Category Archives: Victoria in North Oxfordshire

MP BUZZING FOLLOWING PESTICIDES BREAKTHROUGH

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Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, has welcomed plans for further restrictions on the use of pesticides harmful to bees and other pollinators.

Following advice from the UK’s pesticides advisory body, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Rt Hon Michael Gove, has announced restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides as part of his commitment to maintain environmental standards across the UK.

Victoria commented: “Bees have been a big issue since I was first elected. Nearly 200 constituents have taken the time to contact me to express concerns about the impact of pesticides on bees. As the proud owner of three hives, I understand the importance of ensuring the safety of pollinators across the UK and the positive environmental impact that they have. I know many of my constituents will join me in welcoming this announcement.”

MP’S CAT NAMED ‘PURR MINISTER’ 2017

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On 7 November, Victoria Prentis’ cat, Midnight, was named the winner of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home’s annual ‘Purr Minister’ competition. Each candidate submitted a ‘Manifursto’, and the final winner was decided by public vote. Midnight’s pledges included a compulsory cat-related Purr Minister’s Question every Wednesday, a new Feline Select Committee, and a promise to monitor Buttons the office mouse.

Victoria said: “I am thrilled that Midnight’s dedication to the campaign has paid off. I know that he will be getting to work on implementing his manifursto commitments straightaway. Finding good homes for all the rescue cats currently living in temporary accommodation is a top priority. No doubt Midnight’s first Purr Minister’s Question Time will be a lively affair.”

ROYAL MAIL FINALLY DELIVERS KINGSMERE POST BOX, FIVE YEARS ON

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Over five years since the first residents moved into the Kingsmere estate in Bicester, a post box has finally been installed following pressure from Bicester’s Member of Parliament, Victoria Prentis, and the Residents’ Association.

The Post Box, situated outside newly built St. Edburg’s Primary School, will serve locals and those using the community facilities expected to open in March 2018, including the Community Centre and shops.

Victoria Prentis has been petitioning Royal Mail for post boxes on all new estates across her constituency, including Elmsbrook and Graven Hill in Bicester, and areas such as Longford Park in Banbury, raising it during a recent exchange with the Prime Minister during questions in October. With North Oxfordshire experiencing some of the highest levels of growth in the country, it is important that community facilities such as post boxes are provided in conjunction with house building.

Yesterday (2 November 2017) marked the opening of the post box in Kingsmere, and Victoria along with Viki, Co-Chair of the Residents’ Association went along to mark the occasion. Victoria commented: “While some people may think that the issue of post boxes is a trivial matter, they really are vital for residents’ continuing their normal day to day lives after moving to a new area. I understand that a lot of correspondence is dealt with online, but my constituents still regularly send letters, particularly the elderly.

North Oxfordshire is experiencing unprecedented levels of growth and I will continue to push for services such as post boxes, adequate health care and sustainable road infrastructure. I look forward to meeting Royal Mail later this month to discuss this further with them.”

LOCAL SCHOOLCHILDREN ENJOY ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY WORKSHOP AT BROUGHTON CASTLE

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On Friday 13 October, Victoria Prentis MP was joined by ninety schoolchildren from across North Oxfordshire for a Shakespeare Workshop led by actors and directors from the Royal Shakespeare Company. The workshop, funded by Cherwell District Council, was hosted at Broughton Castle, an historic and atmospheric venue that helped scenes from this year’s featured play, Julius Caesar, come to life.

The children were taken through a number of extracts from the play, with the RSC explaining the choices they made when interpreting the text. There was the opportunity to get stuck in to some acting in smaller breakout groups, before all coming back together at the end to go through what they had learnt.

Speaking after the event, Victoria said: ‘This is the second year I have worked with the RSC to bring Shakespeare to the children of North Oxfordshire, and it is fast becoming an annual fixture. The actors and directors are so brilliant at bringing the characters and storylines to life, and it was fantastic to see every child fully immersed in the work of Shakespeare.

I am very grateful to the Fiennes family for hosting us at Broughton Castle again. It is an amazing venue, and I can’t think of a better place to hold an event like this. The generous support from Cherwell District Council is also very much appreciated.’

VICTORIA VISITS HEYFORD PARK VETERANS GROUP

On Friday 6 October, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, visited the Heyford and Bicester Veterans Group.

The Group aims to provide vital support for veterans and their families. It has joined forces with advocacy group SEAP, the Royal British Legion, Veterans UK, mental health charity Rethink, Help for Heroes and a housing specialist to make sure that all those involved in the military have access to essential help and support, both during and after service.

Victoria commented: ‘I thought it was a brilliant service, and it was great to meet everyone involved. I was particularly glad to see such a joined-up approach, providing excellent all-round support. It was heartening to see people from all around the county coming together to deal with issues, offer help and advice, and to share their experiences.’

 

 

CCG RETHINKING SPLIT HEALTHCARE CONSULTATION

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On Tuesday 26 September, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, attended a Community Partnership Network (CPN) meeting at Bodicote House in Banbury.

