Weekly digest: Apr 04

Hello again,

A shorter edition this time, which is again focused on providing some links you may find useful during these strange times. Feedback from last week was again positive, hence sticking with the format.  This week’s layout is re-organised slightly so that new links are published first with standard links further down (although I’ve newly published a link to NCT 36 service timetable under standard links in section 2).

1. Some new on-line links….

  • Local walks. A Digest reader got in touch during the week suggesting a couple of walks that may be of interest. These walks are pretty much on our doorstep and tick both the ‘local’ and ‘quiet’ boxes – which help to minimise driving as well as maintaining social distance. This first walk is a pdf document of the Erewash Valley Trail. This 2nd link takes you a Sustrans site of the Nutbrook Trail which starts off on the Erewash Canal before branching off to Heanor via Shipley Park. The Nutbrook Trail may perhaps be more suited to cyclists but walkers will enjoy it as well. Many thanks, Stephen D for sending in these links. If anyone else has suggestions for local walks, please send them over and I’ll publish next week.
  • Government advice to what you can/can’t do with regard to leaving the house
  • Helpful Links in Difficult Times. A Notts County Council initiative has produced and maintains a spreadsheet containing lots of useful links in google docs. Here’s a link to the spreadsheet  Click on the tabs at the top of the spreadsheet to see more links.
  • Govt letter to GCSE, AS and A level students. Here’s a link to the letter explaining how grades will be awarded to those who were due to sit exams this summer.
  • A £1m COVID19 Community fund set up by Notts County Council to help organisations working with vulnerable groups. Here’s the link to full details
  • Business Support site. The govt have set up a site where businesses can access support
  • Supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.  Here’s a link to another govt maintained site

2. Some regular on-line links….

3. And finally…

  • Forum news: we’re still working on the Consultation Statement – it is now 75% completed so not much longer to go. I was going to say we’re working on the Statement with ‘quiet intensity’ but I appreciate that, outside the Steering Group, it may just appear that we are being ‘intensely quiet’! Never mind – by now I’m sure you know that I tend to be over optimistic regarding our capacity to produce documents on time. I deliberately set challenging timeframes, so we have clear deadlines to work to. But I know that means they are sometimes (usually?) missed but, still, I’m a firm believer that targets help provide focus.

That’s all folks!  See you next time

Kind regards

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

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Weekly digest: Mar 28

Hello again

Last week’s edition seemed to be very well received with 55% of recipients opening the email and 9% (66) people clicking on one or more of the links. So, we’d thought we’d repeat the format for another week with our main focus being the COVID-19 epidemic and provide both old and new links to steer you to information and where you can ask for help if needed.

1. Some more on-line links….

2. More news from Toton Churches – change of parish boundary

  • Following on from last week’s edition, we thought you might be interested in more church news – this time relating to the boundary between the ecclesiastical parishes of Toton and Stapleford. 
  • You may know that, prior to this change, the ecclesiastical boundary between the two parishes ran along ancient field lines – specifically the public footpath running down (roughly north/south) from Baulk Lane, Stapleford until it reaches the south side of the tram terminus when it turns and runs westerly to the junction between Stapleford Lane & Toton Lane and then on down to the Sidings.
  • Given the scale of development expected either side of Stapleford Lane/Toton Lane it was sensible for the boundary to be reviewed. The following is from a letter informing the Borough Council (kindly copied to me by Rev’d Colin Bourne) which explains the rationale for the change:
    • “In view of the proposed […] housing and other developments in Toton arising from (a) the new housing south of the A52 to the west of Stapleford Lane and Toton Lane, (b) the projected sale of the Chetwynd Barracks site, […] and (c) such additional developments [in the area] as may arise from the projected HS2 project, it has been agreed that the boundary between the Ecclesiastical Parishes of Toton and of Stapleford should be changed, better to reflect the fact that such developments would be regarded, primarily, as extensions of Toton rather than of Stapleford. There are ecclesiastical considerations around the rights of residents to be married and to have baptisms and funerals at their parish church of residence which we have also considered.”
  • Here is a link to the Pastoral Order and Map which illustrates the change (the area marked ‘A’ on the map) – which came into effect on 1st Feb 2020.  It remains to be seen when the road signage either side of footpath at the end of Stapleford Lane is realigned to reflect the fact that Toton should now be shown to begin immediately to the south of the A52 at Bardill’s island.

