David Watts writes on: 1. By Elections, 2. Council Finance, 3. Bramcote School, 4. Online Bullying, 5. Best of Broxtowe Awards, 6. County Council Funding, 7. Alienated Voters, 8. Eastwood Baptist Church, 9. Beeston Round Table, 10. Dr Katherine Hubbard, 11. Bartons Depot, 12. Bluecoat Singers, 13. Stop And Search Powers, 14. Tram Offer.
1. By Elections
Thursday of this week will see two by-elections in Broxtowe, one in Greasley and the other in Toton and Chilwell Meadows. Our candidate in Greasley is Keith Longdon, the popular mayor of Eastwood, and our candidate in Toton is local resident Graham Heal. The outgoing councillor for Toton, Conservative Natalie Harvey, has announced this week that she is not supporting the Conservative candidate to replace her but is backing Graham instead. Natalie pointed out that Graham is the only candidate who lives in the ward and she has known him for a number of years. She is sure he will make an excellent councillor.
I’ve been active in Toton, canvassing and delivering leaflets, and we have had a very good reception from local people. There have been a huge team of Lib Dems out campaigning and there is a very good feel about the campaign. On Saturday we bumped into some Labour canvassers who told is that they did not think that they could win, although to be honest there were properly just being realistic. Labour have never held a council seat in Toton, which has always been represented either by Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.
I was very disappointed though to see a claim in the Tory leaflet that went out at the weekend which was nothing but a lie. Their leaflet claims that Labour and the Liberal Democrats voted against Tory plans to freeze council tax on the Borough Council. This is quite a remarkable claim given that the vote does not take place for another two weeks! There have been a number of questionable claims within the Conservative leaflets (for instance calling their candidate local when she lives in Beeston North) but this one is simply untrue.
2. Council Finance
One thing that is clear about local government finance is that Broxtowe will this year received the third worst financial package of any local authority in the country. Whilst authorities in the south of England seem to be getting increases Broxtowe is facing a cut of 29% in the money that it gets from national government. The financial arrangements for local authorities were debated in Parliament this week and our MP Anna Soubry voted in favour of the cuts locally.
3. Bramcote School
Bramcote School have this week unveiled plans to move from their existing location at the old Bramcote Park School to share a campus with Bramcote College, which is on the site of the old Bramcote Hills School. They then intend to sell the existing Park School site for housing and to use that money to redevelop the site of the school and Bramcote College. They are also hoping to sell off some unused playing fields for housing. The total cost of the redevelopment work is estimated at £20 million.
4. Online Bullying
Last Monday was Safer Internet Day, where many children received lessons about how to stay safe online. It coincided with the launch of a survey by Nottinghamshire County Council which showed that internet bullying in the county is on the decline. This is extremely good news. The survey interviewed nearly 3,000 pupils across the county aged 10 or over. The results showed that 21% of respondents had been subject to cyber-bullying, down from 22% when the survey was last done three years ago. Obviously there is still a long way to go but I would like to thank all the teachers and other helpers who have got the figures moving the right way.
5. Best of Broxtowe Awards
The Nottingham Post has teamed up with Broxtowe Borough Council to launch the first unsung heroes of Broxtowe award. Nominations are open now and can be made at www.Nottinghampost.com/bestofBroxtoweBorough. The closing date for nominations is Friday 8th April. The awards will be presented on 12 May. There are 11 different categories and the three finalists will be announced for each.
6. County Council Funding
The government have announced that Notts county council is to receive an extra
£4 million of funding from them for this year. This is very welcome but still means that the county has a £7 million shortfall in its budgets.
7. Alienated Voters
Sticking with the county council for a moment, a survey published this week showed that 72% of the county’s residents felt that they had no influence over what the Council did on their behalf and only 43% felt that it provided good value for money. These are very disappointing results, and really does call into question the proposal of the Conservatives to abolish the Borough Council and takers into being part of a unitary county authority.
8. Eastwood Baptist Church
Eastwood Baptist Church is celebrating its 140th birthday this month. As part of the celebrations they will be put in their archives on display. This includes their marriage registers from when the church opened and hundreds of photographs of local people. The Eastwood Collieries Male Voice Choir will also be performing. The archives and high performance will be on 27 February and tickets can be obtained by ringing 01773 770878.
9. Beeston Round Table
I would like to congratulate Beeston Round Table for their record-breaking fundraising efforts at Christmas. Each year they take Santa round the streets of Broxtowe, this year spending 450 man-hours on the job. In doing this they raised £7500 which has been distributed to 13 different charities in the Borough. This is a truly excellent effort.
10. Dr Katherine Hubbard
Beeston based biologist Dr Katherine Hubbard has been shortlisted for the Royal Society of Biology’s higher education bioscience teacher of the year award. She is one of three finalists for the £1000 prize, which is awarded to teachers who make an outstanding contribution to higher education in bioscience. The winner will be announced on 4 May.
11. Bartons Depot
Plans have been put on display this week for a proposed development at the Bartons site on Chilwell Road. This is something that I spent many, many hours trying to achieve when I was on the council and I am glad that they are now coming to fruition (although I haven’t yet seen the plans to see the detail of what is proposed). I understand that they are proposing the building of about 300 houses together with community facilities and open spaces.
12. Bluecoat Singers
The Bluecoat Singers, who are a Nuthall based community choir, performed last week at Nuthall Methodist Church and raised £1,646 which they have donated to the My Sight charity. I would like to congratulate them on their efforts and on their generosity.
13. Stop And Search Powers
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary this week commended Nottinghamshire police for using their stop and search powers in a fair way. The Inspectorate found that the police operated with an ethical culture, which is something to be welcomed. The police were however criticised for not being very effective in terms of community engagement. Overall they were given a three star rating by the Inspectorate, one down from the highest level.
14. Tram Offer
During half term week families will be able to purchase group tram tickets for £5. These are normally only available on weekends and in evenings but they are being made available all day during the holiday week.
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