The Siege of Gloucester (1643) the city can do more commemorate

Gloucester City Council (29 Sept) will debate how the city could better celebrate and remember the events of 1643, when the citizens of Gloucester defended the parliamentary garrison against the royalist forces during the first English Civil War. The Liberal Democrat group will propose the motion.

From 10th August to 5th September 1643 the army of King Charles I besieged Gloucester. The city held out for just short of a month under the leadership of Colonel Massie until it was relieved by parliamentary troops under the command of the Earl of Essex. This was a pivotal turning point in the civil war.

Colonel Massie

Colonel Massie

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton who is to propose the motion said: “The revival of Gloucester Day and the parade is one way in which the city remembers the events of 1643 when our ancestors fought on the side of parliament. It was a crucial turning point in the English Civil War. We should be proud of this point in our history. Gloucester fought for parliament and democracy. That is why I am proposing that we set up a cross party working group to see how we can better remember and commemorate the Siege of Gloucester. We should consult the public as well.”

The seconder of the motion Cllr Joanne Brown said: “I well remember taking part in the first Gloucester Day parade of the modern era in 2009 and how it brought home to me the great spirit and strong will of the people of Gloucester who stood together during the siege of 1643. Today we can feel proud of the pivotal role our city played in changing the course of the Civil War and I believe that we can do even more to remember and commemorate the events of the siege.”

Ends….

Text of the notice of motion

“This council notes that Gloucester Day is a recently reinstated annual day of celebration of the city’s history and culture.

Gloucester Day was first held in the modern era on 5th September 2009, but originally dates from the lifting of the Siege of Gloucester in 1643, during which the city held out against royalist forces during the First English Civil War. The lifting of the siege was celebrated annually in the city for years afterwards but died out in the nineteenth century.

This council thanks the organisers of this year’s Gloucester Day celebrations and wishes them well in planning the 2017 celebrations.

This council also remembers the sacrifice and determination of the people of Gloucester as they defended the parliamentary garrison (10th August to 5th September 1643) against the besieging army of King Charles I. The siege ended with the arrival of a relieving parliamentary army under the Earl of Essex.

This council recognises that the Siege of Gloucester is one of the most important events in the history of this city of which we should all be proud and that we agree to set up a cross party working group to consider what else we can do to remember and commemorate the events of 1643.”

Proposed by Jeremy Hilton
Seconded by Joanne Brown

Longlevens set to return to Gloucester

Longlevens will be represented by Gloucester’s MP if proposals by the Boundary Commission are approved.

The Liberal Democrats launched a petition earlier this year to show the strength of feeling that Longlevens should be represented by Gloucester’s MP rather than Tewkesbury’s.

A couple of hundred local people signed the petition – both online and in the Lib Dem Spotlight newsletters – saying identified more with Gloucester than Tewkesbury.

Among the comments posted by people signing the petition on the change.org website, include: “This ludicrous situation has to change. Longlevens is part and parcel of GLOUCESTER, not Tewkesbury.”

Another said: “I live within the City of Gloucester and wish to be represented by the City MP. It makes no sense to be represented by a town MP 12 miles away.”

Today the Boundary Commission, the independent agency that reviews Parliamentary boundaries, published its draft proposals to cut the number of MPs in England by 32 to 501.

In Gloucester, the Boundary Commission has proposed putting Longlevens back into Gloucester and moving the Quedgeley Fieldcourt and Quedgeley Severn Vale wards into the Stroud constituency.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, the leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrat leader, said: “I am really pleased that the Boundary Commission is proposing to move Longlevens back into Gloucester.

“Residents in Longlevens identify with Gloucester, so it is only right that local people are represented by the city’s MP.

“I am also pleased the Boundary Commission has not resurrected previous plans to move the heart of Gloucester, including the cathedral and city centre, into the Forest of Dean.”

Mr Hilton said earlier this year the Conservatives had appeared lukewarm to his suggestion and comments about the Boundary Commission’s proposals supported that view.

“In the summer Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson was against moving Longlevens back to Gloucester and Richard Graham was not bothered about reclaiming Longlevens,” he said.

“The Liberal Democrats plan to make submissions to the Boundary Commission to ensure its initial proposals to include Longlevens are adopted. However, we will look closely at the south of the city and see if we can propose a solution that retains Quedgeley as well.”

