Kingsholm parking review about to start

Jeremy Hilton: congested Oxford Road will be surveyed

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.

Survey area highlighted

 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.”

Timetable

  • Informal consultation with residents – March to May
  • Statutory consultation – June to July
  • Formal Advertising preparation – June to July
  • Formal advertising responses – July to August
  • Traffic order amendments – Sept
  • Traffic Regulation Order sign off – Oct
  • Making Traffic Regulation Order –  Nov
  • Implementation work – Nov

Future use of Trevone House – questions from Jeremy Hilton

Trevone House before it was closed as a nursing home

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.

The cabinet report can be read online, click here:
http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/documents/s51904/Item%2011%20-%20Gloucestershires%20Sufficiceny%20Strategy%20-%20Semi-Independent%20Project.pdf

Question 1 – Jeremy Hilton

The report 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 – Richard Boyles

Children 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.

Question 2 – 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 – Richard Boyles

A 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 community cohesion.

Question 3 – Jeremy Hilton

In paragraph 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 – Richard Boyles

This project 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 in place.

Question 4 – 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 – Richard Boyles

The 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.

Question 5 – Jeremy Hilton

On Radio 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 – Richard Boyles

The whole 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

The following supplementary questions were asked at the meeting

Supplementary Question 1 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr 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.

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People)

Cllr Boyles 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.

Supplementary Question 2 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr 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?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr 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 listened to.

Supplementary Question 3 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr 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?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr 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.

Supplementary Question 4 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr 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 to be?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr 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.

Supplementary Question 5 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr 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?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr 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.

Residents Parking Permit Review

Gloucestershire County Council is about to embark on a countywide review of residents’ permit parking zones. It is expected that this will start on 1st of April. We have been assured that Kingsholm will be considered early in the review.

The county council will consider the current parking zone areas to see if amendments are required.

The following streets will also be considered as potential areas to be included in the residents parking permits scheme.

Area 1 – North end of Deans Way, Sandhurst Road, Edwy Parade, & Kingsholm Square

Area 2 – Hinton Road, Malvern Road, North Road & Seabroke Road

Area 3 – Sebert Street, Oxford Road, Henry Road, Henry Street & Honyatt Road – plus parts of Heathville Road and Denmark Road.

Jeremy Hilton said: “Both Isabel Brazil and I have received a number of requests for residents parking zones to be introduced in Kingsholm. I am disappointed that a review should take place at same time as the permit fees are due to go up. However, there is serious commuter congestion in some streets that can only be resolved with a residents’ permit scheme.”

Isabel Brazil said: “Changes to the permit zones will only go ahead if supported by a majority of residents living in the area. The county council will fully consult.”

Sandhurst Lane – speeding motorists are a menace

Isabel Brazil & Jeremy Hilton on Sandhurst Lane near to the traffic survey point

Speeding motorists travelling on along Sandhurst Lane in Kingsholm and Wotton are a menace say local Lib Dem councillors, Jeremy Hilton and Isabel Brazil.

A survey carried out between the 16th and 22nd July by Gloucestershire County Council found that 80% of southbound motorists were speeding as they approached St. Oswald’s Road. 

The survey was requested by county councillor Jeremy Hilton. It was taken at the midway point between Rivermead Close and Greville Close along the built-up section of Sandhurst Lane.

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “The results confirm what many of us already knew that far too many motorists are speeding along Sandhurst Lane. They are breaking the 30mph speed limit and risking the lives of pedestrians walking on the narrow footways. 

“There is a clear road safety issue here that the county council must resolve. I have asked the county traffic manager to propose a solution that will help reduce traffic speeds to below the 30mph limit.

“Even though the results suggest northbound vehicles are not breaking the limit have seen motorists accelerate aggressively as they pass by Rivermead Close.”

Cllr. Isabel Brazil agreed and said: “Speeding vehicles are a menace, particularly on a lane with narrow or non-existent footways. The county council must do something.”

Over the seven days of the survey the volume of traffic averaged out at 2,047 vehicles per day.

Southbound survey results

The survey found that 80% of southbound drivers were travelling at a speed greater than the 30mph limit. The average speed was 39mph with 85% of vehicles travelling at speeds of 47mph or less.

Northbound survey results

Only 2.5% of northbound vehicles were travelling above the 30mph speed limit. The northbound, traffic kept within the speed limits with an average speed of 21mph and with 85% of vehicles travelling at speeds of 25mph or less.

