Saturday, 30 April 2011

Broxtowe Enews 30th April 2011

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

1. English Defence League

Most people will be familiar with this organisation, which seems to be composed entirely of right wing thugs and who seem to cause problems wherever they go. Recently the membership details for this organisation were made public. However there are errors and a resident of Bramcote, who is an upstanding member of the community with no links to the EDL whatsoever has been wrongly identified as one of their leaders. Apparently someone with a similar name who used to live in Bramcote was connected with the EDL but it’s not the person who lives there now. As a result this man has received more than 400 telephone calls (all abusive) over the past few days and the police have had to be involved. Please rest assured that no-one on the leaked list is a Bramcote resident.

2. Litter Pick

Thank you to the dozen or so people who attended the Bramcote litter pick, which was a very successful event. We’ve collected several bags full of rubbish. The weather was perfect for it. I had read in a leaflet by the Conservative candidates for Bramcote (none of whom live here) that they were supporting the litter pick, but that was obviously just supporting it in the spiritual sense as not one of them attended. Anna Soubry did come and participated fully but none of their borough election candidates.

3. Future developments at Attenborough Nature Reserve

Notts Wildlife Trust are currently working on plans for a new phase of development and are asking local residents for their views about how they should proceed. A survey can be completed online at and the last day for responses is Friday.

4. Election Day on Thursday

This Thursday is local election day. My plea is that you will use your vote for the Liberal Democrats. This election is not about national issues or national people, but who you want to run the council here for the next four years. The Liberal Democrats have run it for the last four years and I think we have done a good job. We’ve kept council tax low and maintained services. We’ve managed to reduce expenditure without any compulsory redundancies. We also have great plans for the future, to ensure that Broxtowe keeps progressing and to maintain this area as one of the best places in the country to live. As Liberal Democrats we want to keep people informed about matters which affect them, which is why we produce this newsletter every week and why every Lib-Dem councillor in Broxtowe produces a newsletter (“Focus”) at least quarterly. No other party offers this.

Moreover the facts show that Lib-Dem councillors work harder. Here in Broxtowe our councillors attend 85% of all meetings with Labour on 71% and the Tories on 73%. Seven councillors attended less than 60% of the meetings that they should have done, and not one of them was a Liberal Democrats. The lowest rate of attendance was a conservative councillor in Greasley who only attended 3 meetings in 12 months (but still received her full allowance, which equates to more than £1,300 per meeting) but also the two Labour Councillors in Stapleford John Bell and John McGrath attended only 11 out of a possible 21 meetings, and 7 out of a possible 18 meetings in the last 12 months respectively. This means that John Bell received £370.52 per meeting whilst John McGrath received £582.21 per meeting.

5. Changes at Ikea

The council’s development control committee voted on Wednesday to permit a new catering hub to be built at the Ikea shopping centre. For those who know the site it will be where the current administration office is, diagonally over the roundabout from the existing catering units. I voted against the proposals as they include the loss of 27 car park spaces and I’m well aware of how difficult it can be to park there at busy times. However it was passed by 5 votes to 3.

6. Fair Votes Referendum

Also on the 5th May is the referendum on switching to the alternative vote system for electing MP’s. If you are happy with MP’s having jobs for life, about duck houses, moat cleaning and expense fraud, then vote no. If you are happy that the most common result under the existing system is that the Conservatives win a majority of seats with a minority of votes (no wonder they are against it)then vote no. However if you want MP’s to work hard and to be accountable, for a fairer system for electing MP’s where your vote really counts, then please vote YES. I have read some real rubbish from the no campaign recently, including a claim that the change will cost £250 million. This is nonsense and is based on an assumption that new computerised counting machines will be necessary, but this simply isn’t the case. They also say that the new system is too complicated, but it’s really not that difficult to put people in order 1,2 and 3. Finally they tell us that it makes coalitions more likely, but the Australians, who have the AV system, had less coalitions during the 20th century than the UK did. I don’t think that AV is the best system of selecting MP’s, but it’s the best on offer so I will be voting yes on Thursday.

