Sunday, 13 February 2011

Broxtowe Enews 13th February 2011

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

1. Typo
There’s a lot to get through this week, but I do need to begin by apologising for the rather unfortunate typo in item 4 last week. May I especially thank the two dozen readers who emailed within minutes last Sunday to point out the error. The range of witticism’s shows that we have a group of local residents with cracking senses of humour.

2. Beeston Town Centre
The excellent news from the end of this week is that Broxtowe Borough council and Henry Boot have now reached an agreement over the terms to redevelop Beeston Town Square. This is the result of some extremely protracted and difficult negotiations, but we are now all systems go for the future. The importance of this cannot be over-stated. We could have reached an agreement a year or more ago, but it would not have been the right agreement for Beeston. What we have now obtained will set up the town centre to ensure that Beeston re-establishes itself as the premier shopping destination in Greater Nottingham.

3. Police Operation
The police have carried out a series of drugs raids across Broxtowe this week, aiming to completely demolish the supply network for serious drugs in the area. This was the result of a 9 month police operation gathering intelligence and evidence on which to act. I accompanied officers on Wednesday as they executed a number of searches, and by the end of Wednesday 65 people had been arrested and at least 30 premises raided. Significant quantities of class A drugs have been recovered. The operation has been planned in conjunction with the borough council, so where anti-social behaviour issues were linked or tenancy issues breached regarding council houses we are taking co-ordinated action. Operations like this take significant levels of planning and resources but are far more effective at completely breaking the supply chain than simply an officer turning up when someone calls in a report of suspicious activities. The police want to assure people though that these operations often have their origins in calls from members of the public, so please keep them coming.

4. Letter to the Times
Some readers may be aware that I was one of 91 Lib-Dem council leaders who signed a letter to The Times this week calling for a change to the speed of the cuts being imposed. I agree wholly that the Government is right to tackle the deficit and think that the amounts being talked about are necessary because of the scale of the debts that the coalition found that they had to deal with. Without urgent action the UK would have found itself in the same mess as Greece and Ireland. However it seems to me to be totally unfair that central Government is making the cuts over 4 years whereas local Government is being required to do it within two. This is entirely the fault of Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Local Government, and the main thrust of our letter was to make clear our utter lack of confidence in him.

5. Greasley Multi-Use Games Area
The multi-use games area in Greasley, which was installed by the County Council and is run by the parish council, has been a source of complaints from local residents ever since it was installed. The situation has been monitored by the borough council and this has shown that acceptable noise levels are being regularly breached. As a result the council has this week served a noise abatement notice on the parish council, requiring them to take action to bring levels down. Hopefully this will make life significantly better for local residents.

6. Beeston BID
The Beeston Business Improvement District has now held it’s first meeting. Generally there was a very positive response, although one or two businesses said that they hadn’t been consulted and were clearly unhappy at this. I’ve checked and every business was sent a letter, although what happened after this with them is clearly outside of my control. However it would not actually have made a difference if more firms had voted as more than 50% of the businesses consulted voted in favour, so the scheme was always going to be passes. The BID works by raising an extra levy on local businesses which is then used to finance schemes to promote the local area. The money paid by organisations in Beeston (including the borough council) will be used to promote business in Beeston, doing things that the council is unable to do.

7. Greening Beeston Rylands
Greening Beeston Rylands was launched a few months ago. The aim is to reduce the areas carbon footprint by encouraging people to take simple steps. A similar scheme exists in Stapleford. The Beeston arm is now looking for other schemes to develop in the next stage of it’s work. Residents can submit their own ideas, such as P cells or wind turbines, at a public meeting at the New Ventures Social Club on Tuesday at 7.30pm. More details are available from Julie Jackson on 07814 289442.

8. Abandoned Meeting
It was highly embarrassing that a council meeting on Monday of last week as not enough members turned up to make it quorate. Even worse, this was a meeting where the submissions for next years budgets were to be looked at in detail. Incredibly, when the decision was taken to abandon the meeting not a single member of the opposition Conservative group had turned up. I’m not sure that this is a version of opposition that local people wil be happy with.

9. CAB Cuts
As regular readers will know I and my Lib-Dem colleagues have been campaigning against the horrific decision of the County Council to cut funding for the CAB by 67%. I was pleased to hear that the County Council are putting a little more money into CAB’s, but it looks like none of that will come to Broxtowe I’d now like to welcome our MP Anna Soubry onside for this campaign. Anna has publicly called for the County Council to reverse their decision.

10. Private Members Bill
I reported recently that Anna Soubry had submitted a private members bill banning the reporting of the identities of suspects in criminal cases until they have been charged. Anna has now withdrawn the bill after the Government agreed to look at the matter.

11. Footfall figures
A report in the Evening Post this week said that the drop in footfall figures in Beeston was down to Tesco’s opening in the town. I personally think that it is much more complex than just this. We have the impact of the recession, the decline in other shops in the centre (which is why the news about the rebuilding is such important news) and also the poor weather. Finally there is the impact of internet shopping. We have all read the reports about record numbers of people buying online so these are people who are no longer coming in to town.
This does not mean that I am complacent about the position, far from it. The council is doing all it can to attract new trade and business to the town, and to the other towns in Broxtowe. We will continue to do this and our economic development work continues apace despite the cuts we are making. Economic Development is a front line service for the council and we have ensured that these have not been affected.
During December 2010 335359 people went past the automatic counters in the High Road. In 2009 the figure was 337914, meaning there was a drop of 2,555 people during the month. In January 2011 for the first three weeks 163697 people visited, compared to 180006 people in 2010. This is a drop of 16,309.

12. Police Crime Priorities Survey
Notts Police have set up a web site for people to have their say about their priorities for dealing with crime in the future. You can have your say at
13. Street Pastors
Hope Nottingham are setting up a street pastor scheme in Beeston to help people at night and make them feel safer. A scheme like this already runs in Nottingham very successfully, and so I hope that this will have a positive effect on Beeston’s nightlife. It goes live on 11th March, after the volunteers are properly trained.

14. Ikea Retail Park
The owners of the Giltbrook retail park have applied for planning permission to build a new restaurant hub opposite the existing foot outlets. Anyone who has queued for ages to get food will see the benefit of this, but if you have queued for the same length of time to get a parking space then you may well think that the proposed loss of 27 parking spaces would be a major problem. This is one that the council will need to wrestle with over the next few months.

15. Census Workers Needed
The council is still looking to recruit more staff to work on the census from Eastwood, Kimberley, Nuthall and Brinsley. If you are interested then visit for an application form.

As ever may I thank everyone for their support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received (and I hope that there aren’t any other howling typo’s). Finally may I wish my Grandad a very happy 90th birthday, which is a pretty fantastic achievement by a pretty fantastic man.