The National Assembly is poised to start official business again next week. For me, the beginning of new term brings with it some very important inquiry and scrutiny work in relation to the Welsh Government’s policy on energy generation. I sit on the Environment and Sustainability Committee and I vigorously campaigned for this to be our first major piece of work. The inquiry will be an opportunity for the Committee to examine in detail Welsh Government policy on all aspects of renewable and non-renewable energy generation, planning guidance for specific projects and how the Government intends to meet Wales’ future energy needs. The process of taking written evidence has begun and I would encourage everyone to engage in this process. If you would like to contribute evidence, please send an electronic copy of your submission to E&S.firstname.lastname@example.org by the 23rd September.
However, before I return to Cardiff for Assembly business, I just want to briefly reflect on what has been a very busy, yet very enjoyable, first summer as Montgomeryshire’s Assembly Member.
Apart from visiting the many shows around the county, during August I also carried out an extensive advice surgery tour. Meeting and listening to people’s concerns is the part of my job I most enjoy and during the tour I met up with constituents in over 20 locations, from Llanrhaeadr and Llansilin in the north to Trefeglwys and Llanidloes in the south; from Montgomery and Church Stoke in the east to Llanbrynmair and Machynlleth in the west. I just want to say a sincere thank you to everyone I met along the way, both for their time and their good wishes.
As some of you might have read in the County Times, I was concerned to receive a letter from the new Transport Minister telling us that the traffic conditions in Newtown have improved! As you can imagine I have struggled to find anyone who agrees with the Ministers assessment. If it were to be true, perhaps it is a result of commuters and tourists avoiding the region completely. I am encouraging people to write to the Minister to let him know that the people of Mid Wales disagree with him and if anyone would like a template letter, please do contact my office.
In relation to traffic conditions in Welshpool, I am pleased that Powys County Council has decided to review the town’s one way traffic system. It’s clear that since the introduction of the system, there is definitely more traffic congestion within the town centre. Businesses are telling me that it is driving trade away from the town centre something we simply cannot afford to let happen. I also think that a review of the public safety issues on Broad Street is critical and this needs to happen as a matter of urgency.
I was delighted to attend the opening of the newly refurbished Theatre Hafren last week. The theatre reopened with its maiden production of Madam Butterfly following £900,000 of renovation work which has created a new and improved bar and reception area as well as a joint box office and reception with Coleg Powys. Congratulations must to given to the Theatre Hafren staff and committee, as well as to my fellow Newtown County Councillors who have worked hard to lobby for funding for the theatre. When the Newtown Councillors asked local people where they would like to see money spent, the theatre was high on their list of priorities.
[On a more sombre note, I would like to pay tribute to Trudy Baynes-Hill from Aberhafesp, who passed away earlier this month. I got to know Trudy in her campaigning capacity, as she was at the forefront of the crusade to bring a life-saving dialysis unit to Montgomeryshire, so that kidney patients would not have to travel to Shropshire for treatment. Recently, money was confirmed for a temporary unit in the Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welshpool, with a permanent service expected to open next year. This would never have been secured without Trudy’s hard work and determination and she will be sadly missed.
My main constituency office is now open in Newtown and it will be officially launched on Saturday 24th September, when I will be holding a coffee morning with all proceeds going towards Macmillan Cancer Support. The event will take place at 13 Parker’s Lane from 10.30am until 2pm and everyone is welcome. If you have a problem or concern and believe I can help you, please do call my office 01686610887. The office is fully staffed from Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm and my team are always ready to offer advice and support.
I also share an office with Glyn Davies MP on the main High Street in Welshpool, so do please pop in or call the office on 01938552315 if this is more convenient.
If you would like to email me about an issue, you can do so at Russell.George@wales.gov.uk.