David Watts writes on: 1. Central College to Close. 2. Councillors and Council Tax 3. The Fight For Broxtowe 4. New Youth Mayor and Deputy 5. Mental Health Services 6. CAB Energy Fest 7. Council Play Strategy 8. Midland Mainline Electrification 9. Nottinghamshire Police 10. Junction 25A 11. Eastwood Writers Group 12. New Recreational Space 13. Road Accident Figures 14. Stapleford Farmers Market 15. Kimberley Chapel 16. Stapleford Aldi 17. Friends of Toton Fields.
1. Central College to Close
Central College have announced plans to close their campus in Beeston around
2020 and move all the students to a new campus in the city centre. At the moment they have 500 students at the campus and there are a range of courses provided for all ages. It would be a significant backward step for the college to be closed and I hope that the council will do everything in their power to reverse this decision.
2. Councillors and Council Tax
Private Eye have published a map this week showing the results of a freedom of information request that they made to all local councils. This showed that in Broxtowe four of our councillors needed to be sent reminders before they paid their council tax. It doesn’t reveal which councillors or which parties, and there may be many reasons why a payment might be delayed and so I pass no judgement on the figures, but this is one in every 11 councillors on the borough.
3. The Fight For Broxtowe
The Conservative Party have renewed their attempts to abolish Broxtowe Borough Council. This week both Anna Soubry MP and Kay Cutts, the leader of the Tories on the County Council, have this week both called for the abolition of Broxtowe and for everything to be placed in the hands of the County Council. I fundamentally disagree with this and if one level of local government needs to be abolished then I would call for the County Council to be the one to go. I think that the borough Council is far more in tune with local people than the county, and people here identify far more with Broxtowe than they do with the County. The Conservatives may be making a pigs ear of running Broxtowe by all accounts but it is still an important council for local people.
4. New Youth Mayor and Deputy
Broxtowe has a new youth mayor and a new deputy. The new youth mayor is Samaira Saleem from Nuthall, and the new deputy is Yamam Alsudani. Congratulations to them both on their elections. They will lead the Broxtowe Youth Council and also have the right to speak in meetings of Broxtowe Borough Council. (This was a change that I introduced when I was leader of the council and is one of the contributions that I made that I am most proud of.)
5. Mental Health Services
A report was published last week which presented a very disappointing picture of mental health service provision in Nottinghamshire. The report by Healthwatch Nottingham and Nottinghamshire looked at the experience of more than 260 people who had attempted to access services in the county and found that often the services were not available when people needed them. They also found very long waiting times for people to access services. Over the past few years there has been a greatly increased willingness amongst people to talk about mental health issues, but sadly it seems that getting appropriate levels of services for people still has some way to go.
6. CAB Energy Fest
Broxtowe CAB is running an Energy Fest on Tuesday 8th November between 10am and 3pm. Make an appointment now and come and see how you can save money on your energy bills. ‘Easy Energy Switching Tool’ – switching providers is easy, bring your annual energy statement and find out how much you could save on your gas and electricity bills. Energy saving tips, budgeting, debt and benefit advice and a free goody bag!
7. Council Play Strategy
Broxtowe Borough Council is preparing a new play strategy, looking at the play areas that it provides for children and how they can be made better. They are inviting comments from users of the play parks, and there are two surveys being carried out, one for children between 5 and 9 and the other for those aged 10 to 16. The surveys can be found at http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=16784.
8. Midland Mainline Electrification
A couple of years ago the coalition government announced that they were making the funds available to finance the electrification of the Midland Mainline, which should lead to faster trains between Beeston and London. There have been rumours that the current Conservative Government have gone cool on the idea, and the matter is due to be debated on Monday in parliament, I will report on the outcome of this debate next week.
9. Nottinghamshire Police
A report published this week by Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary rated the Nottinghamshire Police as inadequate, one of just eight forces to be given such a poor ranking. The force has a £9.4 million shortfall in its budgets caused by accounting errors. This is the thought of thing that the Police and Crime Commissioner is meant to supervise, and so it seems to be a significant failure on his part as well of that of the police.
10. Junction 25A
The MP for Erewash, Maggie Throup, has called for the creation of a Junction 25A on the M1 during the construction of the HS2 line through Nottinghamshire.
The creation of a new junction would take traffic straight from the motorway to the HS2 station, but also ease congestion on existing roads. It is something that I proposed when I chaired the HS2 group on the council, and I am glad that this is still being taken forward.
11. Eastwood Writers Group
A number of local writers, who come together as the Eastwood Writers Group, will be launching a number of new books on Saturday 19th November at 1.30pm.
The event will take place at the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum. Entry to the event is free, although the normal admission charges to the museum will apply.
12. New Recreational Space
The Friends of Colliers Wood have teamed up with Broxtowe Borough Council to create a new recreation and activity area inside the Moorgreen entrance to Colliers Wood. There will be new seating and tables, together with two mining wheel segments.
13. Road Accident Figures
Nottinghamshire County Council have published figures which show that there were almost 1,800 road traffic accidents in the county last year. This is an improvement on 2014, when there were 1,903 accidents. The number of fatal accidents has also improved, down from 26 to 22.
14. Stapleford Farmers Market
Unfortunately Stapleford Farmers Market has closed with immediate effect, due to the low number of customers who used it. The market opened in March last year and was meeting in Walter Parker VC Square, but the organisers have concluded that it is not viable to continue operating it. This is deeply disappointing for those who used the market, but sadly not enough people did.
15. Kimberley Chapel
The refurbished Kimberley Cemetery Chapel has reopened after being refurbished.
The chapel had become semi-derelict but a restoration scheme costing £11,500 has brought it back into use. The chapel is now licensed for weddings and funerals. Much of the work has been done by volunteers, and everyone connected with the project is to be congratulated.
16. Stapleford Aldi
The Aldi Supermarket chain already have planning permission to build a new store in Stapleford just outside the town centre, but that includes a condition that housing allocated for part of the site is constructed before the store comes into use. Conditions like this are commonplace to ensure the housing is actually built and that stores don’t just ignore this part of the development plan. However Aldi say that they cannot find a partner to build the houses and so they have submitted a new application to remove this condition. We will need to see what approach the council takes to this in due course.
17. Friends of Toton Fields
The Friends of Toton Fields, in partnership with Broxtowe Borough Council, are bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. The supermarket has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative, which see grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy
– being awarded to environmental and greenspace projects. Three groups in each of Tesco’s 416 regions have been shortlisted to receive the cash award. This month shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant. The Friends of Toton Fields is one of the groups on the shortlist. The project will make our local nature reserve at Toton Fields fully accessible to everyone in our community by improving pathways and access points. We also intend to improve wildlife habitats to encourage and attract a broader range of native plants and animals. Voting is open in stores from 31st October – 13th November. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.
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