Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Housing Numbers

No sooner do I say that I'm finishing newsletters for the year than one of the big news stories that I mentioned breaks, and so I'm sending out an additional newsletter rather sooner than expected.

As regular readers will know one of the big issues for Broxtowe is the number of new houses that the council will permit to be built over the next 15 years.
Most of the councils in Greater Nottingham have worked together on this and as a result of those negotiations Broxtowe was given a figure of 6,150 houses to allocate, the lowest of any borough in the area.

Unfortunately there is not enough brownfield land available to build 6,150 houses and so this figure would mean that some greenbelt land would have to be used. No-one wants to do this but there is simply no other way to hit this target.

Our MP, Anna Soubry, and her colleagues in the Conservative Party have been campaigning against this, even though we are following the rules set by the Conservative Secretary of State. Anna's line consistently is that we should follow the example of the one authority in Greater Nottingham out of step with all the others, namely Rushcliffe. Rushcliffe have ignored the targets set by the Government and adopted by all the other authorities and simply tried to build the amount of houses that they think is appropriate. I have asked Anna how much housing she thinks should be allowed but she has chosen to ignore my emails.

Every council has to have it's strategy approved by an independent inspector at a public enquiry. The inspector appointed to conduct the enquiry for Rushcliffe has now written to them saying that their proposal is fundamentally flawed,

1) It doesn't comply with the regional plan, which set the figure of 6,150
2) It doesn’t comply with the National Planning policy Framework, the
new set of planning rules published by the Secretary of State earlier this year.
3) It doesn't allocate enough housing
4) It doesn't allocate enough affordable housing
5) It doesn't take into account the need across Greater Nottingham, and
just concentrates on Rushclffe. The inspector said that it is important that the needs of the wider area are considered.
6) They haven't fulfilled their duty to co-operate with other councils

As a result of these flaws the inspector has said that she is not even going to arrange a date for their public enquiry yet, as all this will need to be sorted first.

Rushcliffe have published the inspectors note to them about the problems with their strategy. To give them credit, they hid it very well. I can only find it on their web site as an attachment to a press release that was issued yesterday morning and which gives a wholly misleading picture of the inspectors comments.
They then immediately issued a whole load of other press releases so that this never appeared on the front page of their media centre, almost as though they were hoping no-one would see it. If you are interested in having a look this link will take you straight to it:

Where does this leave people as a result? Well for Rushcliffe Borough Council they are firmly up the creek without a paddle. They have no current plan and now no future plan. As a result it will be open season for developers there.
All their undeveloped land is now fair game for developers to try and build on.
It does raise very serious questions about the ability and judgement of their political leaders. This isn't just scare mongering on my part, the same thing is happening in Castle Point council in Essex, in Bude council in Cornwall and in Stratford Council in Warwickshire where a new housing estate is being developed right next to Anne Hatthaway's cottage.

Here in Broxtowe Anna Soubry is left with significant amounts of egg on her face. If we had taken the path that she was advocating, which she has been telling people for at least the past year was the right thing to do, then we would be in the same mess as Rushcliffe. No-one wants to build on the green belt but those of us running the council found ourselves in a position where we had no choice. To then have our MP launch an extremely nasty and vindictive campaign against us was extremely galling, and I do now feel completely vindicated. By being willing to consider sacrificing a small part of Broxtowe's green belt we have saved the rest of it from development.

I apologise if this sounds like gloating. It is not meant to, but I am highly relieved that no-one can now have any doubts that Broxtowe did the right thing by accepting the housing numbers proposed. The only question now still to be resolved is where exactly they should be built, and here there are genuine reasons to disagree as any site that is put forward will have it's supporters and it's critics I hope that we can engage with people in a constructive way over this question, now that the distraction of the overall numbers has been set aside.

Best wishes


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Broxtowe Enews 9th December 2012

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. This will, I’m afraid, be the last scheduled edition for this year so may I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. This is quite a quiet news week this week as well so this is quite a short newsletter.

1. Stapleford Combined Services Fancy Dress Evening
Stapleford Combined Services club will be holding a fancy dress evening on Saturday, December 15th from 7-30pm until midnight, at The Chequers Inn at the Roach, Stapleford. Admission is free.

2. Book Launch & Exhibition
Local author Gill Morral will be launching her new book “Toton Revealed” at Coronation Hall in  Toton on Saturday 15th December together with an exhibition with the same title taking place between 10am and 1pm. Tea and biscuits are available.

3. Tram Jobs Drop In Session
The Borough Council have organised a jobs fair to highlight opportunities to work on the new tram scheme. This will take place at Eastwood Young Peoples Centre on Friday 14th December between 11am and 1pm. Space is limited and so advance booking on 0115 917 3618is recommended.

4. Drink Drive Campaign
Notts police have launched their annual drink drive campaign. In the first week they arrested 29 people for the offence. As a solicitor I’m well used to seeing the after effects on offenders in court, when the implications of a mandatory 12 month driving ban (at least) start to hit home. The only way to avoid a ban is simply to not drink and drive.

5. Rail Fare Increase
Rail Fares on East Midlands Trains will increase by an average of 4% on 2nd January next year. Under a system that has been in place for many years rail fares go up by the rate of inflation plus 2% to fund greater investment in services, but this year the government have restricted the increase to below that in recent years.

6. Winter Vomiting Bug
I caught this a couple of years ago and can confirm just how horrible it is. Figures just released show that last week 112,000 people in Notts caught the bug and are now suffering. The only way to really guard against this is to take extra care on personal hygiene issues.

7. Free Property Marking
Broxtowe residents can get their property marked with smart water for free in Eastwood on Wednesday. There will also be representatives from the council, the Fire Brigade, the police and the pensions service in attendance. The event will be at the Dora Phillips Hall on Wood Street between 11am and 1pm.

8. Arrests of Children
An interesting statistic that came out this week was that Notts Police arrested 4,460 children last year, which equates to 12 a day.  It is however significantly less than the peak year, 2008, when 7,008 children were arrested. The peak age for offending for both males and females is when they are in their teens, and so perhaps the figures should not come as a surprise. I still find them disappointing however.

9. Rare Birds in Chilwell
Bird watchers flocked to Chilwell (no pun intended) this week when 300 bohemian waxwings landed close to Attenborough nature Reserve. I have to say that it’s not a bird I have ever heard of before, but apparently they were stopping over on their flights north to Scandinavia.

10. Round Hill School
Congratulations to the staff, pupils and governors of Round Hill School in Beeston after they were graded as good by Ofsted inspectors. This is an improvement on the satisfactory rating that they had received previously.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received. As I mentioned at the start I’m not planning to do a further edition for this year, but there are two possible events which may occur this year that I will put a message out about should they happen. The first is if there is any significant news about housing proposals, and the second is if there is an announcement about the route of the HS2 railway line. The government did say earlier this year that they would announce the route before Christmas and if the route does affect Broxtowe, as it may, then I will send a message out.

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Broxtowe Enews 1st December 2012

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.

1. Tram Problems
Unfortunately work on the trams is causing major problems in Beeston at the moment. The proposal originally was that for 18 months Chilwell Road would be a one way street, but now the construction team want to close the road completely for 12 months. Despite this the City Council are refusing to offer any extra compensation. The problem for traders would not be so bad if the County Council had not pulled out of the scheme, but as they had there is no-one to speak for businesses outside of the city boundary. The borough council do what we can but we are not promoters of the scheme and so our influence is limited.

Better news on the tram is that the works at the Meadow Lane/Queens Road junction should finish in the next few days and so traffic should soon be flowing more freely through that junction.

2. Enterprise Zone
This week we had confirmation that agreements have been reached for work to start on the Enterprise Zone at the Boots site. This will hopefully lead to a significant number of new homes being built as well as new businesses and new infrastructure. The scheme has secured £25 million of investment.

