Category Archives: Victoria in North Oxfordshire

MP discusses ways to improve road safety

On 7 September 2018, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, attended a meeting with Wendlebury Parish Councillors and Cllr Ian Corkin of Oxfordshire County Council to discuss ways to improve the safety of the A41.

The road, which has a speed limit of 70mph, is regularly crossed by children using the bus services and dog walkers. 

Victoria Prentis MP said: “Given the recent tragic accident on the A41, I am committed to working with Wendlebury Parish Council and Oxfordshire County Council to find ways to make the crossing safer, while keeping the vital bus services we all depend on.”

A further public meeting, which is set to open the discussion to members of the community, will take place at Wendlebury Village Hall on Thursday 20 September at 7.30pm. 

MP WEARS IT PINK FOR FUNDRAISER

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis, joined her Westminster colleagues this week in supporting Breast Cancer Now’s ‘wear it pink’ fundraiser, which will take place in Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Friday 19 October.

Wear it pink day calls for people all across the UK to wear pink and donate in an effort to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. Anyone can take part, and to date the campaign has raised over £31million towards Breast Cancer Now’s important work.

Victoria Prentis MP said: “Breast cancer is still the most common form of cancer and every year 11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to the disease. Wear it pink is an easy way to have fun with family and friends while raising money for Breast Cancer Now’s important research. Breast cancer affects so many people in North Oxfordshire, so I hope that everybody will get involved to support this important campaign.”

Donna Fraser, four-time Olympian for Great Britain and Breast Cancer Now Ambassador added: “Breast cancer awareness and raising funds for research is hugely important to me – there are too many women being diagnosed with breast cancer, and sadly too many women still lose their lives each year. This cause is very close to my heart, and as someone who has personally been through breast cancer, I know the just how important it is to raise money for research, to help reach a day where nobody dies from breast cancer. For me, that day can’t come soon enough.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, also said: “We are really grateful for the enthusiasm and support shown by the MPs at Westminster. We hope that by wearing pink, Victoria will encourage her constituents in north Oxfordshire to get involved and help us to continue to fundraise to fund world-class research into this devastating disease.

“Wear it pink is a fantastic opportunity for communities across the UK to come together, have fun and show their support to this very important cause. Together we are taking steps forward to reach our goal that, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well.”

To take part in wear it pink this October, please visit: www.wearitpink.org/signup-mp for further details, fundraising ideas and information on how to register for your free fundraising pack.

MP CONGRATULATES NEW TOWN COUNCILLOR, DAVID BEVERLEY FOLLOWING BY- ELECTION WIN

Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, has congratulated newly elected councillor, David Beverley, as representative of Banbury Town Council following last week’s by-election. The vote, which took place on Tuesday 4 September, following the retirement of longstanding Councillor, John Donaldson, was won by David with a majority of 335.

Speaking after the count, David said: “I am thrilled to have been elected as the Councillor for Hardwick West. I sincerely thank all those residents who supported me and the great team of volunteers who helped with my campaign. It was a real pleasure to meet so many residents on the doorsteps and talk to them, not just about their concerns, but also their aspirations for their families and our town. I am excited to get started.”

Victoria added: “A huge congratulations to David for winning the by election and taking his seat on the Town Council. It is important to have young people representing the Town and I look forward to working with him in the future.”

MP COMMENTS ON EXPRESSWAY CORRIDOR ANNOUNCEMENT

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis, has commented on today’s Oxford to Cambridge Expressway preferred corridor announcement.

Victoria said:

“Today’s corridor announcement does not come as a surprise given that broad alignment with East West Rail makes strategic sense.

“It is still early days for the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway project. Now that the corridor announcement has been made there will be an extensive period of consultation as route options are considered. Highways England has made it very clear from the outset that the project will build and enhance existing road networks. It will not see the construction of a brand new road from start to finish. I feel very strongly that we should see this as an opportunity to get the investment in our local infrastructure which is long overdue and which is so essential given the pace of housing growth in and around Bicester.

“I am old enough to remember the upheaval caused by the construction of the M40 and have been consistent in my opposition of HS2, not least because of the huge cost, so I am very aware of the impact major infrastructure projects like the Expressway can have on residents living in the surrounding area. I intend to work closely with all affected communities to ensure that we have a strong voice as plans develop and can reap the rewards from the project.”

NORTH OXFORDSHIRE MP SIGNS UP TO ‘SCROLL FREE SEPTEMBER’

Victoria Prentis MP backs social media blackout campaign to improve mental health and wellbeing

Vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, Victoria Prentis MP said she is “really pleased” that she is able to lend her support to the Scroll Free September campaign. Run by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the initiative asks users to stop or cut down use of all personal social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the month.

The initiative follows the publication of the RSPH’s #StatusofMind report in 2017, which found that although social media has a range of both positive and negative effects on the mental health and wellbeing of young people, the net effect is currently negative. Many users find that regular use of social media can lead to heightened feelings of anxiety and depression, poor sleep, body image issues and fear of missing out (FoMO).

