Full council – July 2017

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Covered –
– a sober review of actions taking place prompted by the fire that devastated the Grenfell Tower;
– the council being awarded good for its children services by Ofsted;
– condemnation of the cuts the government is still planning for school budgets;
– a motion calling for Bedroom tax to be dropped now that there is a majority opposing it in the House of Commons;
– protests against money being found for the north of Ireland whilst Nottingham’s budget is cut.
Astonishing to hear the Conservative Deputy Leader saying that cuts to Nottingham had been justified.  Yep, justifying the cuts made on Nottingham.

Tributes to Glen O’Connell on his retirement on the 22nd anniversary of his return to the city council to lead our legal team.

OMTRA public meeting – March 2017

A residents’ meeting that ended with a round of applause. How rare is that?
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Nicola opened with a presentation on her work as portfolio holder for neighbourhood services and community safety.
A speaker on cats came along cos of the issues we have with feral cats in The Meadows.
Local uniformed officers turned up to report on crime stats and the latest Police operations against drug dealing.
Points were made and questions were taken on parks, parking permits and the Meadows Medical Centre.
Well advertised, organised and chaired; supportive and never accusatory, the meeting was packed full of stuff and exemplary – hence the applause at the end.

Area 8 committee – March 2017

A meeting packed with content, with a particular long discussion over a plan to extend the quality of housing and housing services provided by private landlord through a new licensing scheme.
The police talked about further measures planned to tackle drug dealing which I’ll expand upon elsewhere.
A programme of £37,000 of investment for Queens Walk Recreation Ground was agreed, although further consultation on the most important to do was agreed.  The money comes from developers (known as section 106 money) and in this case, from phase 1 of the Hicking buildings.  And worth realising that many more people are expected to live in that part of The Meadows which is around Crocus Street.
Also announced the special showing of “I, Daniel Blake” in The Meadows.

OMTRA AGM 2016

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Old Meadows Tenants and Residents Association were thanked for their advocacy for their neighbourhood, especially their focus on trees, empty houses and their support for the Embankment, in particular their support for the 2016 Meadows Cricket Pavilion.
Certificates for Glapton Road and the Terraces in Bloom were given out to each terrace.
Margaret, Jackie and Kevin were re-elected to office and Simon became Vice-Chair.
Thirty attended.
Cllr. Dave Trimble explained Nottingham City Council’s achievements on sports for disabled, major sports events, Portland Centre, the Castle, Wollaton Hall, our 560 caves, Theatre Royal, Libraries, parks& green flags, the Embankment and the Green.
Casework raised included –
– effective use of Queens Walk Community Centre,
– usage of Meadows Recreation Ground;
– benches for Bathley Street;
– parking on the grass along the Embankment;
– tackling dog fouling and fly-tipping.

NeMTRA public meeting – September 2016

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Nottingham City Homes officers explaining how people who were displaced to allow new council housing to be built, will indeed have first claim for the 55 new homes that have been built.
One snag – there are more wanting 3-bedroom homes than have been built.
This, at another NeMTRA public meeting where the Police were too busy to attend; not a criticism – just a worry that it’s a sign of over-commitment.
A shame too that Keepmoat couldn’t attend to discuss there development plans for Arkwright Walk – plans are due to be submitted and considered by Planning committee – perhaps in December.
NeMTRA’s new community development officer is hoping to start new events, including DiY for women (arising from a community consultation exercise) and photography.
NCH have a fun day on 17th September, but should know that the demand for their properties is high – 5,000 on the waiting list.
I gave a run-down on issues across the ward (based on the end of month report) and was frequently interrupted with suggestions – (I must improve) –
– landscaping on the NET is still outstanding, including works at Meadows Embankment stop which should be adapted to deter car parking on the grass by the story-pole;
– when will Arkwright Walk be opened up along its full length?
– increased car parking on the paths of Orange Gardens;
– increased dog mess on path from Orange Gardens to Bunbury Street;
– kids playing on Queens Walk (a bit blasé about the trams);
– pavements in the Queens Walk Rec are uneven by the play equipment and are puddled after any rain;
– wanting to hear news of progress following the hold-up of Meadows Post Office;  is the CCTV for the precinct good enough?
– sequencing of new traffic lights for junction of Queens Drive / Wilford Road / Waterway Street West is too fast for pedestrians;
– mess from Canada Geese on The Embankment is too much;
– traffic speed on Robin Hood Way is still too high, especially near QWCC;
– 3 constituents complaining about poor access for Hackney Carriages at the railway station, especially for the less mobile.

