Category Archives: Press Release

Gloucester MP welcomes Government funding to transform two Gloucester estates

Gloucester City Homes (GCH) has secured funding of £1.25m with the support of the city MP Richard Graham and the City Council from the Government’s Estates Regeneration fund to transform the Matson and Podsmead estates.

Richard said, “This is a great win for Gloucester, and combined with the £1.49m Arts Council/Lottery Fund Great Spaces win for our new Culture Trust shows that Gloucester is going on surprising ourselves. It shows the next stage of GCH’s transition journey from managing council housing stock to independent company driving regeneration of some of the city’s most neglected parts.

“I think we should be proud of our Housing company, pleased the City Council is backing them and that we’re winning, against competition from all over the country. Let’s now shape some great new housing – and see how it shapes us”.

PRESS RELEASE: City MP calls time on Morrisons/Trust Inns failure to act on Ridge & Furrow future

Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has told both supermarket giant Morrisons and pubco Trust Inns it’s time to bring an end to their standoff and sort out the long closed Ridge & Furrow site in Abbeydale.

‘The situation is (politely) very frustrating’, Richard said, ‘and does nothing for the reputations of either business. Trust Inns say they’re waiting for news of their new rent, which is overdue, while Morrisons say they’re waiting for a variation of lease as Trust Inns has a potential alternative sub tenant. It is frankly absurd that they can’t sit down and sort this out together’.

Richard says the former pub has status given by the City Council as an asset of community value: ‘my earlier survey showed that many more people valued a pub than a petrol station and the campaigning group has made it clear they expect that to be honoured. However since the pub isn’t being sold the Community can’t bid for it so it would be useful to know if any group with pub or hospitality sector experience has approached the Trust Inns’ agent James Baker (Bristol) with firm interest.’

But the MP noted that the economics of a pub on the site were not easy: ‘Trust Inns say they would develop a new pub if they owned the site, but Morrisons doesn’t want to sell. If they sub lease there are at least three mouths to feed: Morrisons, Trust Inns and whomever becomes a sub tenant – plus a manager if the sub tenant is not going to do that him or herself. In my experience, with pub margins as they are, higher rateable values and tough drinking laws on drivers, it won’t be easy to make this pub profitable for so many layers, and on top there will now be a hefty capital outlay to get the place looking good again.’

So the MP believes that if there is no serious bid by a credible pub group, Trust Inns would be entitled to come up with an alternative plan which ‘should be put to the community and then to the Council Planning Committee. Residents and councillors would have to take a view on the best way forward. No-one wants to see an empty site for much longer.’

But Richard Graham said the immediate issue is a huge failure of communication between the two big companies, and with residents in Abbeydale and Abbeymead. ‘If you own a site, especially on a prominent site in a community which supports your supermarket, you have a duty to let people know your plan. If you don’t, and time drags on, then residents are rightly suspicious. I told Morrisons years ago they would not get a petrol station there and should think of a plan B. God knows they and their tenant Trust Inns have had long enough to sort this out’.

The MP added that he will highlight that this whole saga runs completely opposite to all of Morrisons’ original values: ‘it’s a story I’m afraid of corporate greed that starts with the Supermarket wanting to get the pub out for a much higher margin petrol station – but not being able to deliver on that. I will be writing to Morrisons’ Chief Executive to seek his help in getting this sorted and if that doesn’t work then I will hold a parliamentary debate on this ridiculous situation’.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP to raise Emily’s Code in Parliament

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has secured a Westminster Hall debate tomorrow (Wednesday 1st March) to promote Emily’s Code in Parliament.

Emily’s Code, which honours the memory of Emily Gardner from Gloucester, is set to launch on Saturday, 4 March at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in London. The Code aims to prevent accidents at sea by highlighting key safety messages.

Emily Gardner was 14 when she drowned in a boating accident due to an ill-fitting buoyancy aid which snagged on a cleat when the boat capsized. Emily’s Code highlights a number of factors that are essential for safe boating and which could have prevented Emily’s accident.

Emily’s parents are launching the Code with the support of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), HM Coastguard, British Water Ski and Wakeboard, and the RNLI to raise awareness for small boat owners and users. The Code is the result of close work by the RYA, Richard Graham MP and Debbie and Clive Gardner.

