Saturday, 26 March 2011

Broxtowe Enews 26th March 2011

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, bought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council. A special welcome to the many new readers that we have this week – it’s been a while since we had so many people join in one week. It has also been a week for big news stories locally, some good and some bad.

1. Durban House

Let’s start with some unqualified good news. The DH Lawrence Heritage Centre, based at Durban House in Eastwood, now has a much more certain long term future after we entered into a partnership with the University of Nottingham. For the next two years, and hopefully for many years after that, we will be sharing the running costs of the building with them and they will use the centre for teaching and community activities, as well as placing some of their extensive archive of DH Lawrence Papers on display. Opening hours for the public will be extended (we will be opening on Saturdays now which is not currently done) and I hope that this will help to attract many more visitors. It was my pleasure to be able to meet with the staff at the centre on Tuesday to tell them, and then announce the story publicly the next day. We’ve been working on this deal for the past few weeks and I’ve been bursting to tell people, but both sides agreed not to release anything until everything was agreed so that we didn’t raise peoples hopes prematurely.

2. Stapleford Walk In Centre

We’ve done the good so now let’s do the bad. The Primary Care Trust (PCT) the unelected quango responsible for running much of the local health service has decided to press ahead with plans to close the Walk In Centre in Stapleford, despite the near unanimous local opposition to this scheme. The Walk In Centre is well used, popular and convenient, and the financial case put forward to justify closure only works if more than half of all patients currently attending decide simply not to seek medical assistance. There has been an excellent campaign organised and run by Stapleford Liberal Democrats against the plans and this will continue. We have not given up the fight. The next stage is that the decision will be looked at by the County Council so we will be lobbying them, and I am also trying to arrange an appointment to see the Secretary of State for Health to ask him to personally intervene.

3. The Tram

We’ve done the god and the bad so now the one which will generate the most divided opinions of anything. On Thursday the Government confirmed that the necessary savings had been found for the tram and this can now go ahead. The preferred bidder is likely to be announced in the next few weeks (i.e. the firm who will actually build it) and there are then likely to be some months of negotiations before contracts are signed and work can begin. When it starts the first stag is to move he services under the tram tracks, and this is likely to start in Beeston in early 2012. If everything goes to plan trams should be running through Beeston by the end of 2014. My view is that this is very good news which will help Beeston, and the whole of the south of Broxtowe, to grow and flourish.

4. Enterprise Zone

In the budget on Wednesday George Osborne announced the creation of new enterprise zones, and the next day David Cameron and Nick Clegg announced that the first one would be at the Boots Site in Nottingham, much of which is of course in Broxtowe. We’re still waiting for the full details of what this will mean but it may result in many new businesses locating in Broxtowe, bringing with them new jobs and a significant financial boost to the local economy. On the other hand we had explored the possibility of putting up to 1,000 homes on that site and so we will now need to find out if this will be viable. If not then thy will need to go elsewhere, which of course increases pressure on the green belt. I have always opposed building in the green belt and do not plan to alter my stance now.

5. The Budget

There was much in the budget that reflected Lib-Dem priorities, including our number one aim to take the lowest paid out of tax altogether. The raising of tax thresholds means that a further 500 people in Broxtowe will no longer pay income tax, with 52,000 local residents receiving a tax cut. No-one will, in this budget, move from being a lower rate to a higher rate tax payer.

6. Potholes

Thank you to everyone who responded to my request for information about pot holes. I’ve received loads of comments, so many apologies that I haven’t been able to respond to everyone personally. I have however sent all the suggestions to the County Council and I will monitor this to ensure that they are being addressed. The Coalition Government has made extra money available for this work and I am determined to ensure that Broxtowe receives its fair share of this. The County have told me that they plan to send the money over the summer so hopefully we’ll see lots of road works in Broxtowe whilst it is being done.

7. A52 Road Works

Talking of road works I’ve had a letter from the Highways Agency this week to say that they will be carrying out work to the A52 at Priory Island between 2nd April and the end of May. This will involve weekend lane closures between 8.30am and 5pm on weekends, and possibly between 9.30 am and 3pm on weekdays. The aim is, I believe, that most of the work should be done at weekends. Also on the A52, concern has been expressed about the amount of litter on the verges. We have checked with the Highways Agency who tell us that they will be carrying out lane closures to cut the grass on 14th April and so we have arranged for council staff to clear all the litter at the same time.

