Planning committee – January 2021

Unfortunate that a subsequent N Post article used an image of the previous design as if it was the one approved.

The commercial demand to provide accommodation to students in Nottingham is seen again by the proposal to provide 356 bedrooms on St.Ann’s Wells Road, on the edge of the city centre.
The original scheme was pared back to allow space and light next the prayer hall in the neighbouring mosque.

50 dwellings to be provided by Nottingham City Housing Association next to Melbury School in Bilborough subject to conditions, include an extra one to check whether a walk and cycle way can be provided for a more direct route to local shops and the local school.

Planning committee – December 2020

Pleased to recommend continuation of proposed houses to be built on 2 fields near Henry Mellish school towards Bulwell; now that –
– the brick to be used is a warmer combination of variated red and brown brick finish;
– block pavier drives in a colour that goes;
– more detail on making a shared drive work for pedestrians and non-cars users;
– re-configuration of some of the houses to enable 2 more existing trees to be kept.
Pleased that we were able to pick up on so many of the local councillors’ concern, if not all.

Tier 3 restrictions return to Nottingham

A shame that Nottingham is tier 3; the rate of new cases is falling and there are always counter-arguments to be made, especially when decisions are made by county boundaries. The hope and expectation is that the decision has been made with the need to keep our hospitals working as the first priority.

Plainly, the notion of relaxing restrictions over Christmas – only for it be re-instated again afterwards – seems odd, but maybe the notion of enforcing restrictions on families celebrating Christmas dinners was just too much. We all know friends and families are for life, not just for Christmas.

Three different vaccinations under development is very welcome news, but there’s a lot to sort out in terms of delivery especially since some vaccinations require 2 injections within a set time, and there has been confusion and errors in the delivery of testing regimes.

It’s to be hoped that everyone called will accept the vaccination both for their own health and the protection of all others. However, I presume consultations with GPs will be part of the process.

Joint Strategic Planning and Transport cttee – September 2020

Transport: cycling has a high share since the lockdown

Transport: quite a few changes to the network local most especially the close of Collin Street, but also the closure of Embankment, while Clifton Bridge is less than full capacity; traffic volumes have not fully returned whilst the public health emergency continues; County Councillors are reporting the traffic is worse in Wilford Lane areas. I called for new bus and cycle lanes across Trent Bridge to promote the bus further and create an even stronger route between West Bridgford and the city centre.

Committee proceedings care available on YouTube; papers are available;

Proposed changes to the planning system: Government are reducing the opportunities for people to have a say about what happens in their neighbourhood and reducing the powers of planning authorities to make sure the right thing is done.
Minerals: County are consulting over new plans which includes a gravel pit on the border of Nottingham City, between Barton-in-Fabis and the south-west corner of Clifton.

Waste: a planning application for an incinerator for the current coal-burning power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar (which was actually switched back on during the hot weather in August). Petitions against the incinerator say other green technologies exists for east disposal, but the processing plant in the London Borough of Sutton do not appear to have been repeated elsewhere (happy to be corrected) and the special planet at Sinfin in Derby appears to have failed. Incineration does yield steam for electricity generation, hot water, metal, ash and fly ash; but in a remote location, it’s not clear how the hot water could be used. I’d like to see digestion used – it produces natural gas and compostable materials,. but the material would have to be filtered at some stage to take the metal out of what goes in and take plastic out of what comes out, and I’m not sure it’s been done on an such a scale – maybe the Sinfin was meant to achieve this.

