Tim Loughton's Parliamentary Newsletter
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Newsletter - February 2016

Dear Constituent

Welcome to the February edition of my constituency e-newsletter and apologies for its length but there is a lot going on and I have been receiving record amounts of email in particular. I am also pleased to announce that my main website has received a makeover and now contains more information than ever and I hope is simple to navigate. Have a look for yourself here: There are a number of archived items still to be migrated across but all the current information you need should be here.

You will notice that I am increasingly using video podcasts on topical local and national issues to get across a quick message about my position and up to date details. I will be collating these all in one place shortly on my Tell Tim website where there will also be more details about the series of ‘Talk to Tim’ meetings I have been holding and where you can respond to the various questions raised and surveys. That site will also be getting a makeover.

I have also enhanced my presence on social media and routinely post a lot of information on my Facebook page here: which is obviously interactive and seems to reach a wider audience and where I can often link to more detailed information on my main website. If you do not follow me already then I also post updates on my Twitter account @TimLoughton.

The main news of the month has of course been the announcement that we are to hold the long anticipated EU referendum on 23 June 2016. I have set out my own position for voting to Leave on my website and Facebook page and look forward to debating this very important constitutional issue with constituents over the coming weeks and months.

An important event taking place this month in Parliament is of course the Chancellor's annual Budget. This year's Budget will be announced by the Chancellor on 16 March 2016. I am sure the statement will be as well publicised and covered as ever and I am sure you will all have many questions to ask, which I am perfectly happy to answer for you. 

As usual if there is anything you would like to see included in future issues then please do let me know.
Best wishes

Surgery Dates

I hold regular advice surgeries for my constituents to come by appointment and talk to me about issues and problems. They are usually held fortnightly on a Friday evening at one of 4 different locations around the constituency which rotate. If you think you need to see me confidentially face-to-face then you should ring the constituency office at 88a High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea on 01273 757182 or email

Shoreham Advice Surgery


Friday 4 March 2016

5pm - 7pm

Lancing Advice Surgery


Friday18 March 2016

5pm - 6:30pm

To make it easier for constituents to meet me, I also hold street surgeries with local councillors on most Saturday mornings, whatever the weather. You can find me at the following locations with his A-board and anyone is welcome to come along for an informal chat without appointment. If it is a more complicated and private matter involving a lot of paperwork then booking an appointment at a Friday evening surgery is probably better than seeing your documents blow down the road!

Southwick Street Surgery

Southwick Square

Saturday 5 March 2016

10am - 12pm

Shoreham Street Surgery

Shoreham Farmers' Market

Saturday 12 March 2016

10am - 12pm

Lancing Street Surgery


Saturday 19 March 2016

10am - 12pm

Worthing Street Surgery

Worthing Town Centre

Saturday 19 March 2016

12:15pm - 2pm

In Westminster

EU Referendum Declaration

Dear Constituent

For the past few months many of you have asked repeatedly how I will vote in the EU referendum. My response enigmatically perhaps, but accurately, has been ‘hopefully to remain but probably to leave.’ Having reserved my counsel until the details of what we will actually be voting on have been made clear, my ‘status’ has now changed to ‘regretfully not to remain, definitely to leave.’

This is a decision I have not taken lightly. It was never a foregone conclusion. I have long believed that the EU could be a force for good in the world. Collaborating closely together we could advance in an increasingly competitive world, securing a greater share of global prosperity to benefit not just the UK but all 500 million residents of the EU’s 28 nations. Following the UK’s successful track record of deregulation and liberalisation Europe’s influence throughout the globe could have stolen a march on our competitors.

I still believe this could be the case. As co-Chairman of the Fresh Start Group of Conservative MPs campaigning for a reformed Europe I have visited over a dozen European capitals meeting MPs, MEPs and ministers. We have witnessed at first-hand how many of them are not happy with the way the EU is going and we have produced detailed research to show what reform is practical and possible. Alas when challenged to walk the walk it has become clear that our European partners are not prepared to challenge the status quo. Ultimately they have a different vison of Europe. We have spent 43 years since joining the then EEC tantalised by the prospect of what such a vision might be. How much longer do we need to wait? I believe it is time now to come to terms with what needs to be. That is why I shall be voting ‘Leave’ on June 23rd.

For me, the renegotiation discussions are not primarily about the UK’s future relationship with the EU. It is more fundamental than that. It is about the sustainability and indeed survivability of the EU itself as we know it. Even the most dogged Europhile must admit that the EU just is not working properly. As Europe’s biggest Euro cheerleader of all Angela Merkel has spelled out the EU accounts for 7% of the world’s population, 25% of the world economy (and falling) but 50% of global social welfare spending. From being the world’s largest trading block we are on course to becoming the third behind the US and China, or fourth if you include Commonwealth countries. We are going backwards and that is just not sustainable.

The IMF confirms that the EU’s share of the world economy has fallen from almost a third 35 years ago to barely a sixth now. Whilst the rest of the world comes to terms with the uncomfortable realities of austerity and living within our means, the EU behemoth spends more, pays itself more. An ever expanding army of now 33,000 unelected bureaucrats spends an equally expanding amount of time sitting round tables in Brussels designing regulations that too often make it more restrictive and expensive for our companies, especially small companies, to do business and get on with competing on the world stage. Even within the EU’s borders themselves the single market that promised so much and enthused Mrs Thatcher back in the 1980’s remains incomplete and illusory. Even technology has not helped. Only 11% of internet shopping in the EU for example is between different EU countries.

There are two huge crises facing the EU at the moment. One is the fragility of the Euro and the Euro project and the second is immigration. Countries like Greece and Portugal are held afloat by wholescale transfer of resources from Frankfurt to Athens and Lisbon, with Brussels taking a cut on the way. In return there has been a wholescale transfer away of sovereign powers to control the levers of their own economies in those countries with their citizens or ministers they democratically elect having little say in the matter.

The second crisis is the even more stark tragedy that remains the inexorable flood of refugees and economic migrants into the EU from across the Mediterranean. Schengen, Dublin and numerous EU protocols have been trashed underfoot literally by the chaos that has engulfed the Continent and hastily re-erected barbed-wire fences thwart the EU’s founding principle of free movement of labour. Its disproportionate impact on Greece and Italy in particular has given rise to huge international tensions whilst thousands of displaced people with little claim to reside in the UK have been brought to within 20 miles of our borders in the ‘Jungle’ at Calais.

These two things alone threaten to undermine the whole European project. Yet the 34 page communique issued by blurry eyed European leaders in Brussels late on Friday night has absolutely nothing to say on these issues. It is true that the Prime Minister has done well to win safeguards about how the UK as one of 10 non-Euro countries cannot automatically be steamrollered by the majority Eurozone block. But it does nothing to make the Euro any less unpalatable or sustainable for those countries who continue to use it.

It is also true that we have temporary arrangements which may deter the small minority of EU citizens who come here primarily to take advantage of our generous benefit regime. But that is completely irrelevant to the displaced non-EU residents now living within the EU’s borders. That is unless and until of course Germany issues many of them with passports entitling them to travel freely to the UK to take advantage of the same benefits as Germans born with a German passport.

