News and political views

A photo-journal of news and views from The Meadows, Nottingham and the Labour Party, by Councillor Michael M Edwards, using Wordpress

Bridge ward monthly report 83

Main effort has been making reviewing progress made in the ward (see below and mid-month long write-up).
Otherwise. a month of sunshine meant bowls, cricket and the Maasai Cricket Warriors.
In the city centre, restoration, roof-top views and another August car park fire.
Reviewing city centre office block proposed to replace Victorian hotels and offices.
Oh, and Brexit and Trump, again.
STATUS report

Tackling anti-social behaviour and drug dealing: since the public meeting we called with Lilian Greenwood MP on June 1st, the extra Police operations has resulted in 4 warrants executed using the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Parking for local residents: permits for the remainder of the New Meadows, and for Wilford Crescent East, is planned to be introduced by the end of September.  Consultation with OMTRA has modified the introduction of yellow lines to be the minimum necessary to enable bin lorries to pass through junctions.
Improving Bridgeway Shopping Centre: no vacant units. Significant maintenance is planned. We are to update the security cameras. We are consulting on a ticketless parking scheme to give the parking spaces back to shoppers and visitors to the medical centre.
Safer traffic on Robin Hood Way: a speeding enforcement operation took place in June and another is planned for September.  The complaints of speeding has reduced following the jump in parking on the road.  However, extra yellow lines to improve visibility at the junctions will be introduced in September.
Events: dispersing traffic at the end of events has improved, but we are reviewing the noise levels from the Carnival.
Better homes: £200,000 of works to improve the grounds of NCH properties are to be agreed at the next Area 8 committee.  Mayfield Court is the next former warden complex to have their common rooms renewed.
New homes: properties on Arkwright Walk have sold quickly, but construction has slipped (additional work is needed on the road).  The council is planning 18 houses off Ainsworth Drive and 21 flats off Saffron Gardens.
Flats and apartments for young workers and students:350 flats off Crocus Street are well under way.  Designs of 420 rooms for students off Waterway Street West has gone through many iterations to improve their look from The Meadows.  Community activists have met the developers of flats and rooms off Arkwright Street to assess their desirability and impact on The Meadows.
New equipment from Queens Walk Rec.: a full multi-use games area and new keep fit equipment is planned for a February start, subject to a successful financing bid.
Victoria Embankment: knee-high railings are planned to manage the free parking on the former tennis court.
The Memorial: a new memorial holding the names of those who died in the First World War, both at home and abroad, is planned for 2019.  A heritage bid to refresh The Memorial and the Gardens is being prepared.
Pruning trees: £20,000 of works to be done.

A much longer write-up is available.



The Wipers Times returns to music hall

Starting its second run as a play in Nottingham, a home of the Sherwood Foresters, music hall also returns home.  A format used for some of the satire in The Wipers Times, a First World War trenches newspaper, from which the play takes a long deep drink and brings it back to life, making you  laugh and smile throughout.
Go see!

I suspect the play relies heavily on previous knowledge of the war, the 2013 tv drama of the story (one of my highlights of the year), possibly the documentary, and possibly risks being spoiled by the knowledge of “Blackadder goes forth” (and hoping for a Balderick character).
(I remember Jeremy Paxman complaining of treatments of WW1 that suggest the war and the officers were ridiculous, and then told the story of one officer who coloured his face so as not to show fear in the face of an enemy as he went out, stick in hand, no doubt to be shot at from half a mile away.)
Whilst the story is perhaps familiar, I didn’t recall the emphasis on the Temperance Society’s campaign during WW1.  The tv show was probably better at explaining how the idea to publish developed.

I was told that the engineering duties of these members of the 12th Battalion meant they had more time on their hands during the day and hence their ability to produce the newspaper.  The play makes it clear how so much material was provided from soldiers across the front, who no doubt had time to fill, paper to write on and news to share.   I wonder whether they’d have made better use of Facebook?

