Weekly digest: April 7th

Hello everyone

Let’s start this week with some good news! Our application to Locality for a consultant to undertake a Heritage Character Assessment in our Area has been successful. AECOM (a ‘major league’ consultancy retained by Locality to support groups such as ours) have assigned us a consultant.  We hope the consultant will start work ‘on the ground’ in early May once we’ve agreed terms of reference over the next couple of weeks. And this is where we need your help; more below….

  1. Heritage? In Toton & Chilwell?
    • You may think we don’t have heritage assets in our neck of the woods. But you would be wrong. We may not be blessed with centuries-old, iconic buildings but we have significant assets. And the Steering Group is determined to assess them all to make sure they are not overlooked when it comes to future developments
    • The assessment will naturally focus on the Barracks and especially the WW1 explosion memorial & site. But in addition, we will look at key buildings such as the Officers’ Mess, the WW1 Infirmary, the shell filling factory.
    • We will also consider other assets in our area, such as the site of the old mill on Manor Park; the old cottages on High Road Toton; and perhaps Ghost House Lane in Chilwell.
    • But…do you know of any other places we should consider? We don’t claim encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of Toton & Chilwell so if you know of assets we should include in this assessment, please leave a comment online – at the end of this post! Many thanks
  2. Consultation feedback: top priorities
    • Following on from last week’s digest here are some top priorities that have clearly emerged from the consultation exercise. Results file here
    • The top 4 reasons we enjoy living in our Area are:
      1. Access to green spaces: 2. Local wildlife and habitats: 3. Safe & quiet environment: 4. Transport links
    • The first 3 are clearly linked and reinforces the need to protect local nature reserves/green spaces and enhance them where we can. Yes, we are losing significant green belt, so we must mitigate losses as best we can. Our proposal for a ‘significant’ wildlife corridor to the north of Cleve Ave/Katherine Drive to links Toton Fields reserve to Hobgoblin Wood in the Barracks will be an important component of the Plan
    • The top 4 aspects that are important to protect are:
      1. Green spaces: 2. Peace and quiet; 3. Nature conservation: 4. Air quality (with ‘Access to countryside’ not far behind)
    • Again, these elements reflect the overriding concern to protect what we enjoy the most; green spaces and local wildlife conservation. We have a strong environment sub-group – including a member who was a driving force behind the creation of the Attenborough Nature Reserve – looking at all of these aspects. I personally hope we can see lots of tree planting in our Area to help both wildlife and air quality.
    • Finally, the top 3 elements that need improving are:
      1. Volume of traffic: 2. Surface water/flood plain issues: 3. Green spaces/wildlife
    • No real surprises here either. We know how bad traffic congestion is throughout our streets but especially around Swiney Way and Stapleford Lane at peak times. Likewise, we know a lot of Toton Sidings and the lower part of Toton (esp Portland Road/Carrfield Road) lies in the flood plain. Again, our Environment group have this issue well in their sights!
    • More thoughts next week on the comments expressed to support these findings. In the meantime, if you have further thoughts yourselves on these priorities (or anything else) please leave a comment at the bottom of this post on the website  so we can continue and share the debate.
  3. Money, Money, Money
    • “Ahhh, all the things I could do / if I had a little money / It’s a rich man’s world”
      Yep, Abba have a point, don’t they? We could all do a lot of things if we had a little money. And the Forum is no different.
    • We are again looking for funding to help undertake the tasks we face over the next 12 months. Denise, our Treasurer, has been reviewing possible funders and come up with a couple of likely candidates:
      • Locality – this one was easy since they have already funded our community consultation work (primarily our RCAN consultant)
      • Awards for All – a Lottery funded body that helps small voluntary/community groups such as ours
    • We can apply for up to £10,000 from each so Denise is now drafting up applications for each. These applications are in addition to the submission we made to Notts County Council for a grant at the end of January. We hope to hear if we have been successful with that application in the next week or so.
    • But… more funding is always useful. We need expert help to provide strong evidence to justify the policies we need to sort out the problems we face. Such as a traffic consultant to examine the congestion that bothers all of us. These consultants – as you can imagine – don’t come cheap. So, if you know of a generous philanthropist (have I asked this before?!) – or other good sources of funds – please let us know!
  4. And finally…
    • We are having our regular monthly Steering Group meeting next week. One of the main topics on the agenda is the formation of the CIC (Community Interest Company) that was approved at the AGM in January. A sub-group has looked into the various options we could adopt and will report back on their findings.

That’s it for this week – more next time.

Kind regards

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