Sunday, 24 February 2013

Broxtowe Enews 24th February 2013

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. Income Tax Changes
There were some very interesting figures released this week about the impact of the Lib-Dem policy of increasing the tax free allowance before people start paying tax. These show that here in Broxtowe 4,130 people on low pay are no longer paying any income tax at all and a further 51,300 have received a £600 cut income tax. These figures mean that since the Lib-Dems came into Government an extra £30,780,000 of money has been retained in Broxtowe.

2. Child Poverty
Less good news came from a further set of figures published this week, showing levels of child poverty. In Broxtowe 11% of children live below the poverty line, which is a really distressing figure. It is lower than many other authorities nearby (the figure in neighbouring Ashfield was 16%) but 1 child living in poverty is one too many.

3. Broxtowe Budget
The Borough Council’s cabinet looked at the figures for the budget for next year on Tuesday. The highlights are that we are proposing no increase in council tax for the third year running (in company with every Lib-Dem run council in the country), council house rents will go up by 1.5% on average but there will be no increase in garage rents. These proposals now go forward to the full cabinet to be voted on.

4. Beeston fair Trade Fortnight
Beeston’s Fair Trade fortnight starts tomorrow. This year it has an artistic theme and next Saturday, 2nd March, there will be a free family art workshop at The Other place, High Road, Chilwell, from 10am to 3pm. There will also be numerous other events and stalls throughout the fortnight.

5. DH Lawrence Blue Line Trail
The blue line trail in Eastwood linking important locations connected with DH Lawrence is wearing out in a number of places, and the cabinet agreed this week to renew it. We will liaise with the County Council’s highways department first to ensure that they don’t come along and dig up the roads as soon as this has been done, but subject to that the work should be carried out in the next few months.

6. Broxtowe Liberal Democrats
I was at the East Midlands regional conference of the Liberal Democrats yesterday where I was delighted to learn that our membership in the region has grown quite considerably over the past twelve months. Here in Broxtowe we have recently increased the number of areas receiving our Focus leaflets, and these receive a really good reception from most people. We could do more if we could get more deliverers. If you can help deliver leaflets or if you would like to join the party please let me know. (NB You don’t have to be a member to help deliver leaflets.)

7. Eastwood Male Voice Choir
A special concert by the renowned Eastwood Collieries’ Male Voice Choir will take place next month in aid of the Mayor's chosen charities, the Ryan Lee Trust and the Royal British Legion, Nottinghamshire. The choir will perform a host of music ranging from old favourites to music from the shows and more well-known popular pieces on Saturday 9th March at St Mary's Church, Eastwood, starting at 7.30pm.
The Eastwood Collieries' Male Voice Choir was formed in 1920 and is one of only a handful of original colliery male voice choirs surviving in the country. The choir performs numerous concerts throughout the year for many groups, charities, as well as performing regularly at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. Tickets are £5.00 and are available on the door. Please visit for more information. Alternatively, visit the Eastwood Collieries' Male Voice Choir website at or call 01773 780 724 to pre-book tickets.

8. Chilwell Arts Theatre Events
On Thursday 7th March at 7.30pm Village Ventures presents “Oh La La!”, Classic jazz, Parisian folk, “Chansons Realistics” (eg Edith Piaf), French favourites and pop tunes, which the promise will be an evening of superb entertainment! It takes place at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, NG9 5AL, Tickets £8 (£6 conc) from 0115 9252698/ 0777205 3412 or on the door.
On Friday 8th March at 7.30pm  Paradiso Cinema presents “Anna Karenina,” starring Keira Knightley At Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, NG9 5AL, Tickets on the door, £5 (£4 conc ). Come at 7pm for refreshments.

9. Out of the Woods
A dualogue-ish performance to mark the launch of the new audio CD of poems by Dave Wood. The performers will be Dave Wood and Gill Bates. Experience them at Beeston’s new, fresh and vibrant community art area, The Other Place, 6 – 8 High Road, on 20th March 2013 at 7.15pm.  Keeping in tune with The Other Place’s open accessibility to the arts, admission is only £1.  Children are welcome. There will be an opportunity to buy Dave’s new CD for £3 and to chat with both performers. For details, phone O77O9977684

10. Free Wi-Fi at Rumbletums
The Rumbletums Café in Kimberley, which offers learning and training opportunities for young people with learning disabilities, has now added free wi-fi to the range of facilities that it offers to customers.

