News from the Liberal Democrats 17 January 2016

Liberal Democrats LogoDavid Watts writes on: 1. By Elections, 2. Moves to Abolish Broxtowe, 3. Cuts To Local Authority Funding, 4. Flood Plan, 5. Fracking, 6. Educational Inequality, 7. East Midlands Ambulances, 8. Tram Performance, 9. Strelley Village Panto, 10. Unsung Hero, 11. Aldi, 12. Holocaust Memorial Day, 13. Retirement Flats, 14. Overweight Children, 15. Advice for Pensioners.

1. By Elections
There are to be two by-elections in Broxtowe. There was already a vacancy in Greasley and now Conservative councillor Natalie Harvey has resigned from Toton. She had only been a councillor for seven months but had told the people that she wasn’t enjoying it. Unfortunately her resignation will cost the council several thousand pounds. Both by-elections will take place on 18 February. The by-election in Toton will give voters an early chance to have their say on the decision of the Conservative administration at Broxtowe to adopt the core strategy previously put forward by the last Lib-Dem and Labour administration. The Conservatives won control of the council having promised not to implement this, but performed a U-turn very quickly afterwards.
(Interestingly you won’t find any reference to her resignation on the Councils website where her details have been quietly deleted without any
announcement.)

2. Moves to Abolish Broxtowe
The Conservative group on Notts county council put forward a motion last week calling for all of the Borough and district authorities in Nottinghamshire to be abolished. This was backed by all of the Conservative group, including Richard Jackson who is the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council. I don’t recall the Conservatives telling anyone prior to last year’s election that this was what they wanted to do. Their proposal was opposed by all of the Liberal Democrat county councillors. We really don’t think that people in Broxtowe will want decisions about here being taken by a committee in Retford or West Bridgford. Again the by-elections will give voters an opportunity to have their say about this.

3. Cuts To Local Authority Funding
The announcement this week about local authority funding from next year makes very depressing reading for Broxtowe. The government have cut the grant that they provide by 29%. This is the third highest cut in the country, after Barrow and Eastbourne councils. The total cut to funding from the government is about £600,000. At the same time the government are imposing more responsibilities on local authorities which will increase their costs.

4. Flood Plan
Nottinghamshire county council has published its draft Flood risk management strategy and is now seeking residents views on it. The strategy looks at how flood risks are currently managed in the County and identifies the areas most at risk. To have a say on this please visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk.

5. Fracking
The announcement last week that the government have granted the first licences to explore for shale gas seems to have caused some confusion. This does not mean that fracking is currently allowed. There would have to be a further application in respect of that once the gas fields have been identified.
However the government has made it clear that the expect permission for fracking to be granted quickly once these initial investigations have been carried out.

6. Educational Inequality
A report published this week has illustrated that regional differences are more of a factor in educational achievement now than they were 30 years ago. The report by the Social Market Foundation looked at GCSE results and found that only one area fared worse than the East Midlands. The report looked at a number of factors affecting performance for students born in 1970 and those born in 2000. It found that the regional inequality in education had widened over that time. Over 70% of pupils in London received five or more good GCSE grades was in the East Midlands the figure was closer to 63%.

7. East Midlands Ambulances
Over the past few years I have had to report on a number of news stories where the management of East Midlands Ambulance Service had come in for criticism. It is a great pleasure therefore to be able to report on how well their staff are doing. In the first quarter of this financial year EMAS received 268 compliments from people they had served, compared to only 13 complaints. (These are the figures for comments received at their headquarters about their staff.) This is a ratio of 20 complements to every complaint and that is pretty good going. Well done to all the staff who so often do go above and beyond the call of duty to provide a first rate experience for patients.

8. Tram Performance
It was disappointing to read this week that the punctuality figures for the tram had got worse. The number of services leaving on time has fallen from 97.6% to 94.5%. At the same time reliability has also fallen, from 99.5% of services running down to 97.6%. NET say that the fall in performance is due to the new routes (including the line through Beeston and Chilwell) settling in and that they hope the figures will improve shortly. It was interesting to hear that in a separate survey 72% of tram passengers had asked for the return of conductors so they could buy their tickets on the tram rather than having to buy them from a machine on the platform first.

