Hastings Observer Column - Friday 5 July

It takes far too long to travel between Hastings and London.

Improving transport is essential in boosting our local economy, attracting jobs and investment. This begins with getting the very best deal for people in towns, with me taking their concerns and needs to the heart of government so they get the best possible services.

So this week I have been campaigning for faster and more reliable rail services to London and between our towns. After I made the case to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to commit funding for work to improve rail services in our area, it was announced that this would be done. 

Following the recent completion of these works, I have brought together our local rail user groups and our high speed rail working group to discuss the next steps.

The high speed rail working group which I set up in Parliament is made up of local MPs and stakeholders with the aim of speaking with a clear and unified voice to make the case for better rail services to Network Rail and the Government. I will continue to discuss the next steps to bring better rail services to our towns.

But it is not just about rail. I know from my own experiences and from meeting with residents that our roads still need improvement. This week, I met with Highways England to discuss plans for the A21 and the investment being made for its long term development. This meeting was encouraging and I am hopeful that in due course we will see improvements in congestion on the A21.

I will shortly be meeting with representatives from East Sussex County Council to discuss the potholes on our roads and the steps being taken to ensure that we can all travel safely. There are several roads that residents have raised with me which I will press ESCC to address as a matter of urgency. The Government has helped local councils address potholes by giving them the spending power to do so, with a new cash boost worth £296 million which is dedicated to fixing roads. 

We have seen many improvements in both road and rail services since 2010 but there is still more to be done and I will press for further improvement.