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.”

Martin Surl withdraws hostile bid to takeover Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service

Jeremy Hilton a strong advocate for the fire service remaining with Gloucestershire County Council

 

Martin Surl the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire has announced that he will not be persuing a hostile bid, allowed under the Police & Crime Act, to takeover the governance of Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service, which is currently governed by the county council.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the fire service, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) welcomed the news.

He said: “This is very good news. The fire and rescue service should stay under the governance of Gloucestershire County Council, as it has done since 1974. My motion to the county council in June opposing a transfer was backed unanimously by all councillors. Mr Surl was alone in wanting to transfer the service.

“The Police and Crime Commisioner has a massive job governing Gloucestershire Constabulary. He needs to concentrate on improving the police service in our county. I’m pleased he has recognised this and has withdrawn his bid to takeover Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service.

“The Fire and Rescue Service is already well run. It does a brilliant job in protecting the people of this county. We all remember the excellet job our firefighters did during the servere floods in 2007.”

Long running saga of unadopted roads at St Oswald’s Park – continues

Jeremy Hilton at Longhorn Avenue, St Oswald’s Park

The long running saga of the adoption of the roads and footpaths on the residential development at St Oswald’s Park continues.

At the county council meeting in June, local Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Lib Dem – Kingsholm & Wotton) asked the cabinet member what was causing the delay in the adoptions.

The council said the failure of the developers to enter a section 38 highways adoption agreement when construction took place, was a cause.

The cabinet member Nigel Moor said there were several significant issues that would require resolution before the roads could be adopted.

He said: “Issues needing resolution are the adoption of the intervening private streets, submission of a vesting certificate for the sewers, submission of a stage 3 road safety audit and designers response report, submission of the health & safety file and resolution of on-street parking that is causing an obstruction.

“Until the developer decides to address these issues it would not be in the public interest for the council to adopt roads.”

Jeremy Hilton said: “The housing development is now complete and the roads and footpaths need to be formally adopted by the county council. There are issues with inappropriate parking in places that cannot properly be dealt with until to roads are adopted.

“I have written to Persimmon to seek their comments on the cabinet member’s response. They have asked that I call a meeting with key stakeholders. I have written to Persimmon, Hammerson and the county council to invite them to a meeting to get this process moving forward.”

 

Jeremy Hilton objects to hostile takeover of fire service

Jeremy Hilton and the Liberal Democrats are opposed to any plans for Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl taking over the running of the county’s fire service. It is understood that Mr Surl has employed consultants to mount a hostile bid to takeover Gloucestershire’s Fire & Rescue Service.

The Tory Government has passed legislation that would allow a hostile takeover by the local PCC, but Jeremy Hilton – who is running to be Gloucester’s next MP – is against the idea.

“Gloucestershire has one of the best run fire services in the country and should remain under the control of the county council,” he said.

“Moving the fire service would cost a lot of money and would not deliver any savings to tax payers in Gloucestershire. It would undermine the good collaboration that we have between the emergency services in Gloucestershire. Mr Surl should sort out the police service rather than empire building.”

Jeremy Hilton also confirmed that the Liberal Democrat manifesto commits to replacing police and crime commissioners, elected at great expense in elections with very low turnout, with accountable police boards made up of local councillors.