The latest news and updates from Steve Barclay MP

MP Steve Barclay visiting the £3.2m new apprentice training school at Chatteris

MP Steve Barclay visiting the £3.2m new apprentice training school at Chatteris - Credit: Steve Barclay MP

In his latest column, MP Steve Barclay talks about what he has been up to over the past month.

Family businesses are a key part of our local economy, and 70 years of trading is worthy of celebration. So it was a pleasure to join one of our area’s leading agricultural businesses, family run Dalton Seeds, and in particular Peter Fox and Mathew Dalton and their team, to mark this landmark.

Another business expanding and attracting new talent is high precision engineering firm PCML, which has a head office in March alongside operations on five Cambridgeshire sites.

I heard about how they played a key role during the pandemic in the ventilator challenge and are now well placed to take advantage of the growing funding for NHS diagnostic equipment as we deal with Covid backlogs.  

Regular readers will know a personal priority of mind is promoting school literacy, including with our annual Read to Succeed campaign. So it was fantastic to learn that Benwick Primary School was one of just six schools in the country to have received a new children's book library worth £20,000 and including 1,000 new books.

I joined the children for an inspiring talk and animation drawing masterclass by Cressida Cowell, author of the book series How to Train Your Dragon, a favourite of my children. It was a real joy to see the fun students are getting from experiencing their new library of books and discovering new authors. 

I also recently joined pupils at Wisbech St Mary’s School Environmental Savers Club to help plant trees as part of the Queen’s Jubilee Green Canopy Project. Donated by The Woodland Trust, each tree has a tag with a number on it, so the 208 pupils feel they have ‘their’ own tree, which in the years to come will help them remember this scheme and the specific tree they feel is theirs. 

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One of my highlights this month was joining John Heathorn at the official opening of Jubilee Place, a new project providing six new homes for the homeless.

Twelve years ago John was homeless and, thanks to great work by the Ferry Project, he has rebuilt his life working through their services from volunteering to employment and finally becoming the manager of Jubilee Place. It will make such a difference to those facing hard times to be able to speak to John and get support knowing he understands their issues first hand.  

I’m pleased to see the £5million full fibre network rollout by CityFibre that will allow access to fast, reliable broadband is progressing well in March and is on track for the first homes to go live later this year.

Much of the work that involves digging past homes in the south-east of the town is now complete and workers have moved into new areas. CityFibre’s new futureproof network means residents and businesses will be able to access Gigabit-speed broadband from a choice of Internet Service Providers. I’m delighted that planning is also underway to look at Whittlesey later in the year. 

I have updated you many times on my campaign against proposals to build an enormous incinerator in Wisbech. Despite the objections of the community, the developer has persisted in progressing its proposals, although it is still at pre-application stage.

However, the developer has previously said he would be submitting his twice-delayed application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate in Q2 2022. I wanted to reassure residents I will be keeping a close eye on developments. If an application is made, the Planning Inspectorate has up to 28 days to decide whether the application meets the standards required to be accepted for examination.

As previously stated, I am concerned that the developer has not complied with the required consultation process with a failure to provide key information to the community. I remain convinced this proposal is wholly unsuitable and will continue to fight against it on behalf of constituents.