EVESHAM CAN LOOK FORWARD WITH CONFIDENCE
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EVESHAM CAN LOOK FORWARD WITH CONFIDENCE

Speaking to Evesham Rotary Club today, Tuesday, the town’s MP will give an upbeat assessment of the town’s future. He will say that, although the town has had many problems to contend with, so many good things are happening that we should all make it one of our New Year resolutions to talk up the town.
He will say,

“Evesham has had its share of bad news in the recent past – for example, a significant increase in unemployment, two severe floods in less than ten years, the loss of a much loved Post office in Bengeworth, the withdrawal of a number of retailers from the town centre – even a bad tempered Santa Claus this Christmas!

“But I am fundamentally optimistic about the town’s future – let’s all make it one of our New Year resolutions to talk up the town in 2010.

“After all, over the years a lot of good things have happened here – ranging from the by-pass, without which I don’t know what the centre of the town would be like, through the continuing success of our high schools and further education college, to the creation of Vale Park, which has protected and diversified local employment and without which things would have been so much worse during this recession.

“But there is a more recent list of things that have happened recently or are about to happen that add up to a massive opportunity for the town. And a lot of the credit goes to the town, district and county councils, but above all to the people of the town. Here are ten of my reasons to be cheerful.

1. We now have an outstandingly attractive river front – Abbey Park and Workman Gardens create a wonderful atmosphere for visitors and residents alike.

2. We have range of youth and sports organisations that are doing very well. I have been privileged to see something of the success of the Sea Scouts in particular. I honestly don’t think the town as a whole understands just how outstandingly successful our rowing club is. Its young rowers are performing exceptionally and its regattas are attracting crews of the highest standing and from long distances.

3. At last, the future of our hospital appears to be secure – it’s amazing that only a few years ago we were marching to save it. The review of its future is now based on optimism, but we need to keep a wary eye on the Primary Care Trust as it considers who should actually run the hospital. But the threat of closure that has hung over it for years seems finally to have been dispelled.

4. The new leisure centre is proving immensely popular – its facilities are indeed outstanding.

5. The High Street improvements will dramatically enhance the shopping environment. They will do much to boost the fortunes of traders as both local people and visitors can shop more safely and enjoyably.

6. The Regal Cinema, under its new owners, the energetic Wiper family – is making steady progress towards re-opening. I’m still working with Advantage West Midlands to ensure the grant needed to trigger the major restoration work is made available in good time, but I am very optimistic.

7. Our train service us set to become more reliable and, I hope, more frequent, as the Cotswold line also makes good progress towards re-doubling between Evesham and Charlbury. We won’t see the impact of those changes until next year, but they will be really good for the town too.

8. The community is strong – just look at organisations like Rotary - and the churches are particularly active in the town.

9. And Evesham is a town that is aware of its civic and social responsibility. For example, the lobbying I get from Evesham on environmental issues is intense and very welcome.

10. Strong demand for locally grown food should be good news for local growers, as should today’s statements by both the major political Parties on food security and a supermarket ombudsman to protect suppliers.

“However this last point does lead to one concern that I will be watching carefully during 2010. I do worry about signs of rising tension between established residents and newcomers from Eastern Europe, often attracted here by employment in the local food industry. I have talked recently to several Evesham residents about their concerns and I am studying the work done by the Institute for Public Policy Research last year. I hope to meet the Polish Community Association to discuss their perspectives and I encourage any local person who has a view to get in touch with me. Evesham is a tolerant and pleasant place to live and we must all work to keep it that way.”

ENDS


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