Greener offices

Design sustainability into a new building from the outset.
Use natural ventilation – the era of fan driven air conditioning should be over.
Use ground source heat pumping, using the piles as the way to reach into the ground.
Don’t build above 8 stories cos serving the upper floors and carrying the weight against wind chill is too much.
Deep buildings can only work with air and light shafts.

High level conclusions presented to Nottingham architects and City Council planners.
Julian Marsh and Brian Royal making the contentions.
Supporting speech from Alan Simpson and an introduction from me.
If the contentions area supported, we’ll look to see them in a supplementary planning policy.
But we will have to work on persuading the developers too.

Simplistic Maxims for Assessing New Buildings

I am at times in awe of what architecture can do. As for the shock, you will be dismayed as to my basic knowledge of architecture and the simplistic maxims I use for assessing a building.

1. The Julie Andrews Maxim. When Julie writes, she begins with A, B, C. When she sings, she begins with do, re, mi. When she builds, she begins with bottom, middle, top. But modern buildings so often don’t bother with a top.
2. The way in maxim. Obviously, you’ve got to have a way in. All buildings pass that test. But the sense of occasion when you arrive, well I’m not so sure.
3. The Curve Index. It’s ridiculous to contend that modern buildings shun curves. Every building has curves. They have still not devised a method for taking to waste from the toilet bowl to the exhaust pipes without using a curved pipe. So every building still scores at least 0.05% on the curve index. It’s just that where I live, curves are often used used to corner buildings and it looks nice.
4. The Flat Earth maxim. The earth is not flat, and the basic proof is the sun goes down at night. For sometime, we’ve had to cope with living when the sun goes down. So what does a building look like at night?

5. The Play School maxim. Even BBCtv children’s Play School had a choice of 3 windows. Walls can do more than create a boundary, hold up floors, a roof and some windows. Detail and Decoration. So much to play with, regarding materials. So why don’t they? And what happened to the golden ratio?
6. The Tax Offices maxim. Green architecture and Green building technology often brings interest. Take our 1990’s tax offices. I was pleased for myself and for passengers when we got rid of the bottles necks to the western approaches to Nottingham Midland station, but its upside was that when you were stuck outside the station, you can take in the beauty of the tax offices. Solar chimneys for staircases; glass panels for reflection.
7. There is no number 7.
8. The Fabric First maxim might also need re-numbering. Forthcoming briefings may well be exploring consideration of a building’s depth as to whether it can be green. And it would be quite nice to have an energy statement for a building at least alongside the submission of the plans or a proposal. So fabric third?

But as in thermodynamics, these things can all overlook the obvious. In thermodynamics, the incredibly challenging concept of entropy was defined in the second law, before physicist realised they’d forgotten the basics. That heat flows from a hotter body to a cooler body. The zeroth law.

For our zeroth maxim, we might be forgiven for only adopting it last Monday, but it is this. We have to be carbon neutral. Planning laws and frameworks might not back us up. But it’s the challenge we have set ourselves in Nottingham, and hopefully, you can help us work it out.

You might be shocked that in a discipline that takes you 7 years to be qualified, I have tried to reduce the subject to 8 lines to fit on the back of a pledge card, and 8 glib lines at that. But I’m very New Labour. And sometimes, perhaps, simple tests can help.

Mid-month progress report – January 2020

Most of this report already posted on this web-site; this presentation has been prepared for meetings in The Meadows.

Nottingham 2028 Carbon Neutral Charter
Nottingham has declared a climate emergency and agreed a charter to act.  A lot of big vision stuff, and good to set out a big aim.  
Towards a Greener Meadows

The Meadows is bidding for a big revenue project to spend on developing greener living; changes in what we. eat and how we grow food; how we waste less and renew / repair more.  The Meadows bid depends on being community based and the establishment of the Greener Meadows group has been very important to that.  
Re-charging points
More electric car re-charging points are being explored, most likely in the north-east corner of the Embankment park.  

Greener Offices
There’s a meeting between officers and Green campaigners on greener architecture for offices on Friday morning.  

Crocus Meadows
A ton of stuff has happened / is being sought for “Crocus Meadows”.  Officers are taking the Planning committee on a walking tour on Wednesday, 22nd.  

