Sunday, 17 November 2013

Broxtowe Enews 17th November 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.       Coventry Lane
In the early hours of Wednesday morning a large water main burst under Coventry Lane in Bramcote. This is the A6002, which goes past the crematorium and is the main route heading towards junction 26 of the M1. The road is still closed as we speak but Severn Trent hope to have the road reopened at some point tomorrow.

2.       Flooding
The big problem when a water main burst is that the water has to go somewhere. Unfortunately for my immediate neighbours and I on this occasion the water came straight through our houses. When I woke up at about 2.30am there was a foot of water in my house. The damage is extensive and we will have to move out for the foreseeable future whilst repairs are carried out. The insurance company have informed us that part of the house may have to be demolished, which shows the extent of the damage.
Of course at the other side of the world at the moment thousands are struggling with the effects of the typhoon in the Philippines. Their flooding is vastly more severe than ours, and if anyone would like to support the relief efforts you can donate to the Disasters Emergency Commission appeal at

3.       Broxtowe Core Strategy
The enquiry onto the core strategy has now finished. The inspectors full report will be received some time around Christmas but two key items have already emerged, one of which is very good and one s very bad. First the good news. The inspector has indicated that she agrees with the councils calculations for the demand for housing over the next 15 years. All of the developers argued that across Greater Nottingham we should allow a further 20,000 homes to be built. If we had lost this then we would probably have found that about 5,000 of those would have had to come to Broxtowe, which would have been a complete disaster for the borough. This absolutely vindicates the approach that the council took of basing our decisions on numbers on the evidence that we had collected about demand in the future.
The bad news unfortunately relates to Toton. The council had not included this as a strategic site for housing and we faced objections from the developers about this. Unfortunately they were aided in this by objectors from other areas, particularly those who didn’t want us to allocate the land at Field Farm in Stapleford. Their representative at the enquiry argued strongly that Toton should be included in preference to Stapleford. I know that this will disappoint a lot of STRAG members (the campaign group for Stapleford) who expected that they would be arguing that there was no need to allocate any green belt land for building. The upshot of all this was that the inspector indicated that the council should not only include Field Farm but should also include Toton as a strategic site for development. This will come as a real disappointment for Toton residents, and I’m absolutely gutted about it. I had argued that we should not develop at Toton and it was my privilege to bring a motion to that effect to the council which was unanimously supported.
In summary therefore we’ve been able to protect the vast majority of the green belt land in Broxtowe but sadly we lost the battle over Toton.

4.       Chilwell Arts Theatre Events
Paradiso Cinema presents: Winter Kills at 7.30pm on Friday 22nd November at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, NG9 5AL. Tickets £5 (conc £4) on the door. Come at 7pm for refreshments.  19 years after President Timothy Keegan was assassinated, his brother Nick discovers a dying man claiming to have been the gunman. While trying to avoid his wealthy and domineering father's attempts to control his actions, Nick follows the clues that have been handed to him. As he progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern the real trails from the dead ends, and increasing dangerous as unknown parties try to stop Nick from uncovering the truth.  The film was released in 1979 and stars Jeff Bridges, John Huston and Anthony Perkins.
 Beeston Probus Club and Chilwell Arts Theatre present: Festive Friday, a programme of entertainment for all the family, with Aaron Calvert (mentalist & hypnotist), Adam Guest (local singer & actor) and Beth Frisby (singer/songwriter). On Friday 6th December at 7.30pm at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, NG9 5AL. Tickets £10, senior citizens £8 from 0115 9252698 or 0777 205 3412. Light refreshments will be available. All profits to Victim Support.

5.       Season of Lights Festival
Season of Lights festival on Sat 30 Nov 2.30-5pm at Chilwell Road Methodist Church Hall (next to the old Beeston Police Station). A free community event for all ages, celebrating seasonal festivals from around the world through music, crafts, information and food. Organised by the Broxtowe Community Celebration Group.

