Weekly digest: Jul 20

Hello again,

Well, that was the week that was! After last week’s launch of the Plan, this week will be quieter as we get our feet back on the ground. The Steering Group will be taking a short break following the hectic activity over the last few weeks – but not quite yet……

1. Promoting the Plan – residents

  • We had a good response to last week’s edition with a number of people responding congratulating the Steering Group for finally getting it published. Initial statistics from our website show there have been over 70 unique clicks to the Plan (‘unique’ means excluding those accessing the Plan several times).
  • But…we can do better than that, can’t we? So, if you didn’t have time last week to follow it up, here is the link to our website where you can find further details including links to the Plan itself and the Response form. If you prefer you can provide your response directly online on the same page.
  • We’ve commissioned the printing of 7,000 leaflets – one for every home in our Area plus a few more for consultation sessions. Expect one through your door in the next few weeks.
    • Some people offered to help last week, but more are needed to help spread the workload. If you can spare an hour or so to assist with deliveries, please get in touch
  • Finally, we’ve agreed to have 50 booklets printed at a cost price of £6.60 each. So, we will have copies available to buy.  If you’d like one (and I’ve already started a list from last week) please let me know, price £5.

2. Promoting the Plan – stakeholders

  • Besides consulting with the most important (in our view) group of people – those who live and work in our Area – we also need to consult with official stakeholders. These are mostly organisations (including statutory) who have a direct interest in our Area. These include:
    • all relevant local authorities (County, Borough and Town/Parish level),
    • statutory organisations (Historic England, Natural England, Environment Agency),
    • landowners (Peveril, Ministry of Defence, Heart Church),
    • major businesses (HS2 Ltd, Network Rail, Severn Trent, Trent Barton)
    • regional/county-wide organisations (the new Development Corporation, D2N2, Notts Police, Notts Wildlife Trust),
    • local community organisations (churches, libraries, schools)
    • voluntary groups (ramblers, scouts/brownies, PEDALS, sports clubs)
  • Besides organisations there are key individuals we wanted to invite to comment. These include our MP Anna Soubry, and our county/ward councillors.
  • As you can see, there are a lot of interested parties apart from residents. So far, we have sent invitations to 85 contact points within 42 organisations – and there’s more to be sent next week! If interested, here is a link to the stakeholder flyer which accompanied the invitations.

3. and…. Promoting those who contributed to the Plan.

  • I said last week I wanted to give a ‘shout out’ to all those who helped bring the Plan together. There isn’t space to list everyone, but the main players (all Steering Group unless otherwise noted) are:
    • A Sense of History: Gill (from the Beeston and District History Society)
    • Core Objectives and Policies:
      • Environment: Norman, Margaret, and Ben
      • Infrastructure: Ian W, Ian C, Richard, and Anderson (a Forum member)
      • Housing & Urban Design: Mark, Chris and Karen (latter two are both Forum members)
      • Leisure, Heritage & Community: Pamela, Teresa, Helen, Steve, David and Jim
      • Barracks section: Steve, David, Jim, DeVonne, Karren, Owen, and Teresa (the Barracks subgroup)
    • Plan review and corrections: Mark, Steve, David, Norman, Margaret and Christine (a Forum member who provided in-depth proof-reading report)
    • Admin, comms, publicity, and website: Katie, Mark, Denise and Ian W
    • And, of course, our chairman Richard who has constantly encouraged us to take the opportunity to ‘dream big’ with our ideas, visions and objectives.  He also made sure we stayed focused on the task and made sure the Plan is as strong as possible.
    • It is great to have such a dedicated Steering Group that have put in many hours of work to get the Plan produced. Effective teamwork made the task so much easier.
    • We are also grateful to our consultants: University of Nott’m, Kefa Design and AECOM for their invaluable reports and designs that helped shape our ideas and thoughts and provided the maps and illustrations to bring them to life.
    • Finally we mustn’t forget our sponsors, who have funded our work. These range from:
      • Broxtowe Council who have been very supportive throughout both financially and, more importantly, with sound advice and guidance.
      • Our two county councillors – Cllrs Richard Jackson and Eric Kerry – who have donated generously to help fund consultations and office supplies.
      • National funders Locality – who have provided the bulk of our funds (£17k) plus funded the production of our three AECOM reports.
      • And not forgetting our wonderful supporters who selected the Forum as a ‘good cause’ from Broxtowe Lotto (see more below).

No space for any ‘And finally’s….’ this week, although I do want to say a huge ‘THANK YOU!’ to the generous member and supporter, who donated her winnings from the Broxtowe Lotto to the Forum. It is very much appreciated – funding is never far from the forefront of Steering Group discussions. Contributions such as these make a big difference. It reminds me that I need to report back to you on the results of our involvement with Lotto in the next couple of weeks. If you wish to join our Lotto supporters, it’s never too late – please click on the link to the CTTC Forum page below.

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll find details of the scheme.

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DIGEST SPECIAL: The Plan has landed!

Hello everyone,

Yes! The Plan has finally landed.  It is done, completed, finished and – at long last – published!

We want everyone who lives, works or has any sort of interest in our Area to read, review and comment. It needs to be reviewed by key stakeholders; landowners, statutory authorities (Environment Agency, Natural England etc.), local councils and organisations with an interest in the area (HS2, Wildlife Trusts, schools, voluntary groups etc.).

