Conservatives welcom Council noise abatement action against Govia Thameslink on behalf of Preston Park residents

Brighton & Hove Conservatives have today (Mon 20th) welcomed the serving of a formal noise abatement notice on train operator Govia Thameslink by Brighton & Hove City Council following a successful Conservative campaign on behalf of the residents of Grange Close, Preston Park who have been suffering from serious noise disturbance and disruption caused by the stabling of trains in the new Brighton Down Yard sidings, north of Brighton Station.

Following recent inspections and independent noise readings taken by BHCC Environmental Protection officers, the Council has said it is now satisfied that, under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a statutory noise nuisance does exist at Grange Close. The Council is therefore required to serve the train operator, Govia Thameslink, with a noise abatement notice. Govia Thameslink now has four months until February 2015 to rectify the serious noise problems the residents have been facing or face further enforcement action.

Local Conservative candidates have been campaigning on behalf of residents in both Grange Close and nearby Millers Road to raise awareness of the problems they had been facing, particularly the noise and light disturbance caused by the stabled trains overnight. Residents living closest to the sidings were often finding it difficult to sleep. Many were also concerned about privacy intrusions. The Conservatives liaisied with BHCC Environmental Protection officers on behalf of the residents ahead of the Council decision. Withdean ward Councillors Ann and Ken Norman have also been campaigning on behalf of residents in Millers Road on the western side of the tracks who have been similarly affected by lighting problems.

Lee Wares, the Conservative ward candidate for Patcham in next year’s Brighton & Hove City Council elections, said: “I am delighted that the Council has taken this position although I acknowledge Govia Thameslink have the right to appeal. We have spoken with the residents who are obviously very pleased. They also understand the position and they are prepared to attend Court to give evidence should that become necessary. They, and us, are extremely appreciative of the Council’s Environmental Protection team’s efforts so far.”

Clarence Mitchell, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion, said: “This is a very significant step forward in ensuring that the residents of Grange Close are disturbed no further. Govia Thameslink has been found to be in breach of the law and is now obliged to rectify the noise disturbance problems to the satisfaction of everyone affected by the stabling of the Brighton Down Yard trains. However, it is by no means the end of the fight on behalf of the residents of Grange Close and Millers Road and we will go on campaigning for them over the coming months.”

Should Govia Thameslink choose to appeal against the BHCC noise abatement notice, the matter will be dealt with in a Magistrates Court within Sussex, most likely within six months. If the train operator does not appeal and does not fulfil the terms of the noise abatement notice, such a breach of the notice would trigger a criminal investigation.

CLARENCE WELCOMES UNEMPLOYMENT FALL

In the Brighton Pavilion parliamentary constituency the jobseekers allowance claimant count fell by a further 55 in September. Overall the unemployment rate in Brighton Pavilion is 1.6%. This is a massive drop of 48% since 2010.

Clarence Mitchell, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion said, “I am delighted at the continuing fall in unemployment in Pavilion. This is not only good news for those people who have found work, but it is good for the city of Brighton as well as for the country. The fact that there are businesses recruiting across a range of sectors, shows how confidence is continuing to build and the government’s long term economic plan is working.”

At the Conservative Party Conference the Prime Minister announced plans to raise the tax-free allowance from £10,500 to £12,500 by 2020, taking one million people out if tax altogether. At the other end of the tax spectrum, the Conservatives would raise the 40p income tax threshold from £41,900 to £50,000 by the end of a five-year Conservative government.

Clarence adds, “It is no accident that Brighton is in the top 10% in the country for new job creation. The Conservatives are backing small businesses and enterprise with lower jobs taxes, while reforming welfare so that work always pays. The Green Party want a minimum wage of £10 an hour and Labour wants £8 an hour. While I support the Living Wage where an employer can afford it, such legal minimum pay levels would cause many businesses to be far less competitive leading to substantial job losses. Ed Miliband predicted our long term economic plan would lead to the loss of a million jobs and now can’t understand why unemployment is falling. Neither the Greens or Labour can be trusted with the economy or with people’s jobs.”