7. Comments from Nick Palmer

I was very disappointed to read comments by Nick Palmer during the week suggesting that campaigns to save Bramwell Nursing Home and the Stapleford Walk In Centre weren’t followed through. Even worse, when I challenged him about this he said that the campaign on the walk in centre was just political posturing and that he didn’t want to discuss it with me. So much for the positive politics he used to claim to represent. These comments were desperately insulting to everyone who has worked so hard to save these centres, and the fact that we haven’t won yet does not mean that we are not trying our hardest to ensure that we get the right result in the end.

8. Another new supermarket in Eastwood

The man in Space pub in Eastwood, which has been empty for some time, is to be converted into a new Sainsbury’s Local and also a vets surgery. Surprisingly the law doesn’t require planning permission to be obtained when converting from a pub to a supermarket, and so the council was powerless to stop this happening.

9. Basil Russell Recreation Ground

Nuthall Parish Council have received a grant from the County Council to improve the Basil Russell Recreation Ground. The £40,000 grant will be used to install new paths, revamp the toilets, and add to the size of the children’s play area.

10. Beeston BID

The Beeston BID scheme, which aims to promote businesses in the town centre, has a new office on the High Road. It was opened last week by Anna Soubry MP and Anne Davies from East Midlands Today.

11. Town Centre Stalls

Thank you to everyone who has visited our stalls in Beeston and Stapleford over the past few weeks. We have given out hundreds of balloons and copies of our manifesto’s. Labour were planning to have a stall in Beeston as well today but unfortunately only one of their members turned up to run it.

12. Ramblers

Broxtowe Ramblers are organising a free four mile walk as part of national get Walking Day on 15th May. Anyone wanting to take part is invited to meet at the car park in Bramcote Park at 10am. Details are available on 07999 978638 or you can just turn up on the day.

13. St Johns School, Stapleford

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Governors and head master at St Johns School in Stapleford were consulting parents about whether the school should move to a new site, where Frederick Harrison School used to be. This consultation has now concluded and the governors have decided that the school will be staying where it is.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, which has once again set a new record for the number of readers that we have. Any feedback is gratefully received.


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Broxtowe Enews 23rd April 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 all the new readers that we have this week, it’s been a good week for people signing up. Also may I apologise that there wasn’t a newsletter last week. I was working in Cornwall and I thought that the technology would allow me to still post a short newsletter but although it left me it didn’t seem to appear anywhere else!

1. Community Litter Pick

We have organised a community litter pick for Bramcote next Saturday, 30th April, from 2pm to 4pm. Meet at King George Park car park. (Don’t forget that the top of Town Street is closed.)We hope that as many local residents as possible will assist us in this, to make Bramcote look as smart as possible. The council have provided us with litter pickers, gloves and rubbish sacks.

2. Election Web Site

Broxtowe Lib-Dems have given our web site an election makeover at A copy of our manifesto and a list of our candidates are available there.

3. Another election website

The local Beestonia Blog, which is highly recommended reading for Beeston residents, have launched their own website to cover the local elections at I’m not just plugging this because it carries a rather nice profile of me this week but because I think it is genuinely independent. Matt who writes the blog got a couple of the facts wrong in our interview but basically it’s a really good read.

4. Beeston Wind Turbine proposal

About fifty local residents attended a meeting in Beeston last week to discuss the plans by Nottingham University to erect three 125 metre high wind turbines in the Rylands. Two of the three are actually in the city and the city council will need to make a decision on these, but the third is in Broxtowe. One of the concerns expressed was that these may in fact be the stalking horse for a much larger number of turbines, but when I met the senior staff at the University a couple of months ago they assured me that the wind flows meant that it would only be possible to erect the three proposed.

