Parliamentary candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson at the Kings Theatre
Constant lobbying and campaigning by Portsmouth South Parliamentary Candidate and Milton Ward City Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, backed by local Lib Dem Councillors and campaigners, has forced the Conservative/Labour/UKIP coalition running the Council to back down on huge cuts to cultural venues and cuts to vital modest grants. The announcement was made in The News recently when the paper reported upcoming city budget cuts.
Local Lib Dems received massive support from residents signing a huge citywide petition; however it wasn't all plain sailing as Tory hardliner in St. Jude Ward, who now runs city culture, mocked the petition set up by local Lib Dems and refused to back modest grants vital to winning ££millions more on top from Arts Council England, Lottery and many other funders.
The grants send the right message to funders considering investing their monies in Portsmouth's cultural, tourism and creative venues like Aspex Gallery, museums, the Guildhall, libraries, the Kings Theatre, New Theatre Royal and many others.
Councillor Lee Hunt (Central Southsea Ward) who helped lead the campaign and is the local Lib Dem spokesperson for Culture & Sport said:
"In the last few when the Lib Dems ran Portsmouth we levered over £8million into Portsmouth's creative and tourism industries helping push visitor numbers up to a record 9.25million, adding £444million (Tourism South East figs) to Portsmouth's economy supporting 12,500 jobs; so it is vital the Council leads by example. I am glad campaigners backed us to make the Tories see sense."
Remember, last time Labour proposed massive city south cultural cuts, which would also have destroyed the £4million D-Day Museum lottery bid recently won after three years of Lib Dem commitment to the project.
At a recent planning committee local Lib Dems opposed a proposal to change a family dwelling in Cleveland Road to a shared [House in Multiple Occupation].
Cllr Lee Hunt [Lib Dem Central Southsea Ward] pointed out to the 9-member planning panel that the area already has 40% of dwellings in shared-use lets. He said:
"With housing so expensive shared homes give people an affordable place to live and it's not only students, but young professionals and others who choose to share; however we need a sensible mix and right now the city south accepts more than its fair share".
The landlords' representative disagreed arguing 'there are so many, so there might as well be another'.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson [Lib Dem Milton Ward] sitting on the decision-making panel backed Cllr Hunt saying:
"There is a sensible policy brought in by the last Lib Dem Council restricting shared housing to 10% in an immediate locality and we should stick to this".
The panel unanimously agreed and threw out the proposal.
Councillor Lee Hunt
Tourism in Portsmouth continues to rise as a decade of Lib Dem city regeneration policies, in partnership with local creative and cultural industries, build year-on-year; up seven per cent last year, which saw a similar rise the year before.
The creative and cultural surge here is one of the reasons Portsmouth Lib Dems have launched their petition to protect modest grants for cultural venues, for example the Kings Theatre, New Theatre Royal and Aspex Gallery. Estimates by 'Tourism South East' show 9.25 million people made a trip to Portsmouth, pumping £444m into the local economy – up six per cent on 2012.
Around 12,400 jobs representing nearly 12% of all employment in the city are related to tourism, an increase of nearly six percent from the year before; yet the Labour/UKIP/Conservative coalition running Portsmouth are thinking of cutting vital modest grants and support, which give confidence to others to invest here and help lever £millions more into Portsmouth's ongoing exciting cultural and creative regeneration. Examples of this are the brilliant 'Victorious Festival' on The Common, improved Guildhall music venue, £100,000s from Arts Council England, £4million for D-Day Museum from the lottery and £2million for 'ARTches' cultural quarter in Old Portsmouth, plus £millions more from sports like the £1.6million citywide deal with British Tennis, Portsmouth 'Wiggle' Triathlon with Triathlon England and Ben Ainslie Racing coming here.
You can help keep the momentum going by signing our online petition here: http://www.change.org/p/portsmouth-culture
Reacting to growing pressure from public petitions, the Conservative-run Portsmouth City Council has put back the date when it will announce a budget by 4 weeks.
At a recent Council meeting the Conservative running Culture & Sport mocked petitions as a way to influence Council spending. However it looks like this one is having an impact - even though she refused to rule out grant cuts.
This petition is so important; protecting modest grants for cultural venues like, Kings Theatre, New Theatre Royal and Aspex Gallery because it keeps Portsmouth's creative and cultural surge growing.
Cultural and Creative Industries contributes to a huge rise to Portsmouth's tourism. Visits are UP 7% on last year and there was a similar rise the year before. Read the report in The News.
' Tourism South East' reports show 9.25 million people made a trip to Portsmouth last year to visit theatres, events, shows and museums; pumping £444m into the local economy – up six per cent on 2012.
