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Portsmouth MP steps in to progress Fratton Park infrastructure plans in meeting with PFC and Network Rail

Stephen Morgan MP has stepped up his continued efforts to support development proposals at Fratton Park and improve access to the stadium by bringing together representatives of Portsmouth Football Club and Network Rail.

Portsmouth Football Club said in June this year that the club was “in dialogue with local government about much needed infrastructure improvements in the local vicinity to facilitate access to the stadium along the key transportation routes to Fratton Park.”

The city MP has been calling for some time for the city council to play an active part in supporting the club to get its development plans off the ground, at a time when government is making money available for regeneration.

In a summit set up this week, representatives of Network Rail and Portsmouth Football Club met with the Portsmouth MP at Fratton station for a meeting, which included a walk around the site to better understand access challenges from the station on match days and wider congestion issues.

The group agreed a set of ideas and took away a number of actions to improve links to the stadium, as well as wider future rail investment plans for Portsmouth and the region.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said,

“For me, our club’s success is our city’s success and as we recover from this crisis it’s vital we see the investment that’s needed to improve connectivity and access to Fratton Park, which will be critical for securing the city’s future prosperity.

“I was glad to facilitate discussions between the club and Network Rail and I was encouraged to see some progress made on this issue which has been stalling for some time now.

“I will continue to do all I can to support the club’s ambitions for this project and will be urging the city council to do so too to help make these plans a reality for fans.”

Andrew Cullen, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Football Club, added,

“We are extremely grateful for both the keen interest and support that Stephen Morgan MP continues to invest in the proposals for the future development of Fratton Park and the associated impact on local transport and infrastructure.

“We look forward to further discussions with all the various stakeholders to shape and deliver an exciting and inspiring future, both for the football club and the city of Portsmouth.”

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Stephen Morgan MP launches 2021’s search for community stars with Fratton Big Local

Stephen Morgan MP, in partnership with Fratton Big Local, has launched this year’s ‘Inspiring Fratton’ awards, which seeks to celebrate the achievements of people in Fratton.

The Portsmouth representative, who was born and raised in Fratton and attended local schools, co-created the awards with Fratton Big Local three years ago.

Fratton Big Local is a ‘Big Lottery’ funded 10-year project which aims to make lasting improvements to Fratton.

Run by a partnership of local residents, the scheme makes decisions about how to spend the funding, based on engagement and conversations with local key groups and those living in the area.

Awards categories are split between over 18s and under 18s, ranging from best community volunteer, to the best café or takeway on Fratton Road.

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, said:

“Born and bred in Fratton I’ve always believed the area is a strong and resilient community, but the last 18 months have tested every resident, in every part of this area.

“When, three years ago, I set up the Inspiring Fratton awards with Fratton Big Local, we never thought our community would be tested in the way it has in recent months.

“That’s why the Inspiring Fratton awards are even more important this year. They allow our community to come together and celebrate achievements, highlighting the unsung heroes in Fratton who have gone above and beyond, making a positive and lasting legacy for our community.

“I urge everyone in Fratton to nominate local people, groups and small businesses to win this year’s awards. It’s time to recognise our area’s heroes.”

If you think you know someone who makes Fratton shine a bit brighter, please nominate using the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DD67N3F

Nominations close on the 29th October 2021 and the awards will be presented on the 3rd December 2021.

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Local Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ thanked for their service by Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP has joined Hampshire Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ for a training demonstration to see how the service has been keeping the area’s people safe.

Over the past year, the Hampshire Search and Rescue team have continued with their primary role of assisting police with missing person searches, as well as taking on a number of other tasks to help tackle the pandemic.

This includes delivering essential PPE to the front line and assisting Portsmouth International Port with the COVID swab testing of freight drivers. They have also been volunteering with Solent NHS Trust since January to deliver the Coronavirus vaccine.

The team has given 16,600 hours to the service so far in 2021, including 7,000 hours to support frontline work to tackle the pandemic.

The service was called out 96 times in 2020, their busiest ever year and 16 more than the 2019 total.

