Author: Adam Volz

Nottingham Labour approves fire sprinkler works despite governments broken promise on funding

We have approved £8.4 million worth of sprinkler installations and other safety measures in 13 high rise blocks in Nottingham City, despite the government breaking its promise to properly fund “whatever the experts tell us to make people safe”.

Following the tragic events in Grenfell earlier this year, Nottingham City Council worked with Nottingham City Homes, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue and local tenants to review all of the high rise blocks in Nottingham. All the blocks have current fire risk assessments and are fully compliant with current regulations. To reassure tenants that all was being done to make their buildings safe though, we took the decision to install sprinklers within the high rise blocks along with improvements to other safety measures.

Council leaders welcomed the promise by Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, who committed the government to doing all that was necessary to make people safe. As Housing Portfolio Holder, I wrote to the government asking for the funding for these safety improvements, and was dismayed when the government responded with a categorical no, describing the installation of sprinklers as “additional rather than essential”.

It is simply unbelievable that the Government has backtracked on its commitment to provide support to councils. In the same week as describing fire safety improvements for high rise blocks in Nottingham as additional, the government managed to find £100 million for the installation of sprinklers in the Houses of Parliament. The government again shows it simply has the wrong priorities.

We will go ahead despite the government breaking its promise to provide the funding. They are too important not to go ahead and we have taken the decision to use money from our capital budget. This however, will mean fewer new homes being built in Nottingham, despite the government saying it wants Councils building more and less money available to keep our existing 26,000 homes in good repair.

These are the consequences when government does not fairly fund local authorities.

Councillor Jane Urquhart,
Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage.

10.5 million families to be on average £450 worse off per year

A new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that poorer families are set to see big cash losses due to a combination of the Conservative Government’s freeze on benefits, including in-work benefits and higher than expected inflation.

The IFS said on their web site:

“The Office for National Statistics announced that inflation in the year to September was 3.0%. Normally the September inflation figure is used to uprate benefit levels and tax thresholds the following April. However, current government policy is to freeze most working-age benefits in cash terms until March 2020. Combined with the latest inflation forecasts, today’s number means that the 4-year freeze is now expected to reduce entitlements in 2019–20 by an average of £450 per year for the 10.5 million households affected.

We can see that Conservative Party policies are having a detrimental impact on the incomes and living standards of millions of families in Britain and this includes thousands of families, with children in Nottingham. Since the Brexit vote last year inflation has been rising, due in part to the weakness of the British pound and this is driving up everyday costs for people. At the same time as process are rising in-work benefits are frozen and so many people are being hit hard in the pocket.

The situation has serious consequences for everyday family finances as well as the wider economic effect of people having less spending power. It’s now urgent that the Government looks again at the real impact their policies are having on Nottingham families.

Cllr Sam Webster

Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills

Clifton North – New Flower Park Opened

Labour Councillor for Clifton North, Josh Cook, joined Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Dave Trimble at the official opening of the new play area at Clifton Flower Park in spring.

Local residents had their say on designs for the new play area over the winter. The comments were taken into account when designing the new play area which cost around £60,000.

Councillor Dave Trimble said, ‘It was really good to see so many kids at the event enjoying the activities and the new play area.’

Labour Councillor for Clifton North, Josh Cook said, ‘At the last election we pledged to improve play and youth facilities in parks and playing fields in Clifton North. The new play area at Clifton Flower Park is a step in the right direction and we will continue to make improvements for local residents. I hope the park will continue to be popular and used by families all year round.’

Josh, local MP Lilian and Dave at the event

Bulwell Forest – Knights Close Regeneration

Labour Councillors for Bulwell Forest, Nick and Eunice have been considering plans for the regeneration at Knights Close.

The demolition of the shops and the flats above them is under consideration. Nottingham City Council has bought the site of the former Harvesters pub that already has planning permission for housing. A small block of garages would also be demolished.

All tenants affected have been approached with an outline of the proposals and would be appropriately relocated.

A set of drawings has been produced to show what is possible, showing a replacement shop and brand new houses built to a modern eco-friendly standard. If the project is given the go ahead, there will be detailed plans and residents will be formally asked for their input and kept up to speed with anything that happens.

Eunice discussing plans for Knights Close

Bulwell in Bloom

£100,000 has been used to create the new Bulwell Community Meadow, thanks to campaigning from Labour Councillors, former MP, Graham Allen and local residents.

Local school children were involved in helping to design features at the meadow and the site has been improved through the addition of formal pathways and a wildflower meadow.

