Residents share concerns about future of United Footwear site


Proposed view of new development on Fratton Road

Residents in Charles Dickens ward have shared concerns about the proposed development of the United Footwear (old Troxy Cinema) site on Fratton Road ahead of plans by developers to be submitted to the city council later this year.
In the submission to the developer’s consultants, residents have stated:
“We wish to make known our very real concerns regarding the proposed new development.  The concern is not with the development itself but with the parking issues. We are all led to believe that there will be no inclusion for parking spaces… It is very naive for the council to assume they will all use buses!”
The submission adds: “When will the council listen to our views? We have to live here, they need to sort the problems out”.

Proposed development in context with surrounding area

Stephen Morgan also added:
“The proposed development could help bring much needed housing to the area. But a development scheme of this size requires careful and considerate planning.
I will continue to liaise with residents and local businesses so that the developers and council hear the views of local people and take on board concerns for the benefit of everyone”.
A planning application is expected to be submitted to Portsmouth City Council in June 2016.

, ,

Keep our central police station open: show your support


The only public police station in Portsmouth is now threatened with closure

First it was the threat of closure of the much-loved Guildhall Walk healthcare centre. Now it is another essential public service at risk in the heart of our city: Portsmouth Central Police Station.
The police are looking at closing the station in Charles Dickens ward to make way for a new investigation centre outside of Portsmouth, possibly in Havant.
If this happens, there will be no public police station left in the whole of Portsmouth after several closures in recent years.
Stephen Morgan, said:
“At a time when crime in the city has increased, we are concerned about the impact this proposal will have on the people of Portsmouth, the lack of police visibility in our communities, the feelings of safety and security in our city and the ability of residents to report crime and disorder face-to-face”.
Your local Labour team are urging decision-makers at the Constabulary to reconsider the proposals to keep the station open and a police presence in the heart of Portsmouth.
Please show your support for this important campaign by signing and promoting the community petition.
Sign the petition


Faith groups praised for work in supporting local needs

In a letter to faith leaders across the city centre of Portsmouth, Stephen Morgan, Labour’s ward campaigner for Charles Dickens recognises the value of faith groups in civil society. 

In the letter, being delivered to faith organisations and places of worship this week Stephen writes:

“I believe faith-based organisations have a huge role to play in the life of this great city by addressing need at local level; delivering important services to marginalised and isolated groups; working together with others in the voluntary and community sector to build cohesion and celebrate diversity; and; speaking out on current issues and campaigning for the common good.”

Engagement with faith groups follows successful contact with local business leaders recognising their work in enhancing economic wellbeing across the city’s communities.
Stephen adds: 
“I look forward to working with you for the benefit of residents across our part of Portsmouth”.

, ,

Hopes are high for saving well-loved Guildhall Walk-In centre

FullSizeRender (10)

Stephen Morgan submitting Labour’s petition to the clinical commissioning group yesterday

Community campaigners fighting to save the Guildhall Walk-In centre, in the heart of Portsmouth, are delighted with the support the public have shown for the centre.
The local clinical commissioning group (CCG) has been consulting on the future of the popular health care centre in Guildhall Walk since late last year. The deadline for responses from the public was Friday 19 February. And on the day the consultation closed, the campaigner’s petition reached the important milestone of 1,000 signatures.
As well as providing a crucial out-of-hours service for residents, the Guildhall surgery provides support for students, visitors to the city, homeless people and substance misusers.
Stephen Morgan petition organiser and standing for Labour in Charles Dickens ward this May – the home of the walk-in centre – said:
“Due to unfair cuts to the local NHS the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre faces closure. We’ve campaigned relentlessly over the last few months talking to hundreds and hundreds of people on the doorstep, at street stalls and community events. People have shared their concerns and views on the potential impact of any closure…
…Labour want to keep this vital local service open. We care about public services.  The closure of the facility will put further pressures in surgery waiting times in the city. I’ll continue to press the CCG to rethink their position and keep this essential service in the heart of Portsmouth for everyone”.
With over 1,000 local people supporting the ‘We Love the Guildhall Walk-In’ campaign, the team of volunteers were also delighted to receive the backing of their efforts by local pharmacy Lalys on Guildhall Walk, and well-known actor David Ames, better known as Dr Dominic Copeland, of Holby City fame.
In a letter accompanying the petition submission to the Chief Operating Officer of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Stephen Morgan and Cllr Yahiya Chowdhury, Charles Dickens ward councillor, write to the CCG:
We recognise that you are operating within a difficult financial climate due to central government cuts. But with very strong support from residents, and a clear message from communities across this city, we urge you to keep the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre open”.
For more information about this campaign and other local issues visit the local Labour Party’s website or www.stephenjmorgan.org


