• schoolgirl

    £6.5 million extra for local schools

    Next year schools across Portsmouth will receive £6.5 million thanks to the Pupil Premium introduced by Lib Dems in Government.

    As a Lib Dem I have campaigned for many years for extra funds to help the pupils who need it most, so am delighted that local schools in our area will benefit so much. It will make a huge difference.

    Until now, schools in more deprived areas of places like Portsmouth, have been expected to deliver the same results despite starting at a disadvantage. This changes everything, now money will be focused on the pupils that need it the most.The purpose of this Pupil Premium is to help pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, and close the shameful gap in life chances which grew over the term of the last Labour Government.

    Head teachers will be free to use this money how they want to make the biggest difference. Schools that face the biggest challenges could use the money to make a difference with more one-to-one tuition, a longer school day, holiday classes, or even paying more to attract the best teachers.

    I really hope that schools make the most of this money. They mustn’t use it to avoid making the efficiency savings they need to, but must use it to do more for those who need the help most.

    You can see below how much local schools in our area will receive in 2013/14:

    Primary / Infant / Junior Schools
    Meon Infant School – £17,100
    Meon Junior School – £67,500
    Cumberland Infant School – £42,300
    Milton Park Infant School – £63,900
    Milton Park Fed. Primary School – £93,600
    Wimborne Infant School – £35,100
    Wimborne Junior School – £72,000
    Moorings Way Infant School – £22,500

    Local Secondary Schools
    Miltoncross School – £286,200
    Priory School – £418,500

    *Estimates based upon 2011-12 pupil figures

  • Eastney Road

    Improvements to Eastney Road

    Over the last year the City Council has been working hard to get more people through the Velder Avenue junction and to free up the Eastern Road.

    The traffic lights at Kirpal Road on the Eastern Road, that held up traffic coming into the city have been removed.

    At the Velder Avenue and Milton Road junction some traffic movements have been removed so that there is more time for people travelling in the busiest directions to get through the lights. This has helped to reduce queues at the lights and helps discourage people from being tempted to ‘rat run’ through the side streets.

    Now that the queues coming into the city are lower, the City Council will now look carefully at whether we actually need to spend the £500,000 on making the road 2 lanes in both direction.

    With such pressure on budgets we need to prioritise spending on the real local needs!

  • The Fort Cumberland Arms

    Save The Fort Cumberland Arms

    UPDATE 3RD OCTOBER 2012: I am delighted that the Planning Committee have listened to the concerns of local residents and rejected the planning application.

    UPDATE 29TH AUGUST 2012: I have used my powers as a local councillor to formally request that the planning application is considered by a committee of local councillors and NOT just considered by officers.

    Over 600 people have signed a petition against turning the The Fort Cumberland Arms  into a day nursery.

    The Fort Cumberland Arms is a thriving local pub – and it’s the only one left on Eastney Road. It’s an important meeting place for families and older people in the centre of Milton.

    The site is also wholly unsuitable to be a day nursery, it is on a busy junction with very little parking available. The applicants are proposing to have over 60 children and staff without providing sufficient additional parking. I previously raised concerns about people being forced to stop on double-yellow lines around that junction when Tesco submitted it’s original proposals for the garage site.

    The Fort Cumberland Arms is a thriving local pub – and it’s the only one left on Eastney Road. It’s an important meeting place for families and older people.

    Shockingly, these proposals come from Punch Taverns despite their reassurances last year that they had no further plans to close pubs in Portsmouth!

    I am pleased to support the campaign to save this pub and have already helped host a meeting with regulars and local residents to discuss how we can oppose the plans.

  • Record GCSE results for Miltoncross

    Huge improvements in GCSE results

    Record GCSE results for MiltoncrossIt was great news for local families as both Miltoncross and Priory Schools have reported a massive increase in GCSE success this year.

    Miltoncross School (now Miltoncross Academy) saw an impressive increase from 32% to 54% of pupils leaving this year with 5 or more GCSEs including English and Maths at Grade C or above.

    This is an increase of 22% on last year.

    Priory School had similar success with an increase from 37.5% to 51%, an increase of 13.5%.

    I’m really pleased to see this, well done to all of the pupils and teachers who worked so hard to deliver these excellent results. Gaining 5 GCSEs is an important marker as it sets young people up for future life – giving them a better chance of carrying on to college or university and of getting a decent job. More and more local pupils are now leaving with decent results.

  • Picnic on the green

    Picnic on the Green success

    Picnic on the greenOnce again the annual Milton Picnic on the Green was a great success, despite  a lot more ‘competition’ this year with so many other events going on the same day.

    Apart from a couple of light showers, that caught those of us who were setting up in the morning, we were remarkably lucky with the weather and the sun was out for another great day.

    A great big ‘thank you’ to the Committee Members and helpers who made the Milton Picnic on the Green an even better event this year.

    Picnic on the green‘Thank you’ too, all to the local charities and organisations who gave their time to our community day offering such a good range of fun activities.

    Most of all ‘Thank you’ to everyone for coming along and joining in the races, watching the Punch and Judy show, taking part in the tree trail, tombola, buying teas, cakes and ice creams, painting your faces,  bouncing in the castles,  putting your dog into the Show and much, much more!

  • miltonvillagehall

    £92k for Milton Village Hall

    Project to build new front hall and cafe given the go-ahead

    As part of your local Lib Dem team, I am delighted to announce that early March 2012 will see building start on the new front hall and cafe, at Milton Village Hall, after the project got its final go-ahead.

