Saturday, 19 February 2011

Broxtowe Enews 19th February 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. It’s been a good week for new subscribers and we now have a new record number of people receiving this newsletter. I know that for the most part it is personal recommendations that bring new readers in so thank you all for that.

1. Council Budgets and Council Tax

At the cabinet meeting on Tuesday the council’s proposals for the next financial year were discussed, and they have now been referred to the full council where they will be debated (and hopefully approved) on 2nd March. As the information is now in the public domain I can now set out the key elements of the budget:

a) There will be no increase in council tax. This is being encouraged by the coalition who are providing some extra funding if we agree to this course of action.

b) There will be no withdrawal from balances. Until the Liberal Democrats became the lead party on the council money had been withdrawn from balances every year since I was first elected and I believe that this had happened every year since the council was created in 1974. As a result we have very limited balances left. I was determined that we should not weaken the councils financial position any further.

c) There will be no reduction on front line services used by the public

d) There will be no compulsory redundancies.

All in all I think that this is pretty brilliant. We’ve done it by cutting costs behind the scenes. For instance, when we took over as the lead party there were half a dozen directors plus a deputy chief executive and a chief executive. Four of those director’s posts have gone. We’ve also made massive savings by working with other councils to achieve better value for money.

What did amaze me was that the Conservative opposition voted against the budget, not because they didn’t like any of it but they claimed that there had been insufficient public consultation about it. That is the lamest excuse I’ve heard for years. I was really disappointed by them, and other members of the cabinet were quite vocal in making their displeasure known.

2. The Tram

The Government have confirmed that they will not order a fresh public enquiry into the tram, and in particular the compulsory purchase of county council land by the city council. This will save time and money (I’ve seen estimates as high as £200,000 but I suspect that the reality would have been a lot lower than that). It removes one of the last obstructions to the tram construction going ahead, and brings the third part of the plan for Beeston into effect (along with redeveloping the land where Tesco’s now sits – accomplished – and redeveloping the town square – now agreed).

3. Greasley Wind Turbine

This has generated quite a lot of correspondence this week, with Nottingham Pro-Wind Alliance coming out in favour of the scheme and Greasley Parish Council coming out against. I also read with some amusement claims from a Labour councillor that he had asked for the decision to be put back until after the local elections. In fact, as he would have known, it was always the case that a decision would be made after the elections. One of the Conservative Councillors has suggested that it would not be appropriate for a new council to decide this straight away, and that it would be better to delay matters if needs be until after new councillors have become more familiar with their roles. I hope that the Labour councillor was trying to claim credit for her suggestion.

4. Designated Places Order for Kimberley

The council have agreed to conduct a public consultation about whether to implement a designated places order (in effect giving the police the power to remove alcohol from those drinking in public) for Kimberley town centre. The consultation will start shortly and if approved the scheme would be implemented later this year.

5. Toton Trees Appeal

The appeal against the restocking notice (the order requiring the land owner to replant a large number of trees that they illegally felled) was due to have been heard during February but this has been put back as the agent for the land owner is unwell. Hopefully it will now be heard in March. We are creating new ground here as, although the legislation goes back to the 1940’s, no-one has ever appealed against a restocking notice before.

6. County Council Strike

Members of Unison at Notts County Council have announced that they are taking strike action on Thursday 24th February in protest at the council’s budget proposals. Significantly thisis the day that the council will be voting on their proposals.

7. Rumbletums Community Café, Kimberley

The Rumbeltums community café, being established in Kimberley, is aimed to support young people with disabilities. It has now been given a grant of £4,000 by the County Council. This money is aimed at giving the café a start. It will be based in The Hub, which is currently being refurbished. I think that this is an excellent idea and I’m delighted to see it coming to fruition.

8. Beeston Holiday Club

Wollaton Road Methodist Church in Beeston is running a holiday club during half term week with the theme “Pirates.” It is aimed at 5 to 11 year olds each day between 2 and 4pm and the cost is £1 per day. Details are available from the children’s worker for the church on 07502 193618.

9. Babbington Rescue Centre

Babbington Animal Rescue Centre is a privately run company but which does sterling work dealing with abandoned animals. They have just launched an appeal to raise £40,000 to build a further kennel block at the centre. Details are available from them on 0115 932 4576.

10. Green Electricity

The Greening Campaign, which runs a number of schemes through the borough to promote a more environmentally sustainable way of life, is hosting a drop in session with Broxtowe Borough Council at Beeston Town Hall on Monday28th February at 7.30pm. They will be providing advice on what schemes are available and what Government grants can be accessed.

11. Ken Rigby Vindicated

Some of you may recall reading in the newspaper last year that Labour Councillor Richard Robinson made a complaint to the Independent Standards Board at Broxtowe about a leaflet put out by my colleague Ken Rigby. I’m pleased to say that the Standards Board have now fully investigated and considered this and unanimously decided that Ken had no case to answer. Unfortunately it has wasted a significant amount of time and money getting to this stage.

12. Fair Trade Fortnight

This years Fair Trade Fortnight starts on 28th February. The theme this year is “Lift the Label” (see and has particular focus on cotton and the fashion industry. I’ve been asked to particularly promote an event happening just outside of Broxtowe, which is a Fair Trade Fashion Show on Thursday 3 March at St Margaret's Church, Aspley. I’m afraid that I don’t have a start time but will post it next week when I get it. The main aim of the evening is not so much fundraising (although any profits on ticket sales will be donated to Traidcraft Exchange) as to raise the awareness of consumers regarding the relationship between the price we pay for clothing and the working conditions and earnings of the people who grow the raw materials (e.g. cotton) and who make up the clothes.

13. Seismic Testing

TESLA- IMC International Limited will be carrying out a Seismic Survey in the north of the borough from the 21st February 2011. The survey will take place on the public highway, on private farmland and three sites belonging to Broxtowe Borough Council, (Kimberley Depot, Hall Om Wong Open Space, and Watnall Green). The survey should take around 10 days to complete. All complaints/concerns or requests for information should be directed to Rachel Clark 01773 838950 or 07846953934.

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

Best wishes