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.
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 www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk. 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 email@example.com. 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 www.davidwatts.org,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.
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