Mid-month progress report – June 2020

Main concern remains the public health emergency. I recommend following government advice, but I no longer try to summarise it at the top of this web-site cos it is getting more sophisticated and nuanced (as might be expected), but also cos the Govt’s special advisor undermined the policy anyway.

The level of new cases is down in Nottingham and it turns out was relatively low anyway, for reasons unknown. Most challenging is the matter of how to expand the number of children attending school. Our local primary schools have given this a lot of consideration, and come up with slightly different approaches, which says to me that it’s best to let them work it out cos they know their situations concerning numbers attending already, availability of staff and design of their classrooms.

Main focus of discussions with the Police has been the compliance with social distancing etc., but there’s been a couple of tweets announcing an arrest for threats against staff at the Co-op and a request for help identifying a robber from an incident a few weeks back. The Police have tweeted that they’ve been patrolling The Embankment for nuisance, but I’ve been struck on my daily walks how I’ve seen quads and other nuisance vehicles on London Road and elsewhere.

The murder of George Floyd by police officers has given a new profile to racism in society. I attended the Black Lives Matter demonstration at The Forest. There’s been a subsequent concern about the nature of statues celebrating slave owners and others from the past. The Meadows can boast more outdoors free-standing works of art than the city centre, but I’ve yet to be notified of any concern about the content of any of them. Apparently, there is a check being conducted of street names. Whilst hate crime is only up slightly, concern is that it’s up at all given the “closure” of the city centre.

There has been encouragement to promote walking and cycling further as we come out of the emergency. For The Meadows, this means a temporary stop to through traffic along the Embankment – most probably through a barrier proximate to the paddling pool – and an opportunity to see what the impact would be. Trent Bridge, currently being re-painted, is also proposed to have its inside inbound lane to be concerned to a 2 way cycle lane, extending the extent of cycle priority that exists along the Embankment. I have asked about adding a bus and cycle lane from the outbound bus stop on Trent Bridge Island to half-way along the bridge, before allowing space for general traffic to adapt for both the entrance to the rowing clubs service road and the Radcliffe Road junctions.

The shopping centre chain, Intu, have been hit badly by the public health emergency and have suspended the construction of the new Broadmarsh, leading to the closure of a number of shops.

June’s Planning committee will consider the revised proposal for 310 flats between Crocus Street and Meadows Way, alongside Arkwright Street. Community reps have already met council staff over this proposal, which has not received objections during the latest consultation. A proposal for the company managing the flats to maintain the open space on Sheriff’s Way brings issues to manage.

Owners of Crocus Mill have announced an intent to convert two major buildings to accommodation – the market is slowly catching up with the emend created for accommodation for young people and students, in a society where people are living for longer and living in smaller units, with a heavy increase in private sector rents.

I have been disappointed to read of conspiracy nonsense regarding 5G telecom masts.

A revised statement for the ambition and development of open space in The Meadows and the wider ward is being updated.

All further to the May Progress report. Comments and feedback sought.


Meadows ward monthly report 13

Another full month of a high degree of lockdown. Everything else continues to be reduced in significance by the public health emergency.  The UK has been the worst in Europe in managing the crisis.
Data published on 1st May has announced the death of 3 people in The Meadows by April 17th.

Mantra still is follow the revised government advice, which local people have been pretty good about.
But the advice changes again tomorrow, and some groups of people have been working to the forthcoming standards.

Following the guidance has been a tad compromised by the Prime Minister excusing the actions of some – they were following their paternal instincts. I might have pleaded for mercy, but in the end, we’d have been better off if the biggest culprit had been fined.
Disappointed for Nottinghamshire teachers, who came for unwarranted criticism – when really we just have to talk things through to work it out.

Still the Covid-19 disease has hit Nottingham less hard than might be expected given we are a compact and dense city, with higher rates of BAME and higher rates of people earning in the 7th, 8th and 9th deciles. The rate of positive tests is low by national standards, but it’s not obvious why.  

Cases picked up via the Golden Number (01159155555) are still coming through, but people have been coping, or not, without seeking much extra help.
Nottingham City Council is working in very different ways, including full council, which appointed a new Chief Executive (who starts in September).
The council is not receiving the money it should for the extra services being provided.  We are going to be betrayed by the Gov’t on the promises they made.

A conservation area has been agreed for the Old Meadows.

An assault in The Meadows, although understanding of how it come to happen is not yet known. The Police have been making progress on drugs; although our unformed officers did suffer a very unfortunate experience.

