Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Broxtowe Enews 31st July 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. Many apologies that we’re a couple of days late with this but I’ve been snowed under with work over the past few days. May I also thank those people who follow me on Twitter for the messages of sympathy for my older daughter after the death of her guinea pig during the week. As we get into August many events tail off and so we have less news than usual, and my next edition will be on 1st September unless anything important happens in the meantime.

1. Housing Figures/Core Strategy
Regular readers will know that the councils core strategy for where we will allow housing to be built over the next 15 years has been a key area of dispute between the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives over the last few months. The Tories locally have said that they are opposed to our plans, but interestingly last week the Conservative controlled County Council this week backed our plans as the best way forward. Since then there has been no comment from our local Conservatives so I can’t tell you how they are responding to this. I‘m personally delighted that where they are not just trying to win some cheap votes the Tories have accepted that we are doing the right thing. The County Council have submitted what they refer to as a “holding objection” to the core strategy which they say explicitly is because they think we need to finish some ongoing work on transport assessments, but they are supportive of both the overall housing figures and the sites selected for development.

2. Town Centre Managers
At tonight’s cabinet meeting the borough council approved the appointment of a town centre manager with the responsibility for bringing new investment into Stapleford, Kimberley and Eastwood. Beeston already has the BID team doing much the same work (very successfully). This was something that I identified as a key priority when I took over the economic development portfolio last year and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring it to fruition.

3. Ambulance Stations
I reported last week about the plans by East Midlands Ambulance service to change the way that they operate and to close many of their ambulance stations. These plans have now been approved by their Trust. Ambulances will still be stationed across the County but they will be based at two centres in the County. The Trust hope that these changes will speed up response times for ambulances. Figures released this week show that the service is not currently achieving the target times that are set for it.

4. Moving Telegraph Pole
A telegraph pole in Middle Orchard Street, Stapleford, is to be moved by BT after a ten year campaign by local residents. Unfortunately the current location of the pole has resulted in it being hit on numerous occasions by vehicles, and residents feared that one day it would come down onto someone and could quite easily cause serious injuries. BT have now agreed to move the police, but they have been unable to give a timescale as to when this work will take place.

5. Kimberley Brewery
Just a quick reminder of a story I mentioned last week, that there will be a public consultation on plans for Kimberley Brewery taking place on Tuesday 7th August from 1pm to 8pm at Kimberley Parish Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend and discuss the proposals with the developers.

6. Happiness
A Government survey into happiness across the country says that Nottinghamshire is one of the most miserable places to live in the UK. I would have to beg to differ, this is a fantastic county to live in with a huge number of reasons to be cheerful.

7. Attenborough Community Action Team
The Attenborough CAT meeting, to discuss issues of concern to local residents, takes place tomorrow at Attenborough Village Hall, starting at 7.30pm. The special guest will be the Acting Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, Chris Eyre.

8. Proms in the Park
The seventh Proms in the Park will return to the bandstand at Dovecote Lane Recreation Ground, Beeston on Saturday 18th August, starting at 7.00pm and ending with a spectacular Firework Finale at 10.00pm. Everyone is welcome to attend. The event is outdoors so with the weather that we have had this year please remember to dress appropriately.

9. Olympics
Congratulations to Rebecca Addlington on her medal in the 400 metres swimming. Hopefully there is more to come. After the Olympics she will be taking park in a charity bike ride across Zambia to raise money to help children with Aids. If you want to contribute to this you can do so here: http://www.justgiving.com/ZambiaCycle. I spent part of my childhood in Malawi, which shares a border with Zambia, and both countries have been ravaged by Aids over the past couple of decades and so I hope many people will take the opportunity to help.
In other Olympics news may I say how fantastic I thought the opening ceremony was. I was expecting to be underwhelmed by it but was left absolutely blown away by the show. I did read a really nasty racist article about the ceremony in the Daily Mail and was so angry with it that I lodged a formal complaint with the Press Complaints Commission. I’ve had an email from them to say that they have had a substantial number of complaints about the same article.
I will be going to the Olympics with my family next week, and have agreed to do a couple of things on the media whilst I’m there.

