David 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
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.
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.
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.
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