Sunday, 24 March 2013

Broxtowe Enews 24th March 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. This week we’ve hit a new record for the number of readers that we have so thank you all for that.

1. Broxtowe Spring Clean
The borough council’s Technical and Works department, under the political leadership of my colleague Stan Heptinstall, had arranged to begin a massive litter pick and tidy up of the borough on Saturday. Unfortunately it was snowing so hard that it was impossible to see the litter but hopefully things can get underway during the week. We want the borough to be as spotless as possible. If there are particular problem areas please let me know and we’ll try and target them.

2. HS2 Meeting
Thank you to everyone who attended the HS2 meeting in Beeston last Tuesday. We had just under 100 people there and it was great to see so many people taking an interest. There were a number of very interesting and valid points raised by people and we will raise these with HS2 when councillors meet them (hopefully next month). I have set up a separate email list for people who are interested in HS2 so if you want to be added to that please let me know.
Also on the subject of HS2 Strelley residents have formed an action group to campaign against the proposed route. They did invite me to attend their meeting last Thursday but I was already committed to another meeting that night. The concern in Strelley is primarily that the route goes under the village in a very shallow tunnel before re-emerging and going through some of the outbuildings in Strelley Hall.

3. County Council manifesto
The Liberal Democrats have now published our manifesto for the County Council elections this year. This is available on the Broxtowe web site at Here in Broxtowe the Lib-Dems hold exactly half the county council seats, with the Conservative Party holding the other half. Labour don’t currently hold any seats.

4. Chilwell Road
Just a quick reminder to residents that Chilwell Road in Beeston will be closed to through traffic from tomorrow for the next year. However all the shops will remain open and during this time especially they need your patronage as much as possible. Bus routes have been changed as well and, as I mentioned last week, details of the revised routes are on the Broxtowe Lib-Dem web site. Also on there are details of the NET plans for the next six weeks, which I try and update each week.

5. Eastwood Skate Park
When I was the leader of the council back in 2010 two teenagers from Eastwood came to see me along with their County Councillor Keith Longdon. They were appealing on behalf of teenagers in Eastwood for improvements to their skate park, and were supported by Keith and also by their headmaster at Eastwood Comprehensive. I was happy to pledge the support of the borough council as well. The two young ladies who came to see me, Beth Lee and Rhianne Lounds, have now seen that dream become a reality after they raised £165,000 to pay for a new skate park. This is a fantastic achievement and as a result work will commence next month on installing new skateboarding facilities for them. They are a real credit to their town and their school.

6. Middle Street Resource Centre, Beeston
A couple of years ago the County Council was looking at ways to cut costs and one project they considered scrapping was the Middle Street Resource Centre in Beeston. This particularly helps adults who have had mental health problems and I’m pleased to say that, after a campaign by service users, the decision was taken not to close the centre. Instead they have refurbished the building, at a cost of £500,000, and this refurbishment is now complete. The new centre was opened this week by the Chair of the County Council, Cllr Carol Pepper.

7. Mansfield Road Park, Eastwood
A refurbishment of Mansfield Road Park in Eastwood, costing £30,000, has now been completed and the new look park was opened on Wednesday of last week by the mayor of Broxtowe. Although the media sometimes suggest that there is no money available for local councils here in Broxtowe we have managed to invest heavily in our parks and open spaces this year and many of them across the borough are looking much better as a result.

8. Fairfield Primary School
Fairfield Primary School in Stapleford has applied to become an Academy. This means that they will no longer be subject to local authority control and will be funded directly from central government, with all key decisions being taken by the governors and head master.

9. George Spencer School
Congratulations to George Spencer School in Stapleford whose students have won a national advertising competition organised by Eon. The competition was for students to design a competition encouraging people to save energy, and the students “Spin ‘till it hertz” campaign won for its originality and creativity.

10. Sandringham Drive Nursing Home
The owners of Sandringham Drive Nursing home in Bramcote have applied to extend the facility by concerting two neighbouring properties. This is something that is causing some concern and I will be reporting more fully on it in due course.