Gloucester Lib Dems call for new ‘City Plan’ for Gloucester

Map of proposals from 1983 Gloucester local plan

Map of proposals from 1983 Gloucester local plan

Gloucester City Council is to debate a motion from the Liberal Democrat group, at council on Thursday. The Lib Dems are calling for a new City Plan for Gloucester, which will be an up to date set of polices that will become the development framework for Gloucester for the next few years.

Lib Dem leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) said: “The last adopted development plan dates back to 1983. Its 33 years old and a lot has changed in Gloucester since then. Both Labour and Conservative administrations, in that time, have failed to get updates to the plan adopted as required by the government. We are asking the cabinet member for housing & planning to report back to council in September on how he intends to deliver a new City Plan. We want it adopted as a matter of urgency.”

The current timetable for approving the new City Plan was for it to be approved by council in time to go to the planning inspector in the winter of 2016 for adoption in 2017. Liberal Democrats are concerned that the delays in approving a new City Plan could allow a developers to override current polices arguing they are out of date, despite many being formally being ‘saved’ by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in 2007.
Cllr. David Brown (Hucclecote), Lib Dem spokesperson for housing & planning said: “The city council have a timetable to deliver the City Plan but due to the delay in adopting the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) it is now woefully outdated. We need the council to be able to work with developers from a position of strength, with a clear plan for the city, a plan that best benefits current and future residents. For that we need a City Plan that is fit for the future sooner rather than later.”

The new City Plan should be a development document that sits beneath the JCS. It must explain how the council will implement the spatial vision and strategic objectives in the JCS up to the year 2031 and provide criteria that it will apply when considering planning applications for different types of buildings or other development.

We should vote to remain- by Jeremy Hilton

image

Forty-one years ago I voted yes to stay in the Common Market. I intend to vote yes again on Thursday with a positive vote to REMAIN in the European Union. A union of 28 countries working together peacefully to sort out issues of cross border importance, such as trade, the environment and security.

My primary reason in voting yes in 1975 was to make sure that European countries sorted out their differences around a table and not on a battlefield. I wanted to live my life in peace. I have never regretted my decision. I have seen the Common Market of nine countries grow into the European Union of twenty-eight.

In 1975 the continent was split between western democracies and socialist dictatorships. Spain, Greece & Portugal were becoming democracies and joined the EU in the early 1980s. Now the EU has a population of 508 million living in peace with each other and with governments co-operating over issues that affect us all. As Winston Churchill said “Jaw Jaw is better than War War”.

I have been concerned about the whole tone of the referendum campaign, particularly when I listen to those arguing to leave. I also think to myself; ‘I want my country back’. But, what I certainly don’t want is the UK run by a right wing clique of people who feed on people’s fears and concerns. Who stir up xenophobia and blame others for our problems.

I grew up in a country that was proud of itself and was an open and free society, working with other nations within international organisations such as the UN, NATO, the Commonwealth and the EU. I believe that if we leave the EU it will be a step backwards. We could see our country fall apart with Scotland leaving the UK and “Little England” left just floating in the mid-Atlantic with few friends.

As individuals we would lose our right to live and work anywhere in the EU. Our European Health Insurance Card will become invalid. Many of us will suffer from loss of work or earnings. Taxes may rise. We shall probably experience years of regret that we isolated ourselves from our friends on the continent.

I also want to address the nonsense espoused by leave campaigners that the EU is undemocratic, this is untrue. Every five years we elect MEP’s to represent us in the European Parliament, which amends and approves legalisation that the Council of Ministers’ support. The Council of Ministers includes an elected representative from every government. The European Commission acts in a similar way to our very own Civil Service.

I hope that everyone will think very carefully about the way they are going to vote on Thursday. This is not the time to bash the Tory government, we can do that at the ballot box at the next general election. This is a time to vote for our children’s future. In my view it will be much better for them if we remain in the EU.

RUSSIAN ROULETTE’ TUMBLE DRYERS NEED RECALLING, URGE FIRE AUTHORITIES

Dangerous tumble dryers prone to exploding into flames need recalling urgently to avoid people “playing Russian roulette” as new figures reveal firefighters are attending three fires a day caused by the appliances.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 48 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, is calling on leading manufacturers to recall faulty tumble dryers which have been linked to thousands of fires caused by excess fluff contacting heating elements.

Government statistics show there were 2,190 tumble dryer fires between 2012 and 2014 – equating to three a day.

Homes have been ruined and in some cases, the machines have burst into flames as people loaded them with clothes. An inquest has opened into the deaths of two men who died after a tumble dryer caught fire.