5. Paradiso Cinema

On Friday 13th May at 7.30pm Paradiso Cinema presents Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. This is suitable for the whole family and is at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West, NG9 5AL. Tickets on the door cost £5, £4 (conc). Come at 7pm for refreshments. Further details are at

6. Improvements to the Parks

Broxtowe Borough Council are looking to make a number of improvements to local parks across the borough. The most significant is to relay the car park at Bramcote Hills Park and to provide marked spaces. We are not intending to introduce compulsory parking charges there but there will be an opportunity to pay a voluntary charge which will go to charity, the same way that things work at Attenborough Nature Reserve. The total cost of the changes is £93,500, and I hope that this helps to kill off the myth that councils are only about cuts and nothing more. We are making sure that we spend the money that we have wisely but we are still investing in our local communities.

7. Life Drawing Class

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

8. Village Ventures

On Thursday 5th May at 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 for details. This takes place at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West, NG9 5AL. Tickets cost £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 are at

9. Gloria de Piero Letter

I’ve just received my first letter from Gloria De Piero, the Labour MP for Ashfield. In the past I’ve invited her to get in touch to discuss issues such as Durban House, but she never has done. Still, she has eventually found something to write to me about. The thing that she considers more important than any issue I deal with as the leader of the council is that she is unhappy about how I reported her latest expenses claim. To save people rushing back to see exactly what it was that has provoked her to eventually write, here is the whole item that so invoked her ire:

“11 MP’s Expenses

Figures published this week show that Anna Soubry MP claimed £3,875 expenses during November and December 2010, whilst during the same period Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, whose constituency includes Eastwood and Brinsley, claimed £8,615.”

You can draw your own conclusions on whether this was really something that should have caused offence.

10. Attenborough Exhibition

Nottinghamshire Artist Ann Harrison is holding an exhibition at Attenborough Nature Reserve from now until the end of the month. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

11. Royal wedding

There will be 15 street parties held across Broxtowe next Friday to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I’m afraid I don’t have details of the locations for these.

12. Hemlock Happening

The 2011 Hemlock Happening, the 10th, will take place on Saturday 11th June from 2pm. Details are at

13. Boxing Fundraising

Soldiers from the Mercian Regiment are taking part in a charity boxing tournament against local amateur boxers on 5th May at Chetwynd Barracks. If you are going don’t forget to vote first. Doors open from 6.30pm. Tickets cost from £25 and are available from 0115 946 5417 or from

14. Election Hustings

We took part in the first ever hustings for a local election that I can recall last week. You can read a report of it on

15. AV Referendum

If anyone wants to help deliver extra leaflets for the YES campaign just let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the local organisers. I’ve received a mail shot from the No campaign this week and it consists of nothing more than a mix of half-truths and complete lies. They claim that an election under AV will cost an extra £250 million, but they can only get to this figure by claiming that complex counting machines will be needed, which is simply not the case. Their other argument is that it will lead to more coalitions, but during the 20th Century there were more coalitions in the UK with First Past The Post than in Australia with AV. To my mind a Yes vote is complete common sense and will help to create a fairer country.

The other fascinating thing about the referendum is who is funding the campaign. The Yes team have always published who their donors are but the No Campaign have been very reluctant to do this. What information they have published shows that the No campaign is virtually totally funded by senior Tory party supporters. Given that the most common results under First Past The Post elections is a majority Tory government with a minority of the vote that is perhaps not a surprise.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. If you are reading it on one of the web sites that carries it then you can subscribe directly to receive it to your inbox by following the link on our website.

Best wishes


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Broxtowe Enews 10th April 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 all new readers that we have this week. I did mention last week that the amount to report will slow down between now and the election as the council is prohibited from dealing with controversial items during the campaign period. Nevertheless there are still a number of things to report.

