I'm making it my first election pledge to give a fair hearing to everyone's proposals for Dudley, whatever party they're from.
ON YOUR SIDE
With next year’s election set to be one of the most unpredictable in living memory, it’s going to be more important than ever for people to think about which local candidate is on their side and will do their best to represent their views in Parliament.
I know lots of people say politicians are out of touch or that voting doesn’t matter but I work hard to do things differently and listen to local people. People in Dudley are my boss, and it’s my job to go to Parliament and speak up for them whether people in London like it or not.
That’s why I’m making it my first election pledge give a fair hearing to everyone’s proposals for Dudley, whatever party they’re from. Local people aren’t interested in political point scoring or personal attacks and neither am I.
I’m on the side of hard working people in Dudley and my number one priority is to improve our town and address local people’s concerns.
DUDLEY POLICE STATION
It’s thanks to help from local campaigners that we were successful in protecting Dudley’s Magistrates Court and our local Territorial Army base in the town centre.
Now more than a thousand local people have signed our petition to keep Dudley Police Station open to the public, and that’s helped me get the Home Secretary Theresa May to stand up and take notice.
Just before Christmas she had her regular meeting with the Home Affairs Select Committee to answer questions on everything from terror threats to local policing.
I raised a number of issues, but I was determined to tell her how angry people are that Dudley could become the largest town in the country without a police station open to the public. Like me local people want more police on the streets, more offenders brought before court and more criminals put in jail, and these plans won’t help do that.
I asked her to listen to local people on this issue and I’ll be meeting her or the Policing Minister Mike Penning to discuss the closure soon.
The more support we can show the government the more chance we have of keeping the station open, so please sign our petition at www.ianaustin.co.uk if you haven’t already.
Every year I organise a Remembrance Day service at Grazebrook Park working with community campaigner Steve Briscoe who chairs the Friends of Buffery Park as well as local Councillors Shaukat Ali, Steve Waltho and Safeena Arshad.
The park is home to the Grazebrook Memorial, first erected in 1920 by the Grazebrook family in remembrance of their son, Captain C A Grazebrook, who lost his life in the Great War along with many other local people.
The Friends of Buffery Park have been working hard to secure funding from the War Memorial Trust to get the memorial fully restored, but they need more records of what the memorial used to look like, when it was first built and its connection with the Grazebrook family.
Local people have shown great respect for the Grazebrook Memorial, so I’m hoping residents out there have records, photos or newspaper cuttings from when the memorial was established or over the years since.
I’m appealing for them to come forward so the Friends of Buffery Park can secure this extra funding and restore the memorial in full as a tribute to men from the town who gave their lives fighting for freedom and democracy.
If you have any records of the memorial please get in touch with local volunteer Lynn Horton on 07857 043 096.
It’s been brilliant to see new businesses like Vintage Rose on Birdcage Walk opening up in the town over Christmas.
I also met with successful local businesswoman Kay Bowen whose new Cambridge Weight Loss Centre opens at Pure Class Fitness and Dance Studios on Tipton Street in Sedgley on 6 January.
If it’s your New Year’s resolution to get in shape make sure you pay her new centre a visit!