Rossendale Free Press

Jake Berry MP for Rossendale


THE murder of Sir David Amess at his MP advice surgery, was utterly horrific and a shock to everyone.

He was a wonderful Member of Parliament, an inspiratio­n and a friend to so many of us on both sides of the House of Commons.

We cannot and must not let terrorists win.

They want to drive a wedge between MPs and the people they represent

and I will not let that happen.

I am determined to continue with my advice surgeries, my regular ‘Meet your MP’ events and my regular street surgeries.

This weekend I was out with County Councillor Scott Smith, in Bacup, knocking on doors and speaking with local people about their issues and concerns and I will continue to do so.

If you ever need my assistance, or want to raise an issue, even if we don’t agree, I will always do my best to listen, understand, and if I can, to help.

After our street surgery it was good to call into 1832 Barista in Bacup for a catch up and a brew.

l Others may disagree but I think they may be a contender for ‘best coffee’ in the Valley!

It was then off to Morrisons to help buy my Poppy for this year’s

Remembranc­e Services from the Royal British Legion volunteers.

There will be volunteers selling poppies every day up to Remembranc­e day, so please remember to pick up yours up whilst you are out.

Earlier in the week I had a very useful visit to talk with residents from Irwell Vale, Strongstry and Chatterton about flood protection plans.

All three communitie­s suffer from regular flooding which is why I’ve been working with the Environmen­t Agency and lobbying Ministers for additional support.

These communitie­s have a long history of flooding, with the most recent event occurring during Storm Ciara in February last year where 43 properties were flooded.

They were also impacted in 2008, 2012 (twice), the Boxing Day floods in 2015

and also in 2017. The flood risk for the area is complicate­d as it isn’t only from the Rivers Irwell and Ogden; flooding also comes from ground water as well as surface water flooding associated with the capacity of the existing drains and flooding from non-main rivers.

Unfortunat­ely, there is no simple or easy solution.

The Environmen­t Agency have completed comprehens­ive surveys and come up with a flood defence proposal which will provide significan­t protection for the homes that are affected but the cost is approximat­ely £15 million.

The good news is that funding of around £10.5 million has already been identified for the plans but we need to find a extra £4 million to fund the work and this something that I will be raising with Ministers.

All local leaders, regardless of political persuasion­s are working together and doing our utmost to make this happen as quickly as possible.

Last week also saw the Chancellor announce his Budget. I was pleased to see in the finer details, that £50,000 has been allocated to the Rossendale Rail Link from the ‘Re-opening our Railways Fund’ to develop the initial plans for the Rawtenstal­l to Bury link.

What is perhaps more encouragin­g though is the £1 billion that has been allocated to Greater Manchester to improve public transport.

I’ve always been clear that re-opening the Rawtenstal­l rail link is a long term goal that is incredibly important for the future prosperity of the Valley.

However, if we are going to make it happen it is vital

that we get the support of Greater Manchester, specifical­ly the Mayor, Andy Burnham. I will be meeting with him to look at what we can do on a cross party basis to push forwards on this project.

Finally, in another example of cross-party co-operation, I am delighted to report that the first meetings of Rossendale’s Levelling Up Board have happened.

This is a group of local businesses, community groups, Councillor­s from both political parties, and residents, coming together to work on our bid for money from the Government’s new Levelling Up Fund.

The board is led by local businessma­n, Mike Lane, from WeBuyBooks who has already invested significan­t funds into improving the Valley and is now leading the charge for us to secure even more.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom