Cameron’s Government targets Gloucester for severe cuts

Gloucester city will be targeted for some of the most severe cuts in the country under the Conservatives plans to slash our council funding in the next five years.

Tories in Westminster will demand that Gloucester City Council cuts a full 14.7% from our local services – far above average savings of 6.7%.

Lib Dem leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:

“We simply cannot trust the Tories on Gloucester City Council or Richard Graham MP to fight for our area. We are going to have make cuts greater than we thought and that cannot be fair.

“They have stood by while their friends in Westminster pass on devastating cuts to our council. The figures for 2016/17 for the Formula Grant/Settlement Funding Assessment (SFA) are £452k worse than assumed in the Money Plan, which went to cabinet on 9thDecember.

“It is deeply concerning that the Tories locally and nationally are happy to threaten the future of vital local services. The city’s regeneration could be put at risk and vital services undermined. The city council recycling rate is the second worst in Gloucestershire and further cuts in funding for refuse collections could make matters worse.”

Lib Dems call for removal of “tacky’ adverts

Liberal Democrat councillors on Gloucester City Council are to call for the removal of all adverting boards on roundabouts within the city boundaries. Jeremy Hilton and David Brown will lead a debate at the city council, when it next meets on 19th November.

Liberal Democrats are critical that the decision to sanction the installation of advertising boards by the Tory Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr. Jim Porter was done without consultation with ward councillors and the local community.

Jeremy Hilton gives a thumbs down to advertising on Tewkesbury Road roundabout

Jeremy Hilton gives a thumbs down to advertising on Tewkesbury Road roundabout

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm & Wotton) said. “These advertising boards are blighting well kept roundabouts in Gloucester. They are visually intrusive and unnecessary. The council get a paltry £10,000 income per year from this advertising. We do not need our historic city cheapened in this way. Lib Dems are demanding that all advertising on roundabouts are removed immediately.”

Cllr. David Brown (LD: Hucclecote) who will be seconding the motion to remove the advert boards said: “A number of residents in Barnwood and Hucclecote have complained to me by email, telephone and in person.  Most point out that adverts are designed to attract our attention and that is the last thing a driver needs when negotiating a roundabout, and I agree.  Others say that the signs are tacky and people are concerned that even more will pop up around the area.”

Ends….

Notice of motion for full council

“This council notes with great disappointment the Cabinet Member for the Environment’s decision to sanction the installation of advertising boards on roundabouts across the city.

This council believes these advertising boards are tacky and unsightly; blighting some well kept roundabouts.

The council also believes these advertising boards could be a distraction to motorists and present an unnecessary hazard to motorcyclists.

This council, therefore, requests the Cabinet Member for the Environment to instruct officers of this council to have these advertising boards removed immediately from roundabouts within the city council boundaries.”

Proposed by Jeremy Hilton

Seconded by David Brown

 

Tory council blights roundabouts with advertising

Jeremy Hilton gives a thumbs down to advertising on Tewkesbury Road roundabout

Jeremy Hilton gives a thumbs down to advertising on Tewkesbury Road roundabout

The Tory controlled city council has erected advertising boards on the three roundabouts along Estcourt Road. They are also doing this across Gloucester.

The decision to install advertising boards has been questioned by Liberal Democrat councillors. It is understood that the council will get a paltry £10,000 from the advert boards across the city.

Planning approval was done, unusually, under officer-delegated powers. Normally planning applications by the council have to come to the planning committee.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) said: “The Tories have used stealth methods to get advertising boards installed. The scheme was developed with the cabinet member, who failed to take a written report to cabinet. Local councillors were not consulted by cabinet on this scheme ahead of decision to go ahead. Then planning permission was granted under officer-delegated powers.

“If the Tories get their way, the three roundabouts in question will be blighted for the next five years. They are an eyesore and a distraction for drivers. I shall be fighting to get these removed. We don’t need this tacky advertising blighting the roundabouts in Kingsholm & Wotton or the rest of Gloucester.”

Liberal Democrats issue ten point plan for Gloucester City Council

Jeremy Hilton with Lib Dem colleagues Isabel Brazil & Sebastian Field

Jeremy Hilton with Lib Dem colleagues Isabel Brazil & Sebastian Field

Gloucester City Council Liberal Democrat group have issued their ten-point plan to improve services in Gloucester.

The manifesto “Keeping Gloucester Moving Forward” focuses on how the Liberal Democrats will do better in regenerating Gloucester and improving council services in the future.

Group Leader Jeremy Hilton said: “Liberal Democrats have an imaginative ten point plan to improve services of the city council. We will progress the regeneration of our historic city, with more panache and urgency than the current Tory administration.

“Gloucester City Council needs a new administration that has the energy and ideas to take the city into the 21st Century.”

Deputy Leader Cllr. Sebastian Field said: “Gloucester as a city is on the up, with regeneration projects happening all across the city.  But in many areas of the city, the Conservative council has failed to live up to its promises.

“Recycling rates are low in this city, and these must improve to avoid fines for sending too much waste to landfill. The Kings Quarter redevelopment has been delayed over and over again, and residents are now tired of waiting.”

