Labour demands review after M&S announce closure

With news that Marks and Spencer is to follow on the heels of Argos and leaving Fareham high street, Fareham Labour Party is calling on the Borough Council to hold an urgent review of the future viability of Fareham Town Centre.

 

Spokesperson Richard Ryan said, “Over the past few years we have seen a reduction in the attractiveness of Fareham town centre for consumers as the negative effect of more and more stores closing down, and a lack of proactivity by the current Borough Council administration to address the issue of empty shops.”.

 

We find the Conservative Council Leader’s response staggering. Cllr Woodward has said that M&S has 82 years left on their lease, so they should be looking for a new store to open on the site. It is Fareham Borough Council’s responsibility to safeguard the local economy. Frankly Cllr Woodward should stop saying it’s someone else’s problem and recognise that something has to be done and quickly.

 

Fareham Labour Party are calling for action to be taken to find ways of attracting more stores to the town rather than waiting for someone else to take responsibility. We believe that the Council should work towards making the high street more accessible to independent retailers, who offer the consuming public unique retail opportunities, and favour shops willing to pay a working living wage to employees.

 

With thousands of pounds being spent on the rejuvenation of public transport in Fareham, it would seem a waste if there was even less reason for people to come and shop in Fareham.

 

We are calling for decisive action now.”

Labour Supports Small Business’s Plan to buy Apex Site

Fareham Labour Party is supporting small businesses at the Apex Centre, Newgate Lane, Fareham in their fight to save jobs after Lidl received planning permission to extend the store.

Lidl want to buy the whole site to extend the store. Now the owners of the workshops affected are banding together to try and buy their properties on the site thus saving their businesses and 70 skilled jobs.

Labour’s spokesperson Richard Ryan said “We are supporting these local businesses in their fight to keep their workplaces open. We objected to the planning application by Lidl and were very disappointed when the Tory controlled planning committee approved the plan. These local businesses are really important to the local economy and the loss of so many skilled  jobs would be a real blow. We wish those striving to keep these specialised businesses all the best.”

Labour condemns Lidl plan

The Labour Party has condemned Fareham Council’s Planning Committee for approving the extension of the Lidl store at the Apex Centre, Newgate Lane.

The plan will see 70 skilled jobs under threat after the approval for a larger Lidl store on the site. The plan means that the site, housing a number of small highly specialised businesses, will be destroyed to make way for the new super store.

Spokesperson for Fareham Labour Party Richard Ryan said “Labour condemns the Tory controlled planning committee for passing this application. We objected to the plan as we were afraid this would put at risk these highly skilled jobs and remove much needed small businesses from the area. Now the application has been approved we are concerned for the future of these jobs and businesses.

Labour believes that although retail jobs are as important as any other this approval risks the removal of much need technical employment.

We see that Lidl has promised to help those businesses they are displacing. Well that remains to be seen. What we demand is that Lidl live up to their promise and as the Council has approved the plan, it is Fareham Council’s responsibility to do all they can to find other acceptable sites for these businesses to transfer to.”

Fareham Labour Party Demands Local Plan Rethink

Following the end of the consultation period Fareham Labour Party has released its submission demanding a rethink of the Draft Fareham Local Plan.

Labour’s Spokeperson Richard Ryan said “The ruling Conservative Party’s incompetence in not progressing the Welborne development quickly enough means green open spaces in Fareham have been put at risk. In our submission to the Draft Local Plan we have called for a reconsideration of the whole plan. We want to see the Welborne plan brought forward to be able to stop the destruction of many green spaces and strategic gaps in our urban areas.”

The full text of our submission appears below:

DRAFT LOCAL PLAN

 Fareham Constituency Labour Party wish to OBJECT to the whole Draft Local Plan as we consider it would be detrimental to living standards within the Borough. In our opinion the plan should be taken back and reconsidered as a priority.

We believe that this plan goes against the accepted concept that any major new housing development should be within the Welborne New Town. The policy of the Council up until the present has been that Welborne would safeguard our green open spaces and strategic gaps. The Draft Local Plan flies against this established policy and introduces the threat of development to many areas originally designated to be kept as open space.

Our submission is that the Draft Local Plan should be reconsidered to review how the Welborne development could be brought forward more quickly as a means of safeguarding green open areas within the Borough. We see that the government has just allocated £275,000 towards the next stage of Welborne. This should be used to help accelerate the Welborne development.

We cannot comment on each individual proposed development within the Draft Plan as we think the only way forward is for a full reconsideration. However our main views are:

  • Accelerate the Welborne New Town development
  • Seek more brownfield sites within Fareham’s urban area
  • No development on major greenfield sites
  • Any development should have the appropriate infrastructure
  • Seek to develop as little greenfield sites as possible

We believe the failure of the Council Leadership to implement the new Welborne Development on time means that our much needed open spaces in urban areas of the Borough are now under threat. Without a new look at the Draft Plan many greenfield sites in the Borough will be lost for ever.

Fareham Labour Party – concerned about devastating local job losses

Fareham Labour Party has expressed concern and regret at the devastating news that 229 people will lose their jobs after Segensworth based wholesaler Palmer & Harvey went into administration.

