Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 

Bedford & Kempston

Richard visits the local Environment Agency depot

Richard visits the local Environment Agency depot


December was the wettest month on record and many parts of the country were devastated by flooding. Whilst Bedford was not affected, Richard has contacted the Environment Agency to ensure that they are as well prepared as possible in the event of flooding on the River Great Ouse in Bedford and Kempston.

Richard commented: “Over Christmas, we all witnessed the devastating scenes, which affected so many communities. I wrote to the Environment Agency to ensure that they had taken all possible measures to protect our towns in the event of high water levels on the Great Ouse. I was pleased to read that the Environment Agency has acted to ensure that they are maintaining flood defences and taking steps to manage river levels.”

You can see the full response from the Environment Agency here.

Prime Minister David Cameron with MP Richard Fuller on a previous visit to a housing development in Kempston

Prime Minister David Cameron with MP Richard Fuller at a housing development in Kempston


Richard has welcomed the news that the Housing and Planning Bill has completed its first stages through the House of Commons on its passage to being made into law.  The Government is delivering on its manifesto commitment to extend the Right to Buy scheme to Housing Association tenants, which is on course to being implemented later this year.

Richard is a strong supporter of this initiative so if you are a Housing Association tenant who is interested in the Right to Buy scheme, please email richard.fuller.mp@parliament.uk for more information.

“Don’t let Da’esh divide us” was the call from Richard Fuller’s public meeting held on Sunday at St Cuthbert’s Hall which posed the question: “Syria. Terrorism. What should be the UK government’s response?”

Addressing an audience of over 80 local residents, Richard laid out a range of facts on the situation in Syria – military actions, diplomatic efforts, humanitarian support and atrocities by Da’esh – before opening the floor to comments and questions.

Many residents voiced concern at the use of violence – including bombing by the UK – but all acknowledged how complex the issues were facing the Syrian people.

Domestic security issues also featured with Kathryn Holloway amongst those calling on Richard to ensure Bedfordshire police had adequate counter terrorism resources to keep us safe.

Contributions included those from local residents who had special knowledge of the region from diplomatic, military or humanitarian service in the region. Richard said it was an honour to represent such a special town that could bring together people with such wide and personal experiences of Syria and with such compassionately held views.

Bedfordshire MPs, Richard Fuller and Nadine Dorries questioned bosses from Govia Thameslink and Network Rail about the recent poor train service provided on the Bedford-Brighton line.

The MPs raised concerns from their constituents who have suffered with a high number of train delays and cancellations since Govia took over the franchise in September.

Govia apologised for the poor performance which they put down to severe driver shortages and confirmed that they were taking action to improve things.

Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller said,

“There have been unacceptable levels of disruption and cancellations on the Thameslink line in recent weeks. Govia say they have driver shortages, which they are addressing, and that improvements will come but will take time. I have my doubts and Nadine and I have asked for regular updates to monitor progress.”

Richard Fuller MP with staff at the opening of Bedford Hospital's new dementia wards

Richard Fuller MP with staff at the opening of Bedford Hospital’s new dementia wards

On Friday 5th December, Richard Fuller MP officially opened Bedford Hospital’s improved and refurbished dementia friendly facilities – Harpur Ward and Elizabeth Ward.

One in four hospital beds in the UK is occupied by someone with dementia, and over one third of those over 65 will die with the degenerative illness. However, care and research to combat the disease is still largely overlooked.

Bedford Hospital’s new wards were created as part of a £1 million pound project to create a pioneering specialist environment to support dementia care across Bedford. The diagnosis, care and long term support for people with dementia, and their carers, is a local and national priority for the NHS and Bedford Hospital is pleased to be able to respond so positively.

In particular Bedford Hospital’s dementia friendly wards have been carefully designed to benefit patient’s’ physical and mental health. These innovative ideas include providing comfortable and familiar areas that will lessen anxiety patients often feel when going to and from hospital.

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A1/A421 Black Cat roundabout

Road investment to create expressway linking Bedford to Cambridge and Milton Keynes welcomed by Bedford MP.

Significant improvements to the A428, including a full solution to the Black Cat roundabout issue, announced by the Government as part of its first ever five year investment strategy for the nation’s roads has been welcomed by local MP, Richard Fuller.

The A428 is one of 84 named schemes within the strategy. The proposal is to dual the remaining single carriageway section between Caxton Gibbet west of Cambridge and the M1 at Milton Keynes, making Bedford the centre of an East-West Expressway. The work will also include a flyover junction at the A1 Black Cat roundabout.

