Sunday, 23 February 2014

Broxtowe Enews 23rd February 2014

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. May I also apologise that many people are still waiting for replies to emails. I’m afraid that I have been so busy that quite a backlog has built up. I will try and address all of these over the next few days.

1. Men in Heels
I mentioned in the newsletter a couple of weeks ago of the “men in heels” initiative in Eastwood to raise money for the Broxtowe women’s project. This took place last weekend and approximately 30 men from Eastwood took part in a sponsored walk whilst wearing high heels. Amongst these was my Council colleague Bob Charlesworth. I’d like to congratulate everybody who was involved, and especially event coordinator Lisa Dann.

2. County Council Aspergers Team
We have heard an awful lot about cuts to the county council’s budget over the last few months, and I have been very critical about some of the cuts proposed. I am therefore delighted to welcome a U-turn by the Council in respect of their team helping people with Asperger’s syndrome. Plans to scrap this have been reversed, and therefore the 200 or so adults in the county who suffer from Asperger’s will continue to get help.

3. Trees Available
in the last couple of additions of this newsletter I have mentioned efforts to plant a significant number of new trees in Broxtowe. The Woodland trust are now making more than half 1 million trees available to community groups, including discounts, brownies, sports clubs and parish councils. I hope that groups within the Borough will be keen to take up this offer. The deadline to apply for free trees is 4 September and details can be found on the Woodland trust website at

4. Happy Towns
A survey of business people in Kimberley, Eastwood and Stapleford has shown that satisfaction levels with the town centres has risen in each of the towns. This is good news and credit needs to go to the borough council’s town centre manager. Satisfaction levels in Beeston has stayed the same at 70%, and given the disruption that there has been over the last few months with the tram works this is itself an extremely good performance. However, as ever, we will be looking for improvements next year. The town centre team have a number of initiatives to improve all of our town centres, and if there are any things that you would like to see please do let me know.

5. Beeston Business Park
The owners of Beeston Business Park have now unveiled their proposals for the redevelopment of the site. They are planning to spend £30 million creating 26 new industrial units, a food store and a new sports club. There will also be some 281 houses on the site. I didn’t get the chance to go to their presentation this week due to work commitments, but most of what they are suggesting looks quite encouraging. I do however have concerns about the food store in particular, and the amount of traffic that it might generate. Station Road in Beeston is the only way in or out of that area and it is already heavily congested, and so we will need to see what the proposals are to address this.

6. Grass Cutting
last year the county council took over responsibility for cutting the grass verges in Broxtowe. This was at their insistence and not something that the Borough Council was happy about. I think everyone would agree that the county made a really bad job of it, and we had dozens, if not hundreds, of complaints. I am pleased to report that the county council have now rethought the position, and responsibility for carrying out the work will pass back to the Borough Council from this year. It will still be funded by the county, that they will pay the Borough Council to do the work.

7. Attenborough Nature Reserve
A new pond dipping platform has been installed at Attenborough Nature Reserve as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. This replaces a previous platform which had reached the end of its life. The pond dipping platform is an educational facility used by local schoolchildren to learn about the wildlife that lives in the water. It has been extensively road  tested by both of my children who can vouch for the benefits that it brings.

8. Jobless Figures
The latest figures released show that unemployment in Nottinghamshire was significantly lower in January than it was 12 months ago. 13,060 people were claiming benefit in January across he county, equating to 2.6% of those eligible for work. This means that unemployment in Nottinghamshire is lower than the national average (3%) and also lower than the East Midlands average of 2.8%. Whilst this trend is encouraging industrial mean that we have 13,060 people to get into work.

9. Kimberley Brewery
Some concern has been expressed this week about fans to redevelop Kimberley Brewery. English Heritage have described proposals to construct more than 130 houses on the site as ‘incongruous and out of character.’ They are calling for a number of houses on the site to be reduced. One of the problems with that approach is that if we have less houses there then there is more pressure on other places to build. I will be meeting the developers of Kimberley Brewery this week and will discuss their proposals with them.

10. Chilwell Arts Theatre
There are two events taking place at Chilwell Arts Theatre, Chilwell School, Queens Road West, NG9 5AL in the next few days. On Friday 28th February, Paradiso Cinema presents “Rush,” the story of the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One motor racing season. Made in 2013, the film stars Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth. The film starts at 7.30pm. Tickets on the door £5 (£4 conc). Following that on Sunday 9th March, the Midnight Cabaret Band presents “From Berlin to Broadway,” an evening of “sophisticated, sexy and subversive” music. The concert starts at 7.30pm. Tickets £8 (£6 conc) from 0115 9252698 or 07772053412 or on the door.

