Monday, 20 December 2010

Broxtowe Enews 20th December 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough council. May I start by offering a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week. We are new very close to a significant milestone for subscribers, and I’m hoping we may make it before the new year. If neighbours would find this newsletter useful why not mention it to them. We’re at an all time high for the number of readers but 5 more and we tip over that milestone.

  1. Council Funding

Next years financial settlement from the government has now been announced. The official spin from the government was that Broxtowe had an 8.1% cut, but when we’ve actually analysed the figures it’s more like a 14% cut. The year after will see a further 11% reduction which means that over 2 years we will suffer a £2 million reduction in income from the government, down from £8 million to £6 million. As you can imagine this is extremely challenging for us and it will result in a reduction in service. I’m afraid that there is just no way of avoiding this, but we will minimise the impact on the front line as far as possible.

  1. Gritting

With the temperatures plummeting again in recent days I was reassured by the County Council last week that grit levels were holding up well. I was therefore very surprised to then receive a letter just a couple of days later to say that stocks were at critical levels and that only main roads were to be gritted. As regular readers will know the borough council has been gritting above and beyond the directions permitted by the county, but this has now been stopped I’m afraid. I don’t go as far as the Labour Party on the County Council who called on Highways Cabinet Member on the County Council (Chilwell Councillor Richard Jackson) to resign, as I’m not sure that it’s really his fault that it snowed a lot, but sending out such mixed messages certainly doesn’t help.

  1. Changes to Council Meetings

At the full council meeting last week councillors voted through a series of amendments to the way that council meetings operate which I had proposed. These are designed to make council meetings more open, relevant and interesting and they will come into force from the next meeting. One of the most significant changes is that the Youth Mayor will have the power to address the council and so next month 15 year old Tilly Stone, the current youth mayor, will become the first non-councillor ever to address a full council meeting in Broxtowe. Tilly attended the last council meeting as my guest and I’m sure she will rise to the occasion. The young people of Broxtowe made a very smart choice in choosing her to represent them.

  1. Trowell Christmas Tree

I was really disappointed to hear that a Christmas Tree planted in the churchyard in Trowell five years ago has been destroyed by vandals, just a year before it was due to start being used as the village Christmas Tree. The village had been looking forward to using the tree, and I think it was a really good idea to plant a special tree, and it’s such a shame that a piece of mindless vandalism has spoiled the plans. Trowell residents will now need to decide whether they are going to replant the tree or choose a different method in the future.

  1. Smithurst Meadows Nature Reserve

I’m delighted that Smithurst Meadows was officially adopted as the council’s tenth nature reserve. This is off Smithurst Way in Giltbrook. We have a target of declaring at least one new nature reserve every year until 2012 and are on course to achieve that.

  1. Attenborough Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve 2011 calendar is now available to buy online for £9.50 including post and packing from

  1. Kimberley Car Park

A petition was handed in to the council last week from residents in Kimberley calling for car park charges at the Victoria Street car park to be scrapped. I have already committed the council to reviewing car park charges after they have been in force for a year, and I stand by that. I think that we really need to see a years information before we can make a properly informed decision. I have checked the position and we are breaking even at the Victoria Street car park, and if we withdraw charges generally we do need to decide how we will raise the £300,000 each year that it costs to maintain our car parks, or which services or facilities we cut to make up for the drop in income. This will all be included in the review.

  1. Recycling in Beeston

Tesco in Beeston have been approached by the council to see if they will host a recycling bank for that part of Beeston. This came as a result of a suggestion from a local resident, for which I’m grateful. If there are other places that we should look at installing recycling centres please let me know.

  1. Fire Service Cuts

The Fire Service, like all public bodies, is looking to save money. They are considering doing this by withdrawing a number of fire engines, including one of the three based at Highfields Fire Station in Beeston. I haven’t seen the detail yet but my initial view is that this is the wrong thing to do. We are trying to save money with back-office functions (Broxtowe already share a number of services with other local councils to save residents money) whereas this seems to be a direct cut in front-line services.

  1. Beeston Wind Turbines

I reported a couple of weeks ago that Nottingham University were trying to obtain permission to install three giant wind turbines in Beeston. A residents group opposed to the idea has been formed, and their web site is at For balance the University’s page on the proposals is at

  1. Kimberley Brewery Homes

The second sale of Kimberley Brewery has now occurred, with the current houses on the site being auctioned last week. These have been bought by an unnamed investor for £790,000. I hope that the new owners will be able to offer the current tenants some peace of mind about their futures, something which they have not been able to enjoy for the past couple of years since Greene King put them onto very short contracts.

  1. Durban House

A council working group has spent several months looking at the future of Durban House. This is a lovely building in Eastwood, with a very tenuous link to DH Lawrence, but it costs the council £160,000 per year to run it. The working group have concluded that selling the building, and moving the museum that it houses to new accommodation, is the best option for the council. A decision on this will need to be taken early in the new year. I’ve already had emails from people telling me what a dreadful idea this is, but the reality is that the building is a costly white elephant and with the councils finances being squeezed so badly we are duty bound to consider this. I do stress that no decisions have been taken at this stage, but if we maintain the building we will need to identify where the money to run it will come from.

  1. Christmas Wishes

Christmas has started badly for me this year. In the same week the clutch on my car has gone and my laptop has died, never to be revived. I’m a thousand pounds out of pocket already! I hope that your Christmases will be everything that you want, and that Santa will be especially generous this year. My older daughter is hoping for a puppy, but she’ll be disappointed!

As ever than you for your support for this newsletter. This is the last newsletter for this year and we will resume service in 2011. I will however try and deal with any feedback and correspondence.

Best wishes