9. Strelley Village Panto
Strelley’s village pantomime this year is A Christmas Carol. It takes place on Friday 22nd January at 7.30pm and Saturday 23rd January at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. The panto is held at St John’s Church Hall, Bilborough, and tickets cost £5 for adults and £3 for children. They can be purchased on the door or in advance from Strelley Hall or Rectory Farm.

10. Unsung Hero
Many congratulations to Jason Giblett of Nuthall who have been named as an Unsung Football Hero by Nottinghamshire Building Society. Mr Giblett manages the Nottingham Knights under sevens and under eights childrens football teams, who have recently entered the Youth Elizabethan League. He is the fourth person to receive one of these awards.

11. Aldi
I reported last week that the planning officers on the Borough Council had recommended refusing planning permission for Aldi to build a new store on the Pinfold Trading Estate in Stapleford. I am pleased to say that, despite the recommendation, the councillors on the committee unanimously voted to grant planning permission.

12. Holocaust Memorial Day
The National Holocaust Memorial Day is on 27th January. To mark this there will be a service at the Holocaust Memorial in the walled garden at Bramcote Hills Park starting at 11am that day. Everyone is welcome to attend.

13. Retirement Flats
Developers McCarthy and Stone have unveiled plans to build 49 retirement flats in Stapleford. They are proposing to build these on the former Sinbad Plant Hire site on Hickings Lane, opposite the new Co-Op store. The proposals will have to be considered by the council in due course.

14. Overweight Children
According to a report published this week 31% of children leaving primary school are overweight or obese. This compares to 38% in the city of Nottingham but only 21% in Rushcliffe. Gedling was on 30% but all the other districts were above Broxtowe. I know as a school governor that we put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that our pupils are fit and healthy and they are given every support to eat a sensible diet, and so I am quite surprised at how high these figures are.

15. Advice for Pensioners
Seminars are being held in Beeston next week to provide advice and education for pensioners on income tax, consumer rights and leisure activities during retirement. They will be held at Beeston Town Hall on 25th and 26th January.
For more information please ring 0115 922 3824.

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

Best wishes

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

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24 Responses to News from the Liberal Democrats 17 January 2016

  1. Howard Shakespeare says:

    Fracking.
    With the oil price at under $30 per barrel, and likely to fall further, now that Iran will be permitted to export crude, fracking in the area is a distant prospect.
    Even if it does happen at some future date, why should it be a problem. There has been considerable paranoia about the process of fracking. All of which has proven to be unfounded.
    As one resident of Bramcote Hills, I can say I would sooner have fracking beneath my property, rather than the Victorian technology of mining for coal.

    • Ian Blakeley says:

      “why should ‘fracking’ be a problem” you ask Howard. Because Howard, this area (as you may be aware) is already at risk of subsidence because of the mining. Fracking is liable to exacerbate the problem purely because of the way it is carried out.

      • Howard Shakespeare says:

        There are no mines under Bramcote.

      • Ian Blakeley says:

        How do know that there are no mines under Bramcote and Stapleford Howard. Been down and had a look have you. When I purchased my home in 1984 I asked about the mines to be told, by my solicitor, “nobody knows, the maps aren’t up to date or that accurate”. As always old chap, you are pontificating and not taking part in any discussion.

      • Howard Shakespeare says:

        Householder who have commissioned surveys, including me, have been assured that there are no mines under Bramcote. The nearest tunnels are under Parkside in Wollaton.

    • RichHartman says:

      Howard – the ‘Victorian technology of mining for coal’ gave honest employment for ‘hard working families’ (you’ll recognise that trite phrase trotted out in every one of Cameron’s patronising speeches) for years. Until the industry was dismantled by Thatcher of course. Fracking offers no similar prospect of a bounty of jobs.

      • Howard Shakespeare says:

        Coal mining gave its employees short, miserable and hard lives. Countless health problems resulted from working in the industry.
        Mining for coal is now history. Only Luddites would see anything positive is such a meaningless existence.

      • Fred R says:

        “Only Luddites would see anything positive is such a meaningless existence.”
        FYI, Luddite has long ceased to be a derogatory term, particularly in Nottingham. Are you not aware that Notts is reclaiming Luddites as working-class heroes and celebrating their actions and their heritage? Do keep up.

