Monday, 25 October 2010

Mark Reckless MP Slams Peninsula Airport Plans

Mark Reckless has hit out after an unjustified and irresponsible article stated that the Mayor of London is considering plans to build an airport on the Hoo Peninsula.

In an open letter to the Sunday Times Mark states;

Dear Sir,

Your article on 24 October referring to “new plans for a £14 billion replacement airport alongside the Thames estuary” has caused unnecessary upset to the twenty thousand or so of my constituents who live on what you describe as “the largely uninhabited Hoo peninsula”.

Rather than being “new” or “the brainchild of John Olsen” as suggested, the plan for an airport on the Hoo Peninsula is, as you recognise elsewhere in your article, essentially the same as the Labour government’s 2002-3 Cliffe Airport proposal. You noted that “the site was rejected because of the high risk of bird strike” but that was only one of many reasons.

In rejecting the proposal the previous government cited a lack of support from airlines and concerns that high up-front construction costs could make it financially unviable. Its white paper concluded that “the net benefits of Cliffe were lower than for any of the combinations of additional capacity at existing airports”.

The Prime Minister and the Coalition Government have repeatedly ruled out the building of a new airport in or around the Thames Estuary. Even the Mayor of London, who in any event has neither the power nor the money to build such an airport, has said he is no longer pushing the idea. It will not happen.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Reckless MP


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Mark Reckless MP Calls For Reduction In EU Budget

Mark Reckless MP has called for a reduction in the UK's contribution to the EU ahead of tomorrow's Comprehensive Spending Review.

Speaking alongside Sir Menzies Campbell on the BBC's Daily Politics show, Mark expressed his concern that the UK's contribution to the EU is set to rise at a time when the coalition government is forced find savings and cut public services in order to address the economic mess left by the last Labour government.

On top of the £1.9 billion increase to the EU budget the UK will be paying in 2011, the European Union has asked for a further increase of £380million to cover the cost of 'admin'. Mark recently joined 37 other Conservative MPs in supporting Douglas Carswell's amendment calling on the government to cut the UK's contribution to the EU.

Speaking on the Daily Politics, Mark said;

"In our country it is not the government that is sovereign, nor is it the EU. It is the Westminster Parliament, and if we say the EU budget is reduced, the government will reduce it.

Take child benefit for example. We're finding a billion by not giving it to top rate taxpayers although the commitment was to do so previously. There are now suggestions it will be taken away for children over sixteen. But at the same time I find that we are paying £70million every year to children elsewhere in the EU in child benefit who aren't even here. Now surely that is something we should consider. We can't have the EU as the only area that is exempt - that is going up 60% - while finding these reductions elsewhere. We must make savings."


Mark Reckless MP Welcomes Residents To New Sheltered Scheme In Hoo

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, was the special guest at Kent-based housing association mhs homes' official opening of Great Paul House, a new sheltered scheme based in Hoo, Kent.

The formal opening of the scheme was also attended by representatives from the Homes and Communities Agency, Medway Council, national developer Taylor Wimpey and Employers Agent Calford Seaden as well as residents, representatives from Medway Older Persons Partnership and staff and board members from mhs homes.

Mr Reckless cut the ribbon in front of the crowd and officially declared the sheltered scheme open. He said, "It's a real pleasure to open this impressive scheme. mhs homes has managed the process in partnership with developers and contractors very well. This is a great development situated in the middle of properties that house a real mix of people, from the young to families and older residents. I hope everyone who lives here is very happy."

The Sheltered Scheme which is a development of 26, one bedroom quality flats, derives its name from "The Great Paul Bell" which hangs at St Paul's Cathedral in London and holds the title for the largest bell in the country.

Caroline Proverbs (pictured with Mark), mhs homes operations director said, "We were very pleased that Mark Reckless MP was able to open the scheme and help us officially open the final phase of sixty three new build properties which we have been working on with Taylor Wimpey for over a year and a half. Each flat within the scheme has been designed internally to provide spacious living. There is a sizeable lounge and kitchen area as well as generously sized bedrooms and luxury fitted bathrooms."

Angela Pething a resident of Great Paul House, is very pleased with her new flat, she said, "The flat is lovely and a perfect size, plus I've got fantastic views overlooking the River Medway. I've always lived in Medway and my family live close by so this scheme is ideal."

The Homes and Communities Agency helped to fund the development scheme and gave mhs homes just under £4.4million for the 63 units which all meet the Eco Homes Very Good standard. Akin Durowoju, head of area at the HCA, said: "These new residents can look forward to a high quality, affordable and comfortable new home at Great Paul House. I'm certain this development will be an asset for the community, providing opportunities for people to stay close to their families and friends as their support needs change."