Indeed the whole mood music of the renegotiation has been that this is the latest example of the UK playing up and we will indulge you one last time to maintain the status quo and leave the course of the EU train/supertanker/vision/illusion unaltered. The response to David

Cameron’s robust renegiation stance should have been – ‘thank goodness the UK has been brave enough to say it like it is. The EU needs to wake up, smell the coffee and institute far more reaching reforms than even the Prime Minister is asking for if we are to have a future.’

In reality it was nothing of the sort. So why would we want to continue to shackle ourselves to an institution that is in denial and increasingly being left behind the rest of the world? In short, at this critical moment the EU has dodged the important questions fundamental to its whole viability. We can no longer afford to be part of that dodge.

The Prime Minister is to be praised on what he has achieved. Within 14 months of the election of a majority Conservative Government he will have delivered a straight Leave/Remain referendum on our future in Europe giving the final say to 45 million electors not 650 MPs. Even Mrs T did not offer that.

The reforms he has secured do amount to a repatriation of powers to the democratic accountability of the British Parliament. But too many of them are temporary, not legally binding, open to interpretation and challenge and the EU machine will effectively carry on regardless. What hasn’t been mentioned so far is what is not in the package. The Fresh Start Group Manifesto for Reform set out many areas of necessary and achievable reform. Yet the PM’s deal does not even mention repatriation of social and employment laws, reform of Regional Development Policy, reform of the Common Fisheries Policy let alone the Common Agricultural Policy which alone consumes some 33% of the whole EU budget.

We will not get a second shot at this if there is a Remain vote on June 23rd. The deal cannot get any better and in any case there are serious question marks about whether it would survive a veto by the European Parliament the other side of a referendum. To those who say the UK is better off pushing for change inside the EU tent the sad reality is that we have been outvoted every one of the 72 times we have objected to an EU rule change in the Council of Ministers, 40 of them under David Cameron’s premiership.

So now we face 4 months of intensive debate ahead of the June 23rd vote. I would urge all constituents to engage with the debate as much as possible. This is the most important constitutional issue to effect the UK since the last referendum which voted by 2-1 to stay in the EEC in 1975. This will be a once in a generation opportunity. The result must be binding and irreversible. The UK has had an uneasy relationship with Europe for much of our 43 years of membership. This referendum must resolve that once and for all and we must quickly accept and adapt to the consequences whether it is to remain in the EU or go it alone.

But of course we will not be ‘going it alone.’ Just under 7 billion of the world’s 7.4 billion population lives outside of the EU. For most of our history before the EU had even been invented we prospered, and we can do so again. The transition to a non-Euro sovereign state will not be easy and will take several years of turgid negotiation. It doesn’t all happen automatically the day after a ‘Leave’ vote. It will affect many aspects of our everyday lives but it can be done. Above all the debate leading up to the Referendum vote must be measured, well informed, respectful and not reliant on scaremongering. Whilst I fundamentally disagree with the Prime Minister’s recommendation for a ‘Remain’ vote and

his interpretation of what or future in the EU holds I completely respect his commitment to doing what he thinks is best for Britain and admire the way he has battled for Britain to secure a once unimaginable deal.

Caricaturing a ‘Leave’ vote as a giant leap into the dark enlightens nobody. We owe our constituents a much more informed and grown-up debate and for my part I will be holding a series of public meetings around the constituency to keep local people engaged as much as possible. Now that it is the people who have the power to make this historic decision it is vital that the people are as well informed as possible and can make a well-reasoned judgement on where to place their vote. It is my hope that we can inspire the level of engagement that invigorated the people of Scotland to participate in the independence referendum and to turn out to vote in record numbers.

Those of us on the ‘Leave’ campaign will be making a positive case for what a Britain outside of the EU can look like. We have one of the most respected and least corrupt judicial systems in the world, emulated by many, but it increasingly has to look over its shoulder to see what the European Court will allow it to do. Why cannot it stand up for itself truly independently with judges interpreting laws made by politicians who can be sacked by the public? I have never lacked confidence in the UK to be a world leader in economic and social reform, innovation, invention and culture. Surely that leadership can only be liberated and invigorated when we do not have to second guess how far the EU or its multifarious and opaque institutions will allow us to achieve?

NATO will remain the guardians of our security with its wider circle of allies – that was never a job that we looked to the EU to perform. We will continue to work with Europol on matters of common interest on crime and terrorism just as the current agreements allow 18 non-EU members to do including the US, Russia and Turkey.

To those who say that a vote to ‘Leave’ is backward looking and irresponsible I say that a vote to free ourselves from the colossus that the EU has become is exactly where the world is, and should be, heading. Increasingly young people do not see why large centralised state structures need to be in control of so many aspects of our lives. That is the reality of what our vibrant young people think in the twenty first century. The fact that the turnout for European Parliamentary elections is typically 25% lower than for national parliamentary elections across Europe underlines how remote our EU institutions have become for many people.

To a young person setting up home today it is inconceivable that when I was doing the same back in the 1980’s I had no choice but to pay the Government for my electricity supply, water, air tickets and telephone and had to go on a long waiting list for the privilege of just getting connected. Most civilised countries have moved away from such an all-encompassing centrally controlled structure yet ironically the EU has moved in just that opposite direction. At a time when ‘localism’ is all the rage the distant EU bureaucrats can stick their noses into even the smallest procurement programme by our local councils, or the size of the font on a chewing gum wrapper. Surely we need a much more progressive alternative to that? It is the EU which has become a throwback to the way the world did things badly in the past.

Moulded in the context of a Continent which was piecing itself back together again after horrors of world war and facing the looming threat of cold war, the institution that has become the EU is sadly now an anachronism, unable and unwilling to adapt to the expectations of 500 million people in 2016.

Finally, if as I hope we vote to ‘Leave’ on June 23rd it is the day after that when the real negotiations start. When you sadly break up with someone you may think you have done talking but this is when all the negotiation actually takes place over the specifics of who gets the CD collection. Just because the 28 becomes 27 does not mean that the EU no longer exists – far from it. But there can be no doubt then that the UK has been serious in our reasons for doubting the benefits of the EU and a different relationship has to be formulated. There will be absolutely no prospect of a re-vote until we get it right as Ireland and France had to be suckered into doing.

Again I would urge the scaremongers to desist from promulgating misleading stories about British jobs being at risk as our former partner throw up trade barriers. As it stands we have a £60bn trade deficit in the EUs favour. Who stands to lose more if we can no longer trade freely with them? Indeed terms of trade will change but it need not drastically be to our detriment. Outside of the EU the UK would become the EU’s largest trading partner worth 21% of their exports. Are they really going to trash the CD collection just to spite us?

In the same vein many multinational companies who have invested in the UK and produce a substantial amount of cars, pharmaceuticals or financial products here have said they would be able to adapt to whatever new framework evolves. Outside of the EU Switzerland sells four and a half times more goods per capita to the EU than the UK does inside of the EU. They have voted repeatedly for a ‘leap into the dark’ by staying outside of the EU but have somehow deftly avoided the abyss we are told we face.

So if there is to be a parting of the ways then let’s work to make it as amicable as possible. Just as with the ending of a marriage, the partners may get divorced but the kids don’t. Just because we no longer live at the same address and our career paths are heading for different destinations it does not mean that our children do not need nurturing as much as before. As the former Children’s Minister you might expect me to make that analogy!

For kids need security and shared prosperity as the Prime Minister has quite rightly prioritised. It is just that I take the view we can achieve that even better outside of the EU. I look forward to making that case strongly over the coming months and engaging with all my constituents on this vital issue. I very much hope you will be part of this debate.

