John Whittingdale opened the newly refurbished "The Limes" guest house on Market Hill, Maldon. The Limes is a Grade II listed building in the conservation area dating back to the 17th century which has been refurbished to a high quality by owner, James Mann. It is a four star Guest House has 14 bedrooms and offers bed and breakfast accommodation close to the centre of the town. For further information, visit: www.thelimesguesthouse.com

 

 

 John is pictured with the Manager of The Limes, together with Mayor of Maldon, Cllr Steven Savage and Owner, James Mann

John Whittingdale opened the brand new Pre-School building at Purleigh Primary School.

Until now, Half-Pint Pre-School have rented a demountable building from the school which has been on site since the early 1950s and has been moved three times. The condition of the demountable had deteriorated severely and, while the Pre-School staff did an amazing job with the children, they had been constantly hindered by the building. The new building will allow the staff at Half-Pint to provide a full curriculum that offers quality access to the Early Years Foundation Stage and meets the Every Child Matters agenda.

Supporting innovation in Essex, on Friday 15th July 2011, John Whittingdale, Member of Parliament for Maldon and Chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, opened the launch of Global TCT’s new High Definition 3D model service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This unique on-site bureau facility, based in the South East of England, delivers extreme detailed 3D models with specific relevance for architects, investment foundries, product development, tooling and other limitless applications.

At the ceremony Mr. Whittingdale expressed “I am delighted to help launch Global TCT’s new 3D modelling service. Global TCT are one of a very few companies in the country able to offer this service which has limitless applications. It will be a real asset to a huge variety of industries and it is fantastic that a firm based in East Hanningfield has the leading technology in this field.”

Using one of the largest, most flexible systems in the world, Global TCT are able to create an unrivalled competency in the manufacture of exact geometry, high detailed models where visual concept aids are used to offer real time, three dimensional visual references for design optimisation, customer demonstration and exhibition pieces allowing customers to demonstrate a design in ‘real life’ to their clients.

“With the launch of this exciting project, we can now deliver 3D models with unrivalled stability, including internal structures, and one of the fastest builds in the industry” enthused Kevin Smith, Global TCT’s Managing Director.

MALDON BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICE LAUNCH BACKED BY ESSEX FSB Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) has welcomed the launch of a new business support service which will give free advice and guidance to businesses across the Maldon District.

Chairwoman of Mid and North West Essex FSB, Glenys Chatterley, said: “The Maldon Business Support Service was an idea Essex FSB had some four months ago and has brought together partners to offer a high quality, free to use service for any business or would be entrepreneur in the Maldon District. “The scheme was launched by Maldon Member of Parliament John Whittingdale and is a true example of partnership working.

“The premises has been provided rent free by Bentalls Shopping Centre in Heybridge; the qualified business advisors are being funded by NWES enterprise agency; the broadband service is being provided free of charge by Buzcom and other support has been given by Essex FSB, Maldon District Council, Maldon District Business Partnership, Job Centre Plus and Essex County Council. “We are convinced that this service will be well used by local businesses as we know there is a demand for such support in the Maldon District.”

Maldon MP John Whittingdale said: “Having a business support service based in Maldon is exactly what is needed. I am often approached by constituents who are seeking advice on how to start a new business or wanting help with their existing business which may be in difficulties. I am delighted that I shall now be able to refer them to professional business advisers based within the District. “It is small businesses who collectively employ more than half the country’s workforce and those businesses are the ones that will lead our economic recovery. Providing advice and support for them in this way will help them to prosper and will bring economic benefits for Maldon.”

Director of Enterprise Services at NWES, Andrew Wilson, said: “John Sargant, who is a qualified and experienced business advisor from NWES will be working from Maldon each Friday and appointments can be made with him by ringing 0845 60 99 99 1. “John will meet existing business owners and managers as well as those wishing to start a business either at the NWES Maldon office or at their own premises and is able to give advice and assistance including making people aware of financial support which may be available to their business. “If the demand is there then we will extend the service from one day a week as we are determined to help boost the Maldon economy by providing practical support to businesses across the district.”

More details available from www.nwes.org.uk The FSB represents more than 200,000 business people across the United Kingdom and is the largest single organisation representing business interests in the country. The Mid and North West Essex Branch of the FSB represents the interests of small businesses in the following postcode areas – CM0 to CM5, CM8, CM9 and CM17 to CM20 – which includes Chelmsford, Harlow, Maldon and Uttlesford Council areas.

John Whittingdale crowned this year’s Maldon Carnival Queen and Princesses at a ceremony in the Promenade Park at the start of Carnival week. John had earlier been a member of the panel which chose the Queen and Princesses at the West Maldon Community Centre in May. John is pictured with Queen Sarah, Princess Jayne(right) and Princess Sasha (left)

John Whittingdale attended the Bikes and Barges Motorcycle Show on Hythe Quay Maldon which was held to raise money for local charity, SWANS.

John was asked to choose the Best Bike in the Show and awarded the trophy to a home-engineered custom chopper built by Adrian Belcher. The event raised £1,500 for SWANS. The show was founded by Andy Harris of Andy Harris Custom Cycles which is celebrating 20 years in business in Maldon this year and it is organised by Steve House. John is pictured with Margaret Pearce, Chairman of the SWANS Trustees and Adrian Belcher on his winning bike.

John Whittingdale helped launch the Maldon Think Local Campaign to promote the use of stores in Maldon. Local shops and services supporting the campaign will be displaying the Think Local logo and have undertaken to give something back to the local community by offering incentives to shoppers as a reward for customer loyalty. The launch took place in the garden of Maeldune Historic Centre and John drew the prizes in a raffle which had attracted entries from over 300 local residents.

