Staying Safe Online

While not wishing to cause undue alarm, it is right to highlight the growing concerns around keeping children safe while online and what is being done to help address this. We all know that while the internet has transformed our lives and brought many benefits, it has also brought new risks and dangers. While our children may be savvy in terms of operating technology, they remain at risk in our own homes from abusers from anywhere in the world.

Fighting for Crawley's Neighbourhood Principle

Crawley’s council wards have always mostly matched Crawley’s neighbourhoods. This provides an easy understanding as to where our local councillors represent, as well as our councillors representing entire neighbourhoods rather than part of one and part of another.

Tough on Crime

Being a victim of crime is a horrible experience when it happens and depending on its severity, can adversely affect victims permanently. Any crime is too much but thankfully, the levels and severity of crimes in the UK are much better than in most countries, although that is no consolation if you are a victim here.

Tackling Climate Change

As I write on Sunday evening, we are just a few hours away from Hurricane Ophelia making landfall on the southwest coast of Ireland. It feels quite surreal just to write that. A week ago, had anyone else written that, I would have said how it is impossible to get actual hurricanes close to Europe and the British Isles.

The New Queens Square

Last Saturday I enjoyed attending the opening of the new Queens Square. I recognise that there has been a whole year of disruption while the works were being undertaken and it is pleasing to see that they have finally ended. The Queens Square regeneration follows the redevelopment of the old Sussex House site that brought Morrisons, Turtle Bay and Travelodge to the town centre.

A Commitment to Animal Welfare

I am delighted to see that the Conservative Government will soon be publishing a consultation on draft legislation, to increase the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. This is a ten-fold increase and as well as giving a much greater punishment for severe offences, it should also help act as a deterrent to animal cruelty.

Making Energy More Affordable

On Sunday evening I switched on my heating for the first time this autumn. While most of us do try to be as energy efficient as possible, we won’t be able to escape the need for home heating over the next few months. The cost of energy is a concern for many households and it is of course important for health reasons that the homes of elderly people and young children are adequately warm.

An Ambitious Growth Programme for Crawley

Whether it is nationally or locally, I generally take the view that it is better to get things right for the long-term. Being proactive and taking a longer view by planning ahead makes addressing the challenges of tomorrow less difficult. As a growing town with limited space, it is important that Crawley’s growth is planned and managed in a sustainable way. This is why last week’s announcement of £14.64 million of Local Growth Fund investment by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership for a significant regeneration programme in Crawley, is very welcome news.

Fairer Funding for Schools

As well as wrecking the public finances for a generation, the last Labour government also built up some major financial inequalities and unfairness in the allocation of government funding. This included school funding where Crawley and West Sussex increasingly lost out to schools in Labour heartlands in the north of England and inner London.

Improvements to Haslett Avenue, Three Bridges

You may have noticed that roadworks have started along Haslett Avenue in Three Bridges. This is the beginning of a major scheme by West Sussex County Council to upgrade seven junctions along the length of Haslett Avenue, which is a major route through central Crawley. This follows two drop-in sessions in August that were held to help provide information and answer questions.