Time to start enjoying summer safely
The weekend saw the longawaited re-opening of our pubs, restaurants and hairdressers for the first time since lockdown began. Scenes across West Sussex were largely orderly and sensible (and that was just the hair salons) so, based upon this, residents should have confidence to start enjoying the summer safely.
Do please support our local businesses again this weekend.
An under-reported event was the reopening of places of worship, which are a source of comfort and community to so many.
Personally, I am looking forward to the return of local cricket from this weekend which I had been privately lobbying ministers and the cricket authorities for with a letter co-signed by many of my fellow Members of Parliament over the past few weeks.
There is no question of a return to a more ‘normal’ English summer without cricket being played on village greens across West Sussex.
Tuesday saw the visit of the Home Secretary to Sussex Police’s headquarters in Lewes, to meet their Rural Crime team which has only been possible due to the new recruits funded by the Government’s plans to recruit 20,000 more police officers.
I have been in regular contact with new Chief Constable Jo Shiner and Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne throughout the lockdown with a particular and continuing focus on ‘danger driver’ motorcyclists and car drivers speeding noisily through our rural villages.
Back in June I wrote in the Financial Times about the vital importance of galleries, museums and theatres to our national life, and so I was delighted this week when the Chancellor announced an unprecedented and generous £1.5billion package to save our theatres, galleries and museums which have been impacted by the lockdown.
On Monday I visited the Amberley Museum near Arundel as the director and trustees prepare for its public re-opening on July 29.
With 33 acres of outdoor space and so many different exhibits it is a perfect day out so do pencil in a family visit soon.
Last week, I took part in a ‘virtual lobby’ about the climate and environmental policies.
Almost 40 constituents logged on and we had a productive and interesting hour discussing various issues and how to ensure that Britain makes the most of the green opportunities, in which I was rightly pressed to make sure the country goes further and faster.
One issue that was raised with me was the Sussex Near-Shore Trawling bylaw passed by the Sussex Fisheries and Conservation Authority, which will protect vital kelp forests off our coastline from further damage.
These are the marine equivalent of rainforests and they are on our own doorstep.
I have already submitted a Parliamentary Question, encouraging the Government to approve this measure as soon as possible.