3. Lottery Funding for Wandsworth Fields School
Wandsworth Fields Junior School in Stapleford has been awarded £10,000 in lottery funding to pay for an all-weather canopy for their playground.

4. Car Parking
Just a reminder as to something I mentioned last week. From now until Christmas all the borough owned car parks will be free on Saturday’s to encourage shoppers into our town centres.

5. Tram Drop In Sessions
NET will be holding two drop in sessions for people to see the latest proposals on the tram and to ask any questions they have. These will be at Eskdale Junior School, Chilwell on Tuesday 4th December from 5:30 to 8:00pm, and at Beeston Town Hall on Thursday 13th December from 5.30pm to 8.00pm.

6. Attenborough Nature Reserve
The Attenborough Nature Reserve launched it’s new Access, Community and Education scheme this week, a £560,000 investment aiming to improve the visitor experience whilst also protecting and enhancing the reserve. As a director of the reserve I was planning to attend the launch but my full time job got in the way at the last minute and I couldn’t make it. Given the amount of water that came down in the 24 hours beforehand I’m delighted that it went ahead.

7. Woodhouse Way Proposals Display
Also arranging a public display shortly are the developers who wish to build a
750 house housing estate at Woodhouse Way in Nuthall. This will be at the Belfrey Hotel on the A6002 on the 14th December from 2pm to 7pm.

8. Christmas Lights switch on
The Christmas lights will be switched on in Stapleford this Thursday, 6th December, at 6.15pm, and the Kimberley lights will be switched on Friday 7th December, also at 6.15pm, starting with a parade.

9. Christmas Carols at Montrose Court
On Saturday 8th December there will be Christmas Carols at Montrose Court, Stapleford from 6pm until 8pm, led by members of St Helen's Church. There will also be festive food and soft drinks.

10. Beeston Tesco Charity Collection
Tomorrow, Sunday 2nd December, Tesco in Beeston are holding a food bank collection in aid of Framework, the homelessness charity based in Nottingham.
Customers are being asked to buy one extra item and place it in the Framework Collecting Boxes. Whilst mentioning this may I congratulate the staff at the Stapleford Care Centre who collected more than 900 tins for the Nottingham Post’s Five Tons of Tins campaign.

11. Beeston Bus Station
Following a concern raised by a reader of this newsletter the council have this week changed some of the lighting in Beeston bus station to make it better lit at night.

12. Flood Defences
The one good thing about the rain this week was that we were able to see how well the flood defence scheme worked. The £50 million scheme was finished earlier this year and protects the whole of the left bank of the Trent through Nottingham, and as a result of it Attenborough and Beeston were protected from the flooding that would otherwise have affected them.

13. M1 Junction 25
The Highways Agency have announced that they will be carrying out work at Junction 25 of the M1 on 14th to 18th January and the 20th to 25th January. The junction will be closed between 8pm and 6am on each of those days and traffic will need to divert through junctions 24 or 26.

14. Beeston Shopmobility
Beeston shopmobility had to move into temporary accommodation earlier this year when the multi-storey car park closed, and most users agree that the current site is not very convenient. At a meeting on Friday the council’s budget working group agreed to offer them an alternative site at the old Beeston Market site. (We are looking at alternatives for the market to ensure that Beeston has a market again as soon as possible.)

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

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter at @davidwatts12

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Broxtowe Enews 24th November 2012

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. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.

1. Milan Radulovic
Cllr Radulovic, the Labour leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, was cleared this week of allegations of fraud which he has been facing. The DSS, who brought the prosecution, accepted that they had made a mistake and they offered no evidence against him. Cllr Radulovic had stood aside whilst the case was going on but is now free to resume his work as leader of the council.

I’m obviously pleased for Milan that the case has come to an end but I do think that the reaction that I’ve encountered from people about my own very limited role in the case illustrates the impossible job that politicians of any level have in trying to please their electorate. When the story about Milan’s case hit the media I issued a statement on behalf of my Lib-Dem colleagues saying that we took the view of innocent until found guilty (we were obviously right on this) and so we would not comment about the case. I was heavily criticised by some vocal residents for this. Privately however I advised Milan that he needed to step aside whilst the case was dealt with (advice he took). Some of his own councillors were horrified I had done this and went running to the media accusing me of stabbing him in the back. Milan himself did not take that view and he did ask me to be a character witness for him. I agreed and when I told people that I was doing this I was strongly criticised by other people for this. You just can’t win sometimes.

2. Police Commissioner
The first police commissioner for Nottingham is Paddy Tipping, who was elected last Thursday. My own preference, Malcolm Spencer, came second. The big winner however was apathy or lack of interest, given that the turnout was only about 15%.

3. Beeston Police Station
Plans to close Beeston Police Station and relocate them to the council offices have moved a step closer after the outgoing police authority approved the move. Assuming that Mr Tipping does not now stop it this will happen next April.

4. Housing at Nuthall
An application has been submitted to Broxtowe Borough Council to build a housing estate of over 700 houses in Nuthall, between the M1 and the A6002. I’ve already seen an email criticising the council for this but we have no power to stop anyone applying for anything. Just because an application is submitted does not mean that it will be granted and this application will need to be looked at by the Development Control Committee on the council in due course.

5. County Economic Development Officers
I’m delighted that the County Council has decided to recruit two economic development officers to promote growth across the County. This is an area that the County have cut back on for a number of years, so that in the past couple of years Broxtowe employed more people on Economic Development for our borough that the County Council did for the whole of Nottinghamshire, and it’s about time that this trend was reversed.

6. Ambulance Plans Consultation
I reported back in September that the Ambulance Service was consulting on plans to close nearly all the ambulance stations in Notts, retaining just two super-hubs, and deplying the ambulances to 22 hubs around the county. The consultation on this has now closed and just 122 people responded. I hope that this means that most people are happy with the proposals, which aim to reduce response times, and so didn’t feel the need to comment.

7. Rev Lillian Heptinstall
Congratulations to Rev Lillian Heptinstall, the associate priest at Chilwell, who is being installed as an honorary canon at Southwell Minster next month. She takes up her new role on 16th December.

8. PDSA Help
The PDSA shop in Beeston is looking for new volunteers to help out. In particular they are looking for staff who are available on Wednesday’s, Thursdays and Saturdays. You can aply online at www.pdsa.org.uk/volunteering.

9. New Toton Bus Service
The Toton Connect bus service was axed by Trent Barton early this year, leaving many people without  access to a local bus. The County Council has now decided that it will run a new service, starting on Monday, connecting Banks Road with Tesco and the Chilwell Retail Park. Regular readers will recall that this is something that I have been pressing for over a period of time, but many people from all three political parties have worked to bring this about. I’m delighted that it has happened but it is now up to local residents to use the service to show that it is worthwhile.

10. New Trowell Benches
The County Council has installed two new benches along the Nottingham Canal towpath in Trowell, giving walkers somewhere to sit and rest. My colleague Ken Rigby has arranged the funding for this and when walkers rest there hopefully they will take a moment to thank Ken for his hard work.

11. Recycling Rates
Across the whole of Nottinghamshire (apart from Gedling) the rates of recycling have fallen this year, for the first time in six years. In Broxtowe the rate dipped from 42.6% to 41.6%. However we are still the second highest recycling borough in Nottinghamshire (only Rushcliffe has a higher recycling percentage) and we are well above the county average of 35.1%. The council puts a lot of effort into ensuring that we recycle as much as possible and the officers are looking at how we can get rates up higher. There is also an online survey about bin services that can be completed this week on the council website at www.broxtowe.gov.uk.

