Saturday, 25 September 2010

Broxtowe Enews 25th September 2010

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

1. Chetwynd Barracks Estate

A good public meeting took place on Wednesday to discuss the state of the roads on the Chetwynd Barracks estate. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend because of a pre-existing business commitment in Cardiff. Briefly the problem is that the developer went into administration leaving the roads unbuilt and unadopted by the council. The County Council won’t adopt them until they are built and the developers have contributed money towards their upkeep. TThe council have been trying to resolve the problems for the past few years, but have to date been unable to do so. Anna Soubry, as our new MP, has got involved and contacted all the relevant people. She has managed to identify that the developers had already put the money to build the roads into a separate account and it may well be possible therefore to get this work done sooner rather than later. I hope I will always be fair in my comments on other people and I do think that Anna deserves credit for her intervention. Certainly matters have progressed more in the past couple of months than they appear to have done all year prior to now.

What I am less impressed with is that since I became leader of the council not one of the local councillors (who are all Conservatives) has contacted me about the problem or even tried to draw it to my attention. I’ve checked with my predecessor and they never raised it with him either. This is disappointing as local councillors are there to represent local people and deal with issues exactly like this.

2. Meeting with Kay Cutts

I have a meeting on Monday morning with Kay Cutts, the leader of the County Council. I will be stressing how the cuts that they are making are impacting on local people here in the borough and also expressing my strong concern that the County Council are hanging on to money which they have previously paid through to the borough councils. Doing this directly impacts on the services that we are able to provide to local people.

3. Chilwell School

Chilwell school are currently raising money to refurbish the theatre, which is used by the community as well as by the school. They have two events coming up. On Saturday 9th October at 7.30pm in conjunction with Beeston Probus, Paradiso Cinema presents Singin’ in the Rain at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West. Tickets on the door - £5. Second on Friday October 22nd at 7.30pm Village Ventures present Vertigo by the Oxfordshire Theatre Company at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West, tickets £8, £6 (conc), £24 family (2 adults + 2 children), available on 0115 925 2698 or 07584 263893

Made famous by Alfred Hitchcock in his 1958 film of the same name, Vertigo is a story of obsessive love and an almost perfect murder. Age 14+.

4. Stapleford NHS Walk In Centre

I mentioned the rumours that this is to close last week. I’ve now been notified that a public consultation will begin on the 1st November about the provision of services at the centre, so we’ll have a better idea then about exactly what the NHS are proposing. As soon as I have further information I’ll post it.

5. Lib-Dem Conference

We had an extremely good Lib-Dem conference this week. We firmly set out our policies as a party and hopefully killed off some of the silly stories about us being split as a party. The reality is that our membership is up, both nationally and locally, and we have already accomplished a lot in Government. Scrapping ID cards and the surveillance state, scrapping plans to build all over the green belt and restoring the link between pensions and earnings were all Lib-Dem policies which have now come into force.

6. Council Tax Revaluation

Another Lib-Dem policy was that there would not be a revaluation of properties for council tax. The Government have now ruled this out for the lifetime of this parliament which means that there will be no unexpected rises in council tax.

7. Crime Rates

Crime rates in Nottinghamshire have fallen in August to the lowest since 2002, which is encouraging. However not all crime is recorded (the highly reputable British Crime Survey suggests that less than half of all crime is) and even if crime falls that’s only half the battle as people also need to feel safer before success can really be claimed. This change is still to happen.

8. Beeston Tip

There was a risk that Beeston tip could be forced to close because of an industrial dispute between Veolia, who run the tip, and the GMB union. I’m pleased to report that this threat has now been lifted as the two sides have managed to reach agreement.

