Review of 2017

18922796_10154675804636305_167902977432836818_oThe highlight was the evening of the General Election – calling on Labour supporters in the Old Meadows – and they were all turning out to vote without us having to ask.
Such a highlight because of where Labour had come from –
* A poor defeat at the County Council elections;
* An election called with such a deficit in popular opinion;
* Relentless anti-Corbyn newspaper coverage including 14 pages on Corbyn and the IRA in the Daily Mail on the day before;
* A defeat in Nottingham South actually seemed possible, with the Conservative Leader turning up the day before.
Yet the opinion polls were all over the place.

That evening said we were going to do much better.
And then that exit poll – some of us were even captured on TV at the count when the poll came out.  So much better than expected. (Tho’s let’s not forget, we lost.)

A highlight too, because the rest has been fairly grim –
* climate change bringing on more violent storms and hurricanes;
* 85 killed by the fire that ripped around and through Grenfell Tower;
* tax changes giving more to the rich;
* chaos with the roll-out of Universal Credit;
* cuts to the welfare and public services, including requiring another £29 million by Nottingham City Council;
* cuts to school budgets;
* ongoing social impacts;
* many more people begging in the city centre;
* Victoria Embankment bandstand burnt;
* more drug dealing in the neighbourhoods around the city centre, including The Meadows;
* a poverty of responses to traffic congestion;
* new electoral wards proposed to split The Meadows based on low registration of working people and particularly students;
* Brexit being a massive distraction for the country; (Labour’s stance has 6 points);
* anti-Semitism;
* ongoing attacks on innocent people; across the world, but here Manchester, Westminster, London Bridge, Finsbury Park, and the horrendous shooting in Las Vegas;
* Trump condoning a KKK attack;
* a colonial attitude to the 70th anniversary of Britain’s withdrawal from India;
* the genocide in Myanmar.

So what to celebrate?
Parking permits (finally) for most of the New Meadows – although we will now have to do another phase.
A full Bridgeway shoppiIMG_9987ab0719h WHall chinasaurs Hunter and familyng centre.  New bungalowsMore done on improving local parks, including a mini road network for kids.  A new railway station at Ilkeston.
(Notable is the development of proposals for new housing between the city centre and the Meadows Way.)
Celebrating local stories of struggle from the past by working people for working people. And of Herbert Kilpin, who started AC Milan.
Lots of nice moments as a civic (see the twitter account), including telling Nottingham’s stories.
The Chinasaurs exhibition.
Best tweet of the year.
Appearing on Radio Nottingham to celebrate 8 tracks, and seeing the Buzzcocks at Splendour.

Other highlights:
films (Paddington 2, Dunkirk, England is Mine, The Journey, Their Finest, The Salesman, LionElle, Viceroy’s House, 20th Century WomenHidden Figures, The Founder, FencesT2: TrainspottingDenialMoonlightJackieA Monster Calls) ;
tv (The Moorside, Sherlock 4, Fargo 3, Spin, Line of Duty 4 and Peaky Blinders 4).
Documentary and commentary:
(The Vietnam War, An Inconvenient Sequel  I am not your Negro, O.J. Made in America).
Salop avoiding relegation and then doing very well in the league.
Panthers winning a European trophy; Notts winning 3 cricket trophies; Forest escaping relegation;
The Meadows hosted the British Triathlon mixed relay cup; Nottingham hosted the European Squash championships.

Finally, remember –
Gerald Angell, Mansell Barber;
Alan Clark, Kate Rush; and
Heather Heyer, and again, Jo Cox.

Previous reviews:
2016 – 2015201420132012.

20171231 wp all time visits ab0254h Screenshot (765)

Have now logged over 2000 matters since becoming a Bridge ward councillor.

Bridge ward monthly report 75

Quick points –

·         Money has been released for the renewal of Meadows Health Centre (circa £750k);

·         Keepmoat have a published community portal webpage, with plans for Arkwright Walk & Blackstone Walk, FAQs contact details, jobs info and local issues;

·         We will consult on further parking changes in The Meadows to tackle problems caused by commuters; (delayed by Broadmarsh changes);

·         the replacement of the old lighting on the north and south bank of the Trent at the Embankment with new LED fittings (to reduce the energy consumption and improve the light quality) has been agreed;

·         Many new flats and apartments are proposed at Waterway Street West and at Meadows Way / Sheriffs Way; get in touch if you have concerns.

·         The proposed new electoral wards unhelpfully divide The Meadows, despite nearly all public services treating The Meadows as a whole; (many are protesting);

·         Cuts in national government support for Nottingham City Council will require further cuts of £27 million.

The Town are staying up

After just 24 games, Salop have 51 points, which was enough for safety last season (18th), and was all they got in 42 games.
Salop end the calendar year second, 3 points clear of third, 12 points clear of 7th (with a game in hand) and 27 points clear of relegation.
Salop have a new manager from late 2016, and new signings but the only explanation I hear given is hard work.
And we often only win by a goal – makes us sound like Revie’s Leeds.
All in all, not so much a celebration as a kinda – I’m confused, and grateful.
I also still think every upcoming League 1 match is a challenge.
And if we are promoted …

** Harry Kane
For the first time, goals scored in a calendar year became a thing.

But it was quite enjoyable to watch in unfurl.  That ability to hit a far part of a goal within a couple of touches.

