Update from Councillor Stan Heptinstall, 22 February 2013
Part 1 – New Information
New High Speed Train Service (HS2)
The government has announced that Toton Sidings is the preferred location for the East Midlands station for the new High Speed Train Service (HS2) that is being planned to connect our area to Birmingham and London. Apparently the existing Nottingham station is not accessible and also other East Midlands cities need to have access to the regional station. So far the general reaction is that improved high-speed access to major cities will bring a much-needed economic boost to the East Midlands area and is to be welcomed.
Further Consultation on Broxtowe Borough Council’s Core Strategy
Broxtowe Borough Council has just announced proposed changes to Broxtowe’s emerging Core Strategy consequent to the announcement by Government that Toton Sidings is the preferred location for the proposed HS2 station. I have attached the details of how to engage with this consultation [PDF]. Broxtowe Borough Council is keen for the consultation to be as wide as possible.
Jobs Fayre – Wednesday 6 March
Stapleford Community Group have organised an Employment & Training Fayre at The Meeting Place, 22-26 Nottingham Road, Stapleford NG9 8AA on Wednesday 6 March 2013 – 10.30am to 2pm. Several companies will be showing what they can offer from training courses to employment opportunities. Everyone is welcome.
Review of Electoral Ward Boundaries
In July 2012 the Local Government Boundary Commission for England advised that it would be undertaking a review of Broxtowe Borough Council’s electoral arrangements. The Commission will first address the issue of Council size before it then considers the number and boundaries of electoral wards.
The second stage will be to review ward boundaries to address the imbalance in the councillor/elector ratio. A councillor and officer working group will be set up to consider proposals for the ward boundaries. The working group’s recommendations have to be submitted by 3 February 2014. It is anticipated that any changes will be in place before the next set of elections to Broxtowe Borough Council in 2015. At this stage, I have no idea what this will mean for the wards that cover Bramcote and Stapleford but changes can be anticipated.
Council Tax in 2013/14
It is now clear that most components of your council tax will not increase this coming year. All of your local councils (Nottinghamshire County Council, Broxtowe Borough Council and Stapleford Town Council) look set for a 0% increase this year. On the other hand, the new Police and Crime Commissioner has decided to raise the police element of the Council Tax by 1.95%. (Incidentally, I was one of those who spoke against this in a recent debate at the County Council.) At the time of writing it is unclear whether there will be any increase in the element of the tax that goes to the Fire Authority.
Council Tax Benefits
In some areas of the country some people who receive council tax benefits will have their benefits cut following a reduction in government funding. This will not happen in the Broxtowe Borough Council area in that councillors have found another way of meeting the shortfall in funding. This will be achieved through increased charges for those with empty properties and second homes.
The results of a survey on residents’ satisfaction with Broxtowe Borough Council have just become available. Residents have indicated that they now feel safer, receive better value for money and are more able to influence decisions affecting their local area than ever before.
The Residents Satisfaction Survey 2012 showed that residents felt safer both during the day and after dark; nearly all of those asked felt safe outside during the day (98%) and 82% said they felt safe outside after dark. 60% of people believe Broxtowe Borough Council is providing value for money – a 21% increase on the previous year. A greater number of respondents than ever before (46%) felt they had the ability to influence decisions affecting their local area compared to the Nottinghamshire average of 36%. Residents were also more satisfied than ever with the way Broxtowe Borough Council runs things, as over seven in ten respondents (72%) expressed their satisfaction. When asked about their overall satisfaction with Broxtowe Borough as a place to live, 86% said they were satisfied.
Almost four in five (78%) of respondents believe they are being kept well informed about the services and benefits Broxtowe Borough Council provides. Three in four (75%) Broxtowe respondents felt that their local area is one where people from different ethnic backgrounds get on well together, compared to the Nottinghamshire average of 58%. Levels of satisfaction with the parks and open spaces provided by Broxtowe Borough Council also reached their highest ever levels; 86% expressed satisfaction with parks and open spaces in their area – a significant improvement on the 74% when this question was last asked in 2008. Over four in five (85%) Broxtowe respondents expressed satisfaction with the standard of cleanliness within the borough’s parks and open spaces.
