After a busy summer in the constituency, it has been great to return to Westminster and raise the issues I have been discussing with local residents.
Transport remains a key area of focus and this month I launched a transport survey for residents in Otford. Since my election, many of you have been in touch to share with me your views on transport provision across the Sevenoaks and Swanley constituency. Better links for Otford (by bike, train and bus) is a common theme, and I therefore wanted to provide a platform where you can feed in your ideas. The survey closes tomorrow, however if you are yet to get in touch, please do visit https://www.lauratrott.org.uk/have-your-say.
If you do not live in Otford but wish to share your local concerns, I will be running future surveys later this year to focus on other key issues affecting our local towns and villages. It is vital that everyone across Sevenoaks and Swanley can have their views heard. Equally, if you wish to raise something with me directly, please do email my office on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also celebrated this month two very exciting developments. Firstly, my election pledge to open a Sevenoaks campus for Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys has now been delivered. Education has always been a top priority for me, and since becoming an MP I have worked hard to support our schools locally – regularly speaking with parents, teachers, and students and arguing for better facilities. We’ve had fantastic results in Swanley and West Kingsdown, with more to come. Pivotal to maintaining high standards across our schools is the need for more school choice and this is why I am particularly pleased to have seen progress in this area. The new campus will mean: parents have more choice locally of quality secondary schools, pupils are more likely to get their first choice of school and families will spend less time and money on the school run. Thank you to The Sevenoaks Grammar School Campaign, all the students, parents, teachers, and Councillors who have been involved and of course my predecessor, Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon. Lots of fantastic people working together to make Sevenoaks an even better place to live.
Secondly, and on a more national stage, I am delighted to report that tomorrow my Private Members Bill to ban Botox and dermal fillers for under 18s will be enforced nationwide. The legislation will also require a doctor, registered medical practitioner, or a health professional to administer such procedures where there is a medical need in under 18s – a requirement not previously in place. This is a truly momentous occasion and one I am immensely proud of. No child needs cosmetic Botox or fillers. They are dangerous and unnecessary procedures which can ruin children's lives – both emotionally and physically. We do not expect something that we can easily, and very legally, get done in the comfort of our own home to be something that can blind us - but shockingly, that is the case. It has been an honour to bring about legislative change so early in my Parliamentary career and I am just delighted that those unscrupulous providers will no longer be able to take advantage of some of our children.
Thank you all for your continued support, and if there is anything I can do to help you, please do get in touch.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley
Below is a snapshot of what I have been working on. If there is anything I can do to support you, please get in touch.
- We are incredibly lucky in Sevenoaks to have such wonderful local businesses, and it was a pleasure to meet many of the businessmen and women at the Sevenoaks Chamber of Commerce lunch this month. The importance of the Chamber of Commerce is vital, and I know played a key role for many local businesses in navigating the uncharted waters caused by the pandemic – be it networking opportunities or support and advice. At the event I was pleased to take questions on a variety of topics, and I would like to thank all those you attended.
- I also had the pleasure this visiting the 2021 Sevenoaks Business Show, organised by the Sevenoaks Town Team. I met so many great businesses and charities, and I would encourage anyone who wasn’t able to attend, to look up the exhibitors here.
- After a fantastic summer of sport, it was great to write again for the Sevenoaks Sport and Wellbeing Magazine and celebrate some of our homegrown sportsmen and women succeeding on an international stage. Our local sport clubs are so important for nurturing such talent so please pick up a copy of the magazine to read the latest news from across the district.
- As part of my role as a member of the Health and Social Care Committee, I raised with Professor Martin Marshall, Chair at Royal College of General Practitioners, the need for face-to-face appointments, following many constituents having been in touch on the issue. I have also been in touch with many local surgeries to confirm their current arrangements. While I understand and appreciate people will have different preferences, for me the key is that no patient who wishes to have a face-to-face appointment is refused one. I will continue to raise this in Parliament.
- Our brilliant Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, has launched a survey as part of his inquiry into violence against women and girls in Kent: www.makingkentsafer.co.uk. It covers, people’s experiences as victims of crime, perceptions of safety across Kent and seek views as to how we can all do better in making women and girls safer. I have been working closely with Matthew in this space, so please do get involved. It only takes 5 minutes to complete, and all responses are anonymous.
- I met with Sevenoaks Welcomes Refugees (SWR), an amazing charity who support local refugee families. Following recent developments in Afghanistan, we expect refugee families to be moving into our area in the coming months as part of the resettlement schemes - which Sevenoaks District Council are playing an active role in. However, if we are to house the refugees successfully, it was explained to me by SWR that more local private landlords - who are happy to rent to refugee families - are urgently needed. Please do share this information with anyone you know who might be able to help. To be clear, they are not asking anyone to provide free accommodation but are seeking possible tenancies that would be offered to arriving refugees.
- I visited the Horton Kirby Environment Centre, where along with local councillors Philip McGarvey and Roger House, I met the brilliant teacher Andrew Berry. The centre is a fantastic place for children to learn not only about nature, but also history – including what it was like to live in Victorian times or during the Second World War. It’s a huge asset to the area and do recommend a visit.
- I also visited the Fighting Cocks pub in Horton Kirby and meet with manager Lara. She told me how business had bounced back post COVID and how heart-warming it had been to see so many reunions of family and friends in the pub since restrictions were lifted. It was also good to hear how the support of the Government, through furlough, loans. VAT cut and grants, helped the pub survive. It would have been a tragedy if a great community pub such as the Fighting Cocks had closed, so it was fantastic to hear how with the support of the local community and Government, the pub was now looking forward to the future.
- And finally, I have launched my annual Christmas Card competition. The competition is open to all local children, up to 12 years old, and further details – alongside the entry form – can be found on my website at https://www.lauratrott.org.uk/christmas-card-competition The deadline for applications is Monday 1st November and I am looking forward to seeing some amazing artwork. Good luck to everyone!