During his visit, the Portsmouth MP took part in a live training exercise and met service managers to learn about their operations.

Trevor Vidler, Vice Chair, said:

“It was a pleasure to host Stephen on the search exercise and we were pleased to be able to demonstrate our operational role.”

“Our all-volunteer charity currently has 122 members and we are on-call to the police 24 hours a day, every day of the year, whatever the weather.”

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Hampshire Search and Rescue Service have done a phenomenal job in keeping people safe during one of the most difficult periods our country has faced.

“It was inspirational to see the volunteers in action and learn more about how they help protect us day in, day out.

“I was delighted to thank them personally on behalf of all us for their truly heroic efforts over the last year.”

Visit: https://hantsar.org/ to donate or volunteer.

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Support for young people ‘vital’ for city’s recovery as local MP tours new hub to boost youth employment

Stephen Morgan MP has underlined the importance of young people getting the support they need to find their route to employment as the city begins its economic recovery.

It comes following the Portsmouth MP’s visit to a new hub in the city that has been launched to directly support young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit to find work.

My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), paying for 3 full time staff through Portsmouth City Council and allocating 2 part-time DWP Work Coaches.

The age groups are particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic, with over 1,900 young people included, representing 19% of Universal Credit claimants. This level has been consistent since the middle of last year and compares to pre-Covid averages of around 720 young people.

The hub is a ‘one-stop service’ that helps job seekers aged between 16 and 24 to find work, by:

• Helping people into work (CV updating, job searching, writing applications and cover letters and preparing for interviews)
• Confidence building
• Health and wellbeing
• Housing
• Managing debt
• Accessing benefits
• Mental health support
• Health and wellbeing advice
• Discussing options, including: Kickstart, apprenticeships, traineeships, adult education and paid employment.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“Young people have been amongst the worst affected by the pandemic, so I’m really glad to see authorities working together to help provide the support they need to secure their futures and our city’s recovery.

“My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub will provide a really important service for local young people to find the work they need, many of whom will be looking to get their first job in tough circumstances, so my thanks to those in Portsmouth who have helped to put this into action.”

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Portsmouth MP continues work with police to tackle crime in visit to contact ‘nerve centre’

Stephen Morgan MP has visited the Constabulary’s contact management centre in Southampton as he continues to support the fight against hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour, amid rising concerns.

The contact management teams, operated by Hampshire Constabulary, works alongside Thames Valley Police, taking emergency 999 calls and handling non-emergency contact via the 101 service.

Those in the Contact Management Centre are responsible for recording detailed crime reports, filing intelligence and managing other general enquiries.

It comes following a decade of cuts to the Police, with workforce figures showing that Hampshire constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable has also confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

Meanwhile, Labour has launched its national ‘Safer Communities’ campaign, pledging to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

The visit today took place after the city MP hosted a round table discussion with community groups and campaigners earlier this year with regards to tackling violence against women and girls and efforts to end hate crime.

Mr Morgan was joined on the visit by members of local group Chat Over Chai and Portsmouth’s District Commander.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“Residents tell me that hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour are growing concerns, so I’ve visited Hampshire Constabulary’s contact nerve centre to see how police are working to tackle this.

“Officers have been working tirelessly to keep us safe during the uncertainty of the pandemic and I want to thank them all for their efforts. But increasingly we see they are being let down by central government.”

“A decade of cuts has left police doing more with less. We still have fewer officers than we did a decade ago, and we know that is having an impact on the safety and security of our neighbourhoods. It’s little wonder the Police Federation now has no confidence in the Home Secretary.

“This government needs to cut the gimmicks and get serious about tackling crime in our communities.”

Earlier this month Stephen Morgan launched a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for crime and safety in Portsmouth.

 

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City MP criticises ‘farce of administrivia’ as Council drags its feet on treasured Camber Right of Way

Stephen Morgan MP has urged the City Council to get on with work to establish a public byway at Town Quay, the Camber in Old Portsmouth.

Since 2014 a dedicated group of local residents have been attempting to establish this route, beginning at Trimmers Court junction with East Street, round the quayside edge to the Bridge Tavern and the southern end of Trimmer Court.

