John Whittingdale visited P & S Automation Ltd in West Station Industrial Estate, Maldon.

P & S Automation supply instrumentation, control and automation systems specialising in marine vessels. John saw two working systems for HMS Scott which will shortly be fitted in Falmouth.  John’s visit was at the start of Maritime UK Week which  highlights the importance of the Maritime Sector to the UK economy. He is pictured with Managing Director, Paul Edwards. 

John Whittingdale MP was presented in Parliament with a piece of artwork of the Hythe Quay in Maldon as a celebration of the local area. The piece, by Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year finalist Brian Ramsey, was donated by Sky to mark the launch of Sky Arts as a free-to-air channel.

John said: “It was a pleasure to meet Brian and I am delighted that the Hythe Quay was chosen as one of just 40 sites across the UK to mark the launch. The project celebrates the diversity of landscapes and buildings across the country and the power of art to offer new perspectives.

There has never been a more critical time to support the UK’s vibrant arts sector. I am hopeful that in launching Sky Arts as available to everyone, Sky can inspire greater participation in the arts from new and diverse audiences and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this cultural programming which is now available to watch free of charge.”

John Whittngdale visited the Plume Academy in Maldon.

In the last few years under strong leadership from the Head iPlume Academy has transformed. With 1700 pupils it is already the third biggest school in Essex and is likely soon to become the biggest. It is rated Good by Ofsted and in the first week back attendance was 96 per cent. They have manged to continue to provide every pupil with a full curriculum and are also recognised as being exceptionally good in the area of SEN, especially cerebral palsy.

John Whittingdale was honoured to join Chief Constable and officers of Essex Police to pay tribute to PC Andrew Harper

On 15 August 2019, 28-year-old police constable Andrew Harper was killed near Sulhamstead, Berkshire, England, whilst in the line of duty. Harper and a fellow officer were responding to a report of burglary, after which Harper was dragged behind a car causing his death.


Like many other residents, I have been working from home in Maldon during lockdown and have relied on a fast broadband connection. It is excellent news that homes in Maldon are now to be upgraded to Full Fibre to the Premises which will result in even faster and more reliable speeds.

Openreach is announcing plans to make ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable ‘Full Fibre’ (FTTP) broadband available to more than three million homes and businesses in some of the UK’s hardest to serve communities. This includes Maldon.

Work is expected to get under way in many of the announced locations within the next 12-18 months although, due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.

These locations will be upgraded by Openreach, without taxpayer subsidy, and it’s hoped having access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe will boost their post-Covid economic recovery. The announcement follows a new consultation from industry regulator Ofcom, published today, where it proposes that such a build commitment from Openreach is sufficient for them to extend the fibre enablers previously set out in their WFTMR consultation for Area 2 to Area 3.  This will contribute to the right investment conditions for Area 3 being in place. Ofcom has estimated that there are 9.6 million homes and businesses situated in this final third of the country.

The build to 3.2m UK premises forms part of a massive £12 billion investment which will support Openreach’s ambition to build ‘Full Fibre’ infrastructure to 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s – delivering significant economic, social and environmental benefits for rural and urban communities, assuming the right regulatory and political fibre enablers are in place.

Great initiative by new Mayor of Maldon distributing masks in High Street to shoppers   

I agree that it is vital to balance the need to restrict the spread of the virus without infringing on civil liberties, while allowing the restoration of economic and social life. My colleagues in Government have made a judgement that the best way to balance these things is to enable people to go out and about, and to see and socialise with friends and family, but to require that, if they choose to do so, they take additional measures to restrict the spread of this virus.

The guidelines and rules are kept under constant review to ensure that restrictions are not in place any longer than necessary. I understand your concerns regarding the restrictions, indeed I would argue that such restrictions are difficult to accept in a democratic and free society. However, this is an extraordinary time and I have concluded that the current action to stop the spread of the disease is necessary, however uncomfortable it is for us all.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. This is why social distancing, regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes is so important in controlling the spread of the virus.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.

In February, the Government announced the establishment of a £500 million Restoring Your Railway Fund. MPs were invited to submit applications for the restoration of services which were axed as a result of the Beeching Report in 1963. Following this, John Whittingdale, Member of Parliament for Maldon, submitted an application in conjunction with Maldon District Council for the restoration of the Maldon to Witham railway line which was also supported by Priti Patel MP and by Essex County Council.

Since the line from Maldon to Witham was lost in the 1960s, the town has grown considerably with increasing levels of traffic congestion and pollution. A restoration of the line connecting Maldon with the Greater Anglia rail Network would save travellers time and money, reduce congestion on the roads and improve the environment. I am most grateful to Maldon District Council for the work that they have put in to developing this plan and am delighted that it has moved to the next stage. I very much hope that it may eventually lead to Maldon being back on the rails.

Following an initial assessment, this proposal has now progressed to the second stage and a more detailed case is being submitted.,Ebbw%20Vale%20in%20South%20Wales 


On Friday 6th March, John Whittingdale visited the new Crouch Vale Medical Centre in South Woodham Ferrers to meet members of Provide, which supplies community health and social care across Essex. These services include Essex Sexual Health Service, Physiotherapy, Children’s Speech and Language Therapy, Audiology, Mid Essex ENT (ear, nose and throat) Service  as well as the District Nursing / Integrated Care Team (ICT). 

John was given a tour of the new centre which also houses the three GP practices serving South Woodham Ferrers: Brickfield Surgery, Kingsway Surgery and Greenwood Surgery. 

John was briefed on the preparations for dealing with suspected cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as Provide will be offering the Home Swabbing service for Mid Essex. John said: "I urge everyone to take precautions particularly by regular hand-washing for at least 20 seconds. If you are concerned that you may be suffering from Coronavirus or displaying symptoms, you should remain in your own home and call the NHS Helpline 111. Provide will visit you in your home to take swabs which will be sent to Broomfield or Cambridge laboratories for analysis. " 

John is pictured with Derrick Louis, Chairman of Provide and Sarah, Director of Operations.


John Whittingdale visited Margaretting Church of England Primary School. 

John talked to pupils in Years 5 and 6 about his work in Parliament and how democracy works. He also met Headteacher, Maire O’Regan, and congratulated her on the school’s achievement this year of coming top in Essex for reading in KS2, second for writing and fourth for maths.


John Whittingdale visited Maldon Salt to see the packing and distribution operation at Wycke Hill, Maldon, and to discuss their plans to expand the business. John previously took Margaret Thatcher to visit Maldon Salt in his first election campaign in 1992. 

Maldon Salt was founded in 1882 and is a family-run business. It still makes salt using the same traditional artisan methods taking water from the Blackwater Estuary. Originally, there were three salt pans at the Downs Road site but in recent years this has increased substantially. The Company now has 37 salt pans, 30 of which are at their production facility in Goldhanger. It is now intended to create another 36 pans at Goldhanger in an investment of around £4 million. Maldon Salt has been endorsed by many famous chefs and is now exported to 55 countries.

John is pictured with steve Osborne, Managing Director who follows in the footsteps of his father Clive, grandfather Cyril and great grandfather James.

John Whittingdale visited the Memory Lane event at West Hanningfield Village Hall as part of Village Halls Week.

John met Derek Paxman and other Trustees of the Hall as well as Cllr Sue Dobson and Sue Gibson of Rural Council for Communities in Essex. John looked at the exhibition on the history of the Hall and also discussed plans for a brand new Hall which are currently under development.

John Whittingdale MP has today pledged their support for the Long Live the Local Campaign to help pubs in Maldon keep their doors open. John Whittingdale joins the more than 240,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 379 in Maldon alone.

John Whittingdale MP is calling on the Government to cut beer tax at the Budget. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12% of the beer. Seven in ten alcoholic drinks served in pubs are beer, underlining how directly a cut in beer duty will help pubs. Brewing and pubs in Maldon supports 1381 jobs and contributes £35.7m to the local economy. 

Commenting on the campaign, John Whittingdale MP said: 

“Pubs are at the heart of communities across Maldon, but with three British pubs closing their doors for good every day the Government should consider a cut to beer tax. I’m supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax at this year’s Budget to support pubs in our local communities.” 

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“Beer duty has increased by 60% over the last 17 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe. When over two thirds of all alcoholic drinks purchased in the pub are beers, a cut in beer tax would go a long way to protecting pubs across Maldon. We are very grateful to John Whittingdale for their support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling for a cut in beer tax to protect our pubs.”

