Tag Archives: strood

Video: A day in the life of a constituency MP

Further to the previous video providing a behind the scenes look at Mark Reckless’s work in Westminster, follow Mark through a typical day in his constituency to find out more about the vital work which MPs undertake to serve their constituents and our country.


Video: A day in the life of an MP

A fascinating behind the scenes look at the daily work of Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood, Mark Reckless. Follow Mark through a typical day in Westminster to find out more about the vital work which MPs undertake to serve their constituents and our country.

MP joins Ravidassia community for celebration


Mark Reckless MP joins members of the Ravidassia community in Medway and beyond for celebration

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, was delighted to join hundreds of members of the growing Ravidassia community in Medway to celebrate the 636th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Ravidass Ji.

170320134174Based at the Sri Guru Ravidass Bhawan in Vicarage Road, the Strood Ravidassia community played host to thousands of worshippers from across the country and beyond, with some dignified guests travelling from as far as Europe and India to join in the special celebration.

Speaking after the event, Mark said:

“I was delighted to join thousands of worshippers and well-wishers coming to pay their respects at the Strood Bhawan. It was an honour to be invited to address the Ravidassia community who had travelled from near and far to join the celebrations here in Medway.

The beliefs of the Ravidassia religion are very much focused on overcoming social injustice and inequality based on caste, so I was encouraged by the recent vote in the House of Lords to make caste-based discrimination in the UK unlawful which I was able to highlight in my speech.

I would like to thank the Strood Bhawan’s executive committee for the excellent work which they are doing in Strood, and all of the worshippers who made me feel very welcome during my visit.”

MP welcomes 100th occupier at SBC Medway

Mark Reckless MP recently welcomed Space Business Centres 100th occupier to the site, in Knight Road, Rochester.

Mark Nightingale, (centre right, pictured with Mark Reckless MP, Alex Gale of Space Business Centres (right) and Councillor Jane Chitty (left)) of Nightingale Bathrooms are a bathroom installation company based in Medway covering Kent and the South East. They specialise in bathroom conversions for the elderly, disabled and anyone with mobility problems and have over 15 years’ experience in surveying and installing specialist bathrooms.

They decided to move to the Space Business Centre not only due to the location, the quality of accommodation and competitive prices but most importantly due to the flexible nature of the licences requiring no long term commitment.

Commenting on the Centre, Mark Nightingale stated:

“Space Business Centres is exactly what our business needed as our first base. It offers a flexible monthly licence, an inclusive rent as well as fixed annual uplifts so that we can plan ahead. In these difficult times it is comforting to know that we are not tied in to a long term commitment.”

Units start range from 350 sqft to 900 sqft so as Mark’s business grows, Space Business Centre will be able to offer him an opportunity to trade up in size as well.

Alex Gale of Space Business Centres commented:

“It is fantastic news to welcome on site our 100th occupier. Having commenced marketing in 2009 at the bottom of the market, we have worked hard to position our Centres as being the ultimate flexible property for small and start-up businesses and we have been rewarded with the take up on site. We would like to wish Mark every success in the future and hope that they will be able to grow the business on site with us. You don’t read too many good news stories at the moment, so it is pleasing to see that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Medway.”

Mark Reckless MP added:

“It was a pleasure to welcome Nightingale Bathrooms to their new business home. It is great to see so many small and medium businesses being given the opportunity to start up and expand here in Medway. I would like to wish them every success for the future.”

Space Business Centres have now created over 200 jobs on site since the doors were first opened nearly 4 years ago. Space Business Centres provide the easy way to occupy commercial property. Units are specifically targeted at new start-up companies as well as SME and those companies looking to upsize or downsize. The Centre’s units are ready-to-use, flexible and secure without the pressures of a long term lease. Units are let on easy-in, easy-out terms with just one month’s commitment. See www.spacebc.com

New Medway Mail Centre in Strood officially opened

Mark Reckless MP and Royal Mail Chief Executive Moya Greene officially open the new Medway mail centre

Mark Reckless MP, Rochester and Strood, and Royal Mail Group Chief Executive Moya Greene officially opened Royal Mail’s new state-of-the-art Medway mail centre in Strood.

The fully operational Medway mail centre in Strood

Now fully operational, Medway mail centre processes over 3 million items a night posted to and from addresses in the Canterbury (CT), Dartford (DA), Medway/Maidstone (ME) and Tonbridge (TN) areas.

Medway mail centre is a key part of the £70 million Royal Mail is investing in modernising its operations across Kent to ensure they have an operational network fit for the future. This will also provide better working conditions for their people and enable them to continue to deliver a high level of service to our customer in Kent.

Royal Mail originally announced it was planning changes to its operations in Kent in November 2010, and building work on the brownfield site began in May 2011. Medway mail centre started processing its first letters in mid February 2012 and it is now fully operational.

Mark Reckless MP, Rochester and Strood, said:

“It is fantastic news for Medway that Royal Mail has chosen to consolidate all their operations in Strood. Congratulations to them on making such a big investment and working so hard to bring their workforce with them, which will greatly benefit Strood, the local economy and our postal system.

I know that Royal Mail was delighted that, working closely with Medway Council, the whole project, from initial planning to becoming fully operational, went very smoothly and so quickly. With improved connectivity giving easy access to the M2/A2, Medway is showing that it has the infrastructure to attract large scale investment into the Towns and is open for business.”