8. Vandals

Vandals in Stapleford have attacked and destroyed a large number of trees planted last year in Hickings Lane Park. This was a totally mindless act and I’m absolutely appalled at the behaviour. It is too late in the season to replant this year, but we will look at replacing all these trees next year. If anyone knows who is responsible please pass the information to the police or, if you don’t wish to do so, let me know and I can pass it on for you. The original trees were planted by the Brownies and I imagine that they are very upset.

9. Election leaflets

The local elections will be on us shortly and I’ve started seeing leaflets from other parties. One of the bits of feedback that I get with this newsletter is that people prefer it when I‘m covering the positive things that we are doing rather than responding to the other parties, but sometimes their claims are so fanciful and, this time, plain dishonest that they need to be drawn to people’s attention so that you can use this when deciding who to vote for. After all, if parties are willing to lie to get your votes what else will they do? Don’t get me wrong, I understand fully that people will put their own angle on things but there is a difference between that and downright lies. First in Bramcote we had a leaflet from the Tories saying that they had arranged for buses to stop during school hours on a route that they previously didn’t. That’s now a very old story but it was my Lib-Dem colleague Stan Heptinstall who did that. In the same leaflet they claimed that they had arranged to have graffiti removed from the disused golf club. That was me (and regular readers may recall reading about both of those in this newsletter). They also repeat a false claim that we are in favour of building over the golf club.

Even worse than this though is the Labour leaflet currently being distributed in Stapleford. This claims that they have organised the campaign against the closure of the walk in centre. This is wholly untrue. Although the campaign was on a non-party political basis it was organised and run by the Stapleford Lib-Dems. Labour did absolutely nothing (their current councillor for Stapleford South agreed to host a meeting about this and then didn’t even turn up, leaving people locked outside the building!) and to lie so blatantly is breath-taking. The same leaflet complains about the rise in council house rents even though every Labour councillor (including the Eastwood councillor who wrote the leaflet) voted for them. There are many other untruths in the same leaflet, but I think I’ve made the point with these.

10. A Fair Council

Broxtowe Borough Council has just been inspected for our approach to equality and diversity and has been graded as “achieving” which is excellent news. In other words we are doing the right things in the right way. I’m sure when we get the detailed report through they will be able to identify some things that we will be able to do better and we will try and take these on board, but I’m delighted at the recognition of our efforts to make the council open and inclusive.

11. Forthcoming Events

On Friday 15th April at 7.30pm Paradiso Cinema presents A Shot in the Dark starring Peter Sellers as the Pink Panther. Suitable for the whole family. At Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West, NG9 5AL. Tickets on the door - £5, £4 (conc). Come at 7pm for refreshments. Further details

Friday 8th & Saturday 9th April at 7.30pm Orchard Theatre Company presents: Bouncers A comedy by John Godber. Adult content (15+) At Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West, NG9 5AL. Tickets £7 on the door or in advance from the school on 0115 925 2698 or 0758 426 3893. For further details ring 07976 746906

Starting Wednesday 4th May Life Drawing course At Chilwell School, Queens Road West, NG9 5AL. For ten weeks every Wednesday from 6.30pm to 9pm. Cost £120 (concessions for OAPs and A level students £100). Suitable for beginners and experienced artists. For further details email or ring 0115 9730838 or 07941423782.

Thursday 5th May 7.30pm Village Ventures presents: Jo Freya meets Maalstrom An informative funny show with exceptional music drawing from folk, world music, jazz and classical references. See At Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West, NG9 5AL. Tickets £8, £6 (conc) or £24 family (2+2) in advance from the school on 0115 925 2698 or 0758 426 3893 or on the door. Further details

12. Census

Now is the time to complete your census form for this year. The Government use the information in the census to allocate resources across the country so there is definite financial benefit to Broxtowe if as many people as possible return their forms. Please do so now.

13. Clocks

Please don’t forget that the clocks go forward by one hour tonight.

14. Energy Share

I’ve received this message. I’m posting it exactly as I received it. I haven’t checked this out but it seems quite an interesting idea:

Dear Councilor,

Please could you help us let people in your area know about the energyshare grant fund which has just launched with up to £500,000 for community renewable energy projects? We’re calling for communities across the UK to register their interest . It would be great if you could you help us spread the word by forwarding this on to any contacts you have or putting us in touch with the most appropriate team in your local authority.

energyshare is a 100% renewable energy community giving everyone in the UK the opportunity to get involved in sourcing, using, and generating your own renewable energy.

This is just the beginning. energyshare’s founding partners, River Cottage and British Gas are committed to finding more funding. As a start British Gas are committed to distributing a further £3m to community renewable projects through the energyshare fund over the next 3 years. By getting involved in energyshare you can help decide which projects get funded.

