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

Maasai Cricket Warriors

IMG_9144mb1347h OMS Maasai Cricket Warriors visit Nottingham montage

As featured in The Guardian.
Full res photos available on Facebook.


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.

Have the British changed on EU membership?

Observer front page melodramatically reports that an analysis of voters’ views on our future is now 53% Remain as opposed to 48% 2 weeks ago (Sky polling) and 48% at the referendum. The analysis suggests one-sixth of our constituencies would switch on what is the equivalent of a 2.5% swing (which is tad surprising).
(Note that it shows Rushcliffe swinging to Remain, but I wonder why?)
Seeking a further referendum poses all kind of questions. The answer to which might be that there should be a public view on the final deal.  The answer will more certainly be for another vote if people get that most of us have come to understand that we, as a people, have changed our mind.
I hope that happens, but I don’t think we’re there yet.
Observer articlePeter Kellner article.

Who Is America? and Ed Balls in Trumpland

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest series (Channel 4) has again had some classic moments.  Moments that puncture the deeply held prejudices of alt-right political activists and elected representatives even.   Often funny, and as usual, not all of it works.  Some of the sketches might highlight shallowness in people who are bidable in front of cameras.  Some of the sketches (again) show that how people try to be polite in even kinda challenging situations.
Making America Proud Again?Ed Balls (BBC tv) proclaims high aims for his series about visiting those parts of the USA that voted big for Trump enabling him to win, so he can explain the victory, missing the point that Clinton won by 3 million votes and the deciding votes were cast in the rust belt.  He then repeats his Strictly experiences by putting himself in ridiculous situations to fill out the documentary.  And some of it makes you smile.  The most telling section is when the sham behind professional wrestling is freely exposed.  The funniest moment is him wearing a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt, followed by “Great Britain is already Great”.  Ed Balls met a lot of people making a lot of hard work.  The first 2 episodes didn’t really show people working hard, but maybe the people to talk to would have been people who’d just finished a hard day’s work.  But, after 2 episodes,  the workplace appears to be one place where this series ain’t going.
Key points well made are –
– the USA has locked up one-quarter of the world’s population in incarceration;
– the USA is stuck terribly over the right to carry guns (not to mention the well-regulated militia, which often isn’t, including in this series).