Saturday, 29 January 2011

Broxtowe Enews 29th January 2011

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.

1. Sainsbury’s, Kimberley

Sainsbury's in Kimberley is to extend. Planning permission has been granted and the larger store will in future carry electrical items and clothing as well as the current range of items. 40 new jobs (some full time, some part time) will be created.

2. Victoria Street Car Park Kimberley

The council is to introduce reduced prices for season tickets for Victoria Street Car Park. The new price will be £40 per quarter, which is reduced from £125 at present.

3. Affordable homes in Eastwood

22 new affordable homes are to be opened this week in Eastwood – this is more than were built during the whole of the last financial year. I’m very pleased to see this development coming on line.

4. Walk And Talk Events

Broxtowe Borough Council is putting on walk and talk events in Moorgreen each Monday and Wednesday with a walk of a couple of miles and a chance to get to know new people. More information is available on 0115 988 5542

5. Chinese New Year

Saturday February 5th sees the Chinese new year celebrations. The council still funds this, although not to the extent that we used to. There will be a series of events in Beeston Square from 10 - 12.30. Furtther information is available on from 917 3695.

6. School Crossing in Kimberley

Parents in Kimberley have launched a petition to have a new school crossing installed in Nottingham Road near the junction with Noel Street and Broomhill Road, to help prevent accidents. I will report on how this progresses in future editions.

7. Fight The Library Cuts Campaign

There will be a read in at libraries across Broxtowe, especially Beeston and Stapleford, on Saturday 5th February as part of the campaign to prevent the county council from cutting back on the hours and facilities that libraries offer.

8. Middle Street Resource Centre

For those who don’t know the Middle Street Resource Centre in Beeston offers a first rate service for people suffering with mental health difficulties. The county council consulted on closing it and a vigorous campaign was launched against that. I’ve posted below the most recent message from the campaigners in full so that you can see the achievements to date and the further efforts that are needed.

Dear Friend of Middle St Resource Centre,

Last year many of us service users wrote letters to ask Notts County Council not to close Middle St Resource Centre. That has had some success, but now the plan is to keep Middle St open but only for very severely ill people. This will mean that those of us who are being kept well by the support of staff and other service users will not be able to use the Centre any more.

If you care about the well-being of anyone you know who attends the Centre - a friend, family member, fellow church member etc - would you please write a letter or send an email to say that they should be able to keep using the Centre. You can address it "Dear Cabinet Member".

You don't have to name names or identify health conditions if you don't want to. This campaign is being co-ordinated by service users at the Centre. Please either email your support back to us or write a letter and give it to the service user concerned, or send it to:

Karen Medd

Middle St Advocacy Group (MiStAG)
C/O 74 Middle St
Notts NG9 2AR
MiStAG members will ensure that everything gets to the decision makers. If you have any questions you can ask them via this email address.
Please do not involve staff at Middle St as this is a service user-led campaign. Closing date is 18th February.

Many thanks for your support.


9. GP Consortium

Primary Care Trusts, which run much of the NHS, are being abolished by the Government (and good riddance). Most funding decisions will now be taken by local GP’s, and in Broxtowe a consortium has been formed to coordinate these decisions. The doctors elected to manage this are Kelvin
Lim, Mike O'Neill, Andrew Hopwood and Guy Mansford.

10. Trip to Downing Street

On Wednesday of this week I will be at 10 Downing Street for a reception for Liberal Democrat council leaders. I’ve never been before and I’m looking forward to the experience.

11. Kimberley Brewery

I met the new owners of Kimberley Brewery last week. The new owner (Rafiq) seems to be a very approachable man with a willingness to engage with local people. His opening comment to us was that “if it works for local people it works for us,” and so I am very hopeful that we will get a long term development which benefits local residents. I have urged him to meet with SOBS, the local pressure group, which he has agreed to do.

12. Broxtowe Youth Council

I attended the meeting of Broxtowe Youth Council on Tuesday of this week. This comprises representatives from all the secondary schools in the borough. It was inspiring to hear them at work. They have already produced some really high quality material to deal with issues affecting young people and are looking at a range of topics to explore further. The current youth mayor, Tilly Stone, is an exceptional leader and a real standard bearer for young people. The youth council also led the act of remembrance on Thursday for Holocaust Memorial Day which I found exceptionally powerful.

