Plans afoot for Fortey House

A building which has been empty for 5 years is set to be redeveloped.

Paul Hodgkinson (left) with Neil Fletcher outside Fortey House in Northleach.

Paul Hodgkinson (left) with Neil Fletcher outside Fortey House in Northleach.

Fortey House, Northleach, provided sheltered accommodation for local people but has been derelict with the large building lying unfilled.

Now, Bromford, who own the site, have announced plans to demolish the site and build 24 affordable homes. The homes – yet to be given planning permission – will comprise rented properties, part rent/part ownership and some to be sold at 80% of market value.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson heard the announcement at a meeting of Northleach Town Council last week, “We really need more affordable homes in the area and Fortey House has been a sad sight for ages. I’m pleased something is being done at last but does the building really need to be demolished?”

Bromford are holding an open day at the Cotswold Hall, Northleach, on 7 July. People are being urged to take a look and give feedback.




Bourton/Northleach falls to Lib Dems in dramatic election result

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) was elected to Gloucestershire County Council last night in a nail biting result.

Bourton's Victoria Hall polling station yesterday.

Bourton’s Victoria Hall polling station yesterday.

The newly created Bourton and Northleach division comprises areas which have been represented by Conservatives for as long as anyone can remember. Now, Paul has become the first Liberal Democrat to represent the area at county level.

The full result was:

Paul Hodgkinson (LD) 1275
David Thorpe (Con) 1216
Chris Cooke (Ukip) 591
Merilyn Hill (Lab) 170.

Majority 59.

After the result was announced at 3am this morning, Cllr Hodgkinson said, “I am ecstatic to be representing such a beautiful area. My priorities will be sorting out the dreadful state of the roads, making sure our green fields are protected from developers and promoting road safety around our villages.”


County Council election this Thursday May 2!

A councillor from the Cotswolds has made election history by producing a video for his campaign to be elected to Gloucestershire County Council.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) is standing for the Northleach & Bourton area this Thursday May 2. The ward also includes the Chedworth, Withington, Andoversford, Shipton and Brockhampton areas.

The video – filmed in Bourton, Northleach and along the A436 – is a personal account of Paul’s record of action. He talks about the campaign to reduce speeds along the A435, A436 and through our villages as well as the problems of over development and the need to bring empty properties back into use.

Paul says, “No other council candidate in Gloucestershire has made a video of this kind. It’s a different way of getting a message across and it just brings to life the issues I’ve been campaigning on already and which I feel strongly about.”


County Council Elections – May 2nd

On Thursday May 2 I’m putting myself forward to be the next county councillor for our area.


I’m already an experienced Cotswold District Councillor for the last 6 years and am standing for the Northleach & Bourton area. This also includes the Churn Valley, Chedworth and Withington, Andoversford and Shipton areas.

I have a record of action. I led the campaign to stop the crazy Air Balloon roundabout proposals,  fought to bring in kerbside plastics recycling and have campaigned to reduce speeds along the A435, A436 and through our villages.

My priorities are:

  • Mending our roads properly – the County Council has failed spectacularly to do this
  • Keeping our greenfields intact whilst bringing empty properties back into use for affordable housing
  • Lowering the car parking charges across the Cotswolds
  • Supporting our village schools
  • Connecting with residents to make sure their concerns are listened to rather than neglected by the Council.

I’ve lived in the Cotswolds for 25 years. Now, I would be honoured to have your support on May 2.

Take a look at my campaign video here:

Thank you,

Paul Hodgkinson


Easter gift for Cotswold schools

A Cotswolds councillor has welcomed a scheme promoted by the coalition government that will pump nearly £1,000,000 of extra funding into schools in the district.

pupil premium

The extra cash – amounting to £900 per child under the Pupil Premium initiative – will be used to help children from less privileged backgrounds reach their full educational potential. All children registered for free school meals in the last six years qualify and the money will be given to their school heads who can decide how to spend it on their behalf.

The extra money comes into effect from 1 April. Many schools across the district stand to benefit from the scheme. Bourton primary school is receiving an extra £39,600 whilst Chipping Campden School is receiving £78,300. Andoversford Primary School gets  £7,200, the Cotswold Academy £101,700 and Northleach Primary School £10,800.

The Pupil Premium was a major manifesto commitment by the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 general election, playing a key role in the negotiations that led to the coalition agreement.

Original plans for an extra £430 per pupil have now been boosted, pushing the amount paid per qualifying child to £900.

News of the extra money for the Cotswolds comes after Schools Minister, David Laws, recently announced that the total Pupil Premium funding from next week will rise to £1.65bn, more than double the amount in 2011-12. It will rise again each year until 2014-15 when it will be worth £2.5bn.

Now, councillors are encouraging all schools to ensure that every child who qualifies is registered for the scheme so that they receive the maximum funding.

Cotswold District Council Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley), said he was encouraged by the extra cash for local schools.

“Though the Cotswolds is seen as an affluent area full of wealthy weekenders, the truth is that there are pockets of deprivation in the district, particularly in some of the rural areas.

“With low average wages and sky-high house prices, it is no wonder that so many children qualify for free school meals. This additional help for hard-pressed schools is extremely welcome.”

“The Pupil Premium is extra support for the children who need it the most, whether it is catch-up classes, one-to-one tuition, extra IT support – whatever the school thinks best.”

“We now look forward to working with our schools to help overcome any barriers to achievement that some of the pupils in our community currently face.”

Note: The complete list of pupil premium figures is publicly available at the Department for Education website.



Hope for Fortey House at last?

A Northleach building which has been empty for years may at last be full of residents.

Paul Hodgkinson (left) with Neil Fletcher outside Fortey House in Northleach.

Paul Hodgkinson (left) with Neil Fletcher outside Fortey House in Northleach.

Fortey House saw the last of its housing association tenants leave in April 2010 and has since lain empty. The 12-bedroom building is owned by Bromford.

The town council has discussed a possible plan for The Farmington Trust to link up with other individuals to buy Fortey House from Bromford and convert it into affordable housing for local people.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Cotswold District Council, is supporting the proposal, “Across the Cotswolds there is a huge gap between wages and house prices. A recent survey by the National Housing Federation showed that this area is the most expensive in the South West. The average house price is a staggering 20 times more than the average salary.”

“So, making sure empty homes are used for low cost accommodation for young and old in particular is really important. This is a prime example.”

Neil Fletcher, Chair of Northleach Town Council is also supporting the scheme: “The housing association wanted to knock it down and build affordable homes but there was no government grant and it dropped the idea. As a town council, we can’t afford to buy it, but the Trust could and then rent it out. We would support the development and put it on our town plan.”

Cllr Hodgkinson added, “It’s sad to see a building lying empty when there is such a crying need for housing. I really hope this idea takes off and we get some much-needed low cost housing in the town.”