Meadows ward monthly report 10

To be updated; 111 requests, 46 new clients

Bridge failure. Traffic jams. Floods. The growth of a pandemic. Abuse of the civil service. Oh, and poor media practice & N Post click-bait.

Clifton Bridge failed. The Meadows was jammed with commuters.
It rained, the river was high and Gunthorpe bridge was closed. Elsewhere, houses and property and crops were ruined by floods.

Successes – putting trams, buses and local transport first in response to the jams; progress by Meadows Police; pushing on with greening The Meadows, building on what we already have. And we have to push for green solutions for the future (and challenge some of the myths).
MeGA are doing well and launched a new web-site.
Nottingham City Council opened its new customer hub.

I supported Keir Starmer for Leader of the Labour Party.

Culture and events – 
Films: Parasite; Richard Jewell; Mr. Jones; Weathering with you; Greed;
Plays: Moonlight and Magnolias;
Events: Meadows Light Night 2020; Nottingham Light Night 2020;  Ivon Hitchens exhibition; Vote For Planet Earth by Judy Liebert; Flight;
TV: Confronting Holocaust Denial by David Baddiel;
Football: Salop scored a great goal at Anfield (alright, properly disallowed) but the performance was woeful.

And farewells: Mary Phillips; Dieter Peetz; Harry Gregg.

Click-bait that can be wrong, or useless, or misdirecting, or irresponsible

One of the weirdest outcomes of constant news channels is that they announce they are going to bring you the news rather than give you the news there and then.
Newspapers web-sites and social media sites do it in other ways – announcing a question (to which the answer is most usually “No”) and by enabling users to spread rumours and outright lies.

Just some examples concerning The Meadows that are wrong, or useless, or misdirecting, or irresponsible –

The Nottingham Post suggests works to re-paint the Trent Bridge in March will bring additional burdens to commuters driving across the River Trent. Wrong. The works are to enable scaffolding to be erected between 8pm and 3am – way outside of rush hour.

The Nottingham Post state huge numbers of crimes for The Meadows – achieved by using the combined figures for the wards of The Meadows, Dales, St.Anns, Clifton North and Clifton South. Useless. A bit ironic given the N Post had run a story in January saying how good it is to live in The Meadows.

Lies issued in response to Police arresting 2 men

The Police announce charging 2 men from The Meadows on drug dealing charges. Bridges Community Trust share the news. “Natty Bongo” comments that one of the officers involved had Covid-19. Then backs it up with the story from the N Post that an officer is indeed being tested. Misdirection. Turns out the officer tested was found not to have the virus (see subsequent N Post story), and that the officer was based in Bridewell (who are not used on raids either). But it’s another example of allowing people to make comments anonymously and then be able to duck responsibility for comments made.

More challenging are the “opinions” expressed as personal experience and deemed as irrefutable facts. (There was a classic example of this on BBCtv Question Time recently). Turns out the opinion shraed of one individual in particular is an opinion not shared. So going public this way is irresponsible. It is hard to deny personal experience and people offering service to clients can soon become vulnerable to this. Where this pertains to a public service, and offered without a name and address, I am reluctant to follow these complaints up (although sometimes I check, and focus on a solution if a problem is found to exist). If someone cares enough, they should report it responsibly.

It’s been brought to my attention since that the Nottingham Post and then the Daily Mirror have run a story about a patient’s daughter being refused access to the Meadows Medical Centre toilet. The man refused works in mental health and that says something. But residents will understand why the centre keeps the toilets locked and I have heard the Centre’s take on the incident.

Mass transport to relieve Clifton Bridge jams

Public transport helps ease traffic disruption – and City Council asks Highways England to do more

“The closure of the A52 at Clifton Bridge for Highways England work is funnelling an extra 15,000 southbound vehicles a day over Nottingham’s remaining two bridges, latest figures show.
“The incident has also led to a rise in the number of people opting to use the tram – with a 21% increase in journeys from the Park & Ride sites at Clifton and Toton.
“Analysis of traffic flows by Nottingham City Council show that the average daily flow of southbound traffic over Lady Bay Bridge and Trent Bridge – heading in the same direction as the closed lanes on the A52 – increased from 36,000 vehicles before the closure to 52,000 after, or 44%. The biggest increase on a single day came on Sunday 9th February, with a rise of 77% more vehicles than usual.”