      • Ian Blakeley says:

        What would you have suggested instead of coal Howard? In those Victorian times and its associated values(?) so beloved by the late, and un-missed, Thatcher.

    • Fred R says:

      Speak for yourself. This Bramcote resident would have neither coal mining nor fracking in the area, for wider reasons (acquifer pollution, for starters) than the impact on “my property”. The pro- and anti-fracking arguments have been well aired on this board so I’ll not add to them, but I do think that putting up a coal v fracking straw man isn’t wise or relevant.

    • Howard Shakespeare says:

      These are not Victorian times. The world moves on and advances for everybody except Socialists.

      As for Nedd Ludd. If he had won the argument, our society would still be an uneducated peasant society. Short and hard lives, toiling in agriculture from sunrise to sunset.

      • Ian Blakeley says:

        Socialists also move on and advance Howard. I bet you use the NHS and accept the winter fuel payment.

        Incidentally when I was working overseas I became eligible for the winter fuel payment, however because my wife and I were not living ‘at home’ at the time I didn’t claim it until after I resided again in Stapleford. And NO, I don’t want a medal.

      • RichHartman says:

        Howard – unbelievable. If there is no socialist in you at all, that means you care nothing for your fellow man, care nothing about social inequality, care nothing for the less fortunate. You suggest that a hard life toiling in agriculture & mining in unacceptable. So a life cheating in the finance “industry” (there’s a contradiction in terms for you), or other excuses for work pursued by those who seek only mammon is what you would advocate. I know which of these constitutes an honest day’s work.

  2. Ian Blakeley says:

    Referring to parts of Para’s 1 and 2. In view of the u-turns carried out by the Tory’s since managing to gain control of the Borough Council, perhaps they should consider changing the spelling/name to ‘The Conswervative Party’, then we will all know what we would be getting. (:-D

  3. Philip Owen says:

    The comments from ex-councillor Watts concerning the new Conservative administration’s supposed U turn on the aligned core strategy are wrong. The new administration could not adopt it because it had already been adopted by ex-councillor Watts and his Labour coalition cronies long before we took control. Perhaps he forgot that he and his colleagues voted to support its adoption. On taking office we obtained counsel’s advice as to whether we could change it in any way and were advised that it could not be done in order to frustrate the impending Peverill homes application. The application that has been submitted is for a maximum of 500 houses rather than a minimum of 500 that ex-councillor Watts bequeathed to the incoming administration. Further, his aligned core strategy that he voted for demands that 6150 houses should be built across the Borough. By agreeing to that figure he has condemned other areas of green belt to be sacrificed unless we have further brownfield sites becoming available.

    • Ian Blakeley says:

      Care to comment on Ms Cutts proposal to ‘abolish’ local councils Philip?

    • RichHartman says:

      Philip – Care to comment on the fact that it was your Tory government’s planning inspector who decided on the 6150 houses across our borough, not ex-councillor Watts or his ‘cronies’ ? .
      Care to comment on the fact it was your Tory government’s minister who chose not to step in and change the figures when he had the opportunity?

      • Philip Owen says:

        The figures were agreed by the then controlling Labour/Liberal coalition.

      • RichHartman says:

        Philip – the figures were agreed by your government minister and your government-appointed inspector and – by the unfulfilled promise of a sucessful anti-campaign – by our MP.

  4. Joan Wade says:

    It is interesting to see that Broxtowe has once again got one of the worst financial settlements. Those in government seem determined that the residents of Bramcote should suffer the most. It is almost as if some experiment is being carried out on them to see how much they are willing to take.

  5. Fred R says:

    “in a separate survey 72% of tram passengers had asked for the return of conductors ” – I’m not surprised, and I’d be in favour of conductors. IIRC, the last time I was in Sheffield a year or so back, they have conductors on the trams, which made using the system a lot less stressful than having to buy pre-paid tickets or use machines. I do remember being in Manchester last year, and getting really wound up when I tried to pay for a ticket, with a tram waiting, with a note and having the damn thing refused repeatedly. Eventually a kind person changed the note for coins which the machine was having. Conductors would also eliminate other problems which have been reported in the local press.

  6. Barry Morrison says:

    Come on Fred. We can’t have things done which would make it easier and convenient for the fare paying passenger..What would they do with the officious inspectors?. Now keep the answers clean please

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