A busy local week with a visit to the South Downs’ newest vaccine hub over the weekend, meeting Senior GP, Dr Karen Crawford-Clarke and Practice Manager, Morven Banks at the Henfield Medical Centre. Patients were delighted and it was great to know that most had a journey of just a few minutes. Henfield will work in parallel with The Glebe in Storrington to vaccinate patients across an area including Billingshurst and Steyning. I support this newspaper’s ‘A Shot in the Arm’ campaign for the vaccine to be made available via local GPs and pharmacies. Here in West Sussex we have a high proportion of priority groups combined with a poor rural transport network. The recent cold snap has underscored the importance of having local vaccination points in every village to save vulnerable residents a wintry journey to a different town for their jab.
I was pleased to join the launch of a report for the Arundel to Ford Station cycle and walking route having worked with Arundel Mayor, Tony Hunt and the Leader of Arundel Town Walking and Cycling Group, Andy Batty. This scheme would quite literally be a life saver making the journey to school for our young people safer as well as healthier for those able to use it. It will also be good for our environment allowing greater use of public transport by creating for the first time a purpose-built connection between Arundel and Ford railway station. The proposal has my full support and I hope that Arun and West Sussex Councils work together to now make it happen.
Finally, at the end of last week I received a double blow with the news that the Nationwide proposes to close their branches in Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint. I have joined with County Councillor for Hurstpierpoint, Joy Dennis, and Hassocks Parish Councillor, Alex Simmons in joining a campaign for Nationwide to reverse these closures and have already written to the Chief Executive. The campaign points out that these closures are in breach of Nationwide’s own recent ‘branch promise’ which said they “would not close branches until at least January 2023”. I would be keen to hear from readers who share my concern about the closures.