6.       Stapelford Library Reopening – Correction
I reported last week that Stapleford Library was reopening but I got the date wrong. The 30th November, which I mentioned, is the celebration day but the library will actually reopen on 25th November. Many apologies for the error.

7.       Survey about moving to the city
May I thank everyone who has completed our survey about whether the city council should be allowed to absorb the southern half of Broxtowe into an enlarged city council area. The survey is still open and we have received more responses to this than any other survey that we have ever run. So far respondents are 96% against the idea. If you haven’t completed the survey yet you can still do so on our website at

8.        Parking restrictions at Kimberley School
Proposals have been unveiled for parking restrictions, including double-yellow lines, to be brought in outside Kimberley School. The proposal is for parking and waiting to be banned outside the school in Newdigate Street to stop people double parking on the bend opposite the school. No waiting restrictions will also be placed on a short section of nearby Victoria Street. The news comes following several years of complaints by local residents. My colleague Ken Rigby is the County Councillor for the area and I would like to congratulate him for his success in getting these plans brought forward. The plans are now out for consultation and comments can be submitted to

9.       Stapleford Lifestyle Outreach Programme
Residents in Stapleford are being offered a chance to access healthy lifestyles as part of a new health outreach initiatives. The project, funded by the West Nottingham CCG /NHS Lifestyle Initiative and run by volunteers headed up by local Jan Goold will have it’s inaugural outreach event on November 21st 2013. The first drop in event is at Hickings Lane health Thursday centre 21st November between 2.30pm -4.30pm. Participants can join the scheme at any of the four drop in sessions, and will be open to anybody within Nottingham West Consortium catchment.

10.   Beeston Wildlife Group
On Monday 18th November Beeston Wildlife Group will be holding a talk about British Butterflies by Dr Tim Melling. This will take place at Trent Vale Infants School, Trent Road, Beeston Rylands, between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. Entrance costs £2.

11.   Traffic Restrictions – Bembridge Court Bramcote
The County Council is proposing to install yellow lines in Bembridge Court to prevent vehicles parking there between 9am and 5pm Monday to Saturday. If you have any comments on this scheme please let me know before 28th November and I’ll pass them on to the County Council.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received. I will try and keep this service running during the disruption that we’re currently undergoing.

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Broxtowe Enews 10th November 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. Today is Remembrance Sunday and tomorrow is Remembrance Day. I would encourage everyone to join me and the vast majority of the population in a two minute silence tomorrow to mark the exact time that the First World War finished. My Great Grandfather served in that war, surviving the Somme, and he lived to a grand old age. My Grandfather then served in the RAF for many years both before and during the second world war. He’s now 92 and still going strong. My family have been very fortunate that they both survived the conflicts they served in, but many thousands lost their lives and I believe that it is vitally important that their sacrifice (and that of those who died in all the conflicts since) is remembered.

1.       Broxtowe Core Strategy
The public enquiry into the Broxtowe Core Strategy continued this week. Thursday was the day set aside for issues concerning Broxtowe as opposed to any of the other authorities involved. In particular the enquiry focused on whether the 6,150 houses that the council is planning to allow to be built over the next 15 years is the appropriate figure and where the general areas for distributing them should be. Whether the council was right to allow building on part of Field Farm in Stapleford was also discussed.
The enquiry is extremely important and many local groups took part. Contributions ranged from the very good to the very bad, but the inspector heard them all. The enquiry is expected to finish on Wednesday and the report should be received early in the new year, if not before. It is possible that the inspector may give us her preliminary conclusions on Wednesday. If so I will report them in the next newsletter.
On Monday of this week the council published a consultation on which specific sites should be allowed to be developed. This is now available on the council website at or a CD containing the data can be sent to you. Ring the council on 0115 917 777 if you would like one. This consultation identifies every possible site and it does not for one moment mean that the council is proposing to allow building on all of them.

