Sunday, 30 May 2010

Broxtowe Enews 30 May 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council.

1. Kimberley Medical Centre

I’m delighted to hear that Kimberley Medical Centre has been saved. The Health Authority had originally planned to close it but they have now reversed that decision and it will become a branch outlet of another medical practice. This is good news for patients and my congratulations go out to everyone who has been involved in campaigning to save the centre.

2. Notts County Council

The council have scrapped the Dial A Ride scheme for disabled people, in a bid to save £364,000 a year. The council have released figures which show that the scheme only had 28 regular users last year, and with such a low level of patronage it is hard to disagree with the decision. The city council are also discussing whether to switch off the street lights during the late night as a cost saving exercise. I’m open minded about this so far, and will be interested to see the research on which they are basing their decision. Whilst they are trying to save money the County Council have also announced plans to spend £1.5 million recruiting 32 new jobs, whose role will be to find other cost savings across the authority. This last decision does seem extremely difficult to justify.

3. Hemlock Happening

Just a quick reminder that the Hemlock Happening will be on at Bramcote Hills Park on Saturday 12th June from 1pm through to about 10.45pm. This is usually a wonderful event, totally free, and I would encourage as many people as possible to attend. You can set the video for the England match and watch it later.

4. Moorgreen

A pond dipping event will be held for families at Colliers Wood on Saturday 5th June from10.30am to 3pm, at the large pond. This is free to attend, and is targeted at families. Details can be obtained on 0115 938 5101.

5. Strelley Village

A spring fair will be held at Strelley Hall on Monday 31st May from 1.30pm. Admission costs £1 for adults. Accompanied children get in free.

6. The Tram

The new Government have announced that the tram scheme for the city is under review. No-one is quite clear what the outcome will be, but I hope very much that the tram scheme will continue. A delegation of pro-tram supporters will be travelling to London in the near future to make the case directly to ministers that the tram scheme is needed. Whilst the coalition have also said that they will be making other cuts from funding local authorities it does not appear that Broxtowe will be badly affected by these. Of course there are still many more savings that the Government have to make and there is no guarantee that we won’t be badly affected by them.

7. Stanton Building

Plans are going on show about a proposed development of 3,000 homes at Stanton By Dale. This includes proposals to bring a new main road into Trowell, so that traffic could then link up with the A52. If this happens I fear that the roads will be gridlocked in a morning as huge amounts of extra traffic try to get into Nottingham. An exhibition will go on display from 10th to 12th June for people to view the proposals and make their comments. The exhibition will be at a Marquee on Lows Lane, Stanton By Dale, at the Saint Gobain offices. On the 10th it is open from 2pm to 8pm, on the 11th from 10-6, and on the 12th from 10-3pm.

8. Attenborough Nature Reserve

A pond dipping workshop will take place at the nature reserve on Tuesday 1st June from 10am to noon, aimed at children on their half term holidays. The session costs £5 per person and should be booked in advance on 972 1777. Children under eight will need to be accompanied by an adult. On Friday 4th June there will be an orienteering workshop from 10am to noon. Children have to be at least 8 years old and it costs £5 per person. On Saturday 5th June there will be an open day at Attenborough Sailing Club, from 11am to 5pm. This will include an opportunity to have a trip on a boat, a barbeque and a display of model boats.

9. St Michaels Church Bramcote

St Michaels Church, a grade 2 listed building, has received a grant of £56,000 towards its upkeep from English Heritage.

10. The Pearson Centre childrens activities

A holiday club is being held at the Pearson Centre this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday it is aimed at school years 1 to 3, with years 4 to 6 on Thursday and Friday. Each session, from 10am to 4pm, costs £6.

11. Parking In Beeston Rylands

The County Council has published details of its proposals for a controlled parking zone in the Rylands. It will only apply on specified roads and only between 9am and 5pm. Also being proposed is a new one way system round a number of streets.

12. Archery at Durban House

People have the opportunity to try their hand at archery at Durban House, Eastwood, on Thursday 3rd June from 10am to 3pm. There will also be an opportunity to handle owls from Sherwood Forest. Further details are available on 01773 717353.

13. Casework

I have received more casework since becoming leader of the council than I did in the whole of the last two years. I expected this and am quite happy to take matters on for people. If there are any issues you want me to look at please use my council email if possible, at

As ever may I thank everyone for their support for this newsletter. Our best source of new readers is recommendations from existing subscribers, so please feel free to pass on the details to anyone you think might be interested. As it is half term there is no newsletter next week, and the next edition will be issued on 12th June.

Best wishes


Sunday, 16 May 2010

ENews 16th May 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by our parliamentary spokesperson David Watts.