The City Council has already acted to stop cars getting in the way of trams, NCT Greens & Navys, and other public transport. Traffic access east through Crocus Street from Sheriff’s Way has been banned. And when it was needed, through traffic wasn’t allowed to block the trams running along Meadows Way.
Trams are stilled frustrated from time to time towards Gregory Street by traffic using Lenton Lane.
Trent Bridge and Trent Bridge Island often jam in peak hours anyway. What makes flows southbound during peak times struggle more is poor weather, a sporting event, or if there is an event in the city centre – typically at the Ice Arena.

What more can be done?
It needs financial support, but a temporary park & ride site at Wilford Lane could help more people switch to the tram. If Clifton South Park & ride site was to fill, a temporary extension could be sought.
More can be done with signage and being explicit with traffic mgmt. with extra yellow boxes.

More challenging ideas –
If just one lane southbound on Clifton Bridge brought such relief, what about allocating one of the lanes – when they come back – to mass transport and freight? Advice I’m getting is Clifton Bridge flows are too complicated to make the idea viable.
What impact could giving a south bound lane on Trent Bridge to buses and freight make? Again, advice I’m getting is flows south of the bridge are complicated and advantage gained would not be significant. Also, the installation of anti terrorist measures on the bridge restrict lane widths.

Meanwhile, progress on the introduction of electric buses from Belarus using capacitor technology continues, but it is slow.

Meadows Police latest arrests

“Two men have appeared in court #charged with drugs offences after police executed warrants in The Meadows this week.”
The Police have had a success – tackling houses in The Meadows that have been supplying drugs.

In the meantime, I have received complaints about more people wondering around the neighbourhood, looking for “fixes”, cos the supply has gone. Not heard of this phenomenon before.  
Patrolling in the neighbourhood will be changed to tackle this.

Also “Two men aged have been arrested on suspicion of robbery in Nottingham. The incident happened on Wilford Crescent East on the 24th where the victim was approached. Officers spotted the bike which matched the description later that day and the men were arrested.”

Source: Twitter @MeadowsCops

Shrewsbury flooded

See report in Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury has been hit by floods in notable events occurring in 1795, 1941, 1946, 1947, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968 and more recently in 1998 and 2000.
Coming from near Shrewsbury, I have memories of one flood, most especially of walking on scaffolded planks over the flooded Frankwell near the Welsh bridge when I was around 4 or 7. A strong early childhood memory to rival the arrival of Thunderbirds on TV and my first day at school. 
But it was the sixties, an age of hope and expectation, and we visited the Clywedog dam as it was being built so that Shrewsbury would never be flooded again. That prevention lasted 30 years.

The current floods have been the worst for 20 years and it is a reminder not only of climate change, but also of our attitude to run-off – gardens and drives being covered rather than hold water – oh and possibly a lack of maintenance of culverts etc. (conjecture).  
Surprised that the major railway station bridge over the Severn has been closed; 17 road closures have been in place – including Coton Hill, Smithfield Road and both the English and Welsh Bridges.

Still the Conservative MP is going to demand a debate in parliament. (La de da; an improvement on attending far-right meetings in Europe.)
He should be reminded – “From 2008-2010 Labour spending on flood defences rose by 10% p.a. Since then increases have run at 1.2% p.a. and weighted towards higher value properties (in the South)” – Source – Alan Simpson.

Bigger issues down river, and the Police are saying the situation has to be managed for another 10 days.  
What television can ‘t convey is the damp creeping up the plaster of flooded rooms and the smell of what the water leaves behind.  

Meanwhile, in Nottingham, we’ve lost the Queens Drive park & ride, but we accepted that we’d built it in the flood plain, and that it would get flooded; twist is that for its first 20 years (check), it didn’t.

Towards a Greener Meadows – February 2020

Extracts of Nottingham Energy Partnership’s presentation

“Towards a Greener Meadows” held its 3rd meeting, this time reviewing what to do to improve energy management in the home. Including insulation. and maintaining your boiler regularly.  

Surprising conjecture that the future would see the return of hot water tanks, as gas-first boilers will be phased out and replaced by air source heat pumps. Currently £3,000 a go, it seems unreal, but the market and the climate’s needs will drive change.  

Ground source heat pumping is of course a better bet, and drawing from the flooded and disused mines where water is 21 degrees Centigrade is something we are going to see more of.  

A future meeting will be called to design a bid to the Climate Action Fund. And the Green Meadows is well placed to win through such a bid.  

But in the meantime, the struggle is to keep queueing traffic out of The Meadows. (We don’t need the air pollution.)
Proper relief involves persuading people to live nearer work, but then, to provide better mass transport from across the river – more frequent trains and a new tram line to the east, both served with park and rides.