CPN is a Better Health Care programme for Banbury and its surrounding area, and draws together key stakeholders from the Cherwell region to discuss matters relating to health provision, ranging from GP services to the closure of beds.

In January 2017, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) put forward their proposals for the future of health in Oxfordshire in their Big Health and Care consultation. A decision was taken to split the consultation into two phases, with Phase One being delivered this year and Phase Two following in 2018. It was argued by many that the issues across both phases were interconnected and members of the public could not make an informed decision without knowing the whole picture.

Banbury’s MP has continually pushed for the consultation to be halted until both phases can be delivered together, particularly with a referral to the Secretary of State and Judicial Review of the process on the table. In today’s meeting, Victoria asked whether the CCG would consider stopping the implementation of Phase 1 and rolling it into Phase 2 of the Transformation Programme. In response, Dr Walsh, the Clinical Development Lead for the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme, replied stating that he would take it back to the CCG board for consideration and understands the strength of feeling in North Oxfordshire.

Following the meeting, Victoria commented: “It is certainly a glimmer of hope that the CCG are finally listening to my requests and will be rethinking their plans for the consultation process. Without a clear vision of the future of health services and proper thought-out proposals, it is impossible for my constituents to put forward their views about the plans. The CCG are facing a referral to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) regarding permanent changes to maternity services in Banbury, and the Council have put forward a judicial review against the consultation process. I really hope that the CCG listen to our concerns, take a step back and re-evaluate the split nature of the consultation.”

VICTORIA PRENTIS OPENS NEW EXPORT WAREHOUSE

On Friday 22 September, Victoria Prentis MP opened Cleenol Group Ltd’s new Export Warehouse.

Cleenol Group Ltd manufactures an extensive range of quality cleaning & hygiene products for professionals.  In addition to supplying customers throughout UK they export to over 40 countries.  These include   EU member states, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.  Export sales grew by nearly 20% last year and now represent over 12% of the company’s turnover.  To manage this increase Cleenol have invested in a new 12,500 sq ft export warehouse, adjoining its other 3 warehouses on the Tramway Industrial Estate.

Managing Director Richard Greaves said: “We have been exporting for over 25 years.  Our customers recognize the quality of the products we manufacture and the service we provide.  Since Brexxit the fall in the value of the pound has made our products even more attractive and we have seen significant sales growth as a result.  Our export markets recognize and respect the value they get from British manufactured products.  They provide them with quality and consistency of performance, and cost in use savings.  Many are now looking to be environmentally responsible, and our products and systems help them achieve this.  We anticipate further export growth in the coming years and have invested accordingly. “

Victoria Prentis MP commented: “I was delighted to be asked to open Cleenol Group Ltd’s new Export Warehouse and visit their manufacturing plant. They are one of the largest employers in Banbury, and it is great to see a local company doing so well  and continuing to provide jobs for people in the Banbury area. It was particularly interesting to meet Richard and discuss plans for the future, I am sure that the new warehouse will play a big part.”

Cleenol has been manufacturing cleaning and hygiene products for industry for over 65 years.  It has been in Banbury for over 40 years.  The company now employs over 120 people, holding both the ISO9001 quality and ISO14001 environmental accreditations.

They are market leaders in the manufacture of environmentally friendly concentrated products and dispensing systems for industry and an extensive range of cleaning products for a large range of applications.  These include products for industrial laundries, dishwashing chemicals for restaurants and canteens, liquid soaps and sanitizers, floor care products and bactericidal surface cleaners.  Their customers include the hotel, catering and leisure industries, laundries, hospitals and care homes, as well as supplying government and local authorities, manufacturing products under customers own branding as well as their own.

MP HOLDS SURGERY IN BARCLAYS BANK

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On Friday 15 September, North Oxfordshire MP decided to try out a new location for her constituency surgeries – Barclays Bank in Banbury.

While she usually organises ‘Supermarket Surgeries’ in Sainsbury’s cafés, Victoria was kindly invited to hold one of her regular constituent drop-ins in Barclay’s Banbury Branch. With friendly staff and a private room, it was a success with a number of local people popping in to have a chat to Victoria about issues ranging from help with visas to mental health support.

Surgeries are an important part of an MP’s job, giving constituents valuable face to face time with their elected representative. Talking to an MP is quite often people’s last resort and they come with a wide range of issues and concerns.

After the surgery, Victoria commented: “The setting in Barclays Banbury was ideal for meeting my constituents, particularly those with quite complex cases. The staff were very helpful, providing a private room to conduct each appointment in. I am keen to ensure that my surgeries are accessible, so holding them in places such as banks on the high street and supermarket cafes works well. While my diary is very busy, I thoroughly enjoy holding surgeries and meeting constituents, alongside my more rural ‘pub tours’.”

For more information on Victoria’s upcoming surgeries, please visit www.victoriaprentis.com/contact/surgery-appointments/.

MP EXPERIENCES MORNING AS A BUILDER WITH DAVID WILSON HOMES

David Wilson Homes has welcomed Victoria Prentis MP to its development in Deddington for a hands on ‘hard-hat tour’.