    As you may know, the new rear extension was completed in November and has already made the centre more viable. The second new hall will be constructed on the vacant space in front of the main entrance increasing it’s visibility and doubling the building’s capacity.

    This has only been possible because the Lib Dem-run City Council, including my colleague Gerald Vernon-Jackson,  have worked hard with the centre and other partners to deliver this much-needed project. Langstone Church are contributing £20,000, Veolia £55,000 and the City Council £17,000, making a total of £92,000. This is a great example of how the City Council can work with others on projects – securing £4 extra for every £1 put in by local taxpayers.

    It’s enhancement with a new community cafe will serve Milton residents and nearby neighbourhoods and saves council taxpayers money too.

    Milton Village Hall is important in our local community; it’s size has been doubled, meaning the centre can do so much more. It’s really good news for local residents and shows what can be done – even in the current difficult financial circumstances.


  • Listening to you…


    Over the last few months I have been out with my Lib Dem colleagues; Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Caroline Scott, around Milton & Eastney, talking to local residents and finding out what issues matter to you.

    We have spoken to hundreds of local residents and sent a survey to every home in the area.

    We will be calling on many more homes over the coming months, so don’t worry if we haven’t got to you yet!

    Thank you to everyone who responded. We have received a wonderful response ‘on the doorstep’ and it is really encouraging to hear the support for so much of the work we do.

    Over 88% of you support the new Southsea Library. Surprisingly, the local Conservatives opposed the library!

    A huge number of you said that you had already visited the library and we will be looking closely at the suggestions for further improvements.

    There was also a lot of support for the Lib Dem’s new Pupil Premium, which will bring millions of pounds of extra funding to local schools ; over 86% of residents in Milton & Eastney supported this.

    Perhaps most encouragingly, a significant majority of local residents felt that the city had improved over the last five years, with Lib Dem leadership.

    “Thank you for getting the new zebra crossing on Locksway Road.”Resident, Shelford Road


  • Protecting weekly bin collections

    Whilst Conservative-run councils across Hampshire have fortnightly bin collections, I am very pleased that, here in Portsmouth, the Lib Dems have kept their promise and maintained the weekly collections. I live in a small terraced house, so I certainly know for myself how important keeping this weekly service is for many local residents. In  a City as densely populated as Portsmouth, fortnightly collections would be a disaster.

    Cllrs Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Eleanor Scott launch Portsmouth's new, more environmentally-friendly, refuse collection service

    Cllrs Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Eleanor Scott launch Portsmouth's new, more environmentally-friendly, refuse collection service

    In fact, the recent changes in contractor mean that the council will save over £1 million a year and all rubbish will now be collected by vehicles which run on bio-fuel made from recycled cooking oil – so the process will be even greener!

    Unfortunately changing the contractor for the collection has meant some changes to collection days. You can check your collection day by entering your postcode online at: portsmouth.gov.uk/waste or by calling the City Helpdesk on (023) 9283 4092.

  • UPDATE: Tesco plans on hold

    Tesco has been forced to go away and think again about plans to convert the Cumberland Service Station into a supermarket. The owner of the site has withdrawn the plans over concerns about delivery vehicles stopping on Eastney Road close to the busy junction with Henderson Road.

    Over the last few weeks I have been visiting residents around the Eastney Road area to discuss the original proposals. The feedback that I have received is that many do not oppose the principle of the site being turned into a supermarket but local residents biggest concerns were with traffic and parking. Tesco was proposing that no delivery ‘yard’ would be provided and that HGVs would simply stop on Eastney Road to make deliveries. Even outside of ‘rush hour’ traffic frequently backs up from the traffic lights at the nearby junction meaning that this would make the road completely impassible from the North.

    Also, many residents raised concerns about the lack of adequate parking. Only 10 customer spaces were proposed and many local people highlighted the already difficult parking situation at other local supermarkets such as the Co-op on Highland Road. Neighbours feared that this may have a knock-on effect on parking in local roads and may even tempt people to stop on the double-yellow lines on Eastney Road.

    Should Tesco come back with amended proposals for the site I will, of course, submit these comments along with all of the feedback I have received to Portsmouth City Council to ensure that we get a responsible development which respects the local area.

  • Minutes save lives

    A little while ago I blogged about emergency helicopter landings at Queen Alexandra Hospital. Now Portsmouth Hospitals Trust has applied to Portsmouth City Council to remove the restriction on night landings at the hospital.

    Image courtesy of John Ambler

    At the risk of repeating what I said before, I cannot stress how important it is that this ridiculous restriction is removed. We would never dream of saying that standard ambulances could not arrive at the hospital after 6pm or that they were banned from using their lights or sirens.

    Dr Richard Jones, a consultant cardiologist and Chief of Medicine at Queen Alexandra Hospital summed up the case perfectly in The News a couple of weeks ago, he said: ‘Helicopters are mainly used by heart attack patients. When someone’s having a heart attack time is critical so it’s important they get here quickly and sometimes that means needing a helicopter. Changing the restrictions on landings could save lives.’

    I urge everyone to go on to the Portsmouth City Council website and make a comment supporting the application by clicking here.

    If you want to stay up-to-date with the excellent campaign set up by Richard Inskip to support night landings at QA you can join the Facebook group here.

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