With very best wishes

Tim Loughton MP

P.S. You can find analysis of the recommendations the Fresh Start group made against the Prime Minister's 'deal' here:

The next 5 news stories are podcasts, so please do click the photo to watch. 
I'm voting Leave to have an independent and positive future

Vote Leave: A positive and 
independent future 

There are two massive issues facing the EU currently. One is the immigration crisis and the complete shambles we have seen on the continent and the pressures we have on people trying to come to the UK at Calais, this should not be happening under EU rules, but it is. The second is the viability of the Euro; we have seen over the last few years just how delicate the economies of the Portugal and Greece have become and their sovereignty completely usurped by the EU, meaning there is very little their own people and politicians can do about it.

Yet the deal the Prime Minister gallantly battled for says absolute nothing about these two things. The EU is in denial. What they should have been saying to David Cameron was "thank goodness someone has been brave enough to put their head above the parapet and say the EU is not working and we need reform, otherwise the EU won't be around in a few years time". Instead we were treated like a naughty schoolboy and given a few reforms that are not actually legally enforceable. 

So for me, it is absolutely clear; do we want to be shackled to an out-of-date institution, which is falling back in the world - the EU will be the third largest trading block in the coming years, having been the first. Meanwhile, we are spending £350m per week to run the EU, which is enough to buy a new hospital every week. 

I am going to Vote Leave so that we can have an independent and positive future, where politicians are accountable to people in the UK and can decide how best to spend money in the interest of British people, and so that we can trade with people around the world, be outward looking, and not held back by the many regulations and restrictions of the EU. Europe will still exist and we will have a relationship with the EU, so let's stop the scaremongering about what #Brexit actually means.

I shall be making the positive case for leaving the EU and will be holding a number of public meetings in the coming months to have a proper debate on the future of the UK and the EU. I look forward to debate, I hope you do too.

DWP Questions
During Work and Pension questions time, I asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, whether he could give some indication of when he will publish the draft regulations on housing benefits for 18 to 21-year-olds and whether he will he also look sympathetically at exempting from those regulations those who cannot live safely in their neighbourhood where their family home is because of sexual abuse, gang-related activity or overcrowded housing.

Yemen Debate

I spoke in the Chamber, during the debate on the civil war in Yemen, drawing attention to the tragic fact that about half of all children in Yemen are not in education. These children need to have some continuity in their education and if we do not have the future in mind for those children, the future of the whole country is perilous.

South East Today - Calais Border

I responded to the Prime Minister's claim that voting for brexit would result in migrant camps like "the Jungle" in Calais moving to southern England, which provoked quite the backlash.  

The 'Treaty of Le Touquet' is an agreement between France and the UK that has been in place since 2003 and governs border control arrangements and immigration, and effectively establishes our borders in Calais.  

The French could get rid of this Treaty at any time before or after a referendum, it would not be a direct consequence of Brexit if that were to happen. The two things - the EU and the Treaty of Le Touqet - are just not linked. So let's concentrate on the facts and let's have a rational debate about what should happen.

In fact, France on Monday night (08-02-2016) said it would not pull out of its border arrangements with the UK even in the event of Britain voting to leave the European Union, read the story here:

House of Commons - WASPI Debate

I supported a motion to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for 1950s women. This meant voting against the Government, not something I make a habit of.

I did it out of loyalty to WASPI campaign and out of support to transitional arrangements which I agree with.

Legislation needs to be fair and proportionate, but these pension changes are unfair and fall disproportionately on a small number of women.

In all my time in the House of Commons, I have never known a debate on the same subject to happen five times in just two months.

I welcomed the proposed transitional measures put forward by the Opposition front benches. They were fraught with problems, but they were a starting point and the one the thing the Government have not done is to come up with some options and offer help to model them. This problem is not going to go away and there is genuine cross party support.
I asked the Minister if he would agree for the Secretary of State to meet a cross party delegation of MPs and key members for the WASPI campaign to come up with some options and cost them, so that we can see some facts and see how practical some of these could be.

We need to send out a strong message to the WASPI women that there has been a disproportionate effect from perfectly well intentioned changes to the pension age. Whilst nobody is disagreeing with the equalisation of the pensionable age, there is a deal to be done, a compromise to be reached and common sense that needs to break out.

The Government needs to listen to all sides of the House and it needs to listen to those women that have been affected most disproportionately. I hope the Minister will take away that message and that we can open up a dialogue because we are talking about real women facing real hardship, after hard working lives doing the sort of things we encourage our constituents to do every day of the week.

I have produced a couples of podcasts so far on this subject, which have garnered over 150,000 views between them.
You can view the first here: and the second here:

Alternatively, you can read more about the campaign here:

Fair Funding for Schools meeting with Minister

MPs from Across West Sussex were joined by Head Teachers and West Sussex County Council at a meeting with Education Minister Sam Gyimah at Parliament on Monday 8th February.
This was the latest in a series of meetings MPs have held with Ministers.  It was interventions from West Sussex MPs that helped ensure the Conservative commitment to reviewing the school funding formula is being implemented with a consultation on the new system imminent.
This was however the first occasion on which Head Teachers were able to emphasise direct to the Minister how vital they believe it is that fairer funding is implemented and that either the changes take place with the minimum of delay or interim funding is established to bridge to the new formula.
Jules White Head Teacher of Tanbridge House School, Horsham stated,
“We were pleased to have the opportunity to state the case for a much improved long term funding formula. To that end, we were able to echo the long held views of school leaders and local MPs that any formula must provide a much fairer deal for every pupil in West Sussex.  The Minister confirmed that a consultation will be launched very soon on a new formula which should be fairer and more transparent for every child in England. This should greatly help every child in West Sussex. 
We also raised the key point relating to substantial interim funding for West Sussex schools. In particular, our concerns relating to staffing levels and the need to be able to invest adequately in bare essentials such as books, equipment and computers were made. We also made powerful points  relating to some brand new cost pressures that are linked to unfunded pension and national insurance contributions. These have pushed all of our budgets to breaking point.
During the meeting local MPs also made a concerted effort on our behalf and we are, again, grateful for their input. The final outcome of the meeting is, however, uncertain. We are pleased that the Minister agreed to consider our request for interim funding in more detail but no final decision was made.”
Jeremy Quin commented; “With the Members of Parliament and Head Teachers working together a very effective case for improved funding was put forward. Whilst we have already succeeded in getting the funding formula reviewed, it was useful to be able to reinforce why this is so necessary.  It is clearly a tough ask for additional extra funding to bridge through to the new formula, given the tightness of Government finance at present. However a formidable case has been made, MPs will continue to push for the best possible result and the Minster has promised to look carefully into the request.”

Attending MPs:
Tim Loughton MP (East Worthing and Shoreham)
Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP (Arundel and South Downs)
Jeremy Quin MP (Horsham)
Rt Hon Nicholas Soames MP (Mid Sussex)
Henry Smith MP (Crawley)
Attending Head Teachers:
 John Gadd (Thomas A Becket Junior School, Worthing),
Jules White (Tanbridge House School, Horsham),
Becky Linford (Upper Beeding Primary School, Upper Beeding),
Grahame Robson (Manor Green College, Crawley),
Mark Anstiss (Felpham College, Felpham),
Nick Taunt (Bishop Luffa School, Chichester),
Edward Rodriguez (Oat Hall Community College, Lindfield) and
Caitriona Bull (West Park Primary School, Worthing).
Attending from West Sussex County Council:  Richard Burrett (Cabinet Member for Education)

Petition to give the hedgehog better legal protection in order to reverse its decline.

