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 .

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

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
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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

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
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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:, 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 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

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

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 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

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 -

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 @

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

Best wishes
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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 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 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
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