13. Bramcote Park School

Bramcote Park Sport, Business and Enterprise School has been named as one of the 100 most improved schools in the country for GCSE results this year. Congratulations to all the staff and students in achieving this.

14. Bird watching in Attenborough

A bird watching session will be held at Attenborough Nature Reserve on Wednesday 2nd February at 10am. If you want to participate meet at the ticket machine in the main car park. Details are available from 0115 983 0946.

15. Open cast Mining

A private members bill is being introduced to the House of Commons next month which would ban open cast mining within 500 metres of a settlement. This is highly important for us locally as, if it becomes law, the proposed open cast mining between Trowell and Cossall would almost certainly not take place. The bill needs the support of 100 MP’s to have any chance of becoming law and I’m pleased that our MP, Anna Soubry, is backing it.

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


Saturday, 22 January 2011

Broxtowe Enews 22nd January 2011

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. I mentioned just before Christmas that I was hoping we would hit a new target for readers by the end of the year. We didn’t quite do it, but with our first subscriber of the new year we got there. We already have a new target to work towards for new readers, which is to have a further 1000 new readers by Easter. We’ll see how we get on with that.

Sorry that there wasn’t a newsletter last week but I was away for a couple of days.

1. Wind turbine

We already have proposals from Nottingham University to install three giant wind turbines in Beeston Rylands, and now Severn Trent have applied for permission to install a turbine in Greasley. This will be determined by the council’s Development Control Committee in due course, but details are available on the councils web site on

2. Sir Dennis Pettit

Sir Dennis Pettit, the former leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and Eastwood Councillor, passed away last Sunday. I would like to extend my sympathies to all his family and friends. Sir Dennis retired from politics some years ago, but he was awarded the Honour of being an Alderman of Broxtowe by the borough council.

3. The Tram

The County Council has now formally withdrawn from being a partner in Nottingham Express Transport. The county claim that this will save them £18 million, although that seems to be spread over a 30 year period.

4. Beeston Bid

If you run a business in or around Beeston Town centre you now have the chance to join the Beeston BID (Business Improvement District). 500 firms have signed up already. The aim of the BID is to improve and promote Beeston for businesses, and it has been established following a vote by local traders to support it. More details are available at

5. Coventry Lane Speed Sign

The painful saga of this sign shows the levels of incompetence that we have to deal with sometimes at the County Council. We were promised it by April but it was eventually installed in November. However it wasn’t switched on until mid-December and since then has never worked properly. I’ve reported and chased this, and have been told by the County Council that they thought it was working as they have been invoiced by their contractors for the repair. I have assured them that it is not working and queried why they were having to pay for a repair when it has never worked properly. Surely the providers should be meeting the cost of putting it right?

6. Electoral Registration

Broxtowe residents who completed the electoral registration process by text, which was available for the first time this year, will have received a letter pointing out that there is an error in the charges that they were informed about. One resident raised with me whether it was justified spending 30p on a letter to tell residents about a 5p error. This seems like a fair criticism, but when I checked I found that the full cost of the letters was met by the contractor whose error it was in first place, so there is no cost to the council for these.

7. Stapleford Walk In Centre

The campaign to prevent the closure of this continues. If you have used the walk in centre and haven’t yet signed the petition please do so in the next ten days. You can follow the link from our web site at There have been two significant developments in the last week. First there was a public meeting at the Maycliffe Centre in Stapleford. Unfortunately John Bell, who runs the centre, failed to attend to open the hall, meaning that about 80 people were left standing round outside. The meeting was eventually held at the Health Centre instead. The second event was that the campaign organisers were emailed this week by the Green party asking for information so that they could include it as one of their activities on their election leaflets. It is hard to think of a worse case of bandwagon jumping than this. The campaign has been firmly run by the Liberal Democrats, although supported by other parties, and it’s pretty bad form for another party to suddenly think that they can just turn up and claim credit for it!

8. Community Action Meetings

All areas of Broxtowe have CAT meetings (Community Action Teams) but attendance varies from nearly a hundred to less than a handful, depending on the area. The council is therefore reviewing whether these are the best way of engaging with local residents. The council’s People and Places Examination Group is currently looking at this, under the chairmanship of my colleague Jacky Williams. Any changes will come into effect after the elections in May.