Best wishes to the people of Belarus

Went to Minsk as Lord Mayor for the celebration of their 950th anniversary. They paid – the city council couldn’t afford it.
Quite a few highlights. Opera etc. to tell the story of the city, very marked by 95% of the city being destroyed by the Nazis. German prisoners of wars were kept back to see the city rebuilt with wide boulevards. The city looked good, although I was in no position to judge whether housing was expensive.
We expanded the purpose of the trip to check out their public transport and we saw their monitoring system for tracking every vehicle – better than ours. We might even come to see their electric buses on Nottingham’s roads working from Clifton Washlands park and ride. Their buses have capacitors (Chianese technology) and in an echo of horse drawn buses and trams, need an 5/8 minute slot every hour to be re-charged / fed. Nottingham twinned during the Cold War (I imagine) to stress how we could all lose if we didn’t do more to avoid war. There was an econ dev project we were involved in and we think we found it; but now I’m not so sure.
More notable was Nottingham’s response to help the children poisoned by the fallout from Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion. If military blocks was the difference then, perhaps the differences now – beyond the fundamental of being free to organise for your own political vision – are attitudes to women and LBGTQ (why let who you love be an issue?).
Personal highlight was calling on a large squad of army cadets whilst they were getting ready to parade arranged in 2 ranks and getting them to sing the opening lines of the TV theme tune “Robin Hood”.
I hope a free society can come out of all that’s going on. But a repeat of the oligarchs and the oppression in a free Russia does not inspire me.

Wider testing for Covid-19 shows much higher numbers

(c) Financial Times

“Until today, only Pillar 1 figures have been published at a local level.”
In the week running up to 21 June, 35 people in Nottingham have tested positive for Covid-19, not 3.
We only know, cos what has triggered the lockdown in Leicester has prompted the results of tests from drive-in testing and and tests taken by people at home and returned in the post has been published.

Guardian graphic. Source: Public Health England. Weekly rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 population, tested under both Pillar 1 and 2, for week ending 21 June

And you just want to scream!
After all the foul-ups we’ve suffered in Britain, we now find out about the concept of Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 testing, and that we were only being given the results for Pillar 1.
We laughed when Donald Trump said the only reason the virus has grown is cos of the higher number of tests, but it appears the Conservatives in Government had drawn the same conclusion, and kept the results secret.

What now appears to be the vectors are young people carrying the virus, and workers in factories / enclosed spaces. And it is the scale of factory working that is so different in Leicester from Nottingham. For our 35 cases, Leicester has suffered 497 (rather than the published 33).

Now is this a second wave? I think not, cos I thought a second wave is associated with a mutation in the virus, such as happened with the 1918 influenza, which affected different people in. a different way.
Is what’s happening in the United States the second wave? The Mayor of New York has said No – this is not getting on top of the first wave in the first place.

Nottingham City Local Outbreak Control Plan

On Monday, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council published a report on how they will manage a local lockdown if one is required.

This can be a tad frightening.
So can news that a new type of influenza is being spread amongst pigs. We have yet to hear though that it has spread to humans and we don’t know how dangerous it will be if and when it does. Point being is that this development of a virus amongst pigs is something we’ve been living with for some significant time – the spread of a Coronavirus has been different.

On face mask wearing, a consensus has developed – what covering your mouth and nose does most is to mitigate against coughs and sneezes spreading the disease. Wearing a mask on public transport is a way of showing people that you care for their welfare as well as your own – not a denial of your rights of free movement.

There is more suggestions that the disease spreads when people are attending events in larger numbers. An example of this would be people going to mosques, temples, synagogues and churches. However, this would not explain recent growths in the number of cases, cos place of worship in Britain have been closed.

We wait to see the fall-out of the 500,000 (check) people who visited Bournemouth on the hot Saturday. Despite the long-distance photos suggesting otherwise, what I saw was people on the beach staying apart in their own bubbles; what seemed most unmanageable was staying apart in. shops etc. and common facilities such as toilets. For all that, “British common sense” should have told people t was dangerous – instead the government had to close the beaches down and it was bizarre to see the Prime Minister having to tell people to obey the public safety advice that his own key advisor had ignored and he had covered for. Indeed Johnson had been “so flippant the previous week in urging MPs of seaside towns to ‘show some guts'”.

Nor did Johnson act quickly on Leicester. Notable, that one Leicester man responded to the new lockdown by organising a pub crawl of Nottingham using Twitter booking 2 coaches in response to demand. The man has since cancelled the bookings, organising a mini-bus instead, saying he might have gone a bot over the top.