We’ve got lots of other features on the site for households and communities, including case studies on the site of really successful community projects like Woolsery Community Hall who have cut their running costs by 90%, and MOZES where each household is saving an estimated 20% per year on their energy bills!

Please forward this on to anyone you think might be interested. We hope to see you soon!

15. Marie Curie Swimathon

Bramcote Leisure Centre will host a swimathon for Marie Curie Cancer on Saturday 9th April from 5.30pm. Similar events will be being held up and down the country, and swimmers can register to do 1.5km, 2.5km, 5km or more as an individual or 5km or more as a team. To participate ring 0845 36 700 36 or visit

16. Bramcote Litter Pick

Following a request from a local resident we are organising a community litter pick in Bramcote village. Our provisional plan is to meet at 2pm on 30th April (the day after the Royal wedding) to see how much we can get done in a couple of hours. The council are providing the equipment and we hope that many Bramcote residents will join us for the event.

17. Tsunami Appeal

As I reported last week there will be a fundraising effort for victims of the tsunamin in Japan on Saturday 9th April from 10 am to 3pm at Oban House, Chilwell Road in Beeston.

18. Road Safety

Figures released this week show that the level of fatal or serious accidents on Nottinghamshire’s roads in 2010 was the lowest since records began. The County Council (who do deserve some credit for this) say that it has been achieved by road improvements, lower speed limits and educational programmes.

19. County Council Newsletter

The latest edition of the county council newspaper has been distributed over the County this week and the Labour opposition on the County Council have complained about the content, saying that it was misleading. They take objection to the lead story about the budget, where it says that changes were made providing extra money for some areas. In fact what actually happened was that the level of cuts was reduced and services were not expanded as Labour say the article suggested.

20. Concessionary Bus Passes

If you currently have a concessionary bus pass issued by the borough council when you get a replacement it will come from the County Council. They take over responsibility for these from 1st April as part of a national change in the way these are run, and they will also be responsible for dealing with new applications. Existing passes remain valid so you don’t need to get a replacement until your existing one runs out.

21. Stapleford Blue Plaque

A blue plaque has been unveiled in Stapleford to commemorate the life of local author Arthur Henry Mee. He edited the Childrens newspaper and wrote the Kings England, a guide to towns and villages in Britain. The plaque is located on the Arthur Mee Centre, the Castle College buildings in Stapleford which were named after him.

22. Eastwood School Scientists

Congratulations to young scientists from Eastwood School, who won the Crest Experience Prize at the national Big Bang Science Fair, organised by the British Science Association. They collected their prize in London last week. Their winning entry was the wind turbine that they designed and built from scratch for their school.

23. New Classrooms at Bramcote C of E School

Bramcote Church of England School will celebrate the opening of two new classrooms by releasing 250 balloons with the pupils names on in a great balloon race this coming Wednesday. The pupil whose balloon travels the furthest will win a book token, and the opening of the classrooms will be performed by the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.

24. Broxtowe Warm Zone

I did a plug for this service a couple of weeks ago, but have now used it myself and can add a personal recommendation. The aim is to ensure that homes in the borough are as well insulated and also that they are as water efficient as possible. I telephoned in the morning to enquire and they came later that day. By the time they had left I had a new more water efficient shower head and adjustments to all three toilets, and an arrangement for them to call in a few weeks and install extra loft insulation. This is the only bit of the service that anyone has to pay for and this is subsidised, so it is costing me £130 to have the whole house done, which is way below the proper cost. The service is available to everyone in the borough so you can contact them via The scheme is provided by the borough council and is part of our commitment to ensure that everyone in the borough can have a high quality home. It is funded primarily by the utility companies.

As ever thank you for your support for this news service. Our best advertising is recommendations from existing readers, and we really appreciate your support. As ever I am very grateful for any feedback. Readers of this on the web can sign up for the email version by emailing me at


Saturday, 19 March 2011

Broxtowe Enews 19th March 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.

After last weeks mammoth edition things seem to have been a lot quieter this week, but we still have a few things to mention.

1. Japan Appeal

I sit on the Board of Trustees for Voluntary Action Broxtowe, and one of the other trustees is Kiyoko Naish, a Japanese resident of Wollaton. She is organising a fund-raising charity for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I’m reprinting her message below

“The devastation is utterly incredible. I am still in shock to see what has happened and is still happening in the Sanriku coast, Japan. Japan is facing now a nuclear power plant crisis. The death toll in Miyagi prefecture may reach 10,000. The Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, said that the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear incident is the biggest crisis Japan has encountered in the 65 years since the end of World War II. The rescue teams are coming from the all over the world to help. The number of the people in the rescue operations including the troops, police forces and the overseas teams are reaching 350,000. One of my friends in Japan said that hearing the news about how many people are coming from all over the word to help Japan is very encouraging and inspiring.

