TIM LOUGHTON: Traffic still a concern at New Monks Farm site

St George's Day celebrations with North Lancing Residents Association
St George's Day celebrations with North Lancing Residents Association

I like busy days and last Friday started with an early meeting with representatives from the local air pollution group AREA for an update as I was unable to attend their public meeting earlier in the week confined to barracks in Parliament for the important Syria debates.

Apparently strange rumours had been circulating that I had said that IKEA had been dropped from the New Monks Farm plan and the number of houses reduced.

Alas, it is nothing to do with me and I fear nothing has changed which is why I will be supporting the demonstration planned for May 12.

After my visit to the Southampton branch, IKEA have provided me with some traffic movement figures which I have published on my website.

It was then on to Guild Care, where I am proud to be a patron of one of Worthing’s charity sector jewels.

I was given a tour round Methold House, which was buzzing as usual, and a preview of their exciting plans to expand and revamp their facilities there.

Continuing on from my recent visits to local benefits facilities, I organised a roundtable meeting at Worthing’s Job Centre at Crown House.

I invited food bank volunteers, their clients, and a manager from Citizens Advice to meet benefits office manager Emma Wareham and her colleagues.

Food bank coordinators had approached me about some of the problems they had seen with people using the local facilities and we had a really useful discussion about how systems could be improved to speed up help and make sure information about all appropriate benefits is available.

Everyone agreed that many of these problems would be helped when Universal Credit comes in locally in July.

After that, I met the new chairman of Lancing Business Park, Damian Pulford of Sussex Transport, together with park manager Suzy Bastable and see some of the more extraordinary freight items his lorries convey around the world.

The second largest business park in West Sussex is in good shape with hardly any vacant units and many businesses needing to expand.

Wouldn’t it be a better idea to use the IKEA site for a high-tech business park with higher skilled jobs and without two million car-travelling customers? Where have I heard that before?

After a busy surgery I finished up at an early St George’s Day celebration with North Lancing Residents Association.

I was drafted in to be part of a rather bizarre but hilarious Mummers play which involved me dressing up as the bold prince and killing the black knight after a sword fight worthy of the Generation Game in front of Father Christmas, only to be brought back to life by a Bupa surgeon!

Who says St George has no place in modern-day England? Good game! Good game!

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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