End

Notes to Editors

Pictures for publication are available to the media at www.clarence4pavilion.com
For further comments and information, call Clarence Mitchell on 07796 261623

Mike Calls on Residents to Join 50m Pool Campaign

As Brighton & Hove City Council announces that it is adverting the King Alfred Development Opportunity, Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, is calling on residents to join him on Thursday 23rd October to help show support for the 50m swimming pool campaign.

Mike, who has signalled that he will only support plans that include a 50m swimming pool, is hoping that residents will join him in a group photograph as the hugely successful petition is handed in to Brighton & Hove City Council. To sign the petition, click here.

Mike has arranged a photo at 3:30pm on Thursday 23rd October outside Hove Town Hall with banners and placards in support of a 50m pool. Negotiations are at a critical stage and it is now that residents really need to make their views known.

Mike has been actively supporting new state-of-the-art sporting facilities in Hove. Last year Mike hosted a public meeting – attended by hundreds of residents – on the redevelopment and also spoke at a Brighton & Hove City Council Policy & Resources meeting in order to keep the desire for a 50m swimming pool alive. Mike has also helped an online petition, signed by Olympic Diver Chris Mears and swimming champion Karen Pickering MBE, calling for a 50m pool, smash its target for signatures.

Supporters include: Shiverers Swimming Club; Amateur Swimming Association; Olympic Diver Chris Mears; Karen Pickering MBE; Swimtrek; Brighton Swimming Centre; Brighton Swimming Club; Dolphins Swimming Club; Dolphins Disabled Swimming Club; Marlins Swimming Club.

Commenting, Mike said: “I am pleased that progress is finally being made and that bidding submissions are now being sought by Brighton & Hove City Council. However, I want to make it absolutely clear that as the Member of Parliament for Hove I will only be supporting proposals that include a 50m swimming pool facility. I hope that residents who support this facility will turn up to help secure its future.”

City Council approves repairs and redecorations of Preston Park toilets

At a meeting of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee last week, Councillors agreed to authorise repairs and redecorations to the Rotunda Café public toilets in Preston Park. The very poor condition of the toilets was first raised by the café owner Francis Incorvaja with the Conservative Councillor Candidate Lee Wares in June. A petition signed by over 1,500 people demanding action was then presented to Full Council by Lee Wares on 17th July. After a unanimous vote, Council officers were instructed to provide the Committee with various options.

Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee members again agreed unanimously to authorise approximately £11,000 of repairs and redecorations to be spent within the current financial year. A large scale refurbishment of the Rotunda café toilets will also be included in the forthcoming city-wide review of public toilets that will be subject to further scrutiny and decisions once published in January 2015.

Sam Evans, Conservative Councillor Candidate for Preston Park Ward said “I am delighted with the Council’s decision and will continue to monitor the situation and ensure that the toilets remain a priority for the Council”.

Clarence Mitchell, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion added “This has been a great example of common sense Conservative policies making a real difference for the people of Preston Park and beyond. It is excellent that this essential investment is being made in one of our flagship parks in the Pavilion constituency and it will be hugely welcomed by the thousands of resident and visitors who regularly use the park. I am very glad the Conservative Group was able to bring it about”.

Francis Incorvaja, proprietor of the Rotunda Café, said “We are grateful to the Council for approving these repairs and redecorations that will make a huge difference to everybody. I am particularly grateful to Lee Wares and the Conservative Group who have been instrumental in achieving this significant benefit for the local community and visitors to our City”.

IP Adviser to PM Stands Down from Role

Mike Weatherley, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has today written to the Prime Minister to inform him that he is standing down as his IP adviser.

Mike was appointed by the Prime Minister in September 2013 to be his Intellectual Property Adviser. In his role, Mike has worked closely with the IPO and others on many issues, including the IP Bill and the SIs on exceptions following the Hargreaves report. He has also Mike has published three seminal reports on IP issues, namely search engines and advertising revenue on pirate sites, with his third report on ‘Copyright Education and Awareness’, published today.