I have set up a charity account for people to donate money. I am planning to visit local schools to talk about the earthquake and the effect of the disaster to raise school education fund especially for the children in the most affected area, Miyagi prefecture.

Kiyoko Naish”

Kiyoko has organised a fundraising day on Saturday 9th April at Oban House, Chilwell Road in Beeston between 10am and 3pm and I hope many people will attend. Oban House is the headquarters of Voluntary Action Broxtowe and is about three doors down from the main post office, so it’s very easy to get to.

2. Stapleford Walk In Centre

The Primary care Trust (a branch of the NHS) have published their recommendations over the Walk In Centre in Stapleford. Despite huge public opposition locally they are recommending that the centre should close. The decision will be taken by the PCT’s Board next Wednesday. I met with the PCT on Tuesday and told them how unhappy I was about this, and the Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign against this. I hope that common sense will be displayed at the board meeting, and the recommendation will be rejected.

3. Potholes

Thank you to everyone who has responded to my request for details of pot hole problems. I was about to send the whole list to the County Council but Anna Soubry has repeated my request on her newsletter tonight so I’ll wait for a few days to see if that brings in extra suggestions, which I can then include.

4. Bramcote Leisure Centre

The new changing rooms at Bramcote Leisure Centre were officially opened yesterday by the mayor of Broxtowe and Anna Soubry MP. We then took the opportunity to give Anna a tour of the building. It’s really encouraging to see how well the facilities are being used, and we really do provide a service to rival commercial leisure centres.

5. New Council Homes

After visiting the leisure centre the same people then visited a new development of council homes at Sunnyside in Chilwell, so that Anna and the mayor could open these. The new homes are built to a very high standard and they have ground pump heating installed, drawing heat from 30 metres below ground, which should provide very low bills for the tenants and which helps to reduce global warming. These are the first of about 20 new homes coming on stream over the next few months, and it’s really exciting to be able to add to our stock of council houses. (We currently have about 4,500 council houses and nearly 4,000 people on the waiting list for one!)

6. Local Elections

Nominations open this week for the local elections, which will take place on 5th May. The Lib-Dems currently lead the council on Broxtowe, and I hope that most people think that we have done a good job and will re-elect us. As part of the nomination process each candidate, from each party, needs to have ten local residents to nominate them as a candidate. If you would be willing to nominate the Lib-Dem candidates for where you live please email me at If people volunteer to do this it saves us a significant amount of time having to organise this.

I’m afraid that, despite my oft repeated plea otherwise, this looks like being a very dirty campaign. One of our councillors, Barbara Carr, has chosen not to stand again, partly because of how the Labour Party in Beeston have behaved which she has found most unpleasant. To hear a Labour activist then boasting that they had “got rid of her” was well below the belt. I’m afraid that the days when the Labour Party locally even pretended to practice positive politics are well and truly gone.

7. Police Consultation

The police in Eastwood are holding a public meeting this week in Eastwood about how they propose to carry out policing in the town from now on. Embarrassingly I’ve left the details in my office and I can’t find them on the police web site, so if you want more details please email me on and I’ll send them through. I was pleased to see that none of the police stations planned to close were in Broxtowe.

8. Man in Space pub, Eastwood

This pub has been empty for some time, and it has now been bought by Sainsbury’s, who plan to turn it into a supermarket. I was staggered to find that they do not need planning permission to do this (although one wing is planned to be a vets, and this does need planning permission)!

9. Bramcote History Group

Bramcote History Group will be having a talk on the history of Notts County FC at St Michaels Church in Bramcote on Monday. The speaker is Colin Slater, well known as a match commentator for County and a freeman of the borough of Broxtowe. It costs £2 for non-members and starts at 8pm.

10. Eastwood Shop Fronts

Five stores in Eastwood have been awarded a grant of £12,000 between them to improve the appearance of the shops. All five are in Nottingham Road and they have received the money from the council’s Keeping Up Appearances grant.

11. Pregnancy and Baby Show

A pregnancy and baby show will be held on 2nd April in Beeston. It is aimed at Mum’s to be and will be held at the Pearson Centre on Nuart Road. Tickets are available by ringing 07809 419175.

12. Police Federation Concerns

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, has expressed its concern about plans to force all officers in Nottinghamshire who have more than 30 years experience to retire. This will leave the force short of experienced officers, and does not seem a sensible idea to me.

