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Darren publishes latest column in The Shire

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has shared his latest column in The Shire, Shirehampton’s local community newspaper.

Darren said:

“Thanks to The Shire for publishing my latest column. Since the time of writing, I have updated residents on restrictions using minor routes, including under the Iron Bridge, as well as why sat navs don’t tell drivers to avoid the route: http://darren-jones.co.uk/trucks-shirehampton-2/“.

 

 

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MP visits Tesco Usdaw members

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones visited the Tesco Distribution Centre to tour the facility and meet with Usdaw reps.

Darren said:

“It was great to meet Usdaw members at Tesco Distribution Centre in North Bristol a couple of weeks ago.

I have an increasing number of distribution centres in the area and this one will process 0.5m crates of food in one day with 1200 staff onsite.

Tesco and Usdaw seem to have a good worker/management relationship and I’m going to start visiting other  major warehouses in the area next year to make sure other workers are getting the same rights on pay, health and safety and rights at work”.

 

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MP backs Small Business Saturday in Henleaze and visits Lockleaze and Avonmouth Christmas Fayres

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones backed small businesses last weekend by taking part in the annual celebration of small, independent businesses by visiting the new independent bookstore ‘Max Minerva’s’ in Henleaze.

Darren also visited both Avonmouth Community Centre and Lockleaze Sports Centres for their annual Christmas Fayre.

Darren said:

“I supported Small Business Saturday once again this weekend as these businesses, as well as our home-based and small traders, are the lifeblood of our communities. We need to support our family-run, independent and high street businesses as well as local events, especially in the run-up to Christmas where there’s a temptation to shop online.

To help you locate small businesses, the Small Business Saturday team have a Apple and Android mobile app which has close to 30,000 small businesses listed all over the country. It is really easy to put in your location and find lots of small businesses near you to visit all year round”.

 

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Darren attends Shire Santa Dash

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West joined over 500 Santa’s at this year’s annual Shirehampton Santa Dash.

Darren said:

” Huge congrats to Shire Christmas Illuminations for another Shire Santa Dash at the PBA Sports And Social Club. It was great to kick-off the races with Eddie the Eagle and to hand out medals. It is fantastic all proceeds all going to support costs of the Christmas lights in Shire village. This is a true community event and I wish it every success”.

 

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Darren to host surgery for local carers

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, will be hosting a Carers-themed surgery with Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire on Friday 18th January.

Do you care for a friend, relative, family member or neighbour with an illness or disability? Do you need Darren’s support or would like to share your experiences so they inform Darren’s work in the future?

To meet with Darren you must live in Bristol North West. The Bristol North West constituency covers Avonmouth, Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston, Henbury, Brentry, Horfield, Lockleaze, Aurora Springs in Cheswick Village, Southmead, Sea Mills, Coombe Dingle, Sneyd Park, Stoke Bishop, Westbury-on-Trym, Westbury Park and Henleaze.

If you’re not sure if Darren is your MP, you can check here – If Darren is your MP and you’re a carer, come and meet him!

The surgery will take place on 18th January in Southmead between 10.30 and 12.30 with 6 pre-bookable appointments available.

If you would like to find out more or book a 15 minute slot, contact Caroline McAleese, Carers Engagement & Involvement Lead, Carers Support Centre on 0117 958 9989 or carolinem@carerssupportcentre.org.uk

“In the course of my work as Bristol North West’s MP I have met many carers, including those at Henleaze-based Singing for the Brain and at my weekly constituency surgeries. I’m well aware of the challenges carers face and the dire need for more support for them , that’s why I backed the Carers Support Centre ‘carers need care too’ campaign and am hosting this themed surgery. I look forward to meeting more local carers and doing what I can to help and support them”.

