Locally this month I have been focussing a lot of my attention on the unfolding of illegal planning developments, and the terrible destruction of trees on green belt land adjacent to Knockholt Station. While the land technically sits outside of the constituency, the development affects our residents and therefore action from the London Borough of Bromley was essential. For me the premise is simple, where people break the law there must be consequences. Thousands of residents within this constituency every year apply for planning permission, follow the rules and either build or develop only if they obtain the appropriate permission. What we cannot have, therefore, is people deciding the rules do not apply to them and ignore every process available to them to obtain permission. I have been sharing updates on my Facebook page, and last week met with some residents who have voiced concerns. By working together, we can - and will - ensure the voice of Sevenoaks is heard, and our green belt protected.
I am also working on local campaigns on fly tipping, rural crime and women’s safety, and am very aware of the issue of self-isolation in our schools. I am making the case for ending the current guidance as due to the level of disruption its causing for pupils, teachers, and parents. I know how important the end of term is for our children, especially after the year we have had.
As ever, if I can help or support you please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office on firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also beginning to plan my visits over the summer, so if you have any recommendations do let me know.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley
Below is a snapshot of what we have been working on. If there is anything I can do to support you, please get in touch.
- Over the last year, and alongside my Kent MP colleagues, I have been running a campaign to change the way rail season tickets are designed – and I am delighted that from this week it is now possible to buy a flexible season ticket from Sevenoaks to London. This means that if you commute two days every week, or go into London often but irregularly, you can buy a discounted ticket that can be used flexibly. If you are a commuter, I encourage you to visit the new season ticket calculator which is available here to see if you will be able to benefit from the new scheme.
- I was delighted to this month receive my first Covid-19 vaccination. I remain hugely grateful to all the scientists and those in the NHS. Anyone who is now over the age of 18 can come forward, so please do book your appointment (if you have not done so already).
- Following on from the opening up of hospitality indoors, I visited No.17 Wine Bar and Brasserie in Westerham to hear how the first few weeks had gone. Vardy, one of the owners, used to do my hair when I was younger, so it was lovely to catch up with her and also meet bar manager Ryan. I was shown round this great business and could see why it is so popular! Independent retailers lie at the heart of our towns and long may that continue. As we slowly get back on our feet, I hope we can all visit our great shops, bars and restaurants – let’s shop, eat and drink local, and keep our towns and villages thriving.
- As a member of the Conservative Environment Network, I asked the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth what steps the Government is taking to increase consumer awareness of the environmental impact of their actions with the wider goal of helping to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It's so important we all play our part in helping to combat climate change and I will continue to push for better information to ensure local residents can make the best choices for our future.
- As many of you will know I do a lot of work on Women’s Health. At a recent Health and Social care Committee session I raised with the Health Minister the issue of pain relief during coil insertion. I also then appeared on Radio 5 Live with Naga Munchetty to discuss what should be done about it. This is an issue I will continue to raise in the House of Commons and with my ministerial colleagues, and if anyone wants to talk about their experiences, please do get in touch.
- Fly-tipping is a perennial problem in our area, and I have been saddened to see a spate of recent cases. It ruins our otherwise green fields, walking routes and hedgerows and endangers the health and lives of animals. It must not be tolerated. I continue to push for coordination amongst all authorities for speedier removal and enforcement action, and I urge residents to report incidents as soon as they see them.
- The wedding industry has been particular hard hit during the pandemic. Earlier this month I visited Clementine Bridal Suite in Westerham, owned by Tina Preuveneers and Margaret Marcovecchio, to hear from them first-hand how they have been affected. It was great to hear of their plans to expand their offer of British made dresses – which will be added to their already stunning collection.
- Following the G7 submit, I asked the Prime Minister about his gender equality agenda. There were some great commitments given in Cornwall, but a lot of the commitments only spoke about reporting in 2026. Given the importance of the issue I believe updates must be shared more regularly, and I am glad the Prime Minister committed to providing these. The clips of my question can be found on my Instagram highlights reel here.
- I asked the Attorney General what measures the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are taking to ensure cases of Domestic Violence and serial abuse are addressed as an urgent priority. I am pleased the Government remains committed to addressing the issue and that our local CPS is working with the tribunals service to ensure that these cases can be listed before the courts as a priority with trial dates being moved forward. I will continue to push for action on this issue and ensure that all victims receive the justice that they deserve.
- And finally, I have now joined Instagram. For updates on Sevenoaks and Swanley, and to see behind the scenes of life as an MP, please do follow me at: https://www.instagram.com/lauratrottmp/