It is particularly ready for our weekly readers, who have stayed the course and supported the Steering Group through thick and thin for well over 2 years. So… you get to see it first by following the links below.

1. The Plan – a brief introduction

  • It is a big document at 83 pages + appendices, however we have included several maps, diagrams and pictures to help break up the text.  We are going to see huge changes in our community with development taking several years hence our decision to adopt a strategic, twenty-year timeframe for the Plan. So, no apologies I’m afraid for the size of the Plan – we have to be prepared.  
  • The document is broken down into 5 sections:
    • Section A is the introduction to our Area. There is a brief history of Toton and Chilwell to help set the scene before going on to cover the main geographic characteristics of the area.
    • Section B details our Vision and Core Objectives. It explains the huge challenges facing us – the sale of Chetwynd Barracks and the plans for the Strategic Location for Growth zone, which includes the advent of the HS2 East Midlands Hub Station. It reports on the outcomes arising from the Forum’s consultation sessions held throughout the autumn and spring of 2017/2018 which led directly to the formulation of our objectives
    • Section C describes the policies we devised to help deliver our objectives. We identified a total of forty-seven policies and provide evidence and justification for each of them. Forty-seven sounds a lot and it may well prove to be too many. But better to prune back from having too many rather than risk omitting something important.
    • Section D is exclusively about the Barracks. We want to ensure the community has a strong ‘voice’ in how the Barracks is developed, so we commissioned consultants with experience of other ex-MoD sites being redeveloped to provide specialist advice. The section provides a framework for future development – the key component being the awareness of the much bigger development taking place in our Area and therefore not treating the Barracks as an isolated site in itself.
    • Section E contains 4 appendices comprising: i) a glossary, ii) a list of valued assets in our area, iii) how our policies are ‘in compliance’ with council and national policies and regulations, and iv) our evidence base – the wealth of supporting documents that explain and justify our objectives and policies.
  • The key sections are B and C our vision, objectives and policies. These are the areas to focus on and provide your comments and suggestions during this consultation phase. After consultation we will then make modifications to the Plan, based on the feedback we receive. We then submit the revised Plan to the council for them to continue along the path to formal adoption.

2. Pre-submission consultation process

  • This phase must last for a minimum of 6 weeks. Given we are entering peak holiday season, the Steering Group agreed to extend the period to ensure everyone has plenty of time to respond. Therefore, the closing date of consultation is Friday September 20th – a full 10 weeks from today’s launch.
  • However even though we launch this weekend to digest readers, we are not quite ready for the wider community. The Steering Group have agreed the content and layout of the publicity leaflets, and we are now getting quotes from printers. We expect to have leaflets produced in the next week or two and we aim to deliver them to every household by early August.
  • We are also obtaining quotes to print booklets of the Plan At the moment we are hoping to print 50-100 copies. These will be circulated to the two libraries in our Area as well as issued to key stakeholders to ensure they have a copy. We are hoping to have a supply for residents to purchase as we recognise domestic printers may not easily cope with a large document containing lots of pictures and diagrams. At this stage we don’t know how much they might cost, but £5-£10 is a ball-park figure.  At this price are you interested in buying a copy? If so let me know and I’ll collate a list.
  • We also agreed to organise 3 consultation sessions to take place in early September to give people the chance to come along and ask questions. In addition, we hope to host some drop-in sessions at our office in Beeston as well as some ad hoc pop-up stalls at key locations such as Toton Tesco and Chilwell Local Sainsbury’s. More on that in the coming weeks.
  • But don’t wait until September for your questions. If you have any queries, send me an email and I’ll get an answer to you asap.

3. Next Steps. Some ‘asks’ of you….

  • Please read the Plan and here is a link to the document. Let us know what you think. We need your views – all views – on the contents, the more feedback the better. There is no need to rush, you have until Sept 20th to complete a Response form & here is a link to the form.
  • Please spread the word of the Plan widely to friends and neighbours. It is fantastic to note that over 1,000 people receive the digest each time, but there are many, many more residents in our Area who don’t get these updates.
    • Please forward this email (or just send my email address) to all your contacts who live/work or who are just interested in the Area. Persuade them to get involved.
    • Development of the Area affects us all so, this Plan simply must be for all of us, not just our regular readers.
  • We are looking for volunteers again to help deliver our leaflets to every household in the Area. Are you willing to help? Each ‘walk’ is designed to take approx. 1 hour so if you can spare a couple of hours to help it will be much appreciated. We expect the leaflets to be ready from Monday 29th We had a wonderful response the last time we asked for help so it will be great if even more people are able to stick up a hand this time. Please get in touch with details where you live, and I’ll arrange a walk nearby.

The publication of the Plan is a significant milestone for us in the Forum. It represents the culmination of a lot of hard work (over a long time) by a lot of people both on the Steering Group and beyond. I’ll take time next week to ‘name check’ these people as they deserve to be recognised for their contribution. We are all pleased with the document, it is strong and covers all the bases. We hope you will be pleased too!

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll find details of the scheme.

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Weekly digest: Jul 6

Hello again,

Our prime focus this past week has, yet again, been the Plan and sorting out the last-minute ‘gremlins’ that emerged only when we started to print some hard copies – more on this below. We have also attended a couple of interesting meetings and it’s worth providing a brief summary of these as well.

