Labour Rushcliffe Borough Coucillor Report Q3 August 2020 Newsletter

Hope everyone is well and safe – and enjoying the hot weather we’ve been having recently.

As always, the Rushcliffe Borough Council Labour Group would like to keep the community and our local residents updated and informed of what we have been doing and what has been happening.

Below is the Newsletter – if you would like a printed copy, please do let us know.

Cllr Gray writes: Another quarter has passed and we enter the second half of 2020, the first half is not one we’ll quickly forget!

At Rushcliffe Borough Council we’ve started to get back to the “new normal” with regular online meetings. We had two full council meetings in July. The first was the Annual Council, which is mainly about voting in groups for the coming year, welcoming the new mayor (Cllr Sue Mallender of the Greens (Lady Bay)), and
thanking the previous year’s mayor (Cllr Christine Geoffries of the Conservatives (Cotgrave). A video of this, fairly dry, meeting can be found on youtube, I made a speech that the leader of the Conservatives later said was “out of order” you can see what the fuss was about here.

The second meeting of the month was convened to cover business not heard before lockdown, when the Conservative group closed the meeting early. The Labour Group put forward two motions, one about Cycling and the other about planting wildflowers across the borough’s grass areas. Both passed with amendments, but we are very pleased to have now got three motions past the Conservative group. We
definitely come to blows over some issues but find common ground over the environment.

In Lutterell Ward there has been a steady stream of case work, helping people with
housing issues, anti-social behaviour, and other matters. I’ve started taking a Ward Walk on Wednesdays to keep an eye on the environment in general, reporting road issues to the county councillor, and speaking to residents if they’re out gardening or walking their dogs. A range of issues have been brought to light including problem trees, problem parking, and problem Pokemon cards. There have been some positives found on the walks too, a community garden was discovered and we’re helping by getting the residents green waste bins, so nobody is out of pocket for their community work.

Cllr Begum writes: I think we could all agree on how difficult and challenging the last few months have been for everyone.
Together with my colleague Al-Hurrya we have actively been supporting those with
vulnerable and mental health problems and assisting them in areas of their life they have been struggling with. We have put together a service of counselling for those affected by Covid 19 and for anyone who his bereaving someone they have lost as a result of this terrible virus. These services are available to anyone in the area and they are totally private and confidential via Zoom or Skype.

I have also been involved in helping deliver food parcels to those who have found themselves needing this service. I found it extremely rewarding and humbling to be able to give a little back to those in need.

During this Covid19 I have attended local Council meetings via zoom and skype which has been a entirely new experience for me compared to sitting in the chambers. Like many others I have been faced with becoming a
home school mum and I assure you I am no teacher but the positives, I have got closer to my son with the extra time spent assisting him and I realised how much I had forgotten. I have had regular contact with other Borough councillors and I continue to keep up to date with the latest Labour policies and objectives in order that I can continue to serve my constituents the best I can during unexpected and difficult circumstances we all find ourselves in.

Cllrs Jen Walker and Mike Gaunt write:

Helping Ruddington to recover from lockdown has been our priority these past few weeks.

High Streets continue to work hard to ensure everyone’s safety whilst having to balance the need to get business up and running again. It has been wonderful to see some normality coming back to our streets but we are still living in worrying times. The messages have been mixed and there are still many businesses that have yet to open their doors for a variety of reasons. We have been putting forward ideas on how to make our High Street a better, more pedestrian friendly, place to continue to encourage people to shop locally. This includes a one-way system around the village centre as well as herringbone parking measures to increase the amount of parking available for shoppers. We are hoping for approval from Notts CC in a few weeks’

We have also been meeting with local interest groups in an attempt to digest the Greater Nottingham Strategic Plan. We hope to make this document more user friendly so residents will be more inclined to add their comments to the consultation. It is a massive document and unfortunately not an easy read,
something we hope we can go some way to changing. We will then look to organise a local campaign to defend Ruddington from yet further unsustainable developments.

We have also been pushing hard for improvements to cycle provision so that people can travel more safely by bicycle. This has seen us work closely with cycling groups and enthusiasts to pass a motion at the borough which will hopefully help to focus the conservative majority to accept that cycling is a sustainable and viable alternative to driving cars, something that they seem reluctant to embrace.

Cllr Gowland:

I’m pleased to say that last month the council passed my motion to undertake to
encourage wild flowers on the grassland that Rushcliffe manages. Following this there has been a discussion amongst residents about how we should manage land to support butterflies. I am going to explore this with the council, since I think this might require special management for particular areas. Management of public realm is an increasingly thorny (!) issue since the ownership is sometimes unclear, leading to unfortunate local disputes.

The last few weeks I have largely been dealing with planning issues from residents. I am on planning committee and understand how difficult it is to balance the need to protect the natural world whilst providing housing for everyone, and to allow people to adapt their houses to suit their families whilst maintaining the local street environment that neighbours are accustomed to.

There are many specific issues related to the in adequacies of planning control nationally and locally but today I am unable to keep up with the changes being introduced by central government. Central government will allow two storey extensions upwards on existing houses from 1st September with virtually no control. This completely thoughtless plan could only have been dreamt up by someone who has only lived in mansions and city centre apartments and never in a suburban house. If you can imagine how upset your neighbour would be
if you took advantage of this new law please write to Ruth Edwards MP and ask her to lobby our Prime Minister to revoke this law. As I wrote this report, the government announced an almost complete abolition of planning restrictions. I can’t reconcile the massive number of new houses/flats being created across the
country and the terrible shortage of homes to buy or rent. Something doesn’t make sense. Do we actually have a shortage of bricks and mortar or is homelessness something to do with the way that we treat housing as an investment instrument in the UK? We need to use this pandemic to do a root and branch review of our
housing market.

Cllr Murray and Bansal:

Similar to other Councillors, we’ve also been busy attending the on-line zoom meetings – for Cllr Bansal it was the Communities Scrutiny Group (which is also available online to catch up on), and Cllr Murray was on the Full Council Online Meeting.

We continue to support our local community and residents – everything from listening and looking at planning applications that are being submitted to talking about what’s happened to the lovely house that was at the site of 13 Bridgford Road.
Cllr Murray has been speaking to residents about Quad Bikes making a lot of noise during the evenings – and this has led to a Police Operation to help catch anyone who is breaking the law and/or causing disruption.

Cllr Murray investigating quadbike problems.

Cllr Bansal has been active on Social Media – asking the question if, Central Avenue should be pedestrianized – there have been so many responses and some great conversation. The reason this was asked is because the Conservative led Borough Council is arguing with the Conservative led County Council – and neither can agree whether the avenue should be pedestrianized or not – if it was, it could help local businesses put additional seating onto the pavements and street. The buses would be diverted – usually like what happens at Christmas and other times of the year when we have festivities.

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