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, 21 July 2012

Broxtowe Enews 21st July 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.       Broxtowe Core Strategy
The six week consultation period for people to comment on Broxtowe’s draft core strategy closes on Monday at 5pm. If you haven’t commented yet then please take the opportunity to do so this weekend. Comments received after the deadline will still be put before the independent inspector who will assess the strategy, but he is not obliged to take them into account. I attended a meeting on Tuesday this week at Kimberley to look at the proposals there, and it’s clear that there is still a lot of confusion about what the core strategy is about. In a very brief nutshell the general position in this country is that people can build new developments unless there is a rule stopping them, and the local plan based on the core strategy imposes that sort of limitation. It sets a maximum for the total number of houses that can be built in the borough over the next 15 years, and aims to meet the housing need that we will have over that time. It also covers employment, infrastructure and other issues to provide a comprehensive plan for the future of the borough.

2.       Kimberley Brewery
Also in Kimberley comes news that the new owners of the brewery and their partners are mounting an exhibition on 7th August from 1pm to 8pm at Kimberley Parish Hall setting out some very broad ideas that they have for how the site may be developed. I was given a sneak preview of them this week and they look quite exciting. The owners want to stress that this is still a very embryonic idea and they want to listen to what people think about them before finalising any planning application. They have been in regular contact with the Kimberley Save Our Brewery Site group (SOBS) and have said to me that they feel it is vital to have plans which local residents support. Please take the opportunity to call in on 7th August if you are interested.

3.       Broxtowe Cycling Festival
The Broxtowe Cycling festival will be held at the Giltbrook Retail Park on 27th July starting at 6.30pm. The festival is a fantastic opportunity for cyclists of all ages and abilities to get involved. Whether you are looking to try out cycling for the first time, get back into cycling or looking for some family fun, there will be a range of opportunities for you. The festival will offer a range of trick bikes to try, cycling tips and advice and the opportunity to watch some amazing demonstrations! Whether you are competing in a challenge or just attending the event for the atmosphere, there will be lots of things to see and do! It is completely free so just turn up and join in the fun.

4.       Holiday Playdays
There are a number of holiday clubs taking place over the summer holidays (my older daughter celebrated the start of these by completely flooding our bathroom which caused a significant amount of damage). The council is running sessions in Eastwood, Kimberley, Beeston and Stapleford, and details are on the council’s website at www.broxtowe.gov.uk. A series of holiday clubs are also being held at Attenborough Nature Reserve and details of these are on their website at http://www.attenboroughnaturecentre.co.uk/news-events/.

5.       Kimberley Pram Race
The annual Kimberley Pram race will take place tomorrow starting at 12.30pm. It kicks off from the Parish Hall and Trophy categories include: "Best Pram", "Best Fancy Dress", "Fastest Pram", "Best Overall" and "Best Mother & Baby.” There will be a variety of items of information taking place throughout the afternoon.

6.       Stapleford Carnival
This is an advance notice but this year’s Stapleford Carnival will take place on Saturday 1st September at the Ilkeston Road Recreation Park starting at 12.30. This is always an excellent event and so I hope many people will turn out.

7.       Olympic Proms
An “Olympic Proms” will be held at Dovecote Lane Recreation Ground in Beeston on 18th August 2012 featuring two live bands and a firework display to close. The event is totally free and many people bring a picnic along to help celebrate the evening.

8.       Midland Mainline Electrification
As I predicted last week the coalition Government on Monday announced a major investment in rail infrastructure which included the electrification of the Midland Mainline route to London. This should mean that we benefit from faster and greener trains, and the scheme should create thousands of jobs. Also on the trains, Network Rail will be relaying 6 miles of track into Nottingham Station next year, and so between 20th July and 23rd August next year there will be no direct services from Nottingham to London. The general view is that the disruption this will cause will be a small price to pay for the benefits that it will bring. I believe that, whilst commuters will be bussed from Nottingham to East Midlands Parkway, some service may continue running to Beeston during that period.

9.       Ambulance Changes
The East Midlands Ambulance Service has announced plans to close 12 of the 13 ambulance stations in Notts, including all those in Broxtowe. Instead ambulances will be based at Nottingham and Mansfield, and ambulances will deploy from there out to 22 separate stand by locations.

10.   Green Flag Parks
I’m delighted to announce that two parks in the borough, Bramcote Hills Park and Colliers Wood, have retained their green flag status, the national award for a quality park. Both are extremely popular attractions and we are always looking for further ways to improve them whilst maintaining their natural beauty and charm.

