Protecting Brixham’s Breakwater Beach
This week I presented a public petition to Parliament with over two thousand signatures from Brixham residents, calling for Town and Village Green status to be awarded to the Breakwater Beach. Such a status would restrict and even prevent any development taking place on the beach, making it a criminal offence to disturb or interfere with the use or enjoyment of a Town and Village Green.
The petition calls on the Government to work with Torbay Authority to award TVG status and therefore help protect this unique, special and beautiful part of our coastline. When liaising with the Parliamentary Petitions Office, the official evaluating the signatures remarked on the fact that this was one of the largest hand-signed petitions he had seen for quite some time! Credit for this must go to Robin and Dr Rebecca Hooker for their extraordinary work in helping to gather signatures and invigorating the Brixham community to register their concern on this petition.
Now all that remains is for the work between me, the Government and Torbay Authority to ensure that TVG status is granted and the developer is dissuaded and restricted from building on this site.
The sheer frustration that so many are feeling from being unable to find an NHS dentist is a pain in the teeth. Over the last two years, I have been fastidious in calling for a dental recovery plan that can alleviate the pain that so many are feeling. Fortunately, my wait may well be at an end. Rumours are swirling in Westminster that the recovery plan is set to be released in the next few days.
Any plan that is presented must focus on effective pain relief in the short term and then move towards prevention and education. The three core tenants of dentistry have always been in place, but the pandemic and ever-expanding waiting lists with fewer NHS dentists have knocked them out of kilter. By focusing on the pain relief element, we will need to utilise the existing underspent NHS dental contract monies while also increasing the roles and responsibilities of dental therapists to help cut the backlog.
The 2006 dental contract system may have lasted eighteen years, but it has been clear to many in the sector that it was never fit for purpose. Hopefully, any forthcoming plan can learn the lessons of the 2006 model and build one that lasts the test of time and the shocks that may arise.
Food in Schools
Last week the Grove School in Totnes won a national award for the best food in a school. This award comes after their painstaking work to bring catering services in-house and to provide healthy, local, nutritious food for their pupils. The results speak for themselves; student’s attention and behaviour are improved, their knowledge and understanding of food are heightened, and overall, the whole initiative has helped to create a better relationship between young people and food.
This week’s NHS report on the health of young people should be a very loud warning shot to government, parents and schools. We urgently need to change our relationship with food and steer away from the mass-produced, ultra processed food that is doing so much damage to our health.
The Grove School has shown what can be done in one small step. Now others must follow suit.