Moonlight and Magnolias

A film producer of a book adaptation might not always know the book; the screenwriter fetched in hasn’t read the book and the director is supposed to be finishing “Wizard of Oz” – the play is a bit too convincing that “Gone with the Wind” is not going to be made cos the screenplay won’t be written. 
But it’s a screwball comedy – 10 re-writes already and they have 5 days to reduce over 1000 pages to 4 hours of film – it’s fast and stressed out.

From Stage Agent

And suddenly, it’s serious – celebrating the Confederates in the nation’s civil war which the Union won? how are black slaves to be portrayed – can they ever be seen to argue back? how is violence against them to be portrayed? 2 American Jews arguably the best at what they do, but can they ever be accepted as Americans? should the movie take an opportunity to reflect the refugee crisis in Europe? and how to say whether you give a damn?
“Gone with the Wind” is to be a massive commercial and critical success, and a black actor is to be one of the Oscar winners. Yet the criticism of the film is that it was still too long and not critical enough of the Confederacy, of slavery, of marital rape and is racist. Oh, and I haven’t seen the film.

Showing at Nottingham Playhouse. See the trailer.

Green Meadows

The Meadows has the opportunity to do even more to be environmentally friendly. The new Meadows Climate Change Consortium and Towards a Greener Meadows are the latest initiatives to do just that.
There is quite a lot in place already.

Energy & home comfort: Nottingham Energy Partnership are based at the Queens Walk Community Centre. We have our own energy services Company MOzES (Meadows Ozone Energy Services), which has supplied solar panels and insulation schemes. MOzES also hosts research such as the use of batteries in the home and the sharing of energy across very local networks. District heating reaches into the north of the neighbourhood. New housing built in the south of The Meadows (known as the Eco Meadows) is built to ecological standards.

Nature: With so many trees, the New Meadows looks like a wood from Nottingham castle. Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens are exemplars in what they do, including growing local food. Meadows in Bloom have transformed a number of local streets. Our primary schools offer a bug hotel, a pond for wildlife and a week of action. Both our main parks host a wide selection of trees (each with guides available). Residents in the community look after the Memorial Gardens. The Green hosts hedgehog boxes. The Queens Drive is a wide avenue lined with 170 tear old lime trees. The Embankment meets the river, with again lines of trees and plenty of birds. Our symbol is the crocus!

Transport: The midi-buses of the most successful bus company in the country are based in The Meadows and run on natural gas, supplied from the break down of tree material. The most successful bus priority scheme (in the country) starts in the east of The Meadows. The Meadows hosts 2 tram lines with 3 stops and neighbours the Nottingham railway station. There are 2 locations that provide electric car recharging, and a 3rd is planned. A new car club is starting, with an electric vehicle based at it on-street bay. A number of the Hackney Carriage drivers, whose vehicles are converting to electricity or Level 6, and their leaders, are based in The Meadows.

Waste: The City Council collects waste for recycling separately and other waste is burnt for energy and for collection of metals.

Community action: the ability to reach to people is well in place through community groups- Old Meadows TRA, New Meadows TRA, Queens Walk Community Association & its sister The Sheriffs Social Club, and the Meadows Muslim Centre. There is a Meadows Youth Centre and a there Portland Leisure Centre. A shop providing mobility scooters and services to the whole of the County is based in Bridgeway Shopping Centre. The Bridges Community Trust both organises community events and provides employment services. The Meadows Action Group is well established, helping residents with housing and social security. “Towards a Greener Meadows” was started last year and demonstrated how forward looking our community activists are.

Looking Forward: there is the potential to support –
– Net zero retrofit teams;
– Providing climate education;
– Undertaking local energy audits;
– Delivering more food growing and tree planting;
– providing more local sustainable transport;
and more.

The City Council reviews its ward action plan every December at a meeting of 30 or so community activists and last year a green theme was added to the event.

Nottingham City Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder and the local ward Councillors are keen to do more to make The Meadows greener. And our locally resident Member of Parliament will join in too.


Weathering with you

A popular Anime movie in Japan

Britain had Thunderbirds; Japan had Marine Boy; we have Wallace & Gromit – with tiny moves of plasticine models; they have Anime and hthis latest feature film length movie based on mid-teens with powers over the weather.
The Anime can at times before very compelling – the stuttering moves of a wide public transport bus slowing making its way through a congested street.
The story is what compels authenticity, and you do have to buy quite a few assumptions beyond the ability of a 15 year old to control the rain. Including how flood water behaves and knowing it ain’t pure and clear. There’s no political message in a time of debate about climate change.
Wiki. Guardian.