Southend Standard column:
As part of my job as a Member of Parliament, I like to get out and about in the constituency. Recently, I spent the day in Rochford – a town steeped in history. I spent time meeting staff at Rochford Hospital as well as visiting The Marlborough Head pub in West Street, where I was holding one of my regular constituency surgeries. These provide an opportunity to meet residents who need my help or just want to talk about politics in a more relaxed environment.
I was welcomed by landlord Allen Anderson who took over the pub four months ago. It is a fantastic, friendly local with great staff and I recommend a visit next time you are in the area.
Among those who came to see me were representatives from Rochford District Council. We shared ideas and spoke about the work they are currently doing to regenerate the town, keeping areas such as Rochford Square relevant to the needs of residents and visitors. This is something I whole heartedly support.
The council were recently successful at winning one of five bids through the Government’s Open Doors pilot – a scheme designed to help regenerate high streets while supporting community groups.
Because of this, part of the former Kings Head pub in the Square, which is currently vacant, will now be turned into a community space, a place for pop up shops and group activities. Schemes like this will help increase foot fall, benefiting local businesses and boosting confidence and investment in the town.
It’s really important that we do everything we can to keep places such as Rochford thriving, a town stuffed full of heritage. I look forward to sharing more ideas with the council about its regeneration.