11. Garden Waste
I have received loads of questions from people following the decision of the Borough Council to start charging for collecting garden waste. I’ve been trying to check out the details with the relevant officers, and the situation is this. Anybody who wants to have their garden waste collected separately, so that it can go to recycling, will face a charge of £30 per year. They will have a free ground being provided. People who already have a brown bin will receive a discount for this year. There are no plans to provide discounts for OAPs or the disabled at this point, although that may be looked at in the future. Residents who do not wish to have their garden waste collected separately can place it in their black bin where it will be collected along with the rest of the non-recyclable rubbish. I hope the letters make things clearer for people, but please don’t hesitate to contact me if you still have any questions.

12. Glyn Yeoman
It is with enormous sadness that I heard on Tuesday of the death of my friend and community activist Glyn Yeoman. Glyn was a long-term resident of Bramcote who contributed enormously to all that goes on here. Perhaps his greatest achievement was as Chairman of Governors at the Bramcote Hills Primary School where he helped guide the school to become one of the best schools in this or any area. Glyn was a good, kind and caring man and his wife Gill, his family and indeed all of us will miss him greatly.

13. Commonwealth Day
For the first time ever, local authorities, civic dignitaries, community groups and charities through the British Isles are taking part in local flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication to mark Commonwealth . In Broxtowe there  will be a ceremony in front of the Town Hall, Beeston on Monday 10th March 2014 at 10.00am The Mayor, Councillor Iris White, will raise the Commonwealth flag. Attending this event will be a Polish delegation from MyszkÓw County who are visiting the Borough of Broxtowe to celebrate the signing of a further 5 year Friendship and Co-operation Agreement between the two authorities.

14. Services at Bramcote Park
The salvation army will be holding open air services at Bramcote Park during the summer months this year. Services will start at 3 PM and will take place on 4 May, first of June and third of August. The Salvation Army band will be playing at these events. Everyone is very welcome to attend and participate.

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

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Broxtowe Enews 16th February 2014

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 Core Strategy
I’m starting again with a regular theme, the council’s core strategy for development over the next 15 years. There was a further hearing about this on Wednesday when residents and other interested parties from Toton were able to have their say. I was extremely surprised to hear Anna Soubry MP attending to say that she supported development at Toton linked to HS2 and that she agreed that this should include some housing, which is a significant change in her position from previously.

2.       Road Works
This is an advance notice of road works being carried out at the railway bridge on Stapleford Road in Trowell from 2200 hours on Wednesday 16th April 2014 until 0600 hours on Saturday 19th April 2014 (2200 hours until 0600 hours each night for 3 nights). The road will be completely closed from 10pm to 6am each day.

3.       Council Ward Boundaries
As I have mentioned before the Boundary Commission are currently changing the boundaries of wards in Broxtowe to try and make them fairer. The council have now submitted our suggestions, which were to make few changes to the existing layout. However we are suggesting that Eastwood should be split into three wards rather than the current two, and that a small number of houses that have been in Beeston West should now transfer to Beeston Central. The Boundary Commission will make their final decisions by the summer.

4.       Eastwood does buttons
Volunteers with local group ‘Communities Against Poverty’ are currently working on a programme of events for 2014.  Two events for February and March have been arranged at the Library Bar – ‘Eastwood does Buttons’.  There will be buttons suitable for knitters, dressmakers and cardmakers, including Christmas and animal themed buttons.  Visitors will be able to buy buttons in jars or on a ‘pick and mix’, ‘fill a bag’ basis.
As well as buttons visitors will be able to:
·         see a display of historical buttons by the local branch of the UK Button Society
·         take their own buttons along to the event for more information and a valuation by Jenny Swindells of the UK Button Society for a small donation.  Jenny has been collecting and researching buttons for 40 years and is the Button Consultant for Bonhams Auctioneers and several other auction houses
·         join a flower making session using fabric, crochet and/or knitting.  Materials are provided and the flowers produced will go on display in Eastwood during the town’s July Arts Festival.
There is no charge for entry to the events which take place at the Library Bar on Scargill Walk (in the Craft Workshops area) from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday 22 February and at the same time again on Saturday 29 March 2014.   At the March event the group will be selling leather remnants for crafts people. Contact:  Please email Angela on

5.       Talent Development at Work
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce (DNCC) is working with organisations in both counties to develop their staff through a new Talent Development programme. This fully-funded programme is available to organisations that fall into the eligible sector list in the following areas: customer retention and sales growth, information technology, business administration efficiency, business social media and marketing and leadership and management. There are a range of job-specific courses on offer, from Level 2 to Level 4 and there are no fees to pay. If you are interested contact Trudi Davidson at for further information.