The Meeting Place, Stapleford
The Meeting Place is a new community café and education centre at the site of the former Sail Brothers furniture shop / Finbows Gym. It includes a café, staffed by volunteers and space, which can be used for toddler groups and education classes. The police will also be using space within the building when they move out of the police station. The idea for a meeting place for the community came from two local women, Jenny Salt and Tracey Marvin, who have pulled together funding from various sources to re-furbish the derelict building and create a focal point for the community. Why not pop in, see what is on offer and have a cup of tea?
Stapleford library is due for a major refurbishment, commencing in April. In order to keep at least a limited service operating, an Express Library service will be provided during the works at the Carnegie Centre, in the main hall. The Express service will include: books; large print books and the spoken word lending service, together with story telling for young children during school holidays. Hours of opening will be as follows: Monday 9am – 5pm, Tuesday 9am – 1pm, Wednesday no service, Thursday 9am – 7pm, Friday 9am -1pm, Saturday 9.30am – 1pm.
Bramcote CAT Meeting
The next meeting of the Bramcote CAT is on Monday 4 March in the Memorial Hall, Church Street, Bramcote. The meeting starts at 7pm and all are welcome. I will be chairing the meeting and all are welcome. Contributions are invited on all and any matter that relates to Bramcote and its environs. Incidentally, this will be the 48th meeting of the Bramcote Community Action Team so we are getting near to half a century!
Stapleford South East CAT Meeting
The next Stapleford South East CAT meeting will be held on Tuesday 5 March at 7pm at The Meeting Place, Nottingham Road. Cllr David Grindell will chair the meeting. The Town Centre Manager (Matt Batterham) has been invited to explain the role of the newly formed Town Board and plans for the Town Centre.
Older People’s Homes
There has been quite a lot of media coverage about the decision of Broxtowe Borough Council to close two old people’s homes. These are Wyndham Court in Chilwell and Peatfield Court in Stapleford. Unfortunately both of these buildings are not up to modern standards and are virtually impossible to properly modernise. Therefore demolition is the only real option. I fully understand that residents will be upset by this but the council will do all they can to support them and their families. However waiting was really not an option as we were in a situation where the money is available this year to demolish and build new social housing but it may not be available in future years.
Broxtowe Borough Red Carpet Charity Ball and Civic Night
You are invited to the annual Charity Ball and Civic Night on Saturday 20 April 2013 at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel, Mellors Way, Nottingham, NG8 6PY in support of the Ryan Lee Trust and the Royal British Legion, Nottinghamshire. The evening will commence with a wine reception, followed by a three-course dinner and dancing to the 12th Generation Party Band. Any specific dietary needs can be catered for. There will also be a Grand Raffle to help raise funds for the charities. Tickets are priced at £32 and are available from Broxtowe Borough Council’s Civic Office until Friday 5 April 2013 at the latest. We hope you will join us with your friends or colleagues for what promises to be an enjoyable evening of fun and fundraising for these deserving Charities, as well as a chance to celebrate the many positive aspects of Broxtowe Borough. More information is available or call 0115 917 3200.
Bramcote Hills Park Tree Planting
The latest addition to the growing arboretum, a European Nettle Tree, was planted recently at Bramcote Hill Park Arboretum. The tree is a very large specimen and was lowered into the planting pit using a mechanical digger.
Children from several local schools witnessed the planting; they were taking part in a bigger project to restock the woodland with native trees and wildflowers. The children also planting flower bulbs around the trunk
of a very large beech tree which collapsed last year and helping to think of ideas for a chainsaw sculptor to interpret and carve into the trunk. The sculptor will be coming to the park in a few weeks to begin carving and the children will visit again to see their ideas brought to life and listen to a storyteller who will have conjured up tales about the tree, park and woodlands to entertain them. The project is a joint venture between Broxtowe Borough Council and Greenwood, with help from The Trust for Conservation Volunteers. I was delighted to be able to contribute some financial assistance from my County Divisional Funds.
