Christmas is often a time for looking back on the year that’s been but there is so much that is going on in British politics that my eyes will be focussed on the day and months ahead not least because of the impending General Election.
People often say that the political horizon is too close and that, for good planning, it would be healthier if we didn’t so often look to the coming few weeks but five or ten years ahead. One of the major wins for the Bolton West constituency that took a little more time to fund, plan and deliver is the Horwich Loco Works spine road.
In 2017, I persuaded Sajid Javid, then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to provide £12 million of funding so that the 1,700 Loco Works houses would have a relief road to reduce congestion. After nearly seven years, the road is being built and will be completed in April or May next year which will be a big relief to many across Horwich and Blackrod.
Good progress is being made in bringing back banking to Westhoughton and to maintaining it in Horwich when the Nat West closes. I am looking forward to being able to confirm locations and the opening of two new banking hubs in the New Year.
Local representation has its highs and its lows. Marking the anniversary of the 1932-3 man-made Holodomor famine, at Heaton Cemetery, was poignant as was marking the 1910 Pretoria Pit disaster where 344 men and boys, from Atherton, Daisy Hill and Westhoughton, were killed. Every year, there is a service in Hulton Park at the site of the pit head with readings, poetry and music to remember our loss.
The Smithills Christmas Market was a joyous occasion as was going through the 1,200+ entries for my Christmas card competition. Visiting schools to congratulate the winner and runners up is always good fun though, in at least one school, the “special guest” not being Santa Claus was a great disappointment… sorry kids.
Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
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