NOTE TO EDITORS

You can watch the debate live from 4-4.30pm  on Wednesday 1 March 2017 here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/0f8d1c07-5100-448d-a144-fdc6ae72de55

Members of the press are also invited to attend the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in London for a photo opportunity with the Gardners, RYA and Richard Graham MP during the launch. The launch will take place on the 4 March 2017 at 10:30am on the Main Stage of the show at Alexandra Palace (N22 7AY). Press passes are available here: http://www.rya.org.uk/programmes/dinghy-show/media-centre/Pages/press-registration.aspx

Further details including the content of the Code will be released following the launch in London.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes extra government funding for Gloucestershire

City MP Richard Graham has welcomed today’s announcement of Growth Deal funding for Gloucestershire saying, “It is good news that Gloucestershire has received a further £29 million from the latest round of the Growth Fund. We will all benefit from the establishment of a big new cyber Park in Cheltenham, which will complement some of the cyber developments in both Cheltenham and Gloucester recently. Likewise the £4m to be spent on improving the Longford roundabout on the A40 ring road around Gloucester will benefit many of my constituents and others in our county.

Obviously I’m disappointed that that our bid for improvements around the Railway Station weren’t successful, but Great Western work at the new car park starts this month and we have two important bids to the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) on which we will hear shortly. A City Council delegation led by Paul James joined me for a useful discussion with the HCA earlier this week so there is masses to be getting on with.

At the same time figures announced by the Lottery Fund this week showed that Gloucester has received £62 million from the National Lottery Fund for 670 projects since inception – hugely benefiting communities, heritage and sport. Winners include the Blackbridge Jubilee Athletics track, Matson Rugby Club, St Mary de Crypt, the Podsmead Big Local and the new Rowing Club.so funding comes through many different routes.”

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP encourages pupils to visit Auschwitz

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has written to local secondary schools to encourage their sixth form pupils’ participation in the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project run by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Richard said about the visits to World War Two concentration camp Auschwitz: “I went there with some Gloucestershire pupils and teachers some years ago. It’s a very powerful reminder of what humans can do to other humans, how precious our freedoms and democracy are – and everyone who has been will always remember what they’ve seen, and be stronger in their support of tolerance in society.”

The MP added he would recommend the trip to anyone and that the HET’s subsidies make it more affordable.

The trip for the West Midlands South region (which includes Gloucester) departs on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 and costs £59 per participant as it is sponsored by the government and the Holocaust Educational Trust. Applications for the trip close on the 24th of February, and for more information on how to apply, visit www.het.org.uk

Note to editors:

The Project is now in its eighteenth year and has taken more than 30,000 students and teachers from across the UK to visit the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP urges council to consider levy towards night time economy

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has urged the City Council to consider raising funds from a Late Night Levy on night time outlets and venues, including takeaways, to cover the social costs of nightlife in the city centre.

Richard said, “The legislation now exists to enable councils to raise funds from those who benefit most from the night time economy to help cover the social costs also associated with it. The Late Night Levy could be a valuable source of funds for services like CCTV operators and the police who deal with the brunt of incidents.

We want all the fun our night time venues can bring, and most people enjoy them responsibly. But I think it’s time that the businesses involved, for example, contribute to the clean-up of broken glass and food on the street. So this is something I’m asking Gloucester City Council to consider carefully.”

The Late Night Levy has been taken up by seven local authorities so far, and was amended by the government in January to encourage more local authorities to consider implementing the levy in their area.

The Levy allows the council to raise a contribution from late-opening alcohol suppliers towards policing the night-time economy. It can apply to specific geographical locations, and the authorities will be required to publish information about how the funds are spent. The police will receive at least 70% of the net levy revenue and the local authority can retain up to 30% to fund other services.

PRESS RELEASE: 107 MPs call for swift government support for Tidal Lagoons

107 MPs have signed a letter to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State Greg Clark calling for the government to respond to the recommendations of the Hendry Review on Tidal Lagoons, and in particular Charles Hendry’s call for a pathfinder Tidal Lagoon, as soon as possible.

Chair of the All Party Group for Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons Richard Graham MP said:

“Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry started his Review as a sceptic and ended as an enthusiast. He was very clear in urging the government to give the green light for a pathfinder in Swansea – the world’s first ever tidal lagoon – and then see whether the experience justified going ahead with much larger future lagoons.

There is a large amount of support in Parliament for this and many of us believe that tidal lagoons meet the aims of the government’s new industrial strategy. Clearly the BusinessSecretary and the Chancellor will want to be sure the pathfinder is affordable in the context of delivering secure, domestic, low carbon and diversified sources of energy. Our letter is to urge the government not to delay in responding positively to the recommendations and getting the financial talks for the pathfinder under way.”

Notes to editors

Richard Graham MP will be available for interviews on the 14th of February and the morning of the 15th of February. Please contact Megan Trethewey for details: 020 7219 2299.

The Rt Hon Charles Hendry presented his Independent Review on Tidal Lagoons to the Secretary of State before Christmas, and has since released it to the public.