12. Tram Schedule
The latest six week programme of works for the Tram is now available on the Lib-Dem website at www.broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk. On the theme of the tram the city council has apologised for the traffic chaos on Tuesday this week when work on University Boulevard overran and caused huge problems.

13. Mark Holmes
Congratulations to Beeston resident Mark Holmes who won the Nursing in Mental Health award at the Nursing Times Awards 2012. He specialises in working wth patients who have suffered from substance abuse and has managed to reduce the number of them having to return for further treatment.

14. Mini-Major Oak
There's a re-dedication of the mini major oak at Stapleford next Monday at 10am at Ilkeston Road Recreation Ground. There will be a new tree planting for national tree planting week too.

15. Dave Wood
On Friday Stapleford poet Dave Wood, who will also be speaking at the tree rededication, will be presenting a copy of “Emma's Perambulations” to Stapleford Town Council at the Town Council Meeting, starting 7pm. Details for both of these events are available from Dave on 07709977684.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received. I do appreciate the positive comments that I receive. This week someone took the time to phone and tell me how much they appreciated the newsletter just after I’d discovered that someone else had thrown eggs at the front window of my house, and that phone call made me feel far better.

Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broxtowe-Liberal-Democrats/78471665107
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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Broxtowe Enews 10th November 2012

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. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.
May I begin by apologising that there was no newsletter last week, but unfortunately I was ill and not up to writing anything. Normal service is hopefully resumed today.

1. Italian and Opera Evening
Amore's Italian Restaurant, on Station Road, Beeston will host an Italian and Opera Evening in aid of the Mayor's charities, the Royal British Legion and the Ryan Lee Trust on Thursday 29th November at 7.00pm. The event will feature live music from classically trained Tenor, Sam Barson and a delicious pizza, pasta or risotto dish and selected side - all for just £15.00. There will be a bar available with the restaurant serving appetisers, starters and desserts, all of which can be purchased separately. Please note that this is a ticket only event and availability is strictly limited. Tickets are available from the Corporate Communications Team on 0115 917 3200 or email civic@broxtowe.gov.uk.

2. Beeston Amnesty Quiz
The Beeston Amnesty International Group will be holding their annual Pub Quiz at the Commercial Inn, Wollaton Road, Beeston on Friday 16th November at 7:30 pm. £2.50 per person (£1 unwaged), maximum of six people in a team. Proceeds for Amnesty International, all welcome.

3. Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
This Thursday sees the first Police and Crime Commissioner elections in Nottinghamshire. There are four candidates, one from each of Labour and the Conservatives and two independents. The Liberal Democrats and the Greens are boycotting the elections as we don’t believe that these should be party political posts. I’ll be backing Malcolm Spencer, the independent candidate.

4. Tram Updates
The latest tram work schedule is now available on the Lib-Dem website at www.broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk. The foundations for the tracks are now being laid, which is a significant step forward.

5. Erewash Towns improvements
I mentioned in the last edition that the Beeston BID team had been awarded £10,000 to improve Beeston by the government. I’m delighted that the borough council has also been awarded a similar amount for the three other towns in the borough. The video that was prepared as part of this bid, which features my colleague Stan Heptinstall, can be viewed on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRFNhFZ0tCA.

6. Business Start-up Grants
Broxtowe Borough Council has made a package of grants available for new businesses locating to the borough. We are awarding grants of up to £5,000 to independent businesses who take on empty shop units in the borough. Details of these can be obtained from the Economic Development team at the borough council on 0115 917 7777.

7. Knowle Park recreation Ground
Knowle Park recreation ground in Swingate has reopened this week after a major facelift by the borough council. £50,000 has been spent installing new play equipment. The funding for this was obtained by my colleague Ken Rigby, who is the county councillor for the area.

8. Free Parking
At the cabinet meeting last week the council agreed to introduce free car parking in the borough for the five Saturday’s leading up to Christmas, as a way of attracting more shoppers to our town centres. We have also made some money available to finance more street entertainment in the run up to Christmas.

9. County Council Service Number
The customer service team at Notts County Council have a new phone number. They can now be contacted on 0300 500 8080, which is a low priced number.

10. Beeston Food and Drink Festival
The first Beeston food and drink festival is to take place from 16th to 18th November, involving he pubs, cafes and coffee shops in the town. There will be an international food market in Beeston Square on 16th and a farmers market on the 17th. More details are available at www.letsgotoBeeston.co.uk

11. Sainsbury’s Recycling
For many years the borough council have operated recycling centres in the Sainsbury’s car parks in Beeston and Kimberley. It was very disappointing this week to hear that Sainsbury’s have decided to tear up their contracts with the borough council. Apparently they have taken a decision to now run their own centres so that the money the council currently gets for recycling will go into their profits instead. The council have already seen recycling rates drop for the first time in many years, and this decision from Sainsbury’s will not help.

12. New Youth Mayor
Congratulations to 15 year old Adam Stockdale from Stapleford, who has been appointed as the Broxtowe Youth Mayor for the next year. He takes over from Tilly Stone, who has held the post for the past two years, and who has been an excellent youth mayor.  Adam will be assisted by Leigh Alder,16, who has become the deputy youth mayor.

13. Christmas Lights
Broxtowe Borough Council have announced that Beeston Christmas lights will be switched on on 1st December, Stapleford will be on 6th December, Kimberley on 30th November and Eastwood on 27th November.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is greatfully received.

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Broxtowe Enews 29th October 2012

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.

1. Improving Beeston Town Centre
Congratulations to Stephanie Wilkinson and the team at the Beeston business Improvement District who have this week secured £10,000 of Government funding to make Beeston town centre more attractive. This should have a real benefit to the town centre and I look forward to seeing the results of it. The BID team were also able to confirm this week that vacancy rates for shops in Beeston were well below the national average.

2. Field Farm Public Meeting
Although I do not believe that they can succeed with their aims may I begin by mentioning a meeting being organised by STRAG – the Stapleford and Trowell Rural Action Group – about Field Farm. It will take place at the Jaguar Pub is Stapleford on Saturday 10th November at 2pm. Unfortunately I already have two commitments that afternoon that I cannot break so I won’t be able to attend. They have asked me to send a statement which I am going to do.

3. Town Centre Manager
When I took over the portfolio for Planning and Economic Development one of the things that I identified from the outset as being needed was a town centre manager for the town centres in Broxtowe (other than Beeston which already has one). I’m delighted that Matt Batterham will be joining the borough council tomorrow to take up this post.

4. Youth Mayor
The council meeting on Wednesday will also I believe be the last meeting where Tilly Stone will be the youth mayor. Tilly has held the post for the past two years and has been an excellent ambassador for young people, including travelling around the world to represent the borough. She was also the first non-councillor ever to speak at a council meeting after a rule change to allow this to happen. She will be a very hard act to follow as the youth mayor.

5. Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
As I’ve mentioned before these elections, which take place on 15th November, are being boycotted by the Liberal Democrats as we do not believe that these should be political posts, and I personally have decided to back Malcolm Spencer, one of the independents. Given that the independents do not have the networks that Labour and the Tories do to promote their candidates may I urge other people to vote for Malcolm as well.

6. Planning Rules
The borough council is meeting on Wednesday and the main topic for debate is the Governments plans to change planning rules. I have put a motion forward recognising the benefits of some parts of the proposals but expressing concern about others, in particular the loss of control by local councils. The danger is that it will lead to a free for all causing all sorts of neighbour disputes. I’ll report back next week how the debate went.

7. New Nuthall Councillor
Congratulations to Stephen green on being elected as the new town councillor for Nuthall following a by election. Stephen is, according to reports, the first councillor in the country to suffer from Downs Syndrome. I wish him every success.