1. Plan back on the final approach path

  • We are very close to resolving the niggling issues that printing has caused.  It has meant we had to ‘open up’ the document to make some tweaks:
    • A couple of the location maps are darker than appears on screen, when printed (‘murky’ is a better description).  So, we have removed them, and this has led to some re-arrangement of the layout and re-ordering page numbers in a couple of cases.
    • A couple of diagrams are fuzzy with some of the text being small and a little indistinct. These diagrams were produced by the university graduates and provide useful background information. It would be a shame not to use them so one of our SG members has taken them away to see if he can enlarge (or sharpen) some of the text to improve readability. If it works, great: if not, we will still probably use them, but advise readers they’ll need to peer closely to read it all.
    • The colour scheme is less of a problem than first feared. Our office printer is clearly not up to the task in accurately replicating colours but when using a decent printer everything looks fine. Printing in b/w is also okay – some text colours come out looking greyish, but it is all clearly readable and that’s the main thing.
  • So….. we are just awaiting some magic to be performed on the fuzzy diagrams and we are good to go. Which means the next edition of the digest will definitely see the launch of the Plan. Hopefully that will be next weekend but if not the week after – I don’t intend to ‘fall over’ again….

2. D2N2 Growth Hub meeting

  • We (Richard and myself) joined some of our CIC directors in meeting a representative of the D2N2 Growth Hub last week. The meeting was arranged so the CIC (Community Interest Company) could explore how best to ‘activate’ the organisation.
  • As you know the Forum established the CIC last year with the intention for it to become the organisation that oversees the implementation of the Plan. A further goal is to identify and exploit opportunities that might arise for the community to actively engage (with partners) in delivering elements of the Plan – such as the Barracks, if the Garden Communities bid is approved.
  • The meeting was to introduce ourselves to D2N2 and ask for their support and advice in helping the CIC properly establish itself. We had a very useful discussion and the main outcome was that D2N2 will sound out local experts in corporate finance and ask one of them to work with us as a mentor.
  • This is a positive start as we begin to think about life after the Plan is adopted and the Forum, as a voluntary organisation, winds itself down. You will hear more and more about the CIC as we go forward. 

3. Council Jobs and Economy (J&E) committee meeting

  • As a follow-up to meeting key committee members at Oban House, I went along to observe the first J&E meeting at the Town Hall. It was good to assess the group and see how constructively they work together. These are early days and further changes to the make-up are expected next month, but it was a positive start with members clearly taking a keen interest in the tasks facing them.
  • Part of the meeting provided an update on the Local Plan and our Forum was complemented (by the chair, Cllr Pat Lally) on the work we are doing with our Neighbourhood Plan. Which, on behalf of all of us, was nice to hear.
  • The main topic under discussion concerned the growing numbers of HIMO (houses in multiple occupation). A concern of some residents particularly in Beeston (but also elsewhere) are the numbers of houses being converted to flats for students. Some of the roads near to the University seem to comprise mostly houses for students and the negative impact on local families is being keenly felt. The committee agreed to undertake work to understand the scale of the problem and assess what steps need to be/can be taken to avoid parts of Beeston becoming ‘student town’. I exaggerate (‘Student town’ are my words, not the council’s), but local concerns are real and growing.
  •  The reason to mention it here is that one idea being explored is for local universities to become key partners in the development of the Innovation Campus, next to the Hub Station. A concern of the Steering Group is the risk the university sector will come to dominate the campus with the concomitant risk of the area becoming overly student-based.
  • We would prefer to see a more diverse commercial development that encourages a true, long lasting community to live in our area rather than a largely transitory student population. I don’t intend to set hares running with this, perhaps unfounded, fear but it is something to be aware of and we’ll be keeping a watchful eye on emerging development strategies.

4. And finally….

  • The Steering Group meets next week. The main topic on the agenda is discussing the Plan’s consultation phase over the next few weeks. We’ll be finalising ideas for locations and dates for sessions where you can come along to ask questions and learn more about the Plan. We’ll also be finalising the stakeholder list, so we are confident they all get a copy of the Plan and are given the opportunity to comment. We also need to agree the publicity leaflets and the number of hard copies we can produce – more on this next time.

That’s all for now. Brace yourself for the landing….

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll find details of the scheme.

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Weekly digest: Jun 29

Hello again,

Last week I headlined a section saying the ‘Plan was landing’ and that the next edition would prove to be a ‘momentous moment’ when we published the Plan. Well, to further stretch the aircraft metaphor, I’m afraid our Plan has been held up in a ‘stack’ and is currently circling the airfield. We hope to finally guide it down in a couple of weeks – more below.

In the meantime, this edition does provide a ‘momentous moment’ of sorts as it is our 75th edition! We started the digest pretty much 2 years ago (early July 2017) and I little imagined I’d still be providing these updates. I’d assumed we would have finished the Plan well before now but – hey ho – it just goes to show how much time and effort is needed to produce a worthwhile Plan designed to stand the test of time. So, here’s to the next 75 editions, although I’ve no idea what I’ll be rabbiting on about then…..

