At the weekend, Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton wrote to Simon Roberts, the chief executive of Sainsbury’s about the proposed closure of their Northgate Street supermarket, which has been trading successfully for nearly 50 years.
Along with Lib Dem colleague Dr Rebecca Trimnell, Jeremy Hilton is raising an online petition, Save Our Sainsbury’s, which is doing well. Please sign it at:-
I was shocked to learn this week that your company is to close its supermarket at Northgate Street, Gloucester after nearly 50 years of successful trading. Many people that I represent, who live in Kingsholm are very unhappy about the store’s closure as they use it regularly.
My Lib Dem colleague, Dr Rebecca Trimnell, who is campaigning for the residents of the city centre has raised an online petition to save the supermarket. The returns are good.
I remember the store when it first opened as I had a Saturday job there as a teenager. I still shop in the store more than three times a week. Not only do residents of Kingsholm and city centre use it, but those working in the centre or other residents in Gloucester who are shopping in the city centre also pickup provisions before they go home.
I imagine the store isn’t the strongest trading store, but it must still be profitable as the investment in the building will have been paid off long ago. I have noticed you have been running down the variety of stock, which may have hit trade a bit, but it’s Covid-19 pandemic that has had a major impact.
However, trade is recoverable as we get through this pandemic. The city council is just about to invest in the refurbishment of Kings Square, which along with the regeneration around the bus and railway stations will bring in more people to the city centre. This will lead to an increase in footfall.
It would be so sad not to have a Sainsbury’s in the city centre while Tesco, Iceland and M&S will have a presence, but none of them can offer the same service and stock range that you can continue to do from Northgate Street.
Both Dr Rebecca Trimnell and I would appreciate meeting a senior representative of your company to discuss how we could keep the store open to mutual benefit.
Finally, the city council will discuss a motion in my name about saving the store on the 24th of September.
City Cllr. Jeremy Hilton
Liberal Democrat Group Leader – Kingsholm & Wotton
Loads of people are complaining about the changes to the Cheltenham Road and Estcourt Road roundabout. And rightly so. It is part of the new London Road cycle route, which in principle I support. I did walk the route with the cabinet member and engineers ahead of design work. However, we started from Denmark Road and walked towards the city centre. We didn’t visit the roundabout, which is a pity. As I would NOT have recommended it laid out as they suggested.
I only got the published plans 40 minutes after a press release was issued. Despite my request 8 days before asking for the final plans. I was not happy. It’s when I got these plans that it became obvious the roundabout had been added to the scheme.
This project has been rushed through by the county council cabinet. The leader of the county council lives on Estcourt Road. Neighbouring Longlevens councillor Kathy Williams also serves in the cabinet.
I am also currently backing residents on London Road who have lost their on-street parking spaces outside their homes with very short notice. I’m also unhappy with the removal of the pedestrian refuge outside Tesco. I’m OK with two new pedestrian crossings and the reworking of the England’s Glory crossing. The reworking of the buildout outside Healey Mews looks OK, but I await feedback from the residents who live there. I’m hoping the removal of the speed camera doesn’t see an increase in traffic speeds.
Projects like this one need to be carefully considered, fully consulted on and professionally implemented. This hasn’t been done. I am told the roundabout scheme, which has only partly been implemented is under review and being revised. When I get the drawings I will post them on this website.
Tory leaders at Shire Hall are being quizzed on their performance by a senior Liberal Democrat councillor.
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, who represents Kingsholm and Wotton, has tabled a dozen challenging questions to Conservative cabinet members for its full council meeting on September 9.
He has asked questions about care home admissions, the performance of children’s services, gulley cleaning, new cycling projects, the future of local government in Gloucestershire and the financial health of the county council.
Councillor Hilton, who is also leader of the Lib Dem group on Gloucester City Council, said:
“I am concerned about the poor performance of the Tory administration who control the county council and the impact this is having on services in Gloucester.
“After 15 years in charge, they are struggling to deliver decent services.
“They failed miserably to handle the Covid-19 crisis in our care homes, children’s services is still poorly performing and there are big holes in the council’s finances.
“Frankly, the Tories are exhausted and complacent. They have run out of good ideas. They are clueless. They are unable to keep budgets under control and vulnerable people are getting a raw deal.
“With all this going on the Tories are now planning to spend valuable time on local government reorganisation leaving Gloucester without its own dedicated council for the first time in over 500 years.”
Councillor Hilton said he will be very interested to see the answers from the cabinet when they are published. He can ask supplementary questions.
Written Questions put by Cllr. Jeremy Hilton
1. To Tim Harman
Staff in elderly persons care homes are now being tested for COVID-19 anti-bodies. Can you please provide data to include how many tests have been done so far and how many tests proved positive or negative?