13. Attenborough Flood Defences

The Environment Agency held a public meeting in Attenborough last Monday to display their latest proposals for the flood defences in Attenborough. These seem to have met with fairly positive comments from local people. I hope that the defences can now be finished as soon as possible.

14. New book on Brinsley

A new book about life in Brinsley, from local writer Ztan Zmith, will be launched at the Brinsley Church faire on 2nd April. It will also be available from Brinsley Post Office and costs £1.99 and has been published as a fund-raiser for the church.

15. Royal Wedding Celebration

Also in Brinsley local resident Janet Enever has organised a street party to celebrate the royal wedding on 29th April. This will include a mock wedding, staged by local children, and takes place at the White Lion pub at 1pm, followed by the party in Church Walk. Both events are free of charge for local residents.

16. Anna Soubry Surgery

Like all MP’s Anna Soubry holds regular surgeries. These are fairly non-political and for people to come and see their MP with problems that they may have. Having an MP take up your case really can help open doors. Often the people who use this service are vulnerable and in real need of help, and that was exactly the same when Nick Palmer was MP. I was therefore really disappointed to read this week that the Labour Party had chosen to picket Anna’s surgery. This was wholly inappropriate behaviour.

17. Web Sites

This newsletter is now carried on five web sites that I know of. If you are reading it on a website and would like to receive it directly to your inbox please email me on

18. The Situation In Libya

Although this isn’t local news I know that many people will be concerned about the deteriorating situation in Libya. I’ve set out below the statement from the Deputy Prime Minister which was issued today:

“As you will have seen in the news our coalition government has successfully led efforts in the UN Security Council to agree a ‘no-fly zone’ across Libya.

Colonel Gaddafi’s treatment of his own people has been brutal, savage and wholly unacceptable. We have worked with Libya’s regional neighbours, especially the Arab League, and countries across the globe, to secure a resolution in UN Security Council. This resolution will allow us to act lawfully in deploying our forces to up-hold a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya.

The Prime Minister gave a statement yesterday, which you can read here. And on Monday we will have a full debate in the House of Commons, followed by a vote. In addition we will be publishing a summary of the legal advice of the Attorney-General.

That is the right approach. This is a coalition government that will act decisively to protect innocent lives and uphold universal human rights. But one which will do so working with, not against, international law and the international community.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg MP”

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, which now has more subscribers than ever before. As ever any feedback is gratefully received.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Broxtowe Enews 13th March 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.

First may I apologise that this is a day later than usual, but I have been at the Liberal Democrat conference in Sheffield this weekend. More of that below.

Before moving on to the main news may I just make a comment about the situation in Japan. What has happened has been utterly horrific, and it’s hard to comprehend the level of devastation even when seeing it on TV. A couple of weeks ago I spent four very worrying days waiting to hear from a friend who lives in Christchurch (fortunately she and her family were okay although their house was badly damaged) so I feel especially for those trying to contact loved ones at the moment.

Having said that lets move on to the local news.

1. Recycling news

There has been some confusion about the changes that the council is making to recycling so let me explain the position clearly. We are still going to be collecting the green bin all year as we do now. The only alteration to the service is that the garden waste will not be collected between December and February, as indeed was the case last winter. This is the only reduction in service. Everything else remains.

2. Brinsley Carnival

I’m afraid that there will not be a carnival in Brinsley this year. This is nothing to do with spending cuts but there are simply not enough volunteers to run it. This is a real shame and hopefully other people may come forward for future years.

3. DH Lawrence Society

I was very sorry to hear that Notts County Council have decided to stop the DH Lawrence Society meeting at Eastwood Library. They are now looking for a new home, and I hope that the borough council may be able to help on this.

4. Tax Changes

Local residents should have received tax codes for next year over the last few days, and many will have directly benefited from one of the changes that the Lib-Dems have brought to the coalition. It was one of our main campaign themes to reduce tax for the lowest paid and to take many low earners out of ta altogether by raising the tax free amount to £10,000. The first step on this path has now been taken and as a result from next month 1,380 Broxtowe residents will no longer pay tax and a further 52,000 local residents will be £200 a year better off because of these changes. This is one of the very real benefits that comes from us being in Government.

5. Flood Defence Design

The Environment Agency are holding meeting at Attenborough Village Hall on Monday between 3.30pm and 6.30pm to show the designs for the flood defences through the village. Everyone is welcome to attend.

