THE glorious colours of spring have been supplemented this year by another – the yellow of construction equipment, much of it made in Staffordshire. The new developments we see across Stafford constituency at the moment will bring many benefits once they are complete – jobs, homes and improved transport links.
Investment progresses at several sites: the £150 million base and housing development at Beacon Barracks, the new business parks at Redhill and on the Weston Road, the medical centre and extra care housing at Northfields off the Stone Road, as well new homes on several sites, including for social rent built by Stafford and Rural Homes. I continue to urge the relevant authorities to consider current residents and ensure that the proper infrastructure (roads, schools, doctors etc) is always in place for these new developments.
The major new town centre retail and cinema development will start, now that the demolition of the former Tesco car park is complete; the long-planned Stafford Access Road linking the Newport Road with Doxey and the A34 took a major step forward this week with funding announced by the Government; and the "managed motorway" project to reduce congestion on the M6 is on course to be complete by the middle of next year.
This week I am visiting the new Penric extra care housing development of 82 modern apartments in Penkridge, built by South Staffordshire Housing. Their popularity (already all are rented out or sold) shows not only the quality of the scheme itself but why we need to invest in this type of home for older people, at the centre of our communities.
On the topic of healthcare, the Care Quality Commission inspected Stafford hospital last week and has given its initial judgment that the care provided is safe while emphasising the challenges which remain. This is welcome and underlines the hard work being done by staff under difficult circumstances.
In the House of Commons, I urged the Department of Health and NHS to increase support for both Stafford and Stoke hospitals as the University Hospital of North Staffordshire prepares to take responsibility for both.