 

  

John is pictured with Mary Powell of the Emporium, Cllr Robert Long (Chairman of Maldon District Council) and Cllr Steven Savage (Mayor of Maldon).

John Whittingdale helped launch the new Dengie Dart Service helping Maldon and the Dengie Peninsula to connect with Chelmsford, Hatfield Peverel Station and Broomfield Hospital.

Operated by Arrow taxis of Maldon, the service is Dial and Ride along routes serving Dengie, Asheldham, Althorne, Mayland, Cold Norton, Stow Maries and Purleigh and in Maldon and Heybridge, while it operates as a conventional service between Maldon, Hatfield Peverel, Boreham and Broomfield. It can be booked any time between 6.00am and 11.00pm by dialling 01621 874410. Many of the fares are less than 30 per cent of the cost of a taxi for a similar journey.

This initiative has come about through the joint efforts of the Parish Councils, Maldon District Council, Essex County Council, the Rural Community Council of Essex, the Local Strategic Partnership, User Groups aand the PCT and Hospital Trust. Pictured at the launch are John Whittingdale, Mervyn Upsher (Mercedes Benz), Porta Mair (Bicknacre Youth Council), Cllr Penny Channer (Maldon District Council - Mayland), Nick Shuttleworth (Rural Community Council of Essex), Cllr John Archer (leader of Maldon District Council) and Cllr Sue White (Maldon District Council - Purleigh).

John Whittingdale blew the horn to start the 10 mile race at the Edmund Carr Great Baddow Charity Races. Around 830 runners took part, raising money for a variety of local charities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having started the main race, John Whittingdale then joined others to take part in the 2 Mile Fun Run recording a somewhat unimpressive tme of 16 minutes! John is pictured with the Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford and Robert Cappin of the Rotary Club of Chelmsford Mildmay who organised the Races.

John Whittingdale attended the Historic Military Vehicles Rally at the Millbeach, Heybridge. This was the 6th Annual Winter Rally and was attended by about 2000 people with 46 vehicles on display. The Rally raised money for the Help for Heroes fund.


 
John is pictured with the organiser of the Rally, Shaun Morgan who lives in Heybridge Basin.

John Whittingdale attended the unveiling of the war memorial at Stow Maries Aerodrome. Situated within the Parish of Cold Norton, the Aerodrome was the home of 37 (Home Defence) squadron of the Royal Flying Corps and then aftrer 1st April 1918, 37 Squadron Royal Airforce. A number of the buildings remain intact and the Aerodrome is being restored by the owner, Russell Savoury.


 
The solid granite memorial is carved in the shaped of a WW1 hangar and displays the names of those pilots and aircrew lost during 37 Squadrons occupation of the three Essex Aerodromes at Rochford, Stow Maries and Goldhanger between 1916 and 1919. It also remembers all the men and women of the Squadron who served in defence of this country against the air raids of the Great War.
 
The unveiling and blessing of the memorial was also attended by the commanding officer of RAF Honnington, Group Captain A. Hall, Chairman of Maldon District Council, Councillor Robert Long, District Councillors and the Mayor. The dedication was performed by the Padre from RAF Honnington. The station also provided a bugler for the occasion.
 
Mr Savory said afterwards " I am deeply moved by the interest and help from the RAF. It means a lot to have them represented at such a high level. I hope this will be a long lasting association. I am very gratefull for the support for the project from our MP Mr Whittingdale and all of our district and parish councillors. We hope that the memorial is a fitting one for the people it represents."

 

Police lined the river bank and a crowd assembled outside the Maldon Crystal Salt Company building as anticipation before her arrival increased.  Shortly after 12.20pm, a helicopter carrying Her Majesty landed near the building, the first place she was visiting on her busy agenda.

Wearing a grey hat with a red trim and matching long jacket, she was led straight inside, where it was thought she observed the traditional methods used to make salt crystal. The Queen was due to meet staff and fourth-generation family members who run the firm, based at Wycke Hill Business Park.  An exhibition of salt production on the Essex coast had been laid on for the 84-year-old.

From there, the Queen went to Maldon’s High Street to greet the crowds as she walked to the town hall on Market Hill for a lunch with local dignitaries.  Maldon District Council had ordered 500 barriers and bunting for High Street, while firms were being encouraged to dress their windows for the royal visit.  

It was the Queen’s first visit to north Essex since 2004, when thousands lined Colchester’s High Street to catch a glimpse of the monarch and Prince Philip when they lunched with dignitaries at the Town Hall.

 

John Whittingdale joined the mothers and children at Talking Tots at West Maldon Community Centre. A national initiative, Talking Tots is run in Essex by Amanda Smith and helps children to communicate with confidence. It also supports the Government's Every Child a Talker initiative, which aims to improve language and communication skills in under 5s. Amanda runs 13 classes across six venues, including Maldon, South Woodham Ferrers, Hatfield Peverel and Chelmsford.
 
John said: "I very much enjoyed taking part in the class with the mums and children. While the children were clearly enjoying it, they were also learning vital communication skills which will be of real benefit when they start school."