The LGA is warning that companies who are running lengthy repair programmes for potentially dangerous machines, instead of recalling them, are risking the lives of millions of customers.

It is calling on manufacturers to recall affected tumble driers and for all white goods to have fire-proof markings on them, including the manufacturer, model and serial number, so they can be identified more easily if they are damaged after causing a fire.

Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, said:
“People using faulty tumble dryers are unwittingly playing Russian roulette and leading manufacturers need to recall affected models as soon as possible to protect their customers.

“Firefighters are attending tumble dryer fires three times a day, which is alarming. These defective products are endangering lives, causing thousands of pounds of damage to homes and making people homeless.

“People’s safety must be the priority. It’s been months since some manufacturers issued safety warnings over their tumble dryers but they need to be recalled as these appliances are still causing fires – until they do so, consumers continue to risk falling victim to a devastating and tragic house fire.

“Fire-proof markings on all white goods would also help improve manufacturing and safety standards by helping fire investigators identify the make and model of any appliance damaged after causing a fire.

“Users must take simple precautions using tumble dryers. The compartment where fibres from fabric build up should be cleaned out after every load of clothes is dried, to reduce the risk of it igniting, and the vent or any other opening should not be covered.

“People should never leave tumble driers on overnight or when they go out. Anyone buying an electrical item should complete the guarantee registration to ensure goods which do not meet safety specifications are repaired, replaced or refunded. This also enables manufacturers to contact owners in the event of a product recall.
“People also need to ensure they have a working smoke alarm – which can be a life-saver – in the event something does go wrong and test them regularly, ideally once a week.”

Anyone with concerns about the safety of electrical appliances can report them to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Liberal Democrats on city council announce spokespersons

Back Row - Howard Hyman, Emily Ryall, Joanne Brown & David Brown Front Row - Declan Wilson, Jeremy Hilton & Isabel Brazil

Back Row – Howard Hyman, Emily Ryall, Joanne Brown & David Brown
Front Row – Declan Wilson, Jeremy Hilton & Isabel Brazil

The seven Liberal Democrats councillors on Gloucester City Council met at the weekend to elect their leader and deputy leader, plus other group positions.

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) will remain the group leader and his deputy will be Cllr. Declan Wilson (Hucclecote).

Jeremy Hilton: “We have a magnificent group of seven councillors and it will be our job to provide constructive opposition to the Conservative administration. We have a group with four new members and we have lots of fresh ideas on how we can make Gloucester a better place. Regeneration, housing and the environment will be our priorities.”

Declan Wilson said: “Before the election we drew up an action plan for Gloucester with a dozen ideas to make Gloucester a better city. We intend to promote this agenda on the council. We shall oppose the Tories when it sensible to do so and work with the other groups when it is in the best interest of Gloucester.”

Ends…

Group shadow spokespersons

  • Leader and Regeneration & Economy – Jeremy Hilton
  • Deputy Leader and Performance & Resources – Declan Wilson
  • Communities & Neighbourhoods – Howard Hyman
  • Environment – Isabel Brazil
  • Housing & Planning – David Brown
  • Culture & Leisure – Joanne Brown
  • Scrutiny – Emily Ryall

Gloucester Liberal Democrats – A dozen ideas for a better city

Gloucester Liberal Democrats have published their manifesto for the city council elections “A dozen ideas for a better city”. Currently the city council is controlled by the Conservatives, but the Liberal Democrats believe that the council could be run much better.

Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: ”Services are not improving, budgets are being cut and we have had the first council tax rise in five years. The Tories are taxing responsible householders who recycle their garden waste by overcharging them for the garden waste collections. The Tory ‘Garden Tax’ adds £6 to the price of every green bin above what is needed to cover collection costs.

“Regeneration in the city centre has stalled with the Kings Quarter project going nowhere. Its a shambles. The council administration needs to work much harder. We need to kick-start regeneration within the city centre. Kings Square has been unloved by the Conservatives and Labour for 25 years. We need to make this a great public space. We also need a new indoor market in a new location.

The last approved city plan for Gloucester dates back to the 1980s. We shall deliver a new city plan with policies to protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance the historic fabric of the city. We will do our best to encourage the building of more affordable homes to rent particularly within the social housing sector. We will also increase resources to defend council planning policies and decisions.”

“There is so much to do and Liberal Democrats are up for the challenge.”

A dozen ideas for a better city

1. Market Parade or (White Friars) project

We will get this project started, which will include a new hotel, indoor market, city centre homes, car park and some retail. That is a true gateway into Gloucester, which is well linked to a refurbished railway station.

