Sunday, 8 December 2013

Broxtowe Enews 8th December 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. I hope that everyone survived the winds on Thursday. We lost the fence at the house that we moved into last week!  (Given the disasters that are following me around at the moment may I inform my new neighbours that for a sizeable donation to party funds I will consider moving somewhere else.)

1.       Car Parking
First may I correct a typo in last weeks newsletter and apologise for any problems that this has caused. When I reported that free car parking would be available in the borough’s car parks this December I missed out two important words: “on Saturdays.” I’m really sorry about that, which was simply a case of my fingers not keeping up with my thoughts. The free parking is, as in previous years, on Saturdays only.

2.       Open Cast Mining
The County Council will debate the application by UK Coal to permit open cast mining between Trowell and Cossall next Tuesday. Extremely sadly the County officers have recommended that permission be given, despite the strong opposition of local residents and the borough council. The decision will rest with the councillors and I hope that common sense will prevail with them.

3.       Kimberley War Memorial
A planning application has been submitted to the borough council to renovate Kimberley War Memorial in Main Street. The work includes removing the copper dome and replacing it with a stone dome. When it was built the memorial had a stone dome. A campaign was launched in October by the Town Council in Kimberley to raise the £20,000 needed to do the work. The application can be viewed on the borough councils website at

4.       Oxylane Sports Village
The application to build a sports village adjacent to junction 26 of the M1, by Oxylane, the owners of the Decathlon Store, will be discussed by the council’s Development Control Committee on Wednesday. I sit on that committee so can’t comment on the scheme in advance of the meeting, but I will provide a full report afterwards.

5.       DVLA
The DVLA office actually lies just into Nottingham, on the business park off Woodhouse Way, which is the A6002 running from Nuthall Island to Stapleford, but it is so close that I thought it was worth including this. The DVLA office will close on 13th December for the final time, as part of a restructuring of the service.

6.       Bogus Charity Collectors
Once again leaflets have been delivered in the area asking for clothing donations for the air ambulance charity. The Air Ambulance Service has issued a statement to confirm that these are bogus. The leaflets apparently contain a telephone number which is no longer in use and they do not include a charity number. Please do not donate to this collection.

7.       Early Years Education
One of the big wins for the Liberal Democrats in Government is the provision of free early years education for all two year olds. Notts County Council have this week announced they will be in position to deliver this from September 2014 for all 2 year olds in the County.

8.       Foster Carers
Notts County Council have announced that they are seeking to recruit more foster carers, as a way of saving money. The council has a staggering 892 children in care and by recruiting an extra 100 foster carers they can reduce the reliance that hey currently have to place on external fostering agencies. Interest in fostering is increasing and anyone who goes in for it will find it extremely rewarding. The council currently have 290 foster families across the county, plus a further 45 who specialise in fostering disabled children, so to try and recruit a further 100 over the next four years is a big challenge. Fostering can take all sorts of different shapes, from emergency two or three night stays through respite care for struggling families through to long term placements. This is a topic very close to my heart and I would encourage anyone who has a spare room to consider whether they could foster. Details can be found from the County Council web site on

9.       Field Farm/Toton
Readers of the newsletter issued by our MP this week will have read that Broxtowe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council have been involved in “secret” negotiations with Westermans Developers, who want to build at Field Farm in Stapleford. Nothing could be further from the truth. The process of agreeing what resources the developers will be expected to provide for the local area is commonplace for developments, it was fully explained in the report to the Development Control Committee when the planning application was debated and it is actually published on the website. Hardly secret at all. I full accept that the issue of building generates strong emotions but I really wish that politicians would actually provide the facts and not fantasy. I hear that a meeting in Toton yesterday was told that the council wanted to build from Toton right up to Junction 26. Again this is completely untrue.  
One of the regular items of feedback I receive from the newsletter is that people prefer it when we don’t criticise other politicians, and I do take that on board. However when the public are being misled so badly it is important that errors are highlighted.

10.   Kingsbridge Way Short Break Service
The Kingsbridge Way Short Break Service on the border of Bramcote and Chilwell provides respite care for carers of disabled adults. It is a vital service for many people and yet sadly the County Council are proposing to close it to save £500,000. I fully appreciate that the council needs to save money but this is an absolutely vital service for carers and to cut it would be totally the wrong decision. It could also backfire in terms of costs because if carers are not able to get respite then they may feel that they can no longer cope with providing care, leading to greater demand for residential places which are far more expensive. The Lib-Dems were out collecting signatures for a petition against this closure on Saturday and thank you to everyone who signed the petition. If you would like to add your name to it, or even better if you would like to collect some extra signatures, please contact my colleague Steve Carr on

11.   Manor Farm Recreation Ground
Yesterday a new children’s play area costing £100,000 was unveiled at Manor Farm Recreation Ground in Toton. The old area had become dated and I’m delighted that the council were able to obtain funds to replace it. The park is available for anyone to use and I’ll make sure to take the Watts children to test drive it sometime soon.

12.   Christmas Tree Recycling
Christmas isn’t even hear yet but if you’re having a proper tree please spend a moment thinking about how you will dispose of it afterwards. If you take your tree to the waste recycling centre in Beeston, or any of the other sites operated by Veolia on behalf of the County Council, during January, they will make a donation to the Rainbows Children’s Hospice (£100 for every 50 tonnes received).

13.   Chamber of Commerce
The Notts and Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses across the two countries, is to merge with its equivalent service in Leicestershire to try and ensure that the region has a bigger voice. The Chamber of Commerce does play a very important role supporting businesses of all sizes and I wish them success with this venture.

14.   HS2 Opposition
Rushcliffe Borough Council, whilst backing the HS2 scheme, has come out against Toton as the site for development and has called for the station to be at East Midlands Parkway instead. It’s probably no surprise that Rushcliffe is promoting a station within its own boundaries, but the exhibition by HS2 recently seemed to make it clear that East Midlands Parkway was a non-starter.

15.   Recycling Promotion
The Borough Council’s recycling team have just started a series of promotional events to increase people’s awareness of what they can recycle. The first was in Stapleford last week, and there will be further events at Sainsbury’s in Kimberley and in Eastwood Library, both on Tuesday between 10am and 2pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

16.   Newmanleys Road, Eastwood
The Beamlight Automotive Seating factory on Newmanleys Road in Eastwood, which closed in 2012, has been purchased by a redevelopment company who are likely to apply for planning permission to convert the site into a new housing estate. I haven’t seen the details of the scheme yet but in general I welcome schemes like this as every house built n a brownfield site is one less that needs to be built on the green belt.

17.   Kimberley Methodist Chapel
A planning application has been submitted to the borough council to convert the disused Methodist Chapel in Kimberley into a funeral parlour. Two floors of the building are currently empty with one floor used for residential accommodation.

In concluding this week’s newsletter may I add my own personal tribute to Nelson Mandela. As a child growing up in Africa in the 1970’s we were aware that there was something very wrong to the south of us, and as I got older I became more and more aware of the evil that was apartheid. I suspect that it was the sheer unfairness of this system rather than anything else that got me interested in politics. I have always been driven by a passionate belief in fairness and justice and South Africa epitomised everything that I was against. I campaigned for the freedom of Mandela in the 1980’s and 1990’s after I’d returned to live in the UK, but I never believed for one moment that South Africa could transform to a black-run country without a violent civil war. That this was avoided is entirely down to Mr Mandela and the message of forgiveness that he brought out of prison with him. I doubt that during my lifetime there will be anyone else who leaves such a profoundly good mark on the world.

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

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.