New social homes in north Somerstown 


Construction of new social housing at Blackfriars Close has commenced

Work has started on new social housing in north Somerstown after planning permission was granted last October. 

Portsmouth City Council will build 51 flats and nine houses, ranging from one to four bedrooms, on the Somerstown Health Centre site, in Blackfriars Close.
These new homes should help ease housing problems for people in Portsmouth at a time when there’s huge demand for good quality housing in the city.
The development, designed by architects Re-Format, have been approved after consultation with local residents, stakeholders and community groups.
Contractors PMC hope to complete the flats in Wellington Street before the end of 2016.

, ,

Labour cares in Portsmouth

FullSizeRender (9).jpg

Community campaigners outside the Jami Mosque

Local community activists were out in force yesterday across the city encouraging residents to join Labour’s campaign to save the much-loved Guildhall Walk Healthcare centre from closure.
The local clinical commissioning has been consulting on the future of the walk-in centre since late last year with the public asked to submit their views by Friday 19 February.
Teams of volunteers were dispatched across the city, discussing concerns and the impact of any closure of the health service in the heart of Portsmouth with worshippers at city’s mosques.
Stephen Morgan, standing for Charles Dickens ward this May was joined by the party’s representatives for St Thomas ward Sumel Chowdhury at Jami Mosque on Victoria Road North, while Copnor’s Rumal Khan led a team at Central Mosque and sitting councillor Yahiya Chowdhury spoke to residents in Buckland.
Stephen Morgan, the walk-in centre petition organiser said: “We’ve had another fantastic response from the public today. People have been pleased to see us and assured we’re working in communities to fight for services they depend on”.
Labour representatives said: “Today is just one of the many ways the local party is out and about in local communities across Portsmouth, talking to residents, and demonstrating that Labour is on their side working hard to defend public services”.
You can view and comment on the petition at http://tiny.cc/8imy4x
For more information on Labour’s community work, visit the party website at www.portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk


More and more people show support for Guildhall Walk-In 


Stephen Morgan with local people campaigning to save the Guildhall Walk-In from potential closure

Volunteers were out in force this Saturday as part of a final push to help save the much-loved Guildhall Walk-In centre from closure. The local clinical commissioning group is currently consulting on the future of the healthcare centre in the heart of Portsmouth which is threatened with closure to save money.
Labour Party members and friends were out and about in Commercial Road talking to hundreds of local people and encouraging them to sign local Labour’s petition.
Stephen Morgan, Labour’s local election candidate for Charles Dickens ward this May, who organised the street stall, said: 
“Despite the cold and wet conditions we’ve had a fantastic response from residents today with people stopping in the rain to be part of our campaign to save the Guildhall Walk-In centre. We’ve heard so many stories about how the centre has helped people’s lives it’s imperative the clinical commissioning group listens to what people across this city is telling them, and keep the centre open…
…It was also great to have Mr Laly, of Lalys Pharmacy, here in support too. Mr Laly runs a successful pharmacy on Guildhall Walk and he knows only too well how important the walk-in is to fellow residents, students, visitors to the city and the homeless. As the deadline for the consultation looms, we’ll continue to work together to ensure local people’s voices are heard, and fight to keep the centre open”.
The CCG’s consultation closes on Friday 19 February 2016. To sign the petition visit the Portsmouth Labour Party website or directly at http://tiny.cc/8imy4x

Lord Peter Hain endorses Stephen


Peter Hain is a well-respected national figure

Stephen’s campaign for the local election in Charles Dickens ward has been boosted today with the endorsement of a political heavyweight, Lord Peter Hain former Cabinet Minister and Labour MP for Neath.
Peter said:
“Stephen is a long standing community activist who cares about Portsmouth and the issues residents face.

