Liberal Liberal Democrats will halt the sale of the Bishop’s College

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop’s College site

The Liberal Democrats have vowed to halt the sale of the a former school in Gloucester should they take control of Gloucestershire County Council at the elections in May.

The Conservative-run county council want to build 90 houses on the former Bishop’s College off Estcourt Close in Longlevens.

But the Lib Dems say the sale should be halted until a full review has been carried out into secondary school provision in the north of Gloucester.

The Lib Dems, who are the second largest party on the county council, are bidding to take control and oust the Conservatives after 12 years of rule at Shire Hall.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, Lib Dem county councillor for Kingsholm & Wotton, said: “There is no comprehensive school in the north of the city.

“Every day 2,000 children leave Gloucester to attend comprehensive schools outside of the city boundary. This is a ridiculous situation.

“With more than 14,000 new homes planned in the Gloucester area and most of these in the north as suggested in the Joint Core Strategy, we must agree a site for a new comprehensive secondary school to serve all these extra families.

“The sale of the Bishops College site must be halted.”

In September last year Gloucester City Council’s planning committee granted outline planning permission for 90 houses on the land, subject to conditions.

The city council website suggests that a decision notice has yet to be issued.

Local resident Linda Castle, who is the Lib Dem county council candidate for Longlevens, said: “There is a dire need for a brand new comprehensive secondary school to serve Longlevens and the north of Gloucester.

“Children attending secondary school in the future should have the same opportunity as I had and be able to go to a local school that’s within walking distance.

“I was saddened when my former secondary school in Paygrove Lane was closed down. I’m angry with the Tories who now want to build on the Bishop College site.

“It would make an ideal location for a new comprehensive school. We must have proper review of secondary school provision.”

Ends…

Lib Dems celebrate 200th edition of Kingsholm Spotlight newsletter

Cllrs Howard Hyman, Jeremy Hilton and Isabel Brazil distributing the 200th edition of Spotlight.

Cllrs Howard Hyman, Jeremy Hilton and Isabel Brazil distributing the 200th edition of Spotlight.

A community newsletter that has become an institution in Kingsholm and Wotton is celebrating its 200th edition. Spotlight was founded by Councillor Jeremy Hilton in 1980 when he first stood for council.

The newsletter is funded by the local Lib Dem councillors who represent the area and is distributed by a team of volunteers several times a year. There was a lapse in production in the late 1990s but the newsletter was relaunched in 2001 when Jeremy returned to active politics.

Councillor Hilton said: “We are very proud of our Spotlight newsletter. We use it to keep people informed about what’s going on in the area. It is very popular with local residents.

“We originally produced Spotlight using a typewriter and Letraset. Now we use a computer with digital photos.

“Spotlight could not be delivered without our volunteers who help distribute it throughout Kingsholm and Wotton. We thank them for their help.”

Councillor Isabel Brazil, Councillor Hilton’s colleague in Kingsholm and Wotton, added: “We are currently delivering our 200th edition, but we do have some gaps in the delivery network.

“We would welcome new deliverers to join our team of volunteers.”

Garden Waste Tax – Daylight Robbery say Gloucester Lib Dems

Jeremy Hilton with GCC garden waste bin subject to a 22% increase in collection charge

Jeremy Hilton with GCC garden waste bin subject to a 22% increase in collection charge

Gloucester Liberal Democrats have condemned the recent announcement by the Conservative controlled city council that charges for collecting garden waste are going up by 22%. Lib Dems have described the ‘garden waste tax’ as ‘daylight robbery’. They blame the Conservative council and government in equal proportion.
The current charge for garden waste collection is £36 per year. The charge was introduced in 2011 to cover the cost of collection on this non-statutory service. Lib Dems discovered in 2016 that the council was profiteering from the collection by around £6 per bin, making a profit of £110,000 a year. The Tories now propose to increase the charge to £44.
Lib Dem leader, Jeremy Hilton said: “Last year we tried to reduce the charge to £31 to just cover the cost of collection. Both Labour and Tory councillors rejected our proposal. Now the Conservatives plan to increase the charge to £44. This is a tax on responsible householders who recycle their garden waste. It’s daylight robbery.”
Lib Dem Deputy leader, Declan Wilson said: “The council’s finances are dire and the Tories are penalising responsible householders. We should be encouraging recycling not taxing it. The Tories will be making a profit of £13 on every green bin. This a profit margin of 30%. Local gardeners are going to have to empty their pockets to cover the financial mismanagement of the council by the Conservatives. It’s unfair.”

Liberals choose Linda Castle for the Longlevens By-election

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop's College site

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop’s College site

Local resident Linda Castle has been selected by the Liberal Democrats to be its candidate in the Longlevens by-election.

Linda has lived in Longlevens almost her whole life.

The married mother of two, who works as an IT trainer for the NHS, grew up in Longlevens, went to Longlevens infant, junior and secondary schools and raised her family in Longlevens.

The Longlevens by-election will be held on Thursday November 3 following the death of Conservative city councillor Jim Porter in August.

Linda said: “I am so proud to be standing for election to represent Longlevens – the area where I grew up.

“I know the area well and I am determined to speak up for Longlevens residents at the city council.

“I am campaigning for improvements to our roads and pavements in Longlevens, which are in a mess due to inaction by the Conservatives at Shire Hall.

“I am determined to make sure the proposals by the Boundary Commission to put Longlevens back into Gloucester are adopted.

