Latest Herald Column - 28 January 2016

Last Monday’s meeting in the Commons between about 20 Sussex and South London MPs, Rail Minister Claire Perry, Southern Rail (Now GTR), Network Rail and a cast of thousands was certainly a lively start to the Parliamentary week. I have not seen such anger expressed by my colleagues on behalf of our train commuting constituents for some time. They offered little immediate comfort but can be in no doubt of the urgency of getting their act together.

If nothing else their communication with passengers when things go wrong needs to be improved radically. We were offered the opportunity to receive live updates when disruption occurs. I fear our mailboxes may soon be in meltdown but I will pass on what useful information I can.

By contrast the end of the week was much more relaxing with a great evening of addictively toe-tapping tunes ‘Back To the Sixties and Seventies’ laid on by the Sir Robert Woodard Academy. It was another great show by SWRA which has not lost its musical prowess from its Boundstone days. Given that many of the parents of the very talented and confident performers could not have been born in the Sixties, let alone have bought many of the records first time round unlike me, I was made to feel very old.

Younger still I was delighted to welcome a very enthusiastic group of pupils from Swiss Gardens Primary School up for a tour of Westminster on Wednesday with a challenging barrage of questions. It was really good to see such an interest in Parliament at such an early age – let’s hope they do not become too cynical as they get older.

The Friends of Shoreham Fort have their AGM next Thursday 4th February and I have long been an admirer of the transformatory work that Gary Baines and his volunteers have brought about on the once crumbling historical gem that is the Palmerston Folly on Shoreham Beach. I was privy to see a very impressive 3D film of their vison to turn the site into a real community heritage hub and restore it to its former historical prowess. Given what they have achieved so far with some help from the co0mmunity and a fair hearing from Historic England they might just do it – I hope they do.