Saturday, 20 November 2010

Broxtowe Enews 20th November 2010

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

1. Chilwell Meadows estate

Yesterday I attended a meeting chaired by Anna Soubry at the council offices where we had all the developers who have been involved in this development present. For those of you who don’t know, the estate was built several years ago but the principal developer went bust, meaning that the roads and pavements were never finished. By getting everyone together we seem to have been able to overcome all the remaining problems, and the builders have promised that they will start work on the pavements on 6th December, completing the roads by the end of February, weather permitting. After many years of delay this is extremely good news for residents. I’m delighted to have been involved in bringing this to a conclusion, but I want to give the credit to AAnna Soubry whoo provided the impetus to get this resolves.

2. Bramcote Hills Golf Club

There is still no news on the eventual disposal of the land here but in the meantime the council have repainted the building (it is currently derelict) to cover the graffiti. I think that this has made a massive improvement to the area.

3. Stapleford Walk In Centre

Our campaign to prevent this being closed is proceeding full steam ahead. We now have more than 800 people on the Facebook page and so far the PCT have received back more than 150 consultation responses and 100 emails. This is unheard of for a consultation like this. We are still collecting signatures on the petition and hope that many more people will send in responses. The sheer weight of numbers here will have an effect. One point we have raised in the campaign is that the figures produced by the PCT don’t add up, and I understand that they are about to publish revised financial information.

4. Governance of the Council

The last Government, shortly before leaving office, passed new laws meaning that the way we currently run the council, with a leader and cabinet appointed by the council, can no longer be used. We have run a public consultation over the last few months about which of the two options we are now allowed to use is preferred and about 78% of people voted for the option with the minimum change, which is to have a leader appointed by the council who then appoints the cabinet. When people were asked why they preferred this many people said that they were happy with the way that the council was run at the moment and didn’t want any major changes. Thank you for this vote of confidence in us. The new system will come into force from May, immediately after the local council elections.

5. Council Tenants

A survey of satisfaction levels in Broxtowe council house tenants gave the council a 78% satisfaction rating. This is pleasing as the national average in 69%, but it also means that there is still room for improvement. I will be talking to the officers shortly about how we can get this figure higher.

6. Hetley Pearson recreation ground

The council is shortly to install a new park and children’s play area at the Hetley Pearson recreation ground, the land next to the old Beeston Rugby ground. This is being paid for by the developers of the estate. I have instructed the officers coordinating this that local schools are to be consulted to see what children want in the play area.

7. Community Action Trust Meetings

The next CAT meeting in Attenborough will be on 24th November at the Lucy & Vincent Brown Village Hall at 7pm. The next Stapleford South East CAT will be on 23rd November at Stapleford Care Centre at 7pm

8. Neville Sadler Court, Beeston

I attended a meeting at Neville Sadler Court yesterday with local residents. Also present were Anna Soubry MP and Nick Palmer. The residents of this sheltered housing scheme are understandably unhappy as part of the complex is to be demolished to make way for the tram. Nick and Anna both said that they were against the route, so it fell to me to be the pro-route spokesperson. I don’t know if they expected me to hide from this because of where I was but I won’t do this, and will hopefully always be honest with people about what I feel. There was actually a strong degree of agreement between all of us that the route argument was now over, and that what we had to do on behalf of the residents was to get them certainty about timings and exactly what is involved and ensure that they were properly supported during the move to new premises. I think most residents appreciated this, although one man was clearly only there for an argument. He was busy shouting and being abusive to Anna until I pointed out to him that she was on his side, so then he shouted at me instead.

9. Health and Safety at the Council

The borough council has a very good health and safety record, but I discovered recently that councillors have no oversight into this whatsoever. I have now changed this so that councillors will now receive health and safety monitoring information.

10. Footfall figures in Beeston

The average footfall figures for the number of shoppers in Beeston for the last few weeks have been lower than 2009, primarily because one week saw a drop of 23,000 people compared to 12 months ago. Someone asked me recently how this was monitored and I said I would find out and come back to them. I’m afraid that I then lost the email so I couldn’t respond personally, but the answer is that it is monitored by sensors on the High Road

11. Attenborough Nature System

There will be an exhibition of embroidered landscapes by artist Anne Harrison at Attenborough Nature Centre throughout November.

