Michael was in Sevenoaks and Swanley on Friday 11th March for his latest busy constituency day.
He travelled in the cab of a Southeastern train to learn more about the impact of the ongoing work at London Bridge on the services used by his constituents every day.
Following this, he spoke to pupils at Combe Bank School in Sundridge, answering questions on issues such as defence and the EU referendum.
In Swanley, he accompanied local councillor Victor Southern to the Swanley Therapy Centre, which relies on charitable donations to offer oxygen treatment to local patients. He also visited Lockdecoders, a vibrant local business run by Victor’s son Peter.
Returning to Sevenoaks, he received a tour of the latest progress at Knole House, where significant restoration work is transforming the medieval site.
Michael ended the day with his monthly advice surgery in Sevenoaks.
On Sunday, Michael was honoured to attend events for Remembrance Day in Swanley. After participating in the parade, he laid a wreath at the War Memorial before reading the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ at a service in St. Mary’s Church.
For more photos from the day, please visit the Gallery.
Two All Churches Together election hustings with all the Parliamentary Candidates have now been held – one in Hextable for the Swanley group of churches in mid-April and one last night in the United Reformed Church, St John’s Hill for the Sevenoaks Group.
Nearly 200 people attended both meetings and the candidates answered a range of questions covering Christian values, the NHS, local education, housing, foreign aid, Trident and defence, immigration, and the deficit and national debt.
Michael visited the school and met Mrs McGarrigle, Headteacher together with representatives from Swanley Town Council. The school has been trying to tackle issues of antisocial behaviour coming from the recreation grounds which back onto the School. Swanley Town Council has provided funding for some CCTV cameras and helped to repair a boundary fence.
Michael said: “I was delighted to be able to return to St Mary’s School and meet Mrs McGarrigle and her team. I’m really impressed with the way the Town Council has come forward to provide support and assistance in this particular instance. The school needs reassurance that the students are in a safe and secure environment and the Town Council has been able to assist.”
Record levels of employment in Swanley were welcomed by Michael as he hosted his second Jobs Fair in the area.
Unemployment has fallen by 50% since the last General Election; 413 people were unemployed in Swanley at that time. Today that figure is 203.
“It is very encouraging news that more people in Swanley now have the security of a regular wage packet. But there is more to do and 203 people still unemployed is still too high and that is why I was delighted to be able to host another Jobs Fair in Swanley this year.
“Thanks go to all the companies and organisations that provided sponsorship, support and participation. I am also grateful to Swanley Town Council for its generous support.”
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity was delighted to be able to welcome Michael to a micro-chipping event in his constituency on Friday 27th June.
The event, held outside the West Kent Offices in Swanleywas a great success, with local residents encouraged to bring their four legged friends along to take advantage of the free micro-chipping service on offer. A total of 27 dogs were chipped on the day while Dogs Trust representatives were also on hand to offer advice and answer any general queries about responsible dog ownership, reminding dog owners of the importance of keeping their microchip database details up to date.
With microchipping set to become compulsory for all dogs in England in 2016, roving teams of Dogs Trust representatives are touring the country in a bid to help promote responsible dog ownership and educate the public on the benefits of compulsory microchipping. Michael Fallon MP was able to talk with members of his constituency and discuss their views on the issue while learning just how vital compulsory micro-chipping is in reuniting stray dogs with their owners, deterring dog theft and as a measure to reduce puppy farming.
Michael said: “I was delighted to be invited to attend this micro-chipping event in my constituency. It was a wonderful opportunity to see the work of Dogs Trust first hand and to learn just how significant micro-chipping can be in helping return lost or stray dogs to their owners. I support the work of Dogs Trust and believe that compulsory micro-chipping is a major step forward in dog welfare, not least for the part it will play in reducing the stray dog population in years to come. I urge local dog owners to take advantage of this simple and effective tool before it becomes compulsory in 2016.”
Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity. They have eighteen re-homing centres across the UK and one in Ireland, and invest substantial resources in information services and education on responsible dog ownership.
Sevenoaks and Swanley MP Michael Fallon met residents of Archer Way, Swanley on Friday (6th June) to discuss the night time switch-off of street lighting. Cllr David Brazier and officials from Kent Highways also attended. Residents are concerned that darker streets could encourage crime. It was agreed the switch-off would be reviewed with the police at the end of six months to see whether crime had risen. Kent also agreed to reconsider their consultation procedures.
On Thursday 8th November, the owners of Swanley Shopping Centre suddenly imposed parking charges without warning. These car parks are privately owned and lie between the two Swanley medical surgeries. This move has caused great concern; blue badge holders are not exempt and the free ASDA car parks are suffering even greater congestion.
Opposing the new charges, Mr Fallon said:-
“A large number of constituents have complained to me and I was in Swanley on Saturday, 9 November to discuss this matter. Although these car parks are not owned or under the control of the local authorities (either Swanley Town Council or Sevenoaks District Council) I spoke to the Mayor and other Councillors and I know they are actively checking the legal position.
In the meantime, I want the landlords to hold off on the new charges to allow for a fuller consultation.”