AND so we bid a fond farewell to Helen Jones, Warrington North MP for the past 22 years.

In her announcement letter, Ms Jones said: “There comes a time when all of us have to decide to go, and that time has come for me.

“I will be 65 in December and to stand for an election now would mean committing myself, if I was re-elected, to stay in Parliament until I was 70.

“I do not think that would be fair to my constituents, my party or my family.”

As someone of a similar generation, I can understand that sentiment.

I wouldn’t want to be trolling up and down to London all the time when I should be sat in my comfy armchair with a nice cup of tea watching an episode of Homes Under the Hammer.

Or perhaps Ms Jones has something else lined up.

Anyway, what do we make of her tenure as an MP?

I am not one of her constituents so I have never dealt with her on a personal level.

I have no idea if she has been a good constituency MP and in truth, a lot of that kind of work goes largely unreported.

But I understand her work as chair of Parliament’s Petitions Select Committed was exemplary and as she told the Guardian: “I was honoured to have been elected the first ever Chair of the Petitions Select Committee and to have been involved in the development of a petitions system that has allowed millions of people to engage directly with Parliament.

“Petitions have led to real change, most notably on funding for brain tumour research and access to life-extending drugs for cystic fibrosis sufferers.”

I was genuinely surprised to hear that.

My thought on the petitions committee was that it didn’t actually achieve much apart from giving people the impression they were being listened to and their opinions taken into account while not actually changing anything or achieving anything.

While that may seem a little harsh view to take, it’s based on my personal experience of signing petitions to Parliament and then, as Theresa May was wont to say: Nothing has changed.

I wonder, when Ms Jones has time to reflect, whether she would consider the reportedly fractious relationship with Warrington Borough Council as something of a disappointment.

n THERE was a short but interesting letter from John Jones of Birchwood in the Warrington Guardian last week about the traffic problems getting on and off the town’s retail parks, particularly Junction Nine Retail Park and Riverside Retail Park.

Oh my sympathy goes out to you. I have suffered at both of these places on more than one occasion.

I was once stuck for 45 minutes trying to get off Riverside Retail Park on what should have been a quiet Thursday afternoon.

And I think you can also add the congestion at weekends around Marks & Spencer and Ikea as well.

Who is to blame?

I think you can only point the finger in one direction – the planners and councillors who allowed these developments to go ahead in the first place.

I’m no town planner but to put the Gemini development on the other side of a minor road and hundreds and hundreds of houses on the other side of the road is bordering on the ludicrous.

And who on earth thought it was a good idea to build the one and only entrance and exit to Riverside Park on the busiest junction in Warrington town centre?

Let’s hope a little more thought has gone into the Warrington Western Link before they start building the houses and businesses the land the new road will open up.