TIM LOUGHTON: Fingers crossed for speedy end to roadworks

The roadworks in Poulters Lane, Worthing
The roadworks in Poulters Lane, Worthing

The first week back to Parliament last week should have been a quiet one in comparison to all the hurly-burly on the political scene just before the summer.

Then the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee ended up being plastered across the national press, which did little to enhance the reputation of Parliament.

Tim Loughton

Tim Loughton

He stood down from this important committee and as the senior Conservative member, I am now the acting chairman.

I am grateful for all the congratulations I have received, albeit not in the best of circumstances but unfortunately this is only a temporary role as it is determined at the beginning of the Parliament that this committee has to be chaired by a Labour MP, even though it has a majority of Conservative members.

There will be elections for a permanent chairman later in the autumn.

Back in Sussex I was delighted to give the vote of thanks at the AGM of West Sussex County Scouts.

I have always been a big fan of the uniformed youth services and even donned a woggle myself back in the 1970’s in Castle Pack Lewes.

2015 was a record year with an increase of 6.7 per cent in Scout numbers with almost 10,000 across our county.

Scouting is a very different business now, though the values, comradeship, sense of service and fun remain timeless and are no less important to today’s high-tech social media generation who need not spend all their time in cyberspace.

One innovation in West Sussex is piloting a link-up with the ‘Think Family’ programme where Scouting is providing a positive distraction to boys in troubled families and helping them on to an even keel.

After an excellent lunch with the Southlanders Friday lunch club in Shoreham, courtesy of organiser and chief cook Anne Martin, I spent much of Friday afternoon looking down a hole.

The hole in question was in fact rather a long trench in Poulters Lane ,Worthing, where the whole road is supposedly to be closed for three months for laying new gas pipes.

This seems an extraordinary length of time to shut off such a busy road and has been causing no little traffic chaos.

I arranged a site visit with SGN gas and the ward councillors to see if this could be speeded up and if better diversions could be put in place.

They are now looking at the latter and if all goes smoothly then three months should be an overly-cautious estimate.

The problem is there is one pipe to serve houses on both sides of the road which is why one lane could not be closed at a time to reduce the inconvenience.

Let’s hope the sunny weather continues to speed their work.

• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at loughtont@parliament.uk

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