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Jo McCarron and Save Cossham campaigners gathered on Wednesday to highlight the ongoing wait for additional urgent care services close to home – it was the 773rd day since the Minor Injuries Unit we were promised as Cossham Hospital was supposed to open, as part of the £19million refurbishment secured by Roger Berry, Labour Councillors and many of the campaigners who have been demanding the MIU.

Following the rally, Jo made a statement at South Gloucestershire Council’s Health Scrutiny Meeting calling for the Clinical Commissioning Group to at least deliver its alternative proposals now, while the Secretary of State reviews their decision not to provide an MIU – the CCG has indicated that they won’t go ahead with their alternative plans, for urgent care services at GP surgeries instead of a Minor Injuries Unit, until the Secretary of State has made his decision.

Jo called for the Secretary of State to intervene “decisively and swiftly”, rather than fobbing residents off by deferring his decision to a lengthy review by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Jo also read a statement from Andy Burnham supporting the Save Cossham Group campaign. Andy came to meet with the CCG and the Save Cossham Group last year and said then there didn’t appear to be reasonable grounds for breaking the promise of a Minor Injuries Unit, and that the CCG would have to convince people circumstances had changed significantly if it was going to change plans that had already been consulted on.

In his statement he acknowledged that “clearly local people haven’t been convinced” and made the point that “in any case it’s uneblieveable that not only is there no Minor Injuries Unit – there is no altearnative in its place to provide additional urgent care services close to home.”

He also said he joined Jo and the Save Cossham Group in calling for Jeremy Hunt to “take the opportunity to intervene decisively and quickly” so people don’t have to wait months longer.

Jo McCarron and Save Cossham campaigners highlight unacceptable wait for urgent care services

Jo McCarron and Save Cossham campaigners gathered on Wednesday to highlight the ongoing wait for additional urgent care services close to home – it was the 773rd day since the...

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Jo McCarron introduced Labour's Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves, at the launch of Labour's economic plan for the South West.

The launch was held at Airbus in Filton, where Jo, Ed and Rachel were given a tour of the factory where Airbus assembles the wings for the A400M military transport plane, before holding a Q&A with local businesses.

Jo spoke about the basic choice facing the country in May: "A Tory economy that works for those at the very top – or a Labour plan rooted in the understanding that an economy is only on track when people across constituencies like Kingswood feel things improving for their own household budget."

She also spoke about the particular opportunities in Kingswood to expand the number of high-skilled, well-paid jobs: "We have three universities on our doorstep, as well as the beating heart of Britain’s aerospace industry. That position has already enabled the establishment and growth of the National Composite Centre in Emersons Green, and the neighbouring Science Park, where Ed visited with me recently to launch Labour's export review with Graham Cole. We need to help make sure that within the Kingswood constituency we continue building on Bristol’s great aerospace and engineering heritage."

Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves outlined Labour's plans to:

  • Cut then freeze business rates for small businesses, helping 181,000 properties in the South West. Paid for by scrapping a planned cut in corporation tax.
  • Devolve £30 billion of funding to regions across the country.
  • Establish a British Investment Bank to invest in small businesses which had struggled to borrow from the regular banks to fund their growth plans.
  • Guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the required grades by 2020.

Jo McCarron introduces Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves at Airbus

   Jo McCarron introduced Labour's Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves, at the launch of Labour's economic plan for the South...

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Jo McCarron, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, set up a meeting for residents with traffic officers from South Gloucestershire Council to discuss concerns about parking and traffic problems on Tower Road North and Station Road. The traffic officers agreed to amend proposals for a new residents parking scheme so it includes Tower Road North, to help reduce the number of cars blocking the flow of traffic while making it easier for residents currently struggling to park on their street.

A number of residents who Jo met with before Christmas raised concerns about the difficulty vehicles have on Tower Road North and Station Road when cars are parked on both sides of the road. There are new yellow lines at the ends of both roads, but not at the narrower parts of the roads where parked cars can be difficult to pass, causing significant queues and delays, especially because these are busy roads used by large numbers of lorries. With limited spaces it can also be very difficult for residents to park.

Jo arranged the meeting on site and invited local residents so the traffic officers could see the problems and speak to the residents about possible measures to improve the situation.

The residents agreed a residents parking scheme could help by reducing the number of parked cars, particularly during the day when more of the cars trying to park belong to non-residents, and when the most lorries use the road. The residents parking scheme will now be on the list of potential schemes local councillors can choose to implement at the Kings Forest Area Forum meeting on 23rd February. Residents will attend the meeting to speak about their concerns and how the scheme could help.

Residents also want something done to reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles using the roads – this in itself would ease the problem caused by parked cars, and the noise and pollution from the lorries is a longstanding concern.

Siston Parish Council has consistently raised this issue, calling for a “lorry routing condition” which would mean lorries have to use the ringroad instead of residential roads. But Parish Councillors have been told they don’t have the power to put that requirement on planning applications, and the traffic officers claimed at the meeting with residents that the number of heavy goods vehicles is not a problem based on the latest count carried out, which reported around 100 lorries per day.

Jo said, “It’s encouraging that the traffic officers came to meet with residents to discuss these problems, and that there is now a practical measure on the table that could help. I do, however, completely understand residents’ frustration about the number of lorries using the road. Their Parish Councillors know it’s a problem but are told they don’t have the power to deal with it – then Council officers tell residents there isn’t really a problem. Tower Road North is an important hub for local employment and trade and no-one wants to undermine that – residents just want more lorries to use the ringroad instead of relatively narrow residential streets. I will continue working with them to help make sure they have their say, and am helping to organise a new count of heavy goods vehicles on both roads.”

Jo McCarron helps residents have their say over parking and traffic problems

Jo McCarron, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, set up a meeting for residents with traffic officers from South Gloucestershire Council to discuss concerns about parking and traffic problems on Tower...

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