1. Election Candidates

The nominations have now closed for the borough council elections on 5th May. The Lib-Dems will be fielding 39 candidates across Broxtowe. Amongst the surprises with the nominations are that eight of the existing councillors are not seeking re-election. Included within this list are the two independent councillors who represent Nuthall East and Strelley, so there are definitely going to be new faces on the council there. The BNP, who fielded a number of candidates (and won a seat which they were subsequently stripped off when their councillor failed to attend for in excess of six months) have totally disappeared and I don’t mourn their passing. The Green Party are fielding about six candidates and there are a couple from UKIP. We also have one ex Lib-Dem councillor standing as an independent. He was deselected by the Lib-Dems and now accuses us of selling our souls (strangely not something he said when apply to stand in the election for us, but there you go). I’ve put a full list of Lib-Dem candidates at the end of this newsletter.

2. Election Hustings

The Evening Post has organised a hustings this coming Thursday at the New Ventures Social Club, Technology Drive, Beeston, starting at 7.30pm. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.

3. Wind Turbine display

Nottingham University have, as many people will know, applied to install three wind turbines in Beeston Rylands. Two are within the boundaries of the city, but the third is in Broxtowe. The University have now announced an exhibition and public meeting about the plans. The exhibition will be at Beeston library between 16th and 21st April, with a public meeting on Thursday 21st April between 11.15 and 12.45 pm.

4. CampaignTables

The Liberal Democrats launched our formal election campaign this week with street tables in Beeston and Stapleford. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come over and to take literature or have a chat. We actually gave out our total stock of balloons for Beeston on the first day, so we’re having to restock on those. One gentleman came over at the end and clearly wanted to have an argument, but other than that there was a pretty good response from people.

5. School Move

St Johns Church of England primary school in Stapleford are looking at the possibility of relocating to a new base. The school is currently at a site on Nottingham Road but the County Council have asked them whether they want to relocate to the site of the former Frederick Harrison school, which closed in 2008. The school are currently consulting parents, which to my mind seems to be the right thing to do, but it has generated strong feelings in some parents.

6. Rail Times

Notts County Council and Nottingham City Council have submitted an application to the Government (on behalf of East Midlands Councils) for funding to speed up rail journey times on the Midland Mainline. Is successful this would result in journeys from Nottingham to London being about 15 minutes quicker than at present.

7. Beeston Hockey Club

Congratulations to Beeston Hockey Club who have won the national championships for the first time in their history. They beat East Grinstead on Sunday to secure their title.

8. “What The Hell Have The Liberal Democrats Done”

I was sent a link to this web site this week. I think it is excellent and is saying the things that the national media seem to be intent on ignoring, and I fully recommend that you visit:

9. Residents Parking Petition in Stapleford

A Stapleford Labour Councillor will present a petition to the County Council tomorrow calling for action on the proposed residents parking scheme for Stapleford. Whilst I welcome the petition I can’t help but be cynical over the timing. I do hope that this is not just an election stunt and that it will in fact achieve something.

10. Chilwell Road Traders

I attended a meeting along with Anna Soubry MP and Richard Jackson, County Councillor Highways Portfolio holder, with the traders from Chilwell Road in Beeston. They were all broadly in favour of the tram coming but did want reassurances about their trade during the construction phase, and I think that they went away quite reassured.

11. MP’s Expenses

Figures published this week show that Anna Soubry MP claimed £3,875 expenses during November and December 2010, whilst during the same period Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, whose constituency includes Eastwood and Brinsley, claimed £8,615.

12. Stapleford Walk In Centre

The County Council have decided to ask the Secretary of State for Health to look again at plans by the Primary Care Trust to close the walk in centre in Stapleford. This is good news, and Anna Soubry MP and I have already discussed going to see him to make the case for keeping the centre open. We will try and secure a meeting as soon as possible.

13. Victim Support Award

Broxtowe Borough Council have awarded a safe Borough Award to Victim Support for its work with crime victims in the borough. The award was announced this week.