1. Can’t keep my eyes from the circling sky…

  • The reason we’ve delayed publication is that we have realised – a tad late in the day – that when the document is printed, the colour scheme is not rendered accurately, and a number of diagrams look distinctly fuzzy and unfocussed.
  • This is something I should have checked before trumpeting last week about publication. I’d assumed the old adage ‘what you see is what you get’ would apply to the Plan. However, when I look at what is (I think) a very tasteful sage green colour on screen, what gets printed out is a dark’ish blue colour.
  • We have asked the printer for a full copy of the Plan (from a decent printer) and we will go through it again to see if corrections are needed. I’m less troubled by the colour scheme (all printers are different) – as long as the text is easily readable – but the fuzzy diagrams may result in some changes to the layout if they need to be re-sized/re-located to be easily read and understood.
  • We are hoping this will only be a short delay. We are now aiming for a mid-July publication but I’m reluctant to tell you this in case I’m setting myself up for another ‘fall’.

2. Local Plan Main Modifications Consultation

  • As reported last week, we have now been through the Council’s Main Modifications proposals and drafted up our response. Overall, we are pleased with these changes; the Council has clearly listened to our representations made last winter and have incorporated our key ‘asks’ – most notably the need to produce an overarching Strategic Masterplan for the whole area.
  • This Strategic Masterplan is vital – it provides the key to ensuring a coherent vision for the development of our area. In addition, we are explicitly included as a member of the group tasked with providing input to the masterplan. [In fact, as previously reported, we have already held our first meeting with the consultants.]
  • As a result, we don’t believe we need to arrange separate consultations with you to discuss our response. If you strongly disagree with our conclusions, please feel free to get in touch so we can have a chat to understand your concerns.
  • Here are some links for you if you’d like to have a look at our response and some background material to it:
    • This document is a draft of our response to the Council. [The draft is subject to endorsement by the Steering Group planned to take place next week.]
    • This document contains extracts of the Modifications document as it pertains to our Area i.e. Policy 3.1 Chetwynd Barracks and Policy 3.2 Toton Strategic Location for Growth. I’ve extracted the bits that we either requested directly to see included or else the changes added that we strongly support.
    • This document is the Main Modifications document as published by the Council, so you assess the source material.
    • This document is the feedback form in case you would like to submit your own individual response to the Council. The consultation closes on Tuesday July 9th, so you don’t have long.

3. And finally….

  • Meeting the councillors. We had a very useful meeting with senior councillors of the J&E committee last week. It was good to speak to Cllrs Pat and Lynda Lally and Cllr Richard MacRae and introduce them to our Neighbourhood Plan. They were very supportive of the work we’ve done thus far and our ambitions for the Area. They reported there are changes afoot in the make-up of the J&E committee following the result of the Stapleford by-election. Furthermore, they advised us to invite the leader of the council, Cllr Milan Radulovic, to Oban House so we can appraise him of our Plan. We have followed up on this advice and extended the invitation to the deputy leader, Cllr Steve Carr, as well as the new chair of the J&E, Cllr Tim Hallam.
  • A snippet from the Birmingham Post. You may be interested to read that Ashfield Council are commissioning a report to assess the viability of re-opening and upgrading a freight-only line to allow passenger trains to run between Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Selston, Ilkeston and the HS2 station at Toton.

And that’s all folks for now. More next time.

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll find details of the scheme.

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Weekly digest: Jun 22

Hello everyone,

A shorter edition this time following a quiet’ish week where the main focus has been on the final tweaks to the Plan and the design of the leaflet to publicise the consultation we will soon be running.

1. The Plan is landing…

  • We’ve now completed all text changes/amendments to the Plan. The final typo has been terminated and the last full stop has been, errrr… stopped!
  • No doubt a few rogue mistakes still litter the document – in which case, the mistakes are all mine. If, when you get to read the Plan, you happen to come across any, there is no need to rush to let me know!
  • Let me take a moment to thank all the very many people who have taken the time to review the various drafts and point out the corrections needed. This naturally includes all of the Steering Group and members of our subgroups – especially the Barracks team.
  • However, I’d like to give a special SHOUT OUT to Christine, one of our members, who kindly took the time to review our Plan and provided an 18-page (yes, eighteen pages!) report detailing the numerous typos as well as a large number of grammatical and formatting errors as well as pointing out several inconsistencies. Which has slightly punctured my (clearly) over-inflated belief that I was someone who could put together a couple of sentences without speling mistakes! Ah well… 
  • Many thanks, Christine, for your time. The document is much stronger as a result of your unstinting effort and especially your sharp eye for detail.
  • One of the remaining tasks is to insert the final artwork for the front/back covers and the section pages. I’ve received these pages from the printer yesterday so will add them in early next week. After that, one final read-through to make sure no gremlins have crept in following this editing phase and next week…… it will be published here to give you the chance to look at it first.

2. Local Plan Part 2 Modifications review

  • I mentioned this consultation by the Council a couple of weeks ago. The Steering Group are reviewing the Modifications as we speak, and we will produce our draft response by next week. I’ll publish that draft here so you can have a look and provide us with your thoughts/ observations.
  • All responses need to be submitted to the Council by Tuesday 9th July, so we don’t have a lot of time to discuss any issues arising.
  • To be honest, I’ve had a decent look through the modifications and apart from a couple of minor points of clarification, I don’t believe there is anything untoward from our perspective.
  • In fact, it is very heartening to report that several changes have been made to the Plan as a direct result of our representations at the hearings last winter. Which proves the Council does listen to us and demonstrates the strong partnership we have built up over these last few years….