2. To Kathy Williams
On the 7th of April a press release was issued by the county council in which you were quoted. The press release reported that the county council was helping the NHS Hospital Trust transfer patients from hospital into elderly persons care homes within three hours.
Considering that it was known at the time that some elderly people were not being tested for Covid-19 infection and that some subsequently died, why didn’t you say no to such untested transfers?
3. Kathy Williams
How many residents in the county elderly persons care homes have died from Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic?
4. Richard Boyles
Can you please state what the agreed budget for services vulnerable children was for the following years and what the financial outcome (final spend) was when the accounts were closed?
2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20
5. Richard Boyles
How many young people are in the council’s care?
6. Richard Boyles
How many of those young people in your answer to the previous question are placed out of county and what is the cost to this council?
7. Richard Boyles
Under your leadership will you ever turn around the failing children’s services? You only have until May 2021 to do so.
8. Vernon Smith
How many gullies in the city of Gloucester were cleaned during the Covid-19 lockdown period?
9. Nigel Moor
What plans other than on London Road, do you have to improve the cycling infrastructure in the city of Gloucester
10. Mark Hawthorne
As a city resident, would you support the abolition of Gloucester City Council in favour of a single unitary council serving the whole of Gloucestershire, ending the current two-tier system?
11. Lynden Stowe
What is the expected additional cost, in this financial year, to this council for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic?
12. Lynden Stowe
Could you please list all additional Covid-19 grant funding this council has received from the government or has been promised?
The county council’s long-awaited review of on-street parking in Kingsholm is just about to start and should be completed by November this year.
The first stage of the project will be a camera car survey this month to carried by contractors Atkins. This will take vehicle data to establish the occupancy, parking stress and demand on an area as well as duration of stay and generally how far people have travelled to park, i.e. are they local to area, the street, city or come further away.
The survey will take place over a week, picking two or three days that week and carrying out the surveys three times a day. The results of the traffic survey will take a month to come back. Afterwards, an informal consultation will be done from March to May with residents and businesses.
Local Lib Dem councillors Jeremy Hilton and Isabel Brazil are pleased that work on the review is starting. They have received loads of complaints from residents about parking congestion in Kingsholm. They have passed on several emails to the traffic manager about parking problems.
Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:
“The streets in Kingsholm are overloaded with commuters parking in residential streets leaving little space during the daytime for residents to park up near to their home. There many properties in the ward which do not have off street parking.
“The survey area will consider most streets in Kingsholm. Hopefully, at the end of the project we will have parking regulations that are fit for purpose.”
Cllr. Isabel Brazil said:
“Parking congestion in Kingsholm is a problem. We do encourage residents to write to us and we shall pass all comments onto the parking manager to form part of the evidence.”
Informal consultation with residents – March to May
Gloucester City Council has made an application to the Great Western Railway Customer and Communities Improvement Fund, for £35,000 to assist in the project to renew and upgrade the Wellington Parade Garden.
The total estimated cost is £49,000 with the city council contributing £14,000. The project would also include some public art. The garden was originally owned by British Railways Board before it was passed onto the city council via a private purchaser.
The grant application has been supported by Liberal Democrat ward councillors Isabel Brazil and Jeremy Hilton who have been working with officers to get the garden upgraded and reopened.
Jeremy Hilton said: “The garden was closed at the request of local residents who were fed up of anti social behaviour taking place. The project to get garden upgraded is taking longer than expected. Shortage of council funding to implement the agreed plan, hasn’t helped, but we must get it right. The new design is laid out to discourage street drinking and bad behaviour.
“We are waiting for a decision on the GWR grant. On my suggestion, once the garden has been set out, we shall look to install some railway heritage public art to be the garden’s centre piece.”
Isabel Brazil said: “The grant application must be agreed by the Department of Transport. I hope they can make a quick decision as we are keen to start the ground works. The council wants to start onsite in April. The work would take three months.”
Ashley Bowkett topped the poll in Barnwood while Sebastian Field won Podsmead by just three votes after a recount.
The by-elections were held on July 25 following the death of Conservative Councillor Lise Noakes in Barnwood and the resignation of Labour Councillor Deborah Smith in Podsmead.
The by-elections saw the Brexit Party, recently formed by Nigel Farage, field its first local election candidates and got comprehensively beaten.Sebastian returns to the city council having previously represented Kingsholm and Wotton for nine years until 2016.
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, said: “A Double Gloucester victory and congratulations to our two new city councillors.
“Not only did we see off the Brexit Party in their first council elections, but we gained a seat from the Conservatives and the other one from Labour.
“Ashley Bowkett’s win in Barnwood now secures the second seat in this ward for the Lib Dems.
“In Podsmead we took the seat by just three votes over the Tories in what was a Labour seat. Sebastian Field worked exceptionally hard to secure this win.
