I have lived in Gosport for more than 45 years in all, man and boy, and my children went to school here. I first came to Lee-on-the-Solent in 1952 when my father, serving in the Fleet Air Arm, was posted to Daedalus. I loved Lee and our Gosport peninsula right from the start, and returned to live here permanently in 1982.
Each area in Gosport has its sense of community; an important characteristic to keep in mind as we work to keep improving the quality of life for all of us in Gosport. An early memory - I remember the iconic ‘Lee Tower’, the old Royal Naval Air Yard, Fleetlands (they were probably busy mending the planes my father flew), and the Harbour chain ferry very clearly!
Leaving school without any qualifications and moving on from early jobs, including deck hand on car ferries, portering in the NHS and shop assistant in South Africa, I joined the Army in The Royal Hampshire Regiment for 8 years, which involved vigorous service in some “difficult” places in the world, including the Middle East and – sadly – in Northern Ireland.
After that, and following unemployment and door-to-door sales jobs, I took a correspondence course to qualify as a solicitor, but had to continue full-time work to keep our family and the tiny mortgage afloat!
Following legal aid work in the Courts helping people with Housing, Debt, Injury and Employments problems – as well as those on ‘the wrong side of the law’ , I specialised in contract, employment and business law. Later, I became Managing Partner of my Law firm in Portsmouth.
I had also joined the TA, (now known as ‘the Reserves’). I joined the Infantry for 3 years, but stayed for 18 years!
My service with the Reserves ended in 2002. I became Chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Counties Committee of South East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (2002 – 2011), which dealt with all sorts of logistic and facilities support for all the Reserve units and Cadet detachments across these counties. Here I really saw how young people in the Cadet detachments – many from disadvantaged backgrounds and labelled as ‘non-achievers’ - became rapidly empowered as a direct result of aspirational and challenging teaching and training; in the vast majority of cases, the young would rise to the challenge, with amazing and lasting results.
Since 2010, I have been a member of the South East Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee, and I have long been a trustee of a military welfare Trust. Since 2013, I helped in setting up a new Trust, the Portsmouth Sail Training Trust, to provide a free and enduring programme of challenge through sail training, to raise the aspirations of disadvantaged young people of our area who cannot afford the experience. I’ve stepped down as a trustee now, but am still a Volunteer – and, organised by an amazingly gifted Man of Forton there are now 50 to 60 young people who are coming through the programme with huge results. This is what ‘Raising Aspirations’ is all about.
I retired from the Law in December 2013, but then was given the privilege of becoming a Councillor on Gosport Borough Council.
I’m more a straight forward, free-speaking family man than a political one – action speaks louder than words in my book; and always has. I became greatly encouraged by the way the Local Conservative Group of Councillors have got on with steering the Gosport Borough Council these past 7/8 years. I got very enthused by the comradeship, and the sense of common purpose within the Conservative Group – and the energy they were prepared to direct at getting things done to raise Gosport’s profile, attract business, protect our environment and improve our quality of life – not just for the ‘chosen few’ but right across all the Wards and zones within our Gosport peninsula – ‘fair do’s for All’! Working as a team – I could see very positive results materialising.
So I was fortunate to be elected as a Councillor in 2014 – and we’ve been “full steam ahead” ever since!
Having first served on the Regulatory Committee, where I was able to encourage business projects – and turn down certain applications that stood to damage our natural environment, I now serve on the other influential Council committees – the Community Board, the Policy and Organisation Committee and the Economic Development Committee. With our Conservative team I have been able to help progress many policies and projects as we raise Gosport’s game for one and all – for example, ongoing improvements for the Alver Valley, upgrading of the Leisure Centre and the Ice Rink and the introduction of our fabulous and reliable Eclipse Service buses running from the Ferry terminal and serving Forton, Hardway and Elson.
Next up is planning for a redevelopment of the Gosport Waterfront and seizing our golden opportunity to create the Stubbington Bypass thanks to our Conservative team, and Conservative led County Council, in getting the funding required!. This Bypass is really important to us – it will help at least reduce the traffic on the A32.
I want to continue with my work on the Gosport Borough Council – but now, armed with all my experiences to date, I want also to stand as Candidate in the County Council Elections on 4th May 2017, for all the Residents in the areas of Elson, Forton and Hardway and parts of the Leesland and Brockhurst wards.
At Hampshire County Council level, I want to raise the profile of the Elson-Forton-Hardway areas of Gosport a lot higher. As with our work on Gosport Council, that means applying good old common sense, applying business methods to how the Council operates, and - with prudent management of the money – planning carefully ahead to maintain our front-line Services at a good standard, while
· Promoting Health Care, improving our care for older and vulnerable people – who deserve our compassion and help - , promoting good health for all:
· Raising our game with aspirational education – to provide Gosport’s skilled workforce for the future – local jobs for local people
· attracting yet more businesses and employment opportunities here in Gosport (we had the most successful Business and Employment Fair yet at the Leisure centre in January – well done Gosport!
· Looking after our serving members of the Armed Forces (Regulars and Reserves alike), our Veterans, and their families. Gosport has a long and proud history of association with all branches for the Services. We must promote their welfare – a fair return for the sacrifices they have made, and continue making today.
· Ensuring protection of our green spaces and environment – to remain a good place for us all to live. A good quality of life for all.
In short, THERE IS MUCH MORE TO DO! And my aim is to ensure Hampshire County Council knows this – to be a strong and persuasive voice on that Council on behalf of our residents in Elson-Forton-Hardway, and for our fine town of Gosport as a whole, in order to push forward with the valuable work that our Conservative Councillors have begun.
|Piers Bateman Letter||191.63 KB|