3. Council meetings next week

  • …. which leads neatly on to this next item. We are meeting with Steffan Saunders, Head of Planning, early next week to brief him on our progress and in particular to:
    • agree the timelines for the consultation period and the next steps afterwards
    • confirm the statutory organisations we need to consult with regarding the Plan
    • understand the additional documents we need to produce before formally submitting the Plan to the Council
  • We are also looking forward to welcoming leading councillors of the Jobs and Economy committee to our office in Oban House. As reported in a previous digest we are keen to develop close relationships with the new committee as it plays a key role in overseeing the implementation of the Plan and the development of our area as a whole.

4. And finally…

  • No… I could briefly mention that we are pushing the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) for a catch-up meeting as it’s been a while since we met. They are proving hard to get hold of at the moment which is a little concerning – when things go quiet, we get a little nervous. So we shall keep pressing for a meeting.
  • Or… I could also mention that we are looking to meet up again with HS2 to understand more about their revised thoughts and plans for the Hub Station (following on from their session at Trowell recently).
  • But these are secondary issues when compared to our prime focus – the Plan – so I won’t bore you with more of this…

Look out for next week’s edition – it will be a momentous moment as we reach a significant milestone in our work. We will be asking you all to become involved – to spread the word, to encourage friends and neighbours to take part in the consultation. More on that over the next few weeks.

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll find details of the scheme

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Weekly digest: Jun 15

Hello again,

A busy couple of weeks since the last edition so I’ll quickly get started and update you with the outcomes of a series of meetings.

1. Toton Churches.

  • We’ve had a long-standing invitation to meet with Toton Churches for a while but pressure of the Plan meant coordinating diaries were tricky on our side. So we were glad to meet up with Rev Colin Bourne and the leadership team a week or so ago.
  • It was a very useful meeting where we shared our views and visions for the future, especially the options for community buildings and spaces we expect to see developed on the Barracks site.
  • The Leadership team made clear they would welcome the opportunity to become actively engaged in running/operating community facilities. For our part, we are keen to engage with local partners to demonstrate to developers the strength of local commitment to see something truly special created in the heart of our area.
  • We intend to build on this initial meeting as we now start to think how best to oversee and implement our Plan once it is formally adopted.

2. Strategic Masterplan meeting

  • A couple of us had an initial meeting with Arup early last week. Arup are the consultants appointed by Notts County Council to undertake a couple pieces of work contributing to the overall masterplan for the area.
  • This first piece of work is focused on the HS2 Hub Station and the links to it from our Area. We were pleased to host them at our office in Oban House where we showed them a couple of maps detailing our thoughts for the green infrastructure corridors (including footpaths and cycle lanes) as well our ideas for road links and the tram route down to the Hub Station and Innovation Campus.
  • We spent a good couple of hours with them and agreed to send then copies of the maps detailing our proposals so they can consider at length and discuss with other stakeholders.
  • Again, we look forward to building on this initial meeting and work with them again on this piece in the overall ‘jigsaw’ as well as other elements that are needed to bring together the overall masterplan.

3. Steering Group sign-off.

  • As mentioned last time, the Steering Group met last week to formally review and sign-off the Plan. There are one or two last-minute adjustments but nothing more that switching a couple of photos here and there and amending slightly the text on the front cover.
  • We then spent time discussing:
    • the shape and style of a summary leaflet we’ll be producing to help publicise the Plan – one will hit your doormat over the next few weeks
    • the timeframe for our consultation phase – which we have now agreed will run from mid-July to the end of September.  The slight delay to the start of the consultation is to ensure we get both the full Plan (a few hard copies for libraries etc) and summary leaflet produced and printed in good time for the launch date.
  • An electronic copy of the Plan will be ready in a couple of weeks and will be published here first for you have a look prior to the formal launch of consultation.

4. And finally…

  • HS2 consultation report. HS2 have published a report detailing their findings from the consultation sessions held last autumn. As reported previously we are due to meet with them shortly to discuss the feedback from our area. A quick scan of the report is encouraging: a quote from the Forum suggesting the Station is moved northwards towards Stapleford is included in the report. If you are interested in reading the report as it affects our Area – here is a link to an extract containing – after the contents and introduction chapter – our section (LA05: Ratcliffe to Long Eaton) and the next one (LA06: Stapleford northwards). A link to the full report and further information can be found on this HS2 website
  • Local Plan Modifications feedback. The Steering Group discussed our approach to providing our feedback to this latest Council consultation of the Local Plan. We agreed to draft our response to the proposed modifications by the end of June. We will then publish our draft here for you to review and provide comments – and host a meeting if there is enough interest – before submitting our response back to the council by the July 9th deadline. So time is tight – watch this space.

And that’s it for this week folks. More next time.

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll find details of the scheme.

