Meadows ward monthly report 06

A General Election was called and we didn’t leave the European Union –
Five Leaves and We Are Not Leaving. Give People the Final Say march

Further to the mid-month progress report and a general review written to coincide with with the AGM of Bridges Community Trust
– I have liaised with the Police Inspector and other concerns complaints of robbery in The Meadows and across the conurbation south of the river;
– Police have gone public on their concerns over the abuse of phone boxes –
– Meadows shop stabbing assailant has pleaded guilty in court;
– there is a lot of property development happening or planned to happen in The Meadows ward;
– I have met the landowners of the former Three Bridges pub to ask about the security of the site and their intentions to develop;
– we have introduced the RINGGO car parking scheme at the Bridgeway Shopping Centre, and it has had a significant impact;
– Councillor Langton has acted upon a breakout of graffiti, obscene and political graffiti, in Old Meadows;
– Congratulations to Notts County Football in the Community on the celebration of Constance Jeans’ swimming records in 1919.
– Congratulations to Meadows Advice Group who have celebrated their 40th anniversary.

58 matters raised since May 3rd, 2019.

Culture and events –
Plays: Getting the Third Degree, Prism, “It’s True, It’s True, It’s True”
Events – Opening of the 725th Goose Fair, FoML Quiz – October 2019
Meetings – The Struggle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Supporting the Hong Kong protestors from Nottingham,Jess Phillips MP tells Truth to Power, Tribute to Eric Irons

Five Leaves and We Are Not Leaving

Five Leaves Bookshop called this event in case Brexit was happening to say even if the UK left the EU tonight, those attending wouldn’t.
Those who asked to attend, were also asked to read something.
Readings on the themes of freedom and internationalism were read out in German, French, Italian, Danish, Spanish, Portuguese and Salopian – oh yes.

(I’ll post my contribution later, but it picked up on our love of egg and tomato sandwiches, how barbarity on the Internet has spoilt a wonderful opportunity and how a Five Leaves’ event gave platform to a Professor who shook up leftist views of George Orwell.)

Meadows Advice Group AGM 2019

“The ‘normal’ work of delivering advice in The Meadows and elsewhere is still being driven by the joint forces of poverty and the ongoing changes to people’s benefits and by repeat demands on clients by the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs.
“Universal Credit began to affect people in Nottingham in a major way in October We are not yet seeing the longer term problems as most people are just starting on it. The immediate problem is being without income for several weeks or taking out an advance payment which then reduces the amount of Universal Credit received for up to 12 months. As we expected many people are struggling with dealing with everything online. The Department for Work and Pensions are already struggling to cope with replies to online queries taking weeks to be dealt with and the advice given to us is to use the phone!
“We identified a problem in The Meadows with the amount of help given to people with their rent, who have a private landlord. The amount has been frozen for several years and rents have risen considerably. This means even the poorest families having to pay towards their rent. This was identified first as a Citywide problem and was taken up by Advice Nottingham and then as a nationwide issue which was raised by Lilian Greenwood MP in the House of Commons
“Our fuel debt project continues to provide extra support for people struggling to pay for gas and electricity and, increasingly, water charges as well.
‘This year we helped 624 people, raised a total of £922978 in additional benefits for them and managed £177182 in debts for them.’

Special AGM at Meadows Advice Group celebrates 40 years.
Although the names of those involved at the outset are known, none could be found to be invited, although Paddy Tipping sent a message and former local City Councillor Di Clausen attended.

General Election called for 12th December

I’d wanted a referendum called first, so that the country resolve where it stood on Brexit by the same method as put us into the current mess.
Instead, the Lib Dems and the SNP put what they perceived as their narrow party political advantage ahead of maximising the chance for a considered way out of the debacle the country is in.
Daylight hours are going to be short over the next 6 weeks and we are more vulnerable to bad weather on poling day than usual, so the advice to all is to register and to seek a postal vote.
And vote Labour.

We need radical change

In Britain, we subsidise businesses who pay poor wages via the benefits system.
We don’t support people in genuine need enough.
We too often disqualify people from support when they are genuine need.
We count people as employed, even if they only work 1 hour in a fortnight. Too often, people are working low hour contracts and difficult hours at the expense of stability in the home.

We have not expanded the NHS at the rate needed to support our ageing population.
We see too many people living rough and dependent on drugs, in a way that sustained and expanded drug dealing, and the numbers of Police officers has been cut.
The public health and support services for people have been cut.

The general public services for the things we love like parks and libraries and events have ben cut.
We have often lost the youth services and community development services that develop the potential of our neighbours and neighbourhoods.
Having created a surer start for our children, the level offered has been reduced and many children’s centre have been limited, subsumed or closed.
Our schools are receiving less funding and the pressure on teachers has seen too many give up on the vocation and career.

We no longer count the jobs available in work properly and the threat of Brexit has reduced the growth of our economy. Despite 9 years of austerity – in fact because of it – our national debt is massive. Wages have not kept pace with prices and levels of personal debt is massive. We no longer talk about the expected norm of growth at 3%. Major firms have closed operations in Britain and others have moved future investment elsewhere, especially if they want the assurance introduced by a trade deal with Japan that the EU have just brought in.
Even if we leave, Brexit isn’t over, cos it would be followed by years and years of trade deal negotiations.
Rather than support economic development in a focussed and planned way, we’ve given a £5 billion tax break to the banking sector and an £8 billion tax break to corporations.
Small businesses and. town centre shops are struggling to compete against businesses such as Amazon, who pay no tax.

