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
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