New £5.5 million teaching centre at the College of West Anglia

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On Friday I had the pleasure of opening the new £5.5 million teaching centre at the College of West Anglia, Wisbech. The building includes a mix of new and refurbished areas providing state of the art teaching facilities and a new reception, entrance, and coffee area. This is a major step forward in the transformation …

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Wisbech Cricket and Hockey Club: An Update

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Following on from my visit to Wisbech Cricket and Hockey Club to discuss plans for a new clubhouse and changing rooms, last week I met with Hannah Murphy, the national representative for the England Cricket Board (ECB), in the Houses of Parliament. Last Friday afternoon, Jenny Lambert, the ECB representative for the Cambridgeshire area had …

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What do you call an aircraft carrier without aircraft?

What do you call an aircraft carrier without aircraft? The Ministry of Defence is currently building two aircraft carriers without knowing which planes will be able to fly from their decks, how many planes will use them, and for how many years there will be no planes using them at all.  This was the remarkable …

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Local Victory as Minister Orders a Road Sign for Thorney Toll Village Hall.

Roads Minister, Mike Penning MP, has confirmed today that a new sign will be installed on the A47 next to Thorney Toll Village Hall. I am delighted to report the good news, which arrived today in a letter from the Minister (included at the base of this post). The letter confirms that the Highways Agency have been instructed to install the …

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World renowned expert set to give talk to local students

Professor Adrian K Dixon, Professor of Radiology at the University of Cambridge, Honorary Consultant Radiologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Master of Peterhouse, the oldest of the Cambridge University colleges, is set to visit the Fens to talk to a selection of pupils from local secondary schools about careers in medicine, applications to Oxford and Cambridge, …

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Minister says once is enough as CRB checks set to change

Costly duplicate Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks which cause delay and waste money for local firms are set to be streamlined, following assurances from the Minister for Children and Families.  Given the close proximity of the Norfolk and Lincolnshire borders around Wisbech, and the different regimes for Whittlesey residents working in Peterborough, businesses often find …

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A Question for Chatteris Residents

Could a new bus shuttle service between Chatteris and Manea help residents access local trains, and support the case for more trains stopping at Manea? Few trains currently stop at Manea station.  Chatteris has no rail station at all.  There is also no direct bus between Chatteris and Manea station – instead you have to go …

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Historic Fenland medieval stained glass window receives urgent funding

Staff at Wisbech Castle recently voiced their concern to me at the state of the 14th century medieval stained glass window, which needs urgent repair.  The window originates from the old Bishop of Ely’s Palace and is a crucial part of the heritage of the Castle. Some of the window panes need to be secured …

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First Friday with Steve Barclay

Some weeks feel like little progress is being made, and then a number of announcements come all at once.  Royal Mail confirmed the Chatteris sorting office will remain open for the foreseeable future, announcing a U-turn from their previous plans.  Thanks go to all the residents who signed the petition, Chatteris Town Council and the …

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Civil Servant Accountability to Parliament: Time for Change?

 Civil servants are accountable to their Minister but are not directly accountable to Parliament.   Ministers rightly account to Parliament for their policy. Only Accounting Officers, usually the Permanent Secretary, have direct accountability to Parliament for the value for money spent by departments. In the case of the Dept for Health for example, this makes just …

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