Local Plan
A major re-statement of the planning policies for lots of parcels of land throughout the city has been agreed …

Cattle Market
… including the Cattle Market; I see the plan changing so as to enable change rather than demand it, and to fit in with the huge re-development throughout Waterside, including enabling new tram routes.  
The leases on much of the Cattle Market site have some years to run and the market is a very distinctive part of the city’s offer.

Crime and Knives
Knife crime in the city is down slightly, but we have had incidents again in The Meadows, the latest being between “acquaintances” (mid-Decemebr) for which an arrest was made the following day.  
I’m opposing calls for the Knife Angel to come to Nottingham. 
What I want is a dedicated police sergeant.  

Leaf Mulch Litter
The wet Autumn, and the distinct periods of prolonged raid has made clearing pavements difficult; 
Officers report we have recovered on the leaf mulch, but I would welcome feedback. 

Football pitches
The pitches have been waterlogged; hoping they’ll be dry enough in a further fortnight.

Austerity and Cuts
We’re planning a stall at the Bridgeway Shopping Centre for Friday, 24th, at 10am.  
The cuts are limiting the number of events that Meadows Councillors can now support – down to “Your Choice, Your Voice”, Christmas Tree, Library grotto.  
We wish we could do more, including …

Road maintenance
Osier Road resurfaced. 

Parking management
Requests keep being asked about parking permits for more of the Old Meadows.  The tests remain – is there a problem? is there a problem that permits can actually fix?  does it have support from the residents directly affected?

We do think RINGGO at Bridgeway Shopping Centre has been a success, but we now need to look at parcels of lands (“home zones”) in the New Meadows.  

Polling Places
Quite a few changes for the New Meadows and a new polling station for Crocus Street.   

Old Meadows conservation area 
… goes to Exec Board this month (21st).  

Ward Walk, 30th
This month starts from Bathley Street/Woolmer Road at 11am. 
Light Night
AMCG are doing a light night on Saturday, 8th February, 6pm

Full Council – January 2020

Six of Nottingham Labour’s new Councillors

Regional media interest because of the declaration of a climate emergency and agreeing a charter for Nottingham to become Carbon Neutral by 2028.

We adopted a new Local Plan, but with some discussion about whether office and shopping studies from 2014 and 2015 not already being out of data. I briefly mentioned the Cattle Market.

New polling districts and polling places were agreed, but I spoke out about the poor state of the register with so many not registered, the expense of compiling it when national lists already exist, the use of an out of date register to define the cards, the threat of reduced Parliamentary representation for Nottingham because of the under-registration, the threat to turnout by requiring i.d. when voting (based on a panic generated by the Right), and the unwillingness to even explore Estonia’s use of internet voting, which saw 44% or participants using the internet to cast their vote in their elections last yea. We should care more, much more.

The Conservatives called for the Knife Angel to be hosted in Nottingham – I spoke against. If we must have statues, let them be to Austerity and Private Greed in the neighbourhoods that voted for it.


Tony Blair's total approach

Electric cos it’s a total view rather than here’s a policy idea I just thought of.
This ain ‘t “Freudian fixation”.
It is appreciation of a former leader with something to say, in this instance, 7 tests of what constitutes being radical with a purpose.
And guess what – I don’t agree with it all. But do think we should learn from it.

So what is the analysis?
Don’t go back in time. Do resolve to win – cos that how we enable. what the labour movement wanted from the party. We lost cos we had a leader and a manifesto that voters thought unacceptable.

And the framework?
1. Progressives win from the centre … the centre does not mean the status quo. … redefine “radical”, … fashion a new policy agenda, particularly mastery of a 21st-century technological revolution … and … from that to programmes of social justice and transformation, including on climate change and inequality. 
2. progressive politics works best when in the name of changing the world, we don’t promise the world … For many … our manifesto did not ignite hope. It ignited fear…. Free this, free that. …
3. parties that govern are not the same as protest movements. …. [winning] means appealing to people not living on the breadline, as well as those who are.
4. make it easy for people to come over to you. … our leadership was so sectarian
5. patriotism matters, … its basics … pride in our country; support for the armed forces; being strong on law and order. The progressive view … will add an emphasis on values of tolerance, equality and a commitment to social justice. But the basics can’t be absent.
6. if we denounce our own government’s record, don’t be surprised if the people conclude we shouldn’t be put back into power. …
7. decide whether it’s … about the people or about making us feel good about ourselves.