“The two wins now mean that the Conservatives have 21 seats and the Liberal Democrats and Labour both have nine councillors each.
On the 24th of April the county
council cabinet, which is controlled by the Conservatives, agreed a plan to
convert Trevone House into a resource centre for young people between ages of
16 and 20.
Trevone House will provide living
accommodation for up to 21 young people who are in the care of the county
council. The facility will have staff on duty 24/7.
The young persons’ facility will
have a health assessment unit, an educational day service and apartments for
young people to be able to learn the skills of daily living to prepare them for
adulthood. It will be inspected by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.
The county council held a public
consultation on the 15th of May and another is planned during August.
Here are the set of questions from Jeremy Hilton that took place at cabinet on the 24th of April. First set is the written questions and answers. The second set are the verbal supplementary questions and answers.
says the proposed remodelling of Trevone House will provide a resource centre
for children and young people, provision of a health assessment unit, an
educational day service and apartments for young people to be able to learn the
skills of daily living to prepare them for adulthood. I agree that such a
facility for young people in care is required in Gloucestershire, but what
other properties in the county were considered and where are they located?
Answer 1 –
Services over the past few years have considered a number of options in
relation to providing provision of placements for children and young people in
county. This has included looking at existing buildings, as well as purchasing
new provision, both in urban and more rural areas. Unfortunately, these
searches did not identify any potential properties with the scope that is being
offered from using Trevone House. This project is innovative in its design,
offering a multi agency approach to our young people. Because of this, it needs
to be centrally located, accessible both for young people to access community
resources, but also for staff and partners.
– Jeremy Hilton
I was only
briefed about this proposal on the 11th of April 2019, the day before the
cabinet report was published. Local residents haven’t been consulted. What
plans do you have to fully consult local residents, other care institutions and
local schools based in Kingsholm? And will they be listened to?
Answer 2 –
communications plan will be implemented, to engage with and listen to local
residents, so that everyone has an opportunity to share their views. Our young
ambassadors will be part of this process, bringing to life their journeys,
working together not only for the development of this project but also for the
life time of the provision, to reduce anxiety, mitigate risks and promote
– Jeremy Hilton
3.2, the report says that this proposal will provide accommodation for 16-20
year olds. Can you provide me with an assurance that no person will be placed
at Trevone House who is over the age of 20 years?
Answer 3 –
is to support young people moving onto independence from the age of 16 years,
planning for them to move on to independent accommodation. In exceptional
circumstances, where young people need more time or support due to their
learning or emotional needs, consideration would be given for them to remain in
placement post 20 years. These young people would have a robust transition plan
– Jeremy Hilton
Will the new
young persons facility at Trevone House be a single gender provision? If not,
what spilt in genders is expected?
Answer 4 –
accommodation will be co-ed, but this will be in the context of a needs lead
service and planned placements. Placement matching is key to the success of
this project and a panel will be in place to review placement referrals. This
will be multi agency, with colleagues from Health, Police, Children’s Services
and the provider. The panel will not only review the placement referrals, it
will also monitor the young people in placement.
– Jeremy Hilton
Gloucestershire, (8am on 15th April 2019), Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that
there would be a minimum of 4 members staff on duty 24/7. Is this correct and
how many staff will be on duty during the day and over the night?
Answer 5 –
concept of this project is to support and enable our young people to flourish
and be aspirational in developing their plans for adulthood. Therefore,
staffing is critical, not only in the numbers but the quality and skills of the
staff team. There will be a minimum of four staff on duty at any one time, across
the whole project. At times, where needed, there will be more staff on duty for
those young people who need higher levels of support. Parts of the tendering
process will require potential providers to evidence their staffs skills and
training and supervision standards to ensure they meet the requirements of this.
Given the nature of the project, there will be additional staff during the day
to deliver the day service provision. The project will also have capacity to
bring in additional staff as required and to support young people in distress,
particularly those in need of health assessments
following supplementary questions were asked at the meeting
Question 1 – Jeremy Hilton
referred to the large number of care institutions based in Kingsholm and stated
how important it was not to overload the community with such facilities.
Seeking clarification on the answer to his question, Cllr Hilton asked what
other properties in the county had been considered as possible locations for a
young person’s facility? Cllr Hilton asked Cllr Boyles to provide a written
answer to the question, including the reasons why the locations had been
dismissed as suitable premises.
by: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People)
explained that the project to provide a young person’s facility as was proposed
four years ago under the IRIS project. After the Ofsted Inspection in 2017, a
key part of Gloucestershire’s Sufficiency Strategy expanded the need for a
wider range of local accommodation options. Cllr Boyles explained that some of
the properties that had originally been considered were no longer suitable .
The Gloucestershire Sufficiency Strategy aimed to cater for young people in the
community. Cllr Boyles agreed to provide Cllr Hilton with a written response to
his question after the meeting. He stated that, as the terms of the project
grew, so did the terms of requirement.