9. Lib-Dem AGM

Broxtowe Liberal Democrats have their AGM this coming Friday, 28th January, at 7.30pm. All members of the Lib-Dems are welcome to attend. You can sign up on the night so if you’re a Lib-Dem supporter why not join us and come along. The venue is Bramcote Memorial Hall.

10. Sky Sports “Living For Sport Student of the Year”

Congratulations to Alison Padgett from Bramcote Hills Sports and Community College who has reached the final of this award, after she designed a fitness plan for other students.

11. Over 50’s Dancing

Broxtowe Borough Council is now inviting entrants for it’s Strictly 50’s dance event. All entrants must be over 50 years of age. The competition will be held at the Village Hotel in Chilwell on 13th February. Details are available from the council’s website or by phone on 0115 917 3572.

12. Time Capsule

Pupils at Brookhill Leys Primary School in Eastwood buried a time capsule last week, aided by Broxtowe’s mayor. The plan is for it to be dug up again in 30 years time. Pupils from the same school also helped open the new Tesco’s in Eastwood this week.

13. Coronation Park Skateboard Area

I met with a group of students from Eastwood Comprehensive School yesterday who want to have the skate park in Coronation Park improved. The current ramps are metal and not of the highest quality, and they are difficult to use when they are wet. I was really impressed with the students, who have very sensible ideas about how to take matters forward and to raise the funds necessary for this. I was very happy to give the council’s backing for the scheme and our officers will work with the students to take this scheme forward.

14. Brinsley Animal Rescue

Brinsley Animal rescue helped a record number of animals during 20110. In total they rescued 117 pets, 470 farm animals and 204 wild animals. They are still housing 150 animals, including 16 hedgehogs and 3 ponies. The owners would like to thank everyone who has donated to them during the last 12 months.

15. Most Costly Addresses

A survey published this week says that Beeston Fields Drive in Bramcote is the second most expensive address to have in Nottinghamshire, with average house prices of £755,000.

16. Bramcote Park

Broxtowe school pupils have helped to plant a further 150 trees in Bramcote Park this week, in the area which used to be a landfill site run by Biffa. This is part of the council’s plan to plant 100,000 new trees over a five year period in the borough.

17. Trip to Downing Street

I’ve been invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street on 2nd February, in my capacity as a Liberal Democrat council leader. I’ve accepted of course, as this is a chance that may never come again. It does mean that I will miss the council meeting that night, which is a shame especially as we have just made a series of changes to make council meetings more effective. The biggest of these is that our Youth mayor now has the right to address the council, and current youth mayor Tilly Stone will become the first ever non-councillor to address a full council meeting. I’ve already sent my apologies to Tilly that I will miss this, but I’m sure that I will hear here in the future. I’ve also been invited to attend the Youth Council meeting on Tuesday in a reciprocal gesture by them.

Thank you all for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is very welcome.

Best wishes


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Broxtowe Enews 8th January 2011

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

A happy new year to all our readers, and a special welcome to all the new readers that we have.

1. Borough Community champions award
The council is running the 2011 community champions award. These are presented for outstanding achievement in crime, business, health, cleanliness, children and young people, good neighbours and community. We’re inviting nominations for these awards from local people, for local people. Nominations can be made via the web site ( or by phone on 0115 917 3395.

2. Oxylane Sports Village
The owners of the Decathlon store on the Ikea site have consulted with the council and many other local groups about building a sports village, with numerous playing fields and courts, based around a new Decathlon store. Whilst this seems like an interesting idea the location they have identified is in the green belt, and I would need an awful lot of persuading to support this.

3. Open evening for prospective councilors
Have you ever fancied being a councillor. If you are interested the council are holding an open evening for prospective councilors on 22 February 2011 starting at 6pm. (Refreshments will be available from 5.30pm.) I will be taking part and I hope that the leaders of the other political parties will be there as well, along with several other councillors. Anyone is welcome to attend and further details are available from Sue Rodden at the council on 0115 917 7777.

4. Durban House
A council scrutiny committee has now prepared a detailed report on the future of Durban House. Contrary to some reports in the media, this does not recommend closure, sale, or indeed any other option. The report assesses each possibility but does not make specific recommendations. It has now been referred to myself as portfolio holder for resources and Labour leader Milan Radulovic as portfolio holder for Leisure to decide how to take it forward. We will be meeting in the next few days to discuss this.

