Conservatives seek to speed up brownfield house building

Conservatives have urged developers in the city to ‘get building’ as they uncovered figures showing that work has yet to start on 828 new homes which have already been given planning permission.

The figures were revealed in an answer to a question from Conservative Group Planning Spokesperson, Lynda Hyde, at last week’s Full Council meeting. There are also a further 1,510 homes which developers have started to build, but not yet finished.

Cllr. Hyde said: “Given the current surge in house prices in Brighton & Hove and with such a shortage of property, I was frankly pretty surprised to hear that there are so many potential new homes out there just waiting to be built. It is good news that over 1,500 new homes will be coming onto the market in the near future but I would hope that developers can get building these additional 828 as soon as possible. Not least because the Council has just put the city’s valuable green ‘urban fringe’ under threat by identifying sites here for a potential extra 1,200 new homes which it says are necessary to placate the Government’s Planning Inspector. However, these 828 homes that already have planning permission are all on previously developed brownfield sites. We believe that brownfield sites should always be developed wherever possible before greenfield ones are even considered.”

Mike Welcomes Music Education Funding

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove & Portslade, and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music Education, has welcomed news that the Department for Education has increased funding for music education.

The Government has dedicated £75m to support music education hubs in 2015/2016, with this being an increase of £17m from 2014/2015 payments. Such payments are part of the Project Music Education campaign, led by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) that is supported by 134 music education and industry organisations. The campaign has served as a united voice for music education, and continues to support and defend key funding for music education in response to a consultation published by the Department of Education which recommended that local authorities cut their funding for music services.

Commenting, Mike said: “I welcome the Government’s boost in music education funding. Ministers have clearly listened to calls from the Project Music Education campaign. The focus will now be upon urging all parties to commit to music education funding until 2020 and ensuring that the Department for Education remove their guidance to local authorities to cut education services when they respond to the recent consultation.”

Mike Presents Azaro With Tiffin Cup Prize

Mike at Azaro

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has presented the staff of Azaro with a special Tiffin Cup Chef Jacket and certificate as Azaro was Highly Commended in this year’s Tiffin Cup, following its entry into the Parliamentary food competition.

Azaro, located on Church Road in Hove, was recently nominated by Mike to compete in the competition in the House of Commons with the country’s top curry-creators for the coveted Tiffin Cup. Mike has pushed for a Hove winner each year and the Tiffin Cup 2014 makes this Mike’s fifth entry into the competition. Mike took the opportunity of the commendation to present the staff from Azaro with their prize to mark their achievement in this year’s competition.

Commenting Mike said, “While it is disappointing that Azaro missed out on the Tiffin Cup, their Highly Commended award nevertheless highlights the excellent quality of this restaurant. I am sure that they will put the chef jacket to good use and I hope that they will enter again next year.”

Unanimous councillor support to refurbish Preston Park toilets

At last Thursday’s Full Council meeting, Conservative Preston Park Ward candidate, Lee Wares, convinced all attending councillors that it was time to refurbish the public toilets in Preston Park. The toilets are next to the Rotunda Café.

Lee Wares presented to the Council a 1,400+ signature petition and spoke about the concerns of residents and visitors to Preston Park over the dilapidated and unhygienic conditions in the toilets.

Supported by a motion presented by Conservative Councillors Ken Norman and Carol Theobold, Council officers will now bring a report with fully costed options and timetable to the next Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee for consideration in October.

Lee Wares said “I very much appreciate the unanimous support of Councillors who recognised that this type of regeneration is not only vital for the City but essential for the thousands of residents and visitors to the park.

It has been my privilege to support the community on this issue but, we are not over the line yet. I will continue to pursue the matter through to the next Committee when I hope councillors will again unanimously approve the implementation of this much needed scheme.”

Francis Incorvaja, proprietor of the Rotunda Café said “This is fantastic news and will make such a difference in the park particularly to parents with young children and babies. It is also refreshing to have a Council candidate such as Lee Wares who is prepared to roll up his sleeves, listen to the community and then act on the issues”

Conservatives express disappointment at A27 vote

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, has criticised his Labour counterpart for failing to back plans to put pressure on the Government to tackle notorious congestion blackspots on the A27 which are impeding further economic growth in the Greater Brighton area.

Cllr. Theobald and Group Spokesman, Cllr. Graham Cox, moved a Notice of Motion at Thursday’s Full Council meeting urging the Council to sign up to the newly formed A27 Action campaign which is supported by all local councils along the route as well as local MPs and over 70 businesses.

The Government is currently carrying out a feasibility study into various solutions to the major bottlenecks along the A27, such as Arundel, Worthing and Chichester, which, if tackled would encourage business investment in the Greater Brighton area. It would also create a more pleasant and safer environment in the South Downs National Park by reducing the necessity for motorists to rat run through places such as Storrington, Pulborough and Amberley in order to avoid the A27 bottlenecks.

