I have been inundated with constituent emails and letters regarding the Neighbourhood Plan for Bradford on Avon. Set to go to a local referendum on September 20, it is a real chance for the people of town to shape its future.
To see the level of passion people have for their local town is truly inspiring and in an era when it can often seem that communities are breaking down, it demonstrates to me that people still want a say in vital decisions which affect their towns and villages.
I have always been a passionate supporter of localism, giving power back to the people who decisions directly affect and Neighbourhood Plans are a fantastic way of achieving this. More can always be done to devolve power from Westminster to local people but the introduction of Neighbourhood Plans is a fantastic way to start. A number of compromises have been made by all sides of the argument to create a sensible plan that should give the town a solid framework with which to move forward.
As I live in Chippenham I shall not receive a vote and nor should I – this is a local issue and should be decided by local people and is a chance for people to decide the future of their beautiful market town. I would encourage everyone with a vote to use it on September 20.
One of the key themes coming through from constituents who contact me is how we can protect local communities, their unique characters and enhance them further.
From protecting the environment, rivers and wildlife which form such a vital part of where we live to tackling loneliness, which is often a barrier to community engagement, I would love to hear your views on how we can make small changes, which can make a big difference to the people of Wiltshire.
This week I invited the Prime Minister to attend my second annual Wiltshire Festival of Engineering which is taking place on November 3. I am organising this with with my Honourable Friend Dr Andrew Murrison MP and we hope to inspire thousands of children to help challenge stereotypes of engineering careers, combat the local skills gap and in addition to highlight that Wiltshire really is a hub of engineering, design and technology.
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