Like other public health awareness months, such as Dry January and Stoptober, participation in Scroll Free September will be a challenge, especially for young people raised with technology ever-present in their lives. Half of 18-34 year olds say going completely cold turkey will be ‘hard’ or ‘impossible’, and one in 10 18-24 year olds think it will be ‘impossible’.

Victoria Prentis MP said:

“I am really pleased that I am able to lend my support to Scroll Free September. I am an active user of social media, given my role as a Member of Parliament so I am sure the first few days of the blackout will be a challenge. However, as the mother of teenage daughters I am only too aware of the negative impact social media can have on the mental health and wellbeing of children these days. Initiatives like Scroll Free September provide a welcome opportunity for users to reflect and to build a healthier, more balanced relationship with social media. I would encourage my constituents to get behind the campaign too!”

Announcing the campaign, Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, said:

“Social media has become a part of almost everyone’s life, revolutionising the way we communicate and share information. It has great potential to have positive impacts on mental health and wellbeing by connecting people in new ways. However, as our #StatusOfMind report showed, for many of us, especially our young people, the overall impact on mental health and wellbeing may currently be a detrimental one.

“Scroll Free September offers us all the opportunity to take back control of our relationship with social media, whether you choose to go cold turkey, or just abstain at social events or in the evening. The aim is that by the end of the month, we will be able to reflect back on what we missed, what we didn’t, and what we got to enjoy instead of scrolling through our newsfeeds. That knowledge could help us build a healthier, more balanced relationship with social media in the future.

“Of course, we know this will be a challenge because of the addictive nature of social media technology, which is why we need to work closely with the Government and the social media industry to create an online environment that is more conducive to positive mental health and wellbeing. The ongoing work of the APPG on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing will play a vital part in this.”

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national director for mental health, said:

“Scroll Free is right to highlight growing concerns that social media is contributing to increasing mental health issues in young people and a major ramp up of services will be needed to deal with the problems as part of the NHS 10 year plan. We need to see concerted action, with everyone taking responsibility, including social media giants, so the NHS is not left to pick up the pieces of a mental health epidemic in the next generation.”

Find out more and sign up to take part in the campaign from 27 July at www.scrollfreeseptember.org.

 

MP NAMED CORN BUNTING SPECIES CHAMPION

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis, has been named the species champion for the corn bunting. The initiative partners MPs from England with wildlife organisations to support the protection and promotion of threatened wildlife.

The corn bunting is a specialist farmland bird often seen perched on a wire or a post. They predominantly breed in cereal crops. As they do not migrate, they depend on farmers helping them by providing cereal grain over the winter, and safe places to nest in their crops over the late summer. Corn buntings continue to decline across the UK with their numbers dropping by over a third since 1995.

Earlier this summer, Victoria visited local farmer and constituent, Hugh Jones in Lower Heyford to find out more about the corn bunting and learn about what action he has taken to try and support the endangered bird.

Speaking afterwards, Victoria said:

“I am thrilled to have become the species champion for the corn bunting. As a farmer’s daughter, I always enjoy doing my bit for wildlife and the natural environment. The corn bunting and its distinctive rattling song – which sounds like the jangling of keys – is unmistakable. I am looking forward to my new role and doing what I can to ensure the corn bunting survives and thrives in the countryside.”

Kirsty Brannan from the RSPB added:

“The jangling song of corn buntings is the sound of summer in the British countryside. These birds are just one of many farmland species that need active help to thrive in modern farmland, and I’m delighted that Victoria will be championing the corn bunting in her parliamentary work.”

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP WRITES TO HOUSING MINISTER AND LAMBETH COUNCIL FOLLOWING BANESBERIE CLOSE FIRE

Following the fire in a property on Banesberie Close on Saturday morning, Banbury MP Victoria Prentis has written to the Housing Minister and the Chief Executive of Lambeth Council to urge them to complete the transfer of the bungalows as soon as possible.

Victoria said:

“I was extremely worried to hear about the fire in one of the empty bungalows in Banesberie Close at the weekend and share everyone’s frustration at the length of time it is taking for the properties to be transferred to Sanctuary Housing. I appreciate that it is particularly worrying for residents in the area.

“Earlier this year, following an email exchange with some of the residents of Banesberie Close and the local District Councillor, John Donaldson, I wrote to the then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to find out where the application was in the system. In the response I received at the end of April I was told that the transfer was under review and that Lambeth Council would be advised of the decision imminently. At the same time, I also wrote to the Chief Executive of Lambeth Council to emphasise that something needed to be done to the vacant properties so that they were secure and the surrounding areas properly maintained. 

“While I was reassured in the response from Lambeth Council that some remedial work was going to take place, I am disappointed to hear that progress has been slow since then and that Sanctuary Housing are still waiting for the transfer to be completed.