12. Greasley Recreation Park

Greasley parish council have decided to revamp their recreation park, costing have £30,000. This is despite opposition from local residents who suffer anti-social behaviour from users of the park and who have been asking for steps to be taken to prevent this.

13. Gritting

The county council will now provide information on what is being gritted and when on twitter at I’ve criticised the county council enough in the past but this seems to be a good idea so well done to them.

14. Freemen and Aldermen meeting

Next Thursday the borough council will be holding a special meeting to award the titles of freemen or aldermen of the borough to eight local residents who have contributed substantially to the life of the borough. This is a tradition which the council usually observe in the final year of every council.

15. Eastwood Age Concern Fund Raiser

Eastwood Age concern have a sixties night fundraiser on 3rd December. It will take place at the Greasley Welfare and features a live singer. Tickets cost £6 and are available from 01773 787130.

16. Fair Votes

The Fair Votes campaign have just launched a new video featuring veteran Ralph Hill, aged 86, explaining why he is voting in favour of the fairer voting system in the referendum next May. This is available here -

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Word of mouth remains our best form of advertising and many of the people who read this newsletter heard of it from other readers. Thank you for this. Any feedback is gratefully received.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Broxtowe Enews 14 November 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 the new readers that we have this week. Can I start by apologising for not replying to most of the emails that I have been sent this week, but I’ve had problems with my PC. Eventually I threatened to reprogram it with a mallet and that seems to have scared it into behaving itself!

1. Eastwood Christmas lights switch on

Asda in Langley Mill have donated £2,000 towards the cost of the switch on of the Christmas lights in Eastwood, so this will hopefully be a truly memorable event. You may recall from my reports in the summer that the lights in Eastwood are completely new this year and have been provided by the borough council, with a contribution also from the town council.

2. Kimberly lights switch on

I didn’t have the date of this last week so thanks to Cllr Mel Crow for providing it. Kimberley lights will be switched on 26th November at 7pm. Richard Spurr from Radio Nottingham is performing the switching on.

3. Stapleford town centre litter pick

Stapleford’s Lib-Dem mayor Kevin Thomas led a group of local people who worked with the Keep AStapleford Tidy group on 4th November during the town’s annual litter pick, during which they collected 8 sacks of rubbish from the town centre. This is an excellent effort, but how sad it is that there were 8 sacks full of rubbish laid around the town.

4. New website for Trowell parish council

Trowell Parish Council are launching their new community website on 30th November at 8pm. The website will cover any events going on in Trowell, and can be found at

5. Free tree giveaway

Broxtowe Borough Council is giving away more free trees. After last year's successful event the Council is giving away a range of pot grown trees, which are easy to handle, store and plant. The trees which can be planted in front and back gardens are between 0.5 metre and 1 metre in height and perfect for planting now. The trees will be available to residents of the Borough at a series of events in late November and early December. This year the number of free tree events has been extended and the Council will be working with 5 parish/town councils to increase the number of locations across the Borough where trees will be available.

To qualify all residents need to do is turn up at the designated time and date with some identification which contains your home address.

Up to 3 trees are available per resident, allocated on first come first served basis. The trees are funded by the Broxtowe Borough Partnership as part of the Borough Council's campaign to plant 100,000 new trees over a 5 year period.

The tree species that are available are all British Natives and include Birch, Cherry, Crab Apple, Field Maple, Hazel and Rowan. Trees play an important part in reducing temperatures and help provide shade. Trees also help to make towns and gardens more attractive and provide homes for wildlife. All those taking park in the free tree initiative are helping the Borough Council towards its target of planting 100,000 new trees.