8. Boots Concert Orchestra
The Boots Concert Orchestra will be performing “All sorts and conditions of men” at St Johns Baptist Church in Beeston on Saturday 24th November at 7.30pm. Admission is £5 on the door and all proceeds will go towards church funds.

9. Deliverers
Approximately three quarters of Broxtowe receive regular Focus leaflets, a ward specific newsletter produced and paid for by the local Liberal Democrats. We are looking to expand our coverage and are looking for volunteers to help us deliver. It takes about 1 hour four times a year. Volunteers from anywhere in the borough are gratefully received, but we are particularly keen to recruit people who live in Nuthall and Kimberley. You don’t even need to commit to voting for the Lib-Dems. If you believe that politicians should keep in touch with residents, rather than just turn up every four years when it’s election time, then please consider helping. If you can just let me know.

10. Double Image Photography
Congratulations to Double Image Photography in Beeston who this week celebrated ten years in business. Philippa Double has won numerous awards as a photographer.

11. Broxtowe Warm Zone
Broxtowe Warm Zone is a home insulation scheme designed for home owners and private tenants to make homes in the Borough of Broxtowe affordably warm and energy efficient. At present this scheme is going to finish in December and the last chance to sign up is the 23rd November. The loft insulation is free if you don't have any at all or the depth of your insulation is less than 60mm. Loft top-ups are available to households with an existing loft depth of between 60mm and 130mm for £99. Cavity wall insulation is free.
The benefits of this scheme are:
- Helps residents cut their fuel bills
- Reduces the effects of climate change
- It helps people stay warm over winter
- There are health benefits associated with a warm house such as reducing winter deaths
- Reduces people living in fuel poverty
People can sign up for a free survey by calling 0300 6887766 or visit  www.broxtowewarmzone.com/ .

12. County Council Budget Conversation
The County Council is launching a consultation about it’s spending priorities for next year. It launches on Monday 5th November and can be accessed at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget.

13. Eastwood Elderly Persons Development
The County Council have unveiled plans this week to build a £21 million complex for the elderly on land that they own on Walker Street in Eastwood. The scheme will need to go through the normal planning process but the idea seems an extremely good one. 140 apartments together with a range of services will be created, and I have been calling on the County Council to make this land available for building for the last couple of years.

14. HS2
The Transport Secretary has said this week that the Government will announce plans for the HS2 route prior to Christmas. There have been rumours for a while that this may come through Broxtowe and so it will be useful to have them either confirmed or quashed before the end of the year.

15. AGM
This Friday is Broxtowe Lib-Dems AGM, at the memorial hall in Bramcote. The prospective Lib-Dem candidates for the European elections next year have all been invited to attend for a question and answer session. New members are welcome and you will be able to sign up on the night.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broxtowe-Liberal-Democrats/78471665107
Email me at davidwatts@broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Broxtowe Enews 21st October 2012

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. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.

1. Oxjam
Congratulations to everyone connected with Oxjam, the fund raising event in Beeston for Oxfam, who held a very successful series of events yesterday. I haven’t heard yet how much they raised but as well as the money they raise the profile of Oxfam, and in that regard it has already been a complete success.

2. Living Wage Campaign
The Living Wage campaign is a non-political campaign aiming to ensure that all employers pay their staff a sufficient salary to afford “the essentials of life.” The borough council have now agreed to look at the details of this so that we can consider whether this is a scheme we wish to affiliate to.

3. Tram latest
Broxtowe Liberal Democrats publish the latest work schedules for the tram on their website on a regular basis, but I’ve checked recently on a number of issues and can report as follows. The consortium doing the construction work still say that they are expecting to start demolition of the Wilkinson’s Store this month (I would have preferred it if they had kept the store open until then) although there are strong rumours that this may be put off until January. The delays generally to the project also mean that Christmas trading should be unaffected by the works this year. The NET consortium have also indicated that they want to install a 20 metre radio mast near Cator Lane, something the council is not happy about. (Incidentally the Nottingham post ran a test this week to see what was the quickest way to get into the city centre and decided that it was by cycling. However the estimated journey times for the tram will be far quicker, and so it is likely that this will be the quickest way for people to get into the city centre.)

4. Mortgage Guarantee Scheme
A government backed scheme already exists to encourage first time buyers to purchase newly built houses by guaranteeing deposits, making mortgages easier to obtain. The council is now looking at whether we can fund a similar scheme for houses already built. If we can then it may well help to stimulate the housing market here in Broxtowe. There will be a lot of work to develop a scheme and ensure that it can be properly financed, but the initial ideas have received all party support on the council.

5. Council Tax Benefit Survey
The borough council recently ran a public survey into options that we have regarding council tax benefits when the system change next year. 83% of respondents agreed that council tax exemptions on second or empty properties should be reduced and 87% of respondents agreed that properties which are kept empty in the long term should be charged a premium. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to this, and the council will now work up some firm proposals.

6. New Jobs
This week has seen some significant announcements which should lead to some 1,500 new jobs being created in Nottinghamshire. Nearly £30 million of new money is being invested and Vince Cable, the Lib-Dem Secretary of State for Business, says that the money is to create the long term growth and jobs that the country needs.”
7. School Crossing patrols
The County Council has issued a press release this week saying that they are looking to recruit a number of new school crossing patrol wardens (lollipop ladies to most of us). Full time and relief workers are needed. Applicants must be aged 18 and in good health. If anyone is interested in applying then please ring 0115 977 4373 for details.

8. Reusing Jam jars
Readers may have seen stories in the media this week suggesting that EU rules may prohibit the reuse of jam jars by people making their own jams and pickles. I’m very grateful to our Lib-Dem Euro MP Bill Newton-Dunn  for confirming that these stories are completely false.

9. Mayor’s Blindfold Walk
Broxtowe’s mayor Cllr Margaret Handley has taken part in a blindfold walk (with a sighted guide) from Beeston Town Hall to Broadgate Park as part of Guide Dog Week. Congratulations to Margaret for successfully completing the route.

10. Cycling High Visibility Kits
For anyone who (like me) was unable to collect the free cycling visibility kits that the police were handing out in Beeston last week, these can still be collected whilst stocks last from Central Police Station in Nottingham City Centre.

11. Boundary Changes
The Boundary Commission have now published their final proposals for reshaping constituency boundaries in the East Midlands, and they have stuck with their initial proposals that the Broxtowe Constituency should be increased by adding Gotham to it (despite the fact that there is no way of getting directly from Gotham to Broxtowe. However as the Lib-Dems have already said that we will veto these proposals in Parliament the proposals are unlikely to be implemented.

12. Blue Monkey brewery
Congratulations to the Blue Monkey Brewery in Giltbrook for collecting 5 gold medals at the Nottingham Beer Festival, including the Champion Beer.

13. Attenborough Nature Reserve Revamp
Attenborough Nature Reserve (where I am a director) has applied to the council for planning permission to create a new sand martin bank, a further hide and a bat loft. Sadly the current sand martin bank is no longer workable because of it’s poor condition.

14. Half term activities
The Pearson centre in Beeston is running a series of activities for children ages from 6-11 from Wednesday to Friday this week. Activities run from 9.00 am to 4.30pm and are on a first come first served basis. More details are available on 0115 925 4112 or by emailing sportsworker@thepearsoncentre.org.uk

15. Clocks Change
Finally may I remind people that the clocks go back next Sunday, so we get an extra hour in bed.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broxtowe-Liberal-Democrats/78471665107
Email me at davidwatts@broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Broxtowe Enews 14th October 2012

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. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week. We have now hit a new record for the highest number of subscribers that we have ever had. Thank you all for this.

I’m going to start off this morning by plugging three different charity events.