2.       County Council Budget
This week the new administration at the County Council unveiled their budget proposals. It has been well known for a number of years (certainly well before May’s elections) that the council was facing a budget crisis this year, and the Labour administration have decided to tackle it by combining big tax rises and massive cuts in the budgets. We will all feel the effects of this over the next year. One very disappointing aspect of the proposals is that the council have opted to turn down a grant from the Government which is offered to avoid the need for council tax rises. I’ll leave readers to draw their own conclusions about why Labour didn’t tell voters prior to the elections that this was their intention.

3.       New Affordable Housing
Providing more affordable housing for Broxtowe residents is one of the biggest challenges that the council faces. I’m therefore pleased to report that we have reached agreement with housing associations to build new affordable houses at Midland Avenue in Stapleford and Linwood Crescent in Eastwood. We are also looking at the possibility of adding new housing on the old disused car park on Hickings Lane in Stapleford (not on the park itself).

4.       Beeston Travel Centre
The borough and county councils have agreed to co-fund a travel information centre in Beeston close to the proposed bus/tram interchange. The running costs will be met from the county council but the set up costs will be shared between the two authorities. Hopefully this will help travellers complete their journeys with ease.

5.       Chinese New Year Celebrations
The Borough Council have agreed to donate £3,000 towards the costs of the Chinese new year celebrations in February next year. Over the last few years this has become a major event in Beeston and the councils continued financial support will help it to go forward.

6.       Stapleford Takeaway
A planning application has been submitted to the borough council to convert an empty shop on Nottingham Road in Stapleford to a takeaway. This application will be considered by the borough council in due course. The major concern is likely to be the number of takeaways already present and the question that the council will have to determine is whether it is better to have yet another one or to allow the shop to potentially remain empty.

7.       Missing Woman
Elizabeth Kinston, aged 37, has been missing from home for just over a week and the police are appealing for any information that people have about where she may be.  If anyone has any information on her whereabouts they are asked to contact Notts Police by ringing 101.

8.       Kimberley Brewery
A new set of proposals have now been submitted for development at Kimberley Brewery. These include 91 houses and 31 apartments. A decision on these will be made in the new year.

9.       Grove Farm Wind Turbine
As regular readers may recall an application by Nottingham University to install a wind turbine in Beeston Rylands next to the Trent. This was rejected by the council because of the impact on local residents and the enterprise zone. The university appealed against this refusal but last week that appeal was dismissed.

10.   Stapleford Library
Stapleford Library, which has been closed for refurbishment, will reopen on 30th November. There will be a programme of special events that day including children’s craft activities from 10am and the official opening at 10.30. Everyone is welcome to attend.

11.   Broxtowe CAB
Broxtowe Citizens Advice Bureaux has received a Big Lottery Award of £350,000. This will mean that they can recruit more workers and put more resources into the Broxtowe Women's Project which supports victims of domestic violence, and the Hope charity.

12.   Budget Consultation
This is just a quick reminder to readers that the borough council’s consultation on residents priorities for the budget closes on Friday. If you haven’t yet had your say please do so at

13.   St James The Great Church, Brinsley
St James The Great Church in Brinsley has obtained a grant of £45,000 to enable it to be refurbished. The church wishes to make itself more user friendly for local residents. I wish them every success.

14.   County Council Adopters
Notts County Council has recruited 60 new adopters this year, double the number who came forward last year. This is excellent news but as ever demand exceeds supply. There are currently 100 children in the County with adoption plans. If you are interested in adopting the County Council website at has some useful information.

15.   Cancer Research Fashion Show
The Victory Club in Eastwood is holding a charity fashion show on 1st December in aid of Cancer Research UK. Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £5. Tickets can be purchased from 01773 715330.

16.   Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, was in Nottingham on Friday. I didn’t get the chance to see him when he was here but I have been invited to London on Wednesday to discuss planning reforms with him. I’ll report back on the meeting as far as I’m able next week.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received.

