News From Broxtowe Liberal Democrats 6 December 2015

Liberal Democrats LogoDavid Watts writes:

1. Beeston Town Centre Revamp
The Borough councils Beeston Town Centre Advisory Committee this week agreed a guide for developers for the revamp of Beeston Town Square. The guide says that the council, more nightlife and an open piazza space for both visitors and residents. Developing the planning strategy will cost between £400,000 and £450,000, and the total project is expected to cost between £20 and £30 million. This is something I have been longing to see happen for a long time so I warmly welcome this news. The first step needs to be for Taylor Alstrom, the company that built the tram, to move off the site. This should happen in February.

2. Beeston Christmas Tree
I was delighted that a huge crowd attended the Christmas light switch on in each of the towns in Broxtowe, but the people coming to Beeston did notice that the 35 foot tree erected there seem to be on something of an angle and looked like it was about to fall down. The council have now promised that it will be straightened. Hopefully this work will be done quickly. It will be disappointing if they wait until January to do it.

3. Drink Drive Campaign
Notts Police have commenced their annual Christmas drink-drive campaign. Sadly each year they still catch far too many people driving over the limit and the consequences are too often devastating. I don’t usually report on criminal matters in the newsletter (a deliberate editorial decision from right at the
outset) but as a practising criminal lawyer I see the very real impact that drink driving has and the damage that it can cause. The only safe way is to not drink any alcohol if you are the driver.

4. County Council Budget Cuts
Notts County Council have announced that they will be shedding 182 further jobs as part of their efforts to cut their budgets by a further £62 million over the next three years. I am pleased to see that all the main groups on the council are working together to try and find ways of putting together a workable budget. I think that councils are always more effective when there is corporation between the groups, rather than just confrontation. Sadly three Lib-Dem councillors from Ashfield decided that they didn’t want to join in this cooperative approach and have resigned from the party. Two of them had already been suspended for other reasons, and they have now set up their own independent group. I feel that they are making a serious mistake in doing this.

5. Messy Church
There will be a special Christmas themed ‘Messy Church’ at Beeston Methodist Church on Wollaton Road in Beeston on Saturday 12th December. It takes place between 3:30 and 5:30 PM and includes crafts, fun activities, a meal and a Christmas service. Everyone is welcome to attend.

6. PCSO Numbers
The number of Police community support officers in Nottinghamshire has been reduced by 72. In South Broxtowe there were 15 but that has now been reduced to 8. In addition to this there are four police constables. That is not a large number to cover the whole of the South of the Borough.

7. Bramcote School
Bramcote School had a disappointing OFSTED inspection earlier this year, but the inspectors have been in again recently and have noted that significant improvements are being made in all areas. The report indicated that senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to improve the quality of teaching, and that the school now has well thought out plans to ensure that these improvements continue. I would like to congratulate Paul Heery, the headmaster, and all the staff and governors who’ve worked hard to bring this turnaround into effect.

8. Bramcote Hills Golf Course
A planning application was submitted to build a retirement village on Bramcote Hills golf course early last year. It has been delayed several times whilst a wildlife survey was compiled, but this is now complete. It can be seen at http://planning.broxtowe.gov.uk/(S(3p11nuruz3dyijmnn4uaaa45))/ApplicationDetail.aspx?RefVal=14/00677/OUT.
I understand from the council that it is likely that this will be debated at of the planning committee in February. This is a public meeting and everyone will be welcome to attend. I will post more details when this is confirmed.

9. DH Lawrence Centre
I was interested to read this week that Ashfield MP Gloria Del Piero has arranged for several of her showbiz contacts to write a letter calling on Broxtowe Borough Council to save the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre. At the moment the council plan to close the centre in March. This is not the first time that the MP has organise something like this. When the centre was threatened with closure a few years ago, at the time that I was the leader of the council, she did the same thing then. I wrote to her and to every one of the celebrities who had signed the letter at that time inviting them to contribute to the costs of the centre (and the letter was printed in the Observer newspaper as well) but not one of them even bothered to reply. We will wait and see what happens this time. There were some encouraging reports this weekend that the Heritage lottery fund and the arts Council might step in, and I will report further on this when more details are available.

10. Rail fares
It has been confirmed this week that rail fares between Beeston and London will go up by 1.1%. Although this does not sound a significant increase it is still above the rate of inflation. The industry to point out that it is the smallest average increase for six years, but I still think it is a disappointing announcement.

11. Devolution
There has been an ongoing twist in the saga of the Notts and Derbyshire devolution debate recently. Until now it has always been presented as a “take it or leave it” deal with one elected mayor to cover the whole of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. A proposed change to the Cities and Devolution Bill in the House of Commons this week would enable the district councils, who under the existing proposals would be completely dominated by the cities of Nottingham and Derby, to set up a different type of devolution. Already the leaders of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire county councils have sent letters to the Secretary of State complaining about the proposed changes. This adds to my long-standing belief that the city and county councils would try and manipulate any deal purely for their benefit, in the same way that they have done with the Local Economic Partnership.

12. Leaflet Delivery
The Liberal Democrats produce and deliver Focus leaflets to much of the Borough every quarter. These contain new stories relevant to the particular ward, and a much valued by many residents. They are paid for by the local Lib Dems and are delivered by a team of volunteers. We are looking for some new volunteers to add to our team of deliverers. Would you be able to help with this? Each delivery takes no more than one hour and there are normally for leaflets a year. If you live in an area that doesn’t currently get Focus leaflets that’s no problem, the only thing stopping is expanding into new areas is a lack of people to deliver them. If you can help with this please let me know.

13. Alderman White School Fair
The Alderman White school on Chilwell Lane will be holding their Christmas fair on Wednesday, 9 December between 6:30 PM and 9:30 PM. This will include lots of stalls, crafts, raffle, hot food, home made mulled wine, mince pies with live entertainment. Admission is £1 for adults and it is free for children.
Everyone is welcome to attend.

14. Formatting Problems
A couple of readers have problems with the newsletter last week when their copies arrived as one block of solid text, rather than being broken up into individual stories as should be the case. If anyone else has had this problem would you please let me know. I’ve been speaking to our IT guys about what might have caused it but so far we haven’t solved the problem. It would be useful to know if it is more widespread than just the two that I know about at the moment.

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

Best wishes

David
http://www.davidwatts.org.uk
http://www.broxtoweliberaldemocrats.org.uk
Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

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2 Responses to News From Broxtowe Liberal Democrats 6 December 2015

  1. RichHartman says:

    David – why would ‘developing a strategy’ for the town centre cost £440k-£450k ? Wouldn’t this be done in-house by council staff?

    • davidwatts12 says:

      I think they will be bringing in consultants who are specialists in this sort of work to ensure that it is done properly. It’s easy to develop a strategy but far less easy to develop an effective one, and it is absolutely essential hat they get this right.

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