Moya Greene, Royal Mail Group Chief Executive, said:

“I am delighted to officially open Royal Mail’s newest mail centre today. The completion of this project is a historic day in Royal Mail’s operational history and the culmination of a massive programme of investment. It will ensure that Royal Mail is equipped to deliver the cherished universal service to the people of Kent despite the challenging market conditions in which we operate.

It shows that we are a company that is not resting on its heritage but is looking to the future, ready to meet the changing needs of the communities we serve long into the future. I am very proud of everyone who made it happen and I would like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication.”

Mark Reckless MP starts work at site of new sorting office in Strood

Mark Reckless MP at the ground-breaking ceremony in May 2011

The new mail centre site covers 5.4 hectares, and the building itself covers almost 16,000 square metres.  There are six new intelligent letter sorting machines installed on the site. These innovative machines sort mail into batches that can be sequenced into exact walk order to save postmen and women in delivery offices time when preparing to go out on their rounds. At full speed, they can sort up to 45,000 items an hour. There will also be five machines for cancelling stamped mail and one flat sorting machine for processing A4-sized mail.

There are around 850 people based at Medway mail centre. They moved to the new mail centre as the processing work transferred from their mail centres in Canterbury, Dartford, Maidstone and Tonbridge. This started in February 2012 and is now complete.

Royal Mail supported these people in this relocation by providing them with a two-week induction course prior to starting their new roles. This was to ensure that they were familiar with their new working environment and the new machines they would be operating, which were already installed in other mail centres in the South East.

Other Options Are All Better Than An Estuary Airport

The Mayor of London calls a third runway at Heathrow “simply mad” but the only truly mad option in this debate is the Mayor’s own pie in the sky proposal for a Thames Estuary Airport.  By pushing that, as his alternative to Heathrow expansion, Boris played into the hands of the vested interests of BA and BAA and a richly resourced lobbying campaign for Heathrow expansion.

I am delighted that we have held off the prospect of consultation on options including an estuary airport yet excluding Heathrow. I warned the Prime Minister that such a consultation could be overturned by the courts, as I helped overturn the Labour government’s 2003 consultation including ‘Cliffe’ airport yet excluding Gatwick. Justine Greening as Transport Secretary was understandably concerned to protect her constituents in Putney under the Heathrow flight-path, but the new transport team can fairly assess all options on their merits.

The reality is that adding a runway to an airport, such as Heathrow, with existing infrastructure will always be incomparably easier, faster and cheaper than building a new airport, and it is ridiculous for Boris to suggest otherwise. Indeed, the ‘research’ which he commissioned, concluding that a new airport in the Thames Estuary would take only two year longer to build than a third runway at Heathrow, was so manifestly absurd that it was not taken seriously.  Foster+ Partners’ claim that a new airport could be built in the estuary for £23 billion is similarly incredible, even before you consider they want airlines using Heathrow to pay for it, and that infrastructure for the airport is on top, and they want taxpayers to pay for that!

If the Mayor of London is serious about stopping Heathrow expansion, he needs to get back in the debate, drop his pie in the sky estuary airport proposals, and look at other serious options for increasing aviation capacity for the South-East of England, such as:

Birmingham could take 25 million more passengers, even without a second runway for which they are safeguarding land. Their existing runway is currently being extended to take the largest fully-laden jets to allow a large range of services to Asia and the Americas. The airport is in the middle of the national motorway network and is easily reached by train from Kent on HS1 and then via Euston, as a delegation from Medway and Kent councils discovered when we visited last week. When HS2 is built, Birmingham Airport will be only just over half an hour from Heathrow, 40 minutes from Euston and 57 minutes from Ebbsfleet.

Stansted could take 17 million more passengers (and took 6 million more than now in 2007) but is held back by poor transport connections. For £3-4 billion (rather than £50-80 billion for an estuary airport) we could build a Crossrail spur from Stratford to Stansted allowing transfer from the airport to the City in 23 minutes, and to the West End or Ebbsfleet in half an hour. The Coalition could agree this rail investment now, leaving any decisions to build second of third runways, for which there would be plenty of space, until existing capacity is properly used.

Gatwick has a real window of opportunity now to come off the fence and push for a second runway, which their planning agreement could allow from 2019. Gatwick could then be set free from price controls to compete with Heathrow and really build its business following recent success in attracting Asian airlines. We should also improve train links from Kent as well as London to Gatwick as the best option for supporting Kent travellers and our local economy.

Strood Swimmers Hit by Metal Theft

On Saturday morning I took our baby to Strood Leisure Centre for his swimming class. Unfortunately we were turned away by staff who were shutting up as we arrived.

The cause was metal theft. It seems that thieves had broken into the centre overnight and removed metal piping used to heat the baby pool and for the centre’s air conditioning.

Many other local residents will have been disappointed at not being able to use Stood Leisure Centre. No doubt there will also be substantial costs for the council in replacing the piping and fixing the pool heating and central heating. At least there was no risk to life in this case as there has been in other incidents where metal has been stolen.

Even when there is not a threat to safety, when metal is stolen the cost to the victim of repair and making good the theft is often many, many times the value of the metal stolen.

Tackling metal theft must therefore be a high priority. I am delighted to support Chris Kelly MP and his parliamentary group dedicated to combating metal theft.

The government is now preventing metal trade in cash which should make it much harder for metal crime to pay, and further steps are also be taken. Kent Police have also staged a series of raids on suspect metal dealers and I know this is a high priority for out Chief Constable, Ian Learmonth.

Our candidate to be Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Councillor Craig Mackinlay, is the man to ensure that the pressure is kept up until we squeeze illegal metal thieves and traders out of Kent.