Notes to Editors:


Long Live the Local is a campaign backed by Britain’s Beer Alliance. The campaign celebrates pubs whilst educating the British public about the challenges they face, specifically a tax burden which is set to grow year on year. The Alliance consists of over 120 members, and members range from individual publicans and microbreweries to the UK's largest pub chains and international breweries. 

Further information about the Long Live the Local campaign can be found via  


John Whittingdale was delighted to welcome the 1st North Fambridge Sea Scouts Group on a visit to Westminster on a momentous day in Parliament. The Scouts were able to tour the Houses of Parliament and then visit Downing Street where they were able to see inside the famous black door.

John is pictured with Adrian Clements, Group Scout Leader, and members of the Group. 


John Whittingdale visited the Dengie Pumping Stations with the Environment Agency. The three Pumping Stations remove surface water through a network of man-made channels which is then discharged through 6 gravity out falls into the sea. This protects an area of around 55 square kilometres which is mainly high grade arable land with 46 residential properties within the flood cell. This lies behind an earthen embankment of about 24km stretching from St Peters Chapel to Burnham Wick Farm.

John discussed the future strategy for the protection of the Dengie Peninsula with Environment Agency Area Director, Simon Hawkins. John said “The risk of flooding, both from flooding and from the sea is particularly severe in the Dengie Peninsula. I am pleased that the Environment Agency have recently invested in new pumps and flooring at the Bridgewick Pumping Station and that the current flood defence strategy is working well. Although the priority is bound to be the protection of property, the land in the Dengie is of huge agricultural value and I welcome the Agency’s commitment to protect it as well”.

John is pictured with Environment Agency Area Director, Simon Hawkins, at Landwick Pumping Station in Dengie Marshes.

John Whittingdale presented Exceptional Service Awards on behalf of The Berkeley Leisure Group to Raymond and Gloria Bradford, the management team of Temple Grove Park in West Hanningfield. Raymond and Gloria have worked for the company for many years and have done a huge amount to improve the environment and facilities of Temple Grove Park: 

John Whittingdale said “I am delighted to present these awards to Raymond and Gloria in recognition of their hard work and commitment to ensure that Temple Grove remains a great place to live. The Park is well run and maintained and is a credit to the Park Homes sector. A large part of the credit is due to them and these awards are richly deserved.”

John is pictured with Raymond and Gloria Bradford, and David Curson, Managing Director of The Berkeley Leisure Group.

John Whittingdale attended events to mark the 50th Anniversary of Maldon’s Twinning with Cuijk in the Netherlands. The town of Cuijk is situated on the river Maas in the province of Noord-Brabant, near the German border. There have been regular exchanges between the two towns and strong links established:

Around 40 visitors from Cuijk spent the weekend in Maldon. John is pictured in front of the Twinning Symbol in Promenade Park with: Burgemeister Wim Hillenaar and his wife, Mieke Dengerink of the Cuijk Twinning Committee, Jill Hipsey of Maldon Twinning Association and Mayor of Maldon, Flo Shaughnessy with her husband, Terry.

John Whittingdale chaired and spoke at a public meeting at the Plume Academy on the subject of Climate Change. The meeting was organised by Jill Bruce, a WI Climate Ambassador, and Hattie Phillips, a Year 8 pupil at Plume Academy. The other speakers were Gareth Redmond-King of WWF-UK, Darren Tansley of Essex Wildlife Trust and Prof Sam Fankhauser of Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the LSE.  John said:

“I warmly congratulate Hattie on helping to organise the meeting and speaking with such passion. Climate Change is one of the greatest challenges we face and it is Hattie’s generation who are in the lead in calling for more to be done. I am proud that the UK has one of the best records of any country in the world in cutting carbon emissions and is now going to legislate that we must achieve a net zero carbon emission target by 2050. However, we need to do more and every person has a responsibility to think about their own lifestyle and what more they can do to reduce carbon emissions. It was good to see so many people come to the meeting and to commit to doing so.”

John Whittingdale helped launch the perpetuation of Sailing Boat “Pudge” by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust at Hythe Quay, Maldon. The project aims to restore “Pudge” by replacing her decking and hatches, improving her facilities and accommodation, researching and interpreting her heritage and addressing the skills shortage in the Thames Sailing Barge community. It is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a grant of £3328,000 and will take approximately two years.

