Back home for the summer, Richard Holden MP has spent a busy first week on his summer surgery tour, listening to constituents and following up on the local issues raised with him throughout the year.
- The tour started in Medomsely at the community garden, where Mr Holden met a constituent who, formerly a sub-postmaster, has been affect by the Horizon failure.
- Mr Holden then went to the Wheatsheaf in Leadgate where he heard concerns about motability and HGVs.
- In Lanchester by midday, Mr Holden stopped at Ravello’s where he was pleased to see how a small local business is recovering from the pandemic.
- The afternoon started at the Frosterley Village Hall where concerns about rural transport and charging points were raised.
- By mid-afternoon Mr Holden was at Howden-le-Wear, where he met a large group of residents and their dogs. Joined by Crook Cllr Patricia Jopling and Police Community Support Officers, they discussed anti-social behaviour in Jubilee Park, following Mr Holden's previous discussions with Inspector Turner on anti-social behaviour in the area.
- Mr Holden then went on to Hunwick and the Joiner’s Arms, where he heard concerns on immigration and was able to share how the Government's new Nationality and Borders (which he spoke for here) will put an end to illegal immigration.
- The day ended in Esh at the Cross Keys Inn, where Mr Holden discussed improvements for the play park and the problem of unauthorised traveller camps.
- Mr Holden started the morning hosting the Secretary of State for Business, the Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP at the Consett Ale Works, before making over the Grey Horse to pull a couple pints. You can read the full story here.
- Richard was then fascinated to spend the afternoon at the Consett Community Fire Station, which you can read on here. Of the visit he said:
"Huge thanks to everyone at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue service and at Consett Fire Station for inviting me down and showing me round this week.
"They really do put themselves on the line for us on a daily basis and are first on the scene to deal not just with fires but also flooding and road traffic incidents as well. Additionally, their work in the community in fire prevention is terrific and it was good to go out on the street with them seeing their work to prevent fires in the first place.
"Whether full-time or retained, they're a great bunch of men and women who train hard and I'm so glad they're there for us all."
- Mr Holden then finished the day taking surgeries in Consett.
- Half way through the tour, Mr Holden started in Iveston. There he was pleased to find the Iveston well repaired, having seen it last summer in disrepair and had written to the local council to have it improved.
- Mr Holden then stopped at the Stanhope Market Place by St Thomas’ Church and dropped in at Freddy’s Fish shop.
- Midday, Mr Holden was at Castleside Village Hall, where he was able to answer questions about Covid travel restrictions.
- The afternoon Mr Holden spent at Blackhill Park in Consett and Isabella’s Café in Shotley Bridge, where he heard more local cases.
- The day ended with a coffee at Knitsley Farm Shop, where Mr Holden caught up with Rachel who runs it, discussing a planning issue and how the shop is working post pandemic.
- Fresh on Friday, Richard started in Delves Lane where he noted the concerns about planning in the Temple Town area.
- By 11:00 am Mr Holden was at Ebchester village shop and café where he listened to local concerns.
- At midday, Mr Holden was at Barclay’s Bank in Consett, where he raised questions around access to cash, how it has changed and the future role of High Street banking.
- Only a couple doors down, Mr Holden went over to talk to vet Jason Atherton about the impact of the virus on pets, the rise in demand for pets and pet theft. This is an issue that has affected many in North West Durham and Mr Holden has long campaigned for animal welfare, supporting legislation to better protect dogs. You can read about his campaigns so far here.
- Mid-afternoon Mr Holden was in Moorside. First, looking at anti-social behaviour, he met Council Officer James Young, (see link story). He then went to Amy Dhillon's shop. Having done some work with LINK, who last year identified Moorside a not having a free cash machine, Mr Holden was pleased that one had been installed in Amy’s shop.
- Having been generously invited by Jack Drum, a social and cultural enterprise, Mr Holden attended a local youth theatre performance in Crook at St Cuthbert’s. The summer project run by Jack Drum involved local children in drama and performance, helping them build confidence and social skills.
- Mr Holden ended the day in Oakenshaw, where he listened to local concerns about planning.
- Mr Holden started the day early in Lanchester, at the South Atlantic Medal Association Ride of Respect which recognises servicemen killed in the Falklands.
- From midday he was in Tow Law by the old auction mart, where he heard a few complaints about new residents in the area. Mr Holden then went on to the Sunniside Community Centre where he learnt about the new speed watch being set up by the community and work to stop pet fouling.
- He followed through the early afternoon at St Bartholomew's Church in Thornley.
- Mr Holden then sat at Witton-le-Wear's Dun Cow Inn where he was able to follow up on helping Witton le Wear school (you can read about it here). He then went over to the the Quebec Tea Room where he heard about local planning issue.
- The day ended at the Wolsingham Club, in Mr Holden's home town, where took on concerns about the Weardale GP Practice.
- The first week of the tour ended with drinks and a buffet at the Burnopfield Cricket Club thank you party.
To hear more about the work that Richard is doing for North West Durham, you can sign up here or input your details in the form on this page.