 

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Darren plants tree saplings at Oasis Academy Long Cross

As part of his mission to visit every school in Bristol North West, Darren Jones MP has visited Oasis Academy Long Cross in Lawrence Weston to meet staff and students and take part in a tree sapling planting for Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

Five trees were donated to Darren Jones MP thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:

i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable,

ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life,

iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

Darren said after the visit:

“I have planted 5 tree saplings – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel today (30th November) alongside students from Oasis Academy Long Cross in Lawrence Weston. I grew up in Lawrence Weston, and attended the former guise of this school so it is particularly special for me to visit as the local MP. I have chosen to plant my saplings at a local school as I think it’s vital that children and young people get to experience planting and nurturing trees and plants first-hand.

It’s great all four Bristol MPs took part and there will be 20 new hazel, silver birch and rowan trees across the city thanks to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project. As part of my visit, I also got to speak to students, school leaders and teaching staff which is always really inspirational but also worrying as I hear first-hand the impact austerity politics and cuts have had on staff and the services they can deliver. I will continue to call for proper and fair school funding – education can not be done ‘on the cheap'”.

Woodland Trust Chief Executive, Beccy Speight said:

“We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. We all need trees. They are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of Bristol North West will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren shares concerns about Portway Park and Ride

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has shared updates on the First Bus service that runs from the Portway Park and Ride to the city centre following complaints from constituents.

Darren said:

“Buses are fast becoming one of the key issues in my inbox. The West of England Combined Authority Mayor, Tim Bowles, (who is responsible for regional transport strategy and funding) has pledged to review the region’s bus services in the New Year, so I recommend constituents share their concerns and experiences with him, as well as First, so they can be fed-in to the consultation. I say this because, I don’t want any of the issues my constituents are facing on a daily basis to be forgot or drop down the agenda.

In the meantime, I shared some feedback on behalf so users of the Portway (902) Park and Ride Service, here is First’s reply:
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As the Manager responsible for the operation of service 902 may I firstly offer my sincerest apologies for the poor customer service that the constituent refers to within your email. It is essential that we receive feedback from our customers whether this be of a positive or negative nature so that we can make continued improvements to not just our service but into how we train our driving staff.

There is no doubt that there a some area of improvements that are required to the punctuality of service 902 with the month of September showing punctuality performing below the 95% expected journey levels at 88% with the remaining journeys 12% operating behind schedule.

Although we always aim to be 100% on time, some of the journeys mentioned within the email fall within the Traffic commissioners guidelines of no more than 5 minutes behind schedule.

As you will be able to appreciate the delayed works at Temple Meads is having a negative impact on not just the 902 service but a wider number of service throughout the Bristol area.

The journey that is mentioned where by the an empty bus returning to depot had passed was as a result of a defect with the vehicle on route to the P&Ride site which needed a mechanics attention, although it was safe to return to depot it would not have been suitable to use in service at the time.

We have a member of staff who is employed to regulate all the Park&Ride service and we have made the 902 his priority at the moment due to the impact of the Severn Beach line closure and the impact this is having on additional traffic and customers.

As a customer service provider we expect our staff to put the customer at the heart of everything that they do and clearly those standards on this occasion fell short of expectation.
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I know I said this about the 3 and 4 services last week, but I do hope bus riders start to see some improvements soon – especially as the price of day rider ticket purchased on the bus has now jumped again to £5. If constituents don’t see improvements- I strongly encourage them to send complaints to First and the Regional Mayor and be sure to copy me in so I can keep a track of what’s going on locally”.

To follow Darren’s work on Transport click here.

 

 

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Darren shares council and government response on HGVs and trucks using minor local roads

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, shared his concerns about the on-going problems of lorries and trucks getting stuck under/damaging the iron bridge in Shirehampton (see below picture of incident on 25 10 18) and causing traffic chaos on minor roads whilst they find their way back to the main roads with the council. Darren has now received a reply from the council and news on repairs to the Iron Bridge.

The council said:

“There is already a 7.5 tonne weight limit in place along Kings Weston Lane both on the section from Long Cross to Kings Weston Road (where one of the photographs has been taken) and from Long Cross to Campbell Farm Drive.  Therefore, heavy vehicles above 7.5 tonnes should not be using Kings Weston Lane to gain access to Avonmouth.  There is also a height restriction on the Iron Bridge in the other photograph.  These restrictions do not apply to Long Cross so vehicles could legitimately use Long Cross and Kings Weston Avenue to travel from Henbury to Avonmouth. 

