This weekend had pretty mixed weather but great music at the Rhythm and Blues Festival and the 2017 Carnival as Willie Wilson’s Fun Fair kicked off in Gloucester Park for a fortnight.
There’s masses coming up – here are some of the best:
Gloucester Quays Food Festival / Friday, 28th July – Sunday, 30th July
The now annual food festival in the Quays will have celebrity chef demonstrations and entertainment throughout the day. Entry is free and open to all, with a vast variety of foods available.
Stunts Shows 2017 / Saturday, 29th July, 2pm
A free event at Gloucester Park, the Stannage International Stunt team and Xtreme Stunt Team are performing dare-devil stunts.
Dinosaurs’ Exhibition / Saturday, 15th July – Saturday, 28th October
A free event at the Museum of Gloucester, genuine dinosaur fossils and world-leading Palaeontologists from Bristol University are coming to the Museum of Gloucester for this amazing exhibition. A family outing must.
Fireworks Spectacular 2017 / Saturday, 5th August, 7pm
A free event at Gloucester Park, come along and join the amazing fireworks display brought to you by the very same people behind the London 2012 Olympic fireworks. Music, entertainment, food and drink available before the fireworks which start at 9:40pm.
Gloucester City Football vs Truro City / Monday, 7th August
Watch National League South side Gloucester City play at Evesham. Fixtures are happening all summer, find out more at http://www.gloucestercityafc.com/201718-fixtures/
SoMAC Stage 2017 / Saturday, 12th August – Friday, 25th August
The stage in King’s Square will be free and provide an exciting performance. There will be highlights including Bash Street Theatre, Bootworks Theatre and Hip Hop from AJ Tracey and Kojo Funds. More via www.somac.org.uk/event/somac-stage/
Gloucester Goes Retro 2017 / Saturday, 26th August
Westgate, Northgate, Eastgate and Southgate streets will be transformed into different time periods from 1900 – present day. There will be numerous cars, costumes and entertainment on during the day. Register your car via www.gloucester.gov.uk/retro-festival
Gloucester Rugby vs Exeter Chiefs / Friday, 1st September
The first game for Gloucester Rugby kicks off at Kingsholm at 19:45. Complete fixture list on www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk/rugby/matchcentre/index.php
Gloucester History Festival / Gloucester Day, Saturday, 2nd September – Sunday, 17th September
Heritage comes alive in our city. A huge programme of Civic Voices events: the nation’s second rated Heritage Open Weekend and a stunning series of Blackfriars talks. Book early to avoid disappointment via www.gloucesterhistoryfestival.co.uk
Heritage Open Days / Thursday, 7th September – Sunday, 10th September
Explore the vast heritage of Gloucester where many of the oldest and finest buildings will open their doors for free and allow walks, tours and concerts.
Gloucester Beer Festival / Friday, 22nd September – Saturday, 23rd September
At The Farmers Club, Sandhurst Lane, there will be over 50 different beers both locally and from all over the UK. Tickets cost £6 in advance via http://gloucesterbeerfestival.co.uk/ or £7.50 on the day.
Have I missed anything? Do feel free to send me an e-mail at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org with details of other events in our city.
Ten years ago to this day, twelve hours of intense rainfall in Gloucester and nearby followed the wettest June and July since records began. This caused what The Citizen has rightly called “the worst natural disaster in the county’s living memory.” It’s worth recapping what happened, what has happened since and the wider lessons, still relevant today.
What happened that day is very clear in my memory, as it will be for us all. By the evening it was chaos. Cars under the railway bridges completely under water: and virtually all roads impassable. In big picture terms 10,000 motorists were stuck between junctions 10 and 12 of the M5 and 500 people stranded at Gloucester Railway Station. When the Mythe water treatment centre lost power 350,000 people were without running water for 18 days. The Castlemead electricity substation was overwhelmed, cutting power to almost 50,000 of my constituents. Some 4,000 houses, 500 businesses and 20 schools were flooded, and three people died. I’ll never forget the mess left by the water at homes in Manor Road, Elmbridge.
There was a precedent. In 1607, a great flood swept up the Bristol Channel ‘with huge and mighty hills of water’ some 25-feet high. It spread over 200 square miles of land and killed 2,000 people. The great Gloucestershire flood 400 years later was different and resulted in much less loss of life, but its impact was huge, and almost led to a national crisis.
I’ve written for The Citizen about the water volunteers that I organised once water was cut off in the city, and that we weren’t allowed to deliver water to those too ill or old to move – because not all the volunteers had CRBs. I asked at what point in critical civil disaster situations organisations have to cut corners and accept risk in order to save lives. Leadership at all levels in natural or other disasters is critical, as we have been reminded since the dreadful inferno at Grenfell Tower.