** England’s prospects

Normally, you’d celebrate a comfortable and straight-forward qualification for an international tournament.
This time less so.  Partly – the 2016 Iceland defeat, partly the mundane nature of the group victories, partly the continued inability to control the ball, partly the lack of confidence in the England manager, partly Joe Hart being pushed out by City and not finding a home at West Ham, partly the nervous exhaustion from all the other media hype campaigns that led to disappointment.
On the other hand, watch out for us in 2026.


Run down of new building

Proposed houses, flats and students rooms between Meadows Way and Crocus Street has prompted new questions about how new development should relate to the New Meadows, especially that of height.
As a substitute member of the Planning Committee I won’t make any judgements, but what follows is a quick run down of new building in The Meadows, along Crocus Street and Queens Road, Broadmarsh, Narrowmarsh, the Lace Market and Meadow Lane; plus what is not happening.


** “Creswell” site: Houses, flats and students rooms between Meadows Way, Arkwright Street, Crocus Street and Sheriffs Way
Hundreds of homes (400-ish), pitched at young professionals and students, with no provision for cars.  Design by Stephenson Studio.  Public consultation has begun, application to be submitted in 3rd week of January and could be coming to Planning committee in April.  Claiming some inspiration from the Lace Market and proposed in a whitish brick.  Tapers down, but impact on neighbouring houses weren’t available at a public meeting.  Might need extra bus stops.

** Crocus Square: offices
Offices, under design, perhaps 8 stories high.

** Unity Square: offices and leisure between the railway line and Sheriffs Way
Three large and high blocks (perhaps 12 stories), with some provision for cars.  Outline planning permission agreed at Planning committee, but may have lapsed. Very proximate to railway station, tram stop and NCT Navy and Green.  If business customers can’t be found, developers might look for residential.

** Apartments between railway line and Traffic Street
40 apartments granted planning application, with parking.

** “Sentinel”: offices between Wilford Road and Traffic Street
Perhaps 8 stories; outline planning application, though may have lapsed.

** “Vantage”: Flats and students rooms between Waterway Street West, Wilford Road and Traffic Street
Hundreds of homes, pitched at students, with no provision for cars.  Public consultation has begun but more to be done and could be coming to Planning committee after April.  Designed in part to announce the start of the city centre on a trunk road, and proposing a high tower, much more to be done on the design.  Seems set to deny views of the castle to some households in Castlefields and Kinglake Place.  Might need extra bus stops.

** Hicking phase 2: houses, flats and students rooms between Crocus Street, Summer Leys Lane and the Nether Leen
350 flats, pitched at young professionals (so much so, might only bring an extra 8 children to local primary schools) with some provision for cars.  Red brick, with possibly some acknowledgement to the crocus in the design and naming.  Construction  has begun.  Proximate to the railway station, the tram stop and NCT Green buses.

** “The Laceworks”: flats and students rooms between Queens Road, Summer Leys Road and the Nether Leen DTSFanEX0AAK8ta
222 apartments, pitched at students and no provision for cars.  Agreed at Planning committee in dramatic black and yellow colours, but coming back to Planning committee in January with a new colour scheme.  Construction could start in March.  Proximate to the railway station, the tram stop and NCT Green & Navy buses.

** Apartments and flats between London Road Island and Pemberton Street
Hundreds of homes, pitched at young professionals, with no provision for cars.  Agreed at Planning committee but currently undergoing a “right to light” complaint process from the student block behind it.  Claiming a lot of inspiration from the Lace Market, 4 blocks, the highest of which reaches nine stories and proposes a metal sheet finish down the western side.

** Apartments and flats along Pemberton Street
Tens of homes, pitched at young professionals, with no provision for cars.  Not yet gone to Planning committee (CHECK) and currently undergoing some design changes.

** Apartments and flats between Short Hill and Malin Hill
Hundreds of homes, pitched at young professionals, with no provision for cars.  Agreed at Planning committee subject to getting the details of the views from Stoney Street and from London Road correct.
Fills one of the last 2 holes in the city centre made by the Nazis.

** “Boots Island”: huge site; mixed development
Might include 1500 homes.

** Houses and flats between Meadow Lane and the River Trent
Approved, then new owners and developers said they couldn’t build  as specified and a new design agreed at Planning committee.
I voted against the second set of proposals.

*** Smaller developments in The Meadows

** Mundella Building
To be converted into 10 houses.

** The Water Works,  Wilford Crescent East
25 houses agreed by Planning committee.

** Meadows Police Station
A 22 flats complex by Nottingham City Homes; no consultation yet.

** Clifton Welfare site
An 18 bungalow development by the council; design may be changed to meet EA flood defence expectations, cos of length of ramps required to serve enrances; no consultation yet.

*** What’s not happening

** Demolition of the Bridgeway shopping centre / The Precinct
Despite repeated whispers, there are no plans and no finance available for the demolition and re-siting of these shops; and haven’t been since the cancellation of £200m for the re-generation of The Meadows which was dropped by the coalition Government in 2010.

