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