Diss Express column - April 2017

Post Office
Readers will be well aware that Diss’ Crown Post Office is under threat of closure, with future postal services supposedly provided by a franchise ‘partner’.  The Post Office views this as a ‘relocation’ rather than a ‘closure’ but I am sure that the staff behind the counter, who face redundancy, will disagree. 

The Post Office must understand that Diss Crown Post Office is one of the busiest anywhere and is at the heart of the local community.  In such “relocation” exercises, WH Smith sometimes takes up the franchise, but that is unrealistic in Diss where the Smiths branch is tiny and unsuitable for disabled access.

The Post Office Minister Margot James has agreed to meet with me to discuss this matter further.  I will let you know what she has to say. 

Ambulance Station
It was a shock to learn that the future of Diss’ Ambulance Station could be in doubt.

The East of England Ambulance Trust is considering a new estates strategy for ambulance stations across the region.  Early proposals are for 18 ambulance ‘hub’ depots with a network of ‘Community Ambulance Stations’ connected to each hub.  Although the Trust’s Board began considering its new estates strategy last month, it’s too early to say what these plans will mean for Diss. 

The Ambulance Trust’s priority must be getting emergency medical care to patients quickly, delivered by highly trained and well-supported paramedics in modern, well-equipped vehicles.  Anything else has to be a secondary consideration and I want to see the Trust’s proposals set out in much greater detail before I form a judgement.

MPs meet with ambulance bosses regularly and I will expect a lot more detail to be forthcoming at our next meeting.   

Visiting Parliament
Finally, it was a great pleasure to welcome the members of the Business Forums of both Diss and Harleston to the Houses of Parliament last month, together with students from Archbishop Sancroft High School. 

Though I don’t claim to have the same in-depth knowledge as Parliament’s excellent tour guides, I nevertheless enjoyed giving my Norfolk guests a whistle-stop account of the close links between Norfolk and the Houses of Parliament. 
For instance, did you know that a distant relative of North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham assassinated Prime Minister Spencer Perceval in 1812?  Or that Sir Samuel Morton Peto, who helped build the Houses of Parliament, also brought the railway to Norfolk?

A visit to the Houses of Parliament brings you simultaneously into the heart of a modern democracy, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a Royal palace.  If you would like to arrange a visit to Parliament, please do contact me and I will be happy to help.


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