3. Councillor support for the Forum

  • We’ve received news this week of welcome support from two of our councillors:
    • (County) Cllr Eric Kerry has kindly donated a further £400 to the Forum to help cover the expenditure we’ll need to publish and promote the final version of the Plan along with the associated referendum when that takes place later this year. Cllr Kerry has been an ongoing supporter of the Forum having made regular similar donations when we have requested help. We do very much appreciate his generosity – it makes a big difference in helping us to effectively publicise and promote our activities
    • (Borough) Cllr Lee Fletcher has also been in touch offering help to any resident who needs it. Cllr Fletcher has signed up to the national volunteer service and although he is self-isolating for the moment, he asks you contact him via lee.fletcher@broxtowe.gov.uk if you have any concerns regarding the current situation.

4. And finally…

  • Some Forum news: only to confirm from last week’s digest that the Plan has been sent to the Council for an informal review and we are on track in producing the Consultation Statement.
  • Did you know?  Here’s a fun fact relating to our local ecclesiastical boundaries. Did you know that the River Erewash (mostly) represents more than just being the ecclesiastical boundary between the two parishes of Toton and Long Eaton; and more than being the boundary between the two Dioceses of Derby and Southwell and Nottingham. The river also represents the boundary between the two Provinces of the Church of England. Long Eaton parish comes under the southern, Canterbury Province, whilst Toton parish comes under the northern, York Province. Who knew? (Certainly not me!)

A longer edition than normal with little new ‘news’ about the Forum. Nevertheless, we hope you find it interesting with some useful tidbits. See you next time

Kind regards

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

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Weekly digest: Mar 21

Hello again,

Well, what a difference a couple of weeks make! In the last edition we advised that we had postponed the AGM – primarily because we couldn’t sort out a suitable location, but also because we thought the virus may have developed into becoming a risk to mass meetings. Of course, we had no idea (along with almost everyone else) how quickly the situation would deteriorate. But as the old saying goes…. we are where we are.

So, this edition is a little different. We thought it useful (and hope you do, too) to publicise/signpost details of support available locally to those who need help as a result of self-isolation.  A number of on-line community groups have quickly sprung up offering help with shopping etc. In addition, local organisations are putting in place their own support plans. We asked one of the Forum’s strongest supporters, Toton Churches, to let us know their response to the current situation – see their reply below.  So, if you happen to be in one of the groups who need to self-isolate and are finding it difficult to get supplies etc., please make use of the help available – it really isn’t far away.

1. Links to some on-line support….

2. Toton Churches – Doing Church Differently

  • With the cancellation of all church services and events, Toton Churches is playing its part in supporting the Toton Community: serving others where we can, offering opportunities to worship at home and praying for all affected by the pandemic.
  • Our members will be joining others in offering support to neighbours, especially the elderly, the vulnerable and those households in isolation.
  • We know that some may wish to take part in worship, even if they do not usually attend church. Toton Churches’ website and Facebook page will offer materials to help people worship at home together with links to on-line and broadcast opportunities. Search for ‘Toton Churches’ on Facebook or visit www.totonchurches.org
  • We also know some people may feel the need for prayer, whether or not they would normally. Toton Churches is undertaking to pray for any people or situation brought to their attention. If you might find this helpful, e-mail  prayer.request@totonchurches.org

3. And finally, some other news….

  • The Neighbourhood Plan is done. The finishing touches have been made and we will submit it to the Council early next week. This will be a ‘soft’ submission to give them a chance to spot and warn us of any showstoppers that will slow down progress over the next stages. We now expect to formally submit the Plan at the end of April. I know, I know.. this is a month’s delay to my anticipated end-of-March ‘deadline’ but it all helps to strengthen the final product.
  • The Basic Conditions Statement is drafted and is now out for review by the Steering Group. This should be signed-off by the end of next week.
  • The Consultation Statement is the other document we need to produce – we will start drafting this early next week and hope to complete in a couple of weeks.
  • Broxtowe Lotto. A quick update from last time. I’m very pleased to report that 3 of our supporters were winners last week! Mr. N won a £250 cash prize whilst both Mrs. P and Mr. S won 3 extra tickets. Congratulations to all 3. As the old saying goes “you’ve gotta be in it to win it!”

The Facebook links posted above are quickly growing their memberships, but they are not the only community groups in place. Several street-centred WhatsApp groups have also been set up so there is almost certainly one near you organised by neighbours. If any organiser of these groups wants to send me details of anything in our neighbourhood, I’ll be glad to signpost people to them next week.

These are indeed the most unusual times – I was going to say ‘unprecedented’, but I’m tired of hearing that word at the moment.  However, it is wonderful to see the care demonstrated by our neighbours in quickly rallying around to offer help to the elderly, vulnerable and less fortunate. It’s something to applaud and build on once we get back to something close to normal life.