11.   Crime Figures
The latest crime figures released this week show that recorded crime in Nottinghamshire fell by 8% last year and is now at it’s lowest since 1977. This is extremely good news and whilst there is always a difference between recorded crime and actual crime levels it is clear that the trend in both is continuing downwards.

12.   School Meals
The school meals team at Notts County Council last week won the top prize at the Catering Business of the Year awards. My children both have school meals and they are a far cry from the spam and lumpy custard that we had when I was at school. (We didn’t actually have the lumpy custard with the spam but they are the two things that stuck in my mind.)

13.   Nuthall Vandals
I mentioned recently that basil Russell Park in Nuthall was benefitting from £60,000 of improvements. Sadly now though vandals have attacked the toilet block causing significant amounts of damage, so that these have had to be shut whilst repairs are carried out. This is extremely disappointing news and if anyone knows who is involved will they please pass that information on to the police.

14.   Radio Appearance
I will be on Radio Five Live tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 10am in a discussion show about the Olympics. I have tickets for some of the athletics with my family and will be speaking tomorrow on behalf of the excited spectators who are looking forward to the event (and hopefully countering some of the negativity that the BBC seem to have delighted in broadcasting about the event).

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received. Next Saturday will be the last newsletter until 1st September and so if you have any events that need to be publicised during August please let me know by then.
Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Broxtowe Enews 15th July 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. There isn’t as much news to report as usual, which I suspect is because we are getting close to the summer break. I’ll carry on doing the newsletter until the end of July but, as usual, there won’t be any during August unless something important occurs. If anyone gets withdrawal symptom’s you will hopefully be able to hear me on Radio Nottingham in August as part of their Olympic Coverage when I take my family down to London to see some of the athletics.

1.       Midland Mainline
There are strong rumours circulating that the coalition government is to announce tomorrow that they will be funding the electrification of the Midland Mainline. This will be extremely good news if it is true. It will mean that we have faster and cleaner trains, and the investment will generate significant job opportunities as well.

2.       Weeds on Paths and Verges
In April this year responsibility for looking after the footpaths and verges passed from the borough council to the county council. They have informed us this week that they are now five weeks behind with their programme of cutting paths and verges. This is why so many areas look overgrown. I am one of a number of councillors who have complained about this, but the county council have told us that they will not make any alterations to their order for doing things to address the worst areas.

3.       Housing Numbers in Broxtowe
As many people will know Broxtowe Borough Council is currently putting together a new local plan, which identifies that 6,150 houses will be needed over the next 15 years to cope with the growth in population in Broxtowe. This is currently out for consultation. However I was able to announce at the council meeting on Tuesday that some new research has been published which suggests that the level of demand across Greater Nottingham may have been over-estimated by about 5,000 homes, and if this is confirmed then I will be arguing strongly that Broxtowe should take the largest share of this reduction, given that we have the highest density and the lowest amount of available land.
If you live in or around Kimberley there is a public meeting on Tuesday evening for residents to discuss the councils plans. It takes place at Kimberley Parish Hall at 7.00pm.
Finally on this topic there was a debate in parliament about Broxtowe’s housing strategy on Friday, organised by Anna Soubry. Needless to say this was not something that interested many other MP’s and there were only about three people in the chamber, and poor Anna was rather sent away with a flea in her ear by the Minister of State.

4.       Planning Application in Toton
Following on from the last item Peverill Homes have announced that they are submitting a planning application to build 775 houses on green belt land, between the top of Toton and the bottom of Stapleford. The council have previously indicated that we would not support development here and so it is unlikely that planning permission would be granted. The developers are aware of this and must be hoping that the Secretary of State will override local wishes and grant planning permission.

5.       Temporary Police Station
The police have created a temporary police station based at Inham Nook Community Centre during July and August. This is in response to a problem with burglaries in thhe area aand will mean that the police will be based nearer to enable them to respond more quickly and to increase the number of patrols that they have in the area.

6.       Sainsbury’s Charity Vote
Sainsbury’s in Beeston have recently run a vote amongst customers to select the charity they were to fund next year. The winner is the cancer suffers hospice at City Hospital.

7.       More Cyclists
An interesting statistic this week was that there has been a 10% increase on cyclists using cycling paths on the county over the past twelve months.  There will no doubt me many reasons for this but I hope that the investment that the borough council has put into cycle paths and facilities will be a part of it.