6. Broxtowe Warm Zone

Lib-Dem led Broxtowe Borough Council decided to set up a warm zone scheme last year, and it’s proving very useful for local people. It is a home insulation programme for home owners and private tenants, which started in 2010 and runs through to 2012. We are doing this in partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy, Nottingham Energy Partnership and the Government. We aim to ensure every household in Broxtowe has affordable warmth. Home insulation is free for over 65′s. There are also free heating improvements if you are in receipt of certain benefits. Other people can have the insulation work carried out at an affordable rate. To apply contact the Broxtowe Warm Zone team on 08455 390 390. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.45am – 5pm or visit My colleague Cllr Stan Heptinstall used this last week and was telling me at the weekend how very impressed he was. This is a scheme which as a Liberal Democrat I was delighted to see happening, it’s part of our philosophy of putting people first.

7. Babbington Kennels

At the Development Control meeting on Monday planning permission was granted for Babbington Kennels to redevelop a block that they use to house stray dogs. This will mean that the standard of accommodation for these animals will be greatly improved.

8. Stapleford Allotments

The Borough Council have given a grant of £2,500 to Stapleford Town Council to pay for improvements to the access to the Nottingham Road allotments.

9. Protesting about cuts

At the cabinet meeting on Tuesday the decision was taken to send a letter to the County Council objecting to the cuts they are imposing on the voluntary sector and on care for older people. It seems to me, as the signatory of the letter, that the proposals by the county council breach their duties under the Equality Act, let alone being morally indefensible. We can’t enforce moral grounds, but the Equality Act is an area that permits rights to be enforced in court if needs be. We have made this point to the County Council.

10. Citizens Advice Bureaux

One example of the unfairness of the cuts is in the CAB. The County have cut the funding to Broxtowe CAB by 72%, more than any other office in the County. This comes despite the fact that even more people than ever are likely to need the service.

11. Fundraising Events

Thank you to everyone who attended one of two fundraising events last Saturday night. First the Mayors Ball was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre to raise money for the mayor’s charities. This had a 1940’s theme. At the same time there was a 1960’s theme for the Friends of Bramcote Tower fundraiser at the Youth and Community Centre in West End in Beeston.

12. Indigenous Arts Exhibition

There is an extremely good exhibition on at Durban House in Eastwood at the moment – Indigenous Arts. There are over 100 paintings on display by local artists. I went to see it last Sunday and was very impressed by the quality, so I’d encourage as many people as possible to attend.

13. Broxtowe’s Got Talent

The Rotary Club of Beeston is organising a second “Broxtowe’s Got Talent” event and are looking to entrants. An entry form is available from and auditions will be held on 19th and 20th March. The final will be on 16th April and there is a £300 prize for the winner.

14. Bramcote Leisure Centre

I’m delighted that Bramcote Leisure Centre has been added to a national directory of baby-friendly swimming pools, organised by Huggies Little Swimmers. This recognises the quality of classes, changing facilities and pool temperature.

15. Teenage Drawing Class

Artist Rosemary Maclennan will be holding an action drawing class for teenagers at Attenborough Nature Centre on 21st April. It costs £10 and places can be booked by phoning 0115 972 1777.

16. Digital TV

I mentioned last week that the switch-over to digital TV was due to begin later this month. A number of people have pointed out that this only applies if you receive your TV signal from the Nottingham transmitter. If you get your signal from Sutton Coldfield, as many local residents do, then you are not affected until September. Sorry for any confusion caused by that.

17. Economic Growth

I was delighted to read this week that accountants PwC expect GDP growth in the East Midlands to be 1.7% this year, the second highest in the country. Only the south east is expected to have higher growth. After the terrible recession that we have been through it’s nice to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

18. Care Charges

The County Council is raising the cost of meals on wheels to up to £5 per meal, and care home charges are going up by £100 per week to £550 each week. This applies to Bramwell Care Home, despite the promise that the County Council made last year that Bramwell, because of the specialist services that it offers, would be exempt from these increases.

19. Nottingham Big Wheel

One thing to mention from just outside Broxtowe is that the Nottingham Big Wheel in the Market Square is to close on 2nd April for good, so if you want to have a go on it get there sometime tthis month.

20. New Bramcote Website

A new website has been launched for Bramcote, “Bramcote Today.” This has been put together by members of the Bramcote CAT (Community Action team) and 100 local residents turned up for the launch last Monday evening at the Bramcote CAT. I think it is very good and you can see it for yourself at

21. Bargain Bus

One thing that has attracted discussion on the Bramcote Today website is the change to the timetable of the Bargain Bus, which no longer stops at the Sherwin Island. The Bargain Bus was introduced last year and as a result of this another cheap service, Premiere Red 4, closed. Since then the Bargain Bus service has effectively been withdrawn. On the face of it this causes concern as to whether or not there has been any improper practice, and so as leader of the council I am writing to the Competition Commission to ask them to look at things.

