Saturday, 24 September 2011

Broxtowe Enews 24th September 2011

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

There is quite a lot to cover in this edition as there was no news last week as I was at the Lib-Dem conference in Birmingham. It was an excellent conference, which seemed to confound the national media. They were there in droves, expecting us to engage in a civil war over the poor election results in May, but instead it was an extremely upbeat and entirely united conference by a party finally adjusting to being in Government. Enough of that though, lets turn to the news.

1. Boundary Change

The biggest story of the week was the Boundary Commissions proposed new boundaries for the Broxtowe parliamentary constituency. They are suggesting that the village of Gotham should be added to Broxtowe, despite the fact that it is the other side of the Trent with no direct connections to the rest of the constituency. I know that this will make the figures work for the commission, but frankly it seems a very odd idea to me.

2. Future Development

The consultation on housing in Broxtowe for the next 20 years closes in just over a week, so if you haven’t had your say yet please do. You can submit responses at or by post to the borough council. I attended a meeting at Toton today organised by Anna Soubry, where some strong views were expressed. I contacted Anna some weeks ago suggesting that she and I should meet to discuss what might be proposed, and I’m pleased to say that we have been able to schedule the meeting for this coming week.

3. Greening Beeston

The Greening Beeston campaign, which promotes a greener lifestyle in practical ways, is to hold a meeting on Tuesday at the Baptist Church on Dovecote Lane starting at 7.30pm. The aim is to kick start the next phase of the campaigns work, and it would be great to have a large turnout of local residents.

4. Bramwell Care Home

Bramwell Care Home in Bramcotee is one of six care homes (valued at something like £19 million on the open market) which are being sold by the County Council for £2.5 million. There is a covenant that they are to be maintained as care homes for a specified period of time and they have been sold to a company which runs care homes, so that will provide some reassurance to residents. However not selling them at all would be a far better idea. My colleague Stan Heptinstall has been an active member of the Friends of Bramwell campaign which has opposed this sale, and all the Liberal Democrat county councillors voted against the proposals.

5. Chief Constable to Retire

The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Julia Hodgson, has announced that she is to retire next spring. The process of appointing her successor will be commenced later this year by the Police Authority.

6. Changes to County Council Procedures

The County Council are consulting local residents about whether they should change their method of operating to return to a system of committees that existed until about ten years ago. All councils used to work through a series of committees, but the last Labour Government forced them to abandon this and move to a portfolio based system. The coalition government have decided to allow councils to decide how they want to operate, and this is why the county council are now consulting about reverting to the previous system.

7. House Building

One way that central government provide funding to local authorities is through a scheme called the “New Homes Bonus,” which provides cash grants to local authorities based on the number of new houses built in the borough the previous year. The government have now announced that this year Broxtowe Borough Council is to receive £190,873. This is the lowest of any authority in Nottinghamshire, and a key factor is that Broxtowe just does not have spare available land. This is a flaw in the scheme which I have drawn to the attention of ministers until I’m blue in the face but I’ve got nowhere.

8. Lawrence Novels 100th Birthday

The DH Lawrence Heritage Centre at Durban House in Eastwood (which will shortly start opening on Sunday’s, something that we have not been able to do for the past couple of years, are holding a special exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of The White Peacock, Lawrence’s first novel. The exhibition is on now and will run until 30th October.

9. Police Station Closures

The consultation being run by the police about their proposals to close a number of police stations, including Stapleford and Kimberley, is now half way through and they have published their initial findings. So far more than half of respondents have said that they are opposed to the scheme. If you haven’t responded yet may I encourage you to do so at

10. Green Guardians

Are you a green guardian, or do you know someone who is? Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is still looking for nominations for their green guardians awards, which have a closing date of October 3rd. Nominations can be made on

11. Tesco Toton

Tesco’s at Toton have been ordered by the council to remove a new storage pod which they erected without permission. Tesco’s say that they will be appealing this decision.

12. Over 40’s Football

A new scheme has been launched by the borough council in Eastwood to encourage the over 40’s to get involved in football. This is being run with the Mars Just Play initiative. This is being held at the Eastwood Community Sports Centre, and sessions will cost £2 per person. Details are available on 0115 917 3572.

13. Redevelopment at Boots

Boots have set out their ideas for how parts of their site might be redeveloped. Although most of this is in the city some of it is in Broxtowe, and the proposals for us could include 500 houses being built. This is a long term aspiration, as far as I can tell, but if it comes to be it would ease the pressure on sites elsewhere.