I thought residents may be interested in this petition, which relating to the prickly subject of hedgehogs and their declining numbers. Indeed, the hedgehog population has declined by a third in the last 10 years.

Last week, a petition was launched on the Parliamentary Petitions website, calling on the Government, and in particular the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to ensure that the hedgehog is better protected in law.

You can visit (and sign!) the petition by following the link below.So far, the petition has been signed by over 19,000 people, but needs to get to 100,000 in order to be considered for a debate.

You can sign the petition here:

MPs win Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race

In an egg-citing finish to this year's Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race in London, the MPs' Team flattened our opposition to scoop victory at the annual showdown of Westminster's finest. The race in support of the disability charity, Rehab, took place the morning of 9 February 2016 in the shadows of the Houses of Parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens.

The race saw teams of MPs, Lords and Media, watched on the side-lines by hundreds of spectators and media from around the globe, undertake a gruelling nine laps, to complete the race in a flash in the pan, or six minutes and eight seconds to be precise.

The result means the MPs' Team has finally broken its losing streak to regain its crown having last won in 2013. The Media Team lost its winning form of 2015 and the Lords Team, winners in 2014, will now have to seriously review its race strategy and tactics. Funds raised from the event go towards Rehab's brain injury centres in Birmingham and Newcastle while members of the public can donate £5 by simply texting 'PANC16 £5' to 70070.
In East Worthing and Shoreham
Meeting Adur and Worthing's Member of Youth Parliament

Meeting Adur and Worthing's
Member of Yourh Parliament

Delighted to be able to discuss the UK Youth Parliament's anti-racism campaign, 'Don't hate, educate', with Adur and Worthing's Member of Youth Parliament, Stephen Gearing, and his deputy, Sebastian Maxed, as well as receiving an update on a number of local campaigns they have been taking part in.

SWRA 3G pitch public meeting 6 February 2016, United Reformed Church, Cokeham Road, Sompting

Local Conservative councillors and I arranged a public meeting, which was attended by approximately 80 local residents, following concerns from constituents about the impact of the new 3G pitch proposed for the Sir Robert Woodard Academy site. The pitch has been put forward as a result of the Section 106 planning gain money from the Brighton & Hove Albion (B&H) Training Academy in Mash Barn where the resulting £1.4m is to be used for sporting activities and facilities in Adur.

After it was agreed at the meeting of the Joint Strategic Committee of Adur District and Worthing Borough Councils on 22 July 2014 that the SWRA would be identified as the preferred site, £700,000 was provisionally allocated to the 3G pitch primarily for football use. This followed a study of possible locations in tandem with the Playing Pitch Strategy prepared by consultants KKP in 2014. This decision was further discussed by Adur District Council in 2014 in public session and no councillors voted against this proposal. Indeed, it was a strong requirement from Lancing and Sompting councillors that the pitch should be located within those villages, as the pitches sold by the Council on Mash Barn to house the B&HFC Academy were in Lancing.

Joining me on the platform was the Leader of Adur Council, Cllr Neil Parkin, Cabinet member, Cllr Dave Simmons, who is also chairman of the School Council at SRWA, Lancing Councillor, Carol Albury, and Sompting Councillor, Brian Boggis.

Following concerns being raised by residents at the earlier ‘Talk to Tim’ public meeting at Sompting Village Hall on 9 January 2016, I organised the public meeting, arranged for the Academy to hold further drop-in consultation sessions to explain the project to local residents, distributed details of the planning application in an ‘In Touch’ community leaflet and arranged for the planning consultation period to be extended to the end of this week (Friday 12 February 2016). The planning application is now unlikely to come before Adur’s planning Committee before May 2016 at the earliest.

This was an inevitably heated meeting, particularly since many residents felt that they had not been kept properly informed about an application that could impact on their local community.

I started the meeting by running through a number of updates I had been made aware of following meetings I held with councillors, planning officers, residents and staff at the school. I also stated that I thought the application could have been handled much better. However it is up to ward councillors to make sure that their residents are made aware of such schemes and how they can register any objections. Clearly, this has not happened in Sompting, indeed no Sompting councillors attended meetings or voted against the proposals when they were raised on several occasions.

Whilst the issue had been flagged up several times, including in the local media, it was clear that the long delay between initial scoping for sites and the resulting planning application had meant many people were unaware exactly what was being proposed. This was unfortunate and that is why I was keen to give constituents as much information as possible and guide them as to how they could object and on what grounds their complaints would register most strongly. I also promised that Sompting Conservatives would continue to feed through information about the application to local residents and would also take away a number of main issues raised at the meeting to discuss with the school and Council.

I also expressed frustration with a number of people who had been going round saying that this is scheme had already been decided, i.e. ‘a stich up’, when it is clear that there are a number of aspects that still need to be altered for it to have less impact if the proposal is to go through. Whilst I supported the pitch in principle and saw this as the best site I certainly wanted to see changes to the application. I suggested that this could come in the form of a changed final application going to committee or the Adur Planning Committee deciding to ask for further information or making certain conditions to the application if it is not rejected or approved outright. Residents have organised a local action group to engage a specialist in planning law, who could help organise their objections to the application. I welcomed this and also suggested that residents should write as many formal objection letters to the Planning Committee as possible, as opposed to relying on a petition which may only be counted as one objection.

A number of people had claimed that the application was just a big profit making enterprise for the SRWA. I explained that the school is run as an educational trust by a charity and cannot – by law – make a profit. There would be a community agreement with Adur specifying who the pitch should be available to and a pricing structure similar to the arrangement with B&HFC which has to make its community pitch available for 85 hours a week. Any charges made would be to cover maintenance and running costs (staffing, repairs etc), as well as a ‘sinking fund’ to pay for a replacement surface when it had worn out. If there is any surplus after this it would go to Adur District Council where it would be ring-fenced for spending on sporting facilities in the district.

In addition, there was some confusion about the additional work planned to build the multi-use games area on the west side of the school close to Abbey Road, mostly for netball and tennis use. This was in fact given planning approval back in 2010 and has not been built due to a lack of funds, although funds are now available. This planning consent is for the life of the school, which means it does not require further permission and does not form part of the planning application.

The following is a brief list of the main issues arising:

Traffic congestion:

An independent transport assessment report accompanied the application and suggested there would be no material impact on traffic on adjacent highways. Notwithstanding, this there is a problem with traffic congestion in the whole area between the SRWA and the Globe Primary Academy nearby, particularly at the start and end of the school day, in particular there are problems in the narrow Upper Boundstone Lane. This needs to be addressed quite separately from what happens about the 3G pitch application.

I reported that I had attended a meeting at the Globe Primary Academy the previous Friday together, along with ward Councillors Albury and Dollemore, representatives from the 2 schools and from the Highways Department, which is the responsibility of West Sussex. The Globe had sent out a survey to local residents for their views and this had received a good response. Subsequently, a transport plan is being drawn up by both schools jointly and this would need widespread public consultation. In any case, the schools already have walk/bike to school rates of around 85-88% of their students. It had already been decided that the area around the SRWA is to become a School Safe Zone later this year but clearly other measures were needed. It is important to stress that absolutely no decisions have been made or options progressed so rumours about Upper Boundstone Lane being blocked off from the A27 were completely wild and in any case hugely impractical.

