Sunday, 3 October 2010

Broxtowe Enews 3rd October 2010

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

1. Beeston Town Centre

This is the big news this week. I’m afraid that after more than a year of negotiations with the leaseholders, plans to redevelop Beeston Town square have collapsed. I put the blame for this completely at the door of the leaseholders. We have between us managed to agree all the terms bar one, which was that they refused to give us a commitment to start work within a reasonable time. We were asking for them to agree to start within four years, which is the industry standard, but rather than do this they have broken of negotiations. From the council’s point of view this was something we had to insist on, as otherwise there would be no commitment from the developer to actually ever start work.

As a council we now have two options, we either get them back round the negotiating table or we find another developer. I will put my efforts into exploring both avenues. It would be far better and cheaper if we could run with the existing leaseholder and bringing in a new developer would put matters back a considerable time, but I’m not prepared to sell Beeston short just to get a quick deal. Whatever we agree must be right for the town and the borough.

2. Tesco in Eastwood

Rumours are circulating that Tesco are wanting to open a Tesco Express in Hilltop, Eastwood. Tesco haven’t confirmed this but they haven’t done anything to quell the story. A number of people have contacted the council asking us to block it, but I’m afraid that we simply don’t have the power to do that. If they need planning permission, which is not certain, then the identity of the applicant is something that the Development Control Committee are prohibited by law from considering. We can’t for instance say that we don’t want Tesco but we would have John Lewis as that would be unlawful.

3. Shoppers in Beeston

The Borough Council records the number of people visiting Beeston each week, (the “footfall figure”) and I’m pleased to say that it shows there has been s sustained increase over 2009. Every week bar one through the summer saw more people visiting Beeston than the year before. This provides a very good answer to those critics who said that introducing parking charges would kill the town. It hasn’t, and because the car parks have more spaces now, it has led to an increase in shoppers. (I read a headline in an opposition leaflet in Bramcote this week declaring car park charges a failure but this seems to totally ignore the facts. How sad that some politicians still behave like this.) I know that there are some problems with displacement of parking onto local streets bbut we will try and address these.

4. Durban House

One issue that the council is looking at to save money, which I have commented on previously, is whether or not we can afford to keep open Durban House in Eastwood. Before we make any decisions however the council have formed a working group to look at all the options and possibilities that there are. I’ve already read how both the Labour and Conservative parties are going to fight to keep it open so I was very surprised on Thursday when no Labour councillors attended the working group, and neither did any Conservatives. It was only Liberal Democrats who attended! You may consider whether or not their claims to be supporting Durban House are borne out by their actions.

5. Campaign to fight hate crime

My council colleague Ken Rigby has launched the boroughs councils initiative on to fight hate crime, together with Notts Police and the Council for Equalities and Human Rights. Hate crimes are utterly repugnant and I’m glad that the council is being pro-active in trying to stamp them out.

6. Kimberley Brewery

SOBS, the residents organisation trying to resolve the problems of Kimberley Brewery and bring in some investment to redevelop the site have reformed. Their next meeting will be at Kimberley Parish Hall on 19th October, and anyone interested would be welcome to attend. I think the group has started up again as a response to the false claims made by a local councillor during the Kimberley By Election, where a claim was made that a huge and exciting redevelopment was about to happen. Sadly this just wasn’t true.

7. Older Persons Borough Roadshow

Older residents will have the opportunity to attend a road show for the over 55's. Broxtowe’s older persons information roads how will be at Assemblies of God Church, Hilltop, Eastwood on 13 October, from 10.00am. Anyone aged over 55 is welcome to visit.

8. School Governor

My daughters school announced at the start of term that they had vacancies for four parent governors. I’m pleased to say that a couple of neighbours were kind enough to nominate me for one of the places, but I’m really excited to report that the school have had eleven nominations for the four spaces. It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people are willing to take an interest and volunteer to play a part in their children’s education. Thank you to everyone who has put their names forward. School governors aren’t paid, and it is people willing to volunteer who are the bedrock on which this country can go forward and thrive.

9. Council Meetings

At the council meeting on Wednesday we will debate a range of changes to council meetings to improve democracy and make them more effective. Amongst the options that I’ve put forward which I’m asking members to consider are giving a voice to the youth mayor and the youth council, to introducing public question times and to allowing any councillor to raise a matter of concern to their ward, rather than the agenda being set simply by the leader. I appreciate that this is giving a way a bit of the (very limited) power that I have but I firmly think that this is the right thing to do and that democracy will be enhanced by it.

10. Hoax 999 Calls

I’m pleased to report that there has been a drop of 22% in the number of hoax calls to Nottinghamshire’s fire brigade. Much of this is down to increased education of school children, which is clearly bearing fruit. Not only does each call cost money, but it also means that crews may not be available to deal with real emergencies, and so this is extremely good news.

11. Roy Tomlinson

I was very sorry to hear of the death of Roy Tomlinson, who was for many years the chair of Nottinghamshire Pensioners Action Group. He was a regular correspondent arguing the case for older people, and he will be sadly missed. I’m sorry that, despite corresponding over a number of issues, I never got to meet him in person.

12. Carbon Management Scheme

I’m pleased to say that Broxtowe are one of three councils who have signed up to the East Midlands Carbon Management Programme, the others being Rushcliffe and Newark. The aim is to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprints in each authority. We will all work together to share best practice and good ideas.

13. Priory Celtic FC

Priory Celtic football club, who are based in Kimberley, have launched a new youth team for players with physical disabilities or behavioural problems. I’m delighted with this and I hope that other teams will come forward so that a new five a side league can be formed. For information please contact Kevin Bonington on 01773 714486.

Thank you as ever for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback you have will be gratefully received.