9. Runners Wanted

Broxtowe Sport have set up a new running club in Brinsley and is appealing for members. The first meeting will be on 18th October at Brinsley Recreation Ground, starting at 6.30pm. Runners of all ages and abilities are invited to attend. Further details can be obtained on 01773 770100. Also on the subject of running entries are now open for the annual Goose Fair Gallop, which starts from Kimberley Leisure Centre. Details can be found on

10. Stapleford Litter Pick

There will be a community litter pick in Stapleford on Staurday 9th October from 10am to midday. This will be led by the Lib-Dem mayor of the town, Kevin Thomas. Everyone is invited to help. Meet at the Carnegie Centre on Warren Avenue at 10am.

11. Poland Trip

A group of councillors from Broxtowe have been in Poland this week, promoting links between there and here. Before anyone raises the issues of expenses I’m pleased to report that each councillor paid their own costs of travelling and none of it fell on the public purse.

12. Ed Milliband

Congratulations to Ed Milliband on being elected as the new Labour leader. I hope that Labour will now tell us how they intended to cut £44 billion from the budgets, which they promised before the election but seem to have forgotten since. I’m pleased to see that Labour use the AV system to elect their leader, so hopefully they will support that for electing MP’s in the future. However I am extremely confused about how Mr Milliband managed to win when he wasn’t the choice of either the members of the party or the MP’s!

As always thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Broxtowe Enews 19th September 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council. A special welcome to our new subscribers, which this week include Anna Soubry’s office manager. That’s fine, this service is read by members of all three political parties and many members of none.

1. Stapleford LIFT Project

There have been rumours circulating in Stapleford that the Lift Project, or parts of it, are to close. I had a meeting with the chair of the Primary Care Trust this week so we asked him about that. He told me that the PCT are reviewing the use of all their buildings, and they do recognise that the Lift has never been fully utilised and always has had spare space. However he also said that, as the building was financed under a PFI agreement the PCT will have to pay £500,000 a year for the next twenty years or so, whether or not they were using the building. To my mind this shows the craziness of the PFI scheme. Millions of pounds of public money which would otherwise have been available to spend on patients goes instead to the banks and bankers who hold the purse strings.

2. Rylands Methodist Church 60th Anniversary

During 2011, Rylands Methodist Church will be celebrating 60 years since its opening in 1951. The church is planning many activities throughout the year, including special services, concerts, a street party, film shows and a pub quiz. There will also be involvement with the national Biblefresh initiative. It is also planned to produce an Anniversary booklet about the history of the church. If anyone has any memories of the church including Boys & Girls Club, camps and the many other activities the church has put on over the years, could they please get in touch.

In November 2010, the church will host ‘An Evening with Syd Little’. The well known comedian will talk about his life, work and his Christian conviction. It will not be all talk - singing and Syd’s brand of comedy will be part of the evening. It will take place at Chilwell School Theatre, November 2nd (7.30pm.). Further details of all these events and tickets for the Syd Little evening can be obtained from Geoff Bagley: Tel:0115 9258801, email:

3. Apple Day

Local writer Dave Wood will be reading a specially written piece on Saturday 25th September 2010 at the Albany Allotments, Stapleford. Everyone is welcome to attend.

4. Recycling

The Government pay money to the County Council each year for the amount of waste that they put through recycling. The County Council then pass the money on to the borough councils as it is us who collect the material in the first place. This year the County Council have suddenly announced that they will not be doing so and they will be keeping the money for themselves. This means that Broxtowe will lose £52,000 next year. Putting it into context, this is equivalent to a 1% increase on council tax. I have a meeting next week with Kay Cutts and this will be at the top of my agenda.

5. Political Meetings

Having mentioned that I’ll be having a meeting with Kay Cutts it gives me the opportunity to mention that I have been invited to meet Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Local Government, next month in London. I’ll be taking the opportunity to press the case for Broxtowe to try to make sure that we get a fair deal from central Government. I’m grateful to our new MP Anna Soubry for arranging this meeting.

