A Busy Few Weeks
It has been a busy past few weeks for my constituency office – and all the better for it.
The office has re-opened two days a week for face-to-face interaction, albeit by appointment, and the rota of surgeries around Angus has been restored.
Sensible Covid precautions rightly continue to be in place, but there is a sense of some return to pre-pandemic normality of activity which is to be welcomed.
Of course, where meetings can take place virtually then it is only sensible to follow that path. Perhaps one of the few good things to come out of the last two years is a recognition that you do not always have to travel and gather to meet.
Using these online methods, I’ve been pursuing many issues on behalf of constituents.
Chief amongst these has been the threat to the future of GP provision in Friockheim. Along with Dave Doogan MP, I met with representatives of Angus Health & Social Care Partnership and NHS Tayside Primary Care to find out what action is being taken to ensure continuing access to services in the village.
We were heartened to learn of the effort being made to try and achieve this, and we are continuing to engage with both organisations as they work through various scenarios and options.
In addition to this, I met with Network Rail to discuss the continued closure of the Anderson Street level crossing in Carnoustie. Like many constituents, I was keen to see the pedestrian element of the crossing reopened.
Sadly, it became clear from the meeting why that will not be possible. It was quite alarming to learn that, of all the near misses which occurred across the Scottish network in 2019 – that’s when drivers have to apply the emergency brakes, with the risk of injury that poses train passengers – half of these centred on this crossing owing to misuse.
Together with my Angus North MSP colleague Mairi Gougeon, I also met with senior Angus Council officials to discuss the response to recent storms and lessons to be learned from that. And on the same theme, I met with SSEN to explore the resilience of the electricity network across Angus South – with a particular emphasis on those parts which have been repeatedly impacted over the last few months.
I was pleased to learn of work going on with local organisations to build community resilience for the future.
Lastly, I met with the developers who hope to finally address the long-standing blight that is the former Strathmartine Hospital. I welcome that action is finally to be taken, but wanted to explore with them local concerns – and the impact on the existing local community of construction work and the environment.
The continuing use of hybrid working at Parliament has also allowed catching up with local organisations on weekdays, and I was delighted to get an update on the fantastic work being carried out at Kirrie Connections and their plans for the future.
There’s a real sense of a return to some kind of a ‘normal’ – if adjusted – routine, and I look forward to seeing that develop further in the coming months.