The housebuilder invited Victoria Prentis, the MP for North Oxfordshire, to visit Deddington Grange to experience a morning as a builder at the David Wilson Homes site, practicing bricklaying and also enjoying a typical builder’s breakfast of a bacon sandwich.

During her visit Victoria spent time meeting the team behind Deddington Grange and hearing about how construction is progressing.

Deddington Grange will consist of 84 three, four and five bedroom homes once complete.

Victoria Prentis MP, said: “North Oxfordshire has one of the highest growth rates in the country, so it was really interesting to look around David Wilson’s Deddington Grange site on Friday and lay a brick for one of the houses.

“It is always helpful to discuss with developers what housing options they are making available for local people, and what their plans are for affordable housing. It was interesting to look around the show home and I am sure it won’t be long before I am hosting one of my ‘New Residents Roadshows’ on the site.”

John Fitzgerald, Managing Director at David Wilson Homes Mercia, said: “We were delighted to welcome Victoria Prentis to our site to show her first hand the work that goes into creating a development such as Deddington Grange.”

Deddington Grange is a beautiful new development in the desirable Oxfordshire village of Deddington. The new homes border open fields and glorious countryside while still boasting excellent commuter links, with Banbury just four miles away and Oxford reachable in just half an hour.

 

Victoria Launches ‘Virtual Water Fountain’ Scheme in Banbury and Bicester

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Banbury and Bicester have this week joined the campaign to protect the marine environment and cut litter levels by reducing the reliance on disposable plastic water bottles, following the launch of the Refill scheme in the area.

Some 20 local businesses have already signed up to the initiative, which seeks to connect thirsty people with cafes, shops and offices willing to offer free tap water refills. Participating businesses register with an app and also place a sticker in their window alerting passers-by that they are a Refill site, regardless of whether they are customers or not.

The local scheme, which is sponsored by Bicester-based business BRITA UK and has the backing of Victoria Prentis MP, aims to make refilling a reusable water bottle on the go and staying hydrated as easy, convenient and cheap as possible. Research conducted by BRITA UK and Keep Britain Tidy  earlier this year revealed that 59% of us would be more likely to use a reusable water bottle if refills were more freely available in places such as shops, airports and parks.

Research has shown a reduction in the number of water fountains around the country, but English law currently only requires licensed premises to offer free refills, not all establishments that are open to the public. And BRITA’s research found that embarrassment is holding people back; with 71% of people uncomfortable asking for free tap water without buying something else and 37% awkward even if they are making a purchase. The Refill app aims to remove any obstacles to drinking on the go in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Britons use 7.7bn single-use plastic bottles every year  despite the fact that these are expensive to produce, use up valuable natural resources to make and transport, and create mountains of waste.  An estimated 800 plastic bottles a minute are either ending up in landfill or as litter, which will too often make its way into our waterways and out to sea, causing severe damage to marine life such as whales, dolphins and turtles.

Banbury and Bicester are the tenth and eleventh towns in England to sign up to Refill, which was first launched by anti-plastic pollution charity City to Sea in Bristol in September 2015 and is now live in cities including Bath and Norwich. The Banbury and Bicester refill scheme was officially launched by Victoria Prentis at a bottle filling ceremony at FLTR Coffee cafe today.

Sarah Taylor, Managing Director of BRITA UK, said: ‘BRITA UK is delighted to be supporting the launch of Refill in Bicester and Banbury. We all know how important it is to stay hydrated on the go, but it can be really difficult to find somewhere to fill up for free or get a glass of water. Unfortunately that often means people purchase plastic bottles that will then be thrown away, causing long-term damage to the marine environment and increasing the amount of litter in our public spaces. The Refill scheme is a practical solution to this problem and I would encourage all businesses in Bicester and Banbury to sign up.

Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury, said: ‘I am thrilled to launch the Refill scheme in Banbury and Bicester. Disposable bottles can be so damaging to the environment, but they are often hard to avoid, especially when out and about. The simplest solutions are usually the most effective; Refill enables people to do their bit while going about their everyday lives. We can see a similar arrangement in action with London’s Borough Market introducing free water fountains as part of a pledge to phase out single-use plastic bottles over the next six months.  There is definitely scope for this to be a national model. I am really looking forward to seeing how the scheme develops locally and am very grateful to Brita for their generous support.

Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, said: ‘Thanks to our partnership with BRITA UK, shoppers and commuters in Banbury and Bicester will never have to buy expensive, environmentally catastrophic bottled water again! Our free Refill rewards app means you’ll be able to find free refills in your local area and earn points as you go – helping you to remember to take your reusable bottle out with you when you leave the house!

Victoria refilling her water bottle to mark the launch of the Banbury and Bicester Refill scheme.

Victoria refilling her water bottle to mark the launch of the Banbury and Bicester Refill scheme.

The Refill team with supporters from Brita and local business owners.

The Refill team with supporters from Brita and local business owners.

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