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.

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