Noise and hours of use:

This is likely to be a big material factor and more expert advice should be sought from the planning consultant, in particular over what extended periods will higher decibel noise be a factor. The school is proposing a bund to ‘shield ‘Upper Boundstone Lane with a rough terrace for any spectators to sit down. In addition, there will be additional tree and hedge planting although residents remain sceptical after the school removed previous hedging with no proper notice or explanation.

The late hours of use especially proposed for Sunday seem excessive and it is highly likely these will have to be changed. During the day in normal weekdays, it is envisaged that the pitch will be used by the Academy and other primary schools that do not have access to all weather pitches and are keen to use it. Questions were raised about pressures on traffic if it is used for tournaments by other local schools.


As with traffic congestion, there is a problem with parking pressures now which needs to be included in the travel plans. The plans include an additional car park in the north east corner accessible from the top of Upper Boundstone Lane with room for parking and turning coaches and 25 spaces. The practicality of this has been challenged by the highways report and further work will have to be done. The Academy say they will be able to use this for coaches picking up students for other purposes, which would otherwise park in the road. In addition, they are planning to open up the existing Academy car parks for general use out of hours, which will provide a further 162 spaces.

Residents were sceptical about this as they claim staff members are currently not using their own staff car park, which is putting further pressure on residents parking in their own street. In order to better police this in future, the school claim that they will be asking staff to have stickers identifying them as staff cars. All users of the 3G pitch will be obliged to use the in-school parking and if they do not then they will not be permitted to use the facility again. In any case, they anticipate that most users will be local and will arrive by foot or car rather than coachloads of players and supporters. The problem is essentially one of better enforcement now and in the future.


Again many residents were concerned about the effect of light pollution and referenced the effect of the floodlights at the Culver Road pitch for the new 3G pitch there. Further detail needs to be provided on this but the floodlights proposed here are shorter and more directional. The Culver Road lights are in fact due to be replaced at a cost of £40,000 shortly.

Environmental/Ecological/flooding impact:

Reports on all the factors had to be provided as part of the planning application and had not thrown up any material objections, though residents questioned what wildlife was on the site including bats. However this has been a school site for some time. There were also questions about various excavation works going on in the new earth before it was seeded which apparently was to do with some contaminated earth having been brought in which needed replacing. Another statutory consultee Southern Water had produced a report which did not raise any complications about drainage and land drains would be included in the scheme.
Residents raised the issue of a report from the US which had linked 3G pitches with cancer but this turns out to be only extreme cases where the surface is made from recycled tyres treated with a certain cocktail of chemicals and such pitches were not allowed in the UK in any case.


There were also a number of questions raised about whether the planning application was compliant with European Human Rights particularly around rights to privacy and property value depreciation. Again this is something which the planning consultant can advise on and Planning officers have to have regard to. The Planning Committee Chairman, Councillor Boggis, said he would ensure that residents had as fair an airing of their concerns as possible and would invite their spokesmen/women to make presentations before the committee and potentially a bigger venue would need to be used at the Community Centre.

A resident who is a trained referee questioned whether players would be able to afford the footwear required for using the 3G pitch surface.

The meeting closed after about two and a half hours, before which I thanked everyone for coming and for the frank discussion. Whatever differences they had over the pitch his job is to make sure everyone has as much information as possible and know how to make their objections known in the most effective way. 

The Planning Application number is AWDM/1883/15 and is accessible on Adur Council’s planning website at http;//

Clean for the Queen

The first weekend of March 2016 sees a national initiative to "Clean for the Queen". Keep Lancing Lovely are doing their bit by organising a beach litter clean on south Lancing beach from 10.30am until noon on Saturday 5 March 2016. This litter clean replaced the "normal" last Sunday of the month litter pick that would have taken place on Sunday 28 February 2016.

To find out more, to join in or to spread the word, please visit

Brain Tumours Awareness Campaign -
Lucy's Government Petition

I recently received an email from Mrs Antonella Goulding, who - you may recall from accounts in the local media - had the agony of having her daughter die of a brain tumour. As a Father of teenage daughters myself I can imagine the terribly traumatic time she and her family must have gone through. Mrs Goulding is determined to get a change in the system that might help prevent a similar fate affecting other young people especially.

She has launched a Government e-petition to make changes to ensure early diagnose of brain tumours,  a condition that although rare, causes more children deaths than leukaemia, with a mortality rate of 34%.

She needs the help of hundreds of people to help raise 100,000 signatures by May, for her request to be discussed in Parliament.  

Her main request is the mandatory introduction of leaflets and posters on symptoms of brain tumours in all GP Surgeries and schools in the UK to educate the public. 
You can sign the petition here:
 Urgent brain tumour scans, education for the public and health professionals.

Sussex Inshore Fisheries
and Conservation Authority Visit

I visited the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) based at Shoreham together with my colleague Maria Caulfield the new MP for Lewes for an update on local fishing issues with the director Tim Dapling. We were particularly interested to discuss new proposals for tagging lobster pots and other shellfish catching equipment which has raised some concerns from local fishermen as has the recent suspension of fishing for sea bass due to an EU ruling. This latter issue in fact was the subject of a debate in parliament this month where the common consensus was that the EU had overreacted with a ban even on angling for bass at sea which is  a particularly important part of the local fishing economy. You can see what the IFCA is responsible for here:

Life Music Meadowfield

I was invited by the Friends of Worthing hospital to visit a new project which they have funded at the Meadowfield Hospital on the Swandean site.

The Friends have bought a range of novel musical equipment and provide weekly music therapy for patients with the help of in-house musical therapists. This has already proved a hit and we spent an entertaining morning trying out the equipment before meeting some of the patients and staff.

Lancing Travel Plan

Long before the controversy over the proposed 3G pitch at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy there have been serous traffic congestion problems in the area around both SWRA and the Globe Primary Academy in Irene Avenue.

Inconsiderate parking at school start and picking-up times and rat-running off the A27 have worsened the problem of narrow roads like Upper Boundstone Lane. Subsequently local councillors Carol Albury and Keith Dollemore joined me at a meeting at the Globe on 29 January with staff from both schools and highways officers from West Sussex County Council.

As a result the schools jointly are drawing up an area wide Travel Plan which will need input from local residents following on from an initial survey which will inform the work. The schools already have a good record encouraging students to walk or cycle to school of around 85%-88% but clearly more needs to be done.

There has been a lot of wild speculation about closing access on to the A27 from Upper Boundstone Lane but this would be highly impractical and is pure speculation. Proposals that have actually already been agreed though include:
  • SWRA to become a School Safety one later this year
  • School crossing patrols to have body cameras to catch worst speeding offenders and looking at better signage
  • New powers for instant ticketing of cars parked on zigzag lines outside schools
  • New coach park planned at SWRA and all outside users obliged to use school car parks. All school staff to be forced to use staff car park and display their status on windscreens to free up parking bays for residents.

East Worthing Controlled Parking Zone

East Worthing residents will be aware of the continuing delays over the extension of the Controlled Parking Zone in and around the Ham Road area in Selden ward.