1. Oxjam
Oxjam is the series of concerts and events held on one day in Beeston in aid of Oxfam.  It will be taking over Beeston on Saturday, October 20th, at Wollaton Road Allotments, Beeston Square, The Cricketers, The Bean, Belle and Jerome, Barton House, The Hop Pole, The Flying Goose, Latinos, Relish, The White Lion, The Bar, The Chequers, The Crown and possibly a couple of other places as yet unconfirmed.  It'll be running from noon till midnight, with over 50 acts making music through the day and night. The organisers are aiming to raise £5,000+ for Oxfam, and to raise awareness of their work round the globe. They still need to find volunteers, who will get a free ticket after a three-hour stint. Otherwise, tickets are a snip at £5, available: http://www.oxjambeestontakeover.org/p/oxjam-music-festival.html, alongside the line-up and further details.

2. Charity Quiz Night and Fish ‘n’ Chip Supper
A fish and chip supper is being held on Wednesday 24th October at 7pm to raise money for the Mayor’s charities, the Royal British Legion and Ryan Lee Trust. The event will take place at Greasley Sports Centre, Newthorpe. Tickets are on sale now priced £8, which includes the price of your fish and chip supper. Tickets can be obtained from the council on 0115 917 7777.

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier Tea Party
Babbington Rescue Kennels are hosting this event on Saturday 21st October from 11am – 2pm to invite local people to learn more about this breed of dog. There will be hot drinks and cakes available, as well as a mini dog show.

4. Local Photographers Wanted
Experience Nottinghamshire is inviting amateur photographers to take part in a competition launching today, to showcase the county of Nottinghamshire and everything that makes it great.
The annual competition, launched in 2011, aims to uncover beautiful photos of the county's landscapes and attractions. This year, photographers need to enter a photo inspired by one of four themes;
Cultural and Sporting Inspiration - Celebrating Nottinghamshire's events, culture and sporting venues.
Legends - from Robin Hood to literary legends and modern day heroes.
The Great Outdoors - Nottinghamshire's outdoor experiences and spaces, countryside and landscapes.
Local Life - Local food, produce, markets and traditions such as industrial heritage, lace and farming days out.
The competition will bring together a beautiful array of different aspects of Nottingham, and is open to anybody with a passion for photography and the county.  Thirty finalists will be chosen, and their images uploaded to the Experience Nottinghamshire Facebook page, which will then be passed to a public vote and a panel of tourism judges to decide the four winning photos, one for each of the themes.
The overall winning photographer will receive a £200 cash prize and their photograph featured on the Experience Nottinghamshire's marketing material, promoting the county nationally. The themed winners will also receive a prize for their outstanding efforts. All finalist photos will be featured in the visitor guide and the www.experiencenottinghamshire.com website to encourage tourism to the county.
The competition is open for entries from today through to midnight on 16th November 2012. Please note - only one entry should be sent per email and should be no bigger than 5MB. Entries should be emailed to stephanie.murphy@experiencenottinghamshire.com

5. Cycle Safety Kits
Cyclists in the county can receive FREE high-visibility safety gear thanks to a county-wide road safety campaign. The campaign will see a number of cycle safety 'hubs' rolled out across the county, offering free high-visibility 'Think Bike' backpacks to cyclists. Free cycle packs will be available in Beeston at the Queen's Road junction with Vincent Avenue, Beeston between 7.30am and 9.00am on Monday 15th October 2012. More than 1,000 packs will be available, including a high-visibility rucksack and jacket, a multi-tool, bike lock and lights.
For more information, visit http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=11397

6. Kimberley Brewery
The first planning application for houses on the site of the old Kimberley Brewery has now been received by the council. This can be seen on the borough council web site at http://planning.broxtowe.gov.uk/(S(kugernqh2bq3rj55vzlnnuii))/applicationdetail.aspx?refval=12/00575/CAC. This application is for 22 houses on Hardy Close.

7. Olympic Legacy Plans
Notts county council have announced plans to create a new sports fund aimed at resourcing athletes of the future. They plan to create a million pound fund to enable them to make grants to clubs for equipment and materials that they need.

8. Beeston Turbines Plans
At the Development Control meeting on Wednesday evening the borough council rejected plans by Nottingham University to build a 125 metre high wind turbine in Beeston Rylands. Whilst we want to encourage green energy wherever possible this scheme was for a really high turbine far too close to both existing and planned housing. As I said at the meeting it was the right scheme, but in totally the wrong place.

9. Beeston Poets reborn
The Beeston poets group, which closed down ten years ago, is being relaunched this week. The group will meet at Beeston library and feature readings of contemporary poetry. The first meeting will be on 20th October and full details can be found at www.beestonpoets.wordpress.com

10. Ben Kristian
Congratulations to 23 year old Ben Kristian from Kimberley who was voted Britain’s best young hairdressing talent at the at the Trend Vision hairdressing awards. He will now go on to represent the UK in the international competition in Madrid.

11. Police Commissioners
I reported a couple of weeks ago that the Lib-Dems in Nottinghamshire have decided not to contest the Police Commissioner elections being held next month as we do not believe that these posts should be political. The Green Party have announced this week that they are taking the same approach. It is a shame that the other parties did not follow suit.

12. Extradition Campaign
I don’t normally mention many national issues on this newsletter (very deliberately) but I just want to give a plug for a campaign that I am supporting aimed at ending the current imbalance in the extradition treaty between the UK and the US. Simply put, the previous Labour Government signed an agreement with America that makes it far easier for them to demand the extradition of British subjects than it is for us to extradite American citizens in respect of crimes committed here. A campaign has now been launched to try and persuade the coalition to change this so that there is a level playing field, and a petition is available to sign to demonstrate support. You can sign the petition here - http://signme.org.uk/749.

13. Poetry Event
Stapleford poet Dave Wood has asked me to promote the following event:
Put 20th October 2012 in your diaries.  The final part of the Perambulations; the performance and give-away of the broadsheet of some of the stories/poems.  The session will start at 11.15am at the Acacia Centre, Annesely. There will be a drop in workshop where you can decorate your t-shirt (please bring your own light coloured one) and make it into a Tree-shirt. Please let me know if you are definitely coming along as we have limited seating.  Contact me on O77O9977684 or email me davewrite2002 @ yahoo.com.

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

Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broxtowe-Liberal-Democrats/78471665107
Email me at davidwatts@broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Broxtowe Enews 6th October 2012

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. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.  We’ve got quite a number of new readers this week and I hope you find this a useful service.

To start with this week there are a number of significant planning matters.

1. Toton
A planning application has now been submitted by Peverill Homes to build 775 homes, offices and a hotel on land to the north of Toton, diagonally opposite Bardill’s garden centre. This is currently green belt land and last year I proposed a motion to the council removing it from a list of preferred sites for future development, which had unanimous support in the meeting. You can view this application at www.broxtowe.gov.uk and the reference for it is 12/00585/OUT.

2. Hempshill Vale
An application has been submitted to build 125 houses on land next to Hempshill Hall. Readers may recall that a scheme here was withdrawn earlier this year and the developers have done extra work to it and now brought it back. This is also on the Broxtowe website and the reference number is 12/00539/OUT. Both of these applications are outline schemes which means that much of the detail is not yet there, and the developers are trying to establish the principle of whether development will be permitted. If the council says yes to this then the developers need to submit a further application with all the details.

3. Land by Junction 26 of M1
This is an application that is yet to be submitted, but Oxylane, the firm who own Decathlon, gave a presentation to councillors last week explaining an application that they are going to be submitting to build a sports village next to junction 26 of the M1. They have a number of these villages across France but this is the first time that they have looked to build one in the UK. The idea is that they have a number of different sporting activities arranged around a new Decathlon store. Again this is on green belt land although sports pitches may retain the green feel of the site, and they are offering significant investment in infrastructure (including major alterations to Nuthall Island) and 250 jobs. When the application is submitted we will be able to examine the detail in more depth and I’ll be able to form a better view of it then.