14. Lib-Dem Candidates

The full list of Liberal Democrat candidates standing in the elections are:

Attenborough – Stephen Rule
Beeston Central – Paul Fox, Stella Fox
Beeston North – Steve Carr, Chris Salter
Beeston Rylands – John Patrick, Trish Taylor
Beeston West – Brian Taylor, Graham Hopcroft
Bramcote – Stan Heptinstall, Ian Tyler, David Watts
Brinsley – Martin Shaw
Chilwell East – Amanda Hull, Jane Lachhar
Chilwell West – Barbara Carr, Helen Grindell, Brenda Houldsworth
Cossall and Kimberley – Elaine Cockburn, Goff Walt, Steph Walt
Greasley –Lee-Ann Foreman, Nigel Morgan, Kevin Wilkinson
Eastwood North – Bob Charlesworth, Hazel Charlesworth
Eastwood South – Josie Forrest, David Hallam, Keith Longdon
Stapleford North – Mark Elvin, Brian Wombwell
Stapleford South East – Jacky Williams, David Grindell
Stapleford South west – David Pearson, Kevin Thomas
Toton and Chilwell Meadows – Bob Pembleton, John Rule, Christine Wombwell
Trowell – Ken Rigby

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Word of mouth remains our best form of advertising and I’m grateful for all the positive comments that are made. As ever any feedback on any of the above will be gratefully received.


Monday, 4 April 2011

Broxtowe Enews 4th April 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.

We are now in the official pre-election period, when the council is by law prohibited from making any controversial or significant decisions. As a result the news is a bit quiet this week, and will be for the next few weeks. However the work of the council does go on, although all the big stuff now has to wait until after 5th May. That being said, there is still plenty happening in the borough.

1. Stapleford Walk In Centre

The scrutiny committee at the County Council has today agreed to a Lib-Dem request to refer the decision to close the Stapleford Walk In Centre to the Secretary of State for Health. As I mentioned last week Anna Soubry and I are already trying to arrange to see him so that we can put the case for retaining the centre, which serves the whole of south Broxtowe as well as patients from further afield. We may have lost the first round but the fight goes on.

2. Election Hustings Debate

The Evening Post has organised a debate between representatives of the parties standing for election in Broxtowe on 5th May. This will take place on Thursday 14th April at 7.30pm in the New Ventures Social Club, Beeston, and everyone is welcome to attend. I will be attending for the Lib-Dems and I imagine that Richard Jackson and Milan Radulovic will be speaking for the Conservatives and Labour respectively, although I haven’t had this confirmed. The election debates in the run up to the general election were good fun and good natured, and I hope that this will be as well.

3. Hickings Lane Trees

I mentioned last week that vandals had attacked and destroyed the trees planted last year on Hickings Lane park in Stapleford. We have now had an estimate of the cost of the damage that they caused, which came to £1,600. The council will have to pick up the cost of this. If anyone has any information about those responsible please ring Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 or let me know and I will pass it on.

4. Sherwood Forest Walk

Stapleford writer (and subscriber to this enews)Dave Wood is to begin a very ambitious walk in June, covering the historic boundaries of Sherwood Forest. Apparently the last time that this walk was completed was in 1662, and Dave is going to highlight the disappearance of trees and will run workshops with local residents.The walk will take about three months to complete. Further details are available from Dave on

5. Preferred Bidder For Tram

The preferred bidder to construct Lines 2 and 3 of the tram (coming through Beeston and Chilwell) was announced this week. The Tramslink Consortium includes amongst it’s members Trent Barton buses, and so hopefully they will coordinate their bus services to tie in with the trams when they are up and running. If everything goes according to plan work will start early next year and the first trams could be running by the end of 2014.

6. Attenborough Easter Holiday Club

The Magic in the Woods holiday club will run between 26th and 28th April at Attenborough Nature Reserve , enabling children to explore the beauties of the nature reserve. Classes run from 10.15 to 12.15 each day and cost £5. Further details are available from 0115 972 1777.

