I am campaigning for:
A more responsive, better funded police service with a presence across our borough
Since my election I have been arguing for greater resources for police from the Home Office. I am pleased to have had success in this regard with an increase of up to £172m this financial year for the Met and a further £100m provided in March to tackle knife crime. I supported the Prime Minister's immediate commencement of a recruitment drive for 20,000 new police officers and look forward to additional officers in Havering.
Constituents had expressed a concern that our travel network, particularly in Upminster, was being utilised as a means of escape for people mugging young people in the town centre. After liaising with the British Transport Police, they conducted a high-visibility operation at Upminster Station including a knife arch. This operation resulted in an arrest for possession of an offensive weapon, reports for possession of banned substances and over twenty penalty fare notices.
A full update on my policing activities can be found here.
An improved road network including a long-term solution to Gallows Corner, less congestion at the Dartford Crossing, better road surfacing
Gallows Corner has been a concern of local residents for many years and I have been lobbying the Government and the Mayor of London for improvements to this important junction. Following meetings with the Secretary of State for Transport, it was announced in October 2018 that the junction had been shortlisted as one of five potential improvement schemes in the Government's Major Road Network programme.
As Gallows Corner comes within the Transport for London (TfL) road network, it is the Mayor of London and TfL that are responsible for making a business case for the funding. I have been actively pushing the Mayor of London for progress on this matter in direct correspondence and, more recently, Keith Prince AM and I met with TfL to push for an update. My parliamentary team also met with TfL Government Relations officers to keep up the pressure on this scheme. Proposals will be finalised by Christmas and presented to the Department for Transport in January. I will be continuing to push the Mayor of London and TfL to make the most of this opportunity to unlock the funds to provide the much needed investment at this junction.
A transport system that is more accessible to disabled and elderly residents, including a campaign for more lifts at our stations
Given the high proportion of over-65s in Hornchurch and Upminster, as well as a rapidly growing young population, accessibility to transport is a significant issue. I have been actively pressing Network Rail for the urgent completion of Crossrail Complimentary Works at Harold Wood station, to restore access to the main ticket hall and step-free access. I have received assurances that these works will be completed by the end of 2019 and will continue to liaise with Network Rail for these works to be completed on time.
In Upminster, I am campaigning for step-free access to be provided to platform 6 at Upminster Station, currently the only platform without step-free access at the station. I have been petitioning local constituents and I am thankful for the 1,000+ who have signed my petition for this. Unfortunately, station operator C2C were not succesful in their initial bid for funding for this project, however, I continue to lobby government for funding for this project. An update on our works in this project can be found here.
I have successfully lobbied TfL to provide train departure boards for District Line services from Upminster station, advising from which platform the next train will be departing and where. This will be helpful to those with mobility issues that otherwise had to use stairs/lifts to access this information.
I have also written to Ministers in support of campaigns to improve accessibility to other transport modes, including taxis and access for guide dogs.
Regenerated housing estates with new homes of all tenures so that local families can stay close to one another
I have been actively engaging with the Council regarding their 12 estates regeneration programme to ensure that the developments are responsive to the communities need and delivered in a way that limits disruption to existing tenants. I have lobbied Council Officers for the full regeneration of sites in Chippenham Road, Farnham Road and Hilldene Avenue and I am pleased that the Council has now committed to full rebuild at these sites.
As well as supporting the Council's proposals within the 12 estates programme, I have also lobbied the Council where there have been concerns at development proposals in Gooshays Gardens and the Hall Lane Pitch and Putt. I am glad that the Council has heeded the concerns of constituents at the Gooshays Gardens site and I continue to make representations regarding the Hall Lane Pitch and Putt.
Investment in local green spaces as compensation for the Lower Thames Crossing
I have facilitated meetings between the Thames Chase Community Forest and the Lower Thames Crossing project team to advance discussions in this regard. These discussions are ongoing as the project develops and I will continue to press for the maximum improvements to our local green spaces as mitigation for the additional highways infrastructure in the Lower Thames Crossing. I was also glad to bring then Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove MP, to Thames Chase to see their successes in land restoration and their brand new Changing Places facility, enabling disabled visitors to enjoy the outdoors. More information on the visit can be found here.