14. The Crown Inn

Congratulations to the Crown Inn in Beeston, who have been named the East Midlands pub of the year by CAMRA, the real ale society. This is the second time that it has won the award in the past couple of years.

15. Pet Microchips

The Brinsley Animal Rescue Centre is offering cut price micro-chipping for pets to raise money for charity. This will be on 2nd October and costs £10, with £9 of the fee going to Brinsley Animal Rescue. Details are available on 01773 712999.

16. City Council Proposals

The city council has unveiled it’s plans for new development within its boundaries. Significantly for the borough they are proposing new development around the Nottingham Business Park, to the west of the A6002 just north of Strelley Village. Due to a quirk of the boundaries there is a bulge of land to the west of the road leading to Nuthall Island which is part of the city rather than in Broxtowe, and the city council seem very happy to build on it. Effectively they seem to feel that if they build here it will be Broxtowe’s problem and not theirs.

17. Winter Gritting

Notts County Council have announced that this year they are ready for the forthcoming winter. The authority have stockpiled 9,000 tonnes of road salt, which should be enough to cope with a winter of the severity of the last couple of years.

As ever thanks for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback will be gratefuly received.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Broxtowe Enews 11th September 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. A special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.

1. Public Transport Money.

Thank you for all the suggestions for how the borough council can spend the money it has available for public transport schemes. I’ve had more responses to this than to any other request I’ve ever included, which is why I just haven’t had time to send personal replies to everyone. I have read them all though. I will pass them all on to the borough council and will try and get as many of them implemented as possible.

2. Walking Round Sherwood Forest.

I’ve mentioned before that Stapleford poet Dave Wood is walking around the ancient boundaries of Sherwood Forest. He has now published his latest set of dates and anyone who wishes is welcome to join him. Phone Dave on O77 O99 77684 or email him on davewrite2002 @ for details.

3. Mayors Fashion Show

Broxtowe mayor, Lib-Dem councillor Jacky Williams, will be hosting a fashion show in aid of two young peoples charities later on this year. Tickets are on sale now and they are going fast. The show will be held on 15th November at the Pearson Centre in Beeston. Tickets cost £7.50 and are available by ringing 917 3210 or by emailing

4. Council Meeting

We had a very interesting full council meeting last week. The first main motion for us to discuss was one that I put forward about the riots last month, pledging the support of the council to the police in apprehending those involved in criminality and thanking the council staff for their contingency planning about this. I spoke about the need to avoid knee-jerk reactions but both the extreme left and the extreme right promptly demonstrated this. A tory member called for all people involved in criminality to be evicted from their homes (ignoring the fact that the council would then have a legal responsibility to rehouse them and we would be hot with the costs for this) and a number of Labour members tried to blame everything on the coalition, (even the fact that there is a 15 year difference in life expectancy between different pasts of Nottingham, which I really don’t think we can have created in the last 12 months). One of the most sensible contributions in the debate came from Tilly Stone, the youth mayor, who spoke about the need not to demonise young people.

The second motion that we had was another one I put forward calling for the Government to provide more support to local authorities about steps they can take to combat global warming. The coalitions new energy bill is extremely good in many ways, but a small injection of extra money could unlock a lock of new support for authorities, and whilst Broxtowe has an excellent record in tackling climate change more support is always welcomed. I thought that this would receive unanimous support but we had members from both Labour and the Tories speaking to deny that global warming was even happening! (To be fair to the Tories, the best contribution to the whole debate was from Conservative Councillor Graham Harvey, who clearly outlined the overwhelming evidence to show that global warming does exist.) The motion was passed but five Tories and one Labour member voted against.

The third motion was one from the Tories calling for protection for the green belt in Broxtowe and a reduction in housing numbers being proposed for the borough. Much of the motion is very good (they appear in fact to have used my words from the cabinet meeting in July when we looked at this) but the motion was premature as the time to discuss this is after the consultation has closed at the start of last month. Whilst I agree fully with the sentiment expressed by the motion the actual result had it been passed would have been the very opposite of what the Tories were asking for, due to the poor timing on their behalf. I therefore proposed that this motion be adjourned until the next meeting, after the consultation had closed, and this was carried (even though two Labour councillors got confused and voted the opposite way to which they wanted!)