In the meantime, keep safe!

Kind regards

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

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Weekly digest: Mar 07

Hello everyone,

A quick update this week and you’ll be glad to know the main focus is not the Plan but news about the AGM.

1 AGM, Sunday March 29th, is postponed

  • You’ll recall we’ve been having problems persuading the Village Hotel to host this year’s AGM at a reasonable price. We have been unable to convince them of the benefits of supporting their local community and providing us with a decent space at a discounted price.
  • We have tried to source a suitable alternative venue in our Area but without success thus far.
  • We are all well aware of the growing concerns surrounding coronavirus and yesterday (Friday) it was announced that Nottingham has registered its first incidence. Latest estimates suggest UK coronavirus cases will sharply increase over the next couple of months.
  • Given these concerns and the fact that a significant number of our members are of ‘a certain age’, we believe it is sensible to place the AGM on hold for the moment
  • So please delete the note you penciled in your diaries for the 29th. We will, of course, keep you updated of the revised date when we know more about scale and spread of the virus.
  • In the meantime, we will continue to look for a suitable venue for the meeting.

2 Plan’s Progress – reloaded

  • The SG meeting last week reviewed the Plan and the final tweaks discussed. They have now mostly been incorporated; we are just awaiting advice from the Council’s Planning experts on the precise wording to use to ensure we ‘bullet proof’ a couple of policies. Once we have this feedback the Plan will, at long last, be DONE!
  • We are now working on the ancillary documents to accompany the Plan when it is submitted to the Council.
  • We are still looking to submit all documents to the Council by the end of March.

3 And finally…..

  • Council’s leisure facilities consultation. A reminder that the workshop covering the Bramcote Leisure Centre and Chilwell Olympia is being held at Bramcote Memorial Hall, Church Street, NG9 3HD on Monday 16 March. 6.30pm for 6.45pm start. If you would like to attend, please book your place by emailing: Chris.Laxton-Kane@lleisure.co.uk.
  • Broxtowe Lotto. Another periodic mention of the scheme that we are part of.  Many thanks to all our supporters who take part and have nominated the Forum as a ‘good cause’. It provides us with a steady stream of income (circa £70 per month) which helps cover admin costs such as room hires. If you are not yet a supporter and would like to join in, please click on the link at the bottom where you will find details explaining how to join up. If you do, a portion of your ticket price is assigned to us as a ‘good cause’.

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

Kind regards

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

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Weekly digest: Feb 22

Hello again

I’m very pleased to announce that we have finally finished revising the Neighbourhood  Plan!

1 The Plan v2 has landed

  • It has taken longer to undertake the revision than we thought when we first gathered the feedback at the end of las September. Part of the revision process was to collate everything into one document to be certain we had reviewed and considered all the representations submitted to us. We were stunned when the master feedback document stretched to over 80 pages of comments and suggestions from almost 120 respondents!
  • So… not too surprising we initially underestimated the task facing us. But the work is now done and the revised (and much better) version of the Plan is now with the full Steering Group to review and make last minute tweaks. It will also go to one of our members who has kindly agreed to proof-read the document to capture the inevitable typos and those aberrant apostrophes
  • We are on track to formally publish the Plan by the end of March at our AGM

2 Broxtowe Leisure Facilities consultation: Part 2

  • I reported on this at the end of last month. The Council is consulting on the provision of its Leisure services and asked residents to complete a short survey to gather views. Here is a link to the survey if you haven’t yet taken part so you can ‘have your say’! 
  • The council have now arranged a couple of workshops to gather opinions, knowledge and insight by inviting members of the local community to attend. The workshop covering our centres at Bramcote Leisure Centre and Chilwell Olympia being held at:
    • Venue: Bramcote Memorial Hall, Church Street, NG9 3HD
    • Date/Time: Mon 16 March 2020. 6.30pm for 6.45pm start, finish time is expected to be 8.15pm
  • If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Chris.Laxton-Kane@lleisure.co.uk. Please note there is a limited number of spaces available, and these will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

3 And finally…..

  • HS2 phase 2 confirmation. You will have heard that the government has finally confirmed the intention to proceed with HS2 in its entirety. This is good news for us inasmuch as it means our Plan is ‘sound’ in making the assumption that the East Midlands Hub Station will be coming to our Area. However, it is clear the timetable for the opening of the Station will be delayed from the initial date of the early 2030s to the latter part of that decade.
  • Steering Group meeting. We are meeting again next week to review/sign-off the Plan and to finalise details for the AGM on the 29th March. We are unlikely to hold the AGM at the Village Hotel as they have significantly increased their charges this year – asking for 4 times the price we paid last year, which makes it completely unaffordable! More on this next time.

