Planning Inspector overturns (another) democratic, local decision
The Planning Inspector has over turned a decision by Broxtowe Borough Council to refuse planning permission for development on Bramcote Golf Course – a supposedly specially protected green open space. The decision has been condemned by the Borough Council leader, Richard Jackson. Richard rightly points out that in refusing the application for a retirement village, the planning committee of the Council took into account the views of local residents and the adverse impact the development will have on Bramcote Ridge and Bramcote Hills. The Council will now consider if they can in effect appeal the Inspectors decision by way of a Judicial Review, but that would be very expensive.
Last month the Inspector found for the developer at Field Farm. Broxtowe Borough Council had refused the developers plans on the basis the houses were of a poor design that failed to reflect the character of this Green Belt land. The Inspector overturned the Council’s entirely sensible decision.
I have strongly opposed development plans for Bramcote Golf Course and Field Farm working with residents and Councillors of all parties and no party
Council leader, Richard Jackson and I are meeting the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid on Wednesday. We will discuss the Inspectors’ recent decisions which fly in the face of Government policy and democratic local decision making. I have also applied for a debate in Parliament.
You can be assured that, along with Conservative Councillors, I will not hesitate to defend locally made democratic planning decisions when they are at odds with stated Government policy.
Conservative run Broxtowe freezes rates and protects services Conservative run Broxtowe Borough Council voted for a budget which freezes Council tax and protects services. The budget was supported by Lib Dem Councillors. Labour’s proposed 1.99% rise was rejected. There is concern about the long term funding of our Borough Council and the rise in business rates for some local traders following a national revaluation and I spoke on both matters in Parliament << Standing up for Broxtowe – my speech on funding and business rates >>
Tony Smith’s A52 speed restriction petition presented in Parliament.
Bramcote resident Tony Smith, came to Parliament on Tuesday with his petition of over 1600 signatures calling for speed restrictions on the A52. I presented the petition in the House of Commons which will add to pressure on Highways England to put speed restrictions in place between Bramcote roundabout and Priory Island. Speeding cars has been a problem for a while and last November two men died in an accident which is believed to have been caused by excessive speed. Tony sat in the body of the chamber as I presented the petition. << Delivering the A52 petition (scroll to 19.08) >>
13 year old dies in Bramcote of suspected drug overdose A thirteen year old Nottingham boy died in Bramcote early last week and a woman has been arrested following his death. It is believed the dead teenager died from a drug overdose – a terrible loss of a young life. Until the police and coroner have concluded their investigations I believe none of us should speculate as to what has happened. Keeping communities safe and free of crime remain a priority for local Councillors and myself.
Jordan and the Syrian refugee crisis
I learnt a great deal during my visit to Jordan a few weeks ago. I went as a guest of Oxfam and met a number of Syrian refugee families living in towns in Jordan, and in the Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian desert, just south of the border with Syria. The Zaatari camp is a temporary home to 80,000 Syrian refugees.
My companion was Dr Rosena Allin-Khan the Labour MP for Tooting; Rosena worked in various refugee camps and in the NHS, before being elected as an MP last year. It was a real pleasure to travel with her and learn from her experience. We came to a number of conclusions and in due course we will debate them in Parliament.
In the meantime I have asked questions, based on my experiences in Jordan, to both the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson and to Priti Patel the International Aid Secretary.
In short Rosena I concluded that overwhelmingly Syrian refugees want to go home and until such time as they can, they must stay in the region and families should not be split up. Some families do need to be resettled. We met Kahild who is an accountant; along with his young family he was due to be settled in the USA. That was until President Trump banned all refugees from entering America – a cruel and unjustified act.
Rosena and I also believe young Syrian refugees need training alongside Jordanians. Jordan has accommodated almost 1.5 Syrian refugees and it is imperative we continue to support the Jordanians in increasingly difficult economic circumstances.
I am very proud that, as a country we have provided over £2 billion in aid to support Syrian refugees; that is on top of the many millions given by individuals to charities like Oxfam whose work in Jordan is entirely based on donations.
Dubs amendment controversy The funeral of Sir Peter Mansfield, which I was honoured to attend, meant I could not add my vote to a motion in Parliament which called for the Government to continue supporting schemes to resettle unaccompanied child refugees. The issue is called the Dubbs Amendment after legislation was amended to ensure Britain took in hundreds of lone children fleeing war and poverty.
This is a very complicated matter. Firstly, County Councils like Nottinghamshire, willing to take child refugees, argue they can not without more resources (and we should not underestimate the particular support these children and young people require).
We know France is keen to end the scheme and I have no doubt that people traffickers are exploiting young people as a result of the “draw” that our commitment undoubtedly is.
Like many I am somewhat annoyed that over 16 year olds qualify as children (they are not). The media spotlight has fallen on some young men and drifted away from the thousands of under 16 year old children in Greece and Italy, who have lost their parents and need resettling.