There have been some particular problems with congestion in Benedict Close and some of the narrower roads around Archibald Road and I have been making representations to the County Council Highways department with local county councillor Roger Oakley.

The latest date given for the new scheme to come into effect is the end of March although that may prove challenging too and Roger and I will keep on the case and post any updates on my Facebook page.

Shoreham Conservative Club Cheque

Well done to the Shoreham Conservative Club who have had another bumper year raising money for local good causes and I was on hand to help present a cheque for just over £4200 to St Barnabas Hospice.

Healthwatch Meeting

Good meeting with Kat Broadhill from Healthwatch West Sussex to catch up on local health pressures & how they are in demand. You can find out more here:

Littlehampton Museum

As Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary British Museum Group, I paid a visit to the Littlehampton Museum with Schools Minister, Nick Gibb MP.

Shoreham Beach
Residents Association AGM

It was a packed meeting of the SBRA for their AGM on Saturday and a much livelier one than usual on account of the controversy over draft proposals by Adur Council to allow a developer to work up plans for multiple activities on Shoreham Beach Green to include a café, skateboard park, pitch and putt golf and goodness what else. This appears to have been handled very badly by the Council and understandably local residents feel they had not been consulted and this represented a drastic over-development of what is a precious green space on the Beach. Cabinet member for economic development Angus Dunn was in the firing line when taking questions and was left in no uncertain terms that this was not a welcome plan and needed to be looked at again preferably with a proper consultation involving local residents. I wholeheartedly agree.

Along with ward councillors, I gave a report on relevant issues from my perspective over the last year, locally and nationally. I was delighted to make a presentation to Councillor Liza McKinney, who, after 16 years, is due to stand down as the SBRA independent councillor for Shoreham marine Ward in May.

Liza has been a fantastic and vociferous advocate for the beach over those 16 years, almost as long as I have been the local MP. She has of course been closely involved with lots of other good causes such as Marlipins Museum, the Old Toll Bridge and the Shoreham Centre and no doubt will NOT be having a restful retirement. We wish her well and thank her for everything she has done for Shoreham.

A27 Street Lighting

A number of residents have got in touch with me regarding your concerns with the faulty street lighting along the A27.

Having spoke to the powers that be at Highways England, it transpires that the lighting service provider is having a power supply problem, which is currently being dealt with by UK Power Network. Contractors from UKPN will be in attendance on site over the next 12 weeks to resolve the problem. 

Riverfest launch

Pirates were out in force in Shoreham for the launch of this year’s Riverfest, which is due to be held over the August Bank Holiday (27th to the 29th) weekend and promises to be bigger and better than ever .

More details at

Visit Worthing Alzheimer’s Society

I visited the Worthing Alzheimer’s Society office in Stone Lane, Worthing, on Friday 12 February 2016. During my visit, I met the society’s staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to provide an important service, as well as the Worthing Town Cryers.

The Cryers are a group of people with dementia, who are advising and lobbying local service providers in Worthing in order to help the town become a more dementia friendly community.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with Worthing Alzheimer’s Society and particularly to meet some of the regulars at the Town Cryers group together with their family members.

We are lucky in Worthing to have a group of dedicated staff and volunteers at the Worthing Alzheimer’s Society. They are carrying out essential and appreciated services; the group helps keep people with dementia active, engaged and supportive. They also lay on an impressive cream tea.

Tim Wilkins, Alzheimer’s Society Service User Involvement Officer for West Sussex, said:

“The Worthing Town Cryers enjoyed meeting one of their local MPs.  They seemed to really engage with him and asked him all sorts of questions from the EU to the A27.

“The Cryers enable people with dementia in Worthing to help raise awareness and understanding about dementia.”

For more information on this service and others provided by Alzheimer’s Society, call their Sussex Helpline on 01403 213017 or email

The Shoreham Centre - Grand Opening

On Friday 15 February 2016, The Shoreham Centre and new home for the Citizens Advice was officially opened by Councillor Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, Julie Martin, Chief Executive, Central and South Sussex CAB and me.Take a look at the new buzzing heart of Shoreham here:

A27 Action Group Update

On Thursday 4 February 2016, I attended the third meeting of the local A27 Action Group chaired by Councillor Major Tom Wye at the Ricardo offices in Shoreham. The group was set up last year and consists of around 40 members, representing all political parties at all the local councils (West Sussex County, Adur District, Worthing Borough, Lancing & Sompting parishes), MPs, local resident groups, businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and others. About 25 members attended the meeting to hear a presentation by the local manager of Highways England, Peter Phillips, to update us on the progress of the proposed A27 upgrade.

As I have previously reported and as has been extensively covered in the local press, the Highways Authority carried out extensive research into the extent of the problems on the A27 from Chichester to Shoreham and £350m was granted by the Government when the upgrade was included in the Roads Plan in December 2014. Initial scoping for a bypass through the South Downs was rejected early on for environmental reasons given its National Park status, whilst a tunnelling option would cost in excess of £3bn making it unaffordable. The A27 Action Group was formed on this basis. After initial scoping, it was decided that options for an online route (i.e. following the existing A27 through Shoreham, Lancing, Sompting, and Worthing) would now be worked up.

At the meeting, Mr Phillips confirmed considerable work was going on behind the scenes to produce various online options and that there would be no significant developments until November 2016 when the ‘Options Identification’ phase is over, after which there will be a public consultation in Spring 2017.

During the meeting, I recommended that the timetable be brought forward and for construction to start before the general election in May 2020, so as to avoid a situation whereby a change of government resulted in a change of policy on the A27.

The A27 Action Group will be at its busiest during the ‘Options Selection’ phase in 2017. The group will be suggesting amendments and hopefully coalescing around an effective and agreeable option. If the group decides the best option is one not currently budgeted for, then we may need to have further negotiations with the Government. At that stage we will want to facilitate maximum public consultation too.

Mr Phillips suggested that the road would most likely not be an ‘expressway’ and could have a speed limit of 50mph. Highways England were tasked with producing a full ‘dual-ling’ solution and they have almost completed their work in that area. They are aware that any plans to create a dual carriageway would need better crossings for the pedestrians and equestrian users, as well as parallel cycle routes and improved connectivity into the National Park. Mr Phillips stated that plans would also involve road widening in places, although no decisions on compulsory purchase of properties have been made yet. Members of the A27 Action Group urged Mr Phillips to have this work done as quickly as possible, so as to reduce the prospect of blight.

Members asked a number of questions, including whether or not it would be possible for ‘cut and cover’ tunnels, especially on the Arundel Road in West Worthing. Mr Phillips reminded the group that around 60 per cent of the traffic using the road is local, which requires access into and out of Worthing and the surrounding area.

You can read the minutes of the latest meeting here:

Letter to E.ON re: Rampion

I wrote to E.ON in February about a number of emails I have received from east Worthing residents, who have now been told that Ham Road is to be used by Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) transporting kit for this project. I agree with residents that this is not an appropriate road to use given its restrictions. So I asked E.ON to provide alternatives, here was their response:

Dear Tim,

Many thanks for your email expressing your constituents concerns regarding the Rampion construction traffic access route to Brooklands using the B2223, including Dominion Road and Ham Road. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying to allow us to investigate the issues raised.

