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Darren continues campaign for £50m transport fund

Ahead of his Gridlock Conference in July, Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones has written to all Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) members to encourage them to invest £50 million into his North Bristol Transport Fund initiative.

Darren said:

“North Bristol is undergoing intensive development alongside a transport system and road network that is struggling to cope with current, let alone future, demands. Congestion is rife and it affects my constituents and local businesses every single day, not just in respect of travel time and parking but also our continued failure to meet air pollution targets.

Transport is the number one local concern in North Bristol and anyone who uses our roads, buses and limited local rail network knows our infrastructure can’t cope with proposed development of thousands of new homes and new businesses. Walking is often not safe and cycle routes are inadequate.

With tens of thousands of new homes, plans to expand the Mall at Cribbs Causeway, the lifting of the tolls on the Severn Bridge and the potential for the Bristol Arena to move to North Bristol, we must get our transport solutions sorted now.

I’ve therefore organised a Gridlock Conference in early July with representatives of transport providers, transport campaign groups, developers and business representatives who will help develop a North Bristol Transport Plan.

This is a cross-party initiative and I’ll be working with Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors as well as Labour colleagues. But I am disappointed that the Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles, has refused to attend this meeting, or send anyone from his organisation.

For my North Bristol Transport Plan to work, we need a North Bristol Transport Fund. The LEP and the Metro Mayor have the ability to fund this, which is why I’m calling on them to get involved and to deliver for my constituents and for North Bristol.”

Local residents can sign up to support Darren’s call for a £50m North Bristol Transport Fund for road, rail, bus, cycling and walking improvements by signing his petition here.”

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Darren Talks With Police About Local Car Crime

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has recently received concerns from several constituents in the Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston and Sea Mills area about an increase in car crime and arson.

Darren said:

“ I am aware of multiple incidents of car theft and arson locally in recent weeks. Please be on your guard. I shared my concerns with the local beat teams – their positive and swift response is included below. I’ll continue to monitor this situation and encourage anyone with concerns or information to call the police on 101 or, if it is an emergency, 999.

You can continue to share your general views and experiences on my crime and policing-focused survey: http://darren-jones.co.uk/police/“.

Response from the Local Beat Team Inspector:

This is an issue that we too have recognised and have been monitoring. In terms of our response to this we have been raising our patrols in the area for reassurance and have also requested that a briefing document be prepared for the wider patrol units to ensure that we have a higher than usual Police presence in the area around the times the offences are being committed.

I would request that all residents are vigilant and do report any suspicious behaviour to Police. This will allow us to respond and carry out checks on persons which will help in disrupting the behaviour and reduce crime. We have a local Ward meeting this week on Thursday (17th) and I will request that officers attending this ensure they present on this issue. I will also request a letter drop be carried out in the effected roads to raise awareness and give Crime Prevention advice to the wider community.

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Darren Tours Avonmouth and Southmead Fire Stations

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones toured Avonmouth and Southmead Fire Stations on Friday 11th May.

Darren said:

“ It was great to meet two of the crews and see the stations at Avonmouth and Southmead last Friday. It’s clear that government cuts are having a wholly negative impact on the service that can be delivered and the service is expected to do more with less. Fire Officers shared their concerns about how these cuts could have life-changing consequences.

 I’ll continue to back calls for more funding for all of our emergency and public services alongside a (fully-funded!) lift on the public sector pay cap”.

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Darren speaks to BBC Bristol about Avonmouth flies

Darren spoke to BBC Bristol about what might be causing the increase in flies in Avonmouth and nearby areas, and what he’s going to do about it. Listen to the full interview here:

 

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Darren wants your view on YardArts Development

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones is seeking local residents views on the proposed YardArts development on Penpole Lane in Shirehampton.

Darren said:

“ Many local residents have contacted me about the proposed Yard Arts circus development on the edge of Kings Weston Estate on Penpole Lane (on land privately owned next to the small warehouse currently in place). I met with Yard Arts, local residents and the land owner on Saturday 28th April to hear each side of the story.

Yard Arts hope to install a circus tent, a coffee shop and various wooden cabins (much like a German Christmas Market) to put on creative and artistic performances for local residents. In addition, they want to provide a space for temporary housing for the artists who will perform to live in. It is not yet clear whether this temporary housing will be log cabins, metal trailers or caravans.

The landowner is keen to use the space next to the warehouse. He has failed to get planning permission on a number of occasions for other uses, and has therefore offered this space on an up to 10 year lease to Yard Arts.

Some local residents (including the Kingsweston Action Group, the cricket club and the football club) are against the proposals and support the current position in Bristol City Council planning policy that the area should remain only as a park / green space and not have further development on it.

I have made it clear that I will only support the Yard Arts development if it has the consent of local residents. I therefore need to hear your views.

Please can you let me know whether you support this idea, by completing my survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YardArts or by writing to my office. In that survey, you can also let me know if you would like to come to a public meeting to hear from Yard Arts, the land owner and Bristol City Council as well.

Please can you respond ASAP, as some have suggested that the development could start sooner rather than later”.

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MP visits Shirehampton Nursery to discuss rising childcare costs

Darren Jones (MP for Bristol North West) visited Snap Dragons nursery in Shirehampton on Friday 23rd March to hear from parents and staff about concerns with the Government’s intention to close the Childcare Vouchers scheme, and to move parents to a new Tax Free Childcare scheme.