4. Twenty’s Plenty
Moving away from planning applications now Chilwell Liberal Democrats have launched a scheme to have 20mph speed limits on non-arterial routes. A number of towns and cities have now introduced schemes like this and the results have been very clear, that the number of accidents and in particular the number of accidents involving injuries drops significantly. I’ve written to the County Council asking for action and am awaiting a reply at the moment.

5. Beeston Police Station
At the Borough Council’s cabinet meeting last week we agreed a deal with the police where they will move out of the current Beeston Police Station on Chilwell Road and will move into the ground floor of the council offices. The council have spare space and the police wanted to vacate their current building and so this is a win-win situation, which will also help save money all round. It ensures that we keep a police station in the centre of town, which I think is extremely important.

6. New County Council contact number
From 5th November the County Council will have a new contact telephone number. This will be 0300 500 80 80.

7. Tram award
The expanding tram network in Nottingham, which of course includes the line through Beeston and Chilwell to Toton, was named as the joint UK Project of the Year at the Light Rail Awards in London. The judges commented on the workplace parking levy as being something worthy of praise for the way it contributes to the trams funding. I know not everyone will agree with this but that it was the judges felt. As work on the tram continues to cause congestion the Broxtowe Lib-Dem website at www.broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk carries a six week schedule for what work will be coming on, and this is updated each week or so.

8. Wind Turbine application
This coming Wednesday the council’s development control committee will meet to consider a number of applications, including the application by Nottingham University to install some extremely high wind turbines in the Trent Valley near Beeston Rylands. This is something that has been discussed at length by the planning officers and after much consideration they are recommending that the application be refused. I will let people know next week whether this was the outcome or not.

9. Apprentices
The Department for Education released figures this week which showed that Nottinghamshire has more 16 and 17 year olds taking apprenticeships than anywhere else in the country. One of the big successes of the Lib-Dems in Government has been to hugely increase the number of apprenticeships available and I’m delighted that we are benefitting from them so well here.

10. Superfast Broadband
BT have announced that they will be upgrading a number of exchanges across Nottinghamshire over the next few months to provide super-fast broadband, and Kimberley is one of the areas to benefit from this. Hopefully residents and businesses there will soon see better broadband speeds.

11. Confidence in  the Police
New figures released last week show that Notts police have moved up from 20th to 7th in the table of confidence in the police by victims of crime. 87% of victims said that they were happy with the service that they received from the police.

12. Rare Bird At Attenborough
Staff at Attenborough Nature reserve were delighted last week to spot a bittern amongst the reads. These are amongst the UK’s rarest birds so it’s great to have one here.

13. Feedback from the last newsletter
In the last newsletter I asked for people’s views on a couple of issues. First was the traffic lights at the M1/A52 roundabout at junction 25. The unanimous view of those who responded was that the roundabout works far better without the lights, which had been off for a number of days after an accident. I will write to the Highways Agency, who are responsible for the road, to ask them to look at whether the lights can be removed permanently. The second issue I asked about was whether we should provide sites for travellers here in Broxtowe. Here people expressed the full range of views from a passionate yes to a determined no!

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

Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broxtowe-Liberal-Democrats/78471665107
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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Broxtowe Enews 23rd September 2012

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.

1. Travellers
We’ve had a lot of problems with a group of travellers in the south of the borough over the past week or two. They moved onto Manor Farm in Toton, disrupting sports activities and causing upset to many people. The council moved very quickly to obtain a court order forcing them to leave, but they only moved down the road to Chilwell School. They have now moved on from there but left a burning caravan behind. Incidentally one of the travellers told the media that they had made a mistake moving on to the school field and they thought it was a field belonging to the leisure centre. In other words, the council having obtained an order to force them out of Manor Park they simply tried to move into the next piece of council owned land, which I think is pretty despicable.
On the other hand there is no travellers site anywhere in Broxtowe where they can stay legally. The question has been raised before about whether we should have a travellers site, and if so where should this be located. I’d be very interested in your views about this.

2. Virus
Many apologies to anyone who received a strange email or twitter message from me yesterday. Unfortunately my Twitter account got hacked and started sending out odd messages. It’s the first time ever that anyone has successfully hacked an account of mine (that I know of) and hopefully the last!

3. Nick Clegg apology
I was delighted that Nick Clegg issued an apology on behalf of the Lib-Dems about our tuition fees pledge at the last general election. When Nick came to Nottingham last week he asked the views of a number of leading party figures, including myself and fellow councillors Steve Carr and Stan Heptinstall, about whether he should do this and we all told him that he should. What we achieved with tuition fees was a far better deal for students than either of the other two parties wanted to support, but it was not anything like as good as we had pledged to support.

4. Complaint against the Daily Mail
Regular readers may recall that I, along with hundreds of other people, submitted a complaint about the racist nature of an article in the Daily Mail at the start of the Olympics. The Press Complaints Commission ruled on it this week and decided that the article did not breach the code and that it fell into the category of personal comment by the journalist rather than a reporting of fact which had to be accurate. A copy of the judgement is on my personal web site at www.davidwatts.org.uk.

5. Stanton Blaze
Although the fire at the former Stanton ironworks occurred outside of Broxtowe the smoke from it drifted over much of the borough. It was reported to have reached as far north as Nuthall, if not further. The fire was in a wood store and should not contain any particularly harmful toxins, other than of course breathing in smoke is not good for you. Hopefully the rain that we are now having will help clear everything away.

6. County Council staffing
Figures reported to the County Council this week show that they have cut their workforce by nearly 3,000 since the Conservatives gained control in 2009. Eight out of ten staff who left did so voluntarily, but that does of course mean that 20% were made compulsorily redundant.

7. Older People’s Day
Stapleford Care Centre are holding an event for Older People’s Day on 1st October. It is open to all ages and runs from 10.00-12.30. There is a taster event on music to movement at 10.00, and there are stalls on Healthy eating, AGE UK, Reducing medicine waste, Oral health and Nutrition and Stapleford History Club.

8. Autumn Fair
Newly formed Eastwood Booktown and Age Concern Eastwood are organising an autumn fair which will take place on Saturday 29th September from 10 am to 3 pm at the Colin Dyson Centre, Edward Road, Eastwood. Proceeds will be shared between the 2 organisations. For more details please contact Josie Forrest on (01773) 787130 email rex.forrest@ntlworld.com

9. Strictly 50 Dance Event
Broxtowe Borough Council will be holding a “Strictly 50” dance event at the East Midlands conference centre on Sunday December 2nd between 1pm and 4pm. This is the third year that the event has been held and this year will include workshops on line dancing, ballroom and Latin dancing and Zumba fitness.

10. Roadworks
There are two significant sets of road works underway in the borough at the moment. Edward Road in Eastwood is closed for mains renewal works until 1st October, and there are traffic lights on Derby Road in Stapleford until 7th October for pavement repairs. In addition to these there are works underway through Beeston, Chilwell and Toton for the tram and the latest schedule of these is on the Broxtowe Lib-Dem website at www.broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk. May I also seek peoples views on another matter. Last week the traffic lights between the A52 and the M1 weren’t working after an accident, and motorists were warned of long delays. My experience on the days that I used it was that in fact getting from the A52 onto the M1 was far easier without the lights, but I’d be really interested to learn what other people thought of it.

11. School Governors
There are currently 62 vacancies for school Governors in Broxtowe. I’m a governor at my daughters school and I find it a really useful way to put something back into the community, and so I’d encourage people to think seriously about whether this is a role that you could perform. Governors are not all parents but represent a wide cross section of society. If you are interested ring 0115 854 6054 for further details.

