The work goes on in Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.
This bulletin is a regular update on my work as your MP. I hope you find it interesting and would welcome your feedback.
My constituency voted to Remain. The country voted to Leave. A divided Parliament cannot agree on “How,” with too many factions clinging to their ideal version, which for some includes no Brexit at all.
I rarely use the word “crisis,“ but this is one; and it carries risk for us as a country, not least in terms of growing division and falling public confidence in our democratic process. I am well aware of the stress it is causing amongst constituents at either end of the argument, and the majority sitting in the middle who are suffering Brexit fatigue and just want us to move on.
If you are interested in what your MP is thinking and doing on Brexit, I publish a regular update on my website (https://www.nickhurd.com) and can email it to you if interested. If you would like to talk it through personally, I am more than happy to call you.
My basic position is that we should honour both the referendum and our manifesto commitments, by Leaving in a smooth and orderly way through a negotiated agreement that minimises the risk to our jobs and security. I have consistently voted for the agreement negotiated by the PM, which would have seen us leave by now. I am against leaving with No Deal. I have been against a second referendum, but I recognise that the argument for one grows the longer this stalemate continues.
Law and Order
I am very aware that the recent sequence of murders in Pinner and South Harrow, and a spike in burglaries “aggravated” by the threat of violence, has deeply unsettled many residents across Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. It comes, of course, against a background of increased knife crime across London, which is a source of great worry - not least for parents.
Another concern I hear is about the response of the police to burglary. A number of constituents have been unimpressed by the follow-up, especially when they have been able to present the police with some potential evidence, for example in the form of CCTV.
Please click here: https://www.nickhurd.com/2019/04/16/crime-policing/ for an update on how I have responded as your MP.
Please also note that I have called a public meeting, so that constituents can engage directly with me and the senior local police officers who have operational responsibility for burglary and “high harm” crime. It will be 7pm-8:15pm on Wednesday, 15 May at Fairfield Hall, Windsor Close, Northwood, HA6 1PD. Let me know by email if you want to come, or if you would like regular email updates, or a personal call.
Discussing aggravated burglary with Pinner residents, Chief Superintendent Sara Leach, and Bob Blackman MP
Redevelopment of Northwood Town Centre by TfL
This long running saga is coming to a head, with TfL poised to make a planning application on a “third time lucky” basis. It matters because this would be the biggest change to Northwood Town Centre for decades. Like many, I see some redevelopment as inevitable, but it needs to be right for Northwood. My personal view is that this third scheme is significantly worse than the last one. It will result in the loss of the commuter car park at the station and the construction of five, six, and seven storey blocks of flats alongside the railway line, with almost no parking for new residents. It is already clear from the consultation that Northwood residents are extremely unhappy with the plan, not least because of concerns about parking and the inappropriate scale of the development. I have met with TfL and their development partner Notting Hill Genesis and made clear that I will oppose it. I also spoke at a packed Northwood Residents Association AGM and warned them that this is an application designed to fit with the priorities of the Mayor’s London Plan, and to end up on his desk upon appeal. TfL plans are to make some small adjustments to the plan; run a short consultation, and submit a planning application in the autumn. The community is working out the best response and I will keep constituents informed through this bulletin and my website.
I am interested in the views of residents so do please contact me.
Discussing the Northwood development plans with TfL
Mount Vernon 1: Michael Sobell Hospice
This highly valued hospice has been supported by the community for years but faced closure last year. The building needs repair and the East Herts Trust and previous management of the Charity could not agree a way forward. I wrote to all stakeholders to press for a resolution and the scrutiny committee at the London Borough of Hillingdon Council (LBH) have been very helpful in convening people to discuss a solution. The Chair of the Hillingdon CCG confirmed to me their intention to contract Harlington Hospice to take over the management of the Hospice with full support of the existing Michael Sobell charity, which has new management and governance. I welcome this solution.
Mount Vernon 2: the Cancer Centre
Some of you will remember or have supported our “Save Mount Vernon Cancer Centre,” which mobilised 70,000 signatures a decade or so ago. This is just an alert that the NHS are doing another one of their reviews of cancer services, and that includes Mount Vernon. I have no reason yet to fear that this risks the loss of the cancer centre, but changes to the model and services may be proposed - I will keep close to it and keep you updated.
Northwood and Pinner Cottage Hospital
Another issue that drags on. You may recall that I have been pressing the NHS to not just flog this neglected site for flats, but to redevelop it in a way that honours past promises to retain community health facilities on the site. The good news is that the NHS has confirmed to me that they intend to go ahead with a proposed redevelopment that combines: a) an upgrade of the existing Health Centre, b) the delivery of new primary care services from a “hub” on site, and c) residential accommodation to help fund it. There is some work to be done on finalising the model and business case for the health services, but they have confirmed their intention to submit a planning application by March of next year.
Two pieces of news:
Firstly, it seems that my colleagues at the Treasury are having another look at HS2 in the context of what is called a ‘zero based capital review’ of major investment projects. I believe that the aim is to identify and challenge projects that are failing and running significantly over time and budget. I have made it clear to Liz Truss, the Number 2 at the Treasury, that I welcome the inclusion of HS2 in this review, given growing concern about cost escalations undermining an economic case, which many of us were sceptical about from the start. I do not want to raise expectations, as there are plenty of people arguing that it is either too late to stop, or that HS2 is the answer to everything short of Brexit - but it is right that HS2 faces tough questioning as a project in the next few months.
The work continues with LBH and tireless local resident groups to improve local mitigation. We have had some success, for example in getting them to drop the idea of building a concrete segment factory outside Ickenham, but the relationship with HS2 remains very frustrating. I have met with the HS2 Construction Commissioner, Sir Mark Worthington, and separately with the Chair, Allan Cook CBE; the Programme Director for Area Central, Mike Hickson OBE; and their Community and Stakeholder Engagement Director, Julie King. My message was that HS2 needed to take a new approach in terms of engagement with residents, starting with clear answers to a number of local questions and proposals. I have summarised the issues in this letter: https://www.nickhurd.com/2019/04/03/letter-following-meeting-with-the-hs2-senior-leadership/, and I will of course share the response from the top of the organisation.
Meeting with the senior leadership of HS2 in Parliament
Ministerial Role I continue to serve as Minister for Policing; Fire Service; Grenfell Victims, and London. In this role my priorities are to: a) make sure that our emergency services have the resources they need to do their important work, b) to work with the Mayor and partners across London to end this terrible cycle of serious violence, and c) to make sure that the victims of the Grenfell disaster receive the best possible support in their recovery and pursuit of truth and accountability, and that we fully learn the lessons from that tragedy.
On a “ride out” with members of Met Police Serious Violence Taskforce
Out and About
I joined the residents’ associations and concerned residents at the HS2 drop-in, held at Harefield Library, to represent the views of my constituents. On crime, I have met with the Police regularly to discuss the operational side of policing in the constituency, including with Chief Superintendent Sara Leach and Superintendent Duncan Slade.
I have visited Northwood College and Bishop Ramsey School to see their facilities and speak with their students. I have held regular surgeries in the constituency, including at Eastcote library, and lastly I was pleased to attend the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple, Pinner, for their Katha celebrations and to see the newly opened temple.
Meeting residents in EastcoteSupporting greater ambition on climate change in ParliamentIn Parliament: supporting the excellent London Air Ambulance ServiceSupporting the National Apprenticeship week in ParliamentOn walkabout in Northwood HillsVisiting the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple Pinner for their Katha celebrations
Talking with Bishop Ramsey students
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a peaceful Easter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss anything, or if you have a problem or concern that I can help with.