Saturday, 16 July 2011

Broxtowe Enews 16th July 2011

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

There hasn’t been a huge degree of news this week, partly because things are winding down for the summer break, but three of the stories are particularly important.

1. Housing in Broxtowe

The council’s cabinet on Tuesday looked at proposals for where new homes might be built over the next 20 years. Four separate models have been prepared which all show that Greater Nottingham will need about 50,000 new houses over that period, and obviously some of them will need to be in Broxtowe. However the exact numbers are still up for debate. The Joint Planning Advisory Board, a working party from all the councils in the area, suggested that up to 5,700 houses might need to be in Broxtowe, but I think that this figure is too high. I’m pleased that the cabinet agreed with me that we should challenge that figure, and will work out how many houses we have space for and our infrastructure can support. The council also agreed with me that the way to go forward was by working with each parish and town, with every local community, to discuss how many new houses should be built in each place and where they should go.

One thing that the Government have made clear to all councils is that not building is not an option, given the need for new houses. I have therefore been very disappointed at the total failure of the local Conservatives to engage in the process. I have invited all councillors to make comments about the proposals but not a single Tory councillor has sent me anything! (It’s my portfolio on the council so it is me that they should be talking to.)

Part of the requirement of the Government is that each council must identify sites where new development can take place. We have identified two possible sites, one to the North of Toton and the other between Stapleford and Trowell, on Field Farm. With the Toton site I stressed that it should not be allowed to be developed right up to the roads, either Stapleford lane or the A52, and with the Field Farm site I stressed that the gap between Stapleford and Trowell must be maintained and the cabinet therefore agreed with my suggestion that the site should be limited to the Stapleford side of the brook, so there will be no proposals for the site to be developed on the Toton side. This is particular is a great victory for my colleague Ken Rigby, the councillor for Trowell, who has campaigned very hard for this gap to be preserved.

The plans will now go out to public consultation. The final point I stressed at the cabinet was that the proposed consultation, which was during the summer holiday period, was unacceptable and as a result the consultations have been extended until the end of September. People should receive information from the council but if you want to know anything in advance please don’t hesitate to contact me. (By the way, the reference in the local paper to us consulting on other sites on Coventry Lane and Bilborough Road is misleading. The council has made it clear that we would not support development on those sites.)

2. Stapleford Walk In Centre

I was deeply disappointed to learn earlier this week that the Secret ary of State for Health has refused to intervene in the decision to close Stapleford’s Walk in Centre. This provides an excellent place for people to have minor injuries and ailments treated, and the result of it’s closure will be to send more patients to the QMC, even though the managers at casualty there say that they struggle with the numbers already attending. Local residents have fought an excellent campaign to keep the centre open and it is a real shame that the decision of the unelected quango who decided to close it, despite the universal local opposition to their proposals, has not been overturned.

3. Trees in Toton

There’s better news for residents in Toton. The landowner who illegally felled all the trees on the sidings has lost his appeal against the order that the trees need to be replanted. However the appeal panel have varied the timetable to see if natural growth will replenish them. As a result the site does not need to be restocked for five years, which I feel is a very long time for local residents to wait. Steve Blackwell and all those involved in the Toton Environmental Protection Society deserve immense credit for winning this, although I know that they are equally concerned about this five year period that has been allowed.

4. Greener Beeston

Greening Beeston, the council supported group aiming to improve the environment in Beeston, has challenged all residents in the town to cut their carbon emissions. Volunteers are being sought to publicise the initiative and they want people to cut their energy use and install things like photo-voltaic cells to cut electricity consumption. For further details ring 0115 925 6368.

5. Bramcote Church Tower

Anyone driving through Bramcote or down the A52 in recent weeks will have noticed that the church tower is surrounded by scaffolding after loose brickwork was discovered during an inspection. The church need to raise £95,000 to get the work done and they have raised half of this during the first month. If anyone else wishes to help the contact number is 0115 922 1443.

6. Police and Councillors Meeting

A series of meetings have been arranged for local people to discuss issues with the police and local councillors. These are at Attenborough village hall on 3rd August, Awsworth parish hall on August 24th, Queens Road Methodist Church in Beeston on 27th July, Beeston Rylands Community Centre on 19th July, Beeston Town Hall on August 23rd (for Beeston west residents),and Inham Nook Methodist Church on July 28th. All meetings start at 7pm apart from the Beeston rylands one which is a 7.30 start.