“I have written again to both the Housing Minister and Lambeth Council and made it very clear that the situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Residents on the road should be able to feel safe and secure in their properties. Their welfare is my principal concern.”

Local Cherwell District Councillor, John Donaldson added:

“I am very frustrated about the situation on Banesberie Close. I know that my fellow councillors, Tony Ilott and Nick Turner, share my concern for the welfare and mental state of the residents. It must be a horrendous situation for everyone living there.”

MP COMMENTS ON DEDDINGTON DISPENSING SERVICE CHANGES

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis has said:

 

“As a patient of Deddington Health Centre and someone who has relied on the convenience of the dispensing service, I am extremely disappointed to hear about the changes. In its current format, many patients are able to collect prescriptions quickly and easily when visiting the Health Centre. Deddington is a thriving village with a dispensary which serves a large number of my constituents in some very rural areas. I am particularly concerned about the impact of changes to elderly patients. When I was first made aware of the proposals some weeks ago, I contacted the Director of Commissioning Operations at NHS England, to make my own views known and pass on the concerns of all of my constituents who had contacted me to express their dismay.

 

“In their response to me, NHS England explained that they had received an application to open a new pharmacy in Deddington which had been considered in accordance with current regulations. It was initially rejected but an appeal was upheld by NHS England. In their response to me, NHS England explained that:

 

“The Deddington Health Centre currently operates a dispensary which is not able to offer the full range of NHS Pharmaceutical services. A community pharmacy operates under different regulations and must, for example, have a pharmacist available in order to dispense prescriptions. A pharmacy would offer the full range of NHS pharmaceutical services to all patients in Deddington and any other member of the public.”

 

“While I feel it is important for Deddington to have access to a pharmacy with a variety of services, I remain concerned about the impact of the changes on existing patients. NHS England have since assured me that if any of my constituents feel that it is extremely difficult for them to get their medication from a community pharmacy rather than from the GP Practice, it will be possible for them to apply for an exemption.

 

“Those wishing to apply for an exemption should contact Beth Lacey on 01865 963808 or email england.tvatpharmacy@nhs.net. If any of my constituents encounters difficulties with this process, I am more than happy to help, so do not hesitate to contact my office on 01869 233685 or by email victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk.

 

“Dispensing services has been an area I have taken a keen interest in at Westminster. I met the Chair of the Dispensing Doctors Association in April and have since coordinated a joint letter with my colleagues to the Minister for Primary Care, Steve Brine MP, to raise concerns about the long-term sustainability of dispensing doctor practices, given their unique position in rural communities.”

MP COMMENTS ON CLOSURE OF BANBURY MAGISTRATES’ COURT

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis, has commented on today’s announcement that Banbury Magistrates’ Court will close. The decision has been taken following a period of consultation conducted earlier this year.

Speaking today, Victoria said: “I am extremely disappointed that the Ministry of Justice has decided to proceed with its plans to close Banbury Magistrates’ Court. I made it very clear in my consultation response that centralising judicial proceedings at Oxford was not a viable solution given the distance people will have to travel and capacity issues at the courts in Oxford. We know only too well from the Horton campaign that Oxford is simply too far, particularly for those using public transport.

“Not only did I make my views known when the Ministry of Justice undertook its consultation, but since then I have also spoken to the Courts Minister on a number of occasions. If the plans really must go ahead, it is essential that my suggestion to explore alternative venues for justice is taken seriously. It is something I suggested before Bicester Magistrates’ Court closed, and I have continued to push for it during conversations with my Parliamentary colleagues both in the department and on the Justice Select Committee. Having spoken to local councillors and organisations, there seems to be broad support for the idea of using the town hall for court proceedings. I am absolutely committed to making sure Banbury remains a viable location for local justice.”

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis, commits her support to Clean Air Day

Earlier this week, Victoria Prentis MP attended a photo-call in Westminster ahead of Clean Air Day, to express her support for action to help support plans to reduce pollution in North Oxfordshire.

The event was organised by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), with MPs calling for national action to make the UK’s air safe to breathe. This is particularly important for constituents with heart and circulatory conditions, who are at increased risk from air pollution.

Air pollution is now the greatest environmental risk factor linked to death in the UK, with 58 % of air pollution related deaths worldwide caused by heart disease or stroke. The BHF’s research has shed light on how harmful pollutants, such as particulate matter (small particles found in emissions from diesel engines and wood burning stoves), can have a direct impact on cardiovascular health and increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Clean air is an issue that has been discussed locally with Victoria, local Councillors and Leader of Cherwell District Council, Cllr Barry Wood, about the quality of air in Bicester, particularly given local growth.

Following the event, Victoria commented: ‘It is important that work to improve air quality so that my constituents living with heart and circulatory conditions do not need to worry about dirty air damaging their health when they leave the house. This is a particular concern for a number of individuals in my constituency, especially within areas of growth.”

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