The House of Commons is in recess, and I am engaged on a summer programme of village hall consultations and surgeries, meetings and visits to local businesses, local authorities, and voluntary organisations.   

At the offices of West Devon Borough Council, I had an opportunity to meet the leaders and CEO of West Devon Borough Council to catch up on the progress it is making after West Devon won its Levelling Up bid for £13.4-million to build the new West Devon Transport Hub and Railway Station at Okehampton. The West Devon Transport Hub will consolidate the successful reinstatement of the Dartmoor Line to Exeter in November 2021, which had 250,000 passenger journeys in the first year! As well as a new station on the outskirts of Okehampton, the scheme will also include cycle facilities and electric vehicle charging points.  Now, we are redoubling the efforts to persuade the Government to take the next step on the Tavistock to Plymouth line and I recently renewed my representations on this to the Government.   

The weather held up for the 125th annual Holsworthy Show, making for a particularly enjoyable visit.  It was a privilege to meet the President of the 125th Show, Guy Ley, and his wife Florence.  I have also been holding farming forums around the constituency, but the local shows are another opportunity for me to be kept abreast of issues affecting us.  Congratulations to all who organised and participated! 

I’m grateful to all those who came to chat in Bere Alston.  My thanks to the parish clerk and parish chairman for helping organise a valuable discussion with villagers.  These events have a dual purpose: constituents can show up for an informal chat and a cup of tea with their MP or have a one-to-one surgery. 

Lifton proved the setting for valuable conversations with constituents before I moved onto Princetown.  So many people came to talk in Princetown the session overran, making for a very worthwhile trip!  Following the injection of funds to keep the Princetown Visitor Centre open, there was much discussion about securing its long-term future.  It was also good to hear about the positive news regarding the Plume of Feathers.   

One of the organisations I regularly keep in touch with is Dartmoor National Park Authority. Dartmoor is an important part of our lives, and I recently persuaded the Government to order an Independent Review of Dartmoor’s management. The Chief Executive and I met again recently to discuss a range of topics including proposed changes to planning laws, the Independent Review, and the role of Natural England. 

I will be continuing my summer programme of village surgeries throughout Torridge and West Devon until October. Please do watch out for news of the villages I am visiting, which will be publicised in advance on, by flier and on your village bulletin board!  

As ever, if there is anything you would like my help with, please do get in touch by emailing me at [email protected]