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Weekly digest: Jun 1

Hello everyone,

“Where do I begin, to tell the story of….” Sorry, a cheesy opening this week, but I’m very pleased / relieved / thankful to announce the Plan is indeed (almost) finished! It has taken a set of four workshops over the last 8 weeks or so to refine and polish the document, but that is now complete. The final piece of work, currently underway, is to correct the remaining typos, find the aberrant apostrophes, and fix those flagrantly footloose full stops

1. Plan’s Progress: the finale.

  • I shouldn’t really say this, but we are pleased with the document.  The Steering Group members (and many others) have put in an extraordinary amount of work over the last couple of years to: consult with you and the wider community, undertake the research, derive the policies, justify them with evidence and write up the results.
  • It is a hefty document stretching to just over 100 pages. Given the scale of development we expect over the next 20+ years, it was inevitably going to be large to capture the detail needed to pass muster at the examination stage.
  • The next step – with the typos cleared and some final artwork produced – is that the Steering Group will sign off the final version at its next meeting on the 11th.
  • After that we will look to quickly publish the document, produce a short summary leaflet that contains the key elements and then – most importantly – to consult widely with you and all residents in the Area to ensure the Plan reflects both your concerns and aspirations.
  • We also need to consult with statutory organisations (e.g. Environment Agency) and other stakeholders such as landowners and affected businesses. We’ll be getting in touch with them separately.

2. Project timeline reset.

  • We have sketched out a new timeline for the remaining steps we need to go through before the Plan is formally ‘made’ and adopted by the Council.  I say ‘sketched’ as we need to run these revisions past the council. They will play a big part in setting the schedule for significant elements of the remaining tasks.
  • The immediate next steps for us are to:
    • Publish the Plan – by the end of this month.
    • Launch our pre-submission consultation phase – early July.
      (This must be for a min. 6 weeks however, given we are coming into peak holiday season, we are thinking of extending it to 8 weeks in total. More on this after the Steering Group have discussed and agreed our approach.)
    • Host consultation sessions (5 or 6 likely) – July/August.
    • Collate/analyse feedback and improve Plan as necessary – early September.
    • Formally submit the Plan to the council – mid September.
  • Once submitted to the council it could well take another 6 months for the council to run their consultation, then the external examination phase, followed by the referendum process. So…..
  • When we have met with the council and agreed a schedule, I’ll let you have firmer details of the timeframe.

3. Local Plan Part 2 Modifications

  • Another reason for us to extend our consultation phase is that the council are busy this summer finalising their Local Plan Part 2.  I won’t rehearse the history of this Plan – regular readers know it very well – but the council are currently undertaking a further (and final) consultation on the modifications to the Local Plan arising from the examination sessions held last winter.
  • Once this phase is over, the council hopes to finalise the Plan and get it formally approved by full council in September.  Therefore, their prime focus over the next 12 weeks or so will be their Plan rather than ours.
  • The Forum will be taking part in this consultation and will provide feedback to the council by the July 9 deadline. Once we have considered the impact of modifications in our Area, we may want to host a session with you before drafting and submitting our formal response. Watch this space.
  • In the meantime, if you are interested in reviewing the consultation documentation, here is a link to the key document: the Main Modifications Schedule. This links to the associated Modifications Sustainability addendum. And here is a link to a response form if you want to submit your own individual feedback directly to the Council. More information about this consultation can be found on our website’s home page – scroll down a little.

4. And finally…..

  • Meeting the East Midlands Development Corporation. Our chairman, Richard Hutchinson, was invited to a meeting with Sir John Peace (chairman of the new Dev Corp.) organised by Anna Soubry. You may have seen the article about the meeting in Anna’s weekly newsletter but if you missed it, here is a link.  We’d like to thank Anna and her office for organising this meeting and inviting us to join her. It is important the Forum plays its part in shaping future development and we intend to build on this initial meeting with Sir John and his team.
  • New Council administration. Following the local elections there is the new administration in control of the council. As a result, we have invited Cllrs Pat Lally and Richard MacRae (the chair and vice chair of the Jobs and Economy committee) to a meeting so we can introduce them to our work. The committee has direct responsibility for overseeing development in our Area, so we are pleased they quickly agreed to come along, and we are just coordinating diaries. To be honest Cllr Lally has been a long-standing ‘friend’ of the Forum and has been receiving our updates for some time, so he is already very familiar with our thoughts and ideas.
  • Moves afoot in the Barracks. We are aware that some contractors have been working recently on the security fence on the western side of the Barracks. This has involved installing a new access gate as well as assuring the security of the sterile strip. It seems clear that this part of the Barracks is being prepared for early sale to developers in 2021, so not too far away. Some further preparatory work may be in the offing, such as the felling of some trees. We will be writing to the Council to see what protection can be given to all the trees located on the Barracks, but in particular in this section, whilst it is still ‘crown’ land. We’ll let you know the outcome.

Okay, a fairly lengthy piece this week but, since you’ve had a two-week respite, I hope you don’t mind too much.  More next week.

Kind regards,
Graham.

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll also find details of the scheme.

Posted in Chetwynd Barracks, Latest News, Neighbourhood Plan, Steering Group | Leave a comment

Weekly digest: May 11

Hello again,

It’s not often I sit down to provide the weekly update and wonder what to write. Normally we are working on 3 or 4 tasks at any particular time but, as you know, our current focus is the Plan. I know I’m starting to sound like a stuck record, so I can’t blame you if you are growing a ‘tad weary hearing about it. I clearly underestimated the time we needed, as a Steering Group, to properly review and refine the document. And it’s not over yet. Therefore, a condensed edition this week with some snippets and the frequency of these updates may be a little haphazard over the next few weeks.