Background to the construction traffic access routes:

We have taken steps to reduce construction traffic on the local road network, with most construction vehicle movements taking place along the cable route itself. However, we do require construction traffic access routes and access points to enable HGV deliveries and to set up site compounds, although these movements are limited in number and take place over short periods only.

The routes to the access points around Brooklands were proposed to utilise main A/B roads, where possible, to reduce the potential impact on smaller residential roads. The justification for this route approaching Brooklands from the west is to avoid the alternative approach from the east, which would lead to a right turn from the A259 into AC.2 Brooklands (see attached Stage 12 map). This would result in HGVs waiting to turn across the oncoming traffic, causing delays to westbound traffic and safety concerns on the A259. It is for this reason that the A259 route from AC.2 to the east is an exit route only from Brooklands, rather than an access route.

Rampion Consents and requirements:

The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm development is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), which was approved by the Secretary of State on 16th July 2014. The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Order 2014 (the Order), which grants consent for the project, included an outline Construction Traffic Management Plan that set out access routes and access points for construction traffic. The use of Ham Road has always formed part of the scheme and the route was subsequently approved by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) as the discharging authority, following their consultation with relevant local authorities and the Highways Authority.

The final details of routeing arrangements were approved in the form of the Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) and Stage 12 document, in accordance with Requirements 31 (CTMP) and 13 (Highways Accesses) of the Order respectively, which afford the necessary permissions in planning terms to commence construction. These requirements can be viewed here:

Construction Traffic Management Plan:…/…

Stage 12 Document (including access designs and traffic management measures):…/…

The construction traffic access routes were also displayed as part of our widely publicised exhibition, the Rampion Construction Information Event, held at Lancing Parish Hall on 16th June 2015, which 350 local people attended.

Responding to your concerns:

Since receiving your concerns, we have been in discussions with our Cable Route Site Manager, lead contractors and WSCC, to consider potential solutions and evaluate the suitability of an alternative route. In the event that an alternative route is not found to be suitable, we have agreed to put in place the following communications to reduce the impact on the southern section of Ham Road:

1. We will advise construction traffic leaving AC:3 (see attached Stage 12 map) from St Pauls Avenue, to exit to the A27 via Western Road and the A2025, rather than using the B2223/Ham Road and Sompting Road route. This will reduce HGV vehicle movements using the B2223/Ham Road and minimise potential two-way conflicts along this route.

2. Our contractors will ensure that HGV drivers are made aware of the residential nature of Ham Road and the need to take extra precautions in travelling this route. Drivers will obey the speed limits on the B2223 and our Rampion Freephone Telephone Helpline (0800 2800 886) is available to report HGVs who ignore these limits.

3. Our contractors will marshal deliveries to ensure there is no more than one HGV heading south on the B2223 at any one time.

We recognise that the preferred option is to seek an alternative route that avoids the southern section of Ham Road, south of Brougham Road. While we need to continue to prepare for construction using the approved route, we are in liaison with WSCC to determine the suitability of amending the route to turn east along Brougham Road to the A259. This is a wider road used as a local bus route and would avoid the narrower southern section of Ham Road. This is subject to WSCC approval in consultation with the Highways Authority and to our conducting a full survey of the route to ensure overhead line clearances. Please be assured we are continuing this work to reach a solution as soon as possible and I will inform you once we reach a conclusion.

Many thanks for your valuable feedback and we hope to be able to reach a satisfactory outcome.

Please note, as you were copied in to some of your constituent's emails to me, I will also be copying you into my responses to them, so apologies that you may receive a couple more email in your inbox.

Many thanks,

Chris Tomlinson
Rampion Development Manager

Explore CQC’s new interactive map

The Care Quality Commission recently launched a new online resource to make it easier for people to see which care homes have been rated as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate in their local area. The new map allows people to search by postcode for a visual and emerging picture of the care homes we have rated in that area.
CQC’s care home ratings map can be found here.
This online tool comes as they move closer to having rated nearly 10,000 care homes (both with and without nursing) across the country, based on their robust inspection regime that it rolled out in October 2014. More information can be found
I am sure they would welcome your feedback on the ratings map, so that they can make this resource as useful as possible. If you have any comments, please get in touch with CQC.

Southwick Cricket Club

West Sussex County Council's Big Society Fund has made a grant of £15,000 to Southwick Cricket Club for new practices nets. The club is also working with Shoreham Academy in partnership to develop cricket provision for the youngsters in the area.

'Sewage Summit'

In what has been dubbed a ‘sewage summit’ I held a roundtable meeting last Friday with local agencies and councillors to discuss the latest sewage spill problems to affect Grinstead Lane and surrounding roads. This followed the high levels of ground water I January which had got into the sewage system causing foul water to come up through manholes around Grinstead Lane flooding roads pavements and gardens. Back in January 2013 when much more widespread flooding affected many homes in the area I called together all the relevant agents to help to put together a strategic action plan to deal with this long term problem caused by high water tables, blocked drainage channels over flat land and a sewage system already under pressure.

As a result of that summit and a further progress meeting in June 2013 a Ten Point Action Plan was drawn up and a god deal of progress has been made. However the problem has still not gone away and clearly needs to be managed better to avoid similar spills which caused major disruption to traffic whilst traffic lights were in action as well as damage to residents’ property. Accounts of these meetings can be found on my website.

The meeting was attended by engineers from Adur Council and West Sussex County Council; representatives from the Environment Agency and Southern Water and local councillors including West Sussex Cabinet member for Highways John O’Brien and Adur Council Chairman Carson Albury.

Progress achieved since January 2013 summit:
  • The Lancing area was the first to receive a grant from the County Council’s flood fund Operation Watershed which enabled clearance of all the ditches between Grinstead and the Airport.
  • The County Council and Adur Council published a Lancing Surface Water Management Plan in October 2015 as a long term solution which is now being taken forward as part of the upcoming 6 year capital plan works after a lot of work went into this.
  • Adur Council have carried out ongoing annual maintenance of the ditches after the initial overhaul which saw a large amount of rubbish including shopping trolleys and canoes removed and dammed up areas unblocked. This has been done by Adur as a gesture of goodwill although the responsibility lies with residents and riparian owners. Further such work is planned in 2016/17. The owners of the land raise site and Airport are due to carry out their own maintenance work on ditches which fall under their responsibility shortly.
  • Southern Water has upgraded its pumping station in Grinstead Lane which had been prone to failure and is now working much better although often remains at full capacity during periods of heavy rainfall. They have tested and sealed 387m of drains in Manor Close and Manor Way area. 100m of drains around Hayley Road/Lisher Road have been lined and manholes sealed with a further 316m of sewer drains sealed from infiltration. Further such work and inspections are planned when the current high water levels have subsided. The complete ‘Infiltration reduction Plan for Lancing will be consulted on with local people by Southern Water shortly, subject to approval by the Environment Agency. Over £300,000 has been invested so far.
Whilst action to date has not solved the problem it has certainly prevented more serious and ore frequent flooding instances and certainly water in the ditch system to the west of the Airport is flowing more effectively. It is important that a long term and sustainable maintenance plan is agreed between the local agencies, councils and residents and then communicated properly so everyone knows what to expect and how to cope with prolonged periods of heavy rainfall. The priority is now to take forward the Action Plan from the Surface Water Management survey and turn it into an implementation plan within the next 3 months when funding should be available.

I will be holding a follow up meeting to monitor and report on progress. I the longer term however these problems show how unwise it would be to build any substantial development on the New Monks Farm area given the fragility of the existing flooding environment already.