Today, parents can claim vouchers from their employers to contribute to the cost of childcare. However, in the next financial year the Government will close the Childcare Vouchers scheme and parents will have to use a new Tax Free Childcare system. This will require parents to register on an online system, register each child and then make an online payment for each child per month. The Government will then “top up” the balance by 20% and the system will then pay the childcare provider directly. This change was originally due to take place in April, but following pressure from across the House last week, the Government delayed the roll out to October 2018.

However, Darren wants parents to be aware of the changes now – namely because the system is harder to use, and because many parents will find they receive significantly less childcare support, in effect increasing childcare costs for parents across Bristol. Click here to read more about the changes.

Commenting, Darren said:

“I’ve already had a number of constituents in my surgery at their wits end due to the new tax free childcare system. It doesn’t work, requires parents to re-register every three months and has put my constituents in real difficulties in paying their childcare providers. To make it worse, most parents don’t realise they could lose thousands of pounds in childcare support each year.”

“Supporting families and creating a parent-friendly workplace is one of my top priorities as a local MP. This flawed change by the Government will make it harder for working parents, not easier. And it will make it harder for parents wanting to return to work too. I will continue to call on the Government to get it right. But I also call on parents to get informed as soon as possible, so they aren’t left in difficulty when the childcare voucher scheme closes in a few months’ time.”

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Darren seeks views on “regulated corridor” in Avonmouth

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has supported new laws in Westminster that will give local councils powers to take stronger actions against offending companies. Darren is seeking the views of Avonmouth residents on his work, with the council, to introduce a “regulated corridor” in Avonmouth.

Darren said:

“I’ve been working with council colleagues on a “regulated corridor” between residential and industrial areas of Avonmouth. This would mean stricter planning obligations and higher scrutiny for new businesses setting up in the corridor. I was hoping to start delivering a leaflet and survey to Avonmouth residents this weekend but the snow has got in the way. Leaflets will go out soon but you can view the letter below and complete the survey online now“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren supports Asda worker’s pension campaign

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the CEO of Asda, Roger Burnley, highlighting his concerns about proposed changes to non-salaried employees death in service and pension benefits.

Darren was made aware of the changes following contact from GMB union reps in his constituency. Many constituents in Bristol North West, who work at the Avonmouth depot as well as the large Asda Walmart at Cribbs Causeway, could be affected if the plans are implemented.

Darren said:

“ Workers rights and their terms and conditions must be protected – watering them down over time is not acceptable. I’ve made Asda’s CEO aware of my concerns about the changes they are planning to make. I hope they will re-think, engage with unions and maintain above legal minimum pension contributions for their hard working employees”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren meets Environment Agency

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones met the Environment Agency on 19th February to talk about reducing flood risk, harbouring tidal energy and regulating industry in Bristol North West.

Darren met the team at Kings Weston House which offers a vantage point across the west of the constituency, an area which will benefit from the Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area Ecology Mitigation and Flood Defence project. This project will deliver new flood defences along 17 kilometres of coastline and new wetland habitat at Hallen Marsh and Northwick.

Darren said:

“ I found the visit extremely useful and would like to thank the EA for meeting me. It was useful to meet at Kings Weston to allow the EA to talk through the projects which will benefit the parts of the constituency visible from the viewpoint. I was also pleased to take a tour to an EA-maintained structure and hear how these structure are used”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren calls for district heating and end to fuel poverty

During Citizens Advice Big Energy Saving Week 2018, Darren Jones MP called on Bristol City Council and partners to investigate the potential of district heating in Bristol North West following a roundtable event.

The roundtable (on 26th January), organised by the MP, connected the council, with Ambition Lawrence Weston, Bristol Energy, energy specialists from the Association of Decentralised Energy as well as energy planning and design experts from ARUP and Bond Dickinson alongside Viridor, who are currently building the new Energy Recovery Centre in Avonmouth.

Darren Jones MP said:

“During Big Energy Savings Week 2018, I have worked to bring a range of experts together to discuss how we can bring the benefits of district heating to Bristol North West. District heating is the collection of power plants’ waste heat for the heating of homes and businesses. This is a way of heating Bristol homes which is far cheaper and more CO2 efficient than fossil fuels. It is also sustainable, because it uses energy being created anyway – and it saves people money on their bills!

As well as pushing for investigation into the potential of district heating, I am continuing to back National Energy Action’s (NEA) Warm Homes Campaign to fight fuel poverty. It’s an important issue that we simply cannot ignore. Living in a cold home can lead to ill health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities. I am continuing to encourage constituents to save money by switching energy suppliers –17% in Bristol North West have taken advantage of the big savings that are on offer but it would be great to see more people save by switching. Customers can save hundreds of pounds – especially if they have been with the same supplier for years.

Independent, local groups such as C.H.E.E.S.E also offer thermal imaging surveys which identify where heat is being lost in the home and suggest remedies to reduce bills. Free surveys are available to households on lower incomes so everyone can benefit from their advice.

I am keen to secure cheaper energy bills for my constituents, whether that’s through district heating projects or in the short-term encouraging switching to a better energy deal. More needs to be done nationally to tackle fuel poverty, but I look forward to working alongside the council to help build the case for district heating in Bristol North West”.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications and External Relations for NEA commented:

“Between 2016-2017 Excess Winter Deaths (EWD) figures have gone up in England and Wales, and are 39.5% higher than last year (up by almost 10,000 from 24,580). Although fuel poverty and EWD can’t be shown to be definitively connected, over one-third excess winter deaths in this period were caused by respiratory diseases, which are known to be severely exacerbated by the cold.”

To learn more about the NEA and their Warm Homes Campaign visit www.nea.org.uk.

You can find out more about C.H.E.E.S.E here:  https://cheeseproject.co.uk/home-surveys