Can say –
– Police have been patrolling Victoria Embankment and talking to people to encourage social distancing;
– extra patrol issued 3 tickets for speeding on Saturday;
– noise from quads and motor bikes is annoying and is looked for, but it’s easier if info is supplied on where the machines are kept; since no-one in The Meadows has said anything, it is not clear that the offenders are local; and they have been witnessed elsewhere;
– the report of a stabbing was in fact bleeding from an assault and did not involve the use of a blade; the victim has declined to prosecute;
– 2 people arrested on 27th Feb on drugs charged were sentenced on May 7th to 3 years and to 32 months;
– Our Lady & St.Patrick’s church are exploring extra measures to protect their grounds against being used for abuse;
– it is understood that 20mph speed limits can be enforced;

– council have re-instated bulky waste collection, but weeding is beyond us at the moment; might be helpful if people could hoe nearby roadsides;
– some Old Meadows streets were sent letters on Saturday about looking after alleyways and taking advantage of bulky waste collections.

127 cases logged since 3rd May, 2019, from around 53 new clients, collected from phone calls, e-mails, Facebook posts etc.  An e-mail to Meadows residents was issued on behalf of co-Cllr. Nicola Heaton and myself.

Practically no rain in May, and this on top of the country’s driest ever recorded Spring, means new problems are on their way, a short 4 months after all the problems with floods and broken dams elsewhere.

There is one almighty reckoning to come when we do strive to recover our economy and society.

But a huge reckoning is now taking place in the USA, following the murder of George Floyd, by a Policeman who constrained him by sticking a knee on his throat for 8 minutes, despite the victim’s pleads of “I can’t breathe”. The Police fired the officer, who already had 17 complaints filed against him, but needed to arrest him and charge him with murder sooner than they did.

Culture and events – 
Films on TV: check out BBC’s I-player!
TV: Charlie Brooker’s anti-viral wipe – just hilarious.
Theatre on internet: Frankenstein.
Documentaries on internet: UK travel vlog of Nottingham by Renata Pereira; History of Broad Marsh by NottsFlix.
And the new pastime – following the fortunes of wildfowl families as they are hatched and grow up.

Plenty of anniversaries, given it’s the elections month of May – Victory 20 years ago and Ten Years since end of ME4SD campaign – and for other reasons – Victory in Europe Day – 75 years on, and Clement Attlee came to power 80 years ago.

And farewells: locally Ken Fleet; and elsewhere, Michael Angelis (Liver Birds, Boys from the Blackstuff, and G.B.H.).

Meadows ward monthly report 12

A full month of a high degree of lockdown. Everything else continues to be reduced to insignificance by the public health emergency.  
Mantra still is follow government advice.
However, it’s become clear, as the UK is on its way to the highest level of deaths per capita in Europe, that something has gone very wrong in the government handling of the spread of the disease, and the protection of hospital and care workers and other key workers. As for the testing, the UK have struggled to meet daily 100,000 target set for today; and there’s been a bizarre emphasis on talking about the capacity to deliver rather than the actual delivery.
The failings have been shown by commentators like Alistair Campbell and now by the new Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, who’s approach emphasises working on best data and evidence.
Calls to follow the science have kinda missed how scientists don’t offer one answer, and have their own political views. The politicians who’ve made the bad decisions are now trying to make out they only followed the science.
No consolation that the statement and advice from Donald Trump has been much worse.

There is a suggestion that the disease has hit Nottingham less hard than might be expected given we are a compact and dense city. The rate of positive tests is low by national standards, but it’s not obvious why.

Cases picked up via the Golden Number (01159155555) are still coming through. The Meadows numbers reflect what you might expect a pro-rata share of the Nottingham cases would suggest. 
Police focus has remained on checking public order in public spaces and they had further success on charging people for drug dealing last week. 
The donation from a developer to help people with no money for food is very welcome. Meadows Advice Group continue to offer a telephone service (01159860197). 
Further progress has been made since the submission to the Climate Action (National Lottery) Fund to do extra green things in The Meadows in the next few years.

Nottingham City Council is working in very different ways, the latest of which was to hold video conferences to consider the business of the April planning committee.
New flats for Queens Road were supported with a range of conditions.
The council is not receiving the money it should for the extra services being provided.

119 cases logged since 3rd May, 2019, from around 50 new clients, collected from phone calls, e-mails, Facebook posts etc. 

There is one almighty reckoning to come as we assess whether firms and projects and jobs that have been lost, needn’t have been. Our understanding of who are important and what’s important is changing and there will come a time when we will resolve to win the new peace. 

Culture and events – 
Films on TV: check out BBC’s I-player!
TV: Quiz.
Theatre on internet: Jane Eyre.
Documentary on internet: Planet of the Humans.

And farewells: Alf Wood.