Another Stoney Street car park fire

IMG_9299 (2)
Shame for the vehicle owners as fires burn out cars on level 2 of Stoney Street / Kings Walk NCP car park for the second time in 13 months, this time at the Stoney Street end.
Including bay 32 , where we often parked our car before city centre living made us realise we didn’t need it anymore.
Have been fed up with NCP recently, since there was a spate recently when the fire alarm at the car park went off nearly every evening for 2 or 3 weeks.  My suspicion is they don’t employ enough people to look after their sites, but equally, it has improved recently, they did phone through to say they were doing more to reduce the instances to false alarms, and last August’s fire turned out to started from within a car (electronics fault).
I hope NCP can be more thorough on cleaning the car park this time – it smelt of smoke for months after last time.

Restoration of Birkin Building

IMG_9272mc0775h montage Birkin building restoration
Broadway, Lace Market.
Heritage funding is meeting part of the cost.
The brick, stone, curves and decoration are combined to make a beautiful building over 100 years ago.
Main part of the weathering of the building is the wind.
There are signs of poor maintenance, and examples of repairs such as rendering with painted brick patterns.
3 parapets(?) have had balconies removed from the top of them.

England’s 1,000th test

IMG_9194mb0573h Trent Bridge cricket ground England India test match 5th day
For the second time ever, I’ve gone to an England – India test match for a fifth day for free, cos the outcome was obvious and likely not to last very long.
but this time, I was able to watch from the new Bridgford Road end and, and it was a pleasure.
I’ll not complain about the cost of watching test cricket, cos it’s clear people are willing to pay.  Nor, of the intent to charge £10 for the fifth day, retracted in the morning after they’d reflected on their original decision.
I bought  programme as a gesture to the free entrance, and here’s a fature shoing a grpahic portrayin the previous 99 tests in 2 pages, with the 2 previous wins on the bottom right hand corner – against Pakistan!  I want my money back.

At the start of a Trent Bridge test match


Test matches are great events and good for the city.
Less dressing up than I’ve seen before as spectators arrived.
But previously, the joy has been a tad at the expense of The Meadows, whose residents lost their car parking and their streets to cars of the visitors.
WP_20180818_11_32_11_Pro ab0200h Eugene Gardens
Well, not this morning.  All the parked cars this morning had permits and residents could be sure that when they came back from their trips, their usual space was waiting for them.
Good, yeah.
Except I’ve had recurrence of previous concerns pointed out – damage to the ornate iron work on the Trent Bridge, trip hazards on the NCH land, tipping, back gardens in need of clearance; and a new one, huge outbreaks of sprouting thorny twigs from the Robinia trees that were cut down a year or so back.

Long mid-month Meadows progress report – August 2018

A bit of a write-up, drawing from the June 1st blog entry, to catch-up on everything that going on.
[Previous news in square brackets.]

a. community safety (tackling use of knives and drug dealing; improved cameras);

a1. Knifing incidents and drug dealing
Inspector Walker reports violence has significantly dropped off.

a2. CCTV cameras
Nicola, Abdul and I visited the camera control centre and have reported the cameras that are obscured by trees.
[We have a quote for improving the quality of cameras covering the Bridgeway Shopping Centre, and for an additional camera to survey the passageway in the southern block of shops.]

a3. Police base in The Meadows
[Facilities for the Police to write-up information and take breaks at the London Road fire station has been agreed and is awaiting some IT works.]

b. parks, play and open spaces (repairs, security and promoting usage; VE and QWRec);

b1. winter football and use of both pavilions;

Football pavilion.
[1920’s design expects teams to share; Requiring 4 changing rooms instead of 2 means 2 more showers blocks.  Meanwhile, after end of season deep clean, will look for new partnerships with existing clubs.]
A Police vs FC Community game is planned for 4th September.

