A subject which I know is close to the hearts of many of my constituents is Community Pubs. Since the Localism act brought in the right to bid, people across the country have nominated around 600 pubs which have then been listed as Assets of Community Value. These are assets – land and buildings –that are important to the community and have traditionally been used by the community. Once submitted if the asset comes up for sale a special window is opened to give the community the chance to buy the asset before it goes on the open market. Pubs have proved to be the most listed type of asset! By the end of March the Government is planning to bring forward more legislation so that in future when a pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value a planning application will be needed for a change of use or demolition. Any planning application will be considered in the light of national policy as well as Neighbourhood Plans. Hopefully this will lead to 1000’s more of our most valuable pubs becoming Assets of Community Value and retain them at the heart of our communities.
Screening films is also another fantastic way to get communities and people from all walks of life together. A new project has been designed by the British Film institute and funded by the National Lottery to support groups launching and running their own Community Cinema. It aims to bring the cinema experience to more people across the UK particularly those who are unable to enjoy regular screenings because of social and economic reasons or simply because they live too far from the cinema. This project includes advice on how to actually start up a cinema, funding, licencing and how and where to book films. Details can be found at www.neighbourhoodcinema.org.uk it is well worth looking at if this is an idea which interests you and your friends and neighbours.
My mailbag this month has been dominated by the issue of mitochondrial donation, widely reported in the press under the headline “three-parent babies”. As you may know, the House of Commons voted to approve a new scientific technique that will help prevent mothers from passing on serious mitochondrial diseases to their children. Whilst I am very aware of the concerns that a number of constituents have raised with me in emails and letters, I think it is very important to note that thorough, scientific reviews have found no evidence that these techniques are at all unsafe. The scientific community has been clear in its support for the introduction of these regulations. Estimates show that 1 in 6,500 children born in the UK each year suffer from a serious mitochondrial DNA disorder. Parliament’s intention in approving these regulations is to ensure that mothers who carry damaged mitochondria can have children with the confidence that they will be born without the devastating and often deadly conditions that can be caused by serious mitochondrial disease. The approval of these regulations will be life-changing for those families who are affected by mitochondrial disease.
As ever please feel free to contact me on any matter at the House of Commons, SW1A 0AA, 020 7219 6350 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Email is the quickest and most reliable way to get in touch, as I keep a very close eye on my emails and can reply very quickly. I also send out occasional general interest emails about developments in the Wantage and Didcot Constituency. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, please do email me at email@example.com or sign up at www.vaizey.com. Surgery details can be found at www.vaizey.com
Ed Vaizey MP