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‘Our Road to Recovery’ Newsletter from Helen Whately

The progress we’ve made in bringing the virus under control is thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of so many people and the phenomenal success of our vaccine rollout.

Our local vaccination teams have been working flat out for the past five months getting jabs into arms. Over 580,000 people in Kent have now received two doses of a Covid vaccine, helping to save lives and get us back to something like normal life.

But we are not out of the woods yet. These next few weeks will be crucial in keeping the virus under control and keeping our recovery on track. Everyone can play their part by following the guidance, taking up the offer to get vaccinated, and getting tested regularly.

National recovery was at the heart of the Queen’s Speech earlier this month. A new Health and Care Bill will help us better integrate services and give people the care they need closer to home. A new public body for our railways will help deliver simpler fares and reliable services. And an enhanced Environment Bill will put nature at the heart of our recovery.

There is still a long way to go, but we are on the road to recovery.

Covid Vaccine

It’s not too late to rethink Swale Local Plan

Thank you to everyone who took part in my survey on Swale Borough Council’s Local Plan.

It’s clear from the results that many residents are frustrated at the Council’s proposals to shift more housing to the east of the borough without a clear plan for infrastructure. 91 per cent of responders to the survey said they were either opposed or strongly opposed the proposals.

Swale’s consultation on the Plan is now closed, and you can read my submission here.

The Plan could have been so much better if residents were given a meaningful consultation. I will continue to campaign for our community to get the Local Plan it deserves.

It was good to be back at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Faversham this month to give a talk in the school’s new lecture theatre.

I’ve been keeping in contact with the school’s headteacher during lockdown through my virtual roundtable meetings, but it was good to catch up with staff and pupils in person.

I spoke to Year 12 students at the school about life as an MP and Minister during the pandemic and my journey into politics.

I’m pleased that the new funding formula for schools is making a difference – particularly to schools that have been historically underfunded. This is something I called for along with other Kent MPs.

Last week, I visited Hollingbourne Primary School to talk about the improvement work the school is trying to secure, and was given a tour by two of the Year 6 House Captains.

Helen Whately

Have your say on Shepway regeneration plans

A consultation has been launched this month on plans to regenerate part of Shepway.

I’ll be meeting Golding Homes in the summer to discuss their plans, which would see Cambridge Crescent developed to include 240 new homes, an updated shopping area, and new public spaces.

While improvements are needed, change can be unsettling. Residents of Cambridge Crescent will rightly have questions about these plans – particularly where they will live during the construction phase and compensation plans.

It’s essential this development puts community needs first and focuses on making life better for people in Shepway, which is why this consultation is so important