The main difficulty is that these restrictions require enforcement from Avon and Somerset Police, and as these restrictions have to allow for access (the weight limits are for environmental purposes and not because of any weak structures) then they would have to prove that a vehicle has deliberately driven straight through them from one end to the other without stopping and with no intention of accessing any property contained within the restriction.  The Police find it extremely difficult to enforce any such restriction because they need to see it take place, follow the vehicle through and prove that they were not trying to access somewhere along route. So whilst we have the legal orders in place to be able to stop heavy vehicles from using this road, in practice it is very difficult for the Police to stop this from happening”.

In response to the above incident, and concerns about large vehicles being told to use the wrong roads by Sat-Navs, Darren asked the Government the following Parliamentary Question:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department holds discussions with Satnav companies on the suitability of roads for certain vehicles due weight and height restrictions?

The Secretary of State replied:

The Department has had no such recent discussions.

The Department is aware that manufacturers produce special satnav devices for lorries, in order to provide them with routing information appropriate to their vehicle.

The Government has invested £3 million to help create a digital road map, with one aim being to ensure traffic keeps moving efficiently and safely on suitable routes. It includes information such as road widths, which could be used in satnavs to improve the quality and accuracy of routing advice. The map is available online at: www.os.uk/highways.

Routing guidance provided by satnavs should only ever be considered as advisory. It is for individual device owners to ensure that they use their satnavs responsibly and with a proper understanding of their limitations. It is for individuals to determine the best route for their journey.

Darren also commented on news regarding the Iron Bridge:
“A process and timetable for re-opening the Iron Bridge has now been shared by local councillor, Don Alexander, who has been working hard to push this up the council’s agenda. I am pleased to see plans set-out that will ensure the bridge re-opens for pedestrian use. Whilst I know some constituents have expressed concerns about the possible raising of the bridge, these plans will be independently scrutinised by Historic England and via the council’s usual planning process. I strongly encourage anyone with concerns or comments about the proposed bridge reinstatement to submit these at the appropriate time”.

To follow Darren’s work on Transport click here.

 

 

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Darren updates on L-Dub Community Bike Project

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has been following up on concerns about the future of the L-Dub Community Bike Project following local press reports and enquiries from constituents.

Darren said:

“Following my meeting with Scotty on Saturday 24th, as promised, I have written to the Mayor about the L-Dub Community Bike Project. I’ve asked for urgent reconsideration so that Mr Scott can continue with this much-loved community project. I’ll share the response as soon as I have it”.

 

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Darren shares concerns about 3 and 4 bus routes

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has shared updates on First Bus services that run from Cribbs through Henbury, Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Coombe Dingle and Stoke Bishop to the city centre.

Darren said:

“I’ve been made aware of a number of on-going problems affecting the number 3 and 4 First bus routes. I shared those concerns with First and have been advised:

Having reviewed the recent performance of the service, it is evident that it has been affected by driver shortage, traffic congestion and vehicle breakdown. To address the shortage of drivers we have recruited additional staff to plug the gaps which should be demonstrating improvements from this week.

The congestion is a more difficult problem to solve, especially on the run up to Christmas. However, I have identified common sections of the route that get delayed regularly and fed this information into the commercial team that develop the timetables. They have taken this information and will take it into consideration when providing new timetables for January.

With respect to the vehicle breakdowns, our Engineering team have put an action plan in place to improve the reliability of the current crop of vehicles.

There are no immediate plans to replace the vehicles, but given the Engineering plans, I expect these to be just as reliable as a new vehicle.

Finally, please accept my apologies for the difficulty in raising concerns with First. The team that handles complaints has a new leader and location which is aimed at simplifying the process and improving response times. This is relatively new, but is already having an impact.

Hopefully bus riders on the 3 and 4 should see an improvement soon. If not, get in touch with me by emailing darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk”!

To follow Darren’s work on Transport click here.