Weekly digest: 2nd Sep


This week is a milestone for the Digest.  50 up! and still going strong. Yes, I can’t quite believe it myself, but we have reached the half century of digest editions. We started sending them out late July last year following feedback from the general meeting we’d held in June. Looking back at the first edition (sad, isn’t it, that I’ve saved them all!) I wrote:

“Please let us know your thoughts on the usefulness (or otherwise) of these digests. Some weeks will be busier than others – some weeks may not generate enough information to send anything out.  We’ll see how things develop”.

Overall, the feedback has been positive. I receive regular feedback from readers commenting on the updates and we know (since we started automating the distribution) that approx. 50% of you regularly read it!  It’s good to document our activities and share with you the work of the Steering Group that goes on behind the scenes in producing our Plan. Talking of which…

  1. Plan’s Progress Part 1
    • You already know that Mark is well advanced with putting in place the Housing strand of the Plan. He’s taken your input from the positioning paper and is now drafting up specific policies to reflect our thoughts and your views
    • Norman and Margaret are working on our Green Infrastructure strand and we have developed a draft map illustrating where we believe the main green infrastructure corridors should be located. We took this to the Wild About Toton event yesterday and it received positive feedback. We’ll refine it in the next week or so and I’ll look to publish it here for you to have a look and provide your thoughts
    • Richard, Ian & I have been working on our overall vision. We need to summarise our view on how we’d like to see the area – as a whole – developed. We are at the draft stage and we need to discuss these ideas at the Steering Group before further refining and then asking for your views.
    • Overall, it’s great we are finally putting on paper the ideas and thoughts captured at our various consultation events and feedback sessions. It’s getting into the ‘nitty gritty’ part of our work and, to be honest, it’s exciting to see the early drafts of our Plan beginning to take shape!
  2. DIO meeting update
    • We met with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) last week to catch up on matters relating to the Barracks. They told us they’re about to submit a new technical note to the council this week. This note relates to our critique of the traffic report they produced to back up their initial thoughts to develop the site. So, it will be interesting to see how they have responded to our feedback.
    • We raised with them that we think their ecology report for the site contains a number of weaknesses. Not least of which was that their consultants undertook a site investigation in January! Not the best time of year to get an accurate picture of the richness & diversity of flora and fauna in an area.
    • We’ve asked if Norman and Margaret can undertake our own ecological site survey and we are aiming for a visit before the end of September.
  3. Reflections arising from a 50th edition
    • It’s got me thinking – this milestone digest – on how far we have come over the last 2 years. I thought you might like to see the highlights. [It also helps me to summarise activities for inclusion in the Plan!]
      • Sep ’16: initial meeting to set-up the Forum, with an interim Steering Group
      • Nov ’16: inaugural general meeting – interim Steering Group confirmed
      • Mar ’17: officially confirmed (‘designated’) as a Forum by Broxtowe Council
      • Jun ’17: special general meeting to authorise designated Forum Area – less than we originally hoped for due to HS2 safeguarding zone
      • Sep – Oct ’17: consulted with residents on Broxtowe’s draft Local Plan part 2. We submitted our representations in early November
      • Sep ‘17 – Apr ’18: worked with Nott’m University architecture students to produce ideas/plans for the area
      • Jan ’18: our first AGM with well over 300 people attending – a truly staggering level of support that still blows me away just thinking about it
      • Jan – Mar ’18: hosted a series community consultation events to capture residents’ thoughts and views major current issues and on how best our area can be improved
      • Apr – Jun ’18: SG strand groups formed and started to work on 4 key areas identified for our Plan. Namely: traffic, environment, housing, & community facilities
      • Jun – Aug ’18: undertaking our own Heritage & Landscape Character Assessment to document a clear idea of what is important to us.
      • And running all the way through these last 2 years has been
        1. attending community events (fetes, school events)
        2. meeting and building relationships with key stakeholders (Broxtowe Council, HS2 Ltd) and landowners (DIO) and
        3. joining relevant boards (such as HS2 Strategic Board) to make sure our voice is heard
      • Just jotting down the list brings home how far we have come in what has been a relatively short time.
      • It’s also a reminder that there is more to be done over the next 12 months. So, none of us are feeling complacent.
  1. And finally…..
    • A couple of interesting articles in local papers that caught our eye over the last couple of weeks
    • Our next Steering Group meeting takes place next Thursday. If you have anything you’d like to raise, please get in touch and I’ll make sure it is discussed
    • We are meeting Ruth Hyde, Chief Executive of Broxtowe Council, next week to brief her on the progress we’ve made so far and thank her for the support we’ve received from the Council. As explained before, the council is a key stakeholder for us and it is good to get the chance to engage at the highest level.

And that is more than enough for this week.  Published a day later than normal due to our attendance at the Wild About Toton event on Saturday – which had a great turnout. We talked to lots of folk: some old friends, some new members. So, if you are a new member, a warm welcome to the digest!

Kind regards

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