11. University Wind Turbines
As regular readers may recall the borough council last year rejected an application to construct a wind turbine in Beeston Rylands by Nottingham University. At the same time the University also applied to build two further turbines close to it, but on land within the city council area. The city council have now also rejected the application.

12. Potholes
Notts County Council announced this week that they expect to have to deal with more than 32,400 potholes this year, up from 28,921 last year. Local authorities are facing significant squeezes on their budgets at the moment and so meeting this increased demand will be a real challenge for them.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Broxtowe Enews 17th February 2013

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. Stapleford Library
May I start by correcting an error in last week’s newsletter. I wrote that Stapleford Library would be shut for six weeks. This is an error and I meant to write that it would be shut for six months. Many apologies for this – it was one of those occasions where what was in my head and what my fingers wrote at my keyboard were completely different.

2. Toton
The Borough Council will launch a new consultation tomorrow about whether we need to make any alterations to our proposed Core Strategy (the plan for what development we will permit over the next 20 or so years) in the light of the announcement that the HS2 station is to be built in Derby. I’m pleased to say that, whilst the whole process for where future development will be permitted has been a political hot potato until now, this time we all agreed on the new consultation. As HS2 represents a significant new development it is essential that the council considers whether we need to amend our proposals at all, although this does not for one moment mean that we are intending to go back on decisions that we have previously made. If we didn’t review the position we would be open to challenge in the future by developers arguing that our plan was flawed as a result.
Also on the theme of HS2 I’m delighted to announce that the council will be holding an open meeting for local residents in Toton shortly to give people the opportunity to raise any queries or find out more information. Again I hope that this will have all party support and that many people will attend.

3. Eastwood Comprehensive School
I had a letter from Eastwood Comprehensive School this week informing me that they have decided to seek to become an Academy. In simple terms this means that they opt out of local authority control and are free to control their budgets as they wish.

4. Housing plans
I reported just before Christmas that Rushcliffe Borough Council’s housing plans, which our MP had been telling us locally to follow, were in serious trouble after their planning inspector (who examines the plans on behalf of the Government) described them as being heavily flawed. Rushcliffe have now announced that they are suspending work on the plan and have asked for a meeting with other local authorities, including Broxtowe. I imagine that they will ask if Broxtowe is willing to take any more house building over and above that we have already made plans for, and they will be told a resounding no.

5. School Improvements
Notts County Council have announced this week that they are setting aside £44million to expand and improve school buildings in the County. This would be excellent news apart from the fact that not a single school in Broxtowe appears to be on the list of recipients.

6. Solar panels
A less controversial decision by the County Council is that they are going to invest about £250,000 per year until 2017 fitting solar panels on it’s buildings. This will help to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the council and also cut energy costs, and was unanimously supported by councillors.

7. Holiday Children’s Club
As it is half term this week the Pearson centre in Beeston is putting on a range of activities for children aged from 6-11. A days session runs from 9am to 4.30pm and costs £15. They are available on a first come first served basis, and the range of activities available includes fitness classes, sports, arts and crafts, and cookery.

8. Oxylane Sports Village
I reported a week or so back that the owners of Decathlon have applied for planning permission to build a sports village in the green belt directly to the East of Junction 26 of the M1. I understand that the County Council will formally object to this as being an inappropriate development in the green belt. This is something that the borough council will take into account when we consider the application. If the borough council wants to grant planning permission we will need to notify the Secretary of State who will have the final say on this.

9. Five a side Football
Bramcote Leisure Centre is launching five a side football sessions for people who work nights. These will start on 6th March and will take place between 1pm and 2pm. Sessions cost £2 each. Details are available from the leisure centre.

10. Wood Recycling
An application has been made to Notts County Council to convert a disused skip hire site in Cossall into a wood recycling centre. The site in Shilo Way closed down two years ago and the new plans would involve three new buildings being erected on the site. As this is a recycling centre the application is dealt with by the County Council rather than the borough council and details are available on their website at The planning application reference is F/2740.

11. Blue Plaque
A new blue plaque has been unveiled in Station Road in Beeston to commemorate the home of William Wallett, a comedian from Victorian times who performed for the Queen at Windsor Castle and who became known as “the court jester.”

