Category Archives: Uncategorized

April’s Charney Chatter

is here!

From your local MP – David Johnston

Being an MP involves a lot of travel across the length and breadth of my constituency from my home in Didcot and this means I know first-hand that the state of the roads across our area is not good enough.

I launched my Roads Survey last year and I’m grateful to the almost 900 people who have filled it in. More than 80% of residents agreed that our roads are poor quality. Flooding on the A417 and safety issues on the A420 and A34 were frequently mentioned, and many people spoke about issues with congestion. I am meeting with the Roads Minister to share the findings with him.

From potholes to congestion to flooding and safety issues, it is clear that we need improvements. We do not need blanket 20mph zones across our area – and the Government is rightly making clear that these should be decided on a hyper-local basis with local consent. No-one objects to strict limits in areas near schools or other sensitive areas but are they required across an entire town? Constituents regularly say no and 71% of residents who filled in my Roads Survey agreed with the Government’s policies here.

I have been taking action since I was elected and have raised every issue that has been reported to me with the County Council and the Highways Authorities, who are responsible for our roads. This has resulted in some issues being fixed but I think everyone can agree that it should not take an MP writing a letter for this to happen.

I have spoken about the need to improve our local roads in 13 separate debates, met with the Roads Minister about it, and led a debate in Parliament on safety issues on the A34 and A420.

It’s not all about money, but the Government has also rightly given the County Council millions in funding to help improve our roads and fix our potholes – including a substantial increase of 30% for 2023/24. We need to see this used effectively.

I will keep campaigning on this, but please fill in my Roads Survey at www.david-johnston.org.uk/RoadsSurvey.

In other news, Didcot Powerhouse Fund celebrated their two-year anniversary, and I was pleased to attend the launch of their new Impact Report and meet some of the local people who have received funding from them – including great organisations like the Cornermen in South Moreton.

I also took senior managers from the Environment Agency to Steventon to talk about our flood defences and what more can be done to prevent the flooding we have seen. Many constituents shared their thoughts with me ahead of this and I raised various issues on their behalf, including concerns about the proposed reservoir. I will remain in close contact with the Environment Agency and the Council.

Other highlights in recent weeks have included visiting Willowcroft School in Didcot, Williams Racing in Grove, the Happiness Horse Box in Uffington, and Quantum Detectors in Harwell as well as holding a Pop-Up Surgery at Tesco in Didcot.

Upcoming Parish Council Meeting, Wednesday 13th March 2024

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Hall starting at 7:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.

March’s Charney Chatter

Is here!

Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Here is the latest Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

From your local MP – David Johnston

One of the most common questions I’m asked is what is life like as an MP.
In general my week is split Monday-Thursday in Parliament and Friday-Sunday back home in Didcot.
At the time of writing this, the last week kicked off with a team meeting at the Department for Education, followed by my weekly meeting with the team delivering our huge expansion of childcare, with the first 15 hours of free childcare becoming available for working parents from April. Alongside various other meetings, Chilton County Primary School came for a visit to Westminster, and it was great to meet them and take their questions.
Tuesday included meeting with GARD to discuss the next steps following me echoing their call for a public inquiry of the reservoir proposal in December; attending a networking event of charities and businesses involved in our Disability Action Plan; and responding for the Government in a debate about nursery provision in the South West.
Just as MPs like myself have regular surgeries with constituents, so Ministers have regular surgeries with MPs to discuss problems they’re having locally in areas the Minister covers and Wednesday kicked off with one of these. After attending PMQs, I presented to Parliament my petition to reopen Grove Station, which I’m grateful to the 2127 of you for signing. I met my Parliamentary team before taking another debate – this time on special educational needs – and several other meetings.
Last week was National Apprenticeship Week and on Thursday I visited childcare apprentices and then another nursery. To and from the visits I had calls with 10 local authorities and did some paperwork.
Then on Friday I began with a Q&A at Didcot Sixth Form then met with Liane and Mark from Active Future South Oxfordshire and visited apprentices at Williams Racing in Grove. I had several surgery appointments, including meeting a local subpostmaster who contacted me after seeing the ITV drama about the Horizon scandal having recognised that what happened had also happened to her. I am pleased this Government is taking such decisive action to right this wrong.
I met with Niamh Dernie from Wantage to talk about the next steps in her campaign against sexual harassment and then had the pleasure of presenting Mikayla Beames from Team Mikayla, which I am a proud patron of, with her Points of Light award from the PM. Then I rounded off the day with my weekly visit to Merv, as part of my volunteering with the Didcot Good Neighbours Scheme.
Weekends are always a combination of door knocking, emails and paperwork for both MP and Minister roles and – when I can manage it – Liverpool games!
I love the ability to make a difference in the job and the variety – as I always say to people, it’s better to be very busy than bored.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do, please get in touch via david.johnston.mp@parliament.uk

February’s Charney Chatter

….is here

From your local MP – David Johnston

I know it has been a difficult start to the year for some local residents with the flooding that we have seen across the constituency. I have been in contact with the Environment Agency throughout and will be meeting with them to discuss the recent flooding and our flood defences, as well as with the Council about the measures they can take to prevent flooding. Please email me if you have anything that you would like me to raise with them.

