by Rebecca Hannant
Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has visited the Kirkfield estate in Withernsea to listen to people’s concerns.
Standing on the green between Whitethorn Avenue and Cherry Tree Avenue, Mr Stuart spoke to residents who raised several issues including fly-tipping, policing and the importance of ensuring high-quality infrastructure is in place to meet the demands of any future new housing developments.
He was accompanied by South East Holderness ward councillors Lyn Healing and Sean McMaster and Sergeant Mike McLaughlin from Humberside Police.
Mr Stuart said: “It is so important that, as your MP, I hear your views and concerns. This is why it was great to meet people on the Kirkfield estate and listen to their thoughts on changes in Withernsea and how we can make the town a better place for everyone living there.”
Cllr McMaster said: “It is important for us to go out into these communities because it is important that we go out and represent everyone. We want to hear what they have to say. We can’t say we do that without going out and making those connections.”
Mr Stuart added: “I run regular street surgeries, but going into the Kirkfield estate allows us to talk to people we wouldn’t otherwise speak to.”
At the top of the agenda among residents was the police presence within the town. The representatives said that some residents were concerned with the number of visible police officers within the area.
Mr Stuart said: “We met with the local sergeant and PCSO. We have a record now, after this Government first came to power in 2010, the number of police officers were cut because of the state of the economy. But now, we have recruited the latest round of 365 police officers across the East Riding. We have record numbers of police officers. What I heard from constituents today is the desire to see more police visibility. Some residents said they are already seeing that.
“So, the purpose of coming here and meeting the police is to reinforce the argument from local officers here, that they deserve to have their numbers maintained and strengthened because Withernsea is a law-abiding town, but Withernsea needs visible policing.”
Cllr Healing added that to increase the visible presence within the town, more residents must be encouraged to report crimes no matter how small.
She said: “We are trying to get more police presence here, and how people can help is by reporting crimes. Not on social media – phone up and call the police if you see something suspicious going on.”
Cllr McMaster added: “I think with all crime across the board, some people are worried about the implications if they report something to the police. They can do that anonymously. Their name is not published. It is getting that message out.”
The councillors and MP also visited the Shores Centre and Shores Pantry where they spoke to service users and staff.
Mr Stuart said: “I am always glad to be in Shores because it has been at the heart of the community for such a long time, and it makes a big difference to a huge bunch of people.”
He also commented on the range of services including the Multiply scheme which helps people with numeracy skills.
He said: “If they haven’t got GCSE maths, it helps people with practical home budgeting. Free flexible courses designed to fit around people’s lives are supported by the Government.
“Across the country 17 million adults, half the working age population, have the numeracy skills of primary school children. So, there is a real need for help with numeracy. Hopefully we can make a real difference to people’s lives and help them to budget and get through.”
Overall, the three were impressed with the number of residents speaking to them about the issues on the day.
Mr Stuart added: “It is good to see from having seen the previously derelict, crime-ridden state of the Cherry Tree flats, thanks to the intervention of Cllr Healing those have been removed and now we can see new houses being built and bringing life into the community.
“We can see the new additional police officers coming in and supporting the community. “We believe that if the community works together and we maintain cohesion and trust, then Withernsea has a great future. We want to make sure we have a vision for the future for Withernsea that is successful, self-confident and has local civic pride in the town and the quality of service it provides.”
In the meantime, residents are encouraged to speak to them about their issues.
Cllr Healing said: “I would like to think that we are opening ourselves up in a friendly way – tell us your problems. It is no good going on Facebook and complaining about things. Come and speak to us. One to one. Come along to the Withernsea Town Council meetings.”