His professional background in the public and voluntary sectors puts him on a strong footing to be an excellent representative for residents across Charles Dickens ward.

I hope you’ll give him your support this May”.

A political activist and campaigner for over 50 years, Peter Hain was until recently one of the most experienced politicians in the House of Commons. 
He served the country across a number of Cabinet roles and as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland negotiated the historic peace settlement establishing devolved government for the area.
Stephen said: 
“I’m absolutely delighted with this news. Residents in Charles Dickens ward need strong representation on the council, someone who will get things done and make Portsmouth better. 
It is fantastic to have Peter’s experience and support behind our campaign”.

, ,

Local business back campaign to save Guildhall Walk-In

JDG_9059 copy - Copy

The Guildhall Walk-In centre is a popular local health facility in Charles Dickens ward serving the city 

It is great that local businesses such as Lalys Pharmacy in Guildhall Walk have joined the campaign to help save the much-loved and well-used healthcare centre in the heart of Portsmouth.
“At a time when the UK’s most critical healthcare priority is to provide alternatives to hospital A&E, the only out-of-hours GP surgery in Portsmouth city centre is under threat of closure” according to the Guildhall Walk surgery website (see www.guildhallwalksurgery.co.uk).
Lalys Pharmacy have been arranging a series of ‘come and talk’ events at Pharmacy so that people can read their professional views and concerns.
To send a strong signal to the local clinical commissioning group to not close the Walk-In centre please sign our petition at: http://portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk/2015/10/26/save-the-guildhall-walk-health-centre-from-closure/
You can also download a poster for your window to show your support.

, ,

We need long-term thinking to tackle homelessness in Portsmouth


Homelessness is increasingly an issue in the city centre of Portsmouth

Across the UK, under the Conservative government, the number of people sleeping rough has doubled.
Here in Portsmouth, the City Council has yet to release the most recent figures. But after conversations with Housing Officers, I can reveal that almost two-thirds of people sleeping on the streets of Portsmouth are doing so in Charles Dickens Ward. This alone is a pressing reason why we must continue to campaign against the closure of Guildhall Walk, which offers GP access to many of our city’s homeless population. And its an issue people are raising with me on the doorstep.
I want to talk about the issue of homelessness more broadly. Lives are being ruined by the policies of a government which finds it easier to punish the poorest – through cuts to benefits, attempts to reclassify disabilities, the bedroom tax – than to tackle Britain’s top-down inequality. We might be on the brink of another financial crisis. When it comes, you can be sure that homelessness will increase. It won’t be an issue only for the most vulnerable in society. It will be an issue for your next-door neighbour, out of a job and unable to cover the mortgage. It will be an issue for veterans, released from the Armed Forces after further Tory cuts. It might even be an issue for you.
The hard truth is, homelessness is an issue for every one of us, and it’s an issue right now. That’s why it must be a priority for Portsmouth City Council.
In 2015, 2,500 Portsmouth people showed the compassion that I recognise as a Pompey trait. They signed a petition, asking the Council to open empty buildings, to shelter our homeless people. They were ignored.
If I am elected in May, I promise to be a strong voice for everyone in the ward and for the most vulnerable in our city. And for all those decent people who understand how lucky they are to close their front door against cold winter air.
Almost two-thirds of rough sleepers identified in 2015 were in Charles Dickens Ward. More support is vital.
I will fight for stronger ties with the excellent local charities and community groups that do such great work locally, such as Rethink’s Central Point Service, the Salvation Army, Southern Domestic Abuse Service, the Society of St James, St Judes’ Church, and Friends Without Borders, to name but a few. They have real expertise to offer in re-assessing how we tackle homelessness, both in terms of providing better support, and through more effective preventative services.
Crucially, I will also challenge current thinking within the Council. We can be more innovative in our responses. We can move away from simply handing targets over to external providers, and towards a holistic approach that recognises all the factors contributing to homelessness – from housing and jobs, to health. And we can all play our part to address this social concern.
If homelessness is an issue close to your heart, I’d like to hear your thoughts.