Whilst we must all still be careful – and take responsibility for ourselves and others – it’s been fantastic to get out and about in North East Hampshire and catch up with local organisations.
At RAF Odiham, for example, it was great to be welcomed back for an update on Britain’s Chinook Force and have the opportunity to thank them for their work in combatting coronavirus.
Meanwhile, you’ve heard much about the 20,000 new police officers across the country, so I met our local Chief Inspector to discuss the 156 already recruited in Hampshire. I’m delighted that 113 of these will go directly into neighbourhood policing or patrol teams. This takes Hampshire Constabulary’s total recruitment this year up to 600!
Meanwhile, you’ve heard much about the 20,000 new police officers across the country, so I met our local Chief Inspector to discuss Hampshire’s 600 new recruits this year – which includes an uplift of 156 officers allocated from the first year of the national 20,000 uplift. I’m delighted that 113 of these additional officers will go directly into neighbourhood policing or patrol teams.
Our community is a great place to live and keeping you safe is key and we must keep it that way. Law and order is fundamental, but other work is important too. I went to inspect Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ preparations and investment, in Sherfield, to help stop power cuts during storms and periods of unsettled winter weather. Their ‘Power Track’ app is a simple way to report damage and keep up to date on faults too – so I would urge everyone to download it from your ‘app store’ on your mobile phone.
Further, ahead of the winter, the £19.8 million provided to Hampshire to fill 360,000 potholes this year will mean better roads for everyone. Hampshire is putting further resources into wider resurfacing and road improvements, such as those I visited to improve traffic flow on the A33.
‘Building back better’ cannot all be done piecemeal. There are parts of Hook and Fleet that have needed knocking down since I was growing up here – and the problem is not going away. It’s getting worse. It’s time for action.
Fleet should be a beacon for the whole area and you’ve told me that you want to see the focus fundamentally shifted from tinkering, like the pedestrianisation of Fleet Road, to new investment. We have some fantastic independent stores, bars and restaurants in the town and I want to see those supported – by increasing footfall with attractive community and leisure facilities; the concrete-clad buildings of old replaced with new, architectural masterpieces for new shops or cafés. This must be for the whole town centre, not just the little bit Hart District Council owns today.
The bonus is that – if the council does what you and I have been calling for – we don’t need more greenfield development in the next local plan. The government is keen for us to prioritise brownfield regeneration too – so we now need the council to sit up, listen and act.
You can make it happen. Sign up to our Constituency Conservation Charter at: ranil.uk/charter and share it with your friends and neighbours. This isn’t cherry picking or so-called ‘nimbyism’. Together, we can prove that local people are behind this clear, coherent and comprehensive agenda – to ‘build back better’.