22. Fire Authority

An attempt to prevent massive proposed cuts to the fire service by the Labour run fire authority, by voting them out of office, has failed. Unfortunately one Conservative councillor from the city council voted with Labour to keep them in power. There is a real risk that as a result of this more than one fire station in Broxtowe may be closed over the next couple of years.

23. Newthorpe wind turbine application

The County Council have decided to formally object to proposals by Severn Trent to install a 120 metre high wind turbine at Newthorpe. This application will not be decided until after the elections in May.

24. Fair Votes Campaign

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has been selected as one of the faces of the Yes Campaign for fair votes. I fully support this campaign and am delighted that it is attracting such strong cross party support. I heard a statement from the No camp recently saying that AV was too complicated. It involves writing the numbers 1, 2 and 3, which I think most people can manage very easily indeed, so if they can’t come up with any better arguments than that it shows the weakness of their argument. I would encourage everyone who believes in fairness to vote Yes on 5th May.

25. Lib-Dem Conference

It’s been a really good Lib-Dem conference this weekend. Despite some of the media writing us off it was the best attended spring conference we had ever had as a party. We were told that there would be a “day of rage” by protestors, and organisers of the protests claimed that they would get 10,000 people there. In the end I doubt that there were any more than 2,000 people present, and the Observer this morning said that the day of rage ended up as a day of being quite cross! As a party we voted to oppose the proposes changes to the NHS being proposed by the coalition. The media reported this as a blow to Nick Clegg, which isn’t the case. They just don’t understand how we make policy. Lib-Dem policy is made entirely by our members at conference, and so this opposition is now party policy. We recognise however that we won’t get everything that we want in the coalition programme, but such a strong rejection of one item gives our senior people a strong argument to take back to argue for changes. I expect that we will see some of these in the next few months.

I spoke at conference on Access to Justice, and also at a discussion meeting on future policies. However the main benefit for Broxtowe was that I had the opportunity of a brief meeting with Nick Clegg and a much longer one with Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business. I was accompanied to this by Cllr Brian Taylor, the chair of the Broxtowe Constituency Party, and we were able to lobby regarding a number of issues affecting the borough. This again shows an advantage of us being in Government – Dr Cable’s office contacted me to invite me to this meeting, rather than me having to work my way through levels of civil servants to get to speak to a minister.

One amusing event was on Friday night, when we had a rally at which Nick Clegg was speaking. I was queuing at the door waiting to go in when I was suddenly grabbed by Jason Zadrozny, the leader of the Lib-Dem group on the County Council. “Just the man we were looking for,” he said. “We need one extra council leader to be in the group on the stage so you’re it.” Instead of being in the audience for the rally I ended up sat on stage participating!

26. Creative Writing Workshop

There will be a Creative Writing workshop (including performance) at Stapleford Library on March 18th 2011, 10am - 3pm (includes 1 hour break), led by local writer Dave Wood. Email or phone 077099 77684 to book in advance. The session costs £10.00.

27. The Census

You should have received a census form this week. These need to be filled in as accurately as possible. It is actually a civic duty to do so, but more importantly it will affect local services. As the Government use census data to allocate money every form not completed costs the borough about £2,000 in lost income. Please therefore do send them back and encourage everyone else to do the same.

Sorry that this has been such a long newsletter but there has been a lot going on. I’ve had to hold some stuff back to next week. As ever I do appreciate feedback. Lots of people have given me lists of potholes following last weeks newsletter, and I’ll be responding to these next week.

Best wishes


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Broxtowe Enews 5th March 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. Queen Adelaide pub, Kimberley - Greene King, who own the building, want to demolish the Queen Adelaide pub on Babbington Lane in Kimberley and build three houses there instead. This will be considered by the council in due course.

2. Broxtowe Sports programme – Broxtowe will again be running a full sports programme this summer, including a 5K run around Bramcote Park on 15th April, and a children’s 1K fun run the same day.

3. Victims of hate crime – the council has worked with the Council for Equalities and Human Rights to establish a new drop in service for victims of hate crime in the borough. Although overall crime levels are falling significantly hate crime, where the offence appears to be motivated because of a dislike of some characteristic of the victim, is increasing. Sessions will be held at Eastwood Volunteer Bureaux every Wednesday.