John Whittingdale joined local residents and Councillors for a meeting with representatives of Barclays bank to urge them to reconsider the decision to close the Barclays Branch in Southminster. Attending the meeting from Barclays were Jon Clowes, Barclays Regional Network Area Manager, and Irene East, Corporate Affairs Manager, as well as the Branch Manager, Jo Fowles.  Also present were Cllr Penny Channer (Leader of Maldon DC), Cllr Bob Boyce (County Councillor for Southminster), Cllr Brian Beal (Chairman, Southminster Parish Council), Rev Ken Dunstan, and local residents, Tom McQuillen, John Anderson, and Kay Maudsley.

  

John Whittingdale said: “The loss of the Barclays Branch in Southminster will come as a real blow to the local community. Many depend on the branch in order to obtain cash or to pay bills and find it impossible to travel to the next nearest bank in Burnham. The recent closure of the Post Office in Southminster has made the situation even worse. I was pleased that Barclays were willing to meet us and to listen to the points we raised. I very much hope that even at this stage they will reconsider. However, if this is not possible, we pressed them at least to postpone the closure until a new sub-post office is established in the village in order that residents are not left without any services. In addition, we welcomed the fact that Barclays are exploring the possibility of installing an ATM machine”

 

John Whittingdale attended assembly at Maldon County Primary School and talked to the children about his work as a MP. He then presented certificates to all the members of the School Council with whom he is pictured.

John Whittingdale applauds Maldon shops’ adoption of  ‘No ID, No Sale’ policy to stop children buying alcohol and tobacco

John Whittingdale today (Friday 12 November 2010) called on local retailers to support the ‘No ID, No Sale!’ campaign which seeks to ensure that only adults can buy alcohol, tobacco and other age-restricted goods.  John was speaking at Maldon News and Off Licence (High Street, Maldon), where he was joined by store owner Mahesh Patel and CitizenCard’s Marketing Manager Nigel Catlow.

The Maldon MP said that following the new government’s decision to abolish National ID cards, schemes such as CitizenCard were essential: “I’m urging all young adults in Maldon to obtain a CitizenCard or similar ID that contains the police-endorsed PASS hologram.  Only then can retailers fully implement the ‘No ID, No Sale!’ policy which allows adults to buy whatever they wish whilst ensuring that children cannot buy alcohol, tobacco and other restricted goods.”

Mahesh Patel reminds his staff that they face a fine of up to £10,000 if caught persistently selling alcohol to under-18s: “We have no wish to supply alcohol or cigarettes to children and we offer our younger customers a CitizenCard form which means they can prove their age.  Every week we face dozens of attempts to buy alcohol and tobacco by young people and if they cannot present valid ID we always refuse the sale.”

More than two million CitizenCards have been issued across the UK since the scheme was launched by then Home Office Minister George Howarth in February 1999. The new government has continued the previous government’s policy of supporting the police’s endorsement of CitizenCards and other cards bearing the PASS hologram. 

John Whittingdale visited the site of Bradwell Power Station to see progress being made in decommissioning the station. John received a briefing from Mark Morant, President of Energy Solutions International Group, and Dick Sexton, Site Manager.  Bradwell Power Station ceased generating in 2002 and its decommissioning is being managed by Energy Solutions.

The site is now completely defuelled and the demolition of the turbine hall will commence shortly. At present, there are 421 people working on site and the major decommissioning process is scheduled to be achieved by 2015, after which it will be left in a Care and Maintenance state. John was given a tour of the site and was able to see the ponds where fuel used to be stored, which are now drained and sealed with the vast majority of radioactivity removed.

 

 

John met a number of employees of Radwise, a subcontractor employed to monitor radioactivity while decommissioning is taking place, all of whom were recruited locally.

 

John also met Steve Jack, Project Manager, and Bob Collins of Erith, the company carrying out the demolition work in the Turbine Hall (Picture 2).  John said: "Excellent progress is being made in decommissioning Bradwell and this is setting the standard for decommissioning of the other Magnox stations in due course. Bradwell remains by far the biggest source of employment in the Dengie Peninsula and has been, and will continue to be, a major contributor to the local economy"

 

John Whittingdale visited Calorex Heat Pumps in The Causeway Industrial Estate, Maldon where he as given a briefing on the company by Tony Mullins, Chairman, and Richard Carrington, Managing Director (pictured).

John also discussed the concerns of the Heat Pump Association with President, Tony Bowen, who is also a non-executive director of the company. He was then given a tour of the shopfloor by Manufacturing Director, Phil Park. Calorex is a major employer in Maldon with 150 employees. It is a world leader in the manufacture of heat pumps with over half its sales going outside the UK. Heat pumps have a vital role to play in reducing domestic carbon emissions and John also discussed Government plans to provide an incentive to householders to fit heat pumps rather than domestic boilers. 

John said: "Calorex is not just a major contributor to the economy in the Maldon District, it has a vital role to play in helping Britain achieve its targets for reducing carbon emissions. Calorex is a world leader in developing air and ground sourced heat pumps which can provide heat without any CO2 emissions. If we are to tackle climate change, reducing domestic carbon emissions is essential and I am delighted that a Maldon-based firm is at the forefront of these efforts".

 

John Whittingdale presented a cheque for £5,000 from the Football Foundation to Woodham Radars FC. 
Funded by the Premier League, the FA and the Government via Sport England, the Football Foundation is the nation's largest sports charity. Since its launch in July 2000, it has so far supported around 8,000 community sports projects worth £920 million.  The award of £5,000 over a three year period will go towards developing new youth football teams.
These will be part of the development programme which this Charter Standard Club has formed to fill a niche for young players in the local area of South Woodham Ferrers to have a place to come and meet new friends and develop their sporting abilities. 
John Whittingdale is pictured with  Paul Walker, Club Chairman, and Lana Gillard from the Essex County FA as well as the Under 9 team.