8.       Police Priorities
Police officers coving Toton, Chilwell and Attenborough are holding an open meeting to set their priorities for the next three months. The meeting takes place at Banks Road School on Wednesday at 7pm.

9.       Kimberley Blood Donors
People are being urged to give blood in Kimberley on July 26. Donor sessions will take place 1pm to 3.15pm and 4.45pm to 7.30pm at Kimbrley Leisure Centre and anyone aged between 17 - 65, weighing more than 50 kg, or seven stone 12lbs and in general good health can become a blood donor. To book an appointment call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.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. 

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Broxtowe Enews 7th July 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.       Police Stop and Search
One very worrying statistic that was announced this week is that in Nottinghamshire black people are nine times as likely to be the subject of a stop and search by the police as white people are. Asian people are twice as likely to be searched as white people. The police have admitted that this is a cause for concern and have called in help from the National Police Improvement Agency to tackle diversity training.

2.       Bus Changes
I’ve mentioned a few times that there is a strong will in the borough council to improve bus services in Broxtowe, but the County Council are not keen. Now the County have announced that they want to cut £2million a year from their public transport budget, which will make the job even harder. They  are running a consultation which is open now and runs through to September 4th. You can have your say at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk

3.       Girls Football
The borough council is running new football workshops for girls aged between 5 and 11. These take place each Thursday from 4.15 to 5.15 at the Manor Recreation Ground in Toton. Further details are available by ringing 0115 917 3572.

4.       Help For Troubled Families
192 families in Broxtowe will be amongst those across Nottinghamshire who receive help from the County Council under a scheme aimed at helping troubled families. Support will be offered to households that are either involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, have children out of school, have an adult on out of work benefits or those who cause high costs to the public purse. The Government have made £2.3 million available to the county council to help them address the issues around these families, on a payments by results basis.

5.       Disco Dancer
Congratulations to Toton resident Cordelia Mills who won both the single and pairs titles at the World Freestyle Disco Dancing championships in Blackpool this week.

6.       Forthcoming Community Action Team Meetings
We had a very lively discussion at the Bramcote CAT meeting this week. There are a number of others coming up in the next few days. The Beeston Rylands CAT is on 17th July at the Rylands Community Centre from 7.30pm, the Trowell meeting is on 18th July at Trowell Parish Hall, starting at 7.45pm, Chilwell West’s meeting will take place on 19th July at Inham Nook Methodist Church, starting at 7pm, and the Nuthall meeting in the same night at the Spinney, Nuthall Crescent, starting at 7.30pm. Local residents are welcome to each of these to raise any concerns or discuss any issues that they have.

7.       Police Neighbourhood Alerts
The police have a new email service alerting people about crime and community safety issues in local areas. You can sign up to these at www.nottinghamshirealert.co.uk

8.       Patient Participation Groups
Each local GP’s surgery either now has or is creating a patient participation group. These aim to give patients more involvement in how services are offered locally. If you would like to be involved with your group please contact the Practice Manager at your surgery.

9.       Kimberley Farmers Market
Kimberley Farmers Market will have extended opening hours from now on. Today’s market is the first one with the new hours, and it is now open from 9am to 2pm. The market takes place on the first Saturday of every month.

10.   Beeston Maltings
Unfortunately efforts to save Beeston Maltings have so far failed, but the council have agreed to fund a project by the Beeston and District Civic Society to obtain a pictorial record of the building. This way at least an extensive record of the building will be retained.

11.   Waterways
 A new charity has now taken over the running of Britain’s waterways, including the River Trent and the Nottingham Canal. British Waterways has ceased to exist and the Canals and Rivers Trust has taken over their activities. No doubt we will begin to see their name appear from now on.

12.   Great Kimberley Book Read
A 12 week reading competition in Kimberley is being launched by Rev Barbara Holbrook next Saturday. The Great Kimberley Book Read will be declared open at the town library on Saturday July 14. It marks the start of a 12 week feast of reading, with 18 new titles that people can borrow from the library and read, before voting on their favourite. To find out more go to www.greatkimberleyread.com

13.   Tales From The Priory
Tales from the Priory will be held at Beauvale Priory on Saturday 22nd June from 10am – 3.30pm. Each session lasts for  30 minutes and visitors will be escorted around the abbey by guides highlighting some of the history.

