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A busy week in the constituency

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17 February 2012
A busy week in the constituency With the House of Commons in recess this week, I have spent much of my time catching up on emails and out and about in the constituency.

A definite highlight of the week were the two sessions I attended in Grove Park to listen to local residents’ aspirations for the area opposite the station. The 60s row of shops and the derelict Baring Hall Hotel don’t provide a great welcome to the area when you step out of the station – and that’s not to mention the various lanes of traffic you have to negotiate before you get anywhere.

At the instigation of local resident Stephen Kenny (see photo above, 2nd from right), Cllr Suzannah Clarke (far left) and the Grove Park Community Group, the Prince’s Foundation facilitated community discussions about local aspirations about the area. They also bought some experts down (an architect, traffic consultant etc) to aid the discussions. Some good ideas came up and it reinforced my view that resource has to be put into making these discussions work if they are to be of value (the Government want local people to draw up neighbourhood plans but the bottom line is that some serious money needs to be forthcoming to do these).

I’ve also spoken at the opening of the new Ahmadiyya Mosque on Verdant Lane, paid a visit to the Blackheath Farmers market as part of my campaign against Network Rails’s new car parking charges and organised and chaired a packed meeting in Catford about a controversial planning application. Also managed to pay a visit to the CDG offices in Lewisham who are one of the providers on the Government’s Work Programme. Still can’t help but think that the Work Programme is only going to work if there are actually more jobs being created for people to do – sadly, it doesn’t seem that way with unemployment rising.

Have posted a few photos from my various visits below.

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