The route was long understood to be an informal by-way, enjoyed by local ramblers and walking enthusiasts, but now needs to be formalised following changes to structures along the quayside edge which now impede the route.

Supporters of the Right of Way made two applications to the City Council for an order in 2016 and 2017, but both were rejected. Campaigners then took their fight directly to the government, supported by Mr Morgan, appealing to Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Planning Inspectorate upheld this appeal in February 2018 and directed Portsmouth City Council to modify the definitive City map for the area to add a restricted byway on the route.

But since then the process has stalled, and the Portsmouth South MP has joined with campaigners to renew calls on the City Council to get it sorted.

Campaigner Ken Bailey will grill City representatives on the issue today (19 July) when he raises a question on the issue at full Council.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“It’s long been clear that the Right of Way around the Camber in Old Portsmouth needs to be protected, but the city council has kept people waiting for seven years and counting.

“I have supported dedicated local campaigners as they have engaged with the Council in good faith, but the process has descended into an unnecessary farce of administrivia.

“The city council is clearly dragging its feet, and I am proud to stand with Right of Way campaigners to urge them to get on with the necessary work and ensure this popular route can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Ken Bailey and Anna Koor, local campaigners for the Camber Right of Way, said:

“We are completely mystified as to why city council officials have been unable to progress simple administrative processes and meet legal obligations to move this right of way case forward over the past few years – without any rational explanation. What possible reason could there be for such behaviour?

“We trust that the collective intellectual capability and authority of the Full Council might be brought to bear to resolve the suppression and suffocation of justice and the rights of its citizens.”

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City MP catches up on progress of Southsea Coastal Defence Scheme

Stephen Morgan MP has visited the Southsea Coastal Defence Scheme to catch up on its progress.

The Southsea Coastal Scheme is the UK’s largest local authority-led coastal defences project, worth more than £100M, which the city MP helped secure from various funding sources.

It will stretch for 4.5km from Old Portsmouth to Eastney, and help to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 10,000 homes and 700 businesses.

Phase one of six of the Southsea Coastal Scheme started in September 2020.

In its latest update, the project shared bay five of eight has now been completed, as well as continuing work on the west of Spur Redoubt, section by section, digging out, attaching beams and backfilling once complete.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It was really good to be on-site today and see how this critical infrastructure is progressing.

“The project team is working hard to engage with local businesses and community groups to avoid any disruption it may be causing now and in the future as the scheme progresses and it was helpful to share some of the feedback I have received from local residents.

“It’s vital we get this once in a lifetime opportunity to protect our city and help avoid the risk of flooding to local homes and businesses. I am keen to ensure the team delivers this scheme on budget, on time and to the highest standards our city expects.

“I will continue to work alongside the council to ensure Southsea Coastal Defence Scheme delivers the very best for our city and the public realm Portsmouth deserves.”

Mr Morgan has previously spoken in parliament on the importance of Southsea Coastal Defence Scheme and similar projects, to ensure they get the support they need from government to protect communities across the UK from material flood risks.

The city MP has committed to continuing to raise of the need for flooding protections in order to safeguard the interests and livelihoods of constituents.

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Stephen Morgan MP and Portsmouth Labour hosts online art auction for Orchard Park

On Saturday 5 June, from 7.30-9pm, Stephen Morgan MP and Portsmouth Labour will be hosting an online Art Auction in aid of the Orchard Park regeneration.

 

Twenty donations have been received, including from: My Dog Sighs, Jack Munro, Katie Munro, Pompey Banana Club, Annabel Munn, Samo, Colin Merrin, Ashley David John, Karl Bailey, JB Printmaker and Customs, Alice Coffey Design, Pete Codling, Jack House Gallery, and White Dog Art Gallery.  

 

Orchard Park in Central Southsea is having major regeneration works. As one one of the few green spaces in an area with lots of housing, the park is currently under-used and has had issues with anti-social behaviour.