GTR Performance Update

From previous newsletters, you will recall that we have been closely scrutinising poor performance by Southern Rail (GTR) since the woeful summit last month between Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, the Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP, officials from the Department for Transport and 20 very angry MPs, including me. 

GTR Performance Update: Monday 8th Feb - Friday 12th Feb
Southern's performance was a little better than the previous week. Although the Gatwick Express line again saw heavy disruption on Monday and Friday, whilst Monday was a particularly bad day with no fewer than 327 journeys delayed by 30 minutes or more and over 1100 delayed by more than 5 minutes.

Full performance graphs are available on my website here:

GTR Performance Update: Monday 15th Feb - Friday 19th Feb
GTR had a pretty shoddy Monday for what feels like a weekly ritual and/or an unkind joke at the expense of hard pressed commuters, who regularly face a Monday morning slog to work. This Monday 11% of all GTR trains were either delayed for over 30 minutes or cancelled, whilst 31% were delayed by more than 5 minutes. Meanwhile, the Gatwick Express suffered an eye watering - or perhaps patience bursting - 29% of trains either delayed for more than 30 minutes or cancelled, whilst altogether 55% were delayed by 5 minutes of more. Monday also saw troubles on the Brighton Mainline, which had 50% of its services delayed by over 5 minutes and 18% delayed by over 30 minutes or cancelled.

On the upside, if one just considers raw statistics, things were not as bad during the rest of the week...but I'll leave it to your good judgements to decide whether this was indeed the case or not!

Full performance graphs are available on my website here:

GTR Performance Update: Monday 22nd Feb - Friday 26th Feb

In comparison to the Monday before last, last week as relatively serene. Much improved performance this week from GTR, let us hope they continue that trend and improve their communication department while they're at it. 

Full performance graphs are available on my website here:

Closure of Lancing, Worthing and Shoreham ticket offices by Southern and Network Rail

Just to add insult to injury, thank you to all those who have written to me about Southern Rail’s latest crazy plans to close down a number of the ticket offices at local stations. We are already on the case. After all the complaints they have had about poor reliability and having the poorest punctuality (actually lack of it) record in the country this is just adding insult to injury.As many people have already pointed out very often the ticket machines are not working and do not necessarily offer the cheapest fare and certainly cannot advise on how to get from A to B as effectively as possible, especially on complicated journeys.

Thank you especially to all those who signed the petition started by Conservative councillors in Lancing which was particularly popular at our street surgery in the village on Saturday. Copies have now been distributed around local shops and you can post your comments on my Facebook page or email me and I shall add them to the petition to pass on. Alternatively, you can sign an online petition I have started here:

I have posted below exactly what is proposed for different categories of local stations apparently all in the name of an ‘enhanced customer experience’:
Model 1
Stations included in the proposals:
Battersea Park, Carshalton Beeches, Gipsy Hill, Peckham Rye, Queens Road Peckham, Selhurst, Streatham, Streatham Common, Streatham Hill, South Croydon, Tulse Hill, Wandsworth Common, West Norwood

What is changing? :
  • Fewer than 12 tickets per hour are sold from the ticket office at these stations. The majority of customers use ticket machines and smartcard technology so there is minimal need for a ticket office
  • At these stations we will propose to close the ticket office windows and move people out onto the concourse as ‘Station Hosts’
  • Station Hosts will be
    • visible and available from first service until the last, which is longer than current ticket hours in many cases
    • trained in customer service
    • able to sell tickets and provide information using a new handheld device
    • helping passengers use the ticket machines
Model 2
Stations included in the proposals:
Balham, Carshalton, Caterham, Coulsdon South, Falmer, Lancing, Purley, Norbury, Reigate, Sanderstead, Shoreham-by-sea, Sutton, Thornton Heath, Wallington

What is changing? :
  • More than 12 tickets are sold per hour at these stations but still the majority of customers use ticket machines and other ways to pay
  • At these stations we propose to relocate the ticket selling equipment to a station hosting point so the staff are available on the concourse, but still able to sell the full range of tickets from first to last train
  • At these stations we will propose to move people onto the concourse as ‘Station Hosts’
  • Station Hosts will be -
    • visible and available from first service until the last, which is longer than current ticket hours in many cases
    • trained in customer service
    • able to sell tickets and provide information using a new handheld device
    • helping passengers use the ticket machines
Model 3
Stations included in the proposals:
Angmering, Ashtead, Barnham, Bexhill, Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley, Dorking, Eastbourne, East Grinstead, Epsom, Hassocks, Horley, Horsham, Hove, Leatherhead, Lewes, Littlehampton, Merstham, Oxted, Polegate, Portslade, Worthing

What is changing? :
  • These stations still rely heavily on ticket offices as well as the ticket machines
  • At these stations we propose to relocate the ticket selling equipment to a station hosting point so the staff are available on the concourse, but still able to sell the full range of tickets from first to last train
  • We will also staff the ticket office window at peak times to manage the demand
  • At these stations we propose to move people out onto the concourse as ‘Station Hosts’ and apply to close the ticket office at off-peak times but have it open and staffed at peak times
  • Station Hosts will be
    • visible and available from first service until the last, which is longer than current ticket hours in many cases
    • trained in customer service
    • able to sell tickets and provide information using a new handheld device
    • helping passengers use the ticket machines
GTR, as Southern are now called are running a short 3 week consultation starting from today. I would strongly urge all constituents to lodge their objections with GTR direct and encourage friends and family to do likewise. Please copy me in by all means. GTR contact details are:

If you have seen my website and newsletter you will be aware that we had a big ‘showdown’ in Parliament on 11 January 2016 involving Network Rail, GTR, the Rail Minister, Department for Transport officials and about 20 angry MPs from Sussex and South London (full details here:

During the course of the meeting they were left in no uncertain terms about the pressure on them to get their act together with the standard of their service or face losing their franchise. Subsequently, I have been posting their daily punctuality charts on my website, which lays bare just how poor reliability has been, and I have challenged GTR to send down senior officials to take complaints from commuting constituents head on, this can include people concerned about the ticket office issue too. In addition, we have an ongoing row over reopening the pedestrian subway at Shoreham station which is so frustrating for people having to wait ages at the crossing. We thought we had been making progress there with the Shoreham Society but things just keep going round in circles so I have asked them whether they can come down on 12March 2016 when a demonstration is planned and we can ‘kill 3 birds with one stone’ perhaps. I will keep you posted of when it is likely to happen as soon as I know.

As usual if you have any further questions then let me know and I will be updating my newsletter at the end of the month.
Full details for Southern stations – 
For details of the Thameslink and Great Northern stations –
Contact details for London TravelWatch –
Contact details for Transport Focus –

Raising funds for Electric Storm Youth 

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By popular demand, we will be holding another Pensioners' Fair on Friday 22 April from 10am to 1pm at the Guildbourne Centre in Worthing. More details in the next newsletter and on my website as when they become available. 
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Copyright © Tim Loughton MP. All rights reserved.

This newsletter is published by Tim Loughton MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

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Tel: 01273 757 182
Write: 88A High Street, Shoreham, BN43 5DB.

Surgery details:
If you have a problem you think Tim could help you with and you would like to meet him to discuss it please ring 01273 757182 to book an appointment at one of his fortnightly surgeries.

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