I believe it would be wrong for us to abandon our commitment to the Dubbs amendment and we must do more to resettle unaccompanied children – that means more resources for County Councils like Notts who I know want to help. However, the real solution lies in eliminating the need for people to flee their homeland; a more peaceful world would be a good starting place.
Trowell Parish Council and HS2 I was pleased to meet with Trowell Parish Council who, like me are opposed to HS2’s plans for a 60 foot viaduct through the village. The current consultation on both the planned route and compensation scheme closes this Thursday March 9. Please contact me if you haven’t already taken part. As I explained to the Parish Council it is vital everyone has their say – as individuals, as Councillors and as a Parish Council.
Diamond geezer … Mayor’s Civic Ball for a great cause There is still time to purchase tickets for this year’s Civic Ball, organised by our Mayor Graham Harvey to be held on Saturday April 8th. Tickets are £35 with all proceeds going to Prostrate Cancer UK; the Ball includes dinner and dancing at the Belfry Hotel near Nuthall. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 917 3210 for tickets. I hope to see you there!
Forever Stars shine on! Congratulations to Michelle and Richard Daniels of local charity Forever Stars for being presented a Point of Light award by the Prime Minister. Next week the Chilwell couple will have the honour of a tram name. Michelle and Richard set up Forever Stars after their baby Emily was stillborn at the QMC and they discovered there was no bereavement suite for families. They raised over £115,000 in just 18 months and the Serenity Suite opened last year. Now they are raising money for a similar suite at the City Hospital and will then fundraise for a suite at Derby. << Please support Forever Stars >>
Bennerley viaduct – a great project gets off the ground I am delighted to support a project to reopen the Bennerley Viaduct near Awsworth. The charity Sustrans will bid for £4 million of Heritage Lottery funds to reopen the Viaduct which is 400m long and one of only two wrought-iron viaducts left in the country. Bennerley Viaduct supported rail lines to transport coal across the Erewash Valley. The restoration works will combine routes for cyclists and pedestrians and will link walks along the old Nottingham canal with the Erewash canal and trail. It’s simply a brilliant project! << Support Sustran’s plans for the Bennerley Viaduct here >>
Greasley matters Nottinghamshire County Council have refused to introduce measures to stop speeding in Moorgreen. I wrote to Council Leader Alan Rhodes asking for action to stop speeding which has been a problem for over 10 years. Cllr. Rhodes says nothing can be done because there have not been enough deaths, injuries or serious accidents in Moorgreen over the last 3 years! Of course this may be thanks to the work done by Moorgreen Residents’ Association who set up their own speed watch during this time.
I will meet the Association along with local County Councillor, John Handley to discuss how we can persuade the County Council to tackle this long standing problem.
Off road biking was raised as a particular concern at last year’s Meet the Team event. Initial reassurances from the local police that they were tackling the problem seem to have fallen away and I am told off road biking is even worse! I have contacted the local Inspector again asking for urgent action.
Friends of Toton Fields cash boost Congratulations to the Friends of Toton Fields who in partnership with Broxtowe Borough Council have been successful in their bid for £8000 of funding from Tesco. I also understand Notts County Council have also provided contributions. The money will be used to spruce up (not literally) the Toton Fields woodlands including tree maintenance, wildflower planting and new paths for horses. << Join Friends of Toton Fields >>
Brexit – facts not fiction and why I will fight a hard Brexit
As I hope you know the Bill to give the power to the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 and start the process of our leaving the EU, is going through Parliament. I voted for the Bill, for us to leave the EU, last month; the House of Lords is now considering a series of amendments to the Bill with more important votes this coming week.
I think it is important to explain that none of these amendments will stop us leaving the EU whatever the headlines in some newspapers claim. Last week the Lords voted to give EU nationals an immediate right to become British citizens.
This coming week they will debate whether Parliament should have a vote in the event of us reaching a deal with the EU or if no deal is agreed. I voted for such an amendment in the Commons. Any such amendment will not delay or stop us leaving the EU. However, it is a safety net to stop prevent the possibility of a Hard Brexit.
The Prime Minister has said Parliament will have a vote on any deal and I trust her word. However, Theresa May is refusing to allow Parliament a say on what happens if no deal is reached – meaning we would have a Hard Brexit – straight on to World Trade organisation tariffs. If the PM would agree not to allow this to happen and for Parliament to decide what happens next, then I would be content and would not seek to amend the Bill; I reckon the Lords would take the same view.
Post problem needs sorting Residents in Dormy Close, Bramcote have had no post deliveries since December due to allegations about a neighbour’s dog.
It appears the local postman has complained that the said dog, is dangerous even though it apparently has been classed as safe, and it hasn’t attacked anyone.
In what seems like a “stand off”, the postie refuses to deliver to Dormy Close, which means residents have to go and collect their post from Beeston. Whilst I have every sympathy for our postmen and women, this situation needs … sorting. I have written to the Chief Executive of Royal Mail asking her to intervene.