The report concluded that tidal lagoons could make a ‘strong contribution to UK energy security’, based on an analysis of security, carbonisation, affordability and economic gain. It added that Tidal Lagoons would create a ‘lifeline’ to UK companies including some in the
steel industry, and offer a ‘significant economic opportunity for Wales and the UK more generally’.

The Review proposed the construction of a ‘pathfinder’ lagoon at Swansea Bay to start as soon as negotiations with the companies involved have been finalised.

Minister for Industry and Energy Jesse Norman MP has stated that “there will be no dragging of heels” in the government’s response to the review.

The Hendry Review final report can be found here.

Information regarding the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons can be found here.

Flick Drummond MP also agrees with the contents of the letter.

 

PRESS RELEASE: MP secures BT broadband deal for Tolsey Gardens

Richard Graham MP has secured an agreement from Openreach – BT’s local network business – to fund vital upgrade works in Tolsey Gardens in Tuffley to provide them with fibre broadband from the Summer.

This follows concerns raised by Tolsey Gardens residents about the ongoing slow internet they were experiencing, with average speeds of 2.5MB. Richard Graham had meetings with BT and the then-Broadband Minister Ed Vaizey MP to discuss the case and to see if an appropriate solution could be found.

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said, “I am glad that we have now come to an agreement with BT to help Tolsey Gardens residents get the broadband that they need. One local resident told me about how he is unable to Skype his son who lives abroad, which is not acceptable in this day and age. This is a great result for Tolsey Garden residents, but there are still some who struggle to get decent internet speeds, and so we are also working with the county council on how to use Fastershire money for other black spots in Gloucester.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said, “Our ambition is to never say no to residents who ask for improved broadband service. In this case, following a review, we were able to find a solution by working with Ministers, the local MP Richard Graham and residents. As a result, Tolsey Gardens will see a real improvement in their broadband speeds when the works are finished.”

Cllr Nigel Hanman said, “I would think the residents of Tolsey Gardens will be highly delighted considering their wait.”

Cllr Steve Morgan said, “It is encouraging that BT have responded in a positive way to the requests for improvement to this service. This demonstrates that they will listen to the views of residents and their elected representatives.”

PRESS RELEASE: Richard Graham MP urges local charities to apply for new funding option

Richard Graham MP has urged local charities to apply for a new funding opportunity from the Postcode Lottery. The Lottery have £6 million on offer via three trusts which support different categories of projects.

A minimum of 30% of Postcode Lottery profits go directly to charities and players have raised £168.4 Million for good causes across the country. The first round of funding is now open until 10 February 2017, and there will be a second opportunity in August.
The Gloucester MP said, “it’s important that our charities make the most of the opportunities like this to continue the great work they do in Gloucester. We’ve already benefited from the Heritage Lottery Fund from the National Lottery, and now the People’s Postcode Lottery provides another opportunity for our charities to get a funding boost. They just need to submit an ‘expression of interest’ form by 10 February and shortlisted candidates will be invited to bid for funding.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said,£6million injected into grass-roots projects across Great Britain will have a tremendous impact in local communities. We encourage charities to put themselves forward for this funding and to have a look at the different Trusts to see where their project fits in.”

NOTE TO EDITOR

The maximum a project can receive is £20,000.

People’s Postcode Trust seeks applications for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, promotion of human rights, equal rights and conflict resolution for some of society’s most vulnerable groups. Postcode Local Trust supports wildlife, sustainability and volunteering initiatives. Postcode Community Trust focuses on grass-roots sports, arts, recreation and healthy living programmes.

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £168.4 million to date for over 2,800 good causes across Great Britain and internationally.

For more information on how to apply for funding, please visit the Trusts’ websites: www.postcodetrust.org.uk www.postcodelocaltrust.org.uk www.postcodecommunitytrust.org.uk

 

ENDS

Richard Graham MP comments on the Prime Minister’s Brexit Speech

The Gloucester MP said, “The Prime Minister’s speech should put an end to the boiled egg debate – ‘hard’ and soft’ Brexit. I totally agree our aim should be for the closest possible relationship on defence and security as well as all research, science and technology: for the rights of EU citizens here and ours there to be protected; for free trade between us and for a customs arrangement so that our goods are not inspected.

At the same time she has absolutely honoured the will of the people in recognising that leaving the EU means leaving the Single Market, and bringing back control of our laws and immigration. One of the key questions (understandably) not discussed in detail was the shape of transitional arrangements. That is a crucial part of the talks, and Theresa May will not want to give our position away.

I hope most of my constituents will welcome her speech – and especially the decision for a vote by Parliament on the result of the negotiations. This recognises the sovereignty of Parliament. I’ve no doubt my constituents will tell me their views before that crucial vote!”

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