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Broxtowe Enews 3rd November 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 apologise for the problems with last weeks enews. I don’t know what the gremlin was (it wasn't that I'd fallen asleep on the job as one of my friends suggested) but about half of the readership didn’t receive the newsletter when it was sent on Sunday. Hopefully this one will get to everyone without a problem.

1.       Bramwell Nursing Home
Regular readers may recall that in 2011 and 2012 the Liberal Democrats strongly supported the campaign to prevent the County Council selling off the Bramwell Nursing Home in Bramcote. My colleague Stan Heptinstall in particular was heavily involved in this. Despite all the efforts of campaigners the County Council (at that point run by the Conservatives) sold Bramwell to a private company. We were told that those of us who opposed it were scaremongering.
It gives us no pleasure to see that we have been proved right after all. The Care Quality Commission have told the owners that they need to make significant improvements or face closure. The CQC report disclosed that a resident at the home told their inspector that the food was of "workhouse quality and sandwiches are all bread. If you closed your eyes, you wouldn't know what the filling was."  This is really disappointing and it seems that some of the most vulnerable people in society have been betrayed for a quick profit.

2.       Stapleford By Election
There will be a double by election in Stapleford, probably in mid-December. My colleague Christine Wombwell has now stood down as she has had to move to deal with family commitments. I’d like to thank Christine publicly for her efforts on behalf of the people of Stapleford for many years. So far it seems that the election will be contested by the Liberal Democrats and the Stapleford Community Group. Sadly the dirty tricks have already started. Posters were put around Hickings Lane today claiming that the Borough Council and the Liberal Democrats wanted to sell off three football pitches on the park for housing. May I assure everyone that this is completely untrue, and sadly may be setting the standard of behaviour for the next few weeks until the election. Residents in Stapleford may remember that during the 1990’s the Labour Party tried to sell off Hickings Lane and it was the Liberal Democrats, in particular Brian and Christine Wombwell, who successfully led the campaign to block this.

3.       House Building Issues and Options
The council will publish its next round of consultations on possible locations for new house building over the next 15 years. This will involve an analysis of every possible site, not just those favoured by the council. It is a genuine consultation which will run from now until next year to give people plenty of time to consider things and get a response in. The documents will be available on the website and in local libraries, and people who want them may request individual copies. They are split into different areas so you will be able to focus in on sites close to you should you wish.

4.       Bin Collection Calendars
It always gives me great pleasure to report on big Lib-Dem wins, and this is one that will benefit many people. Last month the Labour Portfolio holder for Technical Services on the council announced that waste collection calendars would no longer be distributed and everyone would, be able to download them from the website. This decision was taken without any reference to the Lib-Dems and we immediately pointed out the major problem that this excludes everyone who does not have access to the internet. On Wednesday at the full council meeting and on behalf of the Lib-Dems I called for this decision to be reversed. I was able to follow this up with some correspondence and I’m delighted to say that Labour have been forced into a U-Turn and bin collection calendars will be delivered to everyone during December.

5.       HS2 Exhibition
HS2 will be holding an exhibition on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 November, from 10 am - 5pm at the Westpark Leisure Centre, Long Eaton NG10 4AA and on Saturday November 30 from 10am - 5pm at Bilborough College. Everyone is welcome to attend and I hope that there will be an extremely good turnout from Broxtowe.  At the East Midlands Liberal Democrats Regional Conference yesterday I spoke in favour of HS2 and the party voted very strongly in favour of supporting it. I’ve put an edited version of my speech (to make it easier to read) on our website at

6.       Barton’s Secret Party
I have received a number of complaints today about the levels of noise coming from the event at Bartons on Chilwell High Road last night. Unfortunately the show seemed to go on very late and many residents were unable to sleep. I have emailed Simon Barton today and asked him to ensure that this is not repeated. It’s great to have venue’s like Barton’s but it is not fair on neighbours to go on too late or too loud.