12. Stapleford Allotments
Lib-Dem run Stapleford Town Council has voted to make significant improvements to the allotments it owns on Peatfield Road, Bessell Lane and Nottingham Road. The sites will all benefit from improved security, better pathways and tree pruning.

13. Beeston and District Local History Society
Congratulations to the Beeston and District Local History Society who celebrated it’s 40th birthday this week. Approximately 120 people turned out for their birthday celebration meeting at Chilwell Memorial Hall this week.

14. Audrey Hopcroft
Congratulations to Beeston lollipop lady and Lib-Dem activist Audrey Hopcroft who retired on Friday after providing a crossing patrol for Round Hill school students for 25 years. I couldn’t let that event pass without mentioning it.

15. 1st Stapleford Scouts
Also on the anniversary theme, the 1st Stapleford Scouts celebrated their 100th anniversary yesterday. Congratulations to the many generations of staff and scouts who have made this possible.

16. Waste Recycling Centres
The County Council waste recycling centre in Beeston will be operating shorter hours from 1st   October. It will stay open until 6pm in October and then 4pm in November as the days get shorter. Further details can be found on www.veolia.co.uk/nottinghamshire.

17. Police spokesperson
I am delighted to announce that the Nottinghamshire Liberal Democrats have appointed me to be their new police and crime spokesperson. This is a key role and I’m really grateful for my colleagues for their support. As people may know there is an election for a Police Commissioner in November. This is a new role created by the Conservatives. Like most Lib-Dem activists I think that this role is a bad idea and to make it a political appointment is wholly inappropriate. Nottinghamshire Lib-Dems are therefore refusing to put up a candidate for the election (as are many other Lib-Dem groups across the country) but we do have a lot to say about law and order and so my colleagues have asked me to take on that role. For those who don’t know me, I’m not only a qualified solicitor but also have an MSc in criminology, and so I hope I have exactly the right background for the role.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broxtowe-Liberal-Democrats/78471665107
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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Broxtowe Enews 16th September 2012

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.

1. Nick Clegg visit
Lib-Dem leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg had a very successful  visit to Nottingham on Thursday, taking part in a public question and answer session before meeting party members and then having a meal with some of us at Trent Bridge. It was good to see a large number of people from Broxtowe attending, and I’m sorry that more of you couldn’t get tickets for the public event. The next leading Lib-Dem to visit is likely to be our party chair Tim Farron.

2. Communities Against Poverty Fund Raising
Saturday shopping in Eastwood in the run up to Christmas is going to be even better this year. From 9 am to 1 pm every Saturday from 3 November to 15 December there’ll be a book sale in the foyer of Eastwood Post Office.  All books will be 25p each.   From 10 am to 1 pm every Saturday from 3 November to 15 December there’ll be a gift shop at The SAFE shop on Nottingham Road (near Salingers opticians).  As well as commercially produced gifts there will also be hand made items.  Crafters and artists can sell through the gift shop and organisers will charge just 10% commission to cover their advertising costs. These events have been organised by Communities Against Poverty to raise funds for their events. For more details please email Angela on angela.kinton@talktalk.net.

3. Advance Notice – Eastwood Volunteer Bureaux Christmas Fair
Saturday 24 November 2012 Eastwood Volunteer Bureau will be having its annual Christmas fair.  More details from the Bureau, email manager@evbvols.org.uk.

4. Consultation on Bus Subsidies
The Government is currently consulting on proposals to change the way that they subsidise bus services. This could potentially mean that some bus routes could be significantly affected. I have put a copy of the consultation paper on the Broxtowe Lib-Dems website at www.broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk and would invite people to have a read of this and make their comments.

5. Consultation on Ambulance Services
I mentioned a few weeks ago that the East Midlands Ambulance Service were proposing changes to the way that they station their ambulances in an effort to improve response times. They have now launched a public consultation about these proposals, and again I have put the consultation paper on our web site.

6. Beeston Wildlife Group
The Beeston Wildlife Group Autumn talks programme begins on Monday 17th September, 7.30 pm at Trent Vale Infants School. A charge of £2.00 per person (under 16’s free) includes refreshments. The opening speaker is Nigel Slater, whose talk is entitled “Extinction – But Not As We Know It!”

7. Council House Waiting Lists
New figures released by the borough council this week show that there are currently 2,085 people on the waiting list for council houses in Broxtowe. The council only has 4,500 houses, and so it’s not far short of 50% of the current housing stock. Currently the council has 37 empty properties but many of these are being kept empty pending a redevelopment. These figures demonstrate the challenge that the council have in housing the residents of the borough.

8. A Healthier Broxtowe
The Nottingham West clinical commissioning group (the body which is taking over running NHS services locally) is hosting two public meetings to seek people’s views on health services locally. These will take place on 2nd October from 5.30-8.00pm at Plumtree Hall, Church Street, Eastwood, NG16 3BP, and on 4th October from 12.30-3pm at the Pearson Centre, 2 Nuart Road, Beeston, NG9 2NH. The meetings will be chaired by Dr Guy Mansford, who is the lead doctor for the group, and everyone is welcome to attend.

9. Constituency Boundaries
The Boundary Commission will be publishing their new proposals for constituency boundaries on Tuesday 16th October 2012 which will be followed by an 8 week consultation period. I’ll put more details here when I have them.

10. NET Work Schedule
NET have now published their work programme for the next six weeks and this can be found on our web site at www.broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk.

11. Disabled Access To Beeston Station
Work has now started in creating a proper disabled access for the London bound platform at Beeston Railway Station. This was something that we as a council had hoped would be done some time ago, and my colleague Stan Heptinstall has worked very hard to make it happen. When this is done it will make travelling much more convenient for passengers with disabilities.

12. Flood Defences
The flood defence scheme for the west bank of the Trent was officially opened by Nick Clegg when he visited Nottingham this week. This scheme has come in ahead of schedule and under budget, and protects 16,000 homes in the area, many of them in Broxtowe, from flooding. Part of the scheme through Attenborough was highly controversial and I chaired the planning meeting where it was given permission. However at that meeting I urged the various parties to keep talking to each other and try and find a route which was suitable to everyone, and this was exactly what happened.

13. Girls Football
Girls aged between 6 and 8 are invited to take part in football training each week at Eastwood Community Sports Centre, starting on Tuesday at 5pm. This is being run by the council, who also run a similar scheme at Toton on a Thursday. Sessions cost £2 and can be booked on 0115 917 3573.

14. Badminton sessions
Also at Eastwood Community Sports Centre are new Badminton sessions each Thursday from 6 to 7pm, which cost £1 and are aimed at those aged 15 or above. Family sessions will also be available at weekends. Details are available on 0115 917 3573.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Broxtowe-Liberal-Democrats/78471665107
Email me at davidwatts@broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk

Monday, 10 September 2012

Broxtowe Enews 10th September 2012

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. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.
Thank you for the feedback on last week’s newsletter. More than one person contacted me to ask why there was nothing about the proposed Toton development in it and I’m afraid that this was a pure error on my part. I’ll start with that today.

1.       Toton
The developers who want to build a new housing estate in Toton have come back with revised plans. They have delivered leaflets publicising this across much of the south of the borough, although surprisingly the roads nearest the proposed development don’t seem to have had a delivery. They say that they have listened to the comments that locals made on their previous plans, although my impression was that the comments were fairly strongly along the lines of ‘go away and don’t come back.’ The proposals are available on the web at http://www.totonproposals.co.uk/.

