Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 17 September 2015


Sometimes it just goes like that. A lull and then a storm. And then some.

In the past few days the following have happened both nationally and locally: The UK government has made its response to the migrant crisis threatening to overwhelm Europe and some member states have closed their borders; the Labour Party has chosen a radical new leader once again offering the British public some raw socialism; the construction work at the new town of Sherford has now started in earnest after years of delay; in an often emotion-charged debate the House of Commons voted decisively to reject the assisted Dying Bill by a ratio of 3 to 1.

This week alone we had the official opening of the Hemerdon Tungsten Mine and the launch of the first draft of the all-important twenty year plan to upgrade our railways. Oh and the Rugby World Cup starts tonight. It has just been one of those periods where there has been no time to catch breath.

I am especially pleased with the interim report of the Peninsula Rail Task Force as we look to put in place a strong and comprehensive plan to upgrade our railways over the next 20 years. I hope you will be seeing more about this in the local and regional media in the next few days. It is not about maintaining Dawlish versus the re-opening of the Okehampton line – it is about working on every aspect: signalling, track improvements, rolling stock, opening new lines, shortening journey times and improving resilience as we look to make our south west railways fit for the twenty first century.

Over the next few months the Task Force, Government and Network rail will be working together to produce a final plan which will then form part of the funding arrangements for the spending period from 2019 onwards. Many improvements are already taking place and in hand but this plan will weave them into an overall strategic context.

It is also very welcome to see bulldozers on the Sherford site at long last. Nobody ever wants to see new housing being built in their area, and of course the disruption to us all as construction takes place will be considerable.
The reality is we desperately need these houses for our children and grandchildren to live in. We have produced "generation rent" – a whole generation that cannot afford to buy. Sherford will help solve that problem for local people.

posted by Gary @ 12:32