A celebration of the life of Dieter Peetz, 1927-2019.
Born in East Prussia to Jewish parents who were both chemical engineers. His father died when he was 8, and the family were short of money even after the long period when his single mother struggled to find work. Keen like any child to join in, he wanted to be in the local scouts until he was taken aside to be told that he was one of the 3 children in the class who could not be in the Hitler Youth. His family were to flee Germany in 1939. When the time came, he joined the British Army and his language skills became useful; he was hand-cuffed to German Generals that he took to their trial at Nuremberg.
After the war, he worked for an encyclopaedia company in Glasgow, before coming down to Nottingham University where was to become a lecturer in Philosophy. To the left in British Politics, he stood against Jack Dunnett, the local Nottingham East Labour MP in the October 1974 General Election. I knew him during my time in Mapperley when I was seeking to be elected to the County Council, and he brought rigour to political debates at the local branch meetings. At the celebration of his life, it was plain that he had educated and informed and entertained many with style during his life. His grand-daughter re-told the story of his childhood that he’d published in 1990. TO BE CHECKED.
The Nottingham Post asked did we “need a fourth bridge over the Trent?” They announced a result of 93% in favour. Yes, the day after we found the worst of the jams has been relieved by opening just one of the lanes going south. – No doubt those polled will express their concern too about single-use plastic (cos they’ve seen the David Attenborough programmes), and about climate change, and about providing better alternatives. But the newspaper didn’t suggest any alternatives. – We should respond to this last crisis by saying if we expand capacity for cars, commuters who use the car will decide than they can live further away and daily worsen our air quality and [undermine] our ambition to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases – So instead, let’s – – support plans to build more homes nearer to where people work and learn; building on what’s already in the Local Plan; – direct more gov’t resources to tackling the challenges to encouraging city living, including perceptions of schools serving the most deprived children; – relieve traffic levels through West Bridgford by offering a tram service from the A52 east of West Bridgford; – offer a new park & ride from the A46 / A52 junction near Bingham, through a frequent train service enabled with new points east of Bingham to allow a quick turnaround. – And next time we get sanctimonious comments like “if only people had heeded the warnings”, ask them if they took time to stand up for the climate when the Nottingham Post campaigned for another road bridge.
Notes – 1. of course, it’s only the fourth if you ignore the 2 bridges used for the tram, and for walking and cycling; the railway bridge some way to the east is also under recognised and under valued.
Pleased to speak for Keir Starmer at the Nottingham South meeting and pleased to see my trade union, TSSA, supporting him after a membership ballot. At the Nottingham meeting, his opening supporter explained how Left Keir was, leaving me, as a champion of what New Labour achieved, to wonder if I’d missed a step. But the country’s politics are in a stale funk, and those that followed New Labour in the party are in a stale funk too – we do need a change cos of the errors made (e.g. too close to the City of London, not valuing public ownership enough / requiring outsourcing, not investing in council housing etc.). There are some echoes of that in the current debate – e.g. “being. safe cannot win”, “working people in Red Wall constituencies don’t want charity” etc. of that stale funk. I do regard having a Leader who has done something else, and something important, outside of the role of being a political representative. That as Director of Public Prosecutions, he managed 7,000 people matters. I have confidence that he will be best in handling the challenges and the opportunities that interrogation by the media brings.
Went to see the afternoon peak traffic jamming The Meadows, and it wasn’t there. Just one lane south on Clifton Bridge, and the marshalling organised to maximise flow over the one lane, relieved The Meadows. (Despite stories of marshalling traffic on Mansfield Road, I’d never imagined the one lane could make such a difference.) Yep, the typical jam from London Road to Trent Bridge was still there. (And I imagine there was some extra challenges on the ring road too.) But I had time on my hands, so got a haircut and took pictures of the new crocuses instead (and submitted 3 requested for small actions on St.Saviour’s Gardens).
So if we’re to achieve carbon neutrality, we have to learn from what this episode has told us. And that is – we need better mass transport solutions serving the city centre from the east of West Bridgford.
The Meadows has been hit hard by traffic trying to cross the River Trent in the afternoon rush hour using Trent Bridge. Trying to make up for the loss of 5 lanes on a trunk road, London Road cannot cope and traffic is spreading across The Meadows jamming the alternative routes to Trent Bridge Island, and wrecking the reliability of the buses and the trams.
Specific public transport problems in The Meadows are – – traffic blocking Meadows Way West hitting first the Toton service, and then the Clifton service at its egress from Queens Drive; – the Navy 48 being turned into a clockwise circular service and Robin Hood way outbound no longer being served; – The Green 11 having to be redirected once Wilford Grove is jammed; – other NCT greens being delayed by traffic cutting across from Crocus Street and then jamming Meadows Way East.
No reason to suppose that Highways England have not found a very serious problem with the newer of the 2 Clifton bridges and that repairs could take weeks. It’s possible that one south bound lane might be released on Wednesday. That gives 3 north and 1 south instead of 4 & 4. This apparently does not constitute an emergency but it is certainly very grave. The only transport hope is to prioritise buses and trams so that they can take the burden; and hope others can use trains.. Meanwhile, perhaps others can walk or cycle instead, or work from home.
Looking ahead, significant plans to provides thousands of homes (in the city centre, going out east and south towards the river and near university campuses) nearer to where people work and learn are built and at various stages of development. If we had the imagination and the drive, oh and the finance, we could extend the tram east toward the Racecourse park & ride and beyond; and the railways could provide more suburban train services, with a park & ride service from Bingham (Saxondale).
Traffic chaos only ever tells that the way forward is to reduce the distance people travel. Be nearer to where they work or learn. So they use the car less; that they can walk or cycle if the roads are jammed. Nottingham is going that way – more flats and students’ bedrooms planned for the city centre, Boots Island, Waterside, the north of The Meadows (arguably 4,000) and on & near to university campuses.
I can’t remember when Clifton Bridge was last totally unavailable on a working day, if ever, but the impact on the city’s traffic was dramatic. Only train passengers were unaffected – trams were delayed on those sections that share the road network (e.g. Meadows Way). You don’t build more bridges to deal with bridge failures – cos they merely encourages people to live further away, cos they don’t make residential choices on the basis of 1 in 10,000 working day events.
What could help is building a tram route out to the east of the city centre. Daleside Road to the Racecourse, where there is a park and ride. Opportunities for tram priority might be restricted on the route, with the exception of passing through Arkwright Walk or Cattle Market (depending on which option is chosen). More could be served if the route beyond then went south to the A52 East. Serving park & ride is what justifies new tram routes (financially). By-passing West Bridgford, with 2 major sporting grounds and County Hall may seem counter-intuitive, but the residential area has a relatively low concentration of residents and its streets are already narrow and constrained.
Well, I’d been before, including in September 1979, when I saw Spurs lose 7-0 from the Anfield Road stand, from a position not far from my seat for the match. The main stand looks huge from the outside, but not from the inside – er … Anyway with a cold wind coming in from the sea, was grateful that we could get into the Boot Room cafe, where the food is fine and the waitress was willing to share her lack of Liverpool knowledge – yep, she didn’t know who Alexei Sayle was! And when I asked for the name of the Liver Birds, she guessed at the one looking out to the sea (Bella) rather than Polly and Sandra from the ’70s sit com series. Time passing meant that no-one came to get me when I was standing on the corner outside and looking low. Or am I just too old? (Got to try Chimichurri sauce for the first time.). Saw the Hillsborough Memorial, but didn’t realise there was a Heysel memorial too.