John said: “I am delighted to learn that the Thames Sailing Barge Trust has, with the help of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, raised enough money to proceed with the restoration of SB Pudge. For may people, the Thames barge is the symbol of Maldon and the Trust does great work in maintaining the two it owns and at the same time keeping alive traditional shipbuilding skills”. 

John is pictured with Mayor of Maldon, Cllr Jeanette Stilts, Chairman of Maldon District Council, Cllr Henry Bass, Chairman of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust, Brian Dawson and other Trust supporters.


John Whittingdale visited the newly refurbished Maldon Mosque in Church Street run by the Maldon District Islamic Cultural Association. Founded in January 1988, the Association purchased the old Labour Hall in 2005 and converted it into a mosque. Following a crowd-funding appeal to the Muslim Community across the country, a new floor was added to provide an extra area for worship, an Imam’s room and a children’s study room. John was given a tour of the new building and also spoke to worshippers attending Friday prayers with the Imam.

John is pictured with the President of the Islamic Cultural Association, Jhual Abdul Hafiz, who is also proprietor of the Maldon Tandoori.

John Whittingdale visited Down Hall Residential Home in Bradwell on Sea to lunch with staff and residents. A lively conversation ensued covering the changes to the Maldon District over the last 30 years to the current political debate around Brexit!

John said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Down Hall and had a delicious lunch. It was a real pleasure to talk to the residents and staff as well as our local Priest, Steven Poss. I will certainly drop in again soon”.

John is pictured with Karen Johnson (Manager), Reverend Steven Poss and Louise together with two of the residents.

John Whittingdale opened the new Chelmer Housing Partnership development at Grangewood Park, Southminster Road, Burnham on Crouch. This is a new development of 72 affordable dwellings representing the first rented and shared ownership homes provided by CHP in Burnham. All of the rental properties will be owned by CHP with Maldon District Council nominating people to live in them – a quarter of which will go to people with a local connection.

John Whittingdale said: “I am delighted to launch this scheme which will provide badly  needed affordable homes in Burnham. We face a severe housing shortage in the District and I hope that those who are fortunate enough to obtain a property in this development will be very happy in their new homes”.

John is pictured with:

Cover picture:      Cllr Brenda Harker, Cllr Bryan Harker, Cllr Bob Boyce, Mayor of Burnham Wendy Stamp, Cllr Ron Pratt, Mary Gibbons (Chief Exec CHP, Cllr Penny Channer, Emma Foy (Maldon District Council)

Main article picture: Mary Gibbons (Chief Executive, CHP), Glen Alger and Melissa Banes (purchasers of Plot 39: 1 Harbour Road)

John Whittingdale joined other Essex MPs at a meeting with Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, and Chief Constable BJ Harrington.

The meeting was held to discuss policing in the County. John raised concerns about response rates, particularly in rural areas, as well as drug abuse and the need for more visible policing in High Streets.

John Whittingdale opened the new Coffee Room at Bradwell Community Shop and Post Office: 

The new Coffee Room has been built to provide a meeting place for members of the village with the help of Essex Community Foundation and Bradwell Windfarm Community Fund. John met residents of the village including a number of those from Down Hall Residential Home.

John is pictured with Chairman, Brian Main,  with joint Shop Managers, Rachael Smith and  Carol Fennell, and Eric behind the Counter.  

John Whittingdale joined over 500 other MPs to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The trees were planted in Riverside Park, Burnham-on-Crouch on Friday 9 November by John Whittingdale, Cllr Henry Bass, Chairman of Maldon District Council, Cllr Bob Boyce, Chairman of Community Services and Cllr Ron Pratt and Nick Sandford, Regional External Affairs Officer, the Woodland Trust

They were donated to John Whittingdale thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, which in April screened a landmark documentary, The Queen's Green Planet, following Her Majesty the Queen and this ambitious legacy project which brings together her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her little-known love of trees. At the heart of the film was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough filmed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last summer.  In a rare opportunity to see the Queen talking informally to Sir David, the conversation ranged from climate change, to conkers and of course trees, and was watched by 6.4 million viewers, making it ITV’s most watched factual programme of the year.

