Category Archives: Campaigns and Issues

Transport Department approves Gloucester MP’s plan for new car park and station entrance for Gloucester Railway Station

Today, Gloucester MP Richard Graham warmly welcomed the Transport Secretary’s confirmation that his plan for a new 240 vehicle car park and new station entrance on Great Western Road in Gloucester has been approved, as part of railway station improvements in a 3.5 year extension of the First Great Western franchise.

The City MP said the new entrance and car park will open in 2016 and that this is “the catalyst for a series of improvements to our train station”.

A while back, Richard Graham laid out a vision of a “modern station for growth”, and has since had meetings with FGW, Network Rail and both councils as well as bringing Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to the station.

“The car park at the front of the station will become a short-term car park, and I’m exploring with the county council the option of an exit onto Metz Way, which would also reduce traffic jams leaving the station on Bruton Way and free up the forecourt.”

Richard emphasised that the County Council and Network Rail had held meetings at his request to discuss the underpass from the Station to Great Western Road. “I want to make it much more user friendly, by levelling the steps both up and down for access to the underpass for those with pushchairs and wheelchairs and all pedestrians going between the city centre and hospital.”

Richard added that the Station facade and forecourt would also benefit from improvements, with Roberts Limbrick reporting back soon with a re-cladding proposal for the facade. “I want to improve the links for pedestrians and cyclists between train and bus station and the city centre. As the new bus station takes shape in 2016, it makes sense to consider our transport links together, and both councils will be considering further improvements.”

The City MP said the point of all improvements to the station was so it can serve his constituents better.

“In this Parliament we’ve achieved improvements to waiting rooms, a new bridge with disabled lifts and a canopy across the railway line: now we will sort out the car parks, a new entrance and routes for pedestrians & cyclists.

At the same time, Richard highlighted that “with hourly direct services to London, and additional trains to Swindon starting in 2017-2018, the next goal is to secure more Cross Country trains at Gloucester. Negotiations for the Arriva Cross Country franchise start in the summer and both government and operator know my aim for Gloucester and the growth statistics to back it up.”

City MP Richard Graham is delighted that the government has agreed to resolve an historical injustice to police widows and widowers  

“I am delighted for police widows and widowers!” said Gloucester MP Richard Graham, after the Chancellor announced in the budget yesterday changes for police widows and widowers subject to the police pension’s regulations 1987. Currently all lose their pension if they remarry or cohabit, or keep their pension if they stay single. From now on they will no longer be penalised. This means that the government has accepted the case made by the Gloucester MP in a Westminster Hall debate 3 weeks ago for the government to respond positively to former PC Colin John Hall’s widow Cathryn Hall’s petition.

Richard said “the whole point of a long-term plan is that a stronger economy enables the government to improve people’s lives: and this righting of an historical injustice to about 900 police widows/widowers is a small but important example of social justice that we can afford. I am delighted for Cathryn, Sharon Jones, Julie Shadwick (Sharon and Julie are from Gloucestershire) and all the other widows and widowers affected”.

 Notes

The details of the settlement will be announced by the Police Minister shortly.

 George Osbourne extract from the Budget 2015

“Talking about people who save lives, and who sometimes sacrifice their own life to do so, we will also correct the historical injustice to the spouses of police officers, firefighters, and members of the intelligence services who lose their lives on duty.”

Gloucester MP Richard Graham welcomes Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s visit to Gloucester Train Station to see his vision for changes at the Station

These changes would start with First Great Western (FGW) leasing the currently empty car park on Great Western Road, owned by the Ministry of Justice, and opening the station on that side (beside platform 4).

This will form part of the FGW bid to the Department for Transport for station improvements, as part of the negotiations for the extension of their current franchise. Decisions are expected in March.

‘For too long the road access, parking, traffic and forecourt at the train station has been below what it should be for our city. The bid by FGW to the DfT will include money for my vision to open up the station from Great Western Road and create a new car park there. If the DfT approves this bid it will be a significant step forward for our city’, said City MP Richard, ‘so having the Transport Secretary here to see the station and plan is very helpful’.