Pupils worked with local artist Chris Campbell to design new seating and entrance features on a wildlife theme, including ladybirds, butterflies and flowers. The meadow is also home to a nature trail that features natural history designs.

Bulwell Labour Councillor, Ginny Klein, said ‘It is great to see the new Bulwell Meadow being enjoyed by local residents now that the weather has improved. Graham Allen our former MP for Nottingham North did some excellent work here and we will continue to work with the new MP, Alex Norris.

Jackie was joined by former MP Graham Allen and local school children at the opening event

Bestwood – £200,000 for Ridge Playground

Labour Councillors in Bestwood have secured nearly £200,000 of funding for an extension to the Ridge playground. The funding comes after the new £90,000 multi-use games area was opened at the Ridge in the spring.

The playground and youth centre are very popular and Labour Councillors are pleased to be able to reinvest in the site and ensure that children are able to enjoy it for years to come. There will also be an increase in the number of youth and play sessions put on at the centre.

Labour Councillor David Smith said, ‘The investment into the Ridge has made a real difference and we are really pleased that so many families are using and enjoying it. Despite government funding being cut over the past few years, we continue to try and find new ways to fund improvements to neighbourhoods and facilities, such as the Ridge.’

Brian visiting The Ridge

Basford – Inroads to Improvement

Councillors have been able to pay for more improvements to roads and pavements this year, although there is still a lot more they would like to do. 

Following concerns raised by parents new bollards were installed outside Southwark School. 

Councillor Linda Woodings said ‘This was a major concern of local parents and we hope the new bollards have stopped cars blocking the pavement and improved the visibility for children trying to cross the road at busy times. Safety around schools is really important to us and we’d ask people dropping off their children by car to try to park safely for other road users.’   

On Brooklyn Bridge, funding has been approved for a higher fence. This is because the slope down from the current boundary has been a regular spot for fly-tipping. 

On Heatherley Drive and Runton Drive a new pavement surface has been laid.    

On Fenton Road the two bus stops have had clearways installed to make sure buses can safely pass down the road without obstruction from parked cars.  

Linda, local MP Alex and Cat inspecting Basford roadworks

Arboretum – Speed Sign for Craven

Labour Councillors in Arboretum have agreed to fund a new speed sign to improve road safety, following concerns from residents around Craven Road.

The vehicle-activated sign warns drivers to slow down and reminds them of the speed limit. The sign has been installed after residents at community meetings and surgeries raised concerns about road safety with local councillors.

Labour Councillor for Arboretum Azad Choudhry said, ‘We are pleased that the sign has now been installed as we know that many local people were worried about speeding traffic on Craven Road. We hope that these signs will make drivers slow down, helping to keep pedestrians safe. If you’re worried about speeding traffic in your area, please let us know so we can try and help.’

If you have any concerns about traffic, or any other issue, please get in touch.

 

Conservatives Broke Their Promise on Rail Electrification and Instead Gave a £30 Billion Cheque To London

In the same week the Conservatives broke their promise  by cancelling the electrification of the Midland Mainline, they wrote a £30 billion cheque for Crossrail 2 which will primarily benefit London and the South East.

The government is already unfair in the way it spends money on transport infrastructure. London receives £2,592.68 per head compared to the East Midlands which only receives £218.94 per head. It is clear that their priority is London and not Nottingham. The cost of the electrification of the Midlands Mainline is £700 million. Instead the Conservatives spent £30 billion on the region that already gets the most spent on transport.

This shows the warped priorities the Conservatives have when it comes to spending and the extent to which they not care about the well-being of Nottingham. We will be demanding that the Government changes this unfair situation alongside other Core Cities by lobbying Parliament on Tuesday 12th September.

Conservatives Gave £1 billion To the DUP Instead of Nottingham.

The Conservatives have taken £200 million from Nottingham since 2010. Instead of that money being spent here in Nottingham to create jobs, upgrade our infrastructure and build better communities, the Conservatives have instead used it to ensure the votes of two DUP MPs.

This £1 billion given to the DUP could reinstate every penny of the £200 million that the Conservatives have cut from Nottingham City Council since 2010. This would allow us to build more affordable homes, hire more social workers , repave more roads and increase the number of street  cleaning teams around the City. Instead that money has been used as a political bribe to allow Theresa May to cling onto power.

This shows the warped priorities the Conservatives have when it comes to spending and the extent to which they do not care about the well-being of Nottingham. We will be demanding that the Government changes this unfair situation alongside other Core Cities by lobbying Parliament on Tuesday 12th September.