In support of the programme the Woodland Trust provided 50,000 trees for ITV viewers, and via the Rt. Hon Frank Field MP, who conceived the QCC initiative, also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK. 

John Whittingdale said:

“I am delighted that the Maldon District will be helping to provide the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy through these trees which I shall look forward to seeing grow in Riverside Park. This is an excellent project and I am grateful to Her Majesty, the Woodland Trust, and to Maldon District Council for their help”

Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight said:

“We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.  We all need trees. They are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of the Maldon District will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

John Whittingdale visited Trinity St Mary’s Primary School in South Woodham Ferrers to present the newly elected School Council members with their badges and to talk to the children about his work as a Member of Parliament. John said:


“I was delighted to meet the new School Council members and to congratulate them on their election. School Council elections provide a great introduction to the principles of democracy and I also enjoyed answering questions from all the pupils. These were wide-ranging and challenging covering topics like Brexit and the working of the economy as well as my role in representing the Maldon constituency in Parliament”.


John is pictured with Headteacher, Mike Williams, and members of the School Council.

John Whittingdale had a meeting with Chief Inspector Gerry Parker, the new Police Divisional Commander for Chelmsford and Maldon.


John said:


“I was very pleased to meet Chief Inspector Parker, the new Divisional commander and was encouraged to hear of his determination to step up pro-active policing across the Division. We are fortunate that the overall crime rate in the district is still the lowest in Essex and it remains a safe place to live. However, I am concerned that there is a perception that crime is rising and that there are not enough police available. This has been increased by recent break-ins that have occurred in Maldon High Street and the increasing incidence of drug-related crime, often fuelled by gangs. It is good news that an additional 6 front-line police officers are being deployed in the District to strengthen coverage of the rural areas.  I also welcome Chief Inspector Parker’s intention to work more closely with local schools, as well as publicans and community groups, and to make more information available through facebook and social media:



John Whittingdale met Ella Pennycott from Burnham on Crouch who had come to Westminster to talk to MPs as part of the Stolen Futures Campaign of the National Deaf Children’s Society:


Ella, who is a Year 8 student at Southend High School for Girls, is a member of the Youth Advisory Board of the NCDS.


John said: “I was delighted to meet Ella during her visit to Westminster. She spoke powerfully about the difficulties faced by deaf children and how schools, universities and employers need to do more to help meet their needs. I will certainly be taking this up with Essex County Council and warmly congratulate Ella on her participation in this important campaign”.


John is pictured with Ella Pennycott by the NCDS bus in Old Palace Yard opposite the Palace of Westminster.


John Whittingdale visited Burnham on Crouch Rugby Club to see the volunteers in action as part of the NatWest RugbyForce weekend. Natwest Rugby Force is a nationwide programme designed to make rugby clubs stronger by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community over a summer weekend. In its ninth year, NatWest RugbyForce has helped over 650 clubs.

John saw volunteers clearing ditches, repairing fences and helping to prepare the grounds for the beginning of the new season.

John is pictured with Club President, Niall Hornett, Burnham Councillor Peter Elliott and Mayor of Burnham, Wendy Stamp.

John Whittingdale presented Kam, Proprietor of Chillies Indian Fusion in Oaklands House, South Woodham Ferrers, and his chef a certificate and apron for being Highly Commended in the 2018 Tiffin Cup competition.

The Tiffin Cup winner is chosen from a list of restaurants that have been nominated by local MPs. This year, 60 restaurants were nominated by their MPs. The competition aims to raise the profile of the quality and diversity of South Asian food in Britain while raising money for the charity World Vision.


John Whittingdale joined Maldon district Councillors and others to mark the opening of the Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub. This is supported by the Dengie Gateway Project which has been supported by the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

The Dengie Gateway Project has delivered a number of elements, including, a 5 year District Tourism Marketing Strategy, the new Visit Maldon District website, eshop and improved social media presence. The Project has also sought to promote the District’s wonderful Saltmarsh Coast through the installation of new signage and way-marking, dedicated webpages and the creation of a network of inspiring and bespoke Saltmarsh Coast Visitor Information Hubs, with the Maldon Saltmarsh Coast Hub in the centre.