And even if we were getting things right, there would still be the challenge of greenhouse gas emissions to meet. Yet we’ve backed smart motorways – expensive and now regarded as not smart enough – at the expense of projects like electrifying the Midland Main Line. Popular tram systems that could be expanded require money from councils when new roads don’t. Bus networks are being reduced, not least cos the fuel subsidy they had was taken away. The new nuclear power station is – as might have been predicted – already running late and will charge much more for electricity than people currently pay. Home improvement through better insulation meanwhile, is pitiful

And our understanding of all these problems is diminished by a media culture that praises itself, thinks their puns are required and funny, yet cares little for whether a fully informed society exists. We have a Prime Minister who cares too little about racism, sexism and facts, and who is under suspicion for awarding contracts to personal friends and wasting money like £11 million for a 50p Brexit themed coin and an abandoned garden bridge for which nothing was seen for the £35million spent.
Our political culture too often depends on questioning personal motivation rather than being outlooking and accountable.

We need radical change.

RINGGO introduced at Bridgeway Shopping Centre

In essence, requiring people who have their car parked between 8am and 10am to pay £4 and take their car away again after 2 hours, and to pay by RINGGO, the aim is to give the car park back to shoppers and visitors to the medical centre.

Arriving between 10am requires registration, but can be free for 2 hours.

After noon, there is no need to register.

Just erecting the signs has reduced the abuse of the 3 car parks. Now we watch and listen to see how well the changes work, and whether the hours need to be tweaked and the charges increased from the levels applied in neighbouring streets like Crocus Street.

I have wanted to see this abuse stopped since my election to represent The Meadows 8 years. ago,


I have things to say about BBC coverage, the latest of which is to tell people about campaign tactics rather than the issues.

So let’s say it more simply; we want people to understand that – 
– the Johnson Brexit deal poses problems for the Peace Deal struck over Northern Ireland and Ireland; as does No Deal;
– the Johnson deal does not mean an end to Brexit, but uncertainty over trade; (new deals will take years); 
– the Conservatives have been exploring access to NHS for American companies as part of a future trade deal with the USA;  
– Labour wants to spend more on our health services and to reduce the demand on the health services through more adult care and more dental checks;  
– Labour will employ more new nurses than the Conservatives, not least because the Conservatives are counting nurses already working for the NHS as new; 
– the Conservatives are also portraying a programme to re-furbish 6 hospitals as a programme for 40 new hospitals; the biggest new hospital building programme was started by Labour; 
– climate change has been recognised by the public this year in particular as requiring more government action; Labour are proposing a new green industrial revolution, while Johnson is avoiding the Channel 4 tv leaders’ debate on climate change. 
So much more to say. 

Property Development in The Meadows

Regarding housing and office developments –

** Crocus Meadows – Crocus Street, Traffic Street and Queens Road
– Student block, was late, but believed to be operating fully;
– Saffron Court (a.k.a. Hicking phase 2) – been taking tenants since 6 weeks ago; belief is that it will be fully rented out;
– Chaineys (a.k.a. Hicking phase 3) – designed to build out from existing buildings; planning consent given some time ago;
– Queens Road next to Platform 7 entrance; 325 apartments being planned;
– Queens Road opposite Hicking phase 1 – 3 blocks being explored – a hotel, a student hall of residence and a 24 storey private rental tower are being explored;
– next to Picture Works on Queens Road – a student hall of residence is being designed;
– Unity Square – iron work for HMRC tower block erected; no news on the second block;
– Crocus Square – planning permission given for an office to support 700 jobs;
– Creswell planning permission given, then the developer of Hicking phases 2 and 3 has bought and is proposing to re-submit as 300 private flats – slightly lower in general, but with a small tower;
– Vantage – at the south west corner of Traffic Street – a student hall of residence for 425 has been granted permission;
– Sentinal – at the north west corner of Traffic Street – a tower of 308 flats for private rent is being designed;

** New Meadows
– Arkwright Walk – most sites completed and being occupied; final housing block and small flat complex scheduled for completion by May;
– Blackstone Walk – complete;
– former Meadows Police station – said to be starting in November but may be delayed;
– former Miner’s Welfare – house building well under way;
– the former Globe pub on London Road has been demolished

** Meadow Lane
– Waterside, by canal lock – site cleared for new houses and flats, for which iron structures are being erected;
– Ironmonger Lane – development of housing along canal seems less likely;

Getting the Third Degree

An opportunity to wallow in sentimentality as I recall the huge impact of the first 3 black players to play together for West Bromwich Albion in the seventies.
I had learnt again of Laurie Cunningham’s story from an ITV documentary (“First Among Equals – The Laurie Cunningham Story (2013)”) and I’m trying to get proof that I saw Cunningham play at the “game of the decade” (that never was) when Liverpool beat WBA at Anfield on 3rd February 1979, and when WBA beat Man U at The Hawthorns on 10th October 1979.
All dramatic portrayals of football suffer with trying to re-create the action, and from commentary to describe the action in superlatives. A shame that the play doesn’t use more of what the player said, or may have said, when describing goals and achievements.
And of course, a football fan spots things like Orient being referred to as Leyton Orient in the ’70s, when they weren’t.
Also some of the political points being made were not clear enough – was Roy Jenkins moving the 1976 Race Relations Act being celebrated, or ridiculed? What was the final scene trying to say? And perhaps the current point to be made is the lack of black managers in the top flights of football – and I remember Cyrille Regis complaining some years back when he couldn’t make a breakthrough.
But for those who don’t know the stories, this play is worth seeing.