Another short edition but, as I’ve been repeating ad nauseum, work on the revised Plan is taking up most of our time. This will continue for the next few weeks until relevant documents are submitted to the Council for them to take forward to the final phase. We’ll then have the headroom to think more strategically about our ambitions for the CIC and the role we’d like to play in shaping the future development heading our way.

Kind regards

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 | Leave a comment

Weekly digest: Feb 08

Hello again

Another short edition as there’s not been a lot of news. But after last week’s missive I shall be a little more circumspect when using images – especially emojis! When I added the ‘winking face’ icon last week, it appeared to be of a modest size when viewed on the website. However, I don’t know what it was like in your email version, but what appeared in mine was a grossly outsized face with a grin that just seemed to mock me and my puny attempt to become a ‘graphic artist’. So, I’ll take more care next time!

1 Plan’s Progress – a further update

  • We continue to hold weekly workshops to get all the revisions incorporated into the Plan and we’ve made good progress. Changes have been made to Sections A and B and in the policies section (what was Section C) we have completed Housing, Urban Design, Leisure/Heritage/Communities, and Employment. Just Environment and Infrastructure need polishing off and we intend to get those finished in the next 2 weeks
  • The trickiest bit of work is producing a revamped Section D. Most of this section has been rewritten and given a new, clearer focus to:
    • Act as a ‘bridge’ from the vision and objectives as outlined in Section B to the policies in Section D
    • This ‘bridge’ comprises a set of guiding principles for masterplanning purposes across the Area
    • Besides these principles, the new section will also document our aspirations, such as our desire to see George Spencer Academy relocated to a new purpose-built school across Toton Lane, somewhere near the tram terminus. A criticism we had from some stakeholders was that the Plan didn’t clearly differentiate between aspirations (which we’d like to see implemented) and policies (which must be implemented).
  • We’ve produced a first draft of this section – which will become the new ‘Section C’ – but some more work is needed. This should be completed in the next couple of weeks.
  • We’re still looking to get the final version completed by the end of February, but it probably won’t be submitted to the council until the end of March, to allow time for a couple of associated documents to be produced.

2. Living with Beauty

  • I don’t know if you have heard about the ‘Living with Beauty’ report by the Building Better, Building Beautiful (BBBB) commission which has just been published. I’ve only skimmed it so far, but it clearly contains a lot of good stuff that we want to see adopted in our Area.
  • The report was picked up in last week’s Sunday Times and they highlight that the report urges the government to:
    • Engage communities early and widely in planning
    • Local ideas for beauty to be prescribed in new neighbourhood design codes
    •  “Regreen” towns […] with two million street trees.
    • Rewrite the National Planning Policy Framework to explicitly ‘ask for beauty’.
  • Robert Jenrick (SoS for Housing) is quoted as saying the report is, “…one of the most important we’ve seen for many years”.
  • This is all positive news for us as it reinforces our ambitions and aspirations to build something special here in Toton and Chilwell.
  • Here is a link to the report if you are interested in reading it. Let us know your views.

3. And finally…. (I did warn this was a ‘slow news’ week)

  • The Council is still consulting on its Leisure Centres. I posted about this a couple of weeks ago and asked for your help in pushing for a new Leisure Centre to be built in our area. So please take part in the online survey – here is the link to the website. Many thanks.
  • Last time to take part in the Stapleford Town Deal consultation (scroll down to the Survey Monkey link). The survey closes next Weds 12th February so if you are interested in adding your thoughts on what improvements you’d like to see in Stapleford, now is the time to act.
  • Phone boxes consultation. The council have also approached the Forum for views on the viability of a couple of phone boxes in our Area. BT are looking to remove the phone boxes at:
    • Woodstock Road, Toton – located next to the bus stop near the convenience store. This box has been used only 4 times in the last 12 months
    • Blenheim Drive, Chilwell – located outside Sainsbury’s Local. This box has been used 35 times over the last 12 months
  • Do you have strong views about retaining either of these boxes? If so, please get in touch. Clearly it is going to be difficult to justify keeping the one on Woodstock Road given it is only used once every 3 months. The one on Blenheim Drive is used more often however, at less than once a week, it is still going to be a battle to retain it. We need to respond back to the council within 21 days so please let me have any views you have. Alternatively, you can respond directly to the council if you wish – I’ll be happy to provide details.