 

The CPA UK’s 3rd International Parliamentary Conference on Climate Change “Global to Local: Climate ChangePost-Copenhagen” aims to support parliamentarians to influence the formulation and implementation of climate change policy at local, national and international levels.

International parliamentarians attended an exciting series of plenary and parallel discussions led by parliamentarians and policy experts from around the world, exchanging experiences and discussing practical ways in which they can contribute to the local, national and global effort to tackle climate change now and in the future.

John helped publicise the event by riding the energy bike - which showed what level of effort was required to power small electrics. 

 

 

John Whittingdale attended a briefing by members of the Royal Anglian Regiment on recent operations including the First Battalion's tour of Afghanistan.

The "Vikings" were there for 6 months in 2009/10 and while much real progress was achieved, they lost 5 soldiers with many more injured.

C Company of 1 Royal Anglian recruits from Essex and John Whittingdale is pictured with Corporal Aaron Kerin and Private Louis Purbrick, both of 1 Royal Anglian.

John Whittingdale said: "The heroism and bravery demonstrated by these soldiers on a daily basis is truly inspirational. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for the work they are doing"

 

On Friday, 26th March, John Whittingdale visited The Lodge Care Home in Maldon to open the new extension. The Lodge now has 24 beds and principally caters for clients suffering from dementia. During his visit, john was taken on a tour of the home and met staff and residents, before joining them to listen to singer Ron James provide entertainment.

John said: "The Lodge is a lovely home with great charm. Cheryl and Lisa have done a great job to extend it in order to provide four new bedrooms and other facilities. There is a lovely atmosphere and I was delighted to be able to meet the residents and join in their celebrations"

John is pictured with owners, Lisa Aitken and Cheryl Lume.

On Friday, 26th March, John Whittingdale visited Wentworth School, Maldon to make the presentation to the School Gardening Club of gardening equipment which they had won as a part of the "Let's Grow" scheme run by Morrisons. Wentworth is just one of more than 22,000 primary and secondary schools that have participated over the last two years. In total, over the first two years of Let's Grow, UK schools will have taken delivery of: 7,086 greenhouses, 7,465 pairs of Wellington boots, 68,271 pairs of gardening gloves, 30,517 hand trowels and many more.
 
Wentworth School has a keen gardening club with each year group having its own allotment. John is pictured with Rebekah Russell of Morrisons in Maldon, Mrs Beverley Halls of Wentworth School and Barry Day, Store Manager of Morrisons, Maldon.

John Whittingdale MP for Maldon and East Chelmsford has been thanked for pledging to do his bit for the British Armed Forces family.  John met with a delegation from The Royal British Legion at Westminster to get behind the charity’s call for general election candidates of all parties to support the whole Armed Forces family. John also discussed the Legion’s manifesto and the changes that it is calling for. The manifesto sets out priorities for the next Government to improve conditions for the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It encourages MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) to “do their bit” for Service Personnel and their families, the bereaved, veterans and dependants.

 

During the meeting, John was photographed with a giant replica of the personalised pledge card, which he has been given by the Legion in recognition of his pledge. Kevin Shinkwin, the Legion’s Head of Public Affairs, said, “We’re delighted to give John his pledge card in recognition of his pledge to do his bit. Our message to every MP and candidate standing at the general election is very simple: “It’s time to do your bit. How you do that is entirely up to you but pledging publicly at www.timetodoyourbit.org.uk is a great way of showing your support for the whole Armed Forces family, both now and beyond the general election.” “Both the serving and ex-Service community need the support of politicians,” he added. “Our manifesto outlines practical ways the next government can help, and we hope all the parties will give it serious consideration”.  John Whittingdale MP said, “I am delighted to support the Royal British Legion’s campaign and did not hesitate to pledge to do my bit. The Royal British Legion does a fantastic job in helping servicemen, veterans and their families and are right to highlight the need for any future Government to give them the help and support they deserve.”

John Whittingdale presented a peitition to the house of Commons on behalf of Ms Katie Hiskett and 26 other residents of my constituency. Ms Hiskett had contaced John as she was extremely concerned about the recommendations of the Badman report and the impact that it will have on them and on others who wish to educate their children at home.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[ The Petition of persons resident in the Maldon and East Chelmsford parliamentary constituency,

Declares that they are concerned about the recommendations of the Badman Report, which suggests closer monitoring of home educators, including a compulsory annual registration scheme and right of access to people's homes for local authority officials; further declares that the Petitioners believe the recommendations are based on a review that was extremely rushed, failed to give due consideration to the evidence, failed to ensure that the data it collected were sufficiently robust, and failed to take proper account of the existing legislative framework.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families either not to bring forward, or to withdraw, proposed legislative measures providing for tighter registration and monitoring of children educated at home in the absence of a thorough independent inquiry into the condition and future of elective home education in England; but instead to take the steps necessary to ensure that the existing Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities are properly implemented, learning from current best practice, in all local authorities in England.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. ]

John attends a briefing for Members of Parliament from the Eastern Area by the Commanding Officer and soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment.
The Regiment has a long and distinguished history and is comprised of the former county Regiments from across East Anglia. However, its strong links with individual counties remain and C Company of the 1st Battalion draws its recruits from Essex. Its commander told us proudly that the Anglians are the best recruited regiment in the army and the 1st Battalion the best recruited within it.

