An update on pledges and projects in Gloucester
This December is the second anniversary of the 2019 General Election, and so also of pledges I made then for local improvements in Gloucester. What were they, what other projects am I pushing forward: and how much progress have I made?
In 2019 I made these pledges:
My 2019 election pledges
As the PM noted recently no-one had the pandemic in their manifestos, and that is what has taken up most of all MPs lives since March 2020, but that would be no excuse for running away from my local commitments. So here are the headline exam results so far:
- New Quayside Health Centre – opened this September: with 2 GP surgeries including the Access Centre (GHAC) and open 0800-2000 every day including weekends. There is a dispute over the pharmacy which needs to be resolved as soon as possible. All credit to the Gloucestershire County Council & their contractor Kier for delivering this (I think) attractive new public building.
Good news hot off the press is that Quayside has been approved as one of the country's 40 new Community Diagnostic Centres, to reduce the backlog of patient scans and tests across our county.
The new Quayside Health Centre
- New Hucclecote Health Centre – a hugely delayed project because of disputes over contributions to local government infrastructure costs, leading to the landowner pulling out of the proposed deal on land close to Tesco by the Gloucester Business Park. Encouraging negotiations for a new Hucclecote only surgery on a site just within Barnwood continue.
- The results from both Holmleigh Park (ex Beaufort) and Gloucester Academy were much improved this year, as were the results from many schools and for many pupils. I believe that the difference that Greenshaw Multi Academy Trust (MAT) has made to both schools (and to Henley Park, ex Millbrook) is considerable and visible when you visit either school. Discipline, pride, motivation and aspiration are all up considerably. But it’s also true that we will only be able to compare like for like after exams this year, which will be as normal in the summer of 2022.
- The proposed Green Energy and Eco Park at the recycling centre in Hempsted was an idea in Dec 2019 which has made real progress despite the pandemic. The planning application for solar panels (eventually c90 acres of them) is overdue for submission: research for wind turbines is a good way through the necessary year of data before any application can be submitted; and more thought has gone into future hydrogen production. Meanwhile the first of c110,000 British trees in a new Hempsted Woods, will be planted this November by Hempsted Primary pupils. I want every child in Gloucester to have the chance to plant at least one tree here, and schools wanting to organise a trip to do this should mail me.
Showing the proposed Green Energy and Eco Park to Minister Rebecca Pow
- 49 more police officers have already been recruited by the Gloucestershire Constabulary 2020-2021: a further 100 will be recruited as part of the national programme and our new Police and Crime Commissioner has promised to recruit a further a further 300 police (including Specials, PCSOs and desk officers) or a total since May 2021 of 400 more police.
- Plans for the regeneration and levelling up for Matson and Podsmead have been badly stalled but are now emerging from GCH after taking into consideration much local input. It is good news that Gloucester City Homes (GCH) has had planning approval for the regeneration and re-development of the old Robinswood Pub on Matson Avenue and that plans for the old School Lodge and neighbouring area (much fly tipped) are being submitted. Meanwhile a revised plan for Podsmead regeneration and housing improvement goes to the Council for Preliminary Planning Approval (PPA) shortly. It has been a long and winding road so far, but recent meetings on a City Council/GCH/my office focus on delivering real progress for both areas, including housing, a more creative use of green space and new shops, have been encouraging. More on this before long..
Left: Computer images of new housing on the Robinswood Pub side
Right: With Matson's new Councillors on existing site
- GWR and Network Rail had agreed to start a new every 30 mins service Gloucester to Bristol vv by the end of 2020: that was (understandably) delayed with the pandemic and will now start wef 1 May 2022.
It’s always dangerous to score your own homework, but out of the 7 pledges the first has definitely been delivered, the second is work in progress and the third arguably delivered (but with more proof next year). 4 and 5 are moving forward promisingly and 7 should be delivered in the early summer 2022. Only progress on 6 has been disappointingly slow, held up partly by landowners and covenants on land. But even that is beginning to move forward.
That isn't by any means the limit of the work my office does on local projects, and in my next enews I'll focus on some others, including the Sudbrook Community Garden and Oval Park.
P.S. Do let me know your feedback on these pledges and projects, and do share this with friends so they can let me know too.