Bridge ward monthly report 28

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January will be remembered in parts of the country for gales, persistent rain and flooding. Somerset suffered and was ignored. Aberystwyth lost its promenade. Some doubt as to how the damage will all be resolved.
Meanwhile news that Japan, who have lost part of the country to radioactivity, have installed 4 GW of solar energy in 6 months.
Britain should be responding to extreme weather events by doing more to mitigate climate change. Instead, a popular house cladding scheme for warmer house in the Clifton estate was cancelled and there’s a ninety day race to get as much done as possible. This despite British Gas making huge profits elsewhere. Just where is the country going? Apparently into a determined effort by Michael Gove to convince us that The Great War was worth nine million lives. Oh dear. https://michaelmedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/the-iron-dice-by-brick/

In Nottingham, Intu submitted a new proposal for a new main entrance at the Victoria Centre with huge illuminations. https://michaelmedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/new-entrance-for-victoria-centre/

The tram project announced delays, and a traffic light failure caused big congestion, but said it would still start on 14th December. Test running through The Meadows starts in May. https://michaelmedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/tram-expansion-briefing/

In The Meadows, there’s been a suspected murder in Uppingham Gardens. https://michaelmedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/murder/
Complaints about anti-social behaviour in Beauvale Road started to come in and then came to a head, resulting in evictions.
The legislation on bedroom tax was incorrect in one part; residents have already reacted to a small article in “Meadows Matters”. https://michaelmedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/bedroom-tax-exemptions/
Congratulations to Dr. Rachel Davies who has taken over as Chair of Meadows Advice Group.
The Area 8 Cttee, which brings a more local focus to council business in The Meadows, Wilford and Clifton, will be considering how the budget for improving local pavements, roads and the general public realm will be considering the proposals, which are explained in a very full monthly report to be found at http://www.labourblogs.com/public-blog/michaeledwards/31337/


769 matters have been logged for chasing (drawing from conversations, comments at meetings, phone calls, letters, e-mails, Facebook, Twitter and public comment) since October 20th, 2011. (2011 – 57; 2012 – 358; 2013 – 322; 2014 -32).

Tram expansion briefing

The extension to Nottingham’s network is still scheduled to open on December 14th.
Councillors were briefed on the progress of the tram expansion.
The new teams are already being tested and will increase the frequency of services in June.
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Test running through The Meadows starts in May.

Delays to parts of the project were reported.
Contingency exists to recover the delay.
Beeston has had the worst of it and this was re-stated and acknowledged.

Bedroom tax exemptions

20140130-110124.jpgThis tiny advert at the bottom of page 2 in the community magazine has already triggered 7 responses in just two days; the magazine is nowhere near fully distributed; (we think 5 out of the 7 who’ve asked do qualify).
Meanwhile, My time as Chair of Meadows Advice Group has passed.
The focus during my two years has been smoother operation (taking on the news ways of working to fulfil the new City Council contract) and reaching out more effectively.
The number of clients has increased by over a half in the 2 years.

Blinkered justification of the cuts

Nottingham Conservatives rolled out a cunning new line today.  I say cunning, but not it turned out as cunning as a fox, or a 12 storey tower with twelve foot letters at the top, spelling “CUNNING”.

The ruse – that if efficiency savings have now been made 5 and a half years on from the crisis, if you can avoid cuts to front-line services, what was all the fuss about and why didn’t you make the efficiency savings 5 and a half years ago? 

Now it seems Nottingham City Council has sought to emphasise how it’s trying to carry on despite the cuts. 

But cuts have not avoided loss of services or impact on those most in need.

Adult care and support services, have been cut, there are more charges and criteria for getting support has been restricted. 

Children’s Centres are running smaller hours and some “early intervention” has been lost. 

A library has been closed. 

Expenditure on sustain roads and pavements has been cut. 

Pressure on staff has increased, revealed in a recently conducted by the council. 

So not a cunning point, but one based on ignorance of the impact of the cuts. 

 

Poll tax is back

The gauche assumptions of cutting further to pay the Council tax support for those most in need is covered below.

https://michaelmedwards.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/georginas-35-day-challenge/

But if such contributions were required, well it was only right that everybody should contribute. 

Now where have we heard that before?  Ah Yes, the “Community Charge” or “Poll tax” of the eighties / nineties. 

The answer is of course, that everyone should contribute, when they are able to.  But it’s never possible.  Hence the creation of social security.

And hence the creation of “Council Tax Benefit” as one of the concessions to public outrage as Council Tax was introduced to replace “Poll Tax”. 

I remember Mick Lyons once saying that this should never have been called a benefit.  It was supposed to be an exemption, yet the very name deterred a number of pensioners from every claiming it. 

Georgina’s 35 day challenge

Nottingham City Council agreed this afternoon that Council tax support could only be provided at a rate of 80%.  Those under 65 used to 100% Council Tax Benefit will have to find 20% of the tax.

The Conservatives’ City Leader blithely suggested that a £3m bill could be met through further savings. 

Well, she has 35 days to come up with proposals for considerations at the budget day on March 3rd. 

It will be a surprise if she and her group try, cos they haven’t submitted a significant alternative budget for years and years.

 

Murder

20140201-200322.jpg“The body of Hama Faraj Noori, 56, was found at his home in Uppingham Gardens, The Meadows, at 7.55pm on Saturday.”
Police reported a suspicious death to Councillors on Sunday morning.
News of the investigation’s findings and progress has been slow to come out, but no doubt any wider risk to public safety is being properly managed.
Condolences to family and friends of Hama Faraj Noori.

Read more at the Nottingham Post, who have since published the following stories –
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Meadows-murder-Suspects-appear-court-Hama-Faraj/story-20543158-detail/story.html
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Meadows-murder-charged-Hama-Faraj-Noori-dead/story-20538519-detail/story.html
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Meadows-murder-Police-given-time-question-man/story-20537517-detail/story.html#ixzz2ryWAQeHC
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Meadows-murder-arrests-body-Hama-Faraj-Noori/story-20528975-detail/story.html
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Man-23-remains-custody-Hama-Faraj-Noori-murder/story-20521584-detail/story.html
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Meadows-Murder-investigation-launched-body-Hama/story-20517798-detail/story.html
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Body-Meadows-Police-treat-discovery-unexplained/story-20506789-detail/story.html

A sense of proportion

Surprised that a former public health minister yesterday could describe the current challenges for traffic around the tram works towards Beeston as dangerous.  Wonder what Anna Soubry MP was getting at?  Regional ITV didn’t really explain.
By contrast, a beautiful morning seeking public opinion along Ruddington Lane (with Paddy Tipping), which seems rather incredible given the lightning and heavy rain that followed in the afternoon.
Might have expected a lot of concern given the extensive tram works, but it seems not, with one older lady stressing (unprompted) how house prices had gone up (not down; presumably cos of claims made before the NET extension was agreed).
Took me back to 9/11, when we held a consultation meeting on the tram that night at the former school on Ruddington Lane – the sheer scale and horror of the event had not really sunk in.  The evening started with a video of a tram on a curve with screeching wheels played with the sound turned up all the way to 11.  Officers for the tram project were booed pantomime style.  (I, as Chair of Transport, only evaded the same fate by introducing myself as Arthur Scargill.) 
I’m not saying that arguments over the tram are, or should be over.  There is a range of views to hear.  But it’s depressing all these years on, to hear such disproportionate views.