Recently the Regiment has seen action in both Iraq and Afghanistan and sadly incurred casualties in both conflicts. However, we also heard of the achievements of the British Army in both countries which often get too little public recognition. In Iraq, the regiment has done two tours in Basra. During the first in 2006, they were subject to constant attack and in three months fired over 32,000 rifle rounds. When they returned for a second tour last year, their role was to support the Iraqi Army which has now taken over security. In three months, they did not fire a single rifle round. It is a success story which deserves to be told and offers some hope that Iraq can now begin a new chapter as a democratic and peaceful country.

The 1st Battalion spent 6 months in Afghanistan in 2007. We were told that the intensity of the conflict took every one by surprise and sadly 9 members of the Battalion lost their lives. I talked to one Private from Braintree who had served there. He told me that conditions were not too bad – that he had at least been able to shower every day. However, he had also lost a friend and seen others injured. His quiet professionalism and courage were enormously impressive and typical of that displayed by all those who we spoke to. We should never forget the fantastic job that our armed forces do. They continue to deserve our total support

John Whittingdale went to look at the results of the trial of new methods to remove Fats, Oils and Grease from the drains and sewers in Baddow Road, Chelmsford.

Anglian Water has been working with the Water Research Council, Chelmsford Borough Council and Environmental Biotech on the national trial to help reverse the tide of a growing nationwide phenomenon, sewers blocked by fat. Since the trial started in Baddow Road, Chelmsford during April last year, there have been no recorded instances of sewage flooding or bad odours and the Borough Council environmental health officers have noticed a significant reduction in vermin in the area.

Keeping this one road free of fat has meant a saving to Anglian water of more than £6,000 a year - the amount it used to cost to keep this road with its 21 restaurants and take-aways - clear of fat and grease.

John Whittingdale said: "Having attended the launch of the trial, I am delighted that it has proved such a success. The lessons learnt if applied across the country could result in the saving of millions of pounds, thus reducing water bills. At the same time, fewer smells and vermin will substantially improve the environment and the quality of life for local communities. Where Chelmsford leads, I hope the rest of the nation will follow".

John Whittingdale is pictured with Aziz Tejpar of Environmental Biotech (kneeling), Paul Gibbs and Gary Collins of Anglian Water ad local residents.

John visits successful local business.

John Whittingdale recently visited the Asheldham Feed Centre and Equestrian Centre as part of his programme of regular visits to successful local businesses. The Feed Centre attracts customers from a wide area and supplies provisions for all kinds of pets.

John is pictured with owner, Jannine Rose.

John Whittingdale, together with Simon Burns MP, accompanied pupils from schools in Mid Essex on a day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration and Extermination Camp in Poland.

Last Wednesday (21st March) Maldon and East Chelmsford MP, John Whittingdale, together with Simon Burns MP, accompanied pupils from schools in Mid Essex on a day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration and Extermination Camp in Poland. The visit was arranged by the Holocaust Education Trust which seeks to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and its relevance today and so far some 4,000 students and teachers have paticipated in visits.

John Whittingdale said: "The visit was immensely moving and at some times distressing experience. It is only by seeing it that one can appreciate the sheer enormity of the horror of what happened at Auschwitz. In total, about 1.2 million people died at the camp and during the visit we saw the remains of the gas chambers, the crematoria and the barracks in which they lived. Seeing the piles of personal items, hair shavings and clothing of the victims, particularly of the children was harrowing and upsetting for many of those visiting. However, it is important that we are reminded of it in order to reinforce our determination that nothing like this must ever be allowed to happen again. It is particularly relevant today when some are still trying to deny that the Holocaust happened and when there have been other attempts at genocide in placeslike Rwanda and Darfur. The Holocaust Educational Trust are doing a vital job and I am sure that all those on the visit will never forget what we see that day."

The picture attached shows John Whittingdale with Ruth Hardy, Head of Sixth Form and Emma Smith and Poppy Gibson, sixth form pupils at St Peter's High School, Burnham on Crouch. They are pictured at the entrance to Auschwitz 1 Camp with the famous sign in the background "Arbeit Macht Frei" meaning "Work Makes You Free".

John Whittingdale MP was at St. Peter’s Hospital on Valentine’s Day to officially open the only birthing pool in mid-Essex.

The pool was installed in a delivery room at the hospital months ago, but before now, it has only been used for labour pain relief. Since the hospital now has a trained midwife for water births, the pool can now be fully used. Hospital Midwife Maggie Jarrett will be supervising the birthing pool.

Mothers from across the mid-Essex area expecting a low risk labour may benefit from the pool.

John visits Bradwell Power Station.

John Whittingdale recently met with Ray Jepps, new Station Manager of Bradwell Nuclear Power Station, to discuss progress on decommissioning. Bradwell, which ceased generation in 2002, has recently recommenced the process of removing the fuel rods from the two reactors. These are then sent to Sellafield for disposal. This stage of the decommissioning procedure is likely to take until the end of next year. Disposal of oil through incineration is also likely to begin shortly using a clean oil burner. Before the oil is burnt, it is filtered and all particles removed to ensure that there is no danger of release of any radioactive material. This procedure has been approved by the Environment Agency to ensure that it is entirely safe. John has regular meetings with employees of the power station to keep in touch with progress.

 

John Whittingdale was recently briefed by the Chairman and Chief Executive of Mid Essex Hospitals Trust on plans for the redevelopment and extension of Broomfield Hospital.