 

Annabel Innes of Form+Function is leading a complete rejuvenation of the park, which includes new basketball courts, street art and greenery.

 

Several thousands of pounds are still required in order for the works to be completed, so all funds raised at the auction will go towards the project.

 

All members of the public are invited to join for this online art auction, featuring original pieces from local artists and creatives, hosted by Stephen Morgan MP, Cllr George Fielding and Cllr Charlotte Gerada (Labour Central Southsea councillors) and Annabel Innes, Director of Form+Function.

 

Stephen Morgan, Labour MP for Portsmouth South, said:

 

“Protecting our city’s green spaces is critical to address the climate emergency, particularly given how built up our city is.

 

“It’s brilliant to see such talented local creatives stepping up so this park can flourish and be the centre of the community again.”

 

George Fielding, Central Southsea Labour Councillor, said: 

 

“Local residents have told us time and again about issues with Orchard Park, in terms of anti-social behaviour and feeling unsafe due to the layout of the space. 

 

“It’s very welcome to see Annabel Innes and other local creatives work together to future-proof this important green space for the benefit of all local residents.”

 

Charlotte Gerada, Central Southsea Labour Councillor, said: 

 

“We can’t thank all of the local artists and creatives enough for their kind donations to our online art auction.

 

“There is so much kindness, generosity and community spirit in Pompey that makes us a strong island indeed. We hope this auction helps Annabel reach her fundraising target.”

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City MP pays a visit to world-class attractions to encourage Pride in Portsmouth

To mark English Tourism Week (22 to 31 May), today Stephen Morgan MP visited several of Portsmouth’s world-class attractions, including the D-Day Story, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Spinnaker Tower, to highlight the importance of the city’s tourism sector and encourage people to join the Portsmouth Champions scheme.

The scheme is designed to ensure everyone working or volunteering in customer-facing roles across the city has the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm they need to promote everything Portsmouth has to offer.

With many people planning to holiday in the UK this year, the programme will enable those in the city’s tourism sector to welcome visitors full of information and passion for Portsmouth.

In preparation for reopening, many destinations have made sure they have the right coronavirus safety measures in place to meet Visit Britain’s national ‘We’re good to go’ standard for Covid-safe tourism.

Visit Portsmouth is also working hard to make sure the city’s tourism industry bounces back after the pandemic encouraging people outside the city to plan a summer trip to Portsmouth to enjoy the attractions, seafront, shopping and events.

Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Our city has an incredible amount to offer, with the tourism industry being a vital contributor to our local economy.

It’s why I am really keen to support the Portsmouth Champions scheme and have launched my own ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign as a call to action for our community to celebrate and visit our local businesses, key cultural and sporting assets and shine a light on the access to those hidden gems.

I hope this will help to keep the pound in Portsmouth and secure our local economic recovery.”

The Portsmouth Champions training is completely free and can be undertaken by anyone – simply visit portsmouthchampions.co.uk to sign up.

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City MP steps up efforts to bring back Southsea parkrun

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has this week taken action to ensure that Southsea parkrun can restart safely.

Responding to concerns raised by the volunteer-led organisation, as well as local residents, Mr Morgan wrote to Public Health Minister Jo Churchill earlier this week.

In the letter, Mr Morgan wrote of the huge ‘physical and mental health’ benefits parkrun provides and urged the government to clarify that it was able to take place once again in line with the roadmap and clinical evidence on Covid transmission.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has now confirmed that parkrun’s plans “follow all the guidelines set out by the government to keep people safe and there is no reason they can’t now take place.” He also urged local councils to do “whatever it takes” to get them back up and running.

Today Mr Morgan met the City Council’s Director of Culture to raise these concerns and find a way to ensure the much-loved community event returns. It is hoped that the event will go ahead on 5 June as planned using an alternative route close-by.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

 “I’ve seen first-hand the enormous physical and mental health benefits Southsea’s parkrun provides. People really need this as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The events follow all government and clinical guidance, so there should be no barriers to our local runners getting back out there.

“I will continue to work with Ministers and the council to get these events running again as soon as it’s safe to do so.”