Cllr. Theobald said: “Despite the obvious environmental benefits for the South Downs, I am not surprised that the Green Party opposed road investment – that is their default position. However, for the Labour Group to do so is just astonishing. The only reason they were able to give for voting against our motion was that ‘most of it (the A27) falls outside the area of Brighton & Hove’. How short-sighted and parochial can you get? Our future economic growth and prosperity depends upon modern and reliable transport links in the whole of the South East and if they can’t see that then they have serious problems!”

Cllr. Cox added: “It will be impossible for us to prosper if we continue to handicap ourselves with inadequate infrastructure such as we have along much of the A27. I am staggered by the Labour Group’s stance, particularly as it comes just a week after they voted against £14 million of Government investment to improve Valley Gardens.”

Wish Ward Big Push

Our Wish ward representatives, Robert Nemeth and Garry Peltzer Dunn, have been campaigning extremely hard in their ward. They would very much appreciate your support. Please do join the team for a spot of canvassing this Monday. Details as follows:

Date: Monday 21st July
Time: 1.30-3pm
Location: Wish ward
Meeting point: 109 Church Road, Hove BN3 2AF

Many thanks

Brighton & Hove Conservatives

Mike Backs Parliamentary Motion on Responsible Farming

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove & Portslade, has backed an Early Day Motion (EDM) that calls on the Government to promote a more responsible use of antibiotics in intensive farming.

EDM 247 (Use of Antibiotics in Intensive Farming) urges the Government to work towards reducing the use of antibiotics by farmers and veterinary surgeons, due to the public health threat that antibiotic resistance and the rise of superbugs brings.

The motion praises the Government for its work on decreasing the over-prescription of antibiotics by doctors, whilst also calling on the Government to take further steps towards eradicating the prophylactic use of antibiotics in farming. Moreover, the EDM calls for more stringent controls on the use of antibiotics in livestock that are essential in human medicine.

Commenting, Mike said: “The overreliance on antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance, which could cause severe health threats in the future and exacerbate the rise of superbugs. I believe that it is extremely important to tackle this overuse of antibiotics in intensive farming so that we prevent such problems from occurring in the future.”

Conservatives criticise ‘feeble’ Council efforts on fly-tipping

Conservatives have uncovered shocking figures which show that there have been just two prosecutions for fly-tipping by Brighton & Hove City Council in the last 3 years.

The figures were revealed in an answer to a question by Westbourne Ward Councillor, Graham Cox, at today’s Full Council meeting. The figures are:
• 2011-2012 – 1 prosecution
• 2012-2013 – 1 prosecution
• 2013-2014 – 0 prosecutions

Commenting on the figures, Cllr. Cox said: “Councillors of all parties receive complaints about fly-tipping on an almost daily basis and it is pretty feeble that the current Administration has been only able to mount 2 prosecutions in the last 3 years and none in the last year, when the problem has been getting worse. Some locations are subject to repeated fly-tips and it is, therefore, a relatively easy matter to mount observations and catch those responsible. We hope that revealing these figures publicly will encourage the Council to finally take this growing problem seriously.”

Another Fall in Unemployment Welcomed by Mike

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has once again welcomed another fall in unemployment locally and reiterated that the Government’s economic recovery remains strong.

The Office for National Statistics has confirmed that the number of unemployed claimants in Hove and Portslade in June 2014 was 1,369. This figure is 532 lower than that of June 2013 and 45 lower than in May 2014. Overall, the jobless total is down by a massive 37% since the Conservative-led government came to power in 2010.

The latest figures represent a rate of 2.5% of the economically-active population aged 16 to 64 and highlight that the Government’s strategy to rebuild the economy is coming to fruition. Over one million more people are now in full time work since the General Election.
Commenting, Mike said: “I am delighted that we have seen another drop in unemployment nationally and that there has been a huge fall in unemployment locally. The fact that unemployment has continued to drop in Hove and Portslade is great news for Brighton & Hove as a city. These figures highlight how the Government’s economic plans are making a significant difference to the country.”

Mike Backs Parliamentary Motion to Reduce Tourism-related VAT

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove & Portslade, has backed an Early Day Motion (EDM) that calls on the Government to cut VAT for the tourism sector.

EDM 40 (Tourism VAT Reductions) urges the Government to work towards a sector-specific VAT reduction for certain tourism-related products. The EDM urges the government to consider action to introduce a sector-specific VAT reduction for certain tourism-related products, following the recent recognition and acknowledgement by government of the extensive and important value of the tourism sector in the UK.

The parliamentary motion was initiated following the acknowledgement that tourism-related businesses lie at the heart of the local community and economy, and therefore call for a reduction in VAT to be applied exclusively to the tourist sector and on specific tourism products. The EDM further recognises that many local regions have a high reliance on the tourism sector and that this is a sector of great importance for the economy, as shown by the Treasury’s own modelling technique, which showed that a cut in tourism VAT could increase gross domestic product by up to £4 billion per year.

Commenting, Mike said: “This policy is a great step towards boosting tourism in the UK, and the latest legislative proposals to introduce a sector-specific reduction in VAT are certainly a key policy in boosting the tourism industry and the economy. I am most supportive of policies that will aid local tourism in Brighton & Hove, and welcome this proposal for the Government to consider the benefits to the economy.”