6. Anna Soubry

The Evening Post reported a story last week that Anna Soubry has called for police officers to be prosecuted if they lie in court. Anna was a barrister working in the criminal justice system before being elected and so she’s able to share her experiences of practice with fellow MP’s. This sort of real life experience is vital for parliament. Too many of our MP’s have spent all their working lives in the Westminster bubble and don’t know what the real world is like. So far I think that Anna has done a reasonable job as our MP, and she seems to have sought to involve local councillors of all parties in matters, which is what one would hope for from an MP. (I still think I’d have done the job better though!)

7. Local Radio

Of wider interest than for just Broxtowe is the announcement that Trent FM, our local radio station, is to merge with Ram FM and Leicester Sound, to create a new station called Capital FM East Midlands. I’m really not sure that this will be a benefit for the local community. My immediate thought on hearing the news was “Who will they shout for in the football derbies/”

8. Crown Inn

The Crown Inn in Beeston, which won the CAMRA Nottinghamshire pub of the year award earlier this year, has now gone one better and won the East Midlands title. It now goes on to the national finals.

9. Free Tai Chi

Universe tai Chi, who meet at the Cliffe Hill Avenue Community Centre in Stapleford, are offering free taster sessions for newcomers on 26th September between 6.30pm and 8.00pm. For more details ring Pete Watson on 0115 916 2231.

10. Register to Vote

Just a quick reminder that registration forms have been sent out for people to ensure that they are included on the electoral roll. Registering will be even more important than normal this year as next years elections will also include the referendum on changes to the voting system, a campaign that I fully support.

11. Health Factsheets

The Health protection Agency has launched a range of factsheets giving information about local levels of health and sickness. These can be viewed at

12. County Council Redundancies

The County Council have advertised internally for staff to apply for voluntary redundancy. Incredibly in excess of 2,000 people, or 1 in 6 of their workforce, have applied. At the moment this does not commit the council to losing that many people, nor does it commit the staff to go, but I understand that the vast majority of people who have applied will be given the opportunity to take redundancy.

13. Beestonia Blog

Readers in the south of the borough may well have come across the Beestonia Blog, which has been running for a number of years. It provides a witty and irreverent commentary on local life. Sadly it is to close, as blogger Matt Goode is moving away from Beeston to the North West of England. This is a real shame as I’ve been a loyal reader for some time.

14. Notts County Cricket Club

Finally, through gritted teeth, may I congratulate Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club on winning this years County Championship. It’s through gritted teeth as I’m a Yorkshireman and Yorks pushed Notts all the way. Sadly we fell just short.

As ever any feedback will be gratefully received (apart from gloating cricket fans).

Best wishes


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Broxtowe Enews 11th September 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council. A special welcome especially to the new readers that we have this week.

Although September sees the restart of many activities I’m afraid that this newsletter may not cover everything that it should as I’m afraid that I left my notes in my office and I’m having to do this from memory. Hopefully I’ll cover everything but if not I’ll add them next week.

1. Stanton to Trowell Road – As you may know the developers wanting to build at Stanton in Erewash had proposed a new road coming into Trowell, which would have been the main way of getting out of the new development and would have resulted in gridlock. My colleague Ken Rigby, as well as many local residents, objected to this new road being built and I’m pleased to say that the developers have now abandoned the idea.

2. Bramcote History Group – As part of the Heritage Open Days Bramcote History Group will be having a display at St Michaels Church tomorrow (Sunday) showing the history of Bramcote and also selling copies of their new book on Bramcote during the war. The original print run of this ran out so it has been reprinted, and is available for £7.99.

3. Cossall Church – The church has been granted permission to replace the roof with modern material rather than with lead, as the lead has been stolen on a number of times recently. Whilst it is disappointing that they have had to do this the decision makes absolute sense.

4. Boundary Review – As part of the electoral reforms being brought forward by the Government they want to redraw constituency boundaries so that every MP represents more or less the same number of people. This seems extremely fair to me. The bill has been through the House of Commons and will now proceed to the House of Lords. It does however mean that in all probability the constituencies in Broxtowe will have to change. At the moment Broxtowe borough falls into two constituencies, Eastwood and Brinsley are in Ashfield and the rest of the borough is in the Broxtowe constituency. Both of these are larger than the 71,000 voter target for the redrawn boundaries, so alterations are likely to be needed. My personal preference, if the numbers work out, would be for a Broxtowe North and a Broxtowe South constituency, but the council will be looking at this in more detail later and making submissions when invited to do so.