Question 2 – Jeremy Hilton
acknowledged there was a communications plan but stressed the importance of
consulting with the local community. Cllr Hilton asked for assurance that
consultation had been done?
by: Cllr Richard Boyles
referred to the clear communications plan which set out the engagements that
would be undertaken with the local community on a wide range of issues
associated with the project, including bus services, schools and hospitals.
Cllr Boyles agreed to provide a written response to the question after the
meeting and assured Cllr Hilton the views of the local community would be
Question 3 – Jeremy Hilton
stated that, in the UK, a person reached maturity and was regarded as an adult
by the time of their 18th birthday. Cllr Hilton asked Cllr Boyles to guarantee
no new person over the age of 20 would be placed at Trevone House and that no
one over age 20 would spend their first night in care at the house?
by: Cllr Richard Boyles
stated he was unable to promise that no one over the age of 20 would be placed
at Trevone House. He explained some placements could roll over beyond the age
of 18 and that he would need to consult with the team on the matter. Cllr
Boyles did not envisage anyone over the age of 20 would be placed at the
facility but could not give a definite yes or no at this time.
Question 4 – Jeremy Hilton
noted that the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted were regulators of the
facility and asked how often and how rigorous were their inspections expected
by: Cllr Richard Boyles
confirmed the inspections would be as rigorous as always and that the
inspection reports would be available as and when the information was provided.
The inspections would be annual but may be more frequent.
Question 5 – Jeremy Hilton
referred to a recent briefing with Cllr Boyles and the indication there would
only be two people on duty overnight. Cllr Hilton also referred to a recent
radio interview given by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, where
it was suggested there would be 4 members of staff on duty 24/7. Cllr Hilton
sought clarification on how many members of staff would be on duty at the
facility from 9pm to 9am?
by: Cllr Richard Boyles
confirmed there would be 4 members of staff on duty, once the facility was
fully open. Until this time, and as the facility developed, the number of staff
could be lower, dependent on the number of residents. Cllr Boyles said that
everything would be risk assessed, with additional staff brought in if the risk
was deemed appropriate.
The Liberal Democrats are demanding Network Rail delivers on a commitment for hourly direct rail services to London from Gloucester.
Hourly direct services to Paddington were due to start in December 2018 but have been delayed until December 2019 at the earliest.
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, is calling on Network Rail to deliver the hourly service as part of the forthcoming May 2019 timetable changes for the Great Western mainline.
“Hourly direct services to London from Gloucester and Cheltenham would be a real economic boost to Gloucestershire and may even encourage businesses to consider moving to the county,” Councillor Hilton said.
“They would also improve links to the capital for Gloucester’s residents.
“I understand train operator Great Western Railways is keen to run the services and I would urge Network Rail to bring forward the timetable changes to this May.”
It is understood Network Rail has delayed implementing the hourly service due to problems with the timetable changes introduced last year, particularly on the Northern and Thameslink networks.
Network Rail has written to Gloucestershire County Council to inform them that from May there will be a new weekday 9.19am service from Cheltenham to Paddington with a weekday 4.36pm service in the return direction.
Councillor Hilton added: “Already, there has been major investment in dual tracking the railway line between Kemble and Swindon. GWR has also invested in new rolling stock.
“The additional daytime service that is being launched from May is a welcome improvement but we want to see the hourly services that were due to start last year introduced.”
Ground work to improve Wellington Parade Garden on London Road has been delayed. The city council had planned to start construction this month and follow on with the planting of shrubs and plants in April.
But, Lib Dem councillors Jeremy Hilton and Isabel Brazil have been told that tenders haven’t even been issued for the work. Tenders have been delayed by the city council’s legal services team.
Currently, the garden is closed because it has become a location of problem street drinking. Adults have been drinking alcohol to excess, fighting and arguing between themselves, and using local residents’ front gardens as a toilet. The new garden layout has been designed to be more attractive and to discourage street drinking.
Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Lib Dem – Kingsholm & Wotton) said: “The delay in construction of the new garden is disappointing, but this is becoming normal with projects run by Gloucester City Council. With so many jobs lost under the Tories’ austerity plan, there are not enough staff to process projects on time. This really is a ‘Vanishing Council’.
“Isabel Brazil and I have worked hard to get an agreement for improvements to this problem garden. We secured funding to enable works to be done, but to be told last week that it is being delayed by the legal services team, is ridiculous. This is not a big project, but the red tape being applied may cost more than the budget for the actual ground work.”
Cllr. Isabel Brazil (Lib Dem – Kingsholm & Wotton) said: “A new Public Space Protection Order banning the drinking of alcohol in public spaces along London Road recently came into force. The second stage of our action plan is a new layout for the garden that should discourage street drinking. The city council needs to get on with this project.”