7. Road Resurfacing

I was pleased to announce to the council last week that a series of repairs are scheduled to tackle the worst of the pot holes in Broxtowe. Eastwood in particular has benefited from the work that my colleague Keith Longdon has done, and elsewhere in the borough many people responded to a request I sent out on this newsletter early on this year asking for their views ofn the worst roads. All of this has fed into the discussions to ensure that the money is being spent where the need is greatest.

8. Get Fit in the Summer

The council are offering discount rates to local residents who sign up to get fit at the various leisure centres in the borough. Joining fees have been dropped and free induction sessions are being offered. The number of people using the leisure centres has increased dramatically over the last few years so why not take this opportunity to join a growing trend?

9. Nottingham Credit Union

Further to my mention of the credit union last week they have asked me to mention that NCU has Money Surgeries in the area - 1-3pm on Mondays at the Council Offices in Foster Avenue, Beeston, and 10-12 noon on Thursdays in the Carnegie Centre, Stapleford, as well as a Collection Point at the Methodist Church, Inham Nook, 10-12 noon on Tuesdays.

There is also a Money Surgery at the Council's Office in Eastwood, 1.30 to3.30 on Mondays, and we are desperate to find new volunteers to help staff that (training provided).

Enquiries are welcome at all the Money Surgeries and Collection Point, where people may apply for NCU membership or loans. Anyone interested may like to go to the NCU website

I’m very happy to pass this on.

10. Police Stations

I have heard a rumour this week that Stapleford Police Station is to close altogether in the near future. The public counter is already shut and I understand that the officers will be working out of an office at the Co-Op rather than having their own building. I’m quite comfortable with this provided that the level of policing is maintained, I’m not really that worries where their offices are. However if the levels of policing drop I will be at the front of any campaign to get them restored.

11. High Speed Rail

Following the decision of the council last week to call for HS2 to be developed with a station in or close to Broxtowe I’ve been pleased to see that the call has been supported this week by local businesses and by the local economic partnership, the collaboration of businesses and local councils.

12. Fake Air Ambulance Leaflets

I received a leaflet this week asking for donations to an organisation calling itself Air Ambulance Services. This leaflet is wholly misleading and is, frankly, a fake. Please don’t be taken in by it and if you have already given anything to them please let trading standards know.

13. Crime Levels

Crime in Nottinghamshire dropped 14% last year, the second year running that Nottinghamshire has had the largest fall of any county in the country. There are lots of reasons for this but well done to everyone who has helped to make this happen.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is, as ever, very gratefully received.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Broxtowe Enews 10th July 2011

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Broxtowe Borough Council. A special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.

1. Typo’s

There were a couple of typing errors in last weeks newsletter, for which I apologise. First there was an error with the reference to wellington s, embarrassingly recreating a typing error which has occurred previously. I can’t even blame a rogue spell checker as they were typed on different PC’s. I think I will follow the advice off one reader who suggested that I stick to writing “boots” in the future.

More important was an error in the reference to the Broxtowe wardens. I wrote that they ran the shopmobiliity scheme, which is incorrect. I had meant to say that they helped the scheme, which would have been right. I’d like to apologise for any upset that this caused the shopmobility volunteers, and I certainly didn’t wish to dismiss the excellent service that they offer.

2. More on Wardens

Readers may recall that last week in the Nottingham Post (I’ve been gently told off in another blog this week for calling it the Evening Post. Guilty as charged.) the Conservatives were criticising the amount spent on wardens and saying that it does not cover the cost of the service. I was therefore very surprised at the council meeting on Wednesday when they called for more wardens to be recruited. This was a fairly quick U-turn.

3. High Speed Rail

Also at the council meeting on Wednesday was delighted to second a motion calling for support for the proposed high speed 2 rail line and for a station to be established in or around Broxtowe. This was supported unanimously by the council. S I said at the meeting the benefits that the line can bring to the East Midlands and to the north are massive, and we must ensure that we don’t allow the self-interest of a few council’s in the south of England to stop such a major development and opportunity for us.

