From Michelle Donelan <[email protected]>
Subject My Latest Newsletter
Date November 17, 2022 10:15 AM
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Arts funding for our community, an update on Corsham Station and my other recent work for our area |

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Welcome to my latest newsletter, I hope you are well. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on some of my recent work ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement today.

As ever, if there is anything I can do to help, or if you would like to speak to me at one of my upcoming surgeries, please do let me know.

** Remembrance Sunday

This month marked Remembrance Sunday and it was a real privilege to represent the community at a number of services, including at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph and the Armistice Day service in Chippenham. I was also honoured to plant a tribute to all of those who served from the Constituency at the Garden of Remembrance in Parliament.

The sacrifices of those who served will never be forgotten, and each year I am always touched to see how well attended the services in our community are.

** Arts Funding for Our Community

Absolutely fantastic that Pound Arts in Corsham and Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon will receive £541,017 of Government and National Lottery investment from Arts Council England over the next three years!

I’ve long supported and campaigned for additional funding for both groups and have visited regularly, given talks and held events at both venues - first as the candidate for the area and then since as your MP.
Back in September 2020, the two groups were awarded £253,049 as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help with the recovery from the pandemic, and I can’t wait to see both groups now use this additional funding to continue going from strength to strength.

The work that Pound Arts do, and the facilities which they offer, are truly loved in the community, whilst the Wiltshire Music Centre really is a unique, world-renowned hub for education, with over 800 musicians rehearsing there every single week!

It’s brilliant to see these venues getting the recognition they deserve, they are both a real testament to the local talent and culture we are so lucky to have here in Wiltshire.

** Community Crime Forums

Following my first forum covering Chippenham, I will be holding further virtual forums for the Melksham and Corsham areas, with a date for Bradford-on-Avon to follow.

Saturday 26 November, 5pm: Melksham and the surrounding villages

Saturday 26 November, 7pm: Corsham and the surrounding villages

I’ll be joined by Philip Wilkinson, our Police and Crime Commissioner, along with the local Inspector who covers each area. It’s a great opportunity to make your voice heard on what’s happening with crime in and around your area, ask questions, and raise any concerns you may have.

To attend the forum for your area please do email me at: [email protected] letting me know which forum you would like to attend, and you will receive a Teams link to join the meeting.

Really encouraging news from Phillip and the Chief Inspector at the first forum - generally our stats are:

🚓 Rural crime is down by between 50 and 60 percent in the area
📈 The number of speeding prosecutions locally is up by 42% in a year
🚨Prosecutions for burglary also increasing, with a commitment from all chief constables in England to attend every burglary

But we all know Wiltshire Police have faced many challenges which is why it is so important that local people get to raise their concerns regarding local crime.

** Melksham Bank Hub Campaign

As you may know I have been working on a project to retain banking services in Melksham following the announcement from Lloyds Bank that they would close their Melksham branch earlier this year.

I started by meeting the head of retail banking at Lloyds to try and convince them to reverse the decision. Once it was established that this was not viable and they would not reconsider, I set about ensuring that all of the Post Offices in the surrounding area had the capacity and appropriate training to handle the increased traffic.

I then set about pursuing a more solutions, and submitted a community access request to LINK for a Bank Hub, which is a shared space managed by the Post Office where retail banks hold appointments on specific days.

LINK, the UK’s Cash Access and ATM network, has confirmed the town will benefit from new banking deposit services which will particularly be useful for local businesses and shopkeepers.

This is a big win, and will be a boost to our high street. In the meantime, retail customers can continue to pay in cash and cheques, withdraw money, and check your balance at the Post Office.

Watch this space. I will continue to push hard to ensure that Melksham residents have access to banking services, and I hope to have a further update for you in the near future.

** Corsham Station Campaign

The latest meeting of our Corsham Town Team took place in the last few weeks, helping to move forward my campaign to reopen a station at Corsham.

We are now finalising the strategic outline business case for a station - a significant step as this is what shows the Department for Transport a station would be financially viable. Having helped secure the £50,000 of funding to do this work, it’s great to see the project reach this stage, with our business case due to be formally submitted next week. I have also been speaking to our neighbouring MPs and have asked them to write in with their support, as a station would have benefits for whole area more widely.

We also have a new Rail Minister at the Department for Transport, who I have written to requesting a meeting - I will be setting out our case for a station to him and he will certainly become familiar with Corsham over the next few months…!

** Other Recent Work

Just some of my other recent work over the last few weeks includes:

- Continued to push Wiltshire Council and Bloor Homes on the Birds Marsh Link Road - I was relieved to finally see it open last month!

- Supported the NFU’s #BackBritishFarmingDay, which is all about recognising the vital role farmers in our community and across the country play.

- Taken the long-running project to install a new footpath at the rear of Melksham Oak Community School up with Wiltshire Council, as I am concerned that nearly 1300 pupils are still having to use the busy A365 to get in and out of school each day.

- Visited Bath ASU in Corsham, the last time I visited their extension was in construction, and it was great to hear how they are going from strength to strength as a key local employer. The company manufactures thousands of life-changing pharmaceutical products every single week for the NHS.

- Don't forget to have your say on our local healthcare services with my online survey here ([link removed]) - I will be taking the results up with Ministers at the Department of Health and Social Care in the coming weeks, and the Integrated Care Board who manage our local NHS buget.

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter, as ever if there is anything I can do to help, or if you would like to speak to me at one of my upcoming surgeries, please do not hesitate to let me know,

Best wishes,

Michelle Donelan
Member of Parliament for Chippenham Constituency
Email: [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES.

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