5. Nuthall Graveyard – Broxtowe Borough Council has agreed to provide half the funding for running Nuthall Graveyard, which is owned by the parish council. They had asked for help with the costs and we’ve been happy to oblige.

6. Beeston Graveyard – Beeston Graveyard is getting full and the council on Tuesday looked at options for the future. We have agreed to explore two options, extending Chilwell Graveyard and also developing a new one at Bramcote crematorium. We have ruled out using some of Beeston Fields Park, which was one option that had been suggested. In the meantime some trees will be removed from Beeston Graveyard (the low grade ones, not the more established and prominent ones, which will extend it’s life for a further couple of years.

7. Chetwynd Barracks Estate – As residents who live on the Chetwynd Barracks estate will probably be aware, the major developer of the site went into administration leaving roads uncompleted and the public open space unfinished. I saw a letter that Anna Soubry sent to local residents last weekend saying that this was the fault of the borough council. It isn’t and it was extremely disappointing that Anna has said this. The council have now agreed to take over the ownership of the land for public space and also to fund the improvements necessary to make the site usable. Despite what Anna said the Conservatives on the council acted spoke against doing this! Work should start pretty quickly on this.

8. A52 Improvements – Work has now begin by the Highways Agency to carry out repairs and improvements to the A52. Unfortunately they managed to carry out the noisiest part of the work between 2am and 3.30 am on Wednesday, waking many local residents. My colleague Steve Carr, the local ward councillor, was one of those woken and Steve received 25 calls from local residents by 9am the next morning. He and I arranged for the Highways Agency to be contacted immediately, and they have apologised and promised that this will not occur again.

9. Street Lights – The County Council have decided to switch off or dim many street lights to save money. On main routes lights will be dimmed between 10pm and 7am and on minor routes they will be switched off between midnight and 5.30am. The work will actually cost £3 million but will save £1 million per year. The concern is that it will lead to increased crime or increased accidents, but we will need to wait and see what happens with these.

10. Stapleford Tip – Stapleford Tip was closed by the county council at the end of August. The borough council, who own the land, have decided that we will use it in the short term for storage of vehicles. This saves many vehicles having to drive to the current depot at Kimberley just to drive back again the next day, or even later that day, and should enable us to improve the services that we offer.

11. Garden waste Collections – as a measure to save money the borough council will not be collecting garden waste during December, January and February. The amount of material collected during this period is always very low and so it seems a sensible step to take. All three political parties agreed to this.

12. Greener Businesses – The borough council want to help businesses cut the amount of waste that they produce, and have just launched a consultation with local businesses about how to do this.

13. The Olympics – A team has been in Broxtowe this week seeking volunteers to help with the Olympics in two years time. If you missed them and are interested in participating then you can log on to their web site to volunteer:

14. The County Council have launched a “Big Conversation” with local residents about how they will cut their spending in the future. Whilst I have been a regular critic of the county council I do applaud this. It’s about time they started talking to people, and I hope that they will listen to the answers that they are given. You can participate in this using their website at Whilst this is going on a number of Labour activists seem to be flooding the local papers with letters saying that cuts are unnecessary, which seems an awful attempt to rewrite history. Before the election the Labour Party were telling us that they would have to make massive cuts, they just wouldn’t tell us where they would do this. Here in Broxtowe we’ve tried to cut back office functions and have concentrated on maintaining the service we provide to local residents.

15. Printing Service – Just a quick advert. I’ve set up a new business providing cheap printing services for local residents. I can do 1,000 A4 sheets double sided for £40. If you’d like to use this service please ring me on 07854 409628.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. We now have an all time record number of subscribers and word of mouth remains our best form of advertising.

Best wishes