The work of a Member of Parliament covers local and national matters. Both are equally important and I take both sets of responsibilities equally seriously. At the time of writing, we are in the Easter Recess, which allows for more time to devote to local matters here in Dorset. I meet residents, businesses and organisations throughout the year and recess is no exception.
I believe that Members of Parliament have important roles in helping with local matters. Many issues here in Dorset are dealt with by our local councils and local councillors. MPs also have a role to play in supporting elected representatives and working together on the issues that matter. A prime example of this is Wareham level crossing.
This ongoing issue has been concerning residents for a number years and needs to be resolved in a suitable manner. Residents have made it clear that access across the railway lines needs to be maintained and that any closure of the crossing is unacceptable. I agree. To do so would be to split the town in half and make access much harder. Clearly, safety on the track is fundamentally important but a long-term solution needs to be found to end the uncertainty and worry that any potential closure is causing to the community in Wareham and Sandford.
I have been working with Dorset Council, local councillors and many residents who are united in wishing to see a safe and accessible crossing remain. I recently asked local residents for their views on this matter and was delighted to receive an overwhelming response with more than 1,200 individual responses returned. It is clear that the town considers this an important issue.
The request of Network Rail is simple – please consider all options to retain the crossing, including the use of automated crossing gates that are in use elsewhere. Local community leaders met Network Rail on site and pressed once again for this solution to be considered. I formally wrote to Network Rail requesting a feasibility study into automated crossing gates. I am pleased that this request has been granted and will be eagerly awaiting the result of its study.
This issue has been ongoing since before I was first elected as an MP in 2015. I have raised it with successive Rail Ministers, including a visit to Wareham from then Minister Chris Heaton-Harris. I will continue to work with Dorset Council and everyone in Wareham as this remains a key priority for the town and is a key part of my role as the local MP.
Alongside this, I continue to hold regular surgeries in the constituency, so please get in touch if there is something you need help with, or if you’d like me to visit your organisation or business. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact my office on 01202 624216. You can also follow what I’ve been doing on Twitter @Michael4mdnp or Facebook www.facebook.com/michael4MDNP or on my website www.michaeltomlinson.org.uk
Member of Parliament for Mid Dorset & North Poole