12. Bus Route Diversion
The Yourbus Y36 route between Beeston and Chilwell undergoes a significant diversion from today. When travelling from Beeston to Chilwell the route will now be along Station Road, Wollaton Road, Broughton Street, Park Street and Bramcote Avenue, before returning to its existing route. This will be reversed for journeys from Chilwell to Beeston. This means that it will no longer stop on Middle Street, Chilwell Road or Cator Lane.

13. Crushing Works
I’ve had a letter this week from the Environment Agency saying that they have received an application to set up a waste steel crushing facility at the Old Stanton Site, Lows Lane, Ilkeston. This will involve crushing waste metal by dropping a 4 tonne weight on them from a height of 25 feet. They have launched a public consultation on this which runs until 21st March 2013. If you wish to comment you can write to the EA at Permit Support Centre, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Sheffield, S9 4WF quoting reference EA/EPR/LB3833RX/A001. You can also comment by email to The plans don’t seem to be available online but can be seen at the EA offices in Ilkeston or West Bridgford.

14. Emails and Web Site
Many apologies that my web site at,uk has not been updated since Christmas. There is a problem with it and the hosting organisation haven’t yet got to the bottom of it. Apologies also if you have emailed me this week and not had a reply. I’m afraid that I have been totally stretched with work and there is a significant backlog of people I need to reply to. I will get round to these as quickly as possible. (I was tempted to celebrate on Thursday when I managed to get to bed shortly before midnight for the first time in days.)

15. National news
I normally resist the urge to comment on national news in this newsletter but I hope you will permit me four short mentions. First I’m delighted that the Government are ending the scandal of old people having to see their homes to pay for care. I would like them to have gone further but I realise the books have to balance and what is being introduced is far, far better than we have at the moment. Second I hear from colleagues in Eastleigh that a story being put about their by Tory campaigners is that the Lib-Dems are proposing to send inspectors to peoples homes to value their jewellery for tax purposes. May I assure everyone that this is wholly untrue. Third, of all the things that struck me about the horse meat scandal the one that has left the deepest impression is probably the sheer distances that meat has travelled. Shopping locally has never seemed so attractive. Finally I saw an email from a Union leader this week urging support for Labour and blaming the coalition for the scandal at West Staffordshire Hospital Trust.  I think that there are a number of valid criticisms that could be targeted at the coalition but blaming us for something that happened two years before the coalition started, when Labour were in Government, seems to be taking the biscuit somewhat.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
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Sunday, 10 February 2013

Broxtowe Enews 10th February 2013

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. By election result
May I start by congratulating the Lib-Dem team in Eastwood on a fantastic by election victory for the Town Council, winning a seat from Labour.  The result was Lib Dem David Hallam 831, Lab 227, Ind 221. The turnout was 18.4% (dreadful but better than for the police commissioner) and Labour held onto 2nd by 6! The majority was 604 and David Hallam polled 65% of the vote.

2. Employment News
Also very encouraging this week were the latest employment figures for Broxtowe. Employment is up and unemployment and benefit claimants down. 2,162 people claimed Job seekers Allowance in December 2012, down from 2,443 a year previously. At the same time 532 people signed off benefits compared to 389 in December 2011. It is far too early to claim that the economy is functioning properly yet but employment nationally is at record high and things are certainly going the right way.

3. Rough Sleepers in Broxtowe
A survey was carried out by the council and the housing charity Framework at the start of this month about the number of people in Broxtowe sleeping rough. I’m delighted to say that this fairly extensive survey found no-one sleeping rough anywhere in the borough. The survey  will be repeated late this month and I’ll publish the results as soon as I have them.

4. Oxylane Application
Oxylane, the company who own the Decathlon Sports Chain, have now submitted an application to build a new store and sports village just to the west of junction 26. This is a green belt location which is a big  argument against it, but it will bring new jobs and new facilities, and the applicants are offering to do significant work on the Nuthall Island to improve traffic flows, which are three reasons that the applicants say make it a special circumstance. In due course this application will be considered by the Development Control Committee, but in the meantime you can see the plans and make any comments at:
At the moment this is an outline application, meaning that a lot of the detail is not yet included. The applicants at this point are trying to establish the principle of use of the land and will then need to submit a further application with the details later.

5. Temple Park
 I had a meeting this week with the developers who want to build a housing estate directly to the East of the M1 at junction 26, directly opposite the development referred to above. It’s fair to say that they were a little put out with the proposals for HS2 as these go straight through the middle o their site. Nevertheless they still intend to put in a planning application which they  expect will be submitted next month.

