This time of year always feels like the start of a new year for me.
Parliament has returned after the summer and conference recess, schools are into their new academic year, farmers have come through the harvest and are busy drilling next year’s crop and after summer holidays and time to take a break, a new season of events and activities are underway right across the constituency.
At the beginning of September I attended some of the last galas of the summer and my diary has been well stocked with autumn flower and vegetable competitions.
As I have mentioned in this column before, these community events are some of the favourite aspects of my job, allowing me to catch up with constituents and find out the village gossip, concerns and latest issues I can help with.
The summer recess is a great opportunity to catch up with work in the constituency office and despite that fact Parliament is in recess, politics very much continues at pace.
It was over the summer that Wetherby had the chance to see the proposals that Sainsbury’s have in mind for the Ramada Jarvis Hotel site.
From the very start I have made my view clear on this matter, I am not opposed to a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Wetherby, indeed we already have one on Crossley Street, but the location of the Ramada Jarvis site is completely wrong.
The advantage that Morrisons had when it expanded was that it is in the town centre so people shop as much in the market square as they do in the supermarket.
Locating a supermarket outside of the town is likely to stop visitors crossing the river and using local shops in conjunction with the supermarket.
At the time of writing this column Sainsbury’s have not yet submitted a planning application and it is not all bad news as we are exceptionally lucky in Wetherby to have Councillor John Procter as one of our Leeds City Councillors. I often describe Councillor Procter as our local ‘planning expert’ with over twenty year’s experience representing Wetherby and dealing with planning issues in our town and across the city. I have had several meetings with shop keepers, the town mayor, and residents and have heard the concerns that exist in the town. Councillor Procter and I will work with those concerned to lobby that Wetherby sees the right outcome for the long term viability of the town.
National politics was the topic of conversation with many I have met in and around Wetherby over the past few weeks; notably most conversations were about the party conferences.
Although the Queen’s Speech is traditionally the time for the Government to set out its legislative agenda for the year ahead, the conference season gives the Government an opportunity to give updates on the legislative agenda and detail how policies are developing as the Coalition try to sort out the enormous deficit inherited.
l Should readers wish to let me know their comments following any issues that have arisen over the conference season, you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at Alec Shelbrooke MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.