Around 12,400 jobs representing nearly 12% of all employment in the city are related to tourism, an increase of nearly 6% from the year before; so we need to convince the Council not to cut vital modest grants and support, which give confidence to others to invest here. Examples are the Portsmouth Cultural Trust improved Guildhall music venue, £100,000s from Arts Council England for Aspex, New Theatre Royal and outreach work, £4million for D-Day Museum from the lottery, £2million lottery money for 'ARTches' cultural quarter in Old Portsmouth plus £millions more from national sports governing bodies like the £1.6million citywide deal with British Tennis and Portsmouth 'Wiggle' Triathlon.
Please forward this petition to friends, family and acquaintances asking them to sign and pass on again.
Councillor Les Stevens at the ARTches site
Portsmouth has been awarded £1.75 million to transform a historic monument into a creative hub, following a successful bid from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.
The funding means the currently empty historic arches will be converted into 13 artists’ studios. There is also a proposal for a brasserie and kiosk on site. The Round Tower will be used an exhibition space.
Over 100 jobs will be created as a result of the funding.
The area, known locally as the hotwalls, is located between the Square and Round Tower. In the 1850s the arches were called the Point Barracks and used as artillery barracks and soldiers’ quarters.
Local Lib Dem Councillor Les Stevens said,
“I am really pleased the money is being invested in the area, and we will see the hotwalls being given a new lease of life. It is excellent news that new jobs will be created too.”
Lib Dems and local residents want their parking zones reinstated
Hopes that those running Portsmouth City Council would listen to a huge petition from 2,000 local residents were dashed when UKIP, Conservative and Labour Councillors all joined together to out-vote local Lib Dems at the recent Full Council meeting. This vote was a repeat of an earlier sub-committee where UKIP, Labour and Conservatives again ganged-up to veto attempts to get the scheme's so-called 'suspension' reconsidered. As before, lots of local people watched from the gallery to see local residents, led by Chetwynd Road's Suzy Horton, present the petition to all the councillors and explain why local people were pleading for the MB and MC schemes to be reinstated.
Astonishingly when asked why other residents' parking schemes are not being 'suspended' as part of a proposal - "in due course" - for a citywide parking review, including schemes bordering our area, Cllr Ellcome (Cons Drayton & Farlington Ward) boasted with a wry grin: "I may be brave, but I am not suicidal". Residents and local Lib Dem councillors tried to reason explaining that MC and MB parking zones were working better than nearly all other schemes across the city, with a greater uptake of permits than most places and costing less.
Lib Dem campaigner Suzy Horton backs the bid for additional money for Goldsmith Infant School and Brambles Nursery
When the Lib Dems were running the City, they allocated £1.2 million to Goldsmith Infant School and Brambles Nursery to meet the increasing need for more school and nursery places.
This money, plus some from the Government, and a contribution from the school, created a total of £1.5 million for improvements. However, professionals calculate another £209,000 is now needed to make up a shortfall in monies for the planned works.
Local Lib Dems have backed the bid for this additional £209,000 to complete the redevelopment of Goldsmith Infant School and Brambles Nursery.
In its last two reports, Ofsted rated Goldsmith Infants School and Brambles Nursery as 'Good' thanks to the hardworking staff and leadership of long-serving teacher and headmistress Mrs Alison Spittles, who sadly passed away recently.
Local Lib Dem campaigner Suzy Horton, a former primary school teacher, says:
"Good schools and decent classrooms with room to learn and play are vital to help educate children, so we're backing the bid."
Local Lib Dems outside the proposed venue
Hundreds of local residents joined with local Lib Dems to fight plans for a lap-dancing club in the old Conservative Club in Albert Road.
Tory Deputy Leader of the City Council told 'The News' it was all, "frankly quite funny". Planning councillors agreed with Lib Dem Cllr Lee Hunt that it was not funny at all and unanimously rejected the plans.
The applicant says he will appeal to Bristol-based Government Planning Inspectors to overturn the decision.
Local campaigner and school governor Suzy Horton said:
“Many local families and school children live in the area. It just isn’t appropriate for this sort of establishment to be here.”
Kingston Recreation Ground
The Kingston Recreation Ground (known locally as the 'Rec') is a place in the community that provides enjoyment for children and their parents, as well as dog walkers, cyclists and those who play sports.
Fratton resident and Lib Dem campaigner David Ashmore, who uses the Rec regularly with his young children, has spoken to others who use the area. They have mentioned their concerns over road safety there, in particular the bend of Clarkes Road near an entrance.
"It's a blind spot and if children are waiting to cross the road to the park and a car comes around the bend too fast, an accident could easily occur. People have been asking if maybe a traffic calming measure would be useful there."