Jeremy Hilton renews call for new comprehensive school in the north of Gloucester

Closed by the Tories. Jeremy Hilton outside former Bishop’s College. A lost opportunity to build new comprehensive school here.

Jeremy Hilton has reiterated calls for a new secondary school to be built in the north of the city.

It comes after forecasts prepared by the Department for Education reveal a shortfall of 477 secondary school places in Gloucester by 2023/24.

Across the country 130,000 children are at risk of missing out on a secondary school place over the next five years, according to the Local Government Association.

Rising birth rates and the thousands of new homes built at Kingsway and Cooper’s Edge has seen increasing pressure for primary school places in Gloucester.

But with thousands of new homes planned on the outskirts of Gloucester – at Innsworth, Churchdown and Brockworth as part of the Joint Core Strategy – there will be further demand on school places.

Gloucester Liberal Democrats have long argued there was a need for a new non-selective secondary school in the north of the city as children not attending either Sir Thomas Rich’s or Denmark Road High School for Girls, having to travel to Churchdown, Brockworth, Tewkesbury, Newent, the south of Gloucester or further afield.

Jeremy Hilton said the school should have been built on the former Bishop’s College site in Longlevens but housing is now being built there instead.

When Jeremy and Gloucester Lib Dems first called for a new comprehensive secondary school in the north of Gloucester the then Conservative county council cabinet member for children and young people dismissed it as a “pre-election stunt”.

But the need for a new secondary school in Gloucester has now been supported by a report prepared by the county council.

The Gloucester City School Places Review said the need for extra primary school places would be met by expanding existing schools and agreements with housing developers to build additional schools.

But with secondary schools the review states that there is a “significant shortfall of places from 2022” and a new site for a secondary school in Gloucester should be found.

The report also says that existing secondary schools should be expanded where possible.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, said:

“When we first questioned which secondary schools the children living in all the new family homes being built on the outskirts of Gloucester would go to, the Tories just dismissed our concern.

“With so many houses planned because of the Joint Core Strategy it was obvious there was going to be further pressure on primary and secondary school places in Gloucester.

“The Department for Education’s own forecasts support this, and the county council has now realised what we have been saying all along about the need for a new comprehensive secondary school.

”It is vital that this school is non-selective. A genuine, high performing comprehensive school. There is no need for any further grammar school places. The grammars are already taking far too many pupils that live outside the city and even outside Gloucestershire. The new comprehensive school must be built to serve those that live in the north of Gloucester.”

Ends…

Pride in the European Union

Jeremy Hilton & Rebecca Trimnell with Lib Dem team campaigning in Gloucester

Liberal Democrats in Gloucester will be taking their campaign to remain in the European Union to Gloucester Pride on Saturday when party members will be handing out cards encouraging everyone to support having a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

This campaign will proceed a major debate at the county council when councillors will be encouraged to support a Lib Dem motion calling for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal. In proposing a new referendum Liberal Democrats will want there to be a option to remain in the European Union.

Gloucester City Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Lib Dem – Kingsholm & Wotton) who is a county councillor will speak in the debate said: 

“Gloucester may have voted leave in 2016, but I imagine many people are now having second thoughts. The government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations is lamentable. Leave lied to the public. Boris Johnson has quit just as David Davies did before him.

“I will be urging all county councillors to back the Lib Dem call for a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal. It is imperative that the people of Gloucester and the United Kingdom have the final say on whether to proceed with Brexit or to remain members of the European Union.

“Leaving the EU will mean the loss of citizenship rights we now all enjoy. Currently we are able to work, study, live and retire anywhere in the EU. Our European Health Insurance Card provides health cover across all member states. These are benefits that are important to everyone, but especially so for the younger generation who are starting out on their adult lives.”

“We must also consider the negative impact that leaving the EU will have on many local businesses that trade within the Single Market.”

Dr. Rebecca Trimnell, Gloucester’s parliamentary spokesperson, said:

”I voted Remain in 2016 and I still believe that the UK should retain its full membership of the European Union. The evidence from the chaotic negotiations suggests that the best option is the status quo. It is also best option for Gloucester.

“I have spoken to many people who are worried about their own future, not only UK citizens but those EU nationals who live and work in the city. We cannot leave it to this incompetent government to make the decision on the final Brexit deal. The public must decide in a People’s Vote.”