2. Kings Square

This should be our premier open space in the city centre. It has been unloved by the council for 25 years. It must become a space for public events, dining and socialising, with (limited) new pavilion cafes, restaurants, and most of all, superb public art that pulls people to the square.

3. Cathedral Quarter

Project Pilgrim will help enhance the area around the cathedral, but we need to look at the whole of lower Westgate Street. How about refurbishing the small square outside Shire Hall or creating a visitors centre in Pitt Street, where the stone masons work keeping the cathedral in good condition?

4. City Centre living

We must continue to support city centre living with new developments. The council must do more to encourage the conversion to housing of former office/commercial space within the city centre.

5. City Centre environment

There are too many pound shops, turf accountants and tattoo parlours. We do need to improve our retail offer. There is no provision of high quality public toilets and this must be addressed. The pavements are littered with chewing gum and Liberal Democrats will invest in improving street cleaning in our city centre. The provision of public art in city centre is underwhelming.

6. Regeneration Oversight

Regeneration oversight is done behind closed doors and we propose to create a new Regeneration Scrutiny Committee to meet in public that can properly scrutinise the council’s regeneration plans. Lib Dems will bring Marketing Gloucester under tighter control by the city council.

7. History

We live in a great historic city and we should promote this more effectively, with restoration of important buildings, festivals remembering our past & public art celebrating our 2,000 years of development. We would bring the new Culture Board under greater democratic control.

8. University City

We must support the continued development of University of Gloucestershire in the city and encourage purpose built student accommodation in Blackfriars area to persuade year two and three students to stay in Gloucester rather than move to Cheltenham.

9. Waste Collection

Liberal Democrats will retain the current collection schedules and introduce recycling of cardboard and all plastics. We will scrap the Tories’ Garden Tax, placed on responsible householders who recycle their garden waste, by removing the surcharge for the collection of green wheelie bins.

10. City Planning

We shall deliver a new city plan with policies to protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance the historic fabric of the city. We will do our best to encourage the building of more affordable homes to rent particularly within the social housing sector, despite the Tory government plans to ditch building new homes for rent. Lib Dems will invest extra resources in defending council planning polices and we will take necessary enforcement action against those who flout planning conditions.

11. Homelessness

We shall focus on measures to reduce homelessness in the city. Working with partners, we will tackle drug and alcohol addiction, ensuring that homeless individuals with mental health issues get the support they deserve.

12. Environment

We will crack down on dog fouling in parks, open spaces and on our streets. We will enhance our public parks and improve children’s play facilities. Liberal Democrats will remove the tacky advertising boards that the Tories installed that are now blighting our roundabouts.

Liberal Democrats condemn COXIT

The Liberal Democrat statement on what has been termed ‘Coxit’, the Cotswold District Council’s exit from Gloucestershire County Council reads as follows:

“Liberal Democrats on Gloucestershire County Council have condemned the actions of the Conservative Leader on Cotswold District Council for suggesting to create a unitary authority based on Cotswold District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council.

“This proposal is one which no one has voted for and no one has asked for. It threatens the very make up of our county.

“We believe the proposals would adversely impact on the delivery of important public services currently administered by Gloucestershire County Council, the NHS, the Police and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

“These organisations have already voiced their serious concerns over the splitting up of our county’s services due to the issue of any new Cotswold authority not only crossing different counties bit different regions too.

“For us improving services is the most important thing and therefore this proposal which has not been consulted on must have overwhelming support from the people of the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire if it were to happen”.

The Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:

“The proposal for a unitary council made up from Cotswold District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council has come out of the blue. There has been no consultation with Gloucestershire County Council on this matter. It looks like it is being done as a method to abolish Oxfordshire County Council, with our own county receiving collateral damage.

“For 1,000 years the Cotswolds has been part of Gloucestershire and it should stay that way. Public services in our county could be severely damaged. One example would be Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, which could be carved up by this plan.”

Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson (LD: Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) said:

“I’ve been speaking to residents and parish councils in my area and I know many are already opposed to this mad idea. We should be spending all our time and money on improving services not on yet more consultants to try and justify an idea which no one has asked for”.

The lack of consultation on the unitary plan has also been criticised by Oxfordshire County Council’s Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green group leaders. A debate over the plans will take place at full council this Wednesday at Shire Hall.