Cricket pavilion
[For use for winter football, need a key-holding arrangement with 1 football club.]

b2. securing VE & MRG;
[Travellers – some criminal damage following the latest visit, which has been cleaned up or repaired.
There will be –
– signage so that we can fully enforce against any car parking on the grass;
– knee-high rails around north-east car park to deter driving across playing fields;
– a review of bollards; new bollards at more of the entrances that are vulnerable to abuse;
– a check on events ensuring bollards are re-instated at the end of every event.
We want to be clearer on who people should ring and with what kind of complaints to get the appropriate Police and / or City Council responses.]

b3. initial outline aims of Heritage bid;
The Parks manager’s presentation at OMTRA was well received by most.
[The council is to bid in February to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a renewal of the Memorial and the Gardens.
Objectives are – renewal of the Memorial, refurbishing and re-purposing of the Undercroft, new plumbing for the fountains, repairs to Queen Victoria, repair of the Gardens, in particular the pavements.]

b4. Current repairs.
[Repairs required for fountains and lead roofing replacement will be progressed and the bandstand renewal is expected to be completed in September.]

b5. Ambitions for the Victoria Embankment & Meadows Recreation Gardens
Opportunities and Challenges –
see –

b6. Queens Walk Rec
Now supporting a new multi-use games area on the car park and new keep-fit equipment.

b7. goalposts for Arkwright Walk green
Was proposing a couple of five a side goals, sited further away from the play equipment.
Now seeing if we can re-use the half-MUGA to be taken away from Queens Walk Rec for use on AW. But cost of 22 by 12 yard tarmac base has to be met.

b8 In Bloom
[New Meadows planters – Volunteers have been re-planting planters on Causeway Mews and neighbouring streets.]

c. parking (Meadows residents permits phase 2; RINGGO for shopping centre);

c1. Permits consultation
In progress; some concerns raised regarding Hobart Close; we are now supporting the yellow lines proposed for junctions within the Old Meadows (at one of which, there has been a 2-car collision) following the changes that reduce their lengths and which have been indicated on the streets with markings; we understand this now has wide-range support – let us know if not.
Looking to implement wide-ranging scheme in late August.

c2. Bridgeway Shopping Centre parking
[Looking at RINGGO, with 3 hours fee, £3 for a daily charge (or more now that more is being charged for Crocus Street), with 2 permits for each business; and discussions with businesses to start soon; 4-6 months legal consultation.]

d. housing developments (off Crocus Street, Sheriff’s Way and Traffic Street; new housing in the south-west);

d1. Council development
[Looking at 20 council houses for former welfare site, and 21 NCH owned flats for rent at the former Police station.]

d1a. Meadows West works – work complete but some snagging required:
• Trees and grass presumably cannot be done until autumn
• Tree pits on Bosworth appear to be too high
• Front fences removed along 2-9 Hope Close have not been replaced
End of Bosworth Walk and junction with Ainsworth Drive is untidy, but development still proposes a through road.

d1b. Clifton Miners Welfare
Fly tipping on site is a concern.
• Start on Site – now expected to be late 2018/jan 2019
• Planning application – a new plan showing the houses submitted. Kathryn will review to see if new submission required. Unlikely to be at planning committee until October.
• Contractor – negotiated tender agreed with a builder but yet to be formally appointed
Have suspended planned re-surfacing of Ainsworth Drive until after houses have been built.

d1c. Meadows Police Station
• Planning application – redesigned scheme (brick + block to replace proposed cladding) to be resubmitted shortly
• Contractor – yet to appoint via tenders
• Start on Site – anticipate 7/1/19

d2. Private development underway or agreed

d2a. Keepmoat Homes (along Arkwright Walk and off Blackstone Walk)
Work underway on Blackstone and 3 sites at top of Arkwright.
Some traffic management issues at Blackstone regarding Kirkewhite Walk.
Homes on Willersley Drive and along top of Arkwright Walk occupied. Apartment construction on 2nd lift. Apartments being purchased by NCHE for private rent arm.