And that’s all folks. Apart from the continuing work on the Plan, and planning for the AGM, we have little else on our radar screens, so it will likely be a couple of weeks before you receive the next update.

Kind regards

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

Posted in Latest News, Neighbourhood Plan | Leave a comment

Weekly digest: Feb 01


After last week’s pretty lengthy report, I thought I’d make this edition shorter by providing an update on some statistics. It also gives me a chance to practise adding images to the digest!

1. People registered with the Forum

  • Overall, the total number of people registered with Forum – 1,096 – has remained pretty stable over the last 12 months or so. Remember…
    • ‘Members’ are those who live/work within our Area
    • ‘Friends’ live/work elsewhere but are interested in our activities
  • Around 925 people have provided email addresses although there are about 130 who share addresses with spouses/partners
  • The remaining 170 or so either don’t have an email address or have chosen to opt out (almost 50) from receiving these updates. Of course, some of the opt outs will be those who have moved completely away from our Area, so may no longer have an interest in our work. On the other hand, we have recently added as a ‘friend’ someone who used to live in Toton many years ago but who now lives in New York!
  • In addition to those registered, there are almost 200 people who ‘like’ our Facebook page. There may be some overlap between these ‘likes’ and those registered but even so I’d hazard a guess that our total ‘supporters’ must be around 1,250 – which is a fantastic total!

2. Some digest statistics

  • The digest is sent to just under 800 unique email addresses. We started sending it out automatically, from our website, back in April 2018 and records have been kept since then on a couple of key measures
  • The two graphs below illustrate:
    • the first time an edition is opened by an email address – ‘Unique Opens’. As can be expected, a considerable number are opened several times which suggests those who share addresses do get to read it for themselves
    • the % the edition is opened (the first time) compared to total recipients of the edition – ‘Open Rate’.
  • As you can see in the top graph, the number of ‘unique opens’ has grown over the last 12 months – no doubt due to the Plan being produced and published. So whilst the overall average of ‘opens’ is 365, it is clear that the number is now closer to 400’ish….
  • ….. which is reflected in 2nd graph which shows the average % open rate which, at around 50%, is simply staggering.
  • And some further numbers:
    • 63% of subscribers ‘often’ open/click the emails
    • 8% ‘sometimes’ open/click emails
    • 28% ‘rarely’ open/click emails.
      And to these 28% can I just say: “Why only ‘rarely’? Look at what you’re missing!” 😉
    • [I don’t know how ‘often’, ‘sometimes’, and ‘rarely’ are defined but even so, 71% regular/sometimes openers is, by any standard, pretty impressive.]
  • I find it difficult to believe there can be another Neighbourhood Forum community that has such a strong level of engagement with its community.

3. And finally….

  • These stats clearly demonstrate the breadth and depth of support we have for our work in the Forum. We sort of knew we had strong support having received a good number of positive comments during our consultation with you last summer.
  • Nevertheless, it is great to see those comments backed up with further hard evidence. Many thanks, again, to all of you for taking a keen interest in our work. If you know of any family, friends or neighbours who would like to receive these updates, please ask them to get in touch, I’ll be glad to add them in.
  • In the meantime, these stats will come in very handy when we produce our Consultation Statement that needs to be submitted to the Council alongside the final version of the Plan

That’s enough, I think, for this week’s shorter edition. Let me know if you like to see these sorts of graphs or images in general and I’ll try to add more in. Although I don’t think we’d want to change the format too much from the usual short, snappy, text-based updates. Or would we….?

Kind regards

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

Posted in Latest News, Neighbourhood Plan | Leave a comment

Weekly digest: Jan 25

Hello again

I’m starting this week’s update with another ‘WOW!’ moment. Longstanding readers know I (very) occasionally let rip with a ‘wow’ at times of high drama and this is no exception. Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State (SoS) for Housing, Communities and Local Government visited Stapleford last Friday during which he made time to meet our chairman, Richard, to learn about our ambitions for our Area. When it comes to promoting our cause at the highest levels, we cannot go any higher than the Secretary of State for Housing!
In other news, we have also met with Homes England and have made great progress in improving our Plan. More on these – and much else – below.