The Trust will shortly be choosing the preferred bidder following widespread consultation on the two alternative schemes. John said: " I am delighted that it looks like plans to build the new Broomfield Hospital are well on track with a forecast opening at the end of 2008. In particular, I strongly support the intention to considerably increase the amount of car parking spaces. Lack of car parking facilities is a constant source of complaint from my constituents, many of whom have to travel long distances to get to Broomfield. I am delighted that this is at last going to be put right.
Pictured above: John with David Bullock, Chairman of Mid Essex Hospitals Trust and Andrew Pike, Chief Executive.

John Whittingdale attended the 100th anniversary Burnham Carnival on 27th September.

The first torchlight carnival took place in Burnham in 1909 and it is now one of the most successful carnivals in the country. This year’s carnival had over 70 entries and had the longest procession in its history.

John is pictured here with the Maldon Carnival Queen, Louise, aged 13 who is a pupil at Sandon School, together with Princesses, Kerry aged 14 and Georgia aged 13, both of whom attend the Plume School.

 

John Whittingdale attended the formal unveiling of the new Town Sign in Burnham on Crouch.

The sign was made by former Town Mayor, Tony Martin. Pictured with John are Rev Tony Jones, Cllr Sheila Young (Chairman of Maldon District Council), Rev Hugh Beavan, Cllr Carole Noble (Mayor of Burnham) and Tony Martin.

John Whittingdale visited Burnham County Primary School to present members of the 2005/06 School Council with certificates to mark their winning a Diana Princess of Wales memorial award for young people.

The Award was given for the work done by the School Council to prevent bullying in the school through the drawing up of Playground rules and other work to highlight the importance of friendship.

John Whittingdale is pictured with the School Council, together with Cllr Peter Elliott, Mayor of Burnham, and Ms Amanda Champ, head teacher.

John joins other Essex MPs to pledge to do what he can to save Essex Police force. 

 

 

 

Fifteen of the seventeen MPs in Essex including all the Tories, plus Andrew Mackinlay, (Labour) and Bob Russell, (Liberal Democrat) have expressed their opposition to the plans to merge the Essex force. Most of the MPs attended the meeting today and gave their backing to the APA’s alternative strategy, of greater cooperation between existing forces. Speaking following their meeting, John Whittingdale said:
This issue remains a very live one and my colleague Bernard Jenkin MP even pressed Tony Blair on it today at Prime Minister’s Questions. This really matters to our county and we have collectively supported this alternative plan, whereby forces can cooperate, for instance in fighting terrorism but whilst retaining their own county identities and ethos. Importantly, this alternative will also save council tax payers money.

The Government’s plan to scrap Essex Police and to merge it into a Regional Force is very different. This is not an idea that has emerged locally; instead it is a centrally imposed dictat. Essex is already one of the largest forces with 3,230 officers serving a population of 1,600,000. Yet the Government have refused to allow it to continue as a standalone force. Instead they have given three options under which Essex will either join with Norfolk and Suffolk or with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire or with all five plus Cambridgeshire to make a vast six county Eastern region force. This is clearly part of John Prescott’s plan to impose regional Government by stealth which has already seen proposals for the creation of a regional fire service, a regional ambulance service and a regional flood defence body.

A Regional Police force of whatever structure is likely to be far more remote and far less accountable than the existing Essex Police. It would also put at risk the close identity which exists between the police and the community they serve. The Essex Police Authority have therefore continued to include the option of an Essex-wide force in their consultation paper despite the instructions of the Government not to do so. They are entirely right and I shall be urging them to fight for the preservation of our County Police force.

John Whittingdale read a lesson at the Civic Carol Service in St Mary's Church, Burnham on Crouch.

Pictured are Rod Eastham, David McNeill (Town Clerk), David Stevenson (Head Teacher St Peter's School), Rev Tony Jones, Cllr John Smith, Canon Hugh Beavan and Cllr Peter Elliott (Mayor of Burnham).

 

John Whittingdale visited the Combined Military Services in Station Road, Maldon in order to promote British Tourism Week.

The museum contains a fascinating collection of military firearms and equipment throughout the ages including a spy collection donated by Peter Mason, on whom Ian Fleming based James Bond.

Tourism is worth an estimated £115 million to the economy of the Maldon District, supporting over 2,600 jobs, welcoming 3, 289.000 day visitors and 242,000 staying visitors. John Whittingdale OBE MP said “As Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, I am very much aware of the importance of Tourism, which contributes £74 billion to the UK's economy. That is why my Committee has recently announced an inquiry into the Tourism sector and what more can be done to promote it. Tourism also makes a vital contribution to employment in the District with many businesses dependent on it. I am therefore delighted to show my support for British Tourism Week by visiting the Combined Military Services Museum. The Museum has a world-class collection which offers another major attraction for visitors to the District".

John is pictured with Richard Wooldridge , owner of the Museum, and Marilyn Bullivant, curator.

 

Following concerns expressed by constituents John meets with company bosses.

John Whittingdale has met Tim Clarke, Managing Director of One railway, and Theo Steel, Projects Director to discuss the standard of service on the Crouch Valley line serving North Fambridge, Althorne, Burnham and Southminster.

John Whittingdale raised the problems caused to many commuters by the new timetable changes affecting the morning and evening service, as well as the cost of tickets and performance in comparison to the Southend service. In response, Mr Clarke assured him that the line was a key strategic railway and that there were no plans to close it. He said that the new timetable would be reviewed at the end of January and revisions introduced in June. He promised to take account of the concerns when the review takes place. Pictured here, John Whittingdale discusses the service with local Councillors, Peter Elliott, John Smith and Bob Boyce.