Competition Winner – Clara Elston
I was delighted to be asked to be one of the judges of entries for a competition organised by the Bramcote Today team. The other judges were Anna Soubry MP and local resident Ken Bird. Students from Bramcote produced leaflets designed to sell Bramcote as a good place to live. The winner was Clara Elston. Many congratulations to Clara on her achievement. View the winning entries.
The Council’s Customer Services team received an increased number of calls during the recent bad weather. However, an analysis of performance shows that despite the increase, call demand during the snow and ice was lower than experienced during severe weather in previous years, indicating service improvements, as well as the commitment and dedication of Council employees. The Council’s Bartec Waste Collector System, which went live in March 2012, has also contributed. The system sends a notification to the Customer Services team within one minute of a bin collection being missed, ensuring that they are able to respond to affected residents’ calls in real time.
Broxtowe Warm Zone Update
This scheme has been extended for a short period until the end of March 2013, so if you (or someone you know who lives in Broxtowe) are interested in getting loft or cavity insulation for free or at a small cost, please contact Broxtowe Warm Zone. More information is available.
The Green Deal is a new initiative to transform Britain’s homes. With buildings in Britain among the least efficient in the world, the Green Deal gives homes and businesses a new way of paying for energy efficient improvements such as loft/cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation and new heating systems. More information is available.
Award for the Parks Team
Broxtowe Borough Council has been recognised for the quality of its parks and open spaces, after picking up the Most Improved Performer Award for Parks, Open Space and Horticultural Services at the Association of Public Services Excellence (APSE) Performance Network Awards. The award judges praised the Council for maintaining high service standards and increasing the total area of land maintained, despite reduced budgets. They also commended the Council’s high customer satisfaction rate, reduced sickness levels, the play value of play areas and the number of local nature reserves for the size of the borough.
As from April it will be possible for unused paint to be recycled at the Beeston Household Waste Recycling Centre. Beeston HWRC will become one of three in the county that accepts paint for recycling. The paint is made available to community groups engaged in redecoration programmes, groups such Framework and Mencap. We have been pressing for a local facility for paint recycling for some time and are delighted that this has now been agreed.
Another Red Arrow Bus Service?
There is a development concerning the Red Arrow bus service that links Nottingham and Derby with a stop at the QMC. Some people would like the bus to stop at the Nurseryman PH, as did the TransPeak service that has now been withdrawn, but Trent Barton are not inclined to do this. We understand that a company called YourBus is starting an alternative to the Red Arrow in February and we have asked the County Council to ask for an additional stop either at the Nurseryman PH or somewhere in Bramcote. In turn this might persuade Trent Barton to do the same. Let’s see what happens.
Solar panels on County Buildings
The County Council is going to invest about £250,000 per year until 2017 fitting solar panels on it’s buildings. This will help to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the council and also cut energy costs, and was unanimously supported by councillors.
Five-a-Side Football at Bramcote
Bramcote Leisure Centre is launching five a side football sessions for people
who work nights. These will start on 6 March and will take place between 1pm and 2pm. Sessions cost £2 each. Details are available from the leisure centre.
Easter Bonnet Competition
Stapleford Town Council is supporting the Mayor of Broxtowe’s charities (Ryan Lee Trust and the British Legion) with an Easter bonnet competition and coffee morning to be held at the Carnegie Centre on Thursday 28 March between 10am and 12pm. Young and not so young, bring along your Easter Bonnets, and they will be judged by the Mayors of Stapleford and Broxtowe.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s new Switch ‘n’ Save scheme
This free, no obligation service could help you to save up to £200 a year on your gas and electricity bills. It’s backed by Which? to guarantee you get the best deal on the market. The scheme harnesses ‘people power’ by collectively negotiating the best possible price for its members, with energy companies competing for the custom of all those who sign up to the scheme.