For more information about the tree giveaway event contact Broxtowe Borough Council Parks and Environment on 0115 917 7777

The events will take at the following venues:

Beeston – Beeston Square, Saturday 20th November, 10.00am – 2.00pm
Eastwood – Eastwood Library, Saturday 27th November, 10.00am – 2.00pm
Nuthall – Temple Centre, Nottingham Road, Nuthall, Saturday 27th November, 10.00am - 12 noon
Trowell – Trowell Parish Hall, Stapleford Road, Trowell, Monday 29th November, 11.00am – 1.00pm and Sunday 5th December, 11.00am – 1.00pm
Stapleford - Albany Allotments, Pasture Road, Stapleford, Sunday 21st November, 10.00am – 1.00pm
Kimberley– Parish Hall, Newdigate Street, Kimberley, Saturday 27th November, 10.00am – 2.00pm
Awsworth – Shilo Recreation Ground, Meadow Road, Awsworth, Saturday 27th November, 10.00am - 12 noon

6. Castle College

Castle College, which has venues throughout Broxtowe, is to proceed with it’s merger with South Notts College, and it has now been announced that this will happen on 1st April next year. Whilst I recognise that this merger is probably necessary to secure the long term survival of the colleges, I am very worried that it will lead to the closure of facilities within Broxtowe.

7. Using new technology

We had a first in the council at the Development Control Committee on Wednesday evening. Nuthall councillor Jill Owen is ill at the moment, and has been told to avoid contact with anyone who might be carrying germs, and so she has been unable to attend council meetings. On Wednesday evening she was actually able to appear by video link and to participate in the meeting. I’m delighted that we are able to use new technology to enable residents to be represented when otherwise they simply would have been disenfranchised.

8. Long Eaton Textiles

The council agreed on Wednesday to grant permission for the building of a new housing estate on the site of the old Long Eaton Textiles site on Bye Pass Road in Chilwell. The estate will have 85 houses and flats, accessed from two roads. The developers will also provide money for refurbishing children’s play areas in the local area.

9. Broxtowe Youth Mayor

Congratulations to Tilly Stone, who has been elected as the new youth mayor for Broxtowe. She succeeds Kerry Pink, who did an excellent job. I look forward to meeting her soon.

10. Beeston Wind Turbines

There will be a public meeting to discuss the proposal by Nottingham University to install three wind turbines close to Beeston Rylands on the edge of the Trent. This will be at the Leyton Crescent Community Centre in Beeston Rylands on 22nd November at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

11. Beeston Wildlife Group

Also in Beeston Rylands the Beeston Wildlife Group are having a talk about the Island of Skye (one of my favourite places to holiday) by mountaineer Gordon Gadsby at Trent Vale Infants School on 15th November at 7.30pm. Entrance costs £2.

12. Regional Spatial Strategy

You may recall that this was the policy by the last Government to determine how many houses would be built in each borough in the country, and where they had decided that Broxtowe could somewhere accommodate an extra 6,500 houses. This was scrapped by Eric Pickles in one of his first actions as the new Secretary of State for local government. However the High Court has now ruled that the power he did this under did not allow him to act in this way and so they have declared his actions invalid. I understand that the Government will be bringing legislation forward shortly to scrap the strategy, which would be lawful, and so we will get back to the same place, but in the mean time the threat that we thought we had seen off to the green belt has been revived. The sooner it is killed off for ever the better.

13. Petitions

We have two petitions running at the moment, one to save the Walk In Centre in Stapleford, and the other to save the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux in Beeston. The CAB has had a huge amount of it’s funding pulled by the County Council, and given that it provides a vital service to thousands of local residents each year we are concerned about the future. The manager of Broxtowe CAB came to speak to the Lib-Dem councillors last week and as a result we are now collecting signatures on a petition in support. If you would like to collect signatures for either of these let me know and I’ll let you have petition forms.

14. Office Map

It may be a very little thing but I’ve achieved something that no other leader of the council has achieved for the last thirty years. There has been a map of the borough on the wall in the leaders office for the last thirty years or so, and it has obviously been getting more and more out of date. As an example, my own estate, which was built in the 1980’s, doesn’t appear on it. I’ve now managed to get it replaced with an up to date map, showing the borough as it is now. Hopefully it won’t still be there is another 30 years time!

As ever thanks for your support for this newsletter and any feedback is gratefully received.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

Broxtowe Enews 7th November 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 the new readers we have this week.

