As Christmas draws closer and 2016 comes to an end, I think it is important to remember all the victories we have shared in the past 12 months. Together we have successfully deferred many plans that would have seen our green spaces compromised across Rainham, South Hornchurch, and Elm Park at Ingrebourne Hill, Dovers Farm, and in Wennington Village. In Dagenham, after an 18 month campaign we secured the future of the iconic Civic Centre with Coventry University leasing the building to offer the boroughs first Higher Education facility.
The development of the old Sanofi site in Dagenham East has also brought a lot of exciting opportunities to the local area, with Londoneast-uk promoting innovation, skills, and employment on the site. Elutec opened its technical college, and next year a drive through Costa will be the newest addition to the site, along with a Travelodge; and plans are beginning to take shape around the development of a film studio in Dagenham East.
It will be an exciting new year in Barking and Dagenham as the Borough Manifesto comes together using the ideas, and views of residents that took part in the consultation to forge a new future for the area. The process started this year, and already a large number of residents have participated. I am a huge advocate of consultation and believe that when looking to implement change you have to have the buy in of the local community – this is an excellent scheme and I look forward to seeing the results.
2016 has been a year of change that delivered a Labour Mayor of London, and Sadiq Khan has gone from strength to strength – delivering extra policing, a public transport fare freeze, and is currently working on building much needed housing. We also had a historical result at the EU referendum back in June which will see Britain exiting the European Union. Understanding the flaws but thinking it was too big a bet to leave I did vote to remain in June, but following the result I support the democratic process and recently voted in parliament to trigger Article 50 by April 2017. I will now be working hard to get the best deal possible for the people of my constituency.
I have one of the busiest constituency offices in London, and this year we have taken up an average of around 700 cases a week. I want to thank my team, who go above and beyond every year to ensure that local concerns are addressed when they arise. Next year will be no different. We are two years in to a Tory government and things are getting increasingly difficult for the most vulnerable in our society – in 2016 we will be fighting against further cuts to local authorities, and calling for more investment in our NHS.
In 2017 we will have to come together stronger than ever to protect our area and its services, and I want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all of the volunteers, community groups, faith organisations, and individuals that have worked tirelessly across the constituency this year. We have such an active community in Dagenham and Rainham which is a testament to its diversity and the strength of the people that lead it such as our local councillors.
My office will be closed from Wednesday 21st December to Tuesday 3rd January 2017 - for all emergency numbers and more details please click HERE
I would like to end by wishing all of my constituents across Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park a very merry Christmas and all the best for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017.