Joining the Nottinghamshire Switch ‘n’ Save scheme is easy and it takes just five minutes to register online for the scheme, which is available from Tuesday 12 February until Wednesday 20 March. Please ensure you have a copy of a recent gas and electricity bill to hand when you register. Once you have registered and the offer has closed, you will receive a quote from Which? showing the best deal available on your gas and electricity deals. If you decide to take up the offer (there is no obligation to do so), you’ll be able to complete the switching process online. You can register on behalf of up to five people from one email address, making it easy to help family and friends who aren’t able to access the internet themselves.
For more information and to sign up to the Nottinghamshire Switch ‘n’ Save scheme.
Alternatively, you can visit a Nottinghamshire County Council Customer Service Point or contact Nottinghamshire County Council on 0300 500 80 80, quoting “Switch ‘n’ Save flyer”.
Microchip your Dog – discounted price
Dog Owners looking to microchip their pets are being invited to attend two drop-in events later this month where Broxtowe Borough Council will be inviting borough residents to microchip their animals for just £5.
Broxtowe Borough Council will host the low cost microchip events at Coronation Park pavilion, Plumptre Way, Eastwood on Sunday 24 February between 12pm and 3pm and Hickings Lane Recreation Ground, Stapleford on Saturday 2 March between 10am and 12pm. Dog owners do not need to make an appointment to microchip their animal and can simply turn up on the day. Dogs are required to wear a collar and lead. More information is available here or tel: 0115 917 3142, or email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Waste and Recycling Questionnaire
A Waste and Recycling Questionnaire was distributed to 5000 homes in November and also residents also had the opportunity to respond to the questionnaire on-line. There was a pleasing response rate with1800 responses in total. Feedback regarding this front line service was very positive with 95% of respondents saying that they were either fairly or very satisfied with the refuse collection team and the service from their home. (This is up 3% from a similar survey carried out in 2005.) 75% of respondents said that they used the kerbside glass collection scheme. 77% indicated that they regularly use the garden waste collection service. (This is up 17% on the last survey.) Only 45% wished to be offered incentive schemes to encourage recycling participation.
Respondents were asked to correctly identify from a list of materials all the items that can be recycled in the green-lidded bin. Worrying only 20% of all respondents answered correctly. Materials causing the most confusion were tetra-pak cartons, glass, plastic food trays, foil and carrier bags, none of which should be placed in the green-lidded bin. A strategy to address this confusion is currently being formulated by the Waste and Recycling Team.
Hemlock Happening 2013 – 8 June
As some of you may know I chair the Bramcote and Stapleford Golden Jubilee Group, which organizes the Hemlock Happening in association with the Arts and Events Team at Broxtowe Borough council. Please note the date – Saturday 8 June. We have a new member of the team – Kelly Smith has taken over from Clare Janes as head of the Arts and Events Team, and she is tremendously excited about being involved in this great community event in Bramcote Hills Park. As always, it promises to be a great day out for all the family.
Part 2 – Responses to Special New Year Editions of Focus
New Year Editions of the Liberal Democrat Focus
In the New Year several different editions of the Liberal Democrat Focus Newsletter were delivered to areas throughout the whole of Bramcote and Stapleford. Liberal Democrat members had inspected the whole of the area and the editions carried comments on issues in your particular area. Residents were invited to contact us with any observations or questions. The response was phenomenal with literally dozens of communications received. In many cases we were able to deal with successfully with the issues raised. Others were more difficult to deal as requests went against current council policy. Below you will find a selection of the issues raised.
Many people congratulated the Liberal Democrats for delivering these special editions of Focus and also for the delivery of the regular issues of the newsletter. People feel they are kept well informed on local issues. In turn we thank you for taking the trouble of reading them and for all the responses received. We enjoy producing them. Delivery is sometimes an issue, and if anyone would like to help deliver them in your own area we would be delighted to hear from you.