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Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Local residents have reacted with fury to proposals to charge for their first residents’ car parking badge.
The proposal from the Conservative/Labour/UKIP coalition running the City Council is that all residents will have to pay £45 a year for their first residents’ car parking badge.
"This is a stealth tax," says Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
"When residents’ car parking was brought into our area we were all told the first pass would be free. Now the Conservative/Labour/UKIP councillors putting together the new council budget are forcing local families to pay for this service. This is breaking their word that the first permit would be free.
"Local families tell me their budgets are really stretched. Why should the Council demand more money from families when their budgets are under such strain?
"It may be because so many Conservative councillors have off-street car parking at their homes that they don't care about ordinary families who cannot afford this," says Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
The Conservatives have also removed the residents’ car parking scheme south of Fratton station against the wishes of local people, and refused to bring in schemes when local people voted for them.
"This is real arrogance," says Gerald. "Councillors should listen to local residents, not ignore them."
Please sign our petition to stop the Conservative/Labour/UKIP councillors, now running the Council, forcing residents to pay this extra tax. You can find the petition at https://www.change.org/p/permit-charge
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson (second to end on the right) supports the City of Football bid
Portsmouth Football Club faced their toughest game yet against a team of Portsmouth City Councillors, the Royal Navy and the University, in the Guildhall Square on Monday 8 September at 3.30pm.
The game was to show Sport England representatives, who visited the city, why Portsmouth should be crowned the UK's first City of Football and benefit from £1.6m of National Lottery funding.
Starting at the Dockyard, Sport England were shown around the city, demonstrating why Portsmouth should take the accolade.
Football fans were urged to cheer on their city at the Guildhall Square and have the chance to grab one of 500 free footballs if they are wearing blue, or a Pompey shirt, to show their support.
Councillor and Pompey supporter Gerald Vernon-Jackson said:
"It was great to show what the city has to offer, and how passionate the people of Portsmouth are about football."
Clare Martin, Pompey in the Community director of community projects said:
"We were really excited that Sport England are visited Pompey as part of the bid as this gave Portsmouth the opportunity to showcase how football is in the DNA of our city."
The announcement of the City of Football will be given later in the autumn.
Councillor Darren Sanders
The Milton allotments recently held their annual Autumn Show. It was yet another successful event with people of all ages enjoying the entertainment and viewing the prize-winning fruits, vegetables, jams and cakes.
Lib Dem Baffins Councillor and Parliamentary Spokesperson for Portsmouth North Darren Sanders was at the event which takes place every year at the end of the summer.
“The 54th Portsmouth Scout Group have been here all afternoon raising funds with their bric-a-brac stall and crockery smashing shire,” said Darren, “the kids have had lots of fun and people have been saying how great the produce from these allotments is.“
Fellow Lib Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson was hard at work throughout the afternoon in the refreshments tent serving tea and other drinks.
“It’s been a really positive afternoon,” said Gerald, “there have been lots of families from around Milton coming down to enjoy the festivities which is great to see.”
Councillor Lynne Stagg and Darren Sanders, along with former Councillor Darron Phillips support Baffins community events such as the Moneyfields Show
Love Baffins is a local group set up by a Baffins resident to encourage local people to get involved in our community and take pride in it.
So far three meetings have been held in Baffins venues – The Rose in June pub on Milton Road, City Life Church on Tangier Road and the Stacey Centre on Walsall Road. The next one will be at the Baffins Pond Association.
Darren Sanders and Lynne Stagg have attended and are members of sub-groups (hopefully) moving LOVE BAFFINS forward.
Ideas include a Christmas Market on a decorated Tangier Road which will give an opportunity for local people to sell their goods at the same time as bringing custom to the local shops.
Also putting on special events on Baffins Field and local venues, involving local schools and Portsmouth College and generally bringing the community together as well as attracting participants from across the city to show off our beautiful ward.
You can donate to Gerald's campaign by clicking here.
Karen chats to Antoni and Chris about business
Karen Tyrrell, General Manager of Lakeside North Harbour Business Park caught up with Antoni Dimitrov, Managing Director of Eco-Drift Commercial Cleaning and Tony Bailey, Owner of Baileys Buses, at the 1000 Lakeside Business Centre.
"Managing a multi-occupied business complex, I see first hand how locally businesses are growing. Several of our occupiers this year have created more jobs and expanded their office space as a result. Our free shuttle bus passenger numbers have also increased hence a new partnership with Portsmouth based Baileys Buses"
"We have also appointed another local company, Eco-Drift to carry out our commercial cleaning following their successful car cleaning service introduced last year. With over 3,000 people in 1000 Lakeside the cleaning team has had to expand and in doing so, provide flexible working for local people."