January Newsletter

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Dear Constituent,

Welcome to my latest newsletter to keep you updated on my work in Parliament and around Amber Valley. As we start 2017, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

As always, you’ll find a selection of what I’ve been up to over the last month and details of upcoming events. You’ll also find the usual information about my columns and surgeries, and how to get in touch.

Alfreton Train Station Step-free Access Further Delay:

Many constituents may already have seen the recent news of a scandalous further delay in the Access for All project at Alfreton Train Station, meaning it will now be delayed until at least 2019.

These long-planned and desperately awaited improvements had been due to start earlier this year but, following a review by Network Rail, the scheme has again been postponed.

The awful current situation at Alfreton means disabled or elderly travellers and cyclists are only able to access the northbound platform. Disabled passengers using the station therefore have to go to Nottingham or Chesterfield first, due to the lack of suitable access. This causes many people inexcusable delays and inconvenience, and excludes them from using their local station.

The latest deferral is particularly intolerable as the Government has allocated billions of pounds for large new infrastructure projects, which are welcome, but shouldn’t be at the expense of denying access for all to the transport services we currently have.

Since the decision, I’ve already raised the issue again in the House with the Secretary of State, to see if the Government’s recent announcement on more autonomy for the Network Rail teams and private sector operators can be utilised to mean that the improvements at Alfreton can be done with local rail budgets.

I will continue to make the case for these vital improvements and keep pushing for the works to be started as soon as possible. To support this, I would urge my constituents who are affected by the continual delays with this project to get in touch with me so I can highlight to the Minister the personal struggles, delays and problems the current inaccessibility causes.

You can find my full post on the delay here.

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A38 Noise Tour:

As mentioned in my November newsletter, Highways England recently visited Amber Valley and went on a tour of the key noise hotspots with me.

Highways England’s noise specialist, Ian Holmes, attended alongside their regional manager for this area, Kamaljit Khokhar, and I took them to noise hotspots in Ripley, Alfreton, Swanwick and Coxbench. Whilst in Coxbench, we met with some of the residents whose homes are most affected by the problem there, so that they could convey their concerns, suggest possible measures to alleviate the issues and highlight the importance of some improvements being made soon.

I also relayed the problems and hotspots constituents emailed me about in anticipation of the visit and tour. In particular, I stressed the desire for more noise barriers near affected sites in Amber Valley. Although there are no plans for these at the moment, as Highways England insist bunds or barriers wouldn’t be effective due to the elevation of the A38 in some places in the constituency, they agreed to keep investigating their viability.

The resurfacing target of over the next few years is still on course, as the current tarmac/surfacing deteriorates. Unfortunately, the current noisy surface is the long-lasting Hot Rolled Asphalt, which means that Highways England have a deadline of 2020 to do the resurfacing in Amber Valley. Nevertheless, during the tour, we did notice the degradation of some of the noise barriers near Ripley and Lower Kilburn, and a loose manhole cover on the A38 near Alfreton which was causing extra noise for residents of Derwent Grove in particular. Ian and Kamaljit have ordered for these to be repaired, and the manhole cover has now been permanently fixed.

I will continue to put pressure on Highways England and on the Government to deliver improvements as soon as possible to reduce the awful impact A38 noise has on many residents in Amber Valley.

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Standing Up for Sitting Down Campaign:

I recently visited Lawman Gardens retirement scheme in Bonsall Lane, Alfreton to support Anchor’s Standing Up 4 Sitting Down campaign, to provide more seating for older people so they can rest mid-shop.

All too often we hear of people struggling to access their local shops and leisure facilities as much as they’d like to due to a lack of seating areas to rest in. This is a great campaign and, after speaking with some of the residents at Lawman Gardens, I can see the provision of seating would be of great benefit to them as well as to local businesses and shops. It’s quite a simple thing to do, but it can make a huge difference to people’s shopping experiences – and to the local economy.

Read more about my visit here, or find more information on the campaign here.

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In Parliament:

European Council 2016:

Following up on my campaign for further measures to tackle tax avoidance, I recently asked the Prime Minister whether she discussed EU progress on tackling multinational tax avoidance during the European Council. You can read my full question and the full debate here.

Illegal Migrants in the UK:

Just before the House broke for the Christmas recess, I asked the Minister for Immigration what steps are being taken to ensure illegal migrants cannot profit from working in the UK as I know this is an issue constituents rightly highlight as one of their main concerns and priorities.

The Minister confirmed this Government’s recent implementation of new measures, including making it a criminal offence for migrants to profit from illegal work and ensuring that those who are here illegally cannot access UK benefits.

You can catch up on the all the questions put to the Minister here.

Public Accounts Committee:

In Public Accounts Committee meetings over the last few months we’ve been looking into benefit sanctions and the financial relationship between Britain and the EU. You can read more about these inquiries and evidence sessions here, or find out more about upcoming PAC business here.

Columns:

You can find my latest Derby Telegraph column, looking at the last few months of 2016, here.

Street Watch:

If there are any street repairs in your area, such as potholes, pavement repairs or broken street lights, you can report these issues and concerns to me quickly and easily here so I can ask for the repairs to be investigated and addressed.

Surgeries:

I regularly hold surgeries to give you the opportunity to meet with me and discuss any concerns or problems you may have. These are held on Friday evenings between 5pm and 7pm.

If you would like to meet me and discuss any issues, the dates of my upcoming surgeries are:

  • Heage – 13th January 2017
  • Riddings – 20th January 2017
  • Kilburn – 27th January 2017

Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above, or to arrange an alternative meeting.

Get in Touch!

As always, you can contact me by hitting the ‘reply’ button on this email, or you can ring my office on 01773 744341.

Twitter and Facebook

You can also follow me on Twitter @NigelMillsMP and like me on Facebook here to stay up to date with news and events in Amber Valley throughout the month.

Yours sincerely,