David Watts writes: This is a short edition to summarise the main news from over the summer and we will resume a proper service next week. I hope that everyone has had a good summer.
Like most parents one of my key aims through the summer was to try and get through six weeks without visiting casualty. Sadly we failed this year after my younger daughter was thrown from a horse whilst riding. Thankfully there was nothing broken but she is still sporting some fairly big bruising even four weeks later.
1. The Tram
Obviously the biggest news from last month was that the tram is now operating.
My initial impression is that it is being very well used and so far the road system around Toton seems to be coping well with the park and ride. However I’m conscious that traffic over the past couple of weeks has been lighter than it may be for the next few so we’ll see how that goes. What is certain is that there was a massive increase in footfall in Beeston when the tram started running.
2. Tram Extension
The report into the feasibility of extending the tram network through to Kimberley has now reported and concluded that this would be possible and would cost about £170 million. I’m a huge supporter of the tram but firmly believe that we need to have a proper enquiry to learn the lessons of the current project before we start on another one. The current scheme was eight months late and there were numerous problems on the way, so we need to make sure that we truly understand the root causes of these before we start another line.
The other big news is that the Conservative government have given licences to various companies to explore a number of areas with a view to possibly starting fracking at some point in the future. One of these areas covers south Broxtowe (in fact the line seems to go straight under my house). This does not mean that we will definitely get fracking but it is a step towards it. As the law stands at the moment there would have to be an application to the County Council before fracking could happen, but there are rumours that this will be changed and the government will take over the licencing role directly. (So much for
localism.) The Liberal Democrats both locally and nationally are opposed to fracking and will be opposing it here.
Shopmobility on Beeston have been looking for a new base for a while as the current one is too far from the town centre. Unfortunately the Conservative administration in Broxtowe would only offer them rooms in the council building a few yards nearer, which doesn’t really solve the problem of it being too far away. As a result I’ve heard reports that the trustees have decided to close the service. I hope that this decision will be reconsidered for those who do use the service, and that the council will find somewhere more appropriate for the service to be based.
5. Dementia Friendly Bungalows
Last week Eric Kerry, the portfolio holder for housing on the borough council, collected an award on behalf of the borough council for their work in constructing dementia friendly bungalows in Eastwood. This was work actually done by the previous Lib-Dem/Labour administration, but it is often the case that a new administration collects awards for work done by their predecessors.
However the irony of the current situation was that the very next day the Conservatives decided to reject proposals to build further dementia friendly bungalows in Beeston. They were supported in this by the independent councillor from Stapleford.
6. New Bus Route
To tie in with the tram Trent/Barton have launched a new “Link 17” bus route which connects to the tram terminus. The timetable for this can be found at http://www.nottinghamcoach.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/link-17-A4-2.pdf.
7. Devolution Bid
The leaders of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have submitted proposals to Government for greater devolution for the area. This would give the area a much greater say over spending and hopefully a bigger budget as well. However the downside is that before the election the Government made it clear that one of the strings attached was that we would have to accept an elected mayor as part of the package. This is something that Nottingham has already rejected and of course here in Broxtowe we were never even given a say. Further details about this can be seen at http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=14817.
8. Beeston Canalside Museum
The Heritage Lottery Fund which provided the bulk of the funding for a new Heritage Centre at Beeston Lock has now given the go ahead for the work to begin. This follows local fundraising efforts to raise the rest of the money that was needed. The project will produce a heritage museum creating an exhibition gallery, resource centre, community cafe, fishing tackle shop, cycle hire facility, a kitchen garden and allotment space. All those associated with the project are delighted that the go ahead has now been given. Further details are at www.canalsideheritagecentre.org.uk.
9. Refugee Crisis
There will be a candlelit vigil tomorrow (Monday) evening at 7.00pm in the Market Square in Nottingham lasting for about 45 minutes to show support for refugees and to send the message to Government that refugees are welcome here.
All are welcome to attend. There is also a petition calling on the borough council to make it clear to the Government that we in Broxtowe are willing to help. You can sign that at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/refugees-welcome-in-broxtowe?bucket=.
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