Regeneration of Gloucester – Liberal Democrat Viewpoint

The regeneration of our city centre is a long-term project, which Liberal Democrat councillors’ support. It is vital that key projects have all party backing to encourage external investment.
The proposals announced in the Citizen on Monday have been developed over time with input and ideas from many people. They are certainly not, the sole ideas, of the Conservative administration. As a package, the proposals will have Liberal Democrat councillors support.
Liberal Democrats helped secure public funding for the new bus station, which we desperately need. I am pleased to see work has just begun.
The Tories have been unable to deliver the Kings Quarter Project, which is a major failure in policy terms. The administration has also been unable to find a development partner for the historic Fleece Hotel and grounds. There has been a number of planning approvals for the former Kwiksave site, but the site remains derelict.
Liberal Democrats believe that we can improve on the plans in the following way.
Breakup Kings Quarter into two separate, but linked projects
Market Parade or (White Friars) project
To include a new hotel, indoor market, city centre homes, car park and some retail. That is a true gateway into Gloucester, which is well linked to a refurbished railway station.
Kings Square
This should be our premier open space in city centre. It has been unloved by the council for 25 years. It must become a space for public events, dining and socialising, with new pavilion cafes, restaurants, and most of all, superb public art that pulls people to the square.
Cathedral Quarter
Project Pilgrim will help enhance the area around the cathedral, but we need to look at the whole of lower Westgate Street. How about refurbishing the small square outside Shire Hall or creating a visitors centre in Pitt Street where the stone masons work keeping the cathedral in good condition.
City Centre living
We must continue to support city centre living with new developments. The council must do more to encourage the conversion to housing of former office/commercial space within the city centre.
City Centre environment
There are too many pound shops, turf accountants and tattoo parlours. We do need to improve our retail offer. The provision of high quality public toilets is dire and must be addressed. The pavements are littered with chewing gum and Liberal Democrats will invest in improving street cleaning in our city centre. The provision of public art in city centre is underwhelming.
Regeneration Oversight
Regeneration oversight is done behind closed doors and I would propose that we create a new Regeneration Scrutiny Committee to meet in public that can properly scrutinise the council’s regeneration plans.
History
We live in a great historic city and we should promote this more effectively, with restoration of important building, festivals remembering our past & public art celebrating our 2,000 years of development.
University City
We must support the continued development of University Gloucestershire in the city and encourage purpose built student accommodation in Blackfriars area to persuade year two and three students to stay rather than move to Cheltenham.

Lib Dems secure funding for third year for visits to SkillZone

John Cordwell and Jeremy Hilton experience - the danger in the alley scenario at the SkillZone

John Cordwell and Jeremy Hilton experience – the danger in the alley scenario at the SkillZone

The Liberal Democrats have for the third financial year running secured safety sessions at Gloucester’s SkillZone for all Year 5 school pupils across the county.

Opened in September 2012, SkillZone is a state-of-the-art life size village. There are sixteen interactive zones, which cover a range of scenarios including road, rail, water, home and personal safety. Those pupils going up into Year 5 this September will be able to take advantage of the zones and all what the facility offers.

The Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure, Cllr. John Cordwell (LD: Wotton-under-Edge) who is also Chair of the Stroud Road Safety Liaison Group said:

“I’m pleased that for the third year running children from schools across Gloucestershire will have the opportunity to visit Gloucester’s SkillZone. It is a great fully interactive facility that is certainly worth a visit.

“The take up over the past couple of years have been good and now it is running into a third year where more Year 5 groups will be able to come and learn how to recognise dangerous situations and stay safe.

“I quote Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) who said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, I’m confident that investment in children’s safety now will help reduce safety incidences in the future”.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD:Kingsholm & Wotton) also said:

“For three years running, the Liberal Democrats have proposed for all Year 5 pupils to visit this facility and evaluations from the last two years have shown the programme to be a huge success.

“Since April 2014, a total of 13,844 children have visited SkillZone and of these 5,598 Year 5 pupils have attended as part of the Liberal Democrat scheme.

“The evaluations undertaken this year shows that 100% of teachers were satisfied (98% very satisfied) with the safety education, 100% of teachers state that they think their pupils’ safety has been increased after the visit (88.5% to a great extent) and 100% felt that the session had a good or very good impact on the children (92% very good).

“The Liberal Democrats have pushed for these visits to happen and I’m delighted that they will be continuing for another year. SkillZone is a fantastic and fun way of getting important safety messages across to our children.

“I’d encourage all schools to take up the opportunity of bringing their Year 5 groups to such a place.”