4. Broxtowe budget – The Borough Council has approved the proposed budget for next year. The headlines are that we will not be increasing council tax, we will not be drawing any money from the councils very limited balances, and we will not be imposing any compulsory redundancies. This last point seemed to annoy the Conservative opposition, who voted against the budget saying that we weren’t cutting enough. They didn’t submit an alternative budget, which was a little odd given that they criticised the Liberal Democrats and Labour at the County Council last week for exactly the same thing.

5. Council tax rises for the parishes – All of the parishes have submitted their budget plans for next year as well, and all are maintaining council tax levels at the rate of last year (with some very minor variations) except Kimberley Parish Council. I’m afraid for residents of Kimberley the parish council are putting your rates up by 12%. Given that this is a council run by the Conservatives this was a point that they didn’t want to dwell on at the budget debate.

6. Kimberley Town Council – talking of Kimberly, the parish council apparently passed a motion of no confidence in the borough council in December. I mention it now because they eventually wrote to us on 21st February (in a highly ungrammatical and badly laid out letter) telling us. This is, I’m afraid, pure party politics in the run up to the elections in May. They put forward a number of issues where they say that Kimberley has had a raw deal, but each of these is either simply wrong or a misinterpretation of the facts. I guess that there is a reason why they waited 2 months to tell us what they decided. If anyone read the reports about this in the Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser you must have thought that I had spoken to them about it, given that I was quoted a number of times. This however isn’t the case and I never said any of the things that are in the paper.

7. Labour leaflets – Having criticised the Conservatives I need to mention the actions of the Labour Party. They have put out a leaflet in Eastwood containing a number of factual errors and false claims about the Liberal Democrats and we are now taking action against them through the courts.

8. Cuts to Supporting People – The Supporting People programme is a Government funded programme which supports care schemes for elderly people, young people, victims of domestic violence, those released from prison, the homeless and a range of others. It also funds the wardens who look after our sheltered housing complexes. The money is paid by the Government to the County Council, who then redistribute it to the various groups and the district councils. The County Council in Nottinghamshire however have decided to keep the vast majority of the money for themselves and to impose massive cuts on the services provided by other people. Next Tuesday Broxtowe’s cabinet will be asked to approve a letter being sent to the county council threatening them with legal action if they don’t change this policy. Having taken legal advice it seems to us that the actions of the County Council breach their duties under equality legislation towards the elderly, women and young people at the very least. I assume that the letter will be approved and it will be signed by myself and the leader of the Labour group.

9. Digital TV – The switch-off of the analogue TV signal to Nottinghamshire will start at the end of this month. First the BBC 2 signal will go and then two weeks later the rest of the signals. If you watch TV using an analogue TV then you need to make sure that you have a set-top box (either Sky or Freeview, or one purchased from a shop) to be able to still view TV.

10. Next Store at Giltbrook – The Next Store at the Giltbrook retail site have applied for planning permission to increase the amount of sales space there by using the mezzanine floor for sales and not just for storage. This will be considered by the council in due course.

11. Pot Holes – The Government has made an extra £100 million available to County Councils to aid in repairing pot holes caused by the severe weather during the winter. I will be lobbying to ensure that Broxtowe get their fair share of that from the County Council, and I know of a number of roads in Greasley, Chilwell and Beeston which are in urgent need of attention. If there are any near you in a particularly poor state let me know and I will pass them on.

12. Middle Street Resource Centre – I have mentioned this centre before. It is used by people with mental health problems, and has been threatened with closure by the County Council. This would be an appalling decision as it provides a vital service. A decision is due in the next couple of weeks and I’ve rumours that the centre is to get a reprieve. If it is then this will be good news, but we will need to check exactly what happens. The users of the centre have mounted an excellent campaign and I hope they will succeed.

13. Speed Sign on Coventry Lane – This is a personal success. I’ve been pressing the County Council to install an illuminated 30 sign on Coventry Lane for nearly 3 years. After inordinate delay we were promised by the County Council that they would install it by last April at the latest. It was eventually installed not in April but in November, but even then it didn’t work. Now the County Council have eventually been out and got it working. I’ve lost count of the number of letters, phone calls and emails that I’ve had to send over this to get it properly installed, so I hope that speeding cars will now take notice of it.

14. New Cat – long term readers may recall that our cat, Marmalade, was killed in an accident last year. Having gone 12 months without a cat we have been back to the RSPCA and my girls have selected Lily, who will be moving in with us tomorrow. Readers of the Evening Post may have seen an appeal in Saturday’s paper for people to take on cats from the RSPCA, and we did ask to meet Flo, the cat featured in that appeal. Unfortunately she had been taken ill this morning and so we weren’t able to try her out. I’m sure though that Lily will rapidly become an important part of our family.

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

Best wishes