Meanwhile, down at the Tri-Service Centre at Waterwells, then Chief Constable Tim Brain, as Gold Commander, had powers to co-ordinate national and local bodies, Armed Forces and charities. These Gold Command structures are crucial, and work well if residents trust the lead individual and organisation. As we now know, if the trust is not there, for whatever reason, then the Government has to step in and bring in other individuals and organisations.
Afterwards the Pitt Review made recommendations on how to mitigate future flood risks. Much progress has since been implemented – brooks and streams cleared: willows cut back and responsibilities better known: Flood Re established to handle insurance issues; and Victorian sewers and drains replaced, notably in Westgate and Kingsholm, at a cost of £13 million by Severn Trent. Those are huge improvements and there has been no flooding in Worcester Street or Kingsholm Road since, despite lesser floods on two occasions since in Gloucester.
The major Government and county council-financed bit of infrastructure is the new diversion lake close to Elmbridge Court, to which surplus water from the Horsbere brook is automatically transferred. That’s already successfully prevented flooding in Longlevens and Elmbridge twice since 2007. And lastly, the Environment Agency has greatly improved its mapping, modelling and communications, thanks to better technology. Anyone living near the Severn can now get regular email and text ‘flood alerts’, and I encourage all my constituents to sign up here: https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fflood-warning-information.service.gov.uk%2F&data=02%7C01%7Crichard.graham.mp%40parliament.uk%7Cc84cdd9bdb40411d607c08d4cf9a4acd%7C1ce6dd9eb3374088be5e8dbbec04b34a%7C0%7C0%7C636361708964021050&sdata=meayss7YQ6bKewx4Jz9XAFzKGIbHpiD5eIIV4ONCW%2Fs%3D&reserved=0
There are things still to be resolved, such as the height of the wall protecting homes by the river at Pool Meadow. We must ensure that watercourses are kept clear, man-made defences maintained, crisis planning kept up to date, structures reviewed, substations protected and contingency plans in place. We also need to be cautious about planning permission for homes on floodplains as we may not have to wait 400 years for the next natural disaster.
There are many organisations to thank for their response that day, including the Fire & Rescue Service demonstrating the vital rescue part of their role: and local media for brilliant information updates. Today’s commemorative articles will rightly highlight the value of resilience, the power of communities and the importance of pulling together in a crisis.
That is relevant to every challenge in life. The Brexit negotiations are very different from the Gloucestershire floods or the Grenfell Tower inferno, but for all of them we need resilience, leadership and a shared purpose, to get through the crisis. The word “crisis” translates as “danger opportunity” in Chinese. We have to deal with the danger and realise the opportunity – which is to be better prepared for the next challenge life throws our way.
Today, across our city and county, my sense is that we’ll remember what happened, reflect on the lessons and pray that other communities pull through with hard work, luck and good spirit – as we did ten years ago.
Do let me know what other lessons you felt came of the Gloucestershire floods of 2007 on email@example.com.
Richard Graham MP has welcomed a commitment for £1.3 billion additional spending on schools. Richard had met with Secretary of State Justine Greening MP to highlight the importance of additional funding for Gloucester and Gloucestershire schools.
“Even our best funded schools aren’t nearly as well supported as e.g. Metropolitan areas like London. She’s listened and this is very good news for our city and county,” said Richard.
The announcement includes a guarantee that secondary school pupils will be given at least £4,800 per pupil during 2018-2020. This provides a 3% gain per pupil for underfunded schools and a guarantee that all schools will see a 0.5% cash increase per pupil.
Richard said, “Every school in Gloucester will see funding rise, and by moving to a fair funding formula the government will change the process which had benefited big cities and disadvantaged small cities like Gloucester for decades. That’s now changing, my constituents should welcome it and the detailed breakdown per school will be announced in September.”
NOTE TO EDITOR
Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/13bn-for-core-schools-budget-delivers-rise-in-per-pupil-funding
Press Release: Gloucester MP Richard Graham welcomes funding for flood relief on anniversary of Gloucester Floods
Gloucester MP Richard Graham has welcomed £100,000 of funding to boost a flood defence project in Gloucester announced on the week of the 10th anniversary of the Gloucester Floods.
Richard Graham said, “major flooding hit our county on 20th July 2007 impacting thousands of homes, this funding and other projects like it that have been carried out over the past 10 years are crucial in ensuring that we never again lose lives or homes to flooding.”
The project aims to benefit flood protection for over 1,000 homes in Abbeydale, Saintbridge and Upton St Leonards from potential flooding from the River Twyver. It flooded badly in 2007, in both Saintbridge and beside the Tredworth Cemetery. Richard said “further investment here, not least at the balancing and Saintbridge ponds, would be very welcome.”
Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Flood defence technology and engineering is better than ever and this work should help protect families, homes and businesses from flooding, with environmental benefits to the wider area and people live in Gloucester.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
The funding is part of £15 million announced for natural flood management from central government. This allocation round saw 34 projects winning £1 million including £50,000 for the Twyver Catchment NFM project in Gloucester (£50,000 is contributed by partners of the scheme).