GUEST COLUMN: Cash secured for rural areas, by Mark Spencer MP

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I’ve been working on a number of issues across the north of my constituency in recent weeks, including an update on Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre plans.

I’m keen for the public to have a real say in this and I’m glad that the RSPB held local consultation events so people could see the facts. I’ll keep sticking my nose in to the project and make sure that they continue to listen and to interact with the community so that this can be a really positive project.

In Parliament I’ve been pushing to support rural areas like many of the villages in my constituency, and make sure there is more financial support for areas where services are harder to find. The Government has agreed to give us an extra £4m to support rural councils so that the typically poorer and more elderly population of rural areas can get more support. That comes on top of an additional £2m for Notts County Council to help them move to a new funding settlement.

Obviously the merger of Sherwood Forest Hospitals is pressing ahead and I’m delighted that they’ve announced their preferred partner. I hope now that there can be a move in the right direction and I’ve asked the Prime Minister to look at how he can support the new Trust to deal with the financial pressures.

Finally, next week is a parish by-election in Edwinstowe which was called following the death of a councillor. Residents of the village signed papers asking the council for an election, so I hope that everyone will respect that decision taken by local people; that’s democracy. I’d urge everyone to read the literature you get through your doors and to vote for the candidate with a positive message that has the best skills and experience to support local people.