Following the meeting, John Whittingdale said: "I am pleased that Tim Clarke made clear that One regards the Crouch Valley line as a key strategic service and has absolutely no plans to close it. Mr Clarke explained that the recent changes to the timetable had had to be submitted to the Strategic Rail Authority quickly and so there was less time for consultation beyond the local authorities and rail user groups. However, he did say that the changes would be reviewed at the end of January with any revisions introduced in June. I have passed on to him the large number of complaints that I have had from constituents, particularly about the loss of the 0711 service from Southminster. Many people find the new 0735 service too late and so have to use the 0652 service, adding considerably to the length of their working day. Mr Clarke has promised to try to take account of these concerns in the review.

I welcome Mr Clarke's recognition that the cost of tickets is higher than on the Southend service and his agreement that this may need to be addressed, although I am disappointed if unsurprised that there appears no likelihood of any reduction in fares. I am also disappointed that there seems little immediate likelihood of obtaining a later train after the 2215 from Liverpool Street owing to the requirements of Network Rail
and the low number of users.

Finally, I also emphasised to Mr Clarke the concern felt by many that the Southminster service is treated as a poor relation and suffers disproportionately from cancellations or delays. I welcome Mr Clarke's assurance that this is not the case and that One will continue to make a special effort to protect the service on smaller lines like the Southminster branch."

John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon and East Chelmsford, visited Curves of Maldon, a ladies fitness club based at the Riverside Industrial estate at Mill Lane, Maldon.
Curves is part of the world's largest fitness franchise with nearly 10,000 locations worldwide. Franchise holders, Wendy Baker and Sarah Neal, now own three local clubs in Wickford, Maldon and South Woodham Ferrers. The clubs offer thirty minute workout programmes for ladies of all ages.

Each year, Curves organises a Food Drive to benefit local food banks. The joining fee was waived for any new member who brought in a bag of non-perishable groceries during March. These together with donations from existing members are to be distributed to the local community. Collectively, over the past 5 years, nearly 50 million pounds of food has been distributed worldwide. In Maldon, Curves is working with the Dengie Project Trust to distribute the food to local women's refuges, elderly persons homes and to servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

John Whittingdale said: "I was delighted to support Curves Annual Food Drive. Sarah and her colleagues are doing a great job helping ladies in Maldon to keep fit and healthy and at the same time benefitting local voluntary groups supplying food to those who need it most".

John Whittingdale is pictured with Hilda Haslam, Coordinator of the Dengie Project Trust, Peter Newton, Trustee and Sarah Neal, owner of Curves.

10,000 pasengers in Danbury.

John Whittingdale congratulated local resident, Simon Claxton, who was the 10,000th passenger to use the Danbury Flyer.

The Flyer was set up as Danbury Parish Council's Millennium Project and in November 2005, the running was taken over by Danbury Community Transport. The Chairman is Colin Budgey and all committee members and drivers are volunteers.

The Flyer runs four mornings a week around Danbury and Little Baddow and is supported by Danbury Parish Council as well as advertisers and donors.Recently a new bus has been obtained with the help of Bill Davey of Hopping Jacks Hall.

 

  

On Friday, 29th June, John Whittingdale attended the inauguration of the new Maldon and District Branch of the Parkinson's Disease Society at Maldon Football Club. Previously the Maldon and District Parkinson's Support Group, the new Branch is now affiliated to the National Society. The meeting was well attended and the Guest Speaker was Dr Kieran Bream, Director of Research at the Society.

John Whittingdale, who was elected President of the Branch, said:" I am delighted to become President of the Maldon Branch of the Parkinsons Disease Society.

Parkinson's is an immensely debilitating disease which affects about one in every 500 people. I am therefore very conscious that within my constituency there will be many living with, or helping to care for someone with the Disease. The Maldon Group does a marvellous job in providing support to
those people and I have no doubt that by becoming a Branch of the national society, it will be able to achieve even more."

 

Picture attached shows: Cllr Sheila Young, Deputy Chairman of Maldon DC
John Whittingdale
John Alderman, Mayor of Maldon
Derek Martin, Chairman of the Maldon Branch of the Parkinson's Disease Society
Carole Noble, Mayor of Burnham on Crouch


 

John's views on the Government’s proposal to merge the Essex Police with the forces covering Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

I attended the launch of the referendum campaign on the Government’s proposal to merge the Essex Police with the forces covering Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. This has been organised by the Police Authority and County Council and is supported by MPs from all parties in the County.

There is no doubt that a merger would be expensive and wasteful as well as making our police force less accountable and more remote. Essex already has one of the largest forces in England with 3230 officers serving a population of 1,600,000. The Government has claimed that a force needs to have 4,000 officers to be effective. Yet Kent and Hampshire, which are similar in size and face similar challenges, are being allowed to remain as stand alone forces. Of course, there is a case for greater co-operation between forces on strategic issues. Essex has taken the lead in seeking to establish a legally binding Federation of East Anglian Forces. This would allow the Force to join with others to collectively provide protective services, such as combating major crime, terrorism and civil emergencies. However, it would preserve the local identity of Essex Police which has the capacity and capability to become a strategic force on its own.

A forced merger will not only mean that Essex will no longer have its own Chief Constable and police identity, it is also likely to end up costing a lot more. Of the three forces proposed to merge, Essex has the lowest Council Tax precept for policing. The total cost of police mergers across the country has been estimated to be around £500 million, money which would be far better spent on front-line policing.