Issues with road construction along AW:
Expected “old road” not able to be resurfaced as anticipated and carriageway construction required. Some additional cost.
Meanwhile the road from the new link at Crocus Fields down to sites C and D cannot be finished so Keepmoat have had to postpone sales completions planned for end July.
Damaged bollards near Crocus Fields were replaced; this will be temporary access route for new residents once carriageway issues resolved.

d2b. “Meadows Green”
Mundella House (approved planning) and Trent Works.
Blueprint hoping to secure agreement with planning and be on site October / November 2018. 12 month build for Mundella, 14 month for Trent Works.

d2c. Hicking phase 2
Well under construction.

d2d. Queens Road
Student flats under construction

d3. Private housing development and services

d3a. Cresswell
I was looking for a repeat of the meeting between interested activists and residents and the architects & developers of the Cresswell site but I understand the current owners are selling the site on.

d3b. Vantage
The scheme between Traffic St. and Waterway Street West came to Planning committee in July was criticised for the height of the west end and its design at the west end; it comes back in September.
Nicola and I have since met the developers.
I have tried for extra bus stops to serve the flats and future offices, but there’s no space for a stop and a path between Waterway Street West and Meadows Way (west).

d3c. Unity Square
Proposals to be made public soon.

d3d. Station Street student flats
Surprised by extent of encroachment on view from Queens Walk of St.Mary’s Church tower.

d3. Licensing for housing.
[Additional licensing to be unchanged – i.e. covering part of the Old Meadows.]
Selective licensing for housing introduced on August 1st.

d4. Conservation area
[Aspiration for a new area to cover most of the Old Meadows.]

e. Street Scene (tree pruning, grass cutting);

e1. Trees
A proposed schedule of trees to prune etc. has been presented, but may be light on the problems raised by residents (typically during the Summer months), and on obscuring views on community safety cameras so we may well want to revise the schedule.

e2. Grass cutting
Again, recognise the challenges of cuts, but are seeking feedback on missed patches and grounds, and edging work; weeding may have been missed too.

f. events (city wide and local)

f1. City-wide events
Schedule available.

f1a. Festival – think it went well this time.  Traffic was directed away from Wilford Crescent West, Woolmer Road and Beauvale Road; traffic was kinda directed away from Wilford Grove.  No jamming anywhere that I could see.  Some enforcement against parking on Bathley Street between Wilford Grove and Mundella Road was needed, cos Bathley Street was the directed way out.
Was told there was once a temporary permit scheme for Bathley Street during events, but cannot find when that was.
Feedback appreciated.
Events team are now wondering about diverting traffic with signs away from the Old Meadows further away.

f1b. Carnival
Love it, but a number of concerns expressed about this year’s event, especially noise.

f2. Community Events
The AMC Gardens Summer Event on Saturday – loads attended.
The Gingerbread (man) at Meadows Library – sold out.

g. Other.

g1. Health
– improvements to Meadows Medical Centre;
– children’s dental health

g2. Schools.

g3. Brexit.

H. Cuts to local authorities

Since the change of government in 2010 they have taken £230 million from Nottingham City Council despite rising costs in the care of young and elderly people. The only additional means of funding these essential services has been council tax which ultimately leaves Nottingham people paying more but receiving less as underfunded council services are pushed to their tipping point.

Cuts have had a devastating impact on youth services and are undermining the early interventionist approach we pioneer on Nottingham City Council. Throughout England, more than 500 sure start centres have closed since 2010, denying families from poorer background essential services in early education, health and family support.

Austerity has also been deeply damaging to the police and is crippling their ability to keep communities safe. Budget cuts of nearly 25% has taken over 400 police officers off our streets and led to a force restructure.



Planning committee – August 2018

Two buildings on Station Street with distinguished fronts are proposed to be replaced with an office block.  The Civic Society and English Heritage expressed strong concerns.
It is hard to see how for instance how a hotel with Victorian standards on room heights can be re-used for the need of a modern office with expectations for higher floors and open plans.
And the device of a dark glass building to create a space between an old building and a new block is plausible.
But looking at the buildings either side, you see decoration, stronger eaves, stronger features on the floor levels.
The colonnade could define the building into thirds, and the window pattern almost reflects that although the brick pillars above the middle 2 columns are not aligned – hence the remark “bar-code windows”.
The graphics for the new building also suggested that it stood forward from the line of other buildings, which was hard to understand cos the plans show it all in line, but if it’s gonna be prominent in a street with high quality frontages, it should pay them more respect.
I’ve written this piece cos the summary of my objections published by the N Post are a tad too crude.  (And, this is not a complaint about the journalist.)
But the Planning committee worked hard to put its concerns in perspective.