Comments from David Watts, Liberal Democrat – 15 May 2016

David-Watts1. John Clifford School / 2. Election Expenses  / 3. St Barnabas Concert / 4.  Beeston Post Office / 5. European Referendum Question Time / 6. Tip Registration Scheme / 7. Yellow Lines, West Avenue, Stapleford  / 8. East Midlands Ambulance Service / 9. Police Chief Constable / 10. Refurbished Bin Lorries / 11.Power Cut / 12. Brinsley Community Choir / 13 Pride of Broxtowe / 14. Seatbelts / 15. Stapleford Carnival 

1. John Clifford School      May I start by correcting an item in last weeks newsletter. I reported that the school had 208 pupils, which was the number in the Nottingham Post report.   However a couple of the Governors have been in touch to say that this was an error and the correct figure should have been 420. I’m happy to put this right.

2. Election Expenses     There have been a couple of further developments in the reports that various Conservative MP’s, including Anna Soubry, had under-declared their expenditure during the general election campaign. The general allegation was widened this week to include letters sent to various constituencies by the Conservatives, and Broxtowe residents were amongst those who received those letters. Offences related to election expenses usually have to be investigated within a year of the election but the police can apply to the magistrates for an extension. Nottinghamshire Police have done this and have obtained a 12 month extension. It is only right that I mention that this was not opposed by Anna Soubry or her election agent, who have issued a statement saying that they had followed the advice that they were given and they believe that they have done nothing wrong. It is likely that this enquiry will now fade from the headlines for a while whilst the police get on with their job. We all await the outcome with interest.

3. St Barnabas Concert      This is outside the boundaries of Broxtowe but there are two Beeston based groups performing and so I thought that it was worth mentioning. On Saturday 21st May at St Barnabas Church, Derby Read, Lenton Abbey (off Prior Island) Hope Community Gospel Choir and Jelly, a small band, will be performing. The event starts at 7.30pm. Donations of £5 for adults and £2.50 for children are requested in aid of the church fund which is raising money to improve the church facilities to enable it to better serve the local community. It will be a great evening of music!

4. Beeston Post Office     The Post Office is holding a ‘Customer Forum’ on Monday May 23 from 4pm until 7pm at the Victory Club on Station Road to discuss the proposal to relocate the Post Office into WH Smiths. I would encourage as many people as possible to attend to hear what the Post Office have to say and to make their views known.   Concerns have quite rightly been raised about the effect that the move will have on Beeston’s other Post Office which is further along the same road. It seems unlikely that the two Post Offices would both survive.

5. European Referendum Question Time  Beeston Parish Church will be hosting a question time style event about the forthcoming EU referendum this Tuesday evening, 17th March, starting at 7pm.  The event will be chaired by Professor Stephen Diacon who is the secretary to the Rotary Club in Beeston. The panel will include a number of speakers including former BBC East Midlands Politics editor John Hess. Everyone is welcome to attend.

6. Tip Registration Scheme    As regular readers will be aware the County Council have introduced a registration scheme for people wishing to use their waste disposal sites. This has caused significant unhappiness amongst many people and my own view is that the amount of detail requested in the registration process is wholly unnecessary. The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives both opposed the scheme at the full council last week and the council have agreed to look at improving the system.

7. Yellow Lines, West Avenue, Stapleford       Nottinghamshire County Council have announced that they want to install double yellow lines on West Avenue in Stapleford, outside Andy’s Fish Shop. The County Council say that inconsiderate parking by customers causes too many problems, hence their proposal. Needless to say the owners of the chip shop are extremely unhappy with this suggestion, fearing that it will hit customer numbers. Whilst clearly it is important that cars are parked sensibly and that motorists are able to see as they drive along West Avenue and Nottingham Road I do hope that an alternative solution can be found which does not affect the shop. (I will confess that I am, from time to time, a customer there.

8. East Midlands Ambulance Service       Sadly the latest report from the Care Quality Commission into the East Midlands Ambulance Service has concluded that the service does not have enough staff to operate safely. My own experience of having to call an ambulance earlier this year was that the promised ten minute response time turned out to be just over an hour, and a lack of staff may well have been a cause of this. Sadly the problems once again seem to be a failing of management.

9. Police Chief Constable     The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Chris Eyre, has announced that he is standing down after six years in the post. His time in office has seen a significant drop in crime for which he deserves congratulations. Mr Eyres will be leaving on 23rd June and will be taking up a post in Cyprus. In the short term his deputy, Sue Fish, will take over but she has already announced that she will be retiring on 31st March next year, by which time hopefully a permanent replacement will be in place.

10. Refurbished Bin Lorries    Broxtowe Borough Council have refurbished two of their bin lorries, rather than replacing them with new vehicles. This will help the council balance their books, as the refurbishment costs are £26,500 per vehicle, compared to £165,000 for a new one. It is likely that the same thing will be done with the rest of the fleet when they fall due to be replaced over the next few years.

11. Power Cut     More than 2,000 homes in Bramcote and Stapleford were hit by a power cut on Tuesday this week. The power went out at about lunchtime and was not restored until 2pm, with some properties not being reconnected until about an hour later. Western Power, who are responsible for the cables on which electricity is provided, have not yet said what the cause of the power cut was.

12. Brinsley Community Choir     Congratulations to the Brinsley Community Choir who have raised £1,500 for the Patients Association for Seriously Ill Children (PASIC) by performing two concerts at Brinsley Parish Hall. The choir meets at St James church in Brinsley on a Tuesday evening and are open to new members. If you would like to participate please ring 0795 695 5105 for more details.

13. Pride of Broxtowe   Congratulations to Kimberley scout master Dawson Sexton who was this week announced as the winner of the Pride of Broxtowe judges award. He was also named as a “local hero” for the work with the scouts. The best website award went to Stapleford Fire Station, sports personality was Matthew Ellis from Awsworth, who is a GB Paralympian, and the young achiever award went to six year old Xander Goodwin from Chilwell. Congratulations to everyone involved in the event and to all the nominees.

14. Seatbelts     Notts County Council have announced this week that they carried out a roadside survey earlier this year which showed that 5.5% of motorists were not wearing a seatbelt. I am staggered at how high this figure was. Having been an eye witness a few years ago to an accident where a young child went straight through the front windscreen of a car because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt (and where a work colleague and I carried out the first aid until the ambulance arrived) I would urge everyone to ensure that they wear their seatbelts on every journey, however short.

15. Stapleford Carnival     I am delighted to hear that Stapleford Carnival will go ahead this year as planned after Beeston Rotary Club agreed to support the event. Until now the carnival has been supported by the Notts/Derby Hemlockstone Lions but they withdrew their support for this years event, causing some doubt as to whether the event would go ahead until the Rotary Club stepped in. The carnival will take place on Saturday 3rd September between 11.30am and 5.30pm.

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

Best wishes. David

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