1. Open Cast Mining

I attended a meeting of all the affected parish councils this morning which was organised by Anna Soubry MP. All the parishes have agreed to work together to oppose these plans. We had a good pooling of ideas this morning and will by organising a public meeting shortly. I did read a moaning email from the Labour Party saying that they hadn’t been invited. In fact their parish and borough councillors were invited, and one of their borough councillors did attend. Unfortunately he seemed to leave after about ten minutes without saying anything, which was a shame.

2. Christmas Lights Switch On

The dates for switching on the Christmas lights across the borough have been announced. Stapleford will be on 2nd December, Eastwood on 23rd November and Beeston on 27th November. I don’t have a date for Kimberley yet but will announce it when I have it.

3. Trowell Parish Web Site

Trowell Parish Council are launching a new web site on 30th November dealing with events local to the village. When I have the address I’ll post it here.

4. Bus Display Boards

The County Council have now approved plans to install a range of real time bus display boards across the borough showing which bus will be coming next and how far away it is. Much of the funding for this is provided by Broxtowe Borough Council, as part of our contribution to funding improvements to public transport.

5. Youth Council

Congratulations to 16 year old George Fletcher from Beeston who will represent Broxtowe at the UK Youth parliament. George was elected by young people from across the borough.

6. Stapleford Walk In Centre

The official consultation on the future of the Stapleford Walk In Centre is now open. We have had a fantastic response to our opposition to this, with hundreds of people joining the Facebook page and signing our petitions. I hope that everyone who has asked for a petition has now received it, but if not please let me know again and I’ll get them straight out to you. We do need as many people as possible to complete the formal consultation so please make a point of doing so. The NHS have been very rattled by the strength of the opposition to their proposals, and I’m delighted that they are now starting to realise the strength of feeling about their proposals.

7. Privatising Postal Workers

Anna Soubry seems to have found herself in a bit of hot water over a speech she gave in parliament over plans to part privatise the Royal Mail. (Incidentally although my party support these proposals I’m personally against them as I think that the Royal Mail is a national asset which should stay in wholly public ownership.) Anna said in parliament that she had received no letters from postal workers about these proposals, although she had been lobbied by a couple against the proposals. People have pointed out that this seems to contrast sharply with an article she wrote in the Beeston Express where she said she had received 300 post cards from people against the proposals.

8. Public meeting on Israel-Palestine.

There is an opportunity to hear a first-hand eye-witness account of daily life under occupation in the West Bank, what the Israeli peace movement is doing, and what we can do to promote a just peace in Israel-Palestine. Jan Sutch Pickard has recently been an international monitor for the Quaker Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme, living among the Palestinians for 3 months and monitoring the check-points through the wall. Sunday 21 November, 4:30 – 6:00 pm at Round Hill School, Foster Avenue, Beeston, NG9 1AE. Chair: Anna Soubry MP. All welcome. More details from 0115 925 0385.

9. Attenborough Calendar

The 2011 Attenborough Nature Reserve Calendar is now on sale from the visitors centre, showing a number of pictures taken by local amateur photographers. They cost £7.50 and proceeds go to the Notts Wildlife Trust.

10. Albany School Roof

My colleague Cllr Brian Wombwell is pressing for urgent repairs to be carried out to the roof at Albany Junior School after it was revealed that they have suffered from a leaking roof now for five years. I totally agree with Brian that this is far too long and I hope that his intervention will force the County Council to address matters.

11. Local Economic Partnerships

I’ve mentioned before that the Government plans are to replace the Regional Development Agencies (Including EMDA which dealt with the east midlands) with Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs), which are comprised of local authorities and local businesses. A new LEP has now been approved for Notts and Derby, which is what we had hoped for. However Cllr Kay Cutts, the leader of the County Council, is now trying to exclude any of the district councils from being on the board. I have spoken to most of the other leaders of the district councils in Nottinghamshire and we are all extremely angry and intend to challenge her all the way on this.

12. Lib-Dem Membership

Have you ever considered being a member of a political party. Here in the Liberal Democrats all members have an equal say, and all our decisions are taken on the basis of one member one vote. Membership costs as little as £10 per year (less for students) and here in Broxtowe we now have a higher membership than for many years. (Nationally the Lib-Dems have also had a massive increase in membership this year.) If you would like to join we would be delighted to have you. Just let me know and I’ll be round with the forms.

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