11. The Budget
Just a quick comment if I may on Wednesday’s budget. As a Liberal Democrat I was delighted with several aspects of the budget, both regarding what was in it and also what was not. The increase in tax free allowance to £10,000 was a key Lib-Dem commitment prior to the last general election and was on the front page of our manifesto. Equally the increase in child care support and the cut in beer duty were both Lib-Dem campaigns, and the lack of any further cuts in welfare provision were very much as a result of us being in the Government.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
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Monday, 18 March 2013

Broxtowe Enews 17th March 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. Broxtowe Budget
Broxtowe Borough Council met last week to agree a budget for next year, and again it was a near unanimous vote. The headline figures are that Broxtowe council tax will not go up, council house rents are kept down, and there are no cuts to front line services. All the savings are being made by operating more efficiently. This is the third year in a row that there has been no increase in our council tax. There will unfortunately be a slight increase in council tax overall because the police commissioner has put up the police element of the council tax. I read also that Nottingham City (Labour) have put up their council tax by 1.9% and Rushcliffe (Tory) have put theirs up by over 4%, so I hope people will agree that they have got a good deal from Broxtowe. The only person not to support it on the council was one Labour member.

2. HS2 meeting
There will be a meeting at Beeston Town Hall on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm for local residents to raise any concerns, ask questions about or express views on HS2. Everyone is welcome to attend. I will be chairing the meeting and I hope that we get a good turn out. The town hall is on Foster Avenue and car parking is available free at that time of day.

3. Chilwell Road Street Party
As regular readers may recall Chilwell Road in Beeston will be closing on 25th March for 12 months. Traders there have organised a street party to promote the businesses there, which will remain open throughout. This will take place on Saturday March 30th from 11am to 4pm, and will include street entertainers, face painting and live music. Congratulations to Matt Goold, editor of the Beestonian, for organising this.

4. Chilwell Road Waste Collection
Sticking to the theme of the tram works disruption changes have to be made to refuse collections to cope with the work as well. All residential properties in the affected area will now be collected on Wednesday’s, which is a change or some properties. Glass collection  will remain as it is now and for garden waste contractors will collect bins and move them to and from the edge of the works.

5. Beeston Bus Services
 A range of new routes for buses come into effect around Beeston next week as wel to cope with th closure of Chilwell Road.  New leaflet is available with detail of these and I’ve put a copy on the Broxtowe Lib-Dem web site at The link to it is on the front page of the web site. Amongst the changes is a new free shuttle bus for the duration of the roadworks.

6. NET Schedule
Finishing off the NET items for this week, they have released their latest timetable of works for the next six weeks and again this can be found via the front page of the Broxtowe Lib-Dem web site.

7. A610 Lane Closures
Over the next six weeks barrier repair work is being undertaken along the A610. This will necessitate some lane closures but to minimise inconvenience to road users the council will be carrying out a litter pick at the same time, which avoids having to have lane restrictions in place on another day for this to be done. (It also saves the council something like £12,000 in admin fees to the Highways Agency.)

8. Apprenticeships
One of the Lib-Dem commitments when we came into Government was to increase the number of apprenticeships available for young people. This has been an unqualified success and results last week showed that in the East Midlands the number of apprenticeships available has increased by 174% over the past year.

9. Adoption and Fostering
Notts County Council are looking for 40 additional foster carers and an extra 60 adoptive families. They have had a 22 per cent increase in the number of children in care over the past two years and desperately need more help. If this is something you might be interested in please ring 0845 301 8899 for fostering or 0845 301 2288 for adoption to get more information.

10. Victorian Themes Tours
The DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum and Heritage Centre will be running Victorian themes tours next weekend in Mansfield Road and Victoria Street in Eastwood. The tours will be on 23rd and 24th March starting at 1.30pm. For more information please ring 01773 717353.

11. Kimberley Cemetery Chapel
Kimberley Town Council are seeking the views of local residents about the future of the chapel at the cemetery.  They have an online consultation running this week at

12. Money for School Sport
The Government has announced that Broxtowe’s primary schools will receive an average of £9,000 extra each to spend on improving their sport provision. This is part of the legacy from the Olympics and is very good news indeed. It will be up to each school to decide how best to use the money, provided that it is spent on improving sports.

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

Broxtowe Enews 3rd March 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. 

Just before I start with the local news I just need to mention the Eastleigh by election. I was there during the week and accurately predicted the result that eventually happened. The message that the Lib-Dems put forward was of how we are delivering in Government on many of our key beliefs. We have improved the situation for pensioners by restoring the link between pensions and earnings, we’ve invested in schools with the pupil premium and we’ve created thousands of new apprenticeships, the highest level ever. We’ve taken hundreds of thousands of the lowest paid out of paying tax and given most working people a £600 tax cut. All this and more really resonated with voters and the fact that we are getting better at getting our message out really helped as well.

