Maria Allaway, director of DevComms, outlines the major events the region’s MPs have been focussed on since the start of the year. 

The new year has begun with a relatively quiet but mixed start for the region’s MPs in the world of planning and development.

There was disappointment for Bedford MP Mohammad Yassin following news that Bedford had not been successful in its second attempt to access Levelling Up Funds. He claimed that the funding would have regenerated the area around the Saxon Centre in Kempston, encouraging new businesses and public services, including a new health centre and improvements to the town’s walking and cycling infrastructure.

Mr Yasin urged Government to improve areas through ‘long term, sustained support based on need…rather than pitting towns, communities and regions against each other’.

In better news in the East of England, Peterborough MP Paul Bristow was celebrating positive news that the city had been successful in their bid to secure Levelling Up Funding. He reported that a £48m grant had been awarded to upgrade the railway station and surrounding areas.

Carrying on the theme of good news in the region, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt was celebrating the Freeport East project at Felixstowe and Harwich having received final approval from Government.

The project will deliver regenerative benefits such as the creation of 13,500 new high-skilled jobs locally. Mr Hunt also reported that the project will create opportunities for skills training through collaboration with Suffolk New College and the University of Suffolk.

In Hertfordshire, St Albans MP Daisy Cooper asked the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, if measures are being taken to provide additional support to local planning authorities to enforce planning conditions where they have been imposed by Government as part of a nationally strategic site.

In response, Lucy Frazer MP, said that Government is already working with the Planning Advisory Service and several local authorities to understand how local authorities are engaging with the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime and are considering ways to make improved outcomes.

As part of this, it is reported that the Innovation & Capacity Fund has been implemented which sees £760,000 shared with 10 local authorities ‘to provide support in trialling new and innovative ways to engage with the NSIP planning process’.

© Eastern Echo (powered by

Sign up to receive our weekly free journal, The Forum here.