He noted that the changes would help anyone visiting the hospital by train, or coming to the station by car from the London or Horton Roads: and later lead on to other changes including a levelling of the subway passage for pedestrians and improvements to road access and traffic on Bruton Way/Metz Way.

He added, ‘This is the crucial first step, and more car parking would allow for further passenger growth – linked both to additional services from FGW and an increase of Arriva Cross Country trains after the renegotiation of their franchise in 2016.’

Gloucester MP supports Pension Provision for Life for Police Widows & Widowers

City MP Richard Graham has met with Police Minister Mike Penning to encourage him to consider the case for all police widows and widowers to get their widowed pension provision for life – even if they remarry or live with a new partner.

Richard said,”This is an issue of fairness.  Some police widows and widowers currently lose their pensions for life if they remarry or start living with a new partner. Changes were made in 2006 but they didn’t include everyone and this group is effectively prevented from re-marrying and having a complete family life unless they accept losing their widowed pension.

I don’t think those who lost their lives protecting our communities would want this – and now that my government has agreed changes for war widows and widowers it’s right that we do the same for the police. “

The Police Minister told the city MP that he was sympathetic to the argument and would consider it carefully.

A417 ‘Triumph for County Infrastructure’

After a long campaign to resolve the A417 Missing Link the government have announced that it will be resolved in the next Parliament.

This is a major government commitment to the single most important, and expensive, piece of transport infrastructure needed in our county.

This is a success above all for unity of purpose and goal across the county and beyond. Only one MP was against the plan and fortunately that was not enough to damage a very strong case. This will reduce accidents, deaths, traffic jams, carbon emissions and journey times and increase productivity, visitors, trade and investment.

City MP formally opens the canopy on the bridge at Gloucester Rail Station: ‘one more step in the right direction’

Today a small piece of railway history is made at Gloucester’s Railway Station when MP Richard Graham formally opens the first ever canopy on the bridge between platforms. “The station has been here for almost 150 years” said the city MP “and now, for the first time, you can cross between platforms 2 and 4 without getting wet. It’s one more step in the right direction of having a station fit for this century and ready for more passengers and more rail services at Gloucester.”

The MP thanked Network Rail for keeping to its word of installing the canopy before Christmas. “When the main recent refurbishment was completed – including the vital lifts that enable older and disabled passengers or those with heavy baggage to cross over easily – a canopy was the one obvious new ingredient the station would benefit from. I’ve been on the case regularly for over a year and am grateful that Network Rail has now found the money and installed a canopy. It will make a real difference to people’s experience of travelling by train from Gloucester”.

Rail passenger Colin Hutchinson from Quedgeley said, “this is great news – at last we have a canopy over the bridge. I remember what the station was like ten years. It’s changed a lot over the years and like the rest of the city is definitely on the up now”.

Richard added “I hope to have further news on exciting future developments after the New Year. Station infrastructure improvements are important as our passenger growth is well above the national average and we must prepare for additional services, which in turn will lead to more growth”.

The city MP recently held talks with Arriva about its Cross Country franchise, which will be renewed in 2016. The MP has publicly already made clear that he will make the case for additional Cross Country intercity services to stop at Gloucester as part of the new franchise agreement. “It was a helpful discussion” Richard said “and I will also be meeting the Department for Transport after the New Year.”

NOTES

Richard opened the new lifts that followed platform improvements as part of Network Rail/First Great Western project at the station in May 2013, after campaigning for these since 2007.

Gloucester MP calls for work to start on Elmbridge Court roundabout

Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has called for work to start as soon as possible on the A417/A40 roundabouts at Elmbridge Court and Over.

Describing both roundabouts as ‘bottlenecks overripe for improvement’, the city MP said that changes to the roundabouts and their traffic lights could make the same difference as the successful changes to the C&G and Walls roundabouts in Gloucester.

