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TIM LOUGHTON MP
EAST WORTHING AND SHOREHAM
HOUSE OF COMMONS
SW1A 0AA
Dear <<First Name>>

I am afraid there is a lot to cram into this newsletter and little time to write up in great detail given the number of things going on at home and abroad. Obviously our first thoughts are with the people of Ukraine as they heroically stand up against naked Russian aggression and we stand with them. A number of constituents have written to ask me what practical help they can give and the Government is working on ways to open up our borders to Ukrainian nationals fleeing war in need of a safe haven. I have also been approached by a number of Ukrainians living locally and will be working with them to coordinate any practical help that we can give locally. I will update my website and Facebook page when things are clearer and I can provide more concrete information and advice but this is obviously a fast-moving situation.

Although it seems slightly trivial in relation to war in Ukraine locally the big issue has been the shock news that the charity RVS plan to close the very popular and much used Chesham House in Lancing. This came out of the blue as we had been given repeated assurances that having been closed during the pandemic for safety reasons the centre would be up and running again as soon as possible. Certainly, the many volunteers I have spoken to were very frustrated that they had not been allowed to do more to help vulnerable members of the community through RVS during the lockdown. I immediately spoke to local councillors and met a group of volunteers just after the news came out and we have set up a ‘Save Chesham House’ Facebook group which you can access
HERE

Within the first 24 hours over 240 people had already signed up and posted lots of helpful messages and many have been in touch with me directly. As a result of the pressure and following a meeting with the managers involving Lancing councillors Steve Neocleous, Carol Albury, Ann Bridges, Mike Mendoza and me , RVS have decided to suspend the closure plans pending discussing various other options with us. So thank you to the local community for rallying round so strongly. We still have a long way to go to secure the future of Chesham House but this has been a great start.

As usual if there is anything specific you would like to see included in future newsletters, please let me know.

Best wishes and stay safe.
 
Tim Loughton MP
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Surgeries 
Upcoming Advice Surgery Dates: (Ring constituency office on 01273 757182 to book an appointment) 
  • Sompting: Friday 25th March
Upcoming Street Surgery Dates: (Just turn up on the day)
  • 12th March: Shoreham Farmer’s Market
For further street surgery details visit my website HERE 
Sewage Summit Update
Following on from the ‘Sewage Summit’ I arranged with the Chief Executive of Southern Water and councillors before Christmas I held 2 follow-up meetings in February. The first dealt with the general issue of local sewage spills and used as an example the conflicting reports of sewage originating at the Ropetackle pumping station last October. The second dealt specifically with the series of grim sewage pipe bursts before Christmas on the West Beach Estate in Lancing.

There was a lot of publicity around excessive sewage spills last year and I helped to ‘beef up’ measures in the Environment Bill to force water companies to clean up their act and face much higher penalties where they fail. In addition to this the Government has announced tougher enforcement action by the Environment Agency and the regulator OFWAT is carrying out a detailed inquiry into what further measures need to be taken.
I have written about this extensively previously and the problem is a complicated one. Whilst any sewage spill sounds horrendous it is inevitable on occasions when the drains are overwhelmed with heavy rainfall over a short period, and this is allowed for.

The alternative is dirty water backing up through manholes and into people’s gardens. Because any sewage is heavily diluted by rainwater the actual sewage content will usually be less than 10% in these cases and if released into the sea will quickly disperse in heavy waters. The other problem is that Southern Water, like any water company, is not responsible for many of the drains channelling water from roads and other public areas although their drainage system may be compromised if they are not properly maintained, and blockages occur.
There is a much bigger issue nationally in that most wastewater drains from roads and domestic sewage drains end up in the same place rather than being kept separate meaning they are vulnerable to sudden downpours. Most drains are only 30% full most of the time and so capacity is not an issue until they are overwhelmed by a deluge. In our earlier meeting which included the Chief Executive of Adur & Worthing Councils we discussed how we can ensure better liaison between Southern Water and the planning authorities when granting planning permission for future projects to see how this problem can be minimised, and that work in ongoing.

The big question is how many of the spills reported really are unavoidable due to heavy rainfall and how many are due to failing equipment, poor maintenance of pipework or insufficient capacity to deal with the level of wastewater and sewage. Southern Water have committed to an 80% reduction in spill frequency by 2030, which is more ambitious than any other water company, but we obviously want to see the results sooner rather than later.

One of the ways that Southern Water are aiming to be transparent about spills is their ‘Beachbuoy’ online portal which any member of the public can access HERE 
. Beachbuoy gives you near real-time information about releases of storm water or wastewater at your favourite spot. On this interactive, online map you can see updates about releases from combined sewer overflows, so you know what’s happening near you.

