FIRSTLY, I do hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family. It was good to have a break, but I am glad to be getting back to work on my priorities for North Cornwall as we begin 2022.

The start of the year is always a good time to reflect on our progress in the previous 12 months, but I also like to plan for the year. Clearly, the public health situation which has taken precedence for almost two years will continue to be a major issue on all our lives. I am very pleased that North Cornwall has been able to respond so well to the pandemic despite the huge ‘asks’ that have been made of the public and our businesses.

It was important to me that our economy was able to restart with the minimum disruption, and in the cases where businesses did find they were in difficulty, Westminster responded appropriately. I believe the package of support offered by the Treasury was the most comprehensive in the world and although we have lost some businesses, overall, the impact of the local economy has been kept to a minimum.

Not all the solutions have been financial, the extension to the holiday season and the ability for sites to allow people to pitch up for longer periods really did help. Likewise, the knock-on effect of international travel being disrupted meant that Cornwall was a top destination for holidays last year. It’s clear to me from my correspondence from visitors to the area that they were extremely impressed and will be back again in future.

With more visitors to the area one of the downsides is that our local NHS services face more pressure. I’m pleased that the NHS has confirmed that their plans to expand Bodmin Hospital into an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) remains a priority for them. The UTC will offer an enhanced service compared to what is currently on site and will be able to deal with the majority of non-life-threatening injuries and ailments. The establishment of UTC’s is part of the NHS Long-term Plan that has been successfully rolled out in other parts of the country. Please do keep checking my website and social media, where I will be updating constituents on this exciting project for North Cornwall.

Road safety is another top priority of mine, and I am pleased to see that National Highways (formally Highways England) confirmed that they are reviewing modelling to understand the base line conditions of traffic both on the SRN and local side roads around Plusha Junction on the A30. Once they have this, they will test options to address the safety issues in that model and will also be working on those options at the same time. I am obviously in favour of anything which leads to safer roads for North Cornwall, and I will be supporting any changes to the junction which are put forward.