Since his appointment, Mike has received praise for his work from within industry, as well as parliamentarians from both sides of the House. A number of colleagues have praised Mike’s contribution to Parliament as an expert in the field of IP and that his endeavours have been valuable to the country. Highlighting the importance of Mike’s role in a speech made at the beginning of September, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, commented that, ”For the first time in UK history, the Prime Minister has appointed an adviser on intellectual property.”

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mike said: “As you know, I announced in July that I would not be seeking re-election in 2015 and having undertaken this role for a year I now believe that this it is time for me to step aside as we approach and plan for the General Election.

“As your IP adviser I have been privileged work closely with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the national Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) based at City of London Police. John Alty, Chief Executive of the IPO, has been excellent Government official to work with and provided me with first-rate support. Also, Commander Stephen Head is an outstanding leader of a great team at PIPCU.

“Industry, both at home and abroad, have been extremely pleased with the conduit role that my position facilitated and I hope that this improved dialogue will continue. I feel that my contribution has significantly raised the importance of IP with legislators and others – IP has now become an accepted intrinsic part of entrepreneurship.

“I am pleased that the two reports that I have submitted previously to you, Search Engines and Piracy: A Discussion Paper and Follow the Money: Financial Options to Assist in the Battle Against Online Piracy, have been a helpful contribution to how our country addresses Intellectual Property issues. My final report on ‘Education’ I hope will help drive a wider message.”

Commenting, Mike said: “It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with the Prime Minister in this way. Feedback from industry has been very encouraging throughout the time that I served as the Prime Minister’s adviser and I have very much enjoyed the work that was involved in both tackling IP crime and boosting the profile of IP generally.”

COMMENTS ON MIKE’S ANNOUNCEMENT

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister, said: “I wish to thank Mike for his hard work over the last year in raising the profile of the importance of Intellectual Property. Respect for Intellectual Property is crucial to our economy and the role that Mike has played has been a great help to the Government in addressing this important issue.”

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, said: “Mike has been a passionate and powerful advocate for intellectual property and I would like to play tribute to the role he has played as the Prime Minister’s IP adviser. He has made a whole series of thoughtful recommendations which we have has either already acted upon, or are actively considering. I’d like to thank him for all he has done.

The Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, Chairmain of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, said: “Mike has done a tremendous job in raising awareness of the importance of Intellectual Property Rights in Parliament and beyond. Thanks to his efforts real progress has been made in strengthening IP protection and thus supporting some of Britain’s most important industries.”

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for Intellectual Property, said: “Mike has made a major contribution to the IP agenda over the past year which I, and the IPO, have greatly valued. He has linked the creative industries to Government and promoted a series of imaginative and ground-breaking initiatives. Mike leaves a valuable legacy which will help shape our work for the future.”

Commander Stephen Head, City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), said: “I was very sad to hear Mike Weatherley is stepping down from his role as the Prime Minister’s IP Adviser and wish him the very best for the future. He has been an inspirational leader in raising public and private sector awareness of the importance of IP crime to the UK economy and a dedicated and highly valued supporter of our Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit throughout its first year in operation.

“In particular Mike’s hard work and commitment has focused Government attention on the key facilitators of IP crime and been instrumental in the establishment of a credible UK deterrent involving a staged multi-agency approach that is now recognised as international best-practice and is being replicated by a many other countries around the world.”

Intellectual Property Education Report Launch a Success

Mike at Report Launch

Mike Weatherley, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has today in Parliament launched his third IP related report entitled ‘Copyright Education and Awareness’. The report examines IP education and aims to help reinforce on the public the importance of respecting IP and paying a fair price for content.

To download the report in full, click here.