5. Road Improvements

I was able to report at the council meeting that a programme of road repairs was being implemented by the council. I asked earlier on this year for suggestions from people as to roads in urgent need of improvement and the new list comes from that. We haven’t been able to do all the roads that we wanted to as their simply wasn’t enough money to do them, but I’ll press for further repairs to take place next year.

6. Katelyn Severn

Congratulations to Bramcote dancer Katelyn Severn, aged 18, who has been selected to represent the UK in an international ballet competition in South Africa next month. Katelyn, who trains at the Redhead Scott School of Dancing in Beeston, will be representing the UK at the Genee International Ballet Competition in Cape Town. This is yet another young person from the borough achieving great things.

7. Support for Abuse Victims

Broxtowe Womens Project is offering a 12 week course called the Freedom Project, aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence. The course runs in Eastwood on a Thursday and details are available on 01773 718555.

8. Stapleford Walk In Centre

I was delighted to learn that the county council refused to support the closure of the Walk In Centre in Stapleford. Lib-Dem councillors led the argument and were supported by the Labour party. The Conservatives voted in favour but the overall result was that the council refused to support the closure. Unfortunately this will not stop it happening, so it’s only a pyrrhic victory.

9. Beeston Wildlife Group

The Beeston Wildlife Group will be having a talk about safari’s in Botswana at their meeting on 19th September. They meet at Trent Vale School and it costs £2. The meeting starts at 7.30pm and details are available from Bill Wheatley on 0115 925 0208.

10. Attenborough Health Walk

There will be a health walk around Attenborough Nature Reserve on Tuesday 20th September at 10.30am. The walk will last 90 minutes and is free to talk part in. Further details are available from the visitors centre on 0115 972 1777.

11. Next Newsletter

There will be no newsletter next weekend as I will be at the Lib-Dem conference in Birmingham, so the next edition will be in two weeks time.

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


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Broxtowe Enews 4th September 2011

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

1. Money for Public Transport

I’m starting this week with a question. Can you help the council spend a million pounds? I’m not kidding. Whenever significant new housing is built in the borough the council takes some money off the developers to pay towards improvements in public transport. At the current time we have a £1 million in the fund for this but the schemes currently proposed will only come to about £500,000. I’m therefore looking for (sensible) suggestions for schemes that we can use the rest of the money for. It is crazy that we can only use the money for transport schemes, as there are lots of other projects crying out for the cash, but I’m afraid that this is how the system works. Please let me have any ideas and I will pass them on.

2. Bramcote CAT meeting

Bramcote CAT meeting will take place tomorrow (Monday) at the Memorial Hall. All local residents are welcome to attend. Amongst the items being discussed are the councils plans for where new housing should take place in the borough.

3. Stapleford Walk In Centre

A County Council meeting will take place tomorrow to make the final decision on the closure of the Stapleford Walk in Centre. The Lib-Dems have fought an extensive campaign to block this, but to no avail. If, as expected, the County Council approve the closure tomorrow then the centre is likely to close on 30th September.

4. Awsworth Composting Plant

I’m delighted to learn that the plans to build a composting plant in Awsworth have been withdrawn. The Parish Council has fought hard against these proposals and they and local residents are to be congratulated on their success.

5. Leisure Centre Offer

The borough council has launched a new scheme for full time students wishing to use our leisure centres. A new 9 month membership scheme has been introduced aimed solely at students, and will entitle them to use the facilities at Bramcote, Chilwell and Kimberley leisure centres. Details are available from any of the leisure centres.

6. Kimberley Institute Cricket Club

Congratulations to the Kimberley Institute Cricket Club, who have won a grant from the Cricket Foundation to invest in a non-turf wicket. This scheme has also been supported by my colleague Ken Rigby, who has donated £500 from his County Council funds to this project.

7. Walking For Health

Another good news story is that Broxtowe’s Walk and Talk Walking for Health Group received an award at the Greenwood Community Awards ceremony in Mansfield for their work in promoting a healthier lifestyle.

8. Attenborough Flood Defences

Work has commenced this week on the latest stage of the Trent Flood Defences through the village of Attenborough. Long time readers may recall that this was the most controversial part of the scheme until a compromise was reached last year, and I have been delighted to have played a part in finding a solution which offers the best for everyone. The work should be completed by next summer and once done the village should be protected from any further flooding for years to come.

9. Beestonia in Print

My favourite local blog, Beestonia, has now gone into print. Matt Goode who writes Beestonia, has now produced The Beestonian, a print version. Issue Minus One is now available and further information can be obtained from matt at

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