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.