1. Meeting #1: SoS Robert Jenrick

  • The SoS was in Stapleford last Friday primarily to meet local people concerning the new Towns Fund and how Stapleford could access investment funding up to £25m to improve the town (see ‘And finally…’ below for more).
  • During his time in Stapleford he kindly agreed to meet (albeit briefly) Richard to learn about our plans for the Area and in particular our aspirations for the Barracks. Richard explained the Forum wanted to see the site developed as a blueprint neighbourhood (Garden Village) – one that can be replicated elsewhere in the country. Richard went on to say that we wanted the chance to become a stakeholder in developing the site in order to see our ideas (some of them, at least) implemented
  • The SoS was supportive of our ambitions and agreed to consider how best to provide us with the resources we need to build our business case and become a credible participant when the time comes to develop the site.
  • The SoS took away with him a copy of our draft Neighbourhood Plan as well as a copy of our detailed thoughts for the Barracks – a condensed version of which was included in the Council’s application to the Garden Communities fund submitted over 12 months ago.
  • We want to thank our MP, Darren Henry, for arranging this meeting with Robert Jenrick on our behalf. It was extremely useful, and we look forward to working with Darren to access the resources we need, as mentioned by the SoS. So, as I am prone to say,…. Watch this space!

2. Meeting #2:  DIO and Homes England

  • The previous Friday (Jan 10th) we finally met up with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Homes England. You don’t need reminding that we have been chasing this meeting for several months, so you won’t be surprised to learn the meeting was a little tense at times as we vented our frustrations over the delay. However, we agreed we all needed to draw a line under the last 12 months and start afresh.
  • The purpose of the meeting was for the DIO to introduce us to Homes England, their new partner in bringing the Barracks forward for development. The formal agreement between the DIO and Homes England was finalised last November. The result is that Homes England will take the lead role in the managing project with the DIO maintaining oversight and overall governance. Homes England have put together a small project team and we will be liaising with this team on an ongoing basis.
  • Homes England’s first task is to appoint consultants to undertake the detailed surveys and Masterplanning work for the site. The tender process for this appointment will take several weeks; they advised us they don’t expect to make an announcement on the outcome of the process before April. 
  • As a result, we expect our next meeting with Homes England will take place after the consultants have been appointed and their terms for reference formulated – perhaps early summer. Nevertheless, it is good to re-establish a relationship with a key landowner in our Area, and we look forward to building on this first meeting with Homes England.

3. Meeting #3:  Steering Group and AGM planning

  • The full Steering Group held its first meeting of the year and the main topic of the evening was planning our next Annual General Meeting. The key details for your diary are:
    • Date: Sunday 29th March from 2pm (AGM will start at 3pm)
    • Location: The Village Hotel – although this has to be confirmed
    • Agenda: Apart from the standard reports and appointment of the new Steering Group, there will be a report on our revised Plan which will be submitted to the Council. We intend to have display boards showing both our key maps as well as our key aspirations and ‘red lines’ for the Area.
    • We are also hoping to arrange a keynote speaker. We have thrown a couple of names in the pot, so we’ll work hard to get one of them along.
  • More details when we get things finalised, but please put the date in your diary: you know how much we appreciate your support as demonstrated over the last 2 years.

4. The Plan’s Progress – revisited

  • We have made great progress in revising the Plan and incorporating the positive changes submitted during the consultation held last summer. A subgroup of the Steering Group has met three times so far and another three are scheduled over the coming weeks. 
  • Sections A and B have been revised – this was a pretty straightforward task. It just involved some tightening up (more precision) of words and phrases used to remove (hopefully) all ambiguity.
  • Section C – the policies are mostly reviewed and redrafted where necessary. Our focus over the next couple of weeks will be completing what is the most important part of the Plan.
  • Section D has seen the most radical change to the draft version. This section caused a bit of confusion with a number of stakeholders who believed it contained specific policies relating to the Barracks. Whereas our intention was to lay down some principles we wanted to see adopted in the masterplan. Anyway, we have revamped the layout and broadened the scope to include the whole of our Area rather than just the Barracks. We’ve also agreed to reorder the sections (swapped sections C and D around) so that the Plan ‘flows’ more naturally from vision and objectives, through to broad masterplan aspirations and principles, leading finally to our detailed policies. More on this in future editions

5. And finally…..

  • Leisure Facilities consultation. The Council is consulting on the provision of its Leisure services and are asking residents to complete a short survey to gather views. Here is a link to the survey and we’d encourage you to take part and ‘have your say’!  As you know, the Forum is pushing hard to have a new Leisure Centre built in our Area, somewhere close to the Toton Lane tram stop.
  • Stapleford Town consultation. Following on from the first item this week, the Council are also asking residents to let them know what improvements they would like to see included in Stapleford’s ‘Town Investment Plan’ which will then bid for funds from the Towns Fund. There are 3 main themes involved: a) Urban Regeneration; b) Skills and enterprise infrastructure; and c) Connectivity (local transport schemes etc.). Here is a link to the Council’s consultation page ( which contains a further link to the actual survey) if you’d like to take part.
  • Forthcoming meeting. There is a Strategic Planning Group meeting being next week. You will recall this Group feeds into the main Toton Delivery Board and both Richard and Ian attend on behalf of the Forum and our CIC. The Group hasn’t met for a while so it will be interesting to learn what progress has been main with their Masterplanning work for the Toton Lane area – more on this next time

