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