1. So, both firstly and finally…..

  • Plan’s Progress. I can’t not update you on progress with the review, can I? This week the Steering Group held another workshop where we covered off the vast majority of the draft policies. Plenty of new actions were sprayed around the Group – mostly, as before, to undertake further research strengthening the evidence we have. We will meet again in a couple of weeks for what we hope will be the final session – but I’m making no promises. We are wary of slipping into a mindset of the ‘never ending’ project where the document is constantly being refined (and then refined some more) without appreciable improvement. But we’re not at that stage yet!
  • Land sale at Toton. Many thanks to David, one of our readers, for doing some further ‘googling’ on this item and providing this link to a map of the area for sale. It’s always nice to see precisely the extent of the land being sold.
  • Toton Sidings article in the Financial Times. It’s amazing the useful snippets you can pick up from Twitter. I’m not sure if this is now behind a paywall or not – I can’t read it a 2nd time. But, if it does let you through, it is an interesting article of an interview with the County Council and Midlands Connect. The Forum is reported to be “cautiously backing” the scheme. Which is fine as far as it goes but it would have been nice if we had been invited along to give our ‘first hand’ views.
  • Meetings update. No further news as yet on the putative meetings with either HS2 Ltd or the DIO. However, next Tuesday Richard and Ian are attending the latest Strategy Planning Group meeting – the County Council chaired group supporting the Toton Delivery Board. We are expecting an update on progress made in recruiting consultants to take forward various strand activities – the most important being (from our perspective) the overarching strategic masterplan for both Toton Lane site and the Barracks. We intend to play our part in developing this masterplan, not least to ensure the key infrastructure components we want to see in our Area (green corridors, new roads etc.) are factored into the design.

And that’s all for this week. As and when I have burning updates for you then, of course, I’ll publish a fresh edition. However, if I miss a week or 2, then you’ll know we’re still busy beavering away in the background to get the Plan ready for you. And when it is finally ready, rest assured you’ll be the first to know – there’ll be a huge fanfare with all klaxons blaring!

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll also find details of the scheme.

Posted in HS2 Hub Station, Latest News, Neighbourhood Plan, Steering Group, Toton Lane East, Toton Lane West | Leave a comment

Weekly digest: May 4

Hello

Did I say last week that the Plan just needed a little polishing and buffing before it would be ready for wider review and comments? Well, that will teach me not to get ahead of myself. More below along with some feedback and further thoughts on funding.

1. To buff or to burnish? And what’s the difference…

  • The Steering Group’s 2nd session to polish the draft Plan took place this week. And this time we entered into the nitty-gritty section of the document: reviewing the individual policies we need to ensure our objectives are met.
  • I was being overly optimistic in thinking a bit of buffing (surface shine) would suffice to ensure the policies were strong enough. It soon became clear that a much deeper ‘clean’/burnish is required. Some key policies need a fair bit of re-work to ensure they are worded tightly enough for our purposes.
  • The good news is that the Group is fully engaged in this work and lots of actions were handed out to undertake further research to make sure the backing material – the evidence we need to justify our proposals – is all in place.
  • The bad news is that this will take longer than I had originally anticipated. So, the exercise we are doing to revamp our project plan will need to incorporate an extended timeline to produce the Plan itself.
  • Despite the delay, it will mean a much stronger Plan overall.  Given we have to delay the next stage (as reported last time), it means we have the headroom to produce a good quality product.  More on this as we go forward – as you already know, producing the Plan is our top priority.

2. Funding focus

  • Thanks very much to everyone who responded last week with thoughts on crowd-funding. The responses (a dozen or so) were all positive with people offering their support with hard cash.  I wasn’t quite sure what level of support we could expect to see, so it is gratifying to see, yet again, the positive feedback.
  • Of course, a dozen responses doesn’t mean we’ve resolved the funding situation. But the Steering Group are examining how best to take this forward and what is the best on-line tool to use. We’re looking at both “Gofundme’ and ‘JustGiving’ sites as possibilities – they seem to be the market leaders. But if you know of other sites worth investigating please let us know
  • Following last week’s digest, another funding avenue has opened up – that of a professional fund raiser. One such organisation (based in West Bridgford) has approached us during the week and we have been in touch for an initial conversation. Which was positive, so we are looking to meet up next week to see how best to take it forward.
  • This avenue may/may not be suitable for our immediate task – we know it can take several weeks for grant applications to be processed (10/12 weeks for Awards for All). Nevertheless, we feel it worth exploring as a possible solution for immediate needs – but if that is unrealistic then perhaps for longer term funding.

3. And finally….

  • Land for sale at Toton. Did anyone spot the East Midlands Today news item on the lunchtime edition last Wednesday?  I half caught it and after a bit of googling around online I came across this ‘notice of sale announcement’. The land in question is either side of Stapleford Lane i.e. directly behind Cleve Avenue and (part of) Katherine Drive. The sale is on behalf of Heart Church (T Land is a subsidiary of the church, we believe).
  • HS2 Ltd meeting. Given our focus with finishing the Plan, our meeting with HS2 Ltd will be put back for a couple of weeks. This suits HS2 as well since they are still finalising their report on the outcomes of the consultation last autumn.  
  • DIO meeting. I mentioned a while ago that we had been invited to meet with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Homes England regarding their current plans for the Barracks. Things have been quiet since that first approach so we will be asking them to firm up a date for the meeting – now likely to take place in June. We’ll keep you posted.