Liberal Democrat councillors fight to preserve Elmscroft Community Centre


Jeremy Hilton & Emily Ryall outside Elmscroft Community Centre


Fears have been raised over the future of Elmbridge’s largest community centre after a county council structural report suggested that significant work was required to meet health and safety standards.

The current lease is due to expire in January 2019 and there were concerns that it would be too difficult to renew.

A meeting was arranged by Elmbridge Liberal Democrat councillors between current committee members, user groups and local residents, who have expressed a determination to renew the lease and ensure the building remains open. They have won full backing of local ward councillors.

Lib Dem county councillor, Jeremy Hilton, has agreed to support a grant of £20,000 to the centre, from the Growing Communities Fund, which is reserved to his county council division of Kingsholm & Wotton that includes three polling districts in Elmbridge ward.

This should cover emergency work and it is hoped that additional funds will be found from reserves, fundraising and work by volunteers.

Jeremy Hilton said: “This is an important community asset with real character and is well used by many clubs and societies. It is vital that we do whatever we can to ensure it remains open. I’m very confident that we can help the community save the centre and help them get funding to secure its long term future.”

Lib Dem city councillors Emily Ryall and Howard Hyman are committed to keeping the building open. They stated: “We have been working hard with residents to give them the support they need to renew the lease. There is real determination to save this valuable building and preserve its historic character.”

Air Pollution report published

Tackling air pollution in Gloucestershire from vehicle emissions is set to be an important priority for Gloucestershire County Council. Today the report of the air pollution task group, chaired by Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Lib Dem Kingsholm & Wotton), is published.

According to Public Health England, poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, and the Royal College of Physicians has estimated that poor air quality is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths in the UK annually.

Exposure to air pollution can affect health by contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases, and can limit an individual’s quality of life.

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “Public bodies in Gloucestershire need to do much more to reduce vehicle air pollution. We have a number of poor air quality hot spots in the county. Nitrogen Dioxides and particulate matter from vehicle emissions is a hazard to everyone’s health in the county. We have to take action to reduce these pollutants.

“I shall be taking the report of the air pollution task group to the Environment & Community Scrutiny Committee next week, where I hope it is approved, before it is sent on to the county cabinet on the 6th of June.”

The report has a dozen recommendations that include the establishment of a Gloucestershire Air Quality Partnership to oversee future work. This will be helped by better air quality monitoring with a focus on particulate matter. Changes to planning policies are suggested. Highway interventions are recommended to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

The task group wishes to encourage the greater use of electric vehicles and also to set stronger targets to increase journeys by bicycle, on foot and public transport. It wants to see the use low emissions buses etc.

Cllr Hilton concluded: “This report is just a start. I would like to that everyone who came along to the workshop we held in January and to the members of the air pollution task group that helped draft the report.”

Thousands of pounds of public money wasted on abortive fire takeover

The total cost to the public purse of the abortive attempt by Gloucestershire Police & Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, to takeover the county’s fire and rescue service was £135,000. 

The fire and rescue service has been governed by Gloucestershire County Council since 1974. All members of the council are united in their support of the county council remaining the local fire authority.

After spending £100,000 of taxpayers money on employing his own consultants to mount a hostile bid to run the fire and rescue service, Mr Surl dropped his plan during the summer. The cost to the county council in defending its fire authority role was £35,000.

Jeremy Hilton speaking out against the waste of public money

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Fire Service, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm and Wotton) said:

“The county council is the fire authority and already does a brilliant job in managing Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. We all need to remember the great job our firefighters did during the 2007 floods.

“I am very disappointed in the police and crime commissioner for wasting such a large sum of public money on empire building. In particular, I am concerned about the £10,000 cost of fire officer time spent on answering Mr Surl’s consultant’s questions. He needs to concentrate on delivering a better police service in Gloucestershire.

“I am, however, pleased that he dropped his takeover bid.

“The £135,000 of taxpayers money spent would have been better used on developing new collaborative projects between the blue light services. We should be looking at sharing our fire stations.

“Together we pioneered the TriService emergency centre and vehicle workshops. The fire service is now helping the ambulance service by co-responding to medical emergencies and also helping social services with the enhanced self and well checks at people’s homes.

“We can do more collaborative work something which I will be proposing at December’s Council meeting in Shire Hall.”