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