Labour spokesperson Richard Ryan said “The loss of these jobs is very sad and doubly so at this time of year. Any job losses will impact on the local economy and I hope that the administrators will be able to save at least some of these much needed jobs. Action should be taken to find new employment for all those affected as soon as possible. I’m pleased to see the workforce’s union USDAW is meeting with the administrators to reduce the number of redundancies to a minimum.”

Lidl extension risks skilled jobs in Fareham

Fareham Labour Party is objecting to the planned extension of the Lidl store at Speedfields Park. Lidl plan to demolish units 10-23 of the Apex Centre to make way for a larger store.

Fareham Labour Party is very concerned at the loss of up to fifty skilled jobs if the plan goes ahead. Chair of Fareham Labour Party, Matthew Randall said “These units provide vital skilled jobs for a number of specialist companies which would be lost if the extension to Lidl is approved. We are also concerned that this area is designated for industrial use not retail. We believe there are more suitable sites for retail in the centre of Fareham. We would be concerned about the effect a much larger store would have on the viability of other nearby centres.”  

Fareham Labour campaign to ‘Save the NHS”

Fareham Labour Party will be in West Street, Fareham this Saturday to highlight the plight of the NHS under the current Tory Government’s hands and demanding changes to Save our NHS.

Fareham Labour is joining the Labour party’s national ‘Campaign Day’, our members will be distributing leaflets about the ‘ill health’ of the NHS nationally and campaigning for better services locally.

The poor state of the NHS in our area has been highlighted by the failing performance of QA hospital’s A&E department.  In particular, waiting times for patients in ambulances, waiting for admission for hours before being treated, creates serious problems for the local Ambulance service and other healthcare and welfare support providers.

Recent NHS data has shown that Portsmouth NHS Hospital Trust is the 17th worst performing trust out of 140 and that long A&E waits are more likely for local residents than in most other parts of the country.

Labour demands immediate improvements in our local area and blames the Tories for the lack of funding and poor organisation that have resulted in this current state of affairs. Only a Labour Government committed to the NHS will be able to bring in the improvements to our local NHS services that are so desperately needed.

We look forward speaking to Fareham residents about their concerns with the current NHS problems and our plans to Save our NHS for a better future.

 

Notes :

The target for Accident & Emergency cases is 95 per cent of patients should be seen within four hours but the QA has only achieved 76.2 per cent.

Members will be meeting with the public in West Street between 10.30 and 1200 this Saturday, 26 November.

Local MP Condemned on EU Plan

Fareham Labour Party has condemned local MP Suella Fernandes after she was reported as writing in The Daily Telegraph that the UK should leave the EU single market and the customs union.

Labour spokesperson Richard Ryan said “Of course we should respect the British people’s wish to leave the EU but I’m sure people didn’t vote to be poorer or cut themselves off from our friends and neighbours. If we were to leave the single market and the customs union we would put this country in danger of having to endure trade tariffs which would increase prices at home and make our exports more costly abroad.

What we don’t need is right wing Tory MPs like Ms Fernandes making out that cutting ourselves off from the largest trading block in the world will somehow be to our advantage. We need responsible leadership that will try to achieve an agreement which gives us the greatest possible access to the single market and retain membership of the customs union.”

Fareham Labour Party Proposes Solent Joint Authority

Fareham Labour Party has expressed support for a Solent Combined Authority. Two separate consultations have recently closed regarding the devolution of powers in the Hampshire area – Serving Hampshire and the Solent.

Labour’s spokesperson Richard Ryan stated: “We have carefully reviewed the joint proposal put forward by Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, as well as the suggestions from Hampshire County Council. We believe that a combined Solent Authority, stretching from Portsmouth to Southampton and including all the councils in-between will provide the best future for the area.

“Important matters such as the future of the M27 and improving Junction 10, over-subscribed schools and GP waiting times are examples of such issues that require the kind of co-operation that we believe can only be achieved under a combined Solent authority.

More needs to be done to promote Fareham’s position on this matter. At the moment, Roy Perry and Hampshire County Council are dragging their feet. By refusing to commit to any solid plans they are holding smaller councils like ours hostage to the will of the Hampshire authority.”

Fareham Labour Party submitted the following view to Hampshire County Council’s consultation which closed on 20th September:

Fareham Constituency Labour Party believes that local decisions about how we live should be determined as closely as possible to the people affected. Our view is that Hampshire County Council is too ‘distant’ to residents and we need local decision made by more local authorities.

The options given in the Hampshire consultation don’t meet the aspirations of local people.

  • A whole county unitary authority would make the situation worse as this would remove district councils. If we look at other counties such as Cornwall we see that that county has to also have parish or town councils to help administer local functions. Fareham for example doesn’t have parish councils.
  • Two unitary councils would, we believe still be too remote from voters.
  • The third option of unitary councils for North Hampshire, Greater Portsmouth & Greater Southampton would still create remote authorities.

We believe the only practical reorganisation for our area should be a ‘Solent’ Strategic Authority with a metro mayor. We see this authority comprising of: Southampton, Eastleigh, Fareham, Portsmouth, Havant and IoW. This option would give the advantage of keeping District Authorities which already work closely with local residents plus bringing services such as education and social service much closer to the people receiving them. This option would follow other areas such as Greater Manchester where the strategic authority has received more powers and finance from central government. This would bring more devolved services closer to local people.