Better transport, safer communities and a greener environment

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, and held a private meeting with the now former Home Secretary and Prime Minister to fight for more cash for the Met. This led to our successfully securing an increase of up to £172m this financial year for the Met and a further £100m in March to tackle knife crime. I supported the new Prime Minister's immediate commencement of a recruitment drive for 20,000 new police officers and will be lobbying the Mayor of London for Havering's fair share of them.

I have been working with schools, council, residents, police and local charities on prevention of youth violence, and convened a meeting in Harold Hill to improve our local response to protecting young people from knife crime. I am working with the West Ham Community Foundation and local schools to roll out after-school sports programmes to occupy children in the critical hours before parents get home from work.

I have worked with local campaigners to petition the Mayor of London to keep open Hornchurch Police Station. The council is now looking to purchase the station so that a physical police presence is maintained across 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. I have held community meetings and surgeries across the constituency at which I have brought police and residents together to talk about local problem areas. I have campaigned with my local team 

In parliament I have spoken in debates on knife crime sentencing and voted to toughen police powers against violent crime. I sat on the Bill Committee for the Counter-Terrorism Bill to tighten laws against terrorists.

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 successfully lobbied the government to remove the borrowing cap on councils to enable Havering Council to undertake its ambitious estates regeneration programme. This aims to regenerate twelve ageing council estates across the borough and replace them with new homes to buy and rent for local families. I have been actively engaging with the council since to ensure that the developments are responsive to the community's 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.

On behalf of constituents, I have also lobbied the Council where there have been concerns at development proposals in Gooshays Gardens and the disposal of 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 ensure that the forest receives investment and is compensated for the disruption from construction. I brought the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove MP, to push for a new 'biodiversity net gains' approach which would compel developers to offset any impact on the environment with investment in green spaces and wildlife. I also showed him the successes of Thames Chase in restoring former industrial landscapes and reforestation, as well as their brand new Changing Places facility, enabling disabled visitors to enjoy the outdoors. More information on the visit can be found here.


Accessible Transport for All event

Regular readers will be aware of my campaign to improve transport accessibility to ensure people of all levels of mobility can lead as fulfilling lives as possible.

Update from Upminster Police Meeting

On Friday I attended a public meeting hosted by Keith Prince AM, London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, to discuss local concerns regarding policing and crime.

Police Meeting in Upminster

I organised a police meeting in Upminster's baptist church last year to respond to residents' concerns about community safety and encourage better dialogue between police and residents.

Knife Crime Sentencing Debate

Petition debates occur within parliament when online public petitions reach 100 000 signatures. Our constituency contributed the greatest number of signatures to a petition calling for tougher knife crime sentences.

Article for The Sun on Knife Crime

Following the tragic events in our constituency on 1 March, I was asked to write about knife crime for The Sun. JULIA LOPEZ MP 

Harold Hill stabbing — Jodie Chesney’s murder was so senseless and brutal that it defies any understanding

Update following Harold Hill tragedy

The whole community will share my distress over the utterly senseless loss of a 17 year-old girl from a fatal stabbing in Harold Hill at 9.25pm last night.

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, visits Thames Chase

My team and I arranged for Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP to visit Thames Chase Community Forest in Upminster this morning to see first-hand the fantastic work of local volunteers in restoring London’s lost landscapes and making green spaces accessible to all.

Police meeting with Commander Jason Gwillim

We know residents have a range of concerns about crime and community safety in the constituency and we have been trying to organise a meeting between key stakeholders in the borough at the Town Hall to ensure we have a joined-up strategy for tackling crime.