Kirkwhite Court meeting

As part of Lilian Greenwood’s tour of The Meadows, NCH helped organise a meeting aimed at residents of Kirkwhite Court, Eugene Gardens and Ryehill Close.
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And I got a bit of a telling off.
Huge frustration at the behaviour of commuters and football supporters regarding parking on Eugene Gardens in particular, and that a residents’ parking scheme might be as far away as November.
Now is the time however for any comments regarding the nature of yellow lines in place.
Concern was expressed about possible lack of enforcement – something Lilian explained was unlikely given the effectiveness of new schemes elsewhere.
Points to pick up once the scheme begins, include whether extra protection is needed for Ryehill Close, and whether extra off-road car parking spaces can be built.

Other issues raised included :
– tree pruning;
– tipping; and cars being dumped;
– dates & plans for Arkwright Street regeneration;
– Brexit : perceptions and realities;
– Crime, ASB and police numbers; and reporting of crime;
– speeding on Meadows Way east.
Loads. So we had to stop after 80 minutes.
A good meeting.  I hope local residents will re-create an East Meadows Residents Association.

Nottingham Unites rally

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A rally of 500 or more people in the Old Market Square, in front of The  Council House, concerned about xenophobic hatred, noticeable in some parts of the country since the Referendum.
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I spoke.
Following speakers, performing at 11, condemning the current spate of proto-fascism, my gentle story-telling of 5 significant episodes of Nottingham history (forgetting that “sn” is not a consonant, and needing help from the audience to remember Wilberforce’s name and then forgetting to make the point of that story, I could see the waves of indifference sweeping through the crowd.  La-de-da.
But my conclusion was to emphasise that government is set up to tackle hate-crime (oh dear, I even referred to service planning) cos we are the majority now.

I then appeared on Notts TV to say I’d thought Nottingham had behaved pretty well and that our main concern was people not reporting incidents of hate crime.
[This is something I’d been saying at the Police Panel at the beginning of this month and at the Police Commissioner’s consultation meeting with the Muslim community in April (I think).]

POST MEETING NOTES (30th June)
Councillors are receiving a round robin that says -“I am very concerned in the reported rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes. I believe that we all have a duty to stand up and stamp out racism and xenophobia.
I am therefore writing to ask you to please table, and encourage others to support, this motion in your next council meeting:
“We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our country.  We Nottingham City Council condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We will not allow hate to become acceptable. 
Nottingham City Council will work to ensure local bodies and programmes have support and resources needed to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.
We reassure all people living in Nottingham that they are valued members of our community.”
I would also like you to publically condemn any such attacks and make it clear what steps the council will take to tackle this racist, xenophobic and criminal behaviour.

Further to the above, the city-wide perspective is – regarding “your concerns in regards to the reported rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes.
“As a City Council we have placed a large emphasis on tackling hate crime. Our emphasis on these issues have helped us deliver a reduction in hate crime of 29% in the last term of Council and [is] why our Nottingham Labour manifesto for 2015 contained the commitment to ‘increase reporting of hate crime as well as reducing the number of repeat victims by 20%’.
“We are closely monitoring any developments and comparing them to previous years to ensure we know whether there is any such rise in hate crime.
“Nottingham is a diverse city with mixed neighbourhoods and communities. That’s something I’m proud of as a Labour Councillor.
“Racism and xenophobia should not be tolerated and I would encourage anyone who suffers hate crime to report it to the police.
“It is worth noting hate crime is defined by the victim and that they should not feel any hesitation to contact the police. If they feel at threat they should call 999 or 101 in other incidences. Third party reports can also be made. …
“As a Council we want to help to mend any divisions which may have arisen in the city as a result of the EU referendum campaign and will aim to work with citizens to move forward as a City, looking after each other and binding our communities together so Nottingham remains a great place to live, visit, work and invest in.”