May I start by thanking everyone for their feedback and good wishes after the general election. A few people have asked what I will be doing now, and there’s more of that below. I’m needless to say delighted to see Liberal Democrats in government, something I have dreamed of since I joined the party in the 1980’s. I’ve been at the Special Conference today where the Lib-Dems overwhelmingly backed the position taken by the Parliamentary party. It’s quite scary to think that I’m on first name terms with the Deputy Prime Minister!

1. New Mayor

At the council meeting on Wednesday night Beeston Central Cllr Pat Lally was sworn in as the new mayor of Broxtowe, taking over from Stapleford North Cllr John Longdon. The deputy mayor is Cllr Jacky Williams who represents Stapleford South East, and who is one of the longest serving Lib-Dem Councillors on the borough.

2. Bridging the Gap

Broxtowe Borough Council are running a series of events this week under the title of Bridging the Gap aiming to show young people in a positive light. Basically we are fed up with young people always being reported in a negative light when most young people are excellent. More details are available to the special website, For the first time the council also has a Facebook page detailing events, at

Finally you can follow events on Twitter

3. Beeston British Legion

The Beeston Branch of the Royal British Legion have launched a petition calling for a sign to be installed showing the way to their premises as many visitors apparently have difficulty finding it. This petition will be presented to Notts County Council. Initially the council have asked the Legion to pay for a sign but the Legion hope that they may change their minds.

4. Council Leader

Also on Wednesday night the leader of the council, Michael Rich, publicly announced that he is standing down from that position with immediate effect. Michael intends to retire from front line politics next year, and so he is standing down as leader now to give the new leader time to settle into the role before the next borough elections next year. This means that the Liberal Democrats, as the leading party in the partnership running the borough council, have had to select a new leader. I’m very honoured to say that the person they have selected is me. I took up the role officially on Wednesday night.

I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Michael’s leadership of the council, which has been second to none. He will always have a place in the history books as the first ever Lib-Dem leader of Broxtowe. He has, throughout his time as leader, tried to encourage others to take the front seat and to offer support from behind. He did not take on the role of leader of the council for any sort of personal reward of glory, but because he wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. I’ve asked Michael if he would accept an honour from the borough to mark his time as leader and his role on the council but he has refused point blank, showing the mark of the man. I hope that I can be as good a leader as him.

5. Brookhill Leys School

A new picnic bench has been installed at Brookhill Leys School in Eastwood, made out of recycled plastic bags. These have been collected by children at the school and the costs of making the bench were met by Warburtons Bakery.

6. Contact Details for Anna Soubry

Anna has now taken up her role as our new MP, and says that at the moment the easiest way to contact her is via her new email address, I’ve already emailed her asking for a meeting about the green belt and the threat to build on it. I hope that this is something that we will be able to work together on this.

7. Care Charges

I’m pleased to say that the County Council have changed their minds over plans to change the costs of social care for the elderly. They have agreed to maintain the current rules, which mean that there is a maximum charge of £120 per week on a means tested basis. Congratulations to my colleague Stan Heptinstall who was instrumental in getting the council to change it’s mind.

8. M1

In case anyone hasn’t been along it recently all 4 lanes on the M1 are now open. However the 50mph speed limit remains in place whilst they test the communications systems on it.

9. Exhibition at Durban House

A new exhibition of art inspired by the railways has opened at Durban House in eastwood and runs until 13th June.

10. Hemlock Happening

This years Hemlock Happening at Bramcote Park takes place on 12th June from 1pm to 10.45pm. This is an excellent free event in the borough. You may recall that last year it had to be cancelled because of the appalling weather that we had, so much that could not take place last year will be in this years programme.

11. Attenborough Nature Reserve

A wildlife cross stitch exhibition is being held at Attenborough Nature Reserve throughout may, organised by volunteers from Notts Wildlife Trust, and funds will go towards the Trust.

12. Book on Brinsley

Local writer Stan Smith has launched a new book about Brinsley, costing £1.99 and available from Profits from this will be donated to St James Church in Brinsley.

13. Local History Societies

The Beeston and District Local History Society will be having a talk about the Erewash Canal at Chilwell Memorial Hall on 19th May at 7.45pm. It costs £2 for non-members. The Bramcote History Group will have a talk about the English Civil War on Monday 17th May at 8pm, meeting in St Michaels Centre on Church Street.

14. Half Term Activities

The Borough Council are offering a range of activities for school children during half term week, including archery, orienteering, circus skills, trampoline sessions and go karting. These will take place at Bramcote Leisure Centre, Chilwell Olympia, Eastwood Leisure Centre and Durban House, and Kimberley Leisure Centre.