Notifications are managed by a remote alarm system and by manual inspections. In the case of the Ropetackle incident that was reported apparently the spill only lasted for 8 minutes and the system allows for checks every 15 minutes and it so happened that the 8-minute slot fell within the 15 minute gap and so produced a ‘false alarm’ report. In this case the spill was linked to a report of heavy rainfall, but the nearest rain gauge was at Ditchling Road in Brighton which is some distance away. Throughout the year spills at this location only happened for 0.093% of the time. It all sounds very complicated and further scrutiny into this incident has led Southern Water to tighten up on the way they monitor spills.

Recent reports have also rated local beach bathing waters as either excellent or good although some local users, including the kite surfers would dispute that. Clearly Southern Water need to do a far better job of communicating how they are doing locally and regaining the confidence of residents after the record fines they received for historical unjustified spills from before 2015. I will continue to hold them accountable and monitor their progress, continuing with a visit to the Ropetackle pumping station next month.
I am very aware of the huge aggro caused to West Beach residents by the latest series of burst sewage mains which happened before Christmas, and I visited the area again last week with local Councillor Andy McGregor to see how the repair work has been progressing. Some residents have commented on how quick Southern Water have been to respond and they appreciate the refund of a whole year’s sewage charges by way of compensation, but obviously would rather it had not happened at all and want permanent solutions.

There is obviously a lot of history attached to the estate which goes back to the early 1990’s when the original owners went bust. The current owners Landstone have been difficult to deal with and obviously frustrated in their plan to develop the land behind the estate which is now protected within the Adur Local Plan. I have been involved on and off with various residents and resident’s associations over the last 25 years and a solution to renovate the estate still remains elusive and responsibility for the crumbling infrastructure remains a very grey area.

Southern Water are responsible for the main sewage pipes from where the outlets from 2 or more houses connect. These then flow into the ‘rising main’ which is pressurised and the contents flow west to the East Worthing Wastewater Treatment works. Southern Water are not responsible for the drains which carry water from the roads and public areas, and these have obviously not been maintained properly for some time. Capacity is not a problem, and we were told that the sewage pipes are typically under a third full and can generally take heavy rainfall as well. The problem is that the privately owned drains from the road to the sewage system are in a poor state, often block and that leads to the flooding. That is obviously a separate issue to sewage leaks but the problem is worsened when the 2 combine. Whilst Southern Water have done some clearance here to get to their own drains it is not their responsibility.

The reason for the sewage bursts from the pressurised pipes would appear to be down to external corrosion to the original metal pipes from saltwater ingress and these are put under increased stress when pumping away the sewage increases the internal pressure. In addition, there are weak spots where the main pipes connect to the arterial pipes. Southern Water are currently conducting a comprehensive study to find out exactly where the weak spots are, but it is not as easy as just putting cameras down drains as most of the damage to the metal is only visible from the outside. The full results of the survey work will be available next month, and they will then publish their remedial proposals.

The headlines from our discussions were as follows:

• It is likely that the final solution will be a complete replacement/relining of the metal rising main with sturdy corrosion proof plastic pipes. They are also looking at variable speed pumps to disperse the sewage to reduce the internal pressure on the pipes.
• Temporary linings have been added to current known weak points to limit further bursts before the main work is done.
• The survey work to identify the exact extent of the problem will require digging a number of holes along the length of the rising main as they need to inspect the pipes from the outside for the reasons I have given. That accounts for much of the work currently going on as well as temporary relining and restoring roadway/pavements damaged during the bursts.
• Cllr McGregor and I have asked Southern Water to look at other ways of compensating the residents of West Beach for all the inconvenience they have endured including other enhancements to the estate.
• Southern Water have agreed to attend a meeting with residents to explain the findings of their survey work and talk them through the proposed remedial work and what it involves. I have offered to organise and attend this with the local councillors.

I am aware that there has been quite a lot of misinformation circulating on social media so I hope this report from the ‘horse’s mouth’ is helpful and please let me know if there are any other queries that you would like me to take up with Southern Water or the Council.
Caring 4 Hearts
Three cheers to Southlands’ councillor Tania Edwards who has taken it on herself to organise an appeal to have defibrillators installed at key locations in her Shoreham ward. This follows on from the campaign by Joss Loader when she was Adur Chair to install a network of devices across the district.  You can donate HERE
Shoreham Beach Residents AGM
It was a marathon session at the Shoreham Beach Resident’s Association AGM on Saturday chaired by Councillor Joss Loader at the Church of the Good Shepherd. I got off relatively lightly after my presentation but County Councillor Kevin Boram who represents the Beach at County Hall was on his feet for over an hour and a quarter taking questions on local issues and particularly on the latest state of play with the Beach Box restaurant proposal on Beach Green. I am looking forward to welcoming a coach load of residents to a tour round Parliament in April too. You can find more details about SBRA HERE
IKEA Meeting
Constituents will be aware that last summer IKEA announced that they would not be going ahead with their planned new superstore saw part of the New Monks Farm development and would be selling the site. This came as welcome news to me and many constituents, not because we have anything against IKEA, but because of the estimated 2 million customer journeys a year, most of which would be by car on the notoriously congested A27. Since then, we had heard nothing so I organised a call with management last week to see where they were with their plans.