John Whittingdale attended the Royal Yachting Association “Push the Boat Out” event at the Blackwater Sailing Club’s Open Day at Heybridge Basin.

RYA Push the Boat Out is intended to give people the opportunity to get out on the water and to find out how easy it is to get involved in sailing and windsurfing. Hundreds of Sailing Clubs and training centres take part throughout the month of March, including Blackwater sailing Club, Royal Corinthian Yachting Club, South Woodham Ferrers Yacht Club and Marconi Sailing Club in the Maldon constituency.

Blackwater Sailing Club was established in 1899 and is one of the leading sailing clubs on the East Coast with more than 1,000 members. It has an active Cadet section and it offers both cruiser and dinghy sailing. The Open Day was the most successful ever with 295 visitors and over 30 new members signed up on the day. Over 500 tasters provided for our visitors including John who went out for a sail in a Quest on the large freshwater lake owned by the Club. 

Blackwater Sailing Club website

Picture 1: John is pictured with Rob Haigh, Deputy Cadet Skipper

Picture 2: John is pictured with Rear Commodore, Nigel Butler


John Whittingdale attended the service at St Lawrence Heritage Church to bless the new telescope and display boards which have been installed in the churchyard looking over the Blackwater estuary.

The blessing was conducted by the Dean of Chelmsford, the Very Revd Nicholas Henshall. John is a co-Patron of the Friends of St Lawrence Church, along with Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP whose family still own a house locally.

John is pictured with Cllr Penny Channer, Nicholas Henshall and his wife, Christine, and Chairman of Essex County Council John Aldridge and his wife, Christine.

John Whittingdale visited Lookers Ford in South Woodham Ferrers. Lookers is a member of the National Franchised Dealers Association which is represents the 5,100 franchise vehicle retail network. Lookers Ford has dealerships across the UK. In Essex, there are showrooms in Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, and South Woodham Ferrers.

John discussed concerns of the automotive industry about the arrangements after Britain has left the European Union as well as possible plans for the expansion of the South Woodham Ferrers showroom.

John is pictured with lookers Regional Director, Rob Dier.

John Whittingdale visited Woodville Primary School in South Woodham Ferrers.

John spoke to the School Assembly about his work in Parliament and the importance of democracy. He then met the School Council and answered questions on Brexit, Windrush and Migration, Syria, and a number of other topics raised by pupils.

Following his visit, the Head Boy, Ed, and Head Girl, Holly, wrote this report:

On the 27th of March, our local MP John Whittingdale (MP of Maldon) came and visited our school. He produced an interesting and political assembly about his job, and what democracy means. After the assembly, he visited the school council in Mrs Turner’s room and we discussed about the law and Brexit. Brexit means Brittan Exiting the EU.  Most of Britain and the members of parliament have voted and have decided to leave Europe. The main reason to leave was because of other bigger parliaments have been sending their rules ,but now our MPs can decide our rules. 

John Whittingdale visited Sandon School to talk to Sixth Formers on a range of political issues.

As well as having a tour, John discussed with students  a number of subjects which they wanted to raise including pollution and climate change, funding of the NHS, university admissions, global security and Brexit. John said: “it was a real pleasure to hear the views of a number of my younger constituents and to engage with them. I was greatly impressed by their knowledge and interest and was also very encouraged that a number said that they would like to get involved in politics in future”.

John Whittingdale welcomed Phil and Abby Wilcox, proprietors of Wibblers Brewery in Southminster to the House of Commons to celebrate their best-selling  Apprentice ale, being guest beer in the Strangers Bar of the House of Commons for the week beginning 4th December.

Wibblers was established on a commercial basis in 2007 in a converted barn in Mayland by Phil Wilcox, following 20 years of home brewing experience. Its beers have won numerous awards and John also recently attended the opening of their new premises and tap room in Goldsands Road, Southminster.

John said: “This week is a particularly busy one in Parliament and the House of Commons sat until 1.00am on Monday. The bar is always full with Members and guests and I am delighted that my colleagues will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy Wibblers Apprentice throughout the week.”