Broxtowe Borough Council were complimented on the cleanliness of the roads, pavements and parks. We had indicated that the Council had received a national award for the cleanliness of the borough. However, some residents did identify some areas where litter is still a problem Beeston Cemetery was a concern (now sorted, I believe) and also the seeming inability of vehicles to clean Cow Lane and Town Street properly because of the hedges, vegetation and lack of pavements.Litter deposited by schoolchildren remains a concern.One person mentioned that street cleaning vehicles are seen only rarely on their own quiet road, and another that insufficient care is taken in clearing round the bus shelters on Derby Road. (This last point seems to have been taken care of now.)
We had managed to get the bus route through Bramcote Moor included in the County Council’s emergency gritting programme and we were pleased to see that this worked well this year. There was a specific request for provision of a grit bin on Balmoral Drive. This request was considered by the County Council’s highway department but was turned down. Some residents pointed out that cars parked on the road can interfere with litter collection and gritting. Some people enquired about the schedule of gritting during cold weather. There was also mention about the lack of clearing/gritting of the bridge over the A52 at the Bramcote Island. This last concern has been passed on to the Highways Agency.
The Bramcote Conservation Society was complemented for the recent work to tidy up the ancient Herring-bone stone wall on Town Street, Bramcote.
Many residents were concerned about traffic speed in their particular locality. Previously a petition has been received asking for physical traffic calming measures to be put in place on Town Street, Bramcote. We mentioned this in our newsletter and two people responded to say they were not in favour of this. One thing that has happened is that the electronic speed sign on Town Street has been replaced with a newer interactive version.
Residents who live on some roads in the Bramcote Hills and Bramcote Moor areas also mentioned the problems caused by speeding traffic. An interactive speed sign will be installed on Thoresby Road in March. Also the local police will be using hand-held speed cameras in these areas in the coming weeks.
The police have asked the Highways Agency to consider putting speed cameras in place along the A52 Derby Road.
Some people have called for introduction of 20mph speed limits on local residential roads for which there is no provision via Nottinghamshire County Council at this time. One called for a consultation on the possibility of introducing 20mph limits in at least some residential areas.
Bus Lane Enforcement
The police are taking steps to enforce proper use of the bus lane on the A52 Derby Road in Bramcote and Beeston. Recently 15 tickets were issued to car and van drivers found to be abusing the bus lane. We are told that this operation will be repeated.
Potholes and Uneven Pavements
By far the largest response to our surveys related to potholes on roads and uneven and unsightly pavements. We reported all such issues to the County Council and many inspections were carried out. This did result in some repairs but in many cases residents were informed that the current funding available for repairs is too small and that ensuring the safety and pedestrians was the only criterion for action. Court Yard, Bramcote was a particulate target for action.
In fairness to the County Council the extraordinary weather we have experienced this year has resulted in far more potholes than usual. On a positive note we are informed that next year’s budget for potholes and pavement repairs countywide will be increased by £1M. Particular areas for attention in 2013/14 will be Toton Lane in Stapleford and Town Street, Kendal Close and Rydal Drive in Bramcote.
Following representations from your councillors a new pedestrian crossing is to be installed on Toton Lane, Stapleford near the garage just south of the Bardills island.
A resident has called for the bus shelter on Eastcote Avenue to be moved over the road to the junction of Edale Close where, he believes, it would get much more use than at present. The views of other local residents on this would be appreciated.
Enhancing Grass Verges
Those residents who enhance the grass verges outside their homes by various actions are to be thanked for the trouble they take. Such actions are obvious on Thoresby Road and Derby Road (west of the Sherwin Arms), Bramcote and on Nottingham Road, Stapleford. One resident on Thoresby Road has asked for help to put plants around the base of a tree outside their home. Those who damage verges by inappropriate parking were heavily criticized by a number of correspondents.
No Cold Caller Zones
These are considered, by some, to be worth having and might be given further consideration? It appears that cold callers have been a particular problem recently in the Rufford Avenue and Eastcote Avenue areas. The police advise us NOT to buy goods or services from those who knock on our door offering these.
