NHS but this hospital will benefit in time from Kent’s new medical school.”
Sir Michael this week became a Defibrillator Champion at an event held by The Oliver King Foundation, a charity set up following the sudden death of 12-year-old Oliver from a cardiac arrest. The Foundation campaigns to have defibrillators on site in every school in the UK.
He said: “Early access to a defibrillator is vital. I am proud to become a Defibrillator Champion for Sevenoaks and I will be working hard to ensure that there are defibrillators present in our public places, particularly in local schools to protect our children and teachers.”