15 FEB 2019

East Suffolk Extra Column - 9th February 2019

"Ahead of the final consultation on the energy infrastructure needed for the East Anglia offshore windfarm projects, I met senior executives from Scottish Power Renewables to ask questions on their decision to site the substation in Friston. SPR chose the Friston site in December following a previous period of consultation where they also considered Broom Covert at Sizewell. Neither of the sites they considered were wholly appropriate and it was my suggestion, via the consultation, that SPR and National Grid find an alternative, such as the proposed nuclear site at Bradwell. However, if the Friston site does go-ahead then it is extremely important that its construction be mitigated. I was clear with SPR that they need to find a solution to enable the substation to be dug into the ground to minimise the impact on the environment. You can find out more, including the detail on the public information meetings at - www.scottishpowerrenewables.com/pages/ea_one_north_phase_4_consultation.aspx. I urge local residents to respond to the consultation before it closes on March 26th.

I arranged for CQC inspectors to come to Parliament recently to brief East Anglian Members of Parliament on the turnaround plan for the Mental Health Trust. This follows a CQC inspection in September 2018, where the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust was put into special measures. I'm a little more reassured now they have now recruited a new Chief Operating Officer and Nursing Director and am pleased to hear they are in talks to recruit a new chair. The Trust will now have an oversight meeting led by the CQC every month and each patient referral that is downgraded is now reviewed to make sure it is an appropriate decision. A 24/7 phone line has now also been put in place for patients.

Finally, following the deeply disappointing news that Marks & Spencer plan to close their Felixstowe branch, I met representatives from the company in Parliament this week to urge them to review their decision. Felixstowe is a town on the rise and with jobs, population and investment all increasing in the town, I'm surprised by the timing of their announcement. While I think it is unlikely they will change their mind, particularly given this is one of their smaller stores, I strongly made the case that it should remain open."

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