Government estimates the total cost of the scheme at between £250m – £500m and construction will start within the plan’s five year period.

Richard Fuller MP for Bedford, commented,

“The creation of this road Expressway linking Bedford with Cambridge and Milton Keynes will bring long term benefits to our local economy and the promise of more local jobs. A flyover at the Black Cat will also make a massive difference to local residents. We must now press ahead for commitments to build the final stage in the complimentary East-West rail link from Bedford to Cambridge.”

More information about the announcement is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-roads-investment-in-the-east-of-england 

Richard Fuller MP at the TradePoint opening

Richard Fuller MP at the TradePoint opening

Local MP, Richard Fuller opened the new TradePoint store in Bedford today – the local trade building supplies business – along with Luke Thorn, Branch Manager and David Cooke, Unit Manager.

The new 30,000 sq ft store is located at the Interchange Retail Park, next to B&Q, and has created jobs in the local area by employing 30 members of staff, 22 of whom are new hires. It will be open seven days a week for local tradesmen, further boosting the local economy by helping sole traders and small businesses.

After helping to cut the ribbon on the new store, Richard commented:

“We’re delighted to see TradePoint expand its presence in Bedford with this new store. As well as bringing jobs to the region, TradePoint’s decision to open this store in Bedford recognises the ongoing efforts to bring economic growth to the area and is a welcome new addition to the town.”

This is the first TradePoint of its kind, focused on the needs of the small trade professional. The store boasts several services and features not previously available which are aimed at fulfilling the builders’ needs quickly. The Bedford store TradePoint counter has built strong relationships with a thriving community of local businesses and individuals since opening last year and so represented a good opportunity to build on the existing offer.

Luke Thorn, TradePoint Branch Manager, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the opening of our brand new store and I’m hugely proud of everyone who has worked together to get us opened on time and looking so fantastic. Our team is ready and raring to help tradespeople in Bedford to get the job done without the hassle.”

Richard opens new-look Putnoe post office

Richard opens new-look Putnoe post office

 

Earlier this month, Richard opened the newly refurbished post office on Putnoe Street.

Richard cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony to mark the store’s refurbishment and launch of new services, which includes seven days a week opening with postal services available on Sundays; a new Car Tax service and more bureau de change currencies available.

Richard said, “I am really impressed by the changes that have been made throughout the store. Putnoe Street Post Office is at the heart of the community and I want to congratulate John and Pat Pinner, who have run Putnoe Street Post for 27 years, on their vital community role. The earlier opening hours and Sunday opening make it far more convenient for customers to visit. The addition of the car tax service at this branch is also very handy.

“This post office was a favourite place of mine to buy comics and sweets when I was a little boy and went to pick up books from Putnoe Library. It is great to see these changes and modernisation.”

Under the current Parliament the Government has committed £1.34bn for the Post Office network to make sure there is no programme of Post Office closures and to update branches; in November the Government announced a further £640m investment in the Post Office network, from 2015 to 2018. Nationwide the investment programme will see up to 8,000 branches modernised with additional investment in over 3,000 community and outreach branches.

Richard explains the voting system to Access Bedford

Richard explains the various voting systems to Access Bedford

Last week, Richard ran a session for Access Bedford on our electoral systems and why it is important to vote.

Access Bedford is a group which aims to make Bedford accessible to deaf and hard of hearing residents.

A number of people attended the session and found the evening at the Salvation Army Cafe to be both useful and informative.

For more information on Access Bedford, contact accessbedford@outlook.com

Ricahrd Fuller & MD of BELA, Mike LafrattaEarlier this month, Richard attended an open day to celebrate the 30th anniversary of BELA Electronics – a company started by local entrepreneur, Mike Lafratta, which is regarded as one of the market leaders in its field with a strong reputation in the design and manufacture of printed circuit board assemblies.

Based in Kempston, the company has now grown to 30 employees and has recently invested in an apprentice scheme aimed at developing new skills within the industry and securing the firm’s future for another 30 years.

Richard said, “BELA Electronics is another Bedford and Kempston success story, providing employment to a skilled local workforce. I was also delighted to see BELA investing in the futures of young people – a key focus for this government which has created 1.8 million new apprenticeships since 2010. For many, an apprenticeship is the key to realising their potential and securing a better future, helping them to get on in life.”