Greg, along with his neighbouring MP for Tonbridge & Malling Tom Tugendhat, officially opened a new offroad cycle path which provides a brand new link between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells along the route of the A21. The new cyclepath links to Tunbridge Wells via North Farm Industrial Estate and Pembury Hospital. There is an existing cyclepath along the Pembury Road into the centre of the town.
"This new offroad cycle path is a fantastic opportunity for people to cycle to work or for leisure. It's a great addition to the local cycle network."
"We campaigned hard to have a cyclepath as part of the A21 dualling scheme and also that it should include links at either end to Tonbridge Station and Pembury Hospital. These links were crucial for it to be a successful commuting route for cyclists so I pressed Highways England to fund the two links and they agreed to do so.
"It's initiatives like this that encourage people to get on their bikes rather than use the car so I'm delighted to see the route finally open."
After the official opening, Greg along with Tom Tugendhat, local councillors and members of local cycling groups, undertook an informal bike ride along the new cyclepath.
Greg cycled the new route on an electric bike loaned from Cycling Made Easy shop on St John's Road, Tunbridge Wells.
Commenting on his ride, Greg said:
"In spite of the rain, we had a brilliant time riding the new cyclepath. There were people on tandems, on electric bikes and with young children in trailers. It's only a couple of miles long so very commutable. I really enjoyed using an electric bike – especially up the hills! We need to get the word out so that people know it's there and might consider cycling between Tunbridge Wells and Tunbridge, instead of jumping in the car."
A pedestrian/cycle counter, using the latest technology, has been installed on the route which will automatically record the number of users.
Greg was delighted to officially open the new Tunbridge Wells Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) centre which is now based in the Town & Country Housing Group offices in Monson Road.
"Our town is very proud to have one of the oldest Citizens Advice Bureaus in the country. It originally opened in September 1939 and operated out of a horse box!
"It's great that the Bureau has moved back into the centre of town – providing easy access for clients. Last year, Tunbridge Wells Citizens Advice helped 5,500 clients which is around 1 in 20 people in the Borough. This physical presence is very important as many people benefit from face-to-face help and advice.
"I would like to thank all the staff, trustees and volunteers for everything that they do to help local residents."
New state-of-the-art double-decker cycle parking has just been installed at High Brooms Station to make it possible for commuters and other rail passengers to cycle to the station.
"More people will be able to cycle to High Brooms Station if they are guaranteed secure and easy cycle parking so the installation of these new double-decker cycle racks is great news. I have been campaigning for better cycle parking at our stations and I would like to thank both Southeastern and Kent County Council – who jointly funded the project – for getting this new cycle parking built."
Greg met with Kent County Council and Horsmonden Parish Council to discuss road safety improvements that are planned for a crossroads in the centre of Horsmonden village which has experienced a recent spate of serious accidents.
"There have been 4 serious accidents in the last 9 months involving cars not stopping at the junction of a crossroads in the middle of Horsmonden village. Heath Stores has captured all of them on their CCTV – I am absolutely horrified by the footage. Understandably local residents are extremely concerned about this and I, along with the parish council and other local councillors, have been pressing Kent Highways to install more warning signs and road markings. It is great that this work is now going ahead and I very much hope it has the desired effect."
The planned improvements are:
- Increased and more visible signage to warn drivers that a crossroads is ahead
- Better road markings
- High friction surfacing each side of the crossroads
The works are planned to take place at the end of May.
Greg has responded positively to the consultation on Kent & Medway's Stroke Review which proposes a radical overhaul of local stroke services.
The proposal is to open three hyper-acute specialist stroke units across the county operating 24 hours a day, 365 day a year. Apart from emergency treatment, the new stroke units would also provide specialist rehabilitation which is vitally important for patients' long-term recovery and transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – "mini-stroke" – clinics operating 7 days a week.
Five options for the location of the specialist stroke units are proposed in the consultation.
"Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability in the UK – there are around 32,000 stroke-related deaths in England each year and 3,000 patients are treated for stroke each year in Kent & Medway hospitals so it is a very important health issue for us all.
"Successful treatment relies on speed – the shorter the time between the stroke and treatment, the greater the chance of reducing damage to brain tissue. The medical saying goes "time lost is brain lost".
"Establishing hyper-acute specialist stroke units operating 24/7 has been applied years ago in other countries, with great success, and more recently in other parts of the UK so I strongly support the proposal to set up three specialist stroke units across Kent & Medway.
"Looking at the options presented in the consultation, the best travel times are provided by Option D which includes Medway Maritime, William Harvey and Tunbridge Wells hospitals. As this option also comes out top in terms of the quality of care assessment, I think it offers the greatest potential for improving local stroke services.
"There is no question that these improvements are needed and I have urged the NHS authorities to implement the changes as quickly as possible once a final decision has been taken."
Greg was delighted to officially open the new Arriva bus depot in the North Farm Industrial Estate.
Unveiling a plaque to mark the opening, Greg said:
"When the old bus depot on St John's Road closed we were all very concerned that Arriva might move away from Tunbridge Wells so the decision by Arriva to invest in the town by building its new depot here was greeted with delight. Not only does it mean that we benefit in terms of improved local bus services but it also means more local jobs. Arriva is also investing in the next generation by providing apprenticeship opportunities at the new depot.
"Arriva has also updated its vehicles' livery and modernised its logo which makes the buses much more attractive. This along with their new timetable which has improved local bus services means that there is a good future for buses in our area."
During a visit to Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Greg said hello to a group of League of Friends volunteers who were running a gift stall.
Greg, along with local councillors, visited the new Arriva depot in Tunbridge Wells to launch the new bus network which went live on Sunday 11 March.
"Many people rely on local buses to get to work, to visit friends and family and to go shopping so it's really important that we have reliable, regular bus services. Arriva has been listening closely to what customers want and has worked really hard to create a new network with improved routes. I'm delighted, for example, that the direct service between Tunbridge Wells, Paddock Wood and Maidstone has been restored. The number of buses to Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Knights Park, Showfields and Ramslye have also been increased which is great news. Arriva is to be commended for its commitment to the local community."
Oliver Monahan, Area Managing Director for Arriva Kent and Surrey, said:
"We were absolutely thrilled to have Greg visit our new depot and give us his thoughts on the network changes. The feedback of local councillors and our customers is not only important to the team here at Arriva, but is also the start of some brilliant service updates that we hope will really improve the passenger experience in the Tunbridge Wells area.
"We would like to thank Greg for attending today, it's great to have him on board in celebrating and promoting the improvements to local bus services."
Greg met two Arriva apprentices at its new bus depot in Tunbridge Wells during National Apprenticeship Week 2018.
"It was great to meet James Langran and Wayne Stanton to chat about their experiences as Arriva apprentices. They have had fantastic training and were both passionate about their work - it was a tonic to meet them. Arriva's apprenticeship scheme at the Tunbridge Wells depot is one of the best in the country and I am proud that we have such a good local employer investing in the next generation."
Greg visited the new pedestrian crossing in Major York's Road.
"Major York's Road divides the Common in two and has lacked a crossing. Many people who use the Common, as well as people who park their car in the fairground car-park, will find it a boon to be able to cross safely.
"The campaign to get this crossing built has been a long slog – John Barber in particular has been tenacious in his efforts to get the crossing built - so it's really great to see it finally in place and being used."
John Barber from the Friends of the Commons said:
"The Friends of the Commons thank everybody who supported the creation of this excellent crossing."
Greg, along with his neighbouring MP for Tonbridge & Malling Tom Tugendhat, officially opened a new...
Greg was delighted to officially open the new Tunbridge Wells Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) centre...
New state-of-the-art double-decker cycle parking has just been installed at High Brooms Station to...
Greg met with Kent County Council and Horsmonden Parish Council to discuss road safety improvements...