4. Your Say on the NHS

A public meeting will be held in Stapleford on Tuesday 19th July from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at St Helen’s Church all where residents can meet members of the local patient participation group and have their say about how the NHS operates. You can register on or by ringing 01623 673333.

5. Future Building in the Borough

On Tuesday evening the cabinet at Broxtowe will take the next steps in deciding how and where future building in Broxtowe will take place. The council will have to decide on the policies it wants to take forward, something that we are seeking to do jointly with the other councils in Greater Nottingham. If the council agree to take things further then the next stage is for there to be a full public consultation. The proposed timetable for this in the council papers is over the summer holidays, and I will be proposing that this is extended into the autumn so that everyone gets a proper chance to have their say. If people want to read the report that is going to the council it is available at

6. County Council Children’s Centres

Notts County Council have announced that they will be retaining all 59 of their children centre’s across the county and that they will be seeking to expand the range of services that are available. I’m delighted to welcome this news. In an age of austerity it is good to see investment being made in our future.

7. Caretaker Vacancy

Trowell Parish Council are looking for a temporary relief caretaker for the parish hall, on a six month contract. Application forms can be obtained by ringing 0115 973 0713.

8. Independents Day

The Beeston Improvement District (which exists to improve trade in Beeston) has launched Independents day, a campaign to promote independent traders in the town centre. The aim is to stress the benefits that independent traders can bring. Further details are available from the BID team.

9. Nottingham Credit Union

Nottingham Credit Union, which has a base in the council offices in Broxtowe, have announced that they are now opening about 100 new accounts a month. The credit union provides a vital service and helps to provide options for people who might otherwise be unable to obtain credit or other services.

10. Newthorpe Road Works

Dawson Close in Newthorpe will be disrupted due to gas main works between Monday 11th July and 25th July.

11. Unemployment in Broxtowe

New figures have been released which show that there are currently 8.6 people in the borough claiming Jobseekers Allowance for every vacancy that there currently are at the Jobcentre plus. This is an increase from 6.6 people 12 months ago. These figures are obviously disappointing, but they do show why the council is right to deploy a significant amount of resources into job creation and business development.

12. Car Park Charges

The borough council is now starting the process of reviewing car park charges. The key questions are whether car park charges should be retained, and if so whether they should be applied universally or whether there should be different rates for different car parks. Whilst it would be very easy to say that we should just get rid of them if we do this we need to determine where we find the £300,000 that they generate for the council. We have always said that we would review the charges after they have been in operation for 12 months, and we are now doing this.

13. Lowes Estate Family Fun Day

The Lowes estate in Beeston will celebrate it’s family fun day next Saturday, 16th July, from midday to 4pm. There will be go-karting, bouncy castles and a barbecue.

14. New Homes in Eastwood

40 new houses have been built on the site of the old Moon and Stars pub in Eastwood, which has been derelict for many years. The houses are all being provided by a housing association and will significantly increase the amount of rented property available in the town.

15. Nottingham University Hotel

Nottingham University have confirmed that they are about to start work on building a hotel in University Park. I mention this solely because when the University built new student accommodation in Beeston a few years ago we did ask them why they weren’t looking to build in University Park and we were told that covenants on the land prevented them doing this. Clearly this wasn’t correct.

16. News of the World Controversy

I can’t lament the passing of the News of the World, and I hope that it will lead to Rupert Murdoch’s attempts to buy the rest of Sky TV being rejected. Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry has also called for a change in the law to introduce better standards in the media. This is something I support, as I think that the standards of reporting in the national media have been appallingly low for many years. Quite how this can be accomplished though may be a difficult question to answer.

17. Pakistan Floods

A badminton tournament will be held at Chilwell Olympia on 17th July to raise money for the victims of the floods in Pakistan. The event runs from 11am to 6pm and costs £25 for teams of two. Bookings can be made by ringing 07814 104310.