15. Leicester Housing on Lowes Estate

A petition was presented to Broxtowe Borough Council on 12th May from residents of the Lowes Estate in Beeston, calling on Leicester Housing Association to take their responsibilities as a landlord seriously and take action against problem tenants who are causing problems for other local residents. This was organised by my colleagues Steve and Barbara Carr.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

ENews 1st May 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by our parliamentary candidate David Watts. A special welcome to any new readers this week.

It will only be a short edition this week. It’s not because of the hours I’m putting in for the election but simply there does not seem to be a lot happening this week! I could fill this up with election comments but this newsletter is about local activities and events and I don’t want to give people who have signed up over the past couple of weeks the impression that this is simply a party political list, which it isn’t.

1. Council Core Strategy

Having said that I want to start with the election, and to go back to something I raised last week, the fact that the local council had disclosed to Nick Palmer that Anna Soubry hadn’t made a submission on the councils Core Strategy consultation, which seeks the views of local residents about where new building might or might not take place. I said last week that I was deeply concerned about the council disclosing this, but having looked at the matter further I now realise that I was wrong. I hope that I will always be big enough to recognise when I have made a mistake and this was one such time.

On checking the position I was informed that the submission forms say on them that all submissions will be made public. If people have made a submission on that basis then clearly there are no confidentiality issues here. I don’t think that a council official should have told Labour that no submission had been received (council officers have to be completely neutral on political matters and not be seen to be helping one side or the other) but that is a minor point, and the more significant issue is that the Conservatives sent to submission in on this, despite Ms Soubry saying that she had done.

Someone contacted me this week to ask if I had made a submission. I can’t, because I sit on the council committee which will review them. I have to assess the comments made by everyone else, and if I submit my own answers I would be accused of having pre-determined matters and I would not then be able to participate. When we were debating this week in Beeston Nick Palmer told the audience that this was the reason why I hadn’t submitted a comment sheet even before I got a chance to say anything, although he left this particular fact off the email he sent round afterwards.

2. Castle College

I was very disappointed to read that Castle College is closing its venue in Middle Street, Beeston. Castle College has already moved a lot of courses from local venues to others in the city, and this will lead to a further decrease in placed for students staying in Broxtowe.

3. Development Control Committee

It has been my privilege to chair the Development Control Committee at Broxtowe Borough Council for the past seven years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. However I announced at the meeting on Wednesday that I have chosen to stand down as chair, no matter what the result of the general election. After seven years I felt that it was time to move on to new challenges.

4. Grants from the Borough Council.

Broxtowe Borough Council have announced that they are paying out grants of £9,000 to local organisations. The two largest beneficiaries are Eastwood Volunteer Bureau and Framework Housing Association.

5. ”Labours Only Hope”

On Tuesday evening I went in to the council offices. There I bumped into a senior Labour Councillor. He asked how my campaign was going and I said that it was going really well. His response was to say “Don’t say that. Ours is awful. In fact we were only saying today that you were our only hope.” This is the first time I have ever been called Labours only hope. I think what he meant was that they were hoping that I was taking more votes from the Conservatives than I was from Labour. An article in the Evening Post today says that where the Liberal Democrats do well we usually take more votes from the Conservatives than from Labour, and this has been my perception in this campaign. I do think that people are swinging to us from both other parties, but probably more from the Conservatives.

I did see that the Labour run blog Broxtowe2010 had an article yesterday suggesting that I will come second, beating the Conservatives. Their projection was 37% Labour, 33% Liberal Democrat and 30% Conservative. Of course all the polls in the world don’t actually count for anything, it’s how you use your vote on Thursday that counts. However this poll does run very counter to the usual Labour line that the Lib-Dems just can’t win here.

My personal view is that people will vote this time for what they believe in, rather than vote against what they don’t. I suspect that this election will be very close, and I predict that there may be as few as 500 votes covering all three main parties.

6. Volunteering In Kimberley and Eastwood

Sessions have been set up in Kimberley library for people who are interested in volunteering. These are run by Voluntary action Broxtowe and further details can be obtained on 0115 917 8080.

7. Your Vote

I do hope that you will vote for me on Thursday, but the most important thing is that people actually go out and vote. Most of the worlds population do not get to vote at all, and in this country many people gave their lives to ensure that we could each have a vote. Please honour their memory by using your vote this Thursday.

Thank you as ever for your support for this newsletter. I will post the election results on Friday when they are announced, but there will be no newsletter next Saturday. After the stresses of the election I’ll be having a day off.

Best wishes