This is particularly important as various suggestions have come forward by high tech firms interested in finding suitable space to expand their businesses preferably on high tech environmentally friendly space. This was the alternative I first put forward when I objected to the inclusion of IKEA ion the original planning application. The company has now agreed to sit down with me and local councillors and council officers to discuss all possible alternative uses and it is likely that the sale details for interested parties will be forthcoming in a matter of days.
Youth Investment Fund
Later this year relevant organisations in our constituency will be eligible to apply for the £368 million Youth Investment Fund (YIF) announced recently as part of the Government’s Levelling Up package and which forms a core part of the £560 million investment.
 
The Fund’s objective is to create, expand and improve local youth facilities and their services, in order to drive a number of positive outcomes for young people and their communities: 
  • Improving health and wellbeing of young people
  • Equipping young people with skills for work and life
  • Empowering young people to be active members of their communities and society
  • Levelling up of provision in ‘left behind’ areas
Traffic around Swiss Gardens School
I joined a meeting with teachers and governors from Swiss Gardens School recently together with Shoreham County Councillor Kevin Boram following accidents involving pupils close to the school last year. The roads around Swiss Gardens including Victoria Road and Connaught Avenue are of course already very congested at the best of times with parking at a premium. With many pupils coming to school by car it can be pretty chaotic at school start and finish times despite the best endeavours of the school staff to minimise disruption.

Various options are being looked at with the help of the County Council highways department including possible one way designations, restricted parking and special measures during these ‘rush hours.’ There is no easy answer but the school is very keen to work with the community and councillors to find solutions. To that end we are designing a survey which will be going out to local residents shortly to be followed up by public meetings to look at various options. If you receive a survey please do take the time to fill it in and send it back and I will make sure it is accessible online through my website as well.
The planting of fruit trees in the Meads
I was pleased to join Councillors Neil Parkin, Tania Edwards and others for the planting of fruit trees in the Meads next to Swiss Gardens School to create a community orchard for the enjoyment of local people at this much valued local asset.
Fur and foie gras imports
Along with 20 Parliamentary colleagues I signed a letter to the Prime Minister following reports from the BBC on Saturday 19th February that the Government may no longer pursue a ban on the import and sale of farmed fur and foie gras in the UK.

In the UK both fur and foie gras farms were banned in 2000 and 2006 respectively, on the grounds of the clear and unacceptable cruelty involved in production. Outsourcing these products abroad goes against the spirit of our domestic legislation and sends a confusing message about the welfare standards we endorse. If the UK believes that fur is too cruel to be farmed here, by extension it is too cruel to sell here.

There is strong public support for a fur and foie gras ban. A 2021 poll showed that 72% of the British public support a fur ban, and in April last year a million signature petition was delivered to the Government.

The democratic mandate for this legislation is clear and it is our hope that the voices of these hundreds of thousands of people in the UK will be of greater consequence than the few who advocate for these cruel and outdated industries.
Safeguarding in Adur and Worthing Schools
As a former Children’s Minister safeguarding of our children remains a key interest for me. Following concerns raised by a couple of heads of primary schools in Adur I arranged a virtual meeting with almost all the headteachers across Adur’s primary schools as well as one of the secondary academies, with the Leader of the County Council Cllr Paul Marshall, Cabinet Member for Children Cllr Jacquie Russell, Director of Children’s Services Lucy Butler and other senior officers from West Sussex. We had a very comprehensive and helpful discussion about safeguarding worries and how quickly and how extensively social workers intervene, particularly in the context of the reorganisation of Children’s Services going on across the county.

Last Friday I was also delighted to welcome former Cabinet Minister Dame Andrea Leadsom to Worthing, who is currently heading up the Government’s ‘Best Start in Life’ programme which is overseeing the roll-out of better joined up early years’ services for new parents and babies. I took her to the Durrington Family Hub which is at the core of joining up local services and met a number of dedicated staff and happy parents pleased with the ‘one stop shop’ approach.
Support of £3 million announced for households struggling to pay council tax
Funding of up to £3 million has been allocated by West Sussex County Council for the second year running to provide support for households experiencing financial pressures during the pandemic and in the year ahead.

The latest announcement brings the total committed over the last two years to supporting local households to up to £6m. An adjustment is being made to the upcoming annual budget proposals to reflect this.