Gloucester City Council Liberal Democrat Group 2015 Manifesto

Keeping Gloucester Moving Forward

Our Ten Point plan for Gloucester:-

1) Regeneration of our city is a top priority. King’s Quarter has been delayed again and again. We will make sure that the city centre is not forgotten, and will press developers to deliver on time, with developments that local people actually want.

2) Our idea to provide free wifi in Gloucester city centre is being implemented. We will make sure it is delivered in time for the Rugby World Cup. We will create a modern welcome for visitors to our historic city.

3) Liberal Democrats in Gloucester are working to ensure there are clean, modern public conveniences in the city centre. The Tory administration’s Community Toilet scheme is a failure, and Gloucester deserves better.

4) Gloucestershire Airport Ltd (GAL) is owned by the city council, jointly with Cheltenham Borough Council. We shall continue to support GAL as a general aviation airport to provide jobs and air transport services. We shall also deliver our plans to enhance the railway station and the building of a new central bus station.

5) We will lobby the government to provide better infrastructure for Gloucester, from roads and public transport, to superfast broadband for all new developments.

6) We have consistently opposed the massive waste incinerator planned for Javelin Park, Quedgeley. Local Tories on the county council rammed this plan through with the help of UKIP councillors, despite it being unanimously rejected by the planning committee. We will ensure that household waste that is collected by the city council is not burnt in an incinerator when it can be recycled.

7) Gloucester Liberal Democrats will listen to the residents of Gloucester in making their budget decisions. In these challenging times, councils have to make tough choices and innovate to save money and create revenue. We will listen to all ideas for how best to do this.

8) Gloucester Cathedral is a magnificent building at the heart of our city. It could be a World Heritage Site, which would make it even more of a tourist attraction. Liberal Democrats chair a group trying to make this happen.

9) Gloucester has a rich heritage and cultural history. We currently do not have an Arts Council-supported venue in the city, and we would work to make that a reality. Gloucester should be a creative hub for artists, writers, musicians and performers. We will bring more Festivals and events to Gloucester, including a literary festival.

10) Gloucester Liberal Democrats will ensure that the Rugby World Cup is a fantastic celebration enjoyed by all. The city must be spotlessly clean and there must be adequate facilities to accommodate all the extra fans. The council must work with England Rugby to ensure a lasting legacy from the World Cup. We will assist Gloucester City Football Club to return home to Gloucester in their plans to build a new stadium at Meadow Park.

 

 

 

Lib Dems celebrate success – free public WiFi for city centre

Lib Dem councillors Sebastian Field and Jeremy Hilton celebrate free wifi for Gloucester City Centre

Lib Dem councillors Sebastian Field and Jeremy Hilton celebrate free wifi for Gloucester City Centre

Liberal Democrats are delighted that Gloucester City Council is to introduce free public WiFi within the city centre. The Lib Dem group first proposed the idea in March 2014.

The council last week agreed to award a contract to British Telecommunications to run an upgrade of the CCTV system, including free public WiFi and 4G coverage.

The contract with BT will be for five years and work will start in May on the upgrade.

It is planned that free public WiFi will be available ahead of the Rugby World Cup, which starts in September.

Lib Dem Leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “If we want to attract visitors to Gloucester and get them to return we must provide a 21st Century Service. Visitors will enjoy the latest information of what is going on in Gloucester on their tablets or phones. This will be good for local businesses, help boost our economy and protect jobs.”

Deputy Leader, Cllr Sebastian Field added: “It is vital that the system is operational by the time of the Rugby World Cup. Four big matches are to be held at Kingsholm. A modern welcome to Gloucester will hopefully encourage fans to tour the attractions of our historic city as well as enjoying some rugby.”

Ends…

Lib Dem motion approved by council March 2104

Moved by Councillor Wilson and seconded by Councillor Hilton:

“This Council agrees to investigate the current provision of WiFi access provided within the city centre, with the view to considering the provision of free public WiFi access across the city centre for all visitors to use, as is being provided in other cities across the UK.”

 

Changes made to Wellington Parade rose garden

Jremy Hilton at Rose Garden

The rose garden at the corner of London Road and Great Western Road has seen some changes, as the city council carried out improvements to discourage anti social behaviour at this public space.
The brick wall at the back of the garden and the planter have been removed to stop street drinkers from sitting there. The boundary wall has also had some work done to it.
The work has been partially funded from a devolved budget that requires the approval of ward councillors, before the money can be spent.
Jeremy Hilton said: “The removal of the brick wall takes away a place for street drinkers to sit.
“There is still work to do to improve the garden, but we have made a start. I was more than happy to approve the work.”
Sebastian Field said: “This is an important open space along London Road.
“The drinking of alcohol is not allowed. I hope the changes being made, will reduce incidents of anti social behaviour.”

