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** Vicky Ford InTouch May 2022
I wanted to update you on some recent developments in Chelmsford.
This month brought the fifth anniversary of my election. It is a huge honour to represent the people of Chelmsford.
Residents contact me about a very wide range of issues. Over the past year over 3,200 constituents have come to me with individual casework issues on a huge variety of subjects. My small team and I always try to prioritise those with most urgent needs.
Sometimes one issue affects many people, for example we worked to help many hundreds of people recover lost and delayed mail last autumn. More recently we have advised over 25 Chelmsford households on the visa system so that they have been able to welcome Ukrainian families under the “Homes for Ukraine” system.
At the moment there are a number of Chelmsford residents waiting for passports to be delivered. I am trying to do all I can to accelerate these but there has been a huge surge of demand for passports now that travel has reopened. If you need a new passport please apply with lots of notice.
Safety Improvements in Chelmsford
I receive fewer emails about criminal behaviour than I did when first elected. This may be because there are now over 720 more police officers in Essex than there were five years ago, as the Essex MPs have been working with our Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, to increase numbers.
Last year, the government announced new funding would be available for Safer Streets. I immediately suggested to Roger that Chelmsford’s Bunny Walks could do with safety improvements. He then worked with many partners and co-ordinated a bid focusing on improving safety for women and girls including projects in the city centre, at the University, along the prison perimeter and the Bunny Walks. This has brought over £500,000 of government investment into Chelmsford.
On a recent visit to the Bunny Walks, I saw the beautiful murals that were designed by the children of Trinity Road Primary School and painted by a professional artist in an area previously scoured by graffiti. The environment team showed me the work they have done to clear overhanging branches and improve visibility, new CCTV cameras have been put in place which are monitored 24/7 and lighting has been improved. It was good to see so many people running, cycling and walking through the area and many people told me how much safer they feel.
I recently visited Broomfield Hospital and had a long discussion with the senior management team. Waiting lists for many elective procedures are still very long, but the good news is that they are getting shorter and our hospitals are reducing the backlog caused by COVID-19. The hospital does still often face delays when trying to discharge patients who need support from social care, this can often result in a shortage of beds which then puts pressure on A&E. However, they are expanding a new “bridging” service which should help.
I have asked the developers, Countryside, for an update on the new medical centre at Beaulieu.
My thoughts have been with those Chelmsford students who have been taking GCSE, A Levels and other public exams this year. I recently visited Boswells School and heard from year 7 and 8 students about how much they enjoy the wide variety of different activities at school including performing arts, many different sports, maths challenges and chemistry practicals. After so much disruption during the pandemic it was very encouraging to hear such positive feedback about school life from our young people.
I recently went to the Recycling Centre in Chelmsford run by Essex County Council to learn more about what happens to the different items Chelmsford residents bring for disposal. With over 12,000 visitors a month this is a huge task. Currently under the law producers of items like fridges, dishwashers and TVs have to pay funds to ensure that these products can be safely dismantled and that parts are disposed of property. The new Environment Act which the government has recently brought through parliament will extend this “producer responsibility” to more products. You can find out more about my visit here: Visit to Recycling Centre in Chelmsford | Vicky Ford ([link removed])
The Environment Act will also give legal protection to wildlife by ensuring that when new houses are built, developers have to increase the surrounding habitat and enhance biodiversity. This will be especially important at areas like the new potential Country Park near Sandford Mill which I also visited recently.
International Work to Tackle the Cost of Living Impact
I remain very busy with my work with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine has pushed up food and fuel prices affecting households all across the UK and across the globe. There is a risk that this could cause further crisis, conflict and loss of life in other parts of the world. The UK has been working with other partner countries to put together a major package of support via the World Bank to help. We are one of the largest shareholders at the World Bank and it was a honour to represent the UK at their meeting in Washington recently.
Finally, I hope that you and your families and friends are able to enjoy events over the Queens Platinum Jubilee as we celebrate and give thanks for her 70 year reign.
God Save the Queen.
As ever, please do stay in touch - my email is [email protected]
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