The launch included a short presentation by Mike, followed by a panel discussion with:

• Scott Walker (PRS for Music)
• Rosa Wilkinson (IPO – Director of Innovation)
• Michael Price (Emmy Award winning composer)
• Liz Bales (The Industry Trust for IP Awareness)
• Barbara Hayes (ALCS)
• Martin ‘Ace’ Kent (Director of Ace Guitar Academy and guitarist – Skunk Anansie)

Recommendations include: A step up in the coordination of IP awareness programmes, led by the IPO; Greater measurement of IP perceptions and behaviours; Incorporating IP education in the school curriculum; The BBC to create a copyright education programme; Emphasis on better, clearer information on IP education; Making better use of technology; Introduction of an IP/Education coordinator; Emphasis on reporting outcomes across Government.

Commenting, Mike said: “Getting education right on Intellectual Property awareness is paramount if, as a country, we are to property respect the value of the creative industries. I have now submitted three reports to the Prime Minister on various aspects of Intellectual Property and I hope that my education report will help shape the future of both IP education and awareness across the country.

Commenting, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, said: “Intellectual property underpins our creative industries. It’s what our past success was built on and it’s what our future success depends on. We need to get the message across that if people value creativity – and most do – then it has to be paid for.

“Education plays a vitally important role in changing people’s behaviour. By communicating the vital importance of copyright, not just to the success of our creative industries but to the many jobs these sectors will create, we hope to bring about behavioural change.

“Working with Mike Weatherley MP, the Prime Minister’s adviser on intellectual property, we have made important steps forward in tackling intellectual property theft in recent months but we are not complacent. There is more to do and we are determined to work alongside all parties to build a fair and legal online economy.”

Mike Publishes Report on Intellectual Property Education

Mike Weatherley, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has published his third IP related report entitled ‘Copyright Education and Awareness’, which examines IP education and aims to help reinforce on the public the importance of respecting IP and paying a fair price for content.

In his capacity as David Cameron’s Intellectual Property Adviser, Mike has previously published two other internationally acclaimed reports. ‘Follow the Money’, which addresses the detrimental impact of illegal websites profiting from advertising. To read the report, click here. Mike has also published a report entitled ‘Search Engines and Piracy’, which outlines the shortcomings of search engine providers in the fight against online piracy. To read the Search Engines and Piracy report, click here.

Recommendations include: A step up in the coordination of IP awareness programmes, led by the IPO; Greater measurement of IP perceptions and behaviours; Incorporating IP education in the school curriculum; The BBC to create a copyright education programme; Emphasis on better, clearer information on IP education; Making better use of technology; Introduction of an IP/Education coordinator; Emphasis on reporting outcomes across Government.

Commenting, Mike said: “Getting education right on Intellectual Property awareness is paramount if, as a country, we are to property respect the value of the creative industries. I have now submitted three reports to the Prime Minister on various aspects of Intellectual Property and I hope that my education report will help shape the future of both IP education and awareness across the country.”

Commenting, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, said: “Intellectual property underpins our creative industries. It’s what our past success was built on and it’s what our future success depends on. We need to get the message across that if people value creativity – and most do – then it has to be paid for.

“Education plays a vitally important role in changing people’s behaviour. By communicating the vital importance of copyright, not just to the success of our creative industries but to the many jobs these sectors will create, we hope to bring about behavioural change.

“Working with Mike Weatherley MP, the Prime Minister’s adviser on intellectual property, we have made important steps forward in tackling intellectual property theft in recent months but we are not complacent. There is more to do and we are determined to work alongside all parties to build a fair and legal online economy.”

Conservatives – GMB Union bin bosses have no support in the city

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, is again urging GMB Union bosses to cancel their latest strike tomorrow after the Council’s Labour Group, following weeks of silence, finally decided to support the Conservative Group’s condemnation of the continuing strikes and ‘work to rule’.

Members of the Conservative Group have been inundated with complaints from residents about missed collections and rubbish spilling out of communal bins onto the streets. The problems have been particularly acute in areas whose normal collection days coincide with the strike days.