Meadows ward monthly report 11

Everything has been reduced to insignificance by the public health emergency.
Another coronavirus has made the leap to human to human transmission (the disease Covid-19 following on from Mers and Sars) and its ability to spread, to reduce people to needing intensive care and to kill people puts such a burden on our health and social care services that a form of lock down on many people working, studying, playing to meeting up has been introduced. Many of our public services and entertainments are no longer available.

Beyond follow government advice, I’ve posted a number of mid-month progress reports and blog entries related to the public health emergency –
Covid-19 (9th), Mid-month progress report – March 2020 (10th), Mid-month progress report – March 2020 (2) (20th), Buying for 14 days will trigger temporary shortages (21st), Working through the crisis in systematic way (23rd), Complying with the new rules (24th), Advice from Nottingham City Council on Covid-19 (26th), Local Police priorities (31st).
People like Tony Blair have offered helpful advice and questions are growing about whether Government acted early enough on personal protection equipment for doctors, nurses and carers; on sufficient testing; on procuring enough respirators and who from. Meanwhile, the tv media continues to demonstrate vapidity and occasional misdirection.

Casework in The Meadows has much reduced because whilst there is much more going on and much more to be sorted, people are getting on with sorting it. So instead, daily exercising walks have acted as way of assessing roads and pavements, checking for graffiti and tipping, taking celebratory photos of works done and checking out how the shopping centre is doing.

There were public meetings at the beginning of the month (e.g. NeMTRA AGM), but everything is now cancelled, including meetings of the council (full council set the budget; planning committee was the last meeting for some time). Enviroenergy met using a telecommunications conference. Robin Hood Energy reported a big annual loss.

Some satisfaction with how well people are responding to the calls to stay home; yes, it’s fear of catching the disease, but it’s also looking out for family and friends, avoiding having to fully isolate and doing what’s right for everyone. Friendships and acquaintances have become something stronger as people set up social media networks for neighbourly mutual support and supplies for those who cannot get out.

Nevertheless, other problems come through – including new triggers for long-standing disputes between neighbours and higher levels of domestic abuse – so often unseen. People selling and buying drugs also carry a higher profile and the Police have had recent successes on arresting people for dealing and know to keep patrolling the hotspots.
Some satisfaction, but only some, at the conviction of an 18 year old who used a half Samurai sword to kill a son of The Meadows last year, being convicted for murder.

There was good news for renewing the Memorial Gardens and the bid for a Greener Meadows via the Climate Action Fund is ongoing.

A near empty tram carrying people into The Meadows and the city centre from Wilford.

Transport looked set to be the story of the month – Clifton Bridge failure, defending bus lanes, road re-surfacing and parking permits and exploring a 3rd tram route through The Meadows looking east.

115 cases logged since 3rd May, 2020, from around 48 clients, collected from phone calls, e-mails, Facebook posts etc.

There is one almighty reckoning to come as we assess whether firms and projects and jobs that have been lost, needn’t have been. Our understanding of who are important and what’s important is changing and there will come a time when we will resolve to win the new peace.

Culture and events – 
Films: Misbehaviour; And Then We Danced; Dark Waters; Portrait of a Lady on Fire;  True History of the Kelly Gang
Films on TV: The Man with the Iron Heart; Margin Call; Mindhorn.

And farewells: Joe Ashton, (Kenny Rogers).

Mid-month progress report – March 2020 (2)

The public health emergency has taken over much of the work of the council and public services. I am following the Government’s advice on social distancing.

Many of you are making arrangements for family, friends and neighbours. The council is burdened through both extra work and fewer staff being available to do them. The council is unlikely to be in a position to evaluate or approve wider schemes organised by volunteers to serve strangers, so please work in a safe way in terms of helping people who don’t yet know you.

The council is sustaining its bin collections and street cleaning but not doing weeding, grass cutting and bulky waste collections. Libraries are open only 2 days a weeks.

My advice surgeries are cancelled, as are all public meetings of the council.

Trent Bridge is being re-painted; the Bandstand was re-painted last year.

Area 5 committee was cancelled, but we are acting on 2 priorities with Area Capital funds –
1. to consult on parking permits for “home zones” within New Meadows, Mundella Road neighbourhood and the Mundella Court streets.
2. to re-surface the stretches of roads with the potholes that most disturb cyclists, bus passengers and residents.

Two redundant traffic signs poles on the entrance to the Old Meadows on Wilford Grove have been removed; a pothole at the entrance to Wilford Crescent East has been patched; the pile of leaves on Embankment park has been removed.

The Council has been awarded £130,000 by the Lottery for a £170,000 package to renew and improve The Embankment and Memorial Gardens. This is a significant step on the way to achieving a total package of £1.7m.

The bid for the Climate Action Fund remains top priority.  

