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Broxtowe Enews 27th July 2014

July 27, 2014 10:28 PM

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of the Lib-Dems on Broxtowe Borough Council. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.

  1. Core Strategy

The Government Inspector has published her report into the Broxtowe Core Strategy this week. She has approved the plans for Broxtowe without any modifications. This is extremely rare. Many authorities have their policies rejected by the inspector (as happened to Rushcliffe) and nearly all have modifications suggested (as was the case for Gedling). To get through without any modifications means that the independent inspector has concluded that we struck exactly the right balance of complying with our legal obligations for the borough to make sure that we have planned for all the anticipated issues that will arise over the next 15 years on the one hand and to ensure that we protect local communities on the other. I know that not everyone will be happy with the outcome but we now know with certainty where we stand and I hope that everyone can now work together to take the borough forward rather than be fighting over this stage.

It was interesting to read earlier on this week that local estate agents were saying that young people were being priced out of the housing market. The average age of a first time buyer in Notts has jumped from 24 to 28, and only 3% of sales were to people under 30. A significant reason for this increase in house prices so that younger people can no longer afford them is because of a shortage of houses on the market, and so I hope that having this level of certainty will lead to this problem being tackled in Broxtowe.

I have to say that I am utterly disappointed with the way that the Nottingham Post has covered this story. They have referred to a "war" to save the green belt (which is utterly insensitive when one considers what is happening in the Ukraine, Gaza or Syria at the moment) and repeatedly said that the green belt was lost. In fact quite the opposite is the case. By getting a plan that works the council have safeguarded 98% of Broxtowe's green belt land. If we had lost all of this would have been at risk of development. The announcement from the inspector is a good news day for Broxtowe.

  1. East Midlands Ambulance Service

I have highlighted in the past the difficulties that the East Midlands Ambulance Service were facing in hitting their targets for response times. I'm pleased to say that this year so far they have seen a significant improvement and for the first six months of the year they have hit all their targets for average response times. I'd like to congratulate all the ambulance staff who have worked to make this possible.

  1. New Sports Equipment

The borough council have provided £465 of funding for new sports equipment to be used by children in Stapleford. I'm not sure yet of the arrangements for using/distributing these but will report on that in a later newsletter.

  1. Tackling Homelessness

Over the past few years the Borough Council have put substantial resources into making sure that we avoid people becoming homeless wherever possible. It is far better to help people sort out the problems beforehand if possible rather than have to help pick up the pieces afterwards. I'm pleased to say that in the past three months the council's homelessness team have been able to prevent more than 100 people losing their homes.

  1. Recording Council Meetings

It was about six years ago that I first suggested to the council that we should permit people to record council meetings, or even better to record meetings ourselves. At the time very few councillors supported me but I am delighted to say that the situation has now changed and at this weeks council meeting we voted to approve recording of meetings in the future. The technical details will have to be sorted out but if you wish to turn up and video a council meeting you are now welcome to do so.

  1. Kimberley Brewery

Plans have been submitted to the Borough Council for the redevelopment of the Kimberley Brewery site. The proposals do involve the demolition of one of the maltings buildings which will be a significant matter for the council to determine, given that this is a listed building in a conservation area. These plans will be considered by the council in due course, probably in the autumn.

  1. Fire Brigade Survey

The consultation by Notts fire brigade about reducing the number of fire engines based at Highfields runs until 12th August. The fire brigade were saying the other day that although they had received a lot of responses about other proposals they had not had many about this. I really hope we don't end up losing a fire engine just because other people shouted louder. Please take a moment to complete their consultation form at

  1. Shortwood Farm

As I reported a couple of weeks ago the Secretary of State has now given permission for open cast mining at Shortwood Farm between Trowell and Cossall, despite huge local objections. This was after the county council decided to approve the scheme. The County Council have however now said that they are worried about the problems caused by coal lorries getting to the M1 and have suggested that the lorries should be able to access the M1 via Trowell services. This has been rejected by the Highways Agency and frankly, the County Council should have thought about this before they made a decision to give permission, not afterwards.

  1. Water Leaks

Severn Trent Water have reported that leaks from their pipes are at the lowest level ever recorded and are down 20% on 2005. This is good news but they still lose enough water every day to fill 18 Olympic size swimming pools. Regular readers will recall that last November Severn Trent managed to flood my house leaving us having to spend six months in temporary accommodation, and so any reduction in this happening to other people is good news.

  1. Summer break

This will be the last edition of the newsletter until the end of August. As in previous years I will be taking a break for a few weeks over the summer. I hope that everyone who is also taking the opportunity to have some time away has a wonderful holiday and I will be back in touch in about five weeks time.

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

Best wishes


Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.