I won’t mention the review of HS2 and whether or not the government will give it the green light. Apart from reiterating the Forum’s position – we have built the Plan on the basis HS2 will come to Toton. However, we know that regardless of HS2 our Area faces significant development over the next 20 years, and we need to be prepared for it. So even if HS2 is cancelled, our Plan still has enormous value as the policies will be needed to cover whatever may replace it.

A long report this week so I’ll stop now and see you next time

Kind regards

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

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The (not quite) Weekly digest: Jan 11

Hello everyone

Let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year!  I think I can still get away with it as it’s not yet halfway through the month. A short’ish update this week to ease us back into the swing of things…

1. Getting the Plan Done – the sequel

  • A sub-set of the Steering Group (policy strand leads) held a workshop on Weds to understand the progress made so far by each of us to incorporate changes into the revised Plan. We discussed how best to collate the feedback into a standard format ready for submission to the Council alongside the revised version of the Plan.
  • We settled on a format that summarises comments/suggestions into key points and created the actions needed to improve the Plan. We are now collating our work into the new layout.
  • The subgroup has agreed to meet each Weds for the next four weeks to ensure we get all text changes completed by early Feb. ready for review and endorsement by the full Steering Group later next month.

2. Meeting updates

  • County Council/Arup.
    • We met the County Council and their consultants, Arup, shortly before Christmas for an update on the progress made with the strategic masterplan covering the land either side of Toton Lane.
    • At this stage, their work is still pretty high level – they showed us a couple of draft scenarios comprising ‘blobs’ of development – similar to stuff we have seen before in the East Midlands Strategic Plan. We were a little disappointed that they weren’t further advanced in their thinking, but this is still (relatively speaking) early days in the process. We explained that we couldn’t accept a proposal to position the prime road down to the HS2 station (assuming it goes ahead) behind George Spencer, thus effectively making the school an island surrounded by roads. Air quality at the school is already poor; this proposal can only make a bad situation even worse.
    • We will continue to make the case that the Academy needs to be relocated across Toton Lane. Arup acknowledged the issue and will assess alternative viable scenarios.
  • Broxtowe Borough Council.
    • We met with the Steffan Saunders last week to provide a regular update on where we are with our Plan. Steffan kindly offered some help (map making expertise) to revise a couple of maps in the plan to make them clearer. We will be taking up this offer in the next couple of weeks. In particular we are keen to clarify the boundaries of the new designated green spaces we’d like to see adopted.
  • DIO/Homes England.
    • At long last we met with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Homes England to understand the new partnership that has been formed between them. You will know how frustrated we have been given the many delays since the meeting was first mooted last March.  
    • Anyway, it was a very useful session as we were introduced to the Homes England team who will be leading on the development of the Barracks. The DIO will retain ownership of the land and so will have overall governance of the site, but Homes England will manage the production of the strategic masterplan and initial planning application. The contract between the two of them was finalised in November so they are still in ‘start-up’ mode.
    • Homes England are now working to recruit consultants to undertake the detailed planning work. They expect to appoint consultants around April – there is always a lengthy tender process that government agencies need to follow – so we don’t expect to hear from them again until May. Nevertheless, it was good to meet the new team and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future.

3. And finally…

  • The Steering Group will hold its first full meeting of the year in a couple of weeks. The main item on the agenda will be to set a date and plan for our next AGM.  Last year we held it in mid-February; this year is likely to be a tad later – perhaps end of Feb or early March, to enable us to properly prepare for it. More on this in future editions.
  • Broxtowe Borough Council Leisure Centres. The Council are working on a new Leisure Strategy for the Borough and are asking for our views on what we would like to see regarding sport and leisure. The Forum, as you know, are looking to see a new South Broxtowe Leisure Centre built in our Area somewhere near the tram terminus and, ideally, next to a relocated George Spencer Academy. We also want to ensure the playing fields at the south eastern corner of the Barracks are fully protected and included as an asset for the community. So please take part in the online survey currently being undertaken – here is the link to the website – and support our ideas to improve the provision of leisure and sports facilities in our Area. Many thanks.