7.       Lib-Dem AGM
The 2013 Annual General Meeting of the Broxtowe Liberal Democrats will take place on Friday 15th November 2013, starting at 7.30pm at Bramcote Memorial Hall. All members and supporters are welcome to attend. If you’re a Lib-Dem supporter but not yet a member why not come along and join us.  We can sign you up as a member there if you like. Being a member doesn’t involve any commitment to extra work, we welcome non-active members just as much. Over the whole of the East Midlands membership of the Liberal Democrats is growing (as it is nationally) so why not add yourself to that number?

8.       Chilwell Arts Theatre
On Friday 8th November at 7.30pm, Paradiso Cinema, Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School  NG9 5AL, presents Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.  Come at 7pm for refreshments. Tickets on the door £5 (£4 con). On Friday 15th November at 7.30pm, The Little Earthquake Theatre Company presents The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe  at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School  NG9 5AL. Tickets £8 (£6 conc) from 0115 9252698 or 07772053412.  This is supported by the Village Ventures Scheme. A wealthy recluse and his private nurse live behind a barricade of bolted doors and blacked-out windows. Suspicion and resentment grow until the nurse hatches a fool proof plan to dispose of his patient. When the deed is done, the silence of the empty house is shattered by a curious thumping from beneath the floorboards…

9.       New Youth Mayor
Harroun Kinoucha, 16, from Bramcote School, has been elected as the new Broxtowe Youth Mayor, taking over from Adam Stockwell. The Youth Council also elected 15 year old Jade Cox, also from Bramcote School as Deputy Youth Mayor. Broxtowe Youth Council was set up in 1999 to allow young people to debate the issues affecting them and is currently working with various department within the Council on a number of projects.

10.   Bad Weather Preparations
(This really resounds with me at the moment as I was unable to get to work in London last Monday because there were no trains running because of the weather.) Notts County Council have announced that they now have gritters on stand by each night in anticipation of bad weather. The teams will remain on standby until March and the stockpiles of salt are now full.

11.   Ambulance Service Response Times
The latest statistics available show that for the second month in a row East Midlands Ambulance Service missed its response targets for the most serious, life threatening, calls. The target is that 75% of these calls should be responded to within 8 minutes and the service have only been able to achieve this in 68% of calls. Other bad news for the trust this week saw their Chief Operating Officer quit after just five months in the job and an announcement that they had overspent their budget by £400,000. All of this together makes very worrying reading.

12.   New Houses in Stapleford
A planning application has been submitted to demolish the Nags Head and Plough in Stapleford, together with some business units, to construct 50 new houses. The borough council is currently consulting on these and a decision will probably be made early in the new year. Although this site would lead to the loss of some industrial units plans have also been submitted to build 10 new industrial units at West End Street.

13.   Kimberley Road Closure
Westby Lane, between Kimberley and Awsworth, will be closed between 18th and 24th November for carriageway repairs.

14.   Kimberley Police Station
A planning application has been submitted to convert Kimberley Police Station, which was closed some months ago, into three flats and an office. These will be considered by the borough council and a decision made early in the new year.

15.   Walker Street School Site, Eastwood
The old Eastwood Primary School site on Walker Street has been vacant for a number of years and successive borough council leaders have tried to push the County Council, who own it, to get on and do something with it. Plans have now been submitted for 100 homes to be built on the site. There will be an exhibition for residents on Monday between 3pm and 7pm at St Mary’s Church on Church Street and everyone will be welcome to attend.

16.   Trowell Parish Council
Trowell Parish Council are looking for a new member after Cllr David Kilby stepped down from his post. If only one person applies then the council can co-opt them, and members must live within 3 miles of Trowell.

17.   Older Persons Consultation
The Borough Council is currently preparing a strategy for dealing with the housing needs of an aging population and has launched a survey for the public to share their views. You can access this from the borough council website at and the consultation ends on 30th November.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received.

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.