News From Broxtowe Liberal Democrats 4 October 2015

Liberal Democrats LogoDavid Watts writes: It’s been a very sad week in the Watts household after our cat was hit by a car and killed on Monday night. At the moment motorists are not obliged to report accidents involving cats to the police, but there is a petition on the Petitions website at the moment calling for this to be changed. If you would like to sign this you can do so here:

1. East Midlands Main Line
It was pleasing to hear that the government have performed a U-turn and that the electrification of the Midland Mainline will now go ahead. Many thanks to everyone who signed our petition about this. Your signatures were added to those of thousands of others up and down the line and presented to the Government. This was part of the pressure that made the Government change its mind. What is less pleasing in that the scheme has been delayed by four years and will not now be completed until 2023.

2. Beeston BID
There is no good side to this second news item. Beeston Business Improvement District, which brings exists to attract extra funding into and promote Beeston, is to close in December. All the businesses in the BID area had a vote and after the council decided not to support it being continued they voted to close it down. This is a real shame as the BID has been extremely successful.
Beeston has a 91% occupancy rate for its shop units, well above the national average, and this is despite all the difficulties with the tram works. The BID must take a lot of credit for this. Sadly the national and multi-national businesses usually vote against BID areas as they have to pay a levy for them and they really don’t care about local towns and communities. When the Conservative cabinet at Beeston decided not to support the BID they played into the hands of big business.

3. Smart Motorway
The government has announced that it will be upgrading the M1 between junction 23a and 25 to a “smart motorway.” The system will have overhead gantries controlling the speed limits and can open and close the hard shoulder as an additional lane when required. This all seems a good idea but anyone who regularly travels north of junction 28 will know how long the work has been carrying on there and what disruption it has caused.

4. Kimberley Brewery
Unfortunately it looks like plans to redevelop the brewery in Kimberley are being delayed, potentially by quite a lengthy period. Different sides give different accounts but it looks like the land owners have fallen out with the development company they were planning to work with. The legal agreements between the owners, developers and council have never been signed. Hopefully someone can find a way through the difficulties shortly.

5. Anti-Fracking Meeting
A Public Meeting about the new fracking licenses in Nottinghamshire will take place Friday 23rd October, 7pm, John Clifford School, Beeston. This meeting will focus on the Erewash & Broxtowe (including part of Rushcliffe) areas. (Click here to view licences map on the DECC website). The meeting will feature presentations on what is fracking and how it is framed for & against, where fracking could happen in the area, the fracking experience from Lancashire and next steps for local action. The meeting has been organised by Frack Free Nottinghamshire.

6. Voluntary Action Broxtowe
I used to sit on the board of Voluntary Action Broxtowe so I was very pleased to read this week that they have been awarded a grant of almost a quarter of a million pounds from the Big Lottery Fund to support their work. VAB offer a variety of free and paid for services, including assistance for people with mental health problems, helping people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and a caring, ethical removal service. As the name suggests they rely heavily on volunteers for their work.

7. Awsworth Neighbourhood Plan
Awsworth Parish Council have submitted an application for the designation as a new neighbourhood area. Neighbourhood planning gives local people a greater opportunity to shape development in their area and allows them to plan for the type of houses, businesses and green spaces they want to help it thrive. Local people are invited to have their say on these proposals as part of an online consultation which can be found on the Borough Council’s website at The consultations will run from Monday 5th October until 5.00pm on Monday 2nd November and can all be completed online. Paper copies of response forms are available directly from the Parish Council or at Broxtowe Borough Council Offices. A Neighbourhood Plan can give communities a strong voice in the planning system because if successful, they form part of the statutory development plan and must be taken into consideration by Broxtowe Borough Council when determining planning applications. I was the leader of the council when they were first introduced by the government and immediately started encouraging parish councils to get involved with these and to make funds available from the borough council to support them.

8. Under A Cloud
On Monday 5th October (tomorrow) Dave Wood and MindSet invite you to find out about and contribute to a set of dark and light sculptural clouds in which to keep or shred your written thoughts. This event is taking place at the Middle Street Resource Centre in Beeston, starting at 10am, as part of the centres contribution to Mental Health Awareness Week. The clouds will be built between 5th and 7th October, with two days of adding even more thoughts on the 8th and 9th. Light refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome to attend. One of the great legacies of the Liberal Democrats in Government has been the much greater awareness of mental health issues, brought about is no small part by the efforts of Norman Lamb, the Lib-Dem health minister.

