… and you’re probably getting a little tired of hearing from me at the moment – twice in a matter of days. However, you’ll be glad to know this edition is a consultation free (almost!) update and will be short! Despite the Masterplan being at the forefront of our minds over the last 5 or 6 weeks, other activities have been going on in the background so it’s time to provide some quick snippets.
1. Catchup on meetings – past and planned
- The Environment Partnership (TEP).
- A couple of our Environment Focus Group had an introductory meeting with TEP last week. The aim was to formally introduce ourselves and our ambitions for the area. We were keen to understand the scope and timeframe of their study commissioned by the Toton Delivery Board.
- In summary the study area they’re looking at is the Erewash river valley from the Nott’m/Derby mainline railway at the southern end up as far as the M1 bridge over the river at Stanton Gate. A key element of their work is to take the ‘station in a park’ concept proposed for the Hub Station and produce some design options. These will be reviewed by stakeholders before settling on a preferred design that could be taken forward to development. They aim to complete this work around April/May next year.
- TEP were keen to understand our green/blue infrastructure ambitions for the valley (even though most of it is, technically, outside our Area) and for us to provide them with our specialist background knowledge about the current habitat.
- The Focus Group ended up taking away a number of actions to work on and feed back to them. We will be reconvening with TEP before Christmas to assess progress.
- Broxtowe Borough Council.
- Next week, we will ask to meet the Chief Executive of the Council to push for an update on the progress of our Plan. We have failed to get any sort of response to our repeated requests for information over the last 10 weeks or so, so we have no option but to escalate to the highest level.
- As you know, we submitted our Plan back in June and it is very disappointing not to have had any sort of update on progress since meeting the new Head of Planning back in early September.
- Of course, we know the pressures the Council are under in managing the pandemic. However, we need to push them to make sure our Plan doesn’t get forgotten and is processed in time for the final stage – the referendum – to take place next May alongside the County Council elections.
- Bloor Homes and Heart Church
- Representatives of both these significant landowners either side of Toton Lane have approached us for a meeting. We are still coordinating diaries, but we hope to meet both before Christmas.
2. Reviewing our communications channels
- Following the delivery of our newsletter last month, we have seen a significant spike in people ‘liking’ our Facebook page. We now have well over 300 following us and so the Steering Group discussed how to better manage our page and make it more than just a weekly post containing a link to these publications. So, expect, over a period of time, to see more activity/posts on our page. We still need to work out how best to manage postings, so we are talking evolution rather than revolution.
- The Steering Group also agreed to set up an Instagram account to support, initially, our Environment Focus Group. The aim is to attract the younger members of our community who tend (so I’m told) to prefer Instagram. As and when it gets going, I’ll report back and ask for your support and to spread the word.
- Finally, we haven’t forgotten our website. We received some fairly critical (but constructive) comments about the current layout: “it looks clunky’” and “it’s not user-friendly”. So Mark, our web maestro, is reviewing the various pages and content and will report back to the Steering Group with recommendations for a refresh. Expect to see some changes in the new year.
3. And finally…
- HS2, our MP, and a debate in Parliament. Darren Henry led a debate last week on the importance of ensuring the eastern leg of HS2 is delivered in full including the East Midlands Hub Station. If you are interested in hearing our MP, along with some useful interventions from other MPs in support, here is the clip of the Westminster Hall debate (it lasts about 25 mins) on the Midlands Connect vimeo https://vimeo.com/480393247
- Concern Toton HS2 station could be scrapped. The debate may have been triggered by the rumours circulating in advance of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) report that the government may terminate HS2 at East Midlands Parkway. The report is due to be published in the next couple of weeks so we shall see then what it contains. In the meantime, here is an article about the speculation published in the Nottingham Post on Nov 13th.
- The Strategic Masterplan – the Forum’s response. In last week’s Newsflash, I said I wouldn’t mention the ‘consulta….’ word again for a while, so I won’t. However you may be interested to have a look at the Steering Group’s formal response to the….. exercise which was signed off last week. It is based largely on the document we’ve circulated here previously but with a couple of additions primarily to do with the distribution and types of housing.
Many, many thanks to everyone who responded to the…. event. The more they hear our views, the more chance they will amend the masterplan to reflect our opinions.
Hmmm.. not quite as short as I’d hoped but nevertheless I hope you found this update useful. It may be a couple of weeks before the next one as I think you could do with a little break from me and consultations… D’oh!