Firefighters praised – Now it’s time to do something about Bakers Quay

Jeremy Hilton inspecting the fire damage to the former warehouse at Bakers Quay

Jeremy Hilton inspecting the fire damage to the former warehouse at Bakers Quay

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Gloucester, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton has praised the fire and rescue service for their quick action in saving one of the derelict warehouses at Bakers Quay on Monday 5th January. The site has a number of listed buildings on it and it is subject to a regeneration plan approved by the city council in 2006.

The fire service arrived before 5pm on Monday evening with six fire appliances to contain and put out the fire, with the last appliances leaving at 9pm.

The roof and first floor of the two-story warehouse next to Llanthony Provender Mill was badly damaged by fire.

Jeremy Hilton has called on the city council to consider using its compulsory purchase powers to acquire Bakers Quay to enable the regeneration of the site as has been achieved elsewhere in Gloucester Docks.

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “The work restoring other warehouses in Gloucester Docks and the Quays shows what can be done to improve former listed industrial buildings. It is time action was taken to achieve the same at Bakers Quay. The council approved outline planning permission for this site in 2006. It will be renewing this permission in few days. This recent fire shows how these historic warehouses are at risk. Compulsory purchasing Bakers Quay and working with a reliable private investor to regenerate the site seems to be the best option.”

Cllr. Hilton’s proposal to ask the leader of the council to consider using compulsory purchase powers will be debated at the city council meeting on the 22nd of January.

Ends….

Council approves bid by residents to list Civil Service Sports ground as a community asset

Jeremy Hilton & Sebastian Field with Civil Service Sport Club in nackground

Gloucester City Council has approved a second bid by local residents to make the former Civil Service Club in Kingsholm a community asset under the Community Right to Buy scheme. This would allow the community to buy the land if Redrow try to sell it. Redrow paid just £10,000 for the site in 2011.

The new bid provided comprehensive evidence that non-members as well as members regularly used the grounds and pavilion.

Both Liberal Democrat councillors, Jeremy Hilton and Sebastian Field provided written support for the bid and they are delighted that the city council has agreed to list the sports ground as a community asset.

Sebastian Field said: “There is a shortage of public open space in our ward as required by the city council’s open spaces strategy. The ownership of this land by the community would be a great benefit to our neighbourhood.”

Jeremy Hilton said: “The former Civil Service sports ground clearly is a community asset that we must save for sport and recreation. I am pleased that the land is now listed as a community asset giving residents of Kingsholm the first option to buy the land if Redrow try to sell it. The next step in our campaign is for the city council is to include the former civil service sports ground in its emerging open spaces strategy.”

Make Gloucester Cathedral a World Heritage site – say Lib Dems

 

Jerem Hilton outside Gloucester Cathedral

Jerem Hilton outside Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral should become a UNECO World Heritage site according to the Liberal Democrats. On the 23rd January, Gloucester City Council will debate whether the council along with the Dean and Chapter should make a bid for the cathedral to become a World Heritage Site (WHS). Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton, is proposing the idea.

There are 16 world Heritage sites in England, including Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is responsible for the nomination of UK sites.

Gloucester Cathedral was built between 1089 and 1499. It has stood in heart of the city for nearly a thousand years. It is a fine example of English Cathedral design. Visitors can enjoy art and architecture from across the ages. The cathedral is listed as a top five UK visitor attraction in Which Magazine readers’ survey.

Jeremy Hilton said: “We should seriously consider bidding for Gloucester Cathedral to become a World Heritage Site. This would be a prestigious designation. It would help create a sense of pride for everyone who lives in Gloucester. It would surely boost the numbers of visitors to Gloucester. We should be bold and make a bid to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.”

Cllr. Declan Wilson said: “Our proposal also mentions of “Project Pilgrim” that will see £5m invested in the cathedral building and grounds to improve visitor experience. When I first moved to Gloucester, I was impressed by the magnificence of the cathedral. It is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe and would make a great addition to the UK twenty five World Heritage Sites.”

Ends…

Wording of the motion

“This council notes that Gloucester Cathedral is listed as a top five UK visitor attraction in Which Magazine readers’ survey.

This council notes and welcomes plans under Project Pilgrim to invest £5m in the Cathedral and its grounds.

That this council agrees to approach the Dean & Chapter to consider whether to apply to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for Gloucester Cathedral to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Proposed by Jeremy Hilton & Seconded by Declan Wilson

Labour plan to abolish Gloucester City Council killed off

The county council’s local government structure task and finish group met yesterday to review evidence it has received from the district councils. The group was set up following a Labour motion. Labour are obsessed with creating unitary councils. This could mean reducing both Gloucester and Cheltenham councils to town council status – a ridiculous idea. Anyway the evidence received by the task and finish group proved conclusively that there are loads of problems to be faced if unitary local government were to be imposed in Gloucestershire.

I am a member of this committee and I argued strongly yesterday to kill off Labour’s plans for unitary government in the county. I did the same when we debated the issue at full council. We don’t want to spend 5 years arguing about a new local government structure in Gloucestershire and where the new offices will be etc. We should just get on with the job of running council services under the system we currently have.

The good news is that all members of the task group, including Labour members, agreed to scrap any plans to consider creating monolithic unitary local government in Gloucestershire. This will now be reported to Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and then to full council.