“We all want to increase productivity in the county and reduce car journey time, petrol consumption and carbon emissions”, said Richard; “sitting in queues for roundabouts doesn’t help – joining the Elmbridge roundabout from Gloucester’s Cheltenham Road can be a nightmare. So I’m convinced the sooner we start on the Elmbridge roundabout the quicker we can make real progress on all these goals. The next one to be tackled would then be the Over roundabout, which could be much more efficient.”

The MP, writing to Gloucestershire County Council Leader Mark Hawthorne, recommended that Gloucestershire Highways urgently consider bringing forward this element of the government financed Elmbridge Transport Scheme. “ If these roundabouts could be tackled in turn with the same speed and urgency as the Eastern Avenue roundabouts that would seriously improve the county’s road infrastructure,” concluded Gloucester’s MP.

MPs welcome early Christmas present for Elmbridge & Longlevens as parcel collection reverts to Brockworth

L-R: Leighton Burman, Royal Mail, Paul James City Cllr Longlevens , Richard Graham MP, Kathy Williams County Cllr Longlevens & Elmbridge, Laurence Robertson MP and R Mail staff at the Brockworth Sorting Office

L-R: Leighton Burman, Royal Mail, Paul James City Cllr Longlevens , Richard Graham MP, Kathy Williams County Cllr Longlevens & Elmbridge, Laurence Robertson MP and R Mail staff at the Brockworth Sorting Office

Following a campaign by City MP Richard Graham and Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson, all residents of Longlevens and Elmbridge will be able to collect parcels from Royal Mail’s Brockworth sorting office again rather than Quedgeley. This will be effective from November 24th – just in time for the Christmas rush.

Richard said “Residents will be delighted with this early Christmas present. Our surveys showed strong support for collecting parcels from Brockworth and I’m delighted Royal Mail has agreed to change their operations in time for Christmas. All credit to them for having listened to their customers, as they did in Tuffley and Grange earlier this year. This is proof that that filling in surveys from MPs can make a difference, so thank you to all residents who replied.’

Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson said, “This is good news for my constituents in Longlevens, who will soon be able to collect their undelivered post from Brockworth, which is what they have been asking for. Richard and I carried out an extensive survey on this, and I’m pleased Royal Mail has come up with this sensible solution”.

Leighton Burman, delivery sector manager, Royal Mail, said: “We acknowledge the strength of feeling locally about the preferred location for collection of undelivered mail. We are currently trialling returning undelivered items for residents in the GL2 0 postcode area for collection the following day at our Gloucester North office at Brockworth. As we’re introducing this change at our busiest time of year, we encourage customers to allow the time window indicated on their ‘something for you’ cards to elapse before attempting collection. This will be 24 hours to allow for additional processing and transfer to North Delivery office at Brockworth for collection”.

County Cllr Kathy Williams added “Thanks to our MPs for mediating, and to Royal Mail for agreeing to this change for Elmbridge and Longlevens residents to collect their parcels from Brockworth. Make sure you wait 24 hours before collecting!”

Gloucester Football & Meadow Park

After the floods of 2007 Gloucester City Football Club had to play their home games in Cheltenham. A huge amount of time and money has since been spent on coming up with the best possible plan to protect the Meadow Park ground and neighbouring homes against potential future floods.
It has been uphill work, with Environment Agency and City Council officials cautious of changing flood patterns. But after 7 years in the wilderness it’s fantastic that Gloucester City Football Club is to return to Gloucester and all young players can be inspired in our own City!

Let’s push the A417 missing link petition

The Air Balloon roundabout delays traffic, reduces productivity, prevents movement of goods in and out of Gloucestershire, is an impediment to economic growth AND is the direct cause of accidents, damaging vehicles of all kinds and destroying lives. On all grounds the case for the A417 loop is not just a nice to have but a need to have.

But it won’t happen without our county, and neighbouring counties equally affected, getting off our collective bottom and forming a wall of opinion to make this a government priority. It is much too expensive a problem for businesses and individuals to expect parliamentarians and councils alone to deliver. We need people power too. Sign the petition on http://a417missinglink.co.uk/contact/ now!

 

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