“I am also fighting to ensure that residents in Longlevens do not suffer from the effects of thousands of new homes being built on the outskirts of Gloucester, such as pressure on the local road network, doctors’ surgeries and schools.”

After leaving school Linda worked for the CEGB in finance before joining the NHS.

In recent years Linda has been involved in the community campaign over the expansion of the Oxstalls campus and also wants to see the former Bishop’s College site retained for educational use.

Linda was also treasurer of the Gloucester Dyslexia Association for four years. She is married to Ian, whose father was a Liberal councillor in Tewkesbury.

She was a member of a residents’ campaign group that opposed the expansion of the Oxstalls campus by the University of Gloucestershire. Linda also wants to see the Bishops’ College site retained for educational use.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, said: “Linda will make an excellent councillor for Longlevens on the city council.

“She is a first class candidate and knows Longlevens very well having lived there for many years. She is full of enthusiasm and energy and is the breath of fresh air that Longlevens needs.

“We’ve been speaking to residents and they are pleased that Linda is interested in hearing what they have to say.

“Only Linda can beat the Conservatives in Longlevens and by supporting the Liberal Democrats on November 3, local residents can send a really strong message to the Conservatives in Gloucester that they have had enough of the way they run the city and county councils.

“The Conservatives have run out of steam in Longlevens and Gloucester. Regeneration has stalled and our city is stagnating.”

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.”

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.

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

Isabel Brazil & Jeremy Hilton to contest Kingsholm & Wotton for the Lib Dems

Isabel Brazil, Sebastian Field and Jeremy Hilton campaigning in Kingsholm & Wotton

Isabel Brazil, Sebastian Field and Jeremy Hilton campaigning in Kingsholm & Wotton

Isabel Brazil & Jeremy Hilton will contest the Kingsholm and Wotton ward for the Liberal Democrats at the city council elections on May 5th.

There will be all out elections for the city council on new ward boundaries with the number of councillors going up from 36 to 39. Kingsholm and Wotton ward, regarded as a Lib Dem stronghold, will elect two city councillors.

Isabel Brazil will join Jeremy Hilton in standing for the city council as Sebastian Field steps down to concentrate on his singing career.

Sebastian said: “I have loved my time on the city council and this was not a decision I took lightly. Kingsholm and Wotton is a great place to live and work and I will miss being one of the councillors for the area.

Isabel Brazil lives in Edwy Parade and knows the local area very well. Her late father Peter Brazil was a Lib Dem councillor on Tewksbury Borough Council.

She said: “I am delighted to have the chance to serve Kingsholm and Wotton. I will work hard for the area and I will always put Kingsholm and Wotton first.”

Jeremy Hilton said: “Isabel Brazil will make an excellent councillor. I am pleased to have her as my running mate. Kingsholm and Wotton is a wonderful place to represent on the city council. I hope the voters will elect the both of us on 5th May.

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

 

“Let’s get devolution right for Gloucestershire” say Lib Dems

On the day Gloucestershire submits a detailed bid for more devolved powers and responsibilities, which means greater local control and influence over resources and priorities. The Liberal Democrats issue their own ‘Statement of Principles’, on which support for a devolution package will only then be determined.

The Liberal Democrat agreed principles are as follows:

1) Liberal Democrats believe that devolution needs to be created by locally led processes and are mindful that devolution as it currently stands to a model set out by Government is not real devolution at all.

2) Liberal Democrats will only support devolution if Government is genuinely interested in giving power back to local communities, but not if the intention of Government is simply to pass cost-cutting measures onto local authorities under the façade of devolution.

3) The new responsibilities handed down from Government to Gloucestershire must come with full powers to decide, manage and innovate at a local level.

4) The Government must ensure that adequate funding is guaranteed now and in the future to support good quality services for residents of the county.

5) The government must ensure that the new arrangements allow for additional funds to be raised locally or through other legitimate means to support enhanced service provision if that is decided by locally elected members.

6) The governance arrangements must be cross-party and fully reflect the political proportionality that exists on the councils that make up the new governing board that will oversee the new devolved services.

7) We will not support the establishment of a metro mayor. Governance of the new additional arrangements must not be handed over to a single person as we believe collective responsibility across all political parties, provides for better services.

8) If we want democracy alongside devolution, then, we ultimately need a fairer voting system for local government in the form of STV.

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

“We are very much in favour of devolving more powers and responsibilities to local areas, but the deal must be right and it must be in the interests of Gloucestershire as a whole.

“Our ‘Statement of Principles’ are more than just a wish list they are key to us supporting the ‘We are Gloucestershire’ bid, which I believe is being signed and submitted today.

“There are a number of factors to be considered and the last thing we should be doing is to look at devolution through rose-tinted spectacles. While devolution presents a number of exciting opportunities, it will not be easy to commit to achieving better outcomes at further reduced costs and this ought to be fully realised.

“Gloucestershire County Council is in no overall control and it is therefore vital that not only public sector partners are consulted, but that all political parties who are a part of the public sector have a say in what is being proposed and what will eventually be agreed.

“In any deal, the question is: who holds the cards? It is important that through the negotiation process of devolution we don’t allow Government to hold all the cards.

“I believe our ‘Statement of Principles’ goes some way to making sure that when we are in a position to agree a deal it will ultimately be the right one for Gloucestershire.”

ENDS

Notes:
1. Ten of Gloucestershire’s public sector partners have already come together including Gloucestershire Councils, the Police & Crime Commissioner, GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group to have one conversation with Government about how, through devolution, one can achieve better outcomes and reduced costs.