6. Stanton Ironworrks
The third big planning application affecting the borough this week was for 2,000 houses to be built at Stanton Ironworks. Although this is in Erewash much of the traffic would be bound to come though Broxtowe. I’ve not had chance to look at the plans yet but they have now come online and are available at

7. Phone mast Upgrades
I’ve been notified this week that O2 and Vodaphone are proposing to upgrade a number of phone masts that they jointly operate in the borough. These are at Shortwood Farm in Trowell. The electricity substation on Toton Lane in Toton, Hilltop Farm in Stapleford, Derby Street in Beeston, the electricity substation on Queens Road in Attenborough and on Woodhouse Way in Nuthall. A plan showing these can be seen at

8. Bramcote Hills Tree Planting
The latest addition to the growing arboretum, a European Nettle Tree, will be planted at Bramcote Hill Park Arboretum on Tuesday at 10am. The tree is a very large specimen and will be lowered into the planting pit using a mechanical digger. The Mayor of Broxtowe, Councillor Margaret Handley  will be there to help backfill the hole and all attendees will be most welcome to join in.
The planting will be witnessed by children from several local schools who are taking part in a bigger project to restock the woodland with native trees and wildflowers. The children will also be planting flower bulbs around the trunk of a very large Beech tree which collapsed last year and helping to think of ideas for a chainsaw sculptor to interpret and carve into the trunk.  The sculptor will then be coming to the park in a few weeks to begin carving and the children will visit again to see their ideas brought to life and listen to a storyteller who will have conjured up tales about the tree, park and woodlands to entertain them.
The project is a joint venture between Broxtowe Borough Council and Greenwood, with help from The Trust for Conservation Volunteers and financial assistance from local Lib-Dem County Councillor Stan Heptinstall.

9. John Bell
I heard this week that former Labour councillor John Bell, the man I defeated when I first won my seat on the borough council, has passed away. John represented Stapleford for many years.

10. Stapleford Library
Stapleford Library is due to close for refurbishment at the end of March for about six weeks. Arrangements have now been made that during the renovations the library will be housed in the Carnegie Centre of Warren Avenue.

11. Severn Trent Water
Figures from the Government released this week suggest that average water bills in the Severn Trent area will rise by £7 next year. However the good news is that they will still be the lowest in the country.

12. A52 Bus Lane
Earlier this week the police carried out an enforcement exercise against carts driving on the bus lane on the A52. In just over 2 hours during the morning rush hour they stopped 15 motorists using the lane, each of whom received a £30 fine. I saw three cars being stopped as I queued to get onto the Priory Island. The police say that they will repeat the exercise later this month.

13. Cat
I put an appeal out last week for people who live near me to assist in the return of my cat. I don’t know if it was coincidence or not but she came back at 7.00am the next morning. Thank you if you encouraged her back.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Broxtowe Enews 3rd February 2013

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. HS2
The official announcement from the Government that Toton was to be the site of the East Midlands station on the HS2 rail line was made on Monday and generated a significant amount of media coverage. I’ve discussed this during the week on the radio and on the BBC news website and have had several discussions with the Transport Minister as well. I think that this is a very good news story but there are a huge number of issues that will need to be resolved. A key one is how vehicles are going to get onto the site. The plans show a new junction on the A52 which I think is needed, but it seems to me that building a new junction 25A with access to the site and also to Stanton Ironworks would be a big advantage as well. The city council is also talking about trams, trains and other ways of getting from the city centre to the station and we need to be fully involved in these discussions. The potential is huge but so are the challenges and the council needs to rise to these.

2. Beeston Town Centre
Henry Boot have now submitted their plans for redeveloping Beeson town centre. Thhese are available to see on the Broxtowe Council web site at This will be considered by the council’s development control committee in due course.

3. Bikes at Beeston Station
Continuing the travel theme for a moment the Government have provided more than £1 million to improve cycling provision in Nottingham, and as part of this a bike hub will be created at Beeston Station, where people can rent a bike for the day. The scheme already exists in Nottingham and this will be an extension of it.

4. Nursing homes
There has been quite a lot of media coverage this week about the decision of Broxtowe Borough Council to close two old people’s homes. These are Wyndham Court in Chilwell and Peatfield Court in Stapleford. Unfortunately both of these buildings are not up to modern standards and are virtually impossible to properly modernise. Therefore demolition is the only real option. I fully understand that residents will be upset by this but the council will do all they can to support them and their families. However waiting was really not an option as we were in a situation where the money is available this year to demolish and build new social housing but it may not be available in future years.