Apart from the subgroup workshop, we don’t have much planned for next week so unless something important emerges, I’ll provide the next update in a couple of weeks.

Kind regards

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

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The (almost) Weekly digest: Dec 21

Hello again,

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
… and it’s good to be back compiling these weekly updates for you. It’s been a while since the last digest was sent out and that’s down to me taking a brief sabbatical to recharge batteries following what was a pretty hectic period in writing the Plan and then consulting on it.  In the meantime, the rest of the team have been busy reviewing the immense amount of feedback we received. We are now looking to quickly (to adapt a phrase) Get the Plan Done!

1. Getting the Plan Done.

  • Our prime focus in the new year is to complete the Plan and submit it to the Borough Council. The groundwork has been done to incorporate feedback in the various sections and to strengthen the policies. The next task is to collate all the amendments into a final version of the Plan and then undertake a final sense check to make sure the various elements hang together
  • Two associated documents need to be produced and submitted alongside the Plan:
    • The Consultation Statement: which details the various consultation activities we have undertaken to produce the Plan. This will include our meetings with stakeholders as well as the consultation sessions and events we have held for members and friends of the Forum
    • The Basic Conditions Statement: which demonstrates how our policies align both with the Council’s newly adopted Local Plan as well as the government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
  • Timeframe? We are hesitant in setting deadlines as you can easily set yourself up to fail. However, we are looking to get these documents finished and submitted by the end of February. 

2. Meetings update

  • DIO/Homes England. In the last update (back in October) I previewed a meeting with the DIO and Homes England that was due to take place in early November. We were looking forward to being introduced to Homes England and to understand their role in taking forward the sale/development of the Barracks. However, to our intense frustration, the meeting was cancelled the day before we were due to meet. The reason cited was the election and the associated rules of ‘purdah’ which seemingly stops all government interaction with the public.  A new date has now been set for early January, so fingers crossed it finally takes place. With the advent of a new year we want to reset the relationship with this key stakeholder.
  • Nottingham CCG and Chilwell Valley/Meadows Practice. We met with members of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) estate team and representatives of the surgeries at Chilwell Meadows and Bramcote Lane. The aim was to discuss the provision of the additional medical provision we will need in our Area given the scale of new homes being planned. It was a useful introductory meeting. We agreed that a new purpose-built medical centre is needed and that it would probably be best located in the Barracks close to our proposal for the new Plaza. We discussed the possibility of it being part of a larger shared building much like the Cotgrave Hub, which hosts a surgery, library, police and community voluntary services all in the same building. This type of community facility is becoming popular and we believe it would fit in very well with our vision and ideas for the Barracks.
  • blueprint and igloo. We’ve also recently met  blueprint and igloo – two companies who are working together in Nottingham to redevelop the riverside area at Trent Basin (at bottom of Trent Lane). Both organisations are interested in our Plan, in particular our ideas for the Barracks. They specialise in regenerating urban brownfield sites and developing sustainable homes and workspaces. Longstanding readers of the digest will remember we initially met with blueprint over a year ago as we were interested in their work at Trent Basin in using solar panels and storing the energy generated in high-tech batteries. This latest meeting allowed us to provide an update on our progress with the Plan and they’ve asked to stay in touch. We aim to meet up again, once the Plan has been submitted, to explore options on how we might work together in the longer term.

3. So, what have we done over the last year?

  • A quick summary of our activities over the last 12 months:
    • Defined our vision and the 19 core objectives that will underpin the development of our Area over the next 20 years
    • Produced over 40 policies that translate our objectives into firm directives for developers to follow.
    • Drafted a Neighbourhood Plan that incorporates our objectives and policies (along with the evidence that justifies them) and finally published it in July
    • Held a 10-week consultation session over the summer to gather feedback
    • Summarised the feedback from almost 120 responses to the Plan..
    • …and published 28 of these (almost) weekly digests.
  • These bald statements don’t adequately do justice to the sheer effort undertaken by a number of people over this last year. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Steering Group (including those members co-opted to individual policy strands) for their indefatigable energy and resilience in getting the Plan produced.
  • However, we couldn’t have got this far without the help of our residents and friends – especially for the tremendous input to the consultation. So, on behalf of the Steering Group, we’d like to say “Thank you” for your continuous support over the last year. It means a lot to us.

We hope you enjoy the festivities over the next couple of weeks and that you and your families have a peaceful, prosperous and productive New Year! The next edition will be in the new year. 

Merry Christmas!

Kind regards

PS Since the end of September around a dozen or so people have signed up to receive these updates. Welcome to you all and I trust you’ll find them useful.

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

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