LAST week was a busy one, with meetings right across Devon and up in Westminster.

I had the privilege of unveiling the name of Okehampton’s newest railway station in a special ceremony attended by representatives from Great Western Railway, Network Rail, Devon County Council, and West Devon Borough Council.

The new station, to be known as Okehampton Interchange, is a purpose-built stop on the Dartmoor Line, and the result of the £15 million West Devon Transport Hub project.

The sum of £13.4 million of this financial backing comes from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, which West Devon Borough Council successfully applied for last year.

Having supported West Devon Borough Council’s application and pushed hard for progress to be made towards the opening of the station, the announcement of the name feels like a big step in the right direct.

Okehampton Interchange is a project which will benefit thousands of local people in Okehampton and in surrounding communities, improving access to employment opportunities, education services, and leisure options.

With a 200-space car park, featuring five per cent disabled parking and 10 per cent Electric Vehicle charging points, the station promises to be a busy new hub.

Okehampton Interchange will also feature step-free access to the platform, a new bus stop, and a sheltered cycle storage facility.

The station is currently scheduled to open in 2025, and I will be working closely with stakeholders to ensure that residents are kept up-to-date on construction progress.

I also visited Ashburton Fire Station to discuss securing a new station vehicle.

Speaking with the team, I was informed that they are pushing Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to swap Ashburton’s current vehicle for a more modern replacement, to ensure that the station is able to serve the needs of the local area sufficiently.

Ashburton’s fire station is un-manned, and the team work on a call-out basis.

Currently, they are unable to attend some callouts as a result of the restrictions placed on them by the current vehicle, and in these instances another local crew must intervene.

I am working with the crew at Ashburton, as well as the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, to explore what options might be available to them and progress is definitely being made.

Supporting emergency services in rural communities is vitally important, and I have worked to ensure that my constituency has access to a good provision of these services throughout my time as an MP.

Previously, I worked with Ashburton Fire Station to ensure that the result of a public consultation on its proposed closure was taken into consideration by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

I was actively involved in the local campaign to keep Ashburton Fire Station open and was very pleased when the decision to close the station was reversed.

I will continue to work with everyone involved to ensure that a feasible solution is found to the current challenges that Ashburton Fire Station faces.

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