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


Sunday, 3 July 2011

Broxtowe Enews 3rd July 2011

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

It’s been a really busy week this week, and the high spot was visiting Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for a Royal Garden Party. I would never describe myself as a rampant royalist, but the building and the occasion really did take my breath away. We went with a couple of very long serving members of staff from the council, and I think that it is important that we do take the opportunity to recognise the role and effort of the people who make the council operate as effectively as it does.

1. A52 Roadworks

The Highways Agency are about to start work again on the A52. Work between the Bramcote and QMC islands starts on 17th July and will run through until the middle of November, so be prepared for disruption. The approaches to the Priory and QMC roundabouts is to be widened, and the A52 will be subject to a 30mph speed limit during the period of the works.

2. Beeston Carnival

Beeston Carnival takes place next Saturday, with entertainment in the Square from 10am and the parade starting at 1pm. The entertainment at Broadgate Park starts at 12.00. everyone is welcome to attend, and hopefully the weather will be better than it was for Long Eaton carnival last week, when my daughters dance troupe had to perform wearing their willies.

3. Easy Giving

A new website has been established to enable people to give to charities on line. The Community Foundation in Notts manages the Nottinghamshire arm of, which lists local charities so that people can donate to them. There are currently 17 Notts charities on the site, and if others want to be added please ring 01623 636365.

4. Car Parking

I was very disappointed to read some really inaccurate reporting by the Evening Post about the costs of wardens who we employ. These wardens police the car parks, but they also help in the town centres and operate the shop mobility schemes. They are a visible face of the council to assist local residents. The Post criticised the council because we didn’t take enough money in parking fines to cover the costs of the wardens. It was never expected that we would do, and to be honest if we were having to give out so much in fines for people overstaying in car parks I would be very disappointed. (I did say I was disappointed that we had taken £85,000 in fines as this meant there were a lot of people not parking properly, but the paper suggested that I was disappointed at how low they were. Not true, and I’ve sent a fairly strongly worded letter to the paper to say so.)

5. Kimberley Police Station

The town council in Kimberley have said that they are unhappy about plans to shut the front counter at Kimberley Police Station. Despite the low number of people who use the service the council believe that it is important that the service is maintained, and are calling on the police to rethink their decision.

6. Cutting Grass Verges

The County Council have announced plans to reduce the number of times that the grass verges on the roads will be cut. (At the moment the borough council do this for them, to the levels that they set, although from next April the County Council will do this themselves.) At the moment verges are cut six times per year, and this will now drop to five times per year. This is actually better than they had been suggesting, which was a reduction to four times per year.

7. Eastwood Award Winner

Congratulations to Amy Smith from Eastwood, who won the Gold Medal at the UK Beauty Therapy and Nail Technology contest in Cambridge. It is always good to see young people from Broxtowe being successful.

8. Adults with Learning Disabilities

The County Council have announced plans to privatise those parts of adult social care services that they currently provide internally. The council say that these will save them £1million per year. These are services such as tenancy support and practical help. My concern is that these are the services most used by particularly vulnerable people and privatisation often means service reduction. I hope that these plans will be examined very carefully to ensure that vulnerable people are not going to miss out.

9. Toton Exists

The Royal Mail has announced that they will now include Toton as a separate address on their database, officially recognising that it exists as a separate community. This is something that we managed with Bramcote a few years ago, but it does take a long time to be effective. There are still organisations who use Beeston as the address for Bramcote. Well done to all concerned for putting Toton on the map but settle in for a long slog to get it effective.

10. Carbon Footprint at the Leisure Centre

Efforts by the staff at Bramcote Leisure Centre have resulted in a reduction in the CO2 output by 300 tonnes. Congratulations to everyone involved for their efforts in this regard.

11. Heritage Days

The programme has now been published for the heritage Open Days which will take place in September. There are a load of good things in it and two require advance booking if you wish to attend. These are if you want to visit the Boots archive (phone 0115 939 3472 to book) or if you want to visit Chilwell Depot and see the memorial to the people who died in the 1918 explosion (call 0115 967 7260 to book).

12. Newsletters

As ever can I thank you for your support for this newsletter. We are read by many hundreds of people each week but I would like to really have a push on getting new subscribers as well. Our advertising so far has been primarily by word of mouth and so my request to everyone is that if you know other local residents who would enjoy the newsletter please pass the details on to them.

Best wishes