Opinion: ‘Working to get us the services we deserve’

Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, writes..

By John Mason
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:39 pm
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns

Just over two years ago, the residents of Rutland and Melton gave me the honour of my life. Representing you in Parliament is a privilege, and to say that I truly love our communities, Melton and the Vale, is an understatement.

My mission is to make sure that everyone in Melton and the Vale get the services that we deserve – I’m determined that we’ll gain an even better place to live as our pride in our services matches the pride we feel for our towns and villages. Every day, I’m working to get us what we deserve.

On my election I promised to better tackle hare coursing, I had called for a new criminal offence so we can imprison those gangs responsible, stop those guilty from owning dogs, and for tougher financial penalties: I’m delighted that this week, the Government announced all of these are being introduced, and they’re going beyond them! There will also be two new offences, and powers will be given to the courts to order, on conviction, the reimbursement of costs incurred by the police in kennelling dogs seized in connection with a hare coursing-related offence.

This matters because our farmers have faced intimidation, assault, trespassing and destruction of their livelihoods for too long. These gangs need to face the full force of the law. In my survey of local farmers last year, it was identified as one of the most serious concerns of our farmers, so I’m delighted that a small group of colleagues and I have been able to secure this election promise of mine. I firmly believe that rural crime should be treated by the Government as serious, organised crime, because that’s what it is. There’s more to be done, and I’m still working on a livestock worrying bill and various other measures to tackle rural criminality.

Rural areas like ours deserve services that recognise the needs of rural communities – and in 2022, I hope that the hard work done so far by myself, Melton Borough Council and our Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to build a second GP surgery for our town will pay off and we’ll be able to confirm a second practice is going ahead. We need a second GP surgery in Melton, one surgery is just not enough to meet demand, security or patient choice. We have already undertaken visits to investigate potential sites, and the CCG has been looking at funding models. In 2022, I will continue to do everything in my power to deliver progress.

Just before Christmas, we received incredible, if long overdue, news: funding agreement for the long-awaited Melton Bypass (in full!) It’s been over 40 years in the planning, and the news really was an early Christmas present. This will deliver an estimated £160 million investment in our town. I will continue to work in concert with Joe Orson and Edd de Coverley at Melton Borough Council to overcome any obstacle put in our way, and hopefully spades will soon be in the ground. It will also help us as I look to improve our tourism offer locally and drive holiday-makers to our town.

While we’re on the subject of roads, I’m pleased to have secured improvements to the A52 junction at Bottesford, and those significant measures should be put in place this year. I have also been working on the Nottingham Road, where there are numerous junctions where there are just too many accidents. I have secured some immediate improvements at certain junctions, but a fuller review of the road by Leicestershire County Council is thankfully now underway.

Our children deserve the best – and that means great school buildings, great teachers and great opportunities after they leave school. I’m pleased that last year, schools like Brooksby Melton received funding for building maintenance.

You all know of my campaign for DEFRA to open an office in Melton. I believe rural policies should be made in a rural area, and we are in the final three of places shortlisted: the only town up against two cities. This would bring more job opportunities to our town. I will continue to fight for this.

In 2022 I want to deliver further changes to support our police in their duties. We have already secured a rural policing team and £550,000 for new CCTV cameras across Rutland and Melton – the first cameras will be installed in spring. My next goal is making sure our rural policing team grows, and has the equipment it needs: proper boots and fittings, and proper vehicles supported by the powers they need.

There’s much more to come this year: faster broadband in our villages, helping businesses locally to grow, and I will keep fighting for more Government funding for our local councils.

I’m confident Melton will end 2022 even better than how we start the year. And that’s my pledge to you: that I will continue to work tirelessly for everyone who lives in Melton and the Vale.