5. Councillors Expenses
The council has published details of the expenses claimed by councillors in the past year. This runs up until May, the month that I took over as leader of the council. We will publish these details on an annual basis. Members receive a basic allowance for the work that we do and can then claim expenses on top of that, but I choose not to claim these so I had a zero expense claim for last year (and will have for this year as well).

Also on the topic of councillors allowances, I’ve seen a comparison in the last few days of the allowances paid by each of the local councils in the area. Broxtowe pay our councillors less than all of the surrounding councils. As an example, the leader of the council in neighbouring Ashfield gets paid £4,000 a year more than I do, whilst the members of their cabinet take home an extra £7,000 each that Broxtowe’s cabinet members.

6. Stapleford Walk In Centre consultation
The Primary Care Trust are holding a public meeting to discuss their proposed closure of the Walk In Centre this Thursday, 13th January, at the Maycliffe Hall in Toton Lane, Stapleford, starting at 6pm. I hope that there will be a huge turnout to show them what an appalling proposal this is. (Sadly I’m working in Bristol on Thursday so won’t be back for the start, but I’ll sneak in at the back when I get there.)

7. Bridging the Gap
The council launched the Bridging the Gap scheme last year to break down some of the barriers between generations in Broxtowe. One of the latest, very successful initiatives in this scheme has been a group of young people visiting the Alexandra House nursing home in Eastwood to teach residents how to use the Wii Fit. I think that schemes like this can have a real long term benefit.

8. Giltbrook
Developers submitted plans just before Christmas to build 96 new houses off Smithurst Road in Giltbrook. Details of this can be seen on the councils website. The reference number is Ref 10/00662/FUL which you will need to put into the search engine on the site.

9. Recycled Christmas Trees
If you have a real Christmas tree that you want to recycle if you take it to the household waste disposal site in Beeston they will take it off your hands, and a donation will be made to charity for these. Details are on the council web site. The entry on the web site is a testament to the effectiveness of this newsletter. A reader asked about the issue and I didn’t know the answer so contacted Stan Heptinstall, the portfolio holder. Stan provided me with the answer to relay back to the reader, but noticed that the information wasn’t on the website and so he raised this with the councils web team and within 24 hours of the initial query (which was on a bank holiday) we had the information available on the website.

10. New Bridleway
The County Council have agreed to create a new bridleway in Cossall along part of the old Nottingham canal to connect up two existing bridleways. This had been requested by the Erewash Riders Association.

11. Chilwell Leisure Centre
The Vitality Fitness Suite, which closed for refurbishment in November, re-opened just after Christmas. Nottingham Forest players performed the opening. New members are very welcome.

12. Crime Figures
Crime figures in Broxtowe have dropped by 20% over the past year. I’m pleased to say that the council’s Darker Nights campaign, reminding people of the importance of ensuring windows and doors are secure, seems to have contributed to this.

13. Beeston railway station
Work to refurbish this, funded jointly by Broxtowe and the County Council, will begin this month. The plans are for CCTV, new lighting and footways, and in the longer term a new commuters car park.

14. Lifesaving Training and Awards
There is an opportunity for young people in the region to learn lifesaving skills, including resuscitation and water rescue, with Colwick Park Lifeguards who train at Bramcote Leisure Centre. A poster is attached with details of courses which start in the next week or so. As well as providing training for Royal Lifesaving Society and National Pool Lifeguard qualifications, the club specialises in provide water safety cover for events such as Reading Festival and Henley Royal Regatta. A minimum age of 14 years is required for the introductory course advertised, but please feel free to contact the club for details of other courses and training for under 14s.

15. Local traders
I don’t normally carry commercial adverts but I do want to say thanks to the Euronics Centre on Derby Road in Stapleford. My fridge freezer packed in on 23rd December, which is about as big a disaster as you can get. Comet said that they could deliver on 25th January, Curry’s were far better, they could deliver on 27th December, and the Euronics Centre said that they could get a new one to us in an hour. It actually took them half that time. Shopping locally really is the best. Thanks guys – you saved Christmas.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Thank you especially to the people who took the trouble over Christmas to tell me how useful they found this.

Best wishes