John Whittingdale attended the Digging and Delving exhibition at the Burnham on Crouch Museum on the history of the allotments in Burnham and launch of the associated publication. The concept and implementation of this project was carried out by Create and Flourish CIC, a Community Interest Company based in Burnham which helps local people to build resilience and maintain or improve mental and physical well-being through gardening and arts & crafts activities. The project was funded by the Heritage  Lottery Fund. 


20 acres of land were first leased to Burnham Parish Council for allotments in 1895 and Digging and Delving is a fascinating history based on many personal recollections of locals and allotment holders.


John is pictured with Triss Norman and Sharon Chan of Create and Flourish CIC as well as Carl Wilson, Angela Stearn and Zoe Bridges.

John Whittingdale visited Wentworth School in Viking Road, Maldon, as part of their British Values Week. John met the members of the School Council and then addressed a School Assembly to talk about Democracy and to answer Questions.

John said: “I very much enjoyed my visit to Wentworth and was most impressed by the perceptive questions from the children there. I am always happy to visit schools in my constituency to talk to pupils and am also pleased to welcome any local school which wishes to visit the Palace of Westminster”.

John Whittingdale visited the refurbished Victoria Passenger Boat at Paper Mill Lock, Little Baddow, which is owned and operated by Essex Waterways. The boat was purchased and restored by Essex Waterways with the help of a grant of £32,838 from the Essex Rivers LEADER programme, administered by the Rural Community Council of Essex. 

John is pictured with Roy Chandler, Chairman of Essex Waterways. Since November 2005, Essex Waterways has managed the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation which runs from Springfield Basin in Chelmsford to Heybridge Basin with moorings at Springfield Basin, Sandford, Paper Mill, Howe Mill and Heybridge Basin.

John Whittingdale performed the opening ceremony for the Bradwell Community Shop which has been completely fitted out with new shelving, counters and chiller cabinets. The Community Shop is run by volunteers from the village on a not-for-profit basis and has benefitted from grants from Magnox as well as the Essex Community Fund. 

John is pictured with Bob Nichols, Bradwell Site Closure Director, Cllr Adrian Fluker, Deputy Leader of Maldon District Council, Brian Main, and Jill Curd of Essex Community Foundation. 

John Whittingdale attended a briefing for Essex MPs  from the Essex Fire and Rescue Service at Fire HQ at Kelvedon Park.

In particular, John was briefed on the work being done to check the safety of all high rise blocks in the County following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. As well as watching a training exercise in which officers released a victim trapped in a car in a simulated road traffic collision, John was briefed on  the work of the Specialist Animal rescue unit, the team dealing with chemical spillages and the dog rescue team.

John was briefed by Adam Eckley, Chief Fire Officer, and other senior officers. John is pictured with Chelmsford Fire Station officer, James Hall and also with Essex Rescue Dogs,  Kirby and Jarvis.





John Whittingdale attended the Burnham on Crouch RNLI Open day at Burnham Lifeboat station.

The day provided opportunities for visitors to learn more about the work of the lifeboat station and included a mock rescue from a life raft in the marina. John said: “it was a thoroughly enjoyable event on a beautiful day. However, it also reminded us of what we owe to the lifeboat crews who risk their lives in all weathers to save those in trouble at sea”

John is pictured with Graham Richardson, Area Life Saving Manager, RNLI< and David Nicholls, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Burnham on Crouch RNLI.

John Whittingdale opened the new wine shop and tea room attached to Clayhill Vineyard on Lower Burnham Road. The business is owned by Dale and Vicky Symons who first planted the vines in 2006. It now produces approx 50 tonnes of grapes per annum and more than 4,000 bottles of wine have so far been produced.

The new building is a converted barn with a new cellar to allow expanded production. It benefited from a grant of £38,000 from the Essex Rivers LEADER programme funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and which is managed by the Rural Community Council of Essex. The £95,000 project will ultimately create an additional 2.2 full time jobs and will create a tourist destination in an area which is becoming a centre of wine-making.

John Whittingdale attended the  annual Armed Forces Day celebration at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome. The event included a short religious service and flag-raising ceremony as well as a march past by local cadet forces.

John Whittingdale said: “Armed Forces Day provides an opportunity for us to pay tribute to the fantastic job which the armed services do on our behalf. It is particularly fitting that this even took place at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome where young men sacrificed their own lives defending our freedom one hundred years ago”.

