Sussex train timetable disruption is totally unacceptable

Nick Herbert
Nick Herbert

This week in the Commons I voted for Heathrow’s third runway, and was pleased when this was approved by a large majority.

I believe that London needs more capacity and a hub airport, and that the only practical option is Heathrow.

I have been very busy dealing with two local issues. The disruption to Thameslink services as a result of the new timetable is now into its sixth week. 265 trains were cancelled at Hassocks last week, and services continue to be disputed and delayed, all of which is totally unacceptable.

I wrote again to the Rail Minister to follow up on my recent debate, and am meeting senior GTR and Network Rail managers again next week. I will not let this matter drop until it is fixed.

I have also been helping local residents in Arundel with a difficult problem after a section of the river wall, which forms part of the town’s flood defence, collapsed two and half years ago.

Last week I met the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to raise the issue and ask for his help to unlock Environment Agency funds which have been pledged for the repairs but cannot be spent because of commissioning regulations. I was very pleased that he agreed to intervene.

I have worked hard on this issue, convening endless meetings, including with the insurers, succeeding in winning ex-gratia payouts from them as well as the promised Environment Agency funding.

This has gone on for too long: the residents are desperate, we almost have enough funding, and we are close to a solution if we can at last deal with the bureaucracy.

On Friday I will be meeting with West Sussex County Council’s leadership with my fellow West Sussex MPs.

‘Small school rationalisation’ is on the agenda.

I will be asking hard questions about the basis of the council’s current proposals to close the smallest schools, and again asking what evidence there is of a link between primary school size and performance (the answer is: none).

I will also be holding surgeries in Small Dole, and once again meeting my constituent Katie Price to discuss the latest in her campaign, which I am strongly supporting, to tackle the online bullying of children.

At the weekend I will be in Arundel, visiting St Nicholas’ Church Fete on Saturday and attending the mayor’s service on Sunday.

You can find further information, including the highlights of my diary each week, on my website: www.nickherbert.com.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please email me at nick@nickherbert.com

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