Let’s now turn to the local news.

1. Budgets
Last week the County Council agreed its budget for next year. This means that there will be no increase in council tax for their share of the tax. The Lib-Dems supported the Conservatives over this. However I did receive a tweet from a Labour councillor complaining about it and so presumably he wanted an increase. I did read this week that 40% of councils are increasing council tax this year despite the Government making money available to keep levels as they were.

On Wednesday of this week the borough council will set its budget for the year. The Lib-Dem/Labour administration here are proposing that we keep council tax the same for the coming year. We benefit from the financial controls that Michael Rich and I introduced when we were the leaders of the council, making sure that the council have only spent what we can afford.  This put us in a better position to face the current financial climate than we would otherwise have been.

2. Fire Authority
Last week the Fire Authority also met to consider it’s budget. The Labour group was proposing an increase but my colleagues from the Lib-Dems managed to defeat that. However we weren’t able to stop the Labour group then awarding their members a pay rise, so that more of the money from the authority will go on councillors and less on front line services. I’m very disappointed by this and by contrast councillors on Broxtowe Borough Council have not had an increase in allowances for the past four years.

3. Recycling Centres
As of  tomorrow all the recycling centres in Nottinghamshire, including the one in Beeston, are adopting new, longer, opening hours. They will now be open from 8am to 6pm.

4. Obesity
There were some interesting figures revealed this week about the levels of obesity in Nottinghamshire. Apparently the NHS spends £2.5 million on weight loss operations each year in the county, more than any other county in the country. Why this is isn’t clear, but I do also wonder how much money these operations actually save in not having to treat more serious symptoms from weight related issues later on.

5. Notts Police Recruitment
Notts police have now begun the process of recruiting 150 new officers for the coming year. Full details for anyone interested in applying are on their website.

6. HS2
The Government have this week announced that £150 million will be spent on planning and preparation work on HS2 in the immediate future to ensure that the best possible information will be available as the scheme is taken forward.

7. New Girl Guides
A new Girl Guide troop has been set up in Nuthall, partly funded by a donation from my colleague Cllr Ken Rigby. The group meet in Kettlebrook Lodge in Kimberley and St Patrick’s Church in Nuthall, and further details are available by phoning 0800 16905901.

8. First Time Buyers
Notts County Council has now confirmed the details of its “Lend a Hand” scheme to help first time buyers get on the property ladder. £15 million is being made available and if buyers  can fund a 5% deposit the council will lend them the rest of the money for the deposit that the bank require. The scheme is being operated through Lloyds TSB and applies to properties worth £150,000 or less.

9. Charity Fundraising
Congratulations to the staff of Giltbrook company Payne who raised over £6,000 in a charity cycle ride. The money has been donated to the Notts Hospital Charity and to Treetops Hospice.

10. Colourful Words
Colourful Words is an off-beat workshop combining creative writing, poetry and mandala-making.  It is being run by local writer and artist Dave Wood and takes place at The Other Space, 6 – 8 High Road, Beeston, on Thursday 28th March,  10am – 4pm. The cost is only £10 per person.  Wear messy clothes. This day course needs 6 participants for it to go ahead. For details/booking, phone O77O9 977684. 

11. Enterprise Zone
The Enterprise Zone at the South of the borough, based on the Boots site, looks like it may receive a share of a new £59 million fund announced by the Government to kick start development. Some £25 million has already been earmarked for the site, made up of a combination of public and private money.

12. A52 Bus Lane
The police have now carried out a second enforcement exercise to catch drivers using the bus lane on the A52. This is the second time this month that such an exercise has been carried out and this time 11 drivers were caught. (Earlier this month they caught 15 people.)

13. Bramcote Buses
Congratulations to my colleague Stan Heptinstall who has persuaded Yourbus to introduce new stops on their Citylink Service. The bus will now stop at the Nurseryman and at Bramcote Leisure Centre.

14. Public Service Display 
This Wednesday, 6th March, between 2pm – 3pm, there will be an exhibition at Kimberley Parish Hall in Newdigate Street for people to find out more about public services. There will be displays by the borough council, Notts Fire  and Rescue, The Police, the NHS and other agencies.

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