5. New Military Support Centre
 A new one stop shop for soldiers and their families has opened in Beeston. The Forces kin the Community centre in Cross Street will provide employment, health and training advice to members of the forces, and it is being run by the Support Our Forces charity.

6. Myfords
An application to develop new housing at the Myfords site on Wilmot Lane in Beeston has also been received by the council this week. This can be viewed at At the moment this is just an outline application and so does not have all the detail that will need to be supplied later. This is a huge sit but I can’t see from my quick scan of the information how many houses are proposed.

7. Bunk Beds needed
I have received an appeal from Stapleford’s resident poet dave Wood which I’m happy to pass on. Some close friends of his (in Stapleford) urgently need cabin/bunk beds for children. If you can help, please phone 07784779038 and speak to Sharon.

8. Paradiso Cinema
On Friday 8th February at 7.30pm Paradiso Cinema presents "Some Like it Hot" starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, at Chilwell Arts Centre, Chilwell School. Tickets on the door cost £5 (£4 conc). Come at 7pm for refreshments. Also on Friday 15th February at 7.30pm Chilwell Arts Theatre presents Shirebrook Miners Welfare Unison Band. Tickets cost £8 (£6 conc) either on the door or ring 0115 9252698 or 0777205 3412.

9. Stapleford Community Website
Stapleford resident Richard Macrae has set up a community website for the town. This can be viewed and accessed at

10. Manor Farm Recreation Ground

Young people are being encouraged to have their say on how £104,500 funding should be spent to refurbish the children's play area at a Manor Farm Recreation Ground, as part of an online consultation launched this week by Broxtowe Borough Council. Youngsters are being asked to let them know what kind of equipment they'd like to see introduced as part of a major refurbishment of the children's play area. The consultation will ask young people to choose their favourite from 16 different types of equipment, which include a range of equipment for toddlers, younger children and more adventurous items for teenagers. This process is being supervised by my colleague tan Heptinstall, who said "Broxtowe Borough Council is rightly proud of its local parks and open spaces and this funding creates a fantastic opportunity to make further improvements which will benefit local families for years to come.  The Council has been working alongside the Armed Forces community at the nearby Chetwynd Barracks and this online consultation will look to build on that to create a children's play area that the entire local community can enjoy."

11. Basil Russell Park
Following on from the above new fitness equipment for adults and older children has been installed at the Basil Russell Playing field in Nuthall. Locals can get fit for free with six pieces of equipment including a cross trainer and mini treadmill. The £19,500 equipment was funded by Nottinghamshire County Council.

12. Rumbletums Fundraising
Rumbletums Cafe in Kimberley is holding two fundraising events over the next couple of weeks. On Saturday February 9 staff will be packing customers’ bags at Sainsburys, and on Thursday February 14 they will be gift wrapping Valentines flowers. Staff at the cafe will be doing a second bag pack at Sainsburys in March, and mid-month they will be doing something for Comic Relief, although staff are not sure what at this stage. Rumbletums Cafe in Newdigate Street offers training and employment opportunities to people with learning disabilities. Sainsburys in Kimberley chose the cafe as its charity of the year. Visit  for more information.

13. Community Centres
News has reached me this week of the opening of two new community centres, both run by volunteers. The Meeting Place in Stapleford opened last Friday on Nottingham Road includes a café and a space for education groups and children’s groups. The Other Space on Chilwell High Road will be running courses on arts and crafts and also provide support for jobseekers.

14. Council Tax Increase
Nottinghamshire’s Labour Police and Crime Commissioner has announced that he plans to increase council tax by 1.95% this year. This is despite the fact that the Government is offering grants to fund increases in expenditure. At the borough council the Lib-Dems have been insisting that we maintain council tax at current levels with no increase, and I believe that the same is happening at the county council. It is highly disappointing that the first significant act of the new commissioner will be to impose a wholly unnecessary council tax rise. Significantly it is just below the level at which he would need to hold a referendum to gain support for his plans.

15. Cat
This final item is for residents on the Oaklands estate where I live. I know that our cat, Lilly, is around as we’ve seen her but she hasn’t been home for three days so I suspect she is seeking food elsewhere. If she’s currently  bunking up with anyone would these please send her home.

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