7. Greasley Multi-Use Games Area

The multi-use games area owned by Greasley Parish Council has been a source of irritation to local residents since it was installed because of the noise generated from there. The borough council have checked and it does constitute a noise nuisance, and so we have had to serve a noise abatement notice on the parish council. The parish council say that they are now taking steps to reduce noise levels. It is a shame that we had to take this action before they have taken these steps.

8. Grow Your Own Food

A five year project to encourage people to grow their own food has been launched in Broxtowe by Rural Community Action Nottingham. Coincidentally I was reading a paper this week about the benefits that this can bring and was wondering how we could develop the idea here, so I’m delighted that someone has beaten me to it. A development officer has been appointed and he will work with allotment holders and other community groups to promote the scheme, and will be holding veg growing workshops. Details are available on 01623 727600.

9. Planning Advice

From 1st April Broxtowe will charge for planning advice to potential developers. The scale of charges is weighted so that local residents wanting to build extensions or alterations to their properties will pay the least, with big commercial developers paying the most. This change, which was supported by all three parties on the council, is part of our efforts to ensure that the council can maintain services as well as cut our costs.

10. County Council Redundancy Costs

As part of their cost saving measures the County Council have made a number of senior officers redundant. In the last six months this has meant that they have paid out £940,000 in redundancy payments.

11. Beeston Bid

Beeston Bid, which was set up a couple of months ago and works to promote businesses within the town, has recruited a new apprentice because of the amount of work that they are dealing with. The apprentice post is to help set up projects and events in the Bid area.

12. Giltbrook Bus Route

Trent Barton have varied the route of their No 27 bus so that it now runs through the Giltbrook Retail park. This runs every 30 minutes between Kimberley, Awsworth and Ilkeston.

13. Cheques

The Lib-Dem team on Notts County Council have called for cheques to be retained and for banks to scrap their plans to phase them out over the next few years. I think that this is an excellent campaign and I’m happy to throw my full weight behind it. The Lib-Dems have already collected 2,000 names on a petition in support locally.

14. Manifesto

The Broxtowe Lib-Dem manifesto for the borough council elections will be available on our web site ( later this week, together with full details for our candidates. A full list of all the candidates will be published by the borough council on Wednesday. An attempt has been made to sabotage the Lib-Dems in the city by bombarding their freepost address with empty envelopes. As a result they have had to suspend their freepost address. We had to drop our freepost address a few years ago after similar problems. I will repeat what I have said many times before, that I hope strongly that we will have a good natured and well behaved election campaign. We will certainly not engage in this sort of tactics, or anything else below the belt.

15. London Protests

I’ve been asked if I can comment on the protests in London last week. First, the violence was wholly unnecessary and I can’t be the only one who wondered why it was that the few people smashing windows seemed to be surrounded by hundreds of representatives from the media. Why does one small piece of bad news attract so much publicity when the main thrust should surely have been about the extent of the protests. Turning then to that, when so many people do protest I think that it is incumbent on the Government to look again at what it is doing to see if there are any better alternatives. This doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly become a deficit denier or that I necessarily believe that there is a better way to go forward (we couldn’t carry on spending the staggeringly high figures that the last Government did) but I firmly believe that the Government must listen to people’s concerns and engage in regular soul searching about whether they are doing the right things. I hope that they are doing this and I hope that one of the first changes that may come about is a revamp of the health policy.

16. Libya Crisis

I’ve also been asked my views about the military action in Libya. As regular readers will know I am very much against military operations unless absolutely necessary and have long advocated the immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. However I do believe that the situation in Libya is different ton either Afghanistan or Iraq, and has much more in common with Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, when the UN did nothing and allowed massacre after massacre to take place. The action in Libya is supported by a UN resolution (in sharp contrast to the illegal war in Iraq) and so prior to the vote in the House of Commons I spoke to Anna Soubry on the phone and said that I would not criticise anyone who voted in favour of the action.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received. Readers of this from the web sites that carry it may subscribe directly by contacting me at