MP proves to be open and accessible

Andy Sawford MP takes online questions from the public at the Corby offices of the Northamptonshire Telegraph.
Andy Sawford MP takes online questions from the public at the Corby offices of the Northamptonshire Telegraph.

The issue of access to our MP had been a hot debating point for a few years, but alas, it is no longer so.

Irrespective of political affiliation, a top priority for any MP is to be available to constituents.

The first online question and answer session held by Corby and East Northants MP Andy Sawford was a major departure from previous inaccessibility and a tribute to him.

I congratulate the Telegraph too for agreeing to facilitate such sessions and thereby making a huge contribution to our community.

The questions were sincere and challenging and Mr Sawford responded with candour.

While all the issues raised were interesting, I thought that the one relating to job agencies was most poignant and relevant.

The recent revelations about job insecurity and 3,000 workers being underpaid by £100,000 are a testament to Mr Sawford’s determination over the previous months.

I am quite confident that people of all political persuasions want workers treated with respect and fairness.

In an era in which political trust has been at a low ebb, it is encouraging to find that our MP is putting an enormous effort into the job itself and making himself visible and accessible to constituents.

While writing, I requested information from Mr Sawford’s office about surgeries.

These are held regularly in Irthlingborough, Raunds, Oundle, Thrapston and Corby.

I was astonished to find out that 1,713 cases have been addressed during the past six months.

Leaving all political ideology and loyalty aside, I am sure people across this constituency share the good news that this MP is committed to the task and is accessible.

Eamonn Norton


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Let people decide where to shop

Why is it necessary to hold a public inquiry, scheduled to last 12 days and costing several thousands of pounds, to reach a decision on the proposed Rushden Lakes development?

Interested parties have had more than six months to submit, in writing, their support for or objections to the project.

Surely the person appointed to decide upon the issue is capable of reading all of these submissions and arrive at a well-reasoned opinion without having to listen to the same arguments at a public meeting?

Having today read an article in the Telegraph in which Kettering and Northampton councils state that the building of this development will take away trade from their town centres, which they are hoping to modernise and improve, then why did they allow Riverside and Kettering Business Park to be built?

People will shop where it is convenient, where it is easy to park.

Town centres have limited space available for parking and parking spaces in the aforementioned towns charge for the privilege of shopping in their towns.

Roy Tomlin

By email

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Waste plant may not be in pipeline

I was pleased to see that Corby Council’s new chief executive Norman Stronach has hit the ground running by setting out his vision for Corby in the Northants Telegraph.

Before addressing the content of the article I wish to congratulate Mr Stronach on his appointment, thank him for the excellent job he has made of “holding the ship” over the past year and wish him well in his new position.

I do, however, take issue with Mr Stronach’s claim that the Brookfield Recovery Park, more commonly known as the Brookfield Waste Plant, is “in the pipeline”.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing the waste plant and more than 250 formal letters of objection have been submitted to the council by members of the public.

Therefore under planning law the waste plant cannot simply be rubber-stamped by bureaucrats in the planning office, but must be debated and voted upon by a committee of elected councillors, each of whom is accountable at the ballot box for the decisions they make.

I feel confident that local elected representatives will do what is right for the people of Corby and its surrounding villages and reject the application to build an enormous waste plant on local woodland and effectively turn Corby into the nation’s dumping ground.

Cllr Rob McKellar

Weldon and Gretton ward

Corby Council

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Sad at changes to information team

I wonder how many people realise that 40 years ago when Kettering Council had the forethought to open a tourist information centre in Kettering, they were one of the first in the county.

Although small, in fact not much bigger than a cupboard tucked in the corner of the entrance to the library, it was a great start to publicising and promoting Kettering.

What a gem the new tourist office was when it opened in the Old Coach House, next to the museum.

It was really the jewel in the crown for this area, with such helpful staff and so much information about Kettering and the whole of England.

What a shame when it was closed and a desk set up in the council customer services department, but still a source of information.

What a shock when I discoved this week that this too has now been removed.

Some of the information is available in the museum, but unfortunately no friendly and helpful staff to guide visitors and help them to enjoy and discover Kettering.

Another step down a slippery slope for the people of Kettering.

Barbara Murkitt

By email

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Speaking up to defend UKIP

Tony Banks of Wellingborough (Your View, June 13) has attacked UKIP on a number of points, not surprising, it is a measure of our progress, but I’ll try to answer some of them.

Yes, Nigel Farage is our leader, unlike all the other parties we only have one leader.

Two leaders makes for confusion; please see the current Coalition. If only Farage has support how is it that more than a dozen of us were elected MEPs last time around?

Could Mr Banks name all the other leaders of all the other parties?

Nigel Farage’s background is in the City of London where he was one of the wealth creators on the metals exchange where he ran his own successful small business.

We do not intend to privatise and outsource the NHS but we do intend to reform it.

At the moment it is top heavy with bureaucrats and lacking the medical front-line services.

Perhaps someone can tell me why we have been recruiting nurses from Portugal rather than training enough of our own?

Renewal energy is moonshine. Windmills are useless, tidal power is undeveloped because that too doesn’t work.

We are left with fossil fuel and nuclear.

France produces 75 per cent of its electricity with nuclear power stations, our Government sold off our nuclear power station specialists Westinghouse so that we now have to pay over the odds to get someone else to build them for us.

Since the world is becoming ever more dangerous we do need to invest in defence.

In itself, that gives a boost to manufacturing.

I see Mr Banks repeats the scare tactics of the Euro enthusiast by talking about a massive loss of jobs if we left the EU. No, we would not!

Trade is a two-way street so they would still buy from us because they want to sell to us, or do you think that Mercedes Benz, for example, would refuse to sell us any more of their expensive motor cars?

In any case, we trade more with the rest of the world than we do with the EU, which is rapidly becoming an uncompetitive black hole.

Have you seen the unemployment figures for other EU countries; I have.

I serve on the employment committee which is constantly approving the spending of millions of euros to help workers made redundant as company after company flees Europe and sets up elsewhere.

The only way is out!

Derek Clark

UKIP MEP for Northamptonshire

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Charges are what kills High Streets

You read all of these stories of councils increasing car parking charges to help pay for the increases in the overheads of running the councils.

On one hand you can understand, but the problem is the councils are shooting themselves in the foot, as the result is it kills the High Street, as the public find it too expensive to shop there due to the high parking costs.

If parking fees were reduced, more shops would open and more people would visit town centre shops.

Councils need to look long term.

Ray Lilley


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Remember birds when out picking

I’d like to ask readers of the Telegraph not to pick elderflowers.

Picking elderflowers in large quantities means there will be no elderberries for the birds in winter.

The past couple of winters have been hard enough for our British birds without depriving them of vital food.

Our countryside flowers and berries are already under a lot of pressure from encroaching building and farming.

Let’s try to protect what we have left, pick only the limited amounts we need or want for our own use in jams and wines, and leave the rest for the birds and wildlife.

Stripping the whole tree will reduce the tree’s strength and health.

Then there would be one less tree for the future. Please think before you pick the elderflowers.

Save our birds and trees.

Kym Wheeler


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