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

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

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 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

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
Email me at

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

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

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 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

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
Email me at

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

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 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

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

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 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

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

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:  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: 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.