14.   Friends of Bramcote Tower
The Friends of Bramcote Tower are holding a strawberry tea at the tower tomorrow, Sunday 8th July, from 1pm – 4pm. At the time they arranged this they did not know that Murray was going to be in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon, so if you’re not a tennis fan please come along and give them your support.

May I end by saying how delighted I was to see Jonny Marray win in the mens doubles at Wimbledon, and good luck to Andy Murray for tomorrow. If this run of British success has inspired you to play tennis the borough council have a number of courts across the borough.

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, 1 July 2012

Broxtowe Enews 1st July 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. Many apologies that we are a day late with this but I’m afraid that I just couldn’t tear myself away from the Murray match last night. The roof at centre court has certainly helped to provide three successive nights of excitement.

1.       School Terms
Notts County Council have decided to alter the length of the Spring Term from next year, so that from now on the spring term will always be a set length, irrespective of where Easter falls. I think that there are pluses and minuses to this, but we will have to see how it goes.

2.       Beeston Carnival
This years Beeston Carnival will take place on 14th July. It is always an excellent event and hopefully the rain might hold off.

3.       High Speed Internet
BT have announced that they will be rolling out high speed internet to houses in the Beeston area over the next twelve months. This is something that the borough and county council’s have both agreed to help fund so that our residents and businesses can enjoy the benefits of the technology. We see this as essential in helping the borough to remain an attractive place for businesses to set up.

4.       Roadwork’s
A new mini-roundabout is being constructed in Greasley at the moment and as a result there are temporary lights at the junction of Main Road and Narrow Lane. These should be finished on or about 23rd July.

5.       Summer Reading Scheme
Notts County Council is launching a summer reading scheme over the long summer holiday period. They are inviting children from 4 – 11 to read six books from their library over the six weeks of the holidays. There will be celebration events for the successful children in both the north and south of the county.

6.       Police Mounted Section
Notts police have decided to scrap their mounted section is a move designed to save them £93,000 per year. The Police Authority voted at their annual meeting this week to support this move.

7.       Public Transport Improvements
The Government have allocated £10 million to Nottinghamshire to improve public transport here. No doubt there will be much negotiation and discussion over the next few weeks about how this will be spent, and when we know how much will come to Broxtowe I’ll report further.

8.       Football for Children With Disabilities
Trowell Football club and Broxtowe Borough Council are offering a new programme of football  coaching for children with disabilities at Bramcote Leisure Centre every Wednesday from 6-7pm, aimed at children from 5-14. Details are available from  07747 190341.

9.       Art Exhibitions
An art exhibition is being held this month at Beeston library, starting tomorrow and running through until 13th June. It will display work by the New Beginnings Art Group, who meet at the Oasis Centre in Beeston. Another exhibition will be held at George Spencer School in Stapleford on 7th July, and the school are inviting local artists to display their work. Details are available from Deborah Fry on 0115 917 0119.

10.   Carers Emergency Service
Notts County Council have set up a new Carers Crisis Prevention Scheme to provide support if an adult carer of another adult is involved in an accident. The scheme will cost £85,000 per year to run and it seems to me that this will be money very well spent. Details are available on 08449 808080.

11.   Award Winner
Congratulations to Beeston Photographer Philippa Double from Double Image Photography who won 12 awards, including three overall winners in different categories, at the East Midlands Master Photographers Association annual print competition.

12.   Chilwell School Events

On Friday 13th July Paradiso Cinema presents The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Starring Judi Dench, at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West. Tickets cost on the door £5 (£4 conc). The film starts at 7.30pm but come at 7pm for refreshments.
On Sunday 8th July Chilwell School Partnership are holding an Outdoor Car Boot Sale (weather permitting), also at Chilwell School, Queen’s Road West, from 9am to 1pm. Entrance = donation to school funds. Sellers can set up 7.30am to 9am – cars £5, vans £7.50. There is no need to book, just turn up. If the weather is uncertain see http://www.chilwell.notts.sch.uk/.

13.   Olympic Torch
Finally may I say how great it was to see that a number of Broxtowe residents carried the Olympic Torch on it’s visit to Nottingham this year, and even the rain didn’t put people off. I was delighted that my friend Matthew Galtrass carried it over Trent Bridge. Well done to everyone involved.

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