The funds are for additional discretionary relief, administered by District and Borough councils, for working age residents claiming Council Tax reduction relief who can benefit from having their Council Tax bill reduced by up to £150. This is separate from recent announcements national government to support Council Tax payers in Bands A to D which are due to be introduced in the year ahead. Find out more HERE
Environment Minister Visit

It was good to be able to show off some of some of the great environmental projects currently going on in Adur and Worthing to Environment Minister Rebecca Pow who came down to Worthing recently.

The Minister had specifically read about the EPIC Project which has opened up Sompting Brooks between the Dominion Way Industrial Estate in Worthing and Western Road in Sompting Village and was keen to see it at first hand. Led by the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust with landlords Sompting Estate, and supported by the Environment Agency, Rampion and Sompting Big Local the project has involved re-routing the Teville Stream.  A new trail is being created to make Broadwater Brook accessible to surrounding communities for the first time and the natural habitat improved by the inclusion of ponds, 1,000 trees, and 2.5km of hedge.

When we were there, it was clear the area is being put to good use by local residents. I was pleased to hear also that the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust has been invited to advise on the ‘green lung’ which is the New Slats Farm stretch of land to the west of the Saltings bought by Adur Council for community use, helped by a grant from DEFRA. As the DEFRA minister responsible for offshore wind and for sewage, we were able to update her on the Rampion plans, local hydrogen hubs and the Sussex Bay Kelp Farm project as well as our latest wrangles with Southern Water. There really is a lot of very exciting news on the environment front locally.

Bright Blue Climate Change
Climate change has no respect for national borders and as such can only be mitigated through international cooperation, demonstrating the importance of COP26 and climate diplomacy more broadly.
 
Despite the UK’s departure from the EU, there is still a case to be made for close cooperation between the two on climate change. This collection of essays, authored by UK politicians, members of the European Parliament, academics and thought leaders highlights policies and priorities for both the UK and the EU across the dimensions of climate security, migration and innovation.
 
It was an honour to contribute an essay to ‘Bright Blue’ on ‘Building Climate-resilient communities’ which you can read HERE
The 25th World Scout Jamboree!
The 25th World Scout Jamboree is fast approaching, and 7 scouts from the Adur Valley District have been selected to represent their respective Scout Groups in South Korea in
Summer 2023.
 
This is a unique opportunity to be part of the Global Scouting Community with over 40,000 Scouts from 150 countries taking part. Each of the 7 young people are fundraising between now and Summer 2023 to reach a total of £28,000 to cover not only their own travel expenses but to also support Scouts from less affluent countries. Giving everyone the opportunity to experience the World Scout Jamboree in an inclusive way.

You can follow their progress and their fundraising schemes HERE
The Big Plastics Count 16th - 22nd May 2022
Next month, Greenpeace & Everyday Plastic are publicly launching The Big Plastic Count, the biggest ever household plastics survey. They are inviting thousands of households from across the UK to collect their packaging for a week in May to find out what percentage will be recycled, exported, incinerated and landfilled.

Everyday Plastic has developed a unique methodology that shows, using UK recycling data, where different types of plastic packaging will end up once they’re collected from our recycling bins. The new evidence we gather together will be crucial to convince the UK government, as well as big brands and supermarkets, to take ambitious action on reducing plastic production at source. They will launch the findings at a parliamentary event in June, where schools who have taken part in the journey will be invited to meet with their MPs.
Downside Openreach Work
Thanks to Cllr Emma Evans who intervened following reports of damage by contractors to the path and grass verges in Downside - left in an unsatisfactory condition, she has arranged for an inspector to visit the area. They found various issues with the sites which need to be resolved. 
 
There are still some works to be carried out in Downside, but once these have been completed, a joint walk through will be arranged between our Inspector and a representative from Kellys (the contractor who carried out the works) to agree any defects and plan a resolution. Once the permits have been defected the sites will be monitored every 28 days until remedial works are carried out to their satisfaction.
Ground Breaking Ceremony
It is great news that work has now begun on Worthing's landmark £34 million healthcare centre in the heart of the town.

Funded by Worthing Borough Council, the state-of-the-art Worthing Integrated Care Centre (WICC) will provide GP, mental health, community and dentistry services under one roof, as well as providing a pharmacy and additional services for families and young children. Do read more
HERE
NHS My Planned Care website
The NHS My Planned Care platform launched last week - people in Sussex who are waiting for care will be able to access support and check waiting times using this new online platform. The website allows patients and their carers to access information ahead of their planned appointment, operation or treatment. You can find out more HERE
Copyright © Tim Loughton MP. All rights reserved.

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

Contact details:
Email: loughtont@parliament.uk
Tel: 01273 757182
Write: 88A High Street, Shoreham-by-sea, 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.

Please visit www.timloughton.com for more information about Tim.

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Parliament · House of Commons · London, London Sw1A 0AA · United Kingdom