John Eleckington another new resident said, "My wife and I came and looked round before we put down a bid for the flat. I'm an ex-builder and was very impressed with the scheme. We will be moving in shortly and looking forward to living here, especially with the views we will have every morning."

Thirty seven of the homes - (eight 2 bedroom flats, seventeen x 2 bedroom houses, five 3 bedroom houses and seven 4 bedroom houses.) a mix of flats and houses were handed over to the mhs homes housing team throughout January to March 2010 and are all fully occupied. All of the new homes have been let to general needs residents.

Managing director of Taylor Wimpey South East, Phil Chapman said, "Taylor Wimpey South East are proud to be involved in helping deliver such an important community scheme as Great Paul House and our close working relationship with mhs homes group has helped to ensure the scheme was delivered on time and to an excellent standard."

For more information please contact Kate Stevens at mhs homes on 01634 354226, or contact Tim Abbott at the HCA on 0118 902 8441, or email


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Working Together In The National Interest


Fares Fair For Medway? Have Your Say

Are you a Southeastern commuter? Do you think fares are too high? Well Mark would like to hear from you.

Following a recent meeting with Charles Horton, Managing Director of Southeastern Trains, Mark Reckless is to raise the issue of rail fares and the affect they have had on local commuters here in Medway with Theresa Villiers, the Minister of State for Transport.

Mark will be joined by other local MPs such as Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford) to discuss the fare regime agreed under the last government that allows Southeastern to raise fares by the July RPI +3% whilst the rest of the country have seen fares rise by only RPI +1%. Fair?

As commuters in Medway brace themselves for yet another above-inflation fare increase in January, reported to be 7.8% on regulated fares (season tickets), Mark Reckless thinks the travelling public have suffered for far too long due to the unfair franchise agreement negotiated under the Labour government and would like to make sure your concerns are raised at the very highest level.

"I want Theresa Villiers to understand how unhappy many of my constituents are with Southeastern Trains and the last government singling us out for bigger increases than anywhere else in the country."

If you would like to have your say on Southeastern’s fares or general service levels then please email Mark or use the contact form on Mark's website to ensure your voice is heard.


Monday, 4 October 2010

In Good Hands

Mark Reckless, MP, recently visited a promotional event held at the Dockside Outlet Centre in Chatham to find out more about the Volunteer Management Programme in Medway.

The programme is a national project funded by the Office of Civil Society and managed by Capacity Builders. Supported by the Voluntary Infrastructure Consortium Medway and delivered through a partnership (CVS Medway, North Kent Training Service, Hope in the Community, Hands & Gillingham Volunteer Centre and Hands Rochester Volunteer Centre).

Representatives from the partner organisations attended to give information to those people who manage or co-ordinate the work of volunteers as well as to people interested in volunteering generally. There was also a chance to explore the Medway SOS Bus and find out about the valuable role played by volunteers.

Speaking of the visit, Mark Reckless said “I am always struck by the large number of people who vounteer and the huge range of ways in which people can vounteer. Hands Volunteer Centre provide a fantastic service in bringing vounteers together with the organaisations which need them and I look forward to a working in close partnership with them as we develop the Big Society.”

Gillingham Volunteer Centre Manager, John Guy, said “We are always grateful to others who lend their support to our work in the local community and it was good to have the support of the local MP for the work that we do”.

Above: (left to right) Yvonne Morgan, Chair and Ann Hopley, Projects Manager, of Hands & Gillingham Volunteer Centre; Jane Legg, Manager of Hands Rochester Volunteer Centre; Mark Reckless, MP, Rochester & Strood (also a Medway Cllr.).

Ann Hopley, Project Manager of Gillingham Volunteer Centre, added “if we can help make the experience of volunteering better for all concerned then it can only be to everyone’s advantage.”

Rochester Volunteer Centre Manager, Jane Legg, said “In our role as a Volunteer Centre we recruit volunteers for our direct services and for other local charities. We can help you find the right volunteering placement. Our thanks go to the management of Dockside Outlet Centre and everyone involved in this event”.

To find out about the Programme of Network Meetings, Mentoring Scheme and Training contact Laura Boone at CVS (Medway) on 01634 812850.

For support from local Volunteer Centres, or for information about Volunteering in general, contact Jane Legg (Rochester) 01634 830371, or Ann Hopley (Gillingham) 01634 362119.

To view Hands & Gillingham Volunteer Centre’s website
please click here

To view Rochester Volunteer Centre’s website please click here