In a statement, Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, said: “The GMB is now completely isolated and these refuse truck drivers should get back out there and stop their ‘work to rule’ and strikes straight away. Enough is enough. When even their comrades in the Labour Group are condemning their action they must surely realise that they have no support in our city. I just wish that the Labour Leader had come out strongly straight away, as I did, and maybe this would all have been resolved by now. I think that we have got to the point, particularly in the city centre – the heart of our tourist economy – where the Council must consider bringing in other staff to empty the communal bins, if nothing else, for health and safety reasons. What residents will find particularly annoying, given the service they are paying for through their council tax and not getting, is that Cityclean has 3 staff being paid by the Council to carry out Trade Union activities, in addition to the 7 other full-time Trade Union officials across the Council . What are they doing to help resolve this dispute by 28 drivers, whose action is stopping the other Cityclean workers doing their job? I’m just relieved that the Council doesn’t have any contracts to collect commercial waste in the city, or else the mess would be even worse than it already is.”

PM’s IP Adviser Weatherley Champions New IP Legislation

Mike Weatherley, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has championed the new copyright legislation that comes into force on 1st October.

With the changes, people will now be able to legally make digital copies of music, films and eBooks for personal use. The new reforms cover Education and news reporting to parody, caricature and pastiche, as well as archiving. The changes could contribute at least £500m to the UK economy over 10 years, and perhaps much more from reduced costs, increased competition and by making copyright works more valuable. For more information on the changes, click here.

Commenting, Mike said: “Most people would agree that is was a bit ridiculous that the law has been so slow to catch up with technology, so this is a positive step in the right direction. As I have said before, I do have reservations with research and parody exemptions, but otherwise this is a good update to Britain’s copyright laws.”

In a letter to Mike about the changes, John Alty, Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office said: “The Government, and the IPO in particular, has worked closely with individuals and organisations across the IP community to reach this point. There is still more work to do to implement the full package of reforms to which the Government Committed following the Hargreaves report , but I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution, and that of your colleagues, through this process.”

Conservatives call for new relationship between Council and Trade Unions

Conservatives are calling for a fundamental review of the role that Trade Unions play within Brighton & Hove City Council after figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed just how extensive their influence is within the organisation.

  • 7 members of staff working full-time for their Trade Union whilst being paid by the Council, costing taxpayers £278,000
  • A further 161 ‘local workplace representatives’ who also receive paid time off to undertake Trade Union activities. This includes 3 full-time union representatives in Cityclean.
  • 19 Union Learning Representatives who receive paid time off
  • There is no central monitoring of the amount of paid time off taken by Trade Union officials meaning that the Council cannot give an accurate cost to council taxpayers of Trade Union activity.
  • There is no central recording of conferences attended by Trade Union officials.
  • The ‘Trade Union Facilities Agreement’ between the Council and the recognised Trade Unions, which sets out the various paid time off arrangements, has never been formally reviewed despite it being written into the Agreement that it should be subject to ‘regular review’
  • There are flagrant breaches of the Facilities Agreement by the Trade Unions such as displaying material on noticeboards in public areas of Council buildings urging staff to take strike action.

The recent Peer Review of Brighton & Hove City Council by the Local Government Association concluded that the Council’s relationship with the Trade Unions leaves a lot to be desired. Just 23% of Council staff themselves think that the Council and Trade Unions have an effective working relationship.

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, who uncovered the figures said: “It is clear that the current relationship between the Council and the Trade Unions has completely broken down. We need sensible and realistic Trade Unions who are willing to work constructively with the Council to help introduce the modernising reforms to Council services that are happening in other councils of all political colours up and down the country. Instead, here in Brighton & Hove we have highly politicised full-time Union officials whose default reaction is to try and block any sensible measures that the Council puts forward. I personally don’t believe that these Trade Union bosses have the support of the majority of ordinary union members. Nationally, just 8% of Unison members voted to support the Council strike in July and only a third of our staff actually walked out on the day.  I think that residents who are suffering  as a result of the current bin dispute that has been rumbling on for the past year or so, will be shocked at how much of their council tax is handed over to officials to foment this and other disputes. I am calling on officers immediately to give notice to terminate the current Facilities Agreement and draw up another one which is more suited to a modern, flexible 21st century organisation. If they do this, I will back them all the way.”