All of which is casting fresh doubt on relaxing the lockdown, and the emphasis being given to schools re-opening in September today – not wrong so much, as not the real story.

UK travel vlog of Nottingham by Renata Pereira

The second of two vlogs on Nottingham; published December 2018.
The first – is Nottingham real? – focussed on the castle and around.

Seen a few Vlogs on Nottingham now, and a number of its viewers have said this one is worth watching.
Of course, I’m sensitive to what is missed – the radical history of Nottingham, its sports history, the night life (tens of thousands at the weekends), the cultural offer – and the repaired building featured is better known as the offices of our best ever architect. If given the chance, might have recommended other restaurants.
Not allowed to film in some of our attractions, where the tours are a key part of their business, but photo presentation was a good substitute.

History of Broad Marsh by NottsFlix

The Broadmarsh shopping centre regenerates; the video author is a Doctor Who fan.

Ran into this 3 part video history series after seeing a travel vlog.
Written and presented by Michael, of Nottsflix, and published in 2018 and 2019, this is a pretty impressive effort if, as claimed, this was his first attempt. It tries to be light-hearted.
I’m not an historian so can’t know is everything is right, but it seemed pretty compelling to me.
A history of the Broadmarsh shopping centre, starting with what Broad Marsh itself was, how it was known to be a monastery, how it was taken over for various trades, how living conditions came to be so intolerable despite the wealth being generated in the city, why the shopping centre came about and why it has the brutalist architecture (albeit, 3rd wave, muted brutalist architecture).
Michael has also found letters from the protestors against the shopping centre being built, although seems a little unclear as why the council was so keen (suggesting something dark and underhand).
Not sure. One of the losses that at one stage the early and much more ambitious proposals for regeneration wanted to re-instate was the previous city streets plan for that area (although that was also compromised by Maid Marian Way. That optimistic time was first publicly promoted I think in 1997, but the scale of the proposals was huge, and the then owner Westfield, had other projects, e.g. Derby’s shopping centre, that were easier to do and so done first.

Meanwhile – look the videos up –
The Shopping Centre with Too Much History | Broadmarsh #1 | Nottsflix History (November 2018)
The Shopping Centre with A Dark Past | Broadmarsh #2 | Nottsflix History (March 2019)
The Shopping Centre Rises | Broadmarsh #3 | Nottsflix History (August 2019)

Victory 20 years ago

The first week of May has prompted Facebook friends to celebrate various anniversaries of local election victories.  
Today is the 20th anniversary of one I am particular fond of, when a late friend came to help me during the day, and towards the end, predicted a win when we’d thought defending a previously unwinnable ward was finally going to catch up with us. 

In. the run-up, I’d gone to a by-election in Derbyshire 3 weeks previously, when my good friend Bill Lythgoe stood but lost. It wasn’t a bad defeat but it reminded me of what extra we’d need to do to win.
He promised to join me in return on my election day.

Alongside Emma Dewinton, we always had lots to say in Mapperley ward, so produced 3 attractive A4 folded lengthwise elections addresses – one for each part of the ward.
Then on election day, my partner Sue ran the biggest polling district committee rooms with the most workers from the GMB office, the late Paul Watts organised Mapperley Park (delivering our majority was the joke for what was perceived to be staunchly Conservative area) and Bill & I worked the east Sherwood part from someone’s empty front room.  
We had expected defeat, but time and again, we met supporters who said they’d gone to vote, and even met a woman at 8pm wandering around to find the polling station. a moment for me when I thought, may be this was on. 

At the city wide count, I got those knowing glances from colleagues that said they knew I was out.  
We held the then 2 member Mapperley ward in the Nottingham City council elections, when Labour lost 10 seats in the city that day.

And Labour, under Tony Blair, lost one-third of the seats we were defending that day (see the letter from the then city leader, Graham Chapman).
Note, the neighbouring Sherwood ward was also held against the odds by Brian Parbutt and Penny Griggs.