** Further Demolition of housing in the New Meadows
Despite repeated whispers, in part related to misunderstanding about Arkwright Walk, there are no plans and no finance available for the any further demolition; and haven’t been since the cancellation of £200m for the re-generation of The Meadows which was dropped by the coalition Government in 2010.

** Development at the former Collygate school, off Wilford Grove
Use of the land is with the owner, who may well seek new houses, but I am aware of no plans.

** Development at the former Three Bridges Inn, Gritley Mews
Use of the land is with the owner, who may well seek new houses, but I am aware of no plans.

*** Broadmarsh and Narrowmarsh

** Broadmarsh shopping centre
Plans agreed with Intu.

** Broadmarsh bus station and car park
Plans coming to Planning committee in February.

** New Nottingham College off New Popham Street in the Narrowmarsh
Plans coming to Planning committee in February.

All off the top; I’ll update with a bit more detail soon. 

Fantasy tram routes

A web-site promoting 20 possible NET expansion proposals invites ridicule, but we do need to bring forward a new and credible public transport route.
To relieve the congestion on London Road and through West Bridgford, we should do more for public transport generally and seek a new NET line to a park & ride site on the A52 to the east of the conurbation.
tram routes graphic 6d9373_5335cb736ce040378749670cfa5da8da
Had to smile as in November, the Nottingham Post reported on a web-site suggesting up to 20 more tram routes for the Greater Nottingham conurbation.
A fantasy since some of the proposals are poorly suited to trams commercially and longer distance travel belongs to heavy rail.  One part of the network shows the tram travelling north from Nottingham station to rise slightly to join Middle Hill, drop 10 feet to re-use the old Victoria railway station tunnel that has since been filled in by Nottingham Contemporary, and drop a further 20 feet and make a hard right turn to use Cliff Road to go east.

Extending each of the existing four legs of the Nottingham Express Transit network all make some sense and will be explored further as we plan for High Speed 2 running to Toton.

Yet, given the recent vulnerability of London Road to congestion, it is time to say we need action, cos car is clearly too attractive an alternative.  Tax on petrol has not kept pace with inflation, tax exemption for buses has been lost so the opportunity for lower fares has been lost.
Currently, cases for other public money to be invested  on a new public transport route needs to show the potential for commuters to switch from the car to public transport.  The missing opportunity is a park & ride tram route serving the city centre and the A52 to the east of West Bridgford.
The two obvious options are not even shown in the list of 20.  Both require a new bridge across the river –
– one to serve somewhere near to Gamston salt depot to the east of Lady Bay and
– one near the bridge for the railway line serving Bingham and Grantham.
A Trent Bridge route has already been difficult to make a case for, mainly cos West Bridgford doesn’t generate a lot of custom and slows a tram down quite a bit.

For The Meadows, it could be served by routes through –
– one route with stops on Meadows Way north & east (interchange with Green NCT buses and serving new housing on Crocus Street) and just north of the County Ground,
– another route with stops at Bridgeway Centre and Meadow Lane (just south of the County Ground).

Operatives’ Library No. 1

As the new hub of Nottingham College is being designed for the Narrowmarsh, I have claimed how this was a kind of “education coming home” as Sussex Street hosted the first Operatives’ Library in the city in the 19th Century in the Rancliffe Arms.
Screenshot (770) ab0537h Rancliffe Arms
It’s possible that my melodramatic claim for it being the first working class library in the world may not be sustainable.
Our Local Studies Library reports – “According to “The Operatives Libraries of Nottingham: A radical community’s own initiative” by Peter Hoare which has been my main source of information there were at least 12 operative libraries mainly based in public houses in working class areas. … Operative[s] libraries were formed partly to enable the working class to access books on political and religious matters that were not available through other types of libraries.
Please find attached a scan from Peter Hoare’s work. It would suggest that the first operative library was based in the Rancliffe Arms in Sussex Street and was founded in August 1835 by W. Brooksbank . The reference to John Blackner is interesting as we hold copies of his “History of Nottingham” from 1815 in the library.”

Note, planning permission has been granted for  a new highway linking Cliff Road and Canal Street at the site of Popham Court, Popham Street (16/00090/PFUL3).
The development will result in the construction of a new street that will need to be formally named by the Council. The road in question is unofficially referred to as ‘New Popham Street’ as it will be built to replace Popham Street ready for the development of the new college on the land that is currently being used as a temporary car park for the Broadmarsh. The construction of the new road is scheduled to be completed in April 2018.

Traffic failures

So, need to be a bit sensitive cos someone nearly got killed in a crash on the M1 in the evening, but in the morning of what should have been a light working day, was struck again by the volume of transport issues, including another one where someone decided to drive along a tram only part of the network.
But by expanding road traffic capacity, “we” have created more opportunities for incidents that hold up more people, rather than planning for people living nearer to where the work is and expanding public transport priority to help more not to need their own car.
In the nineties, we got more of this, and that was before the realisation that air pollution is hurting more city dwellers.