As the House of Commons returned last week from the Conference recess for the autumn session, the new Ministerial teams will really begin to come under scrutiny from the House as they continue to deliver the Government’s legislative programme. However locally there are some issues that I know people are very focussed on.
In Buxton, many of us are focused on the Spencer Ward at the Cavendish Hospital, following the recent consultation on the services being provided there. This issue has caused - and continues to cause - great concern, both to me and to many many residents. The consultation has now closed, so for those who have submitted a response to the consultation, we have played our part.
I have had multiple meetings with the CCG, I have made an official submission to the consultation, and I have been clear from the start that the proposals are unacceptable. I would like to pay tribute, not only to those people who have campaigned on this issue with such vigour, but also to those who made representations at the public meetings. The arguments put forward at the meeting I attended were well reasoned and rational. Yes, people were emotional, but as I said at the time, the emotion was underpinned with reason and understanding and a firm belief that the proposals were not only unacceptable but actually harmful for us here in the High Peak.
Whilst the public consultation is now closed, I will continue to do all I can during my ongoing discussions with the CCG to fight these proposals and ask that they have a rethink - either scrapping them completely or making alternative suggestions that will actually help us here in the High Peak and not deprive us of services.
In the Glossopdale area, as we all understand, the issue of the traffic gets ever worse and the need for a solution more urgent. The saga of the ‘Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass’ has run on longer than many of us care to remember and, even after the Government commitment of 2014 to build a Mottram Relief Road and the Glossop Spur, progress has been inexorably slow - something that has frustrated me as much as everyone else.
However, I was pleased last week that Highways England held a ‘Public Awareness Event’ where they updated people on the progress so far, with potential routes and options. Through this column I would like to thank the huge number of people who went along to make their views known. The event ran for much of the day on Saturday 9th and I was there from 2-7pm following my earlier appointments in Glossop.
I have met again with Highways England since the event, and they were very struck with not only the sheer numbers of people who went along but also the almost-universal public opinion that the promised scheme needed to be not only delivered quickly, but also extended to encompass both Hollingworth and Tintwistle. I did say to them prior to the event what I felt the feedback would be, and it was very much as I predicted.
As I continue to bring pressure to bear on Ministers and the Secretary of State over this, Saturday’s event has proved a great help - purely because so many people went along and spoke with a united voice. I am meeting with the Secretary of State next week and I know that the officials from Highways England will have appraised him of the events of that day. If there is anyone who was not able to attend and complete the feedback form, I would urge them to click the link to the right and complete it online, however the deadline is Friday October 21st, so please hurry.
Whilst the event was not the official consultation, it was incredibly useful to have that sort of support. The official consultation will be launched next spring, and I am asking that when that happens, people across the whole of the Glossop area respond in force - as happened last week. I will do my utmost to ensure that no one in Glossop is unaware of it taking place, so we can all speak loudly and effectively to hasten what is an already long-overdue solution to our traffic issues.