2.       Parliamentary Reshuffle
Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry was a big gainer in the reshuffle by the prime minister this week. She has become a minister in the Health Department, and has already attracted media attention by saying that the law on assisted suicide needs to be looked at again. I agree with Anna that it is absolutely right that the law is set by MP’s rather than judges having to deal with individual emotive cases (and lawyer will tell you that sad cases make bad laws) but I disagree with her about whether a change should be brought in. Hopefully though parliament will debate the issue and MP’s will be allowed to vote according to their conscience.
Elsewhere in the reshuffle I felt that the Conservatives lurched to the right whilst for the Lib-Dems Nick Clegg was able to strengthen his own position. Interestingly the Lib-Dem minister I had been most critical of, Andrew Stunnell at the Department for Communities and Local Government, has returned to the back benches.

3.       Operation Titan
Notts County Council have unveiled Operation Titan, a significant review of public transport in the county. No doubt much of this will have an underlying thread of saving money, but they have said that there are opportunities to improve services or add new ones as well. Regular readers will know that this is something that I have been trying to get them to look at in Broxtowe, and so I welcome the opportunity to have a say. The consultation is available at  www.Nottinghamshire.gov.uk/passengertransport or at local libraries.

4.       Co-Op Community Fund
Members of the Co-Op have voted to donate £2,000 to Attenborough Cricket Club from their community fund to enable them to host disabled table cricket, and to also donate £470 to Chilwell Community Arts Theatre Society to enable it to put on it’s first production later this year. Many thanks to the members of the Co-Op for their generosity.

5.       Beeston Rock Festival
A rock festival will be held at Barton Hall on Chilwell High Road on Saturday 22nd September from noon until midnight. Tickets cost £15 on the door or from www.gigantic.com.

6.       Library Refurbishment
Notts County Council has announced that it has earmarked £11.5 million to refurbish libraries across the County over the next ten years, to ensure that they stay at the heart of their communities. Whilst this is good news it appears that they have decided that not one penny of this is to be spent in Broxtowe. Every other part of the county benefits instead!

7.       Bramcote Park beech tree
Visitors to Bramcote Park may well have noticed that a 200 year old beech tree toppled over last month after a fungal infection damaged it. The good news is that a number of seedlings from this seem to have taken root and the council are hoping that these will eventually replace the three. In the meantime the old tree is to be left in situ to decay naturally.

8.       Meet Nick Clegg
Lib-Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will be in Nottingham on Thursday to take part in a public question time organised by the Nottingham Post. If you would like to attend tickets can be obtained by emailing Charles.walker@nottinghampostgroup.co.uk.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12. 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Broxtowe Enews 2nd September 2012

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. I hope that everyone has had a good August and those who have been on holiday have found it a good and refreshing time, even though the British weather wasn’t great.

1.       Council Consultation
Broxtowe Borough Council is currently consulting people about the various options open to us regarding council tax and other benefits in the future. Every household should have had a letter this week so if you haven’t received one please let me know and I’ll ensure a second copy is sent to you. If you have received one please do take the opportunity to complete it and let us know your views.

2.       Attenborough Nature Reserve
Congratulations to the staff and volunteers who run Attenborough Nature Reserve, after Countryfile Magazine named it as Britain’s second most popular nature reserve in a vote of it’s readers. This is excellent news and is a great advert for the area.

3.       Beeston Open Days
The Beeston and District Civic Society have organised a series of open days over this week highlighting some of the best of Beeston. Full details of the events are available at www.beestoncivicsociety.org.uk but the visit to the old Chilwell Ordinance Deport is now fully booked.
4.       Fire Service Recruitment
Notts Fire Service will be recruiting new permanent fire fighters next year and online applications will open on Thursday of this week. Their website is at http://www.notts-fire.gov.uk/index.asp.

5.       DH Lawrence Festival
This years DH Lawrence Festival begins on Wednesday evening. Amongst those taking part this year are actor Robert Lindsay, screen writer William Ivory and film director Christopher Miles. Full details of the programme are available at www.dhlawrenceheritage.org

6.       Outstanding Achievement 4Uth Awards
Congratulations to 16 year old Dexter Atkinson from Stapleford, who has been voted as the boroughs Young Person of Achievement this year. He is a young man who has gone from being a young rebel to a high achiever, and truly is a role model that others can follow.

7.       Sport Nottinghamshire
Sport Nottinghamshire is currently looking to recruit new board members. They say they are looking for individuals who have gained public respect and credibility, can demonstrate vision and leadership, and have a track record of building relationships, effective networking and making things happen. If you are interested details can be obtained from Ian Wakefield, email: ian.wakefield@ntu.ac.uk  or by calling 0115 848 3469.

8.       Creative Writing Course
A 12 week Creative Writing course will be held on Tuesday evenings 7 - 9pm in Beeston, commencing in later this month. Lead by an experienced and published writer the course is intermediate level and will suit participants with a firm grasp of the English language and some experience of writing, who wish to improve their writing as a hobby or for publication.

Course costs £120 (payable on week 1) and will include:

- Genre specific writing
- Developing personal style
- Combining text with image
- Advanced critiquing
- Methods of research
- Development of personal interest project supported by research
- Analysis of popular works
- Production of a developed portfolio
- Ongoing tuition and support

To enquire or enroll, please contact Christina: agibunny@hotmail.com or 07804 942 578

9.       Paradiso Cinema Events

On Friday 7th September at 6.30pm Paradiso Cinema  will be hosting a "Heritage Open Days" event at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, NG9 5AL. This consists of Live Morris Dancing Followed by the film, "Morris, A Life with Bells On" (12A) at 7.30pm. Refreshments will be on sale from 6.30pm whilst you watch the dancers and admission is free. 
 On Friday 14th September at 7.30pm Paradiso Cinema present The Artist, winner of 5 Oscars in 2012, at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, NG9 5AL. Tickets are available on the door for £5 (£4 concessions ). Come at 7pm for refreshments.

10.   Councillors Allowances
New research has shown that Notts County Council pays more in allowances to it’s councillors than any other County authority in the country. The basic allowance for a County Councillor in Nottinghamshire is £12,906. I am not and have never been a County Councillor, but I do know that my county colleagues have a substantial workload and I know that the  basic allowance I receive as a borough councillor wouldn’t cover the minimum wage for the hours that I put in.

11.   Police Changeover
As announced some time ago, Notts Police chief Constable Julia Hodson retired on Thursday. She is being replaced by Chris Eyre, her deputy Chief Constable.

12.   Amnesty Meeting
A letter writing evening is being held by Amnesty in Beeston tomorrow (Monday) night starting at 7.30pm. People are invited to write letters to governments around the world to urge them to prevent human rights abuses. The meeting is at the Commercial Inn on Wollaton Road and everyone is welcome to attend.

13.   Overgrown Roads and Footpaths
Notts County Council have announced that they will be spraying weed killer on roads and pavements for the third time this summer starting next week. Usually they only do it twice during the summer and this third spray is a direct result of the wet summer that we have had.

That completes the news for this week but may I indulge for a moment in a comment about the legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics. My family and I had a wonderful day on the Middle Monday of the games, watching David Rudesha destroy the field in the 800 metres amongst other events. The park is sensational and the whole Olympics was truly inspiring. The Paralympics is following the same path.

I think that the legacies that we can take from this are not just many more people interested in sport (my older daughter has signed up for athletics since the games, wanting to be the next Jessica Ennis) but a real change in national attitudes. The public reaction and response to the Olympics has been fantastic and contrasts so strongly to the quite aggressive attitudes that can be found every week in football grounds towards the opposing fans (and I’m a passionate football fan). Hopefully this friendlier attitude can gain ground.

Second I really hope that the media will drop their obsession with pseudo-celebrities whose only claim to fame has been appearing on some second rate reality TV programme or something of that ilk, and concentrate instead on real celebrities who have dedicated their lives to being at the pinnacle of their sports. (My view here has been reinforced by the death last month of Neil Armstrong, a real celebrity of ever there was one but a truly modest and humble man.)

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.