The City Council has won money to improve public transport and wants to develop a business case for expanding the tram, including through Meadow Lane.

Pleased that the Police announced yesterday, further progress against drug dealing in The Meadows (the previous announcement was that the Police have charged 2 people from the New Meadows for drug dealing
The previous mid-March progress report and the end of February progress report is available – probably 120 matters raised since 3 May.  

Mid-month progress report – March 2020

Funds will be ear-marked for highways works at Area 5 cttee on the 18th.   A bit unfortunate that the Conservatives and Independents voted to take the existing funds away from The Meadows, but they never had anywhere near a majority anyway.

A list of proposals will be provided at the meeting, but comment is sought on the current priorities.  Need to be mindful of the 1 in 4 chance of Forest being in the Premiership next year. 

Pleased that RINGGO at Bridgeway Shopping Centre has had a good impact.  Will look out for commuters becoming tolerant of the £4 charge, especially as the tax offices open in Summer 2021.  

We do have a problem with tree stumps and will seek solutions, but concern remains with utilities being bound up with the tree roots.

News on the bid for a Lottery funded £1.7m for The Embankment is due soon.

Pleased to work with reps on forthcoming developments north of Meadows Way.  Note a developer has bought both the pub site and the car wash site south of Ryehill Street.  

The council took strong measures to protect trams, buses and local resident access on Meadows Way during the Clifton Bridge jams.  I hope we will now chase expanding the tram system to the east, to bring relief to London Road and bring us another tram stop.   Disappointed to see Clifton Independents call for all traffic to use bus lanes – which during the peak hours just provides spaces for 30 more cars to queue down Meadows Way east.

The bid for the Climate Action Fund is top priority.  We are well based to bid. A leaflet has been published by the new consortium.

Pleased that the Police have charged 2 people from the New Meadows for drug dealingamazed that a rumour went around about Covid-19!

New play surfaces on Mundella Park.

On Covid-19, merely want to say – follow the national advice.  

Been disappointed with pen-name authored attacks on Bridgeway General Practice; there are channels for making proper complaints.  

The council has a new “customer hub” at Loxley House. 

Previous progress report is available – 114 matters raised since 3 May.  

Printed reports will be provided for NeMTRA AGM, Meadows Money Hub, OMTRA.

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.

Meadows ward monthly report 09

Leaving the European Union.
On top of the Wuhan Coronavirus breakout and Australia on fire.
Austerity wasn’t cancelled after all.
And a very sad manslaughter in Nottingham city centre.

Loads to write-up but significant parts of Meadows news already covered in the mid-month report, notes from the ward walk and a presentation of development sites across the north of The Meadows. The N Post also celebrated progress in The Meadows.

Once again, the need to re-state opposition to anti-Semitism. I’ve also put together a statement on Islamophobia.
Hosted a seminar on Greener Office buildings, and gave speeches on simplistic tests for attractive buildings and (at full council) on carbon neutrality for Nottingham, on the Local Plan (& the Cattle Market), on new polling districts and against the Knife Angel.

Meadows Labour Party has re-booted after the election defeat and more analysis makes plain how badly Labour lost and how unpopular Jeremy Corbyn is.

Culture and events – 
Films: it’s the pre-Oscars season so a lot of go see movies around – JoJo Rabbit; Bombshell; Queen & Slim; The Personal History of David Copperfield; 1917; and then Little Women; A Hidden Life;
Events:  Holocaust Memorial Day; Stewart Lee;
TV: drama series and documentary on The Profumo Affair;
Football: Salop looked destined to be thrashed by Liverpool Reserves but came back to draw 2-2.

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 Victoria Embankment, towards Trent Bridge.  

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 in March [updated].  

Ward Walk, 30th
This month starts from Bathley Street/Collygate Road at 11am. 

Light Night
AMCG are doing a light night on Saturday, 8th February, 6pm

Meadows ward monthly report 08

Good community events –
Christmas tree lights switch-on and Christmas Grotto.

Progress reviewed at Area 5 committee.
Another stabbing, with a quick arrest. Police still working on closing phone boxes.
The wet Autumn with mulched leaves still on some pavements and Embankment football pitches still unplayable.
Some new parking protection needed following deterring commuters from parking at Bridgeway Shopping Centre.
N Post asked residents about improving The Meadows, but we haven’t yet announced project being developed for a Greener Meadows.
Ambitions for better transport and more housing rehearsed at Joint Committee on Strategic Planning and Transport, Joint Planning Board and Planning committee.

A General Election defeat. But the Conservatives didn’t even send an election address out.
I’ve written at some length on the reasons for Labour’s defeat.
A tragedy given what we coulda been doing already.
I don’t want a Corbyn 2.0.