And that’s all for this week folks.  See you next time.

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll also find details of the scheme.

Posted in Latest News, Neighbourhood Plan, Toton Lane East, Toton Lane West | Leave a comment

Weekly digest: Apr 27

Hello everyone,

It’s been a couple of weeks of fairly frenetic activity here at ‘Forum Towers’ as we continue to polish the Plan. We’ve also received some unwelcome news on the funding front. So, on the one hand we’re feeling elated the Plan is pretty much done and dusted – however on the other hand we’re a tad deflated that further progress will be slower than hoped. A case of 2 steps forward and 1½ back!

1. Best steps forward

  • Actually, it’s more like a couple of strides. The Plan is very close to being finished. The Steering Group met last night for a polishing session with the next taking place on Tuesday for some final buffing.
  • After that it will take a week or so to incorporate the improvements into the final version ready to be released for wider review. However,…….see ‘One backward step’ below.
  • We received back a couple of  key maps we commissioned for the Plan following some final tweaks. These illustrate critical components of our Plan – so you might like to have a sneak preview:
    • Green Corridors. We know that protecting and improving the environment is the top concern for residents, so this map shows our thoughts on adding new green corridors (drawn to scale) to link together existing green space in our Area
    • Footpaths and cycle routes. We want to create new and better routes through the area, especially through the Barracks, to encourage us all  ‘get active’ and walk and cycle a bit more.
    • New roads and tram extension route. Another big concern of residents is the serious congestion we see on local roads, especially Stapleford Lane. This map outlines possible solutions for roads along with a proposed route for the tram down to the station. But the key word here is ‘possible’. Notts County Council is the prime stakeholder when it comes to roads, and they have recently applied for government funds to improve access from the A52.
  • These maps aren’t the most colourful, but the key information is clearly shown. Hopefully they chime with your ideas for new green spaces and travel routes. Let us know your thoughts

2. One backward step

  • You’ll recall that we applied for a £5,600 grant from Awards for All to fund:
    •  the publication of the Plan – full booklets and summary leaflets
    • promoting the Plan – by holding a series of consultation events in the area to formally capture your ideas and thoughts on the contents. What you like – what you want to see improved.
  • We heard last week that we have been unsuccessful. This is a bitter blow as we submitted a strong application that fully deserved support.
  • Without further funding, we are unable to undertake the next stage in the process.  Which is to run the mandatory 6- week consultation with both residents in the Area and prime stakeholders/organisations who must be given the chance to comment on our proposals. Organisations such as the County Council, Natural England, the Environment Agency, as well as local landowners and businesses.
  • The Steering Group has started to have a think about other sources of funding and one idea floated was that of crowd-funding. It is an interesting thought but we’re not sure whether it would work for us or not.
  • As you know we have a fantastic number of supporters (both members and friends) on our books – over 1,000 at the last count. If everyone was willing to donate the cost of a large latte (£3 or £4), then we would cover the cost of publishing the Plan. But do you think it could work?
  • Would you be willing to dip into your purse/pocket for a couple of quid? Or do you have other ideas how we could raise what is, relatively, a small amount to see us through this next stage. Please, let us know your thoughts; we need to consider all options.

3. And a further half step back

  • Richard and I met with Steffan Saunders, Head of Planning at Broxtowe Council, this week. We asked to meet so we could:
    • brief Steffan on our progress and to advise him we are close to getting the Plan ready for formal consultations
    • understand where the council was in getting their Local Plan finalised following the examination hearings last December.
  • Steffan explained that work on the Local Plan was going well but the council elections currently underway, has slowed progress. He believes that it will be formally adopted by the council soon after the summer ‘recess’ i.e. September.
  • That timeframe does have a consequential impact for us. I had been hoping that, given a fair wind, we would have completed our formal consultation phase by mid-July and be ready to submit to the council by early August. But it is clear the council won’t be in a position to process our Plan until the Local Plan process is done and dusted.
  • However, with our funding ‘crisis’, it is now highly unlikely we will complete our consultation much before end of August. So it doesn’t matter too much if we delay submission to the council by a few weeks – hence only a half-step back.  
  • We will re-work our project plan timescales in the next week or 2 to cater for the delay caused by funding. Steffan believes, based on his experience with other Neighbourhood Plans in the Borough, that it could take another 9 months before our Plan is formally adopted.
  • I was really hoping we would get our Plan adopted this year. It now looks increasingly likely it will be early 2020 before we finally cross the line. I’ll report more on this when we’ve re-worked our timelines.

4. And finally…..

  • No, I’ve already taken up too much space, so I’ll hold over a couple final snippets until next time.

Overall, we’re feeling really positive the Plan is virtually ready, but you can appreciate that we are also a little downbeat given we are scratching around for further funding and the consequential extension to the timeline. But that’s all for now, see you again next week

Kind regards
Graham

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll also find details of the scheme.

Posted in Bardills, Chetwynd Barracks, HS2 Hub Station, Latest News, Neighbourhood Plan, Steering Group, Toton Lane East, Toton Lane West | Leave a comment