6.       Watnall Bunker
As you may have seen on Channel 4 TV this week an old World War Two bunker in Watnall is set to be turned into a bed and breakfast. The bunker on land off Main Road - which used to be an RAF plotting station – was bought two years ago and Broxtowe Borough Council has now given planning permission for it to be converted. It will be interesting to see how the work develops.

7.       Truancy
I reported last week that Eastwood School was in the bottom five schools for attendance in Nottinghamshire. I’m very grateful to the chair of the Governors who informs me that the figures released by the County Council were based on figures a year old and that the school have taken significant steps to address the issue, so that attendance this year is up to 94%, a far better figure.

8.       Number 14 bus
Nottingham City Transport have announced that they are withdrawing the number 14 bus which serves Beeston and Chilwell and runs into the city centre. The last service will run at the end of March. The route is being withdrawn because NCT say that it losing a significant amount of money.

9.       Bramcote Ridge
The Friends of Bramcote Ridge planted 120 new trees on the ridge last week as part of their efforts to restore the area. The new trees were Hawthornes and have been planted near Sandy Lane. Well done to everyone involved.

10.   Cator Lane
The County Council have announced that they are bringing forward plans to resurface Cator Lane in Chilwell a year ahead of schedule to try and take advantage of the fact that the road is currently closed because of tram works. The resurfacing will take place between Bramcote Avenue and Greenwood Court. Whilst it seems sensible to try and tie in with the tram work I’ve already been contacted by residents expressing great concern about these proposals and the practical details about how they will work.

11.   Water Bills
Severn Trent have announced that average bills for customers will go up by £3 this year. May I make it clear that this is not simply so that they can pay for the damage they caused to my house when they flooded us last year. It does mean that the average bll for combined water and sewarge treatment will be £333 next year.

12.   Railway Station Bike Racks
Planning permission has been given to Network Rail to install more bike lockers in the car park of the station. This will mean that there will be storage space for 44 bikes at the station, but it will mean the loss of 2 parking spaces.

13.   Potholes
The County Council has launched an appeal for people to report pot holes to them after revealing that one in six of pot holes that they repaired last year was as a direct result of a report from a member of the public. They have a site on their web site at where people can report pot holes. Last year the county repaired 34,400 pot holed of which about 5,500 were reported online by the public.

14.   Paul Smith Photographs
An exhibition of photographs taken by fashion designer Sir Paul Smith are on display at the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood from now until the end of March. Photographs from a number of local photographs are also on display. Sir Paul’s father was a long time member of Beeston Photographic Society. Admission is £2.90 per person.

15.   Amnesty International
The Beeston branch of Amnesty International are holding a letter writing session on Monday evening. The idea is to write letters to put pressure on governments to prevent human rights abuses. The session takes place at the Commercial Inn from 7.30pm to 9.00pm.

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

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Broxtowe Enews 9th February 2014

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. A Greener Broxtowe
The borough council have looked at our progress on creating a greener borough at a meeting this week. The headline figures are that we are we are well on our way to our target of planting 100,000 extra trees in the borough, and this should be achieved by the end of 2016. By that point we also hope to have seen a 50% increase in composting levels and a decrease in residual waste, and most importantly a 25% fall in the council’s carbon footprint. By 2020 we hope to be using far more renewable energy than we are at the current time.

2. Feed In Tariffs
Whilst talking about renewable energy may I mention to anyone thinking of installing solar power that the feed in tariffs go down at the end of March, and so it is worth getting panels installed before then if possible. The cut will make a very small difference in the day to day income but over the lifetime of a set of panels this could run into hundreds of pounds.

3. Lane Closure on A610
Notts County Council have announced at a lane will be shut on the A610 Kimberley and Eastwood by pass from 7am on Monday through to 5pm on Friday. This will allow drains and vegetation to be cleared.

4. HS2 Submissions
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has submitted comments to the consultation on HS2 calling for the route to be changed to protect canals from being affected by it. They are concerned that the look of the canals will be affected by flyovers carrying the trains. Strangely enough I suspect that 300 years ago something similar was said about plans to build the canals.