9. In Europe
I was pleased to see reports of a pro-European fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference where Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry spoke firmly about the need for us to be in the EU. She and I will be campaigning on the same side over this. Britain is far better off in Europe and I look forward to making the case over the next few months.

10. Super suburb
Last Sunday the Sunday Times ran an article on Britain’s up and coming suburban towns and included Beeston as one of the best places to live. The newspaper identified the Tram as being one of the main attractions for the town (along with it allegedly being the most adulterous place in the UK).

11. Privatising Social Care?
The Labour run County Council have announced plans to transfer social care services to a trading company that will be set up and owned by the council.
hey suggest that this will enable the council to sell its services to new groups and individuals as well. I appreciate that there may be some financial attraction for this but I am deeply worried that this would be the prelude to privatising some or all of the services, something that I would strongly oppose.

12. Eastwood Chapel
I was pleased to read this week that Eastwood Chapel is to have its interior restored. The building was badly damaged in a fire last year and the exterior has already been repaired, but plans have now been announced for a £500,000 restoration of the interior as well. The plans also include discussions on how to make the best use of the building.

13. St Michaels Christmas Bazaar
St Michaels church in Bramcote has announced that it will be holding a Christmas bazaar on 7th November at the church centre. They are appealing for donations of nearly new books, Christmas gifts and ceramics. Full details are available from

14. Stapleford Local History Society
The next meeting of Stapleford Local History Society will take place on 14th October at the Maycliffe Hall in Stapleford. The theme of the talk is “The Victorian Fair: Freaks and Fisticuffs.” Tickets cost £2.50 and everyone is welcome to attend.

15. Plastic Bag Charges
Finally a quick reminder that a new law comes into effect tomorrow requiring shops to charge 5p per plastic carrier bag that they provide. This is aimed to create a cultural shift amongst the public to stop the use of plastic and encourage reusable bags. As a committed environmentalist this is something I am happy to support and it was because the Lib Dems were in Government that it has come about.

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

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

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10 Responses to News From Broxtowe Liberal Democrats 4 October 2015

  1. Adam Stockwell Stapleford South East Cllr says:

    David, the fact that you put the blaim at the door of the council is nonsense. Firstly the decision taken was to abstain from voting and not being against the BID, we took the stance that businesses should decide their own future and not the council.

    Even without the council vote 61% of the businesses voted against the BID which surely must show they were lacking in confidence. This high percentage against the BID shows that this is the clear will of what the people who run businesses want.

    • Joan Wade says:

      Adam – Are you saying that local Conservatives have not been briefing against the BID and circulating material attacking the BID. I await your answer with interest.

      • Joan Wade says:

        Oh the irony – The Government, which local Conservatives would claim to support, has just announced Beeston High Road as being one of the rising stars of British high streets.

      • Cllr Adam Stockwell for Stapleford South East says:

        The Broxtowe Conservatives have not put out anything attacking the BID at all.

      • Ian Blakeley says:

        Maybe they didn’t like the hanging baskets this year Joan.

      • RichHartman says:

        Adam – and did the Broxtowe Conservatives put out anything ‘supporting’ the BID at all? If not, why not? The Conservatives are in control of our borough – do you not agree that the ruling party should be supporting any agency that supports our local businesses rather than turning its collective back on them by ‘abstaining’ (=abdicating) ?

      • Joan Wade says:

        Adam – Well let us start to go through this. You are saying, for example, that no Broxtowe Conservative sent out a newsletter in December 2014 stating that “…..there is much controversy about the Beeston Bid.”

    • RichHartman says:

      Adam – as a ‘stakeholder’ with (one would hope) a clear interest in the supporting the future and the health of the Beeston town centre, for the council to abstain from the vote is a cop-out and an abdication of public duty. What’s done is done now, but will you tell us which way you would have voted, and why?

      • Cllr Adam Stockwell for Stapleford South East says:

        I disagree that abstaining was an abdication of public duty as I have heard people praising and criticising the BID so by abstaining we did not come down on either side of the argument allowing businesses to have full control over their future which to me was the right thing to do.

        As for which way I would vote,with me not being a business owner it would not be right to make a comment on how I would vote as I just do not know but I fully support the abstained position took by my party to give full control over to the businesses of Beeston.

  2. Ian Blakeley says:

    Ref paragraph 11. The County Council is going to set up a trading company that will be owned by the council.

    I am sure that when she was in power, Thatcher forced all Councils and other public bodies to sell their assets to private concerns and prohibited them from owning anything. Locally EMA, which was extremely profitable but owned by three local councils, had to be sold. So, unless the various Acts of Parliament have been amended or repealed, isn’t what the Council are doing prima facie illegal?

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