Ru­ral areas face same is­sues as city

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - WESTMINSTER LIFE - Fiona Onasanya

When peo­ple think of Peter­bor­ough, they tend to vi­su­alise the city: they re­call the spires of our ven­er­a­ble Cathe­dral, the grand space of Cathe­dral Square, and the shop­ping in Queens­gate.

The ru­ral part of the con­stituency is just as im­por­tant. One doesn’t have to drive far on the A47 to be amidst beau­ti­ful open fields and clear hori­zons.

I’ve at­tended events in our vil­lages: I think they are the world cap­i­tal for friendly faces, de­li­cious cake, and per­fectly made tea.

The old churches, the vil­lage greens, the golden sun­light re­flected off of charm­ing homes in the late af­ter­noon are all en­chant­ing.

It is a thor­oughly English idea, ex­pressed in the ti­tle of a tele­vi­sion pro­gramme: ‘Es- cape to the Coun­try’. It’s an en­vi­ron­ment that tempts me too.

But, there is an­other side to ru­ral life.

Over the past few months, I’ve been vis­it­ing Eye, Thor­ney, and New­bor­ough, along with my col­league, Dr Chris­tian DeFeo.

Dr DeFeo is one of the can­di­dates in the Septem­ber 7th by-elec­tion in

Eye, Thor­ney and New­bor­ough.

Ac­cord­ing to peo­ple we met, there are parts of

Eye, Thor­ney and New­bor­ough that haven’t had a coun­cil­lor visit for 15 years!

Dr DeFeo took me one evening to a part of a vil­lage where there is an un­adopted road: its sur­face was dis­fig- ured and pock­marked with patches on top of patches, placed there when they were dug up to ac­cess pipes and elec­tri­cal lines.

Some of the work had crum­bled: it is haz­ardous for chil­dren to ride their bi­cy­cles there.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the ef­fects of poor plan­ning, in­ad­e­quate sew­ers for new devel­op­ment, short­ages of school places, and in­suf­fi­cient traf­fic calm­ing mea­sures are more ev­i­dent in these beau­ti­ful, tran­quil ru­ral areas.

In short, prob­lems that ex­ist in the city are not dis­carded by driv­ing a few miles down the road.

The same is­sues of in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices, prob­lems with crime and anti-so­cial be­hav­ior, fly tip­ping and lit­ter, sim­ply don’t dis­si­pate amidst the wild­flow­ers.

These areas need care too: Dr DeFeo has been adamant that these prob­lems must be solved.

I agree. Yes, we should trea­sure and be proud of the city: but our coun­try­side is just as pre­cious and just as im­por­tant.

It’s time for change.

Prob­lems that ex­ist in the city are not dis­carded by driv­ing a few miles down the road. The same is­sues... sim­ply don’t dis­si­pate amidst the wild­flow­ers.

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