John is pictured with the Colchester Garrison Sergeant Major,  Commander of the Colchester Garrison, Lieutenant Colonel Ciaran Griffin, Dave Monk of BBC Essex, and Cllr Mark Durham, Leader of Maldon District Council.

John Whittingdale welcomed TV Historian, Dan Snow, to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome before Dan spoke at a fund-raising dinner at Hylands House in aid of the Charitable Trust that runs the Aerodrome, of which John is Patron. John is pictured with Dan Snow, Chairman of the Trust Peter Martin, and Chief Executive, Ian Flint

John Whittingdale welcomed a group of international travel buyers from the United States and Ireland to Maldon.

Having previously visited the RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall, the group were given a presentation by Topsail Charters on board the Thames Barge Kitty on the Hythe Quay.

John said: “Tourism is an increasingly important industry in the Maldon District but it is not yet established on the itinerary of international visitors to the UK. I am delighted that Visit Britain has chosen to bring these representatives of international tour operators to Maldon so that they can see all that we have to offer”.

The group of buyers were visiting the East of England as part of VisitBritain’s flagship travel trade event ExploreGB. Now in its third year ‘ExploreGB’ took place in Brighton. More than 400 international buyers from 40 countries gathered to do business with 430 travel industry suppliers from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Buyers from Britain’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor markets including the USA, Germany, France, Canada and Australia attended. Important growth markets including China, the world’s most valuable outbound market, India, Italy and the Gulf countries were also represented.


John recognises the important contribution that pubs make to their local communities and is pleased to show his support for brewing and pubs across the Country by signing the MP pledge card. 

The industry creates hundreds and thousands of jobs in the UK and adds over £20 billion to the economy.   Permitted development rights allow the change of use of public houses to shops and supermarkets without the need for a planning application. Planning regulations enable councils to remove these permitted development rights to protect local assets.

When a pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value, permitted development rights are removed and a planning application is required for its change of use or demolition. This provides an opportunity for local people to comment and enables the local planning authority to determine the application in accordance with its local plan, any neighbourhood plan and national policy. Over 1,280 pubs are now Assets of Community Value.

The local planning authority may also take the listing into account as a material consideration when determining any planning application.

The Government has launched a new £1.5 million Pub Loan Fund to enable local communities to take control of pubs at risk of closure. Local people will be able to apply for small loans to help restore their pub, to help pay for feasibility work or lawyers' fees.


John Whittingdale visited Brynleigh Technology Ltd in Heybridge House Industrial estate off The Causeway in Maldon.

Brynleigh Technology is a family owned business which was founded in 1993 and manufactures printed circuit boards using its own advanced software. The firm has expanded steadily and will shortly be moving to new premises in Maldon. John toured the factory and spoke to managers and staff.

John is pictured with founder and Managing Director, Maurice Apthorp, Technical Director, Richard Apthorp, and Commercial Director, Lisa Apthorp.

John attended the opening of the Wibblers Brewery at their new home in Goldsands Road, Southminster, which was performed by John Fisher and his mother, Mrs Maud Fisher.

Wibblers was established on a commercial basis in 2007 in a converted barn in Mayland by Phil Wilcox, following 20 years of home brewing experience. Its beers have won numerous awards including Crafty Stout which won a Gold award in the Stout Class in the CAMRA National Winter Festival in 2015/16.  

John is pictured with Head Brewer, Phil Wilcox.




John recently attended NHBC’s Parliamentary event celebrating the Pride in the Job winners across the country and was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to congratulate the Site Manager of the recently completed St Luke's Park development, Mick Montgomery, who won Pride in the Job Seal of Excellence Award at the NHBC East Regional Finals.

John Whittingdale met Chief Inspector Ronnie Egan, Divisional Commander of Chelmsford and Maldon Policing Area, to discuss local policing issues including the levels of crime, police cover and the possible relocation of Maldon Police Station to the offices of Maldon District Council.

John Whittingdale said: “The Maldon and Chelmsford area remains one of the safest places to live with low levels of crime. However, it is essential that we keep it that way and I am very much aware of local concern about the level of police cover and response times. I strongly welcome plans to invest more in frontline policing and also the emphasis that Chief Inspector is putting on tackling Rural Crime, particularly in the Dengie Peninsula.”

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