A great time to look at Telford's prospects: MP Lucy Allan on the town's exciting future

We are all at a 50th birthday party this year but even so, this is not the sort of question you get asked every day perhaps. Do come for a walking tour of Telford.

But Lucy Allan, Telford’s Conservative MP, didn’t flinch. "What a good idea” she said.

So we fixed it. And the result was proof positive that she knows a good deal more than I do about this one-time new town which is marking its special, half-century birthday.

Indeed she suggested that the new bridge would be a symbolic starting point.

Lucy led the way through the significant work going on round bridges, entrances and so on around Telford. I followed – gratefully because even by then, it dawned on me that I had lost touch with much of its ongoing building and refurbishment. And not only was I born there, near the old Dark Lane, a hamlet nurturing several generations of the same families and was to become destined for a date with the bulldozer, but I have written about Telford and its fortunes for most of my adult life.

Lucy Allan meanwhile is the first woman Member of Parliament for the constituency and as well as knowing much about Telford and challenges, she also aims to ‘connect’ with those she now represents in Parliament.

She’s had some practice at going to the right people for the right answers. She says cheerfully: "I definitely knew that I wanted to be an MP so I wrote to Glenda Jackson and she wrote back. I was about 13 and she told me how to go about it.”

Like many other MPs, Lucy spent much of it in the constituency where she has been based for five years, which has sent her back to Parliament twice and which is now celebrating its 50th birthday as a new town.

So busy days then for Shropshire’s only woman MP, who is committed to serving an equally busy and ever expanding new town.

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MP Lucy Allan with Shirley Tart on the old Telford Central footbridge

Lucy says: "A 50th anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to look where we are going. Elections being what they are, I may not be here in five years time but Telford will be and I want Telford to be a success.”

By this time, we had done a little tour and were sitting outside one of the classy and trendy cafes on the new and already successful Southwater development. It was time for coffee and sandwiches in the late summer sunshine – as was the case for many folk with happy youngsters in tow and all part of the Telford success story. Lucy Allan is determined to play her part in that as best she can. She says: "It is all very exciting. But with all the building and the growth and the new housing, we must always make sure that existing communities don’t feel left out. We must never forget that a Member of Parliament represents all the people.”

As a London councillor and involved in many other areas of community service before her parliamentary career, Lucy’s background is all part of the preparation for this part of her life. And she champions issues like reducing youth unemployment, major funding for the Princess Royal Hospital and a long term strategy to keep more children to discuss the record number of children being looked after by the state. It is a full and busy life she leads and she is excited by anything to improve things for everyone for the better. Her background includes Durham University and Kingston Law School.

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Lucy joined Price Waterhouse as a trainee in 1987, where she qualified as a chartered accountant and specialised in business turnaround. In 1994 she also qualified as a chartered secretary in the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

Exhibition

Busy days! But now, all women MPs are set to embrace a new exhibition to mark a very special centenary.

Because looking to the wider future, to mark 100 years since some women achieved the right to vote, the contemporary art collection at the Palace of Westminster will show new pictures of every female MP.

On December 14, 1918 women voted for the first time, and in the same year the first female MP was elected. And so, 100 years on, this project marks a very significant moment in history.

The exhibition will hang in the Palace of Westminster from December 14 to February 2019 and will be free and open to the public.

Lucy says: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to take part in this important project. To celebrate the 50th anniversary we chose a location which celebrates Telford's past, present and future, the Randlay Brickworks pit mound in Telford Town Park. The Town Park is a very special place which everyone in Telford can enjoy.

"The photograph pays tribute to our heritage and celebrates the open spaces which make Telford a unique place to live. I love the idea of women MPs across the country bringing their constituencies to life in Westminster to form a very special exhibition.

"You know Telford people are very encouraging and I felt at home here right away. It was like it was meant.”




Date: 21 September 2018 | Source: Shropshire Star

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