It is crucial to invest in community assets for the future. As the Member of Parliament for Kenilworth and Southam, I have recently been pleased to see two fantastic projects come to fruition, which I know will benefit local communities for many years to come.
After over 50 years without a station, Kenilworth now boasts a new facility fit for the twenty first century. The station, which opened for service in April, has undoubtedly been received positively by the town and is already being well used. I hope that the current service represents a starting point that can be built upon over time, to allow the station to become used by increasing numbers of residents and visitors alike.
My colleague Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, was able to visit Kenilworth Station last week to unveil a plaque and see the wonderful work that has been done and what has been achieved. We are proud that the project to build the station was partially funded by the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund.
The station is undoubtedly a special place, which has been carefully designed to incorporate many aspects of the original design. Some particularly striking additions are the original stained-glass windows and ‘Kenilworth’ station sign. The station is also set up and staffed with a personal touch, without the usual formal ticket desk and with an integrated area where refreshments can be purchased.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, I was privileged to be invited to open the newly refurbished village hall in Lighthorne Heath. The hall had closed its doors last summer for health and safety reasons but, following a concerted team effort by an impressive range of stakeholders and volunteers, it has undergone a complete refurbishment to make it a fantastic space for local residents of all ages to use for a variety of purposes.
On the day of the event there was a real feeling of celebration. There were stalls, games and classic cars on display, and many local people out enjoying the good weather. It was clear to see that the community were already enjoying the new hall and garden, and I have no doubt that it will be exceptionally well used.
The fact that this project was completed over a short period of time (around 7 months) is testament to the focus and determination of those involved. Special thanks and recognition must go to the Lighthorne Heath Village Hall Committee, together with the Parish, District and County Councils, Orbit, Dodds Group, JLR, the NFU, the Methodist church, Keenan Construction and members of the local community who put in huge amounts of time and effort.