In their particular responses two correspondents stressed the need for positivity in provision of additional housing in our area. This, of course, is in opposition to the strong views expressed elsewhere, for example by the Bramcote Conservation Society and STRAG about the dangers of building on greenbelt land.
Avoidance of City Car Parking Levy
Many correspondents are critical of those who park their cars in our area to avoid Nottingham’s Car Parking Levy. Registration numbers were supplied and the police have promised to take action against anyone causing an obstruction. Areas identified where this is a problem are Arundel Drive, Lyndale Road and Marshall Drive in Bramcote and Windsor Crescent in Stapleford. There was a problem previously on Russley Road, Bramcote but this seems to have disappeared.. It has to be said that it is not illegal to park all day on the road, but causing an obstruction is an offence and this can result in a car being towed away.
Car Parks in Stapleford
People have welcomed the £1 per day (after the free 1 hour) in car parks in Stapleford, which has resulted in the car parks being well-used once more.
Overhanging Trees and Shrubs
Several people commented on the number of shrubs and trees that overhang pavements and the difficulties created for people with poor eyesight. Residents are encouraged to take appropriate action to make life easier for their neighbours. Also, parking on pavements and grass verges can create difficulties for those with pushchairs.
Traffic turning at Arundel Drive/Thoresby Road
Several people commented on vehicles from the Leisure centre using the junction of Arundel Drive and Thoresby Road as a turning circle and all were critical of this. Some called for a mini-roundabout (but there is no room for this) and others wanted drivers to be encouraged to use Moor Lane/Arundel Drive or Sandy Lane/Sandringham Drive to head back west and south. (However, others made a point of NOT advocating this because of the perceived consequence for increases in speeding traffic along those roads.) The Leisure Centre Management has agreed to hand out flyers to users about the complaints that are being received.
Moor Lane Schools
One resident thought the long hedge on Moor Lane adjacent to the school playing fields is in need of pruning to reduce its size. Also, the informal road across the school campus is being used by drivers taking their children to school. This is considered to be inappropriate.
Wouldn’t it be nice, when funds are available, said one correspondent, if all telegraph poles and wires were removed and placed underground?
Waste and Recycling
Broxtowe’s waste and recycling service received much praise from several correspondents. Once again, this followed receipt of a national award for the efficient but low cost service that is provided. However, some did call for the men to be reminded to return bins to the positions from which they were collected.
More Buses in Bramcote
Following suggestions from residents we had promoted the idea of more buses in Bramcote and Stapleford, particularly extending the L10 and 18 services and looking at the deficiencies brought about by withdrawal of the 17. However not all correspondents welcomed the suggestion of additional buses, with those actually living on a bus route expressing some concern about increased traffic. Generally, however, there was support for additional public transport.
Cow Lane, Bramcote
Traffic on Cow Lane remains an issue: 1) the perceived dangers caused by parking outside the primary school at the start and end of the school day, and 2) UPS vans that seem to have no regard for speed or safety. Van registration numbers were provided and the police are following these up.
Robin Hood Way
A sign on Sandy Lane, Bramcote that pointed out the Robin Hood Way disappeared some time ago and has not been replaced. We are looking into this matter.
Bramcote Hills Park
One respondent was critical about the recent provision of refreshments near the children’s play area in Bramcote Hills Park for reasons to do with nutrition, although the Council said that, in general, the feedback has been very positive. There were calls for provision of toilets near the car park adjacent to Coventry Lane and we have promised to look at any possibilities for this that might arise.
Bramcote Hills Golf Course
Several people enquired about proposals for the Bramcote Hills Golf Course, and we responded to say that we are as much in the dark as everyone else. A request for the site to be tidied up has been passed on. One resident suggests it returns to its former use for grazing ponies and horses, with a few practice jumps. Another idea would be to create a remembrance garden for cremation ashes and urn burials, as an extension to the facilities at Bramcote Crematorium.