6 months ago, I asked the Prime Minister why he was not even willing to allow the Essex Police Authority even to consult on the option of maintaining a stand-alone force. In a letter to me, he said that the Home Office remained open to all options for which a compelling case can be made and that Essex Police Authority was therefore free to develop further a stand-alone proposal. Last week, in a welcome development, the Home Secretary announced that he would delay the implementation of mergers in order to allow time for further consultation.

The referendum being organised by the Police Authority and County Council provides an opportunity for the people of Essex to have their say. Over 700,000 questionnaires are being delivered to every household in the county and a survey form is also available on-line. I hope that everybody will use this opportunity to deliver a resounding message to the Government to leave our Police Force alone.


 

John Whittingdale met members of the new Essex Youth Assembly at County Hall, Chelmsford.

The Assembly has been set up by Essex County Council and is intended to give young people a voice in matters affecting the County.

John is pictured with members from Maldon and Chelmsford.

 

John Whittingdale was a guest at Great Leighs which will be the first new horse racecourse in nearly a century.

It is also vying to be chosen as the site for equestrian events of the London Olympic bid is successful. During his visit Mr Whittingdale met John Holmes, the owner of the site to discuss the £40 million pound investment which incorporates a state of the art stadium, landscaping, all-weather racecourse and stabling at Essex County showground.

Commenting on his tour, Mr Whittingdale admitted, “I have the occasional flutter myself. In fact I was at Newmarket recently and lost £50! I am very impressed with the plans for Great Leighs and what it will do to put the county on the sporting map.”

John Whittingdale helped to raise money for Farleigh Hospice

John Whittingdale helped to raise money for Farleigh Hospice by pouring custard on Cllr Miriam Lewis, Chairman of Heybridge Parish Council, and Emily, a pupil at the Plume School.

The initiative was organised by John Warner, Managing Director of Boddingtons, as part of Tea at 3 day, a national fund-raising campaign for Macmillan.

After having filled the custard bath in which the two girls were sitting, John helped to push it up Maldon High Street while employers of Boddingtons and SGB collected money from passers-by.

 

Happy birthday to Home Start Maldon.

John Whittingdale joined staff, volunteers and families at a party to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Home-Start Maldon at the West Maldon Community Centre.

John is patron of Home-Start Maldon and presented long service certificates to a number of the volunteers who are pictured.

 

John Whittingdale visited Hospital Radio Chelmsford as part of the Broomfield Weekend on 10th June.

HRC broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the patients at St John's, St Peter's and Broomfield Hospitals.

Seen here with Programme Controller, Dave Abrey, on the mobile unit outside Broomfield Hospital, John visited Wards B2 and B3 to talk to patients and to collect requests before introducing the records on air.

John Whittingdale MP opens the Military Show, Langford.


On Sunday, 1st July, John Whittingdale MP performed the official opening of the Military Show organised at the Museum of Power, Langford, by the Combined Military Services Museumin Maldon. The Show included performances by the Essex Yeomanry Band, a display by the Essex Militia and demonstartions of a large number of military vehicles. The highlight of the Show was the presentation of Veterans' Badges to 20 former members of the Armed Forces, many of whom fought in the Second World War.


John Whittingdale is pictured with a number of Veterans who received their badges.

John Whittingdale helped launch the competition to design the new Eco-friendly reusable bag for Maldon. Already some 5,000 jute and cotton bags featuring the first design have been distributed and they are on sale in over 30 retailers in Maldon High Street. A competition has now been launched to design a new smaller bag also made from jute. The competition is open until 30th May and the winner will have a day's sailing on a Thames Barge courtesy of Topsail Charters Ltd.

The initiative to promote eco-friendly bags is being taken by the Maldon Retail Promotions Group and local firm, Portabrands. The aim is that by 2009, Maldon will be the first plastic bag-free town in Essex. More information can be found at www.visitmaldon.co.uk and www.portabrands.com

Pictured with John Whittingdale are Liz Murphychairan of the Maldon Retail Promotions Group, Tom Russell, designer of the first bag, Hazel Bates of Portabrands, Den Phillips, Helen Craggs of the Maldon Tourist Information Centre and Ian Bates of Portabrands.


By 2009 Maldon plans to be the first plastic bag-free town in Essex because it wants to see less waste, less pollution and a healthier environment for us all to enjoy. The Maldon Retail Promotions Group ran a competition recently to find a new design to replace the current bag (designed by Tom Russell). This design has been very successful with now over 8,000 jute and cotton bags in circulation and available to purchase from over 40 retailers in and around Maldon.

The panel judges for the design competition were John Whittingdale MP, Tom Russell, Den Phillips, Liz Murphy, Jan Smith and Ian Bates. Mr Whittingdale said ‘it is good to see the people of Maldon take a proactive role to both promote the town positively and encourage everyone to do their bit to help the local environment. The new design is eye-catching and clearly puts Maldon on the global map’.

The new bags are made from PortaNaturale™, a new (patent pending) natural jute fibre and
rubber laminate, sourced from Kolkata in India by PortaBrands Ltd. The factory that manufactures the bags has passed a comprehensive ethical and quality audit and operates to the demanding standards of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). The new reusable shopping bags will retail for £3.

About 13 billion plastic bags are used in the UK every year, which is the equivalent to 30 million bags every day. Most of these end up in landfill and take hundreds if not thousands of years to breakdown. There is another way, but it requires your support and a change of habits by us all.

Please do your bit for Maldon and the environment, say ‘no thanks’ to plastic bags.

Anyone wishing to stock and retail these bags should contact Ian Bates This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 07764 151014.

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