5. Parents and Carers Support Group
A new parents’ and carers’ support group is being set up at Rumbletums in Kimberley. It will be a fairly informal group, the purpose of which will be to offer mutual support to parents and carers of children and young people with learning disabilities and to share information on services, events and activities. The first meeting of the group will take place at Rumbletums on Wednesday 26th February from 9.45am. The plan at the moment is then to meet once a month but how the group develops and how often and when it meets, will be up to those present to decide. Contact details can be found on their web site at

6. Toton Boy Racers
Just a quick follow up on the story last week that I’d contacted the police over the problem of oy racers on Stapleford Lane. I’m informed by the police that they believe the culprits are congregating in one particular location and so they will be targeting that over coming weeks. Hopefully this will bring some respite to residents.

7. Dinner at Chatsworth House with the Deputy Prime Minister
The East Midlands Liberal Democrats are holding a fund raising dinner at Chatsworth House in the near future. The tickets will include a tour of the North Wing of the House and the guest of honour will be the Deputy Prime Minister. Tickets cost £100 each and if you would like to attend please let me know. I think I can take up to four guests. The date will be confirmed to those hoping to attend.

8. Truancy
It was disappointing to read this week that a local school has, according to official figures, one of the worst problems with truancy in the county. The Eastwood School has a 13% truancy rate, making it the third worst performing school. The average rate across the county is 7.1%, which I think is still worryingly high.

9. M1 Speed Cameras
The Highways Agency will be installing speed cameras on the M1 as it goes through Broxtowe, between junctions 25 and 26. These will be pole mounted at the side of the road and similar to those installed at roadworks on the motorway at the moment. They will be used by the police to catch motorists travelling at more than 70mph.

10. CD’s in Libraries
Nottinghamshire County Council have announced that they are to phase the lending of CD’s out of their libraries and sell off their existing stock. Apparently with the growth in digital downloads the demand for CD’s in the libraries has dropped by 97 per cent since 2003. I confess that I much prefer a physical object to a digital download, and so I may well try and find when they are being sold off to see if I can pick up any bargains.

11. Broxtowe Mayor’s Ball
In 2014 Broxtowe Council will mark its 40th Anniversary To celebrate this important occasion, please join us for the Ruby Themed, Mayor's Charity Ball and Civic Night on Saturday 5th April 2014 at the award winning Nottingham Belfry Hotel from 7.00pm.  Tickets are available until FRIDAY 21ST MARCH, priced at just £32.00.  The Mayor of the Borough of Broxtowe, Councillor Iris White will host the Ball to raise money for Treetops Hospice and The Helpful Bureau, Stapleford. As well as a delicious three course meal and coffee, there will be music from Phil Rostance and the Marshall Band and a charity raffle. For more information and to secure your place, contact Broxtowe Borough Council on 0115 917 3210 or visit the website at Every year the Mayor chooses two charities to support. Next year the Mayor will be my colleague Stan Heptinstall and he has asked the staff at the council to vote for the charities that they would like him to feature as his chosen ones during his year in office. I think that this is an excellent idea.

12. Here Come The Navy
I know that the flooding has reached record levels but I was surprised to read this week that the navy are to establish a new base in Broxtowe! Actually it’s not as dramatic as it sounds but the base for the Royal Navy Reserve, currently at HMS Sherwood, will be moving to the garrison on Swiney Way in Toton. The move should be completed by the end of March.

13. Council Tax Rise
Although Broxtowe Borough Council will be keeping our council tax at the same level as in previous years Labour controlled Notts County Council have confirmed that they will be increasing council tax by 1.99% this year. As the majority of the council tax goes to the County Council this will have a significant impact on the amounts that people will have to pay from April.

14. Fair Trade Fortnight Entertainment
St Michaels Church in Bramcote will be holding an entertainment evening on Friday 28th February to mark Fair Trade Fortnight. The event begins at 7.15pm and details are available from 0115 925 4933.

15. Council Ward Boundaries
On Tuesday evening the council will be meeting to discuss changes to the ward boundaries for the borough. Although a huge number of different sets of proposals have been circulated my personal preference is that we should seek the minimum level of alteration from the current arrangements whilst ensuring that every community has a real say in electing their representatives. I will report back next week on what we voted for, although the final decision will be made by the Boundary Commission after they have considered our recommendations.
As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received.

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.