So what’s to disagree about?
1. the centre kinda is shorthand for the status quo. A better way of talking about it is to develop a new hegemony, much as New Labour did – it was just wrong on tolerance of inequality, housing and constant re-organisation of public services – but this is not a denunciation.
5. George Orwell explained patriotism better (“The Lion & The Unicorn”); but I wonder if there’s something else at play? Something like we’re always providing for those other people who don’t play by the rules. (Recent example – new housing promised in The Meadows will go to I;;heal immigrants.).

My pledges would be 1.NHS; 2. stop austerity cutting jobs; 3. re-claim tax breaks given to bankers and corporations; 4. (something on Europe – but we are such a stale of lux); 5. action on climate change.
What what to say about patriotism or its proxies beyond Blair’s basics? – Tentatively, something like helping the country out – reporting crime; not missing NHS appointments; taking part in in decision making (People’s budgets, registering to vote and voting); and George Orwell’s favourites – avoiding barbarity in the way we write and speak about others (c.f. lampooning); oh, and liking flowers.

Cattle Market

A very distinctive part of Nottingham’s offer, celebrated previously in the N Post and in the Left Lion. Some special buildings.
Busy again this morning, with auctions taking place in 5 different halls.
But some of the owners have suggested it’s not returned to the levels it was achieving before last year’s fire.

More uses for the site are suggested in the Local Plan being considered at Full Council.
It ties in with a plan to develop the Waterside more generally, and there is a pressure to provide more housing – Nottingham’s private sector rents may well be increasing at the fastest rate in the country.
It’s been reported in the N Post, but there are some riders to the coverage.

There are no current proposals for development.  
All the leases on the land have some years to run.
The council may well need the power to enable a tram route to run through the site. The N Post refers to a route from Gedling, although a more strategic priority for that route is to reach the A52 east of West Bridgford and relieve Trent Bridge. Even then, an alternative exists to follow Meadow Lane and then use Arkwright Walk.

Should it be decided to dispose of the land for development, it will not be wholesale redevelopment but more fine grained, respecting the special character of the area.  A master plan would be prepared, and subject to full consultation.
Gotta say, talk of a hotel is a tad surprising given hotels are already being ventured for the junction of Queens Road and London Road, and for the Boots Island close to the Travelodge.

Meantime, the site is not well served by public transport – something we’re looking out for as more housing is provided.
The Cattle Bridge Road junction with London Road is not especially friendly for pedestrians, although I’m not aware of a record of injury accidents that would give facilities priority over existing problem junctions in the city.

Knife Angel

A quick search of the internet doesn’t yield stories of the statue having made a difference; just stories of where it might go next and assertions like “If the Knife Angel’s visit to Newtown stops one person from committing a violent act, it will have been worth it.” Just gotta do better.

We know knife crime has grown because of lack of proper jobs and less money in people’s pockets. The focus on being tough on the causes of crime has been lost, and losing 20,000 Police Officers across the country meant a loss of focus on being tough on crime. We halved crime in Nottingham when the right policies and spending was in place. Now, we’re going backwards.

I don’t need something ugly in The Meadows installing (as one local group has suggested) to tell local people knife crime is bad.
I could do with having a full-time Sergeant re-instated.
And action to stop the abuse of public telephone boxes.

If I was going to have a statue erected to tell people of the problems we face cos of austerity; it would highlight directing money to the world’s wealthiest, the corporations and their £8bn tax cut, and the banks and their £5bn tax cuts.
Then erect it in those parts of Nottingham city that have voted for austerity.

Meanwhile, a top Police officer has said that effective action needs more social services.
And the Guardian reports that thousands of children are not getting the help they need for mental health problems.

On 30th November, the Nottingham Post reported the Knife Angel is on its way; and now Nottingham Conservatives are demanding it happens.