I know that of particular concern has been the flooding on the A417. I have written to the Council about this many times and have pushed them again to do the work that they had planned to do on this and other roads. I also visited local businesses like Mellor’s Garage and Vale Hydrotherapy in East Challow to talk about their experiences in the recent floods, how I can help and what more needs to be done. Mellor’s in particular have been losing a lot of business while the road remains flooded so do support them and others affected if you can.

If you or someone you know has had their home or business affected by flooding, which I hope you did not, there is Government support available to help people recover. This support will be provided through local councils who will announce further details on eligibility and how to apply.

Please do complete my Local Roads Survey to share your experiences and thoughts with me about the issues on our roads, currently on my website at www.david-johnston.org.uk/RoadsSurvey. The more responses we receive, the better data we have to push for change.

From now until 31 March, working parents can get an HMRC code that will entitle them from this April to the first 15 free hours of childcare for their 2-year-olds. Visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk for more information. I am very proud to be overseeing this rollout, which is the biggest ever investment in childcare, as the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing.

Men’s Sheds are community workshops which are doing great work across the country to tackle loneliness amongst men. I visited one of our very own Men’s Sheds in Sutton Courtenay to meet with founder Jon and talk to its users – who all said how much it is has helped them. They are based in the grounds of the Abbey at Sutton Courtenay, and you can contact them at info@shedoxford.co.uk if you would like to get involved.

Speaking of the Abbey, they have recently recruited a very experienced French chef who is producing delicious food for visitors, which I was pleased to try on my visit there. Find out more at https://theabbey.uk.com.

As ever, if I can help with anything then do please get in touch via david.johnston.mp@parliament.uk.

From your local MP – David Johnston

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I particularly enjoyed attending the Wantage Dickensian Evening to kickstart the festive season. It was minus 2 degrees, but the atmosphere was very warm and everyone from the Wantage Silver Band to Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary to Team Mikayla was there to celebrate.

Looking back on the last year, I am pleased with the progress made on a number of my campaigns. We took another step forward on health services with my Health Services Survey, which thousands of you responded to and which was followed with me holding a debate in Parliament on health services in Wantage and Didcot.

My petition to re-open Grove Station was signed by 2,127 of you and I will be meeting the Rail Minister in the near future to discuss this again with him. Thank you to Andy Holding of the Wantage and Grove Station Supporters Group for providing the final signature. I will keep going until we are successful.

My campaigning for more renewable energy run by the local community, through my sponsorship of the Local Electricity Bill, led to the creation of the new £10 million Government Community Energy Fund which will hopefully benefit groups across Oxfordshire.

And my campaign for justice for our local AEAT pensioners resulted in me securing the first ever independent investigation into their case, as well as a Parliamentary inquiry.

I was also pleased to welcome so many constituents to Parliament this past year from schools to charities to members of the armed forces. I also hosted a local young person for work experience almost every month – thank you to all of them. If you are planning a visit to Parliament or would like me to arrange a free tour for you then do get in touch.

In 2024 I will be continuing campaigns on infrastructure issues like GP surgeries and Grove Station, as well as my other priorities like protecting our environment, tackling anti-social behaviour, and improving opportunities for children and young people.

Right now, as part of my campaign to improve our roads, I have my Local Roads Survey running so that you can tell me exactly where you are seeing issues on our roads that need to be resolved – including potholes, congestion, speeding and other safety concerns. Since being elected I have spoken in 13 separate debates about the need to improve our local roads, met with the Roads Minister to raise it with them, led a debate in Parliament on safety issues on the A34 and A420 and welcomed the £3 million for this year from Government to help fix Oxfordshire’s potholes.

However, there is more to do and I want to hear from as many people as possible so that we have the best data to make the case for improvements, so please do take part on my website at www.david-johnston.org.uk/RoadsSurvey.

As ever, if I can help with anything then do, please get in touch via david.johnston.mp@parliament.uk

 

Upcoming Parish Council Meeting, Wednesday 10th January 2024

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Hall starting at 7:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.