This past week has been a little hectic with a couple of meetings + a networking event. And there are a number of events taking place over the next few weeks that will be of interest to some.
- HS2 Environmental Assessment meeting: Toton Sidings
- Norman Lewis and myself attended a meeting requested by HS2 consultants AECOM last Tuesday. We were invited as representatives of Friends of Toton Fields – the group in Toton who work closely with the Council to maintain & enhance the Toton Fields Local Nature Reserve.
- This was the first of a series of meetings we intend to hold to discuss the environmental impacts the station will have on the Sidings and the wider area. At this stage AECOM are still gathering baseline data of species records and Norman agreed to help by providing the extensive records gathered by the Friends over the last 10 years. [These records will be published this summer in a ‘Wild About Toton’ book. Watch this space for more details!]
- We were asked about initial concerns we (both the Friends and Forum are ‘as one’ in this regard) had about the station and Norman explained that two key concerns were:
- Long term flood risks in the Sidings and Toton Fields. We suggested a useful mitigation measure would be to create some water meadows on the Reserve to act as flood plain when needed
- Noise arising during construction phase of the station never mind ongoing noise arising when the station is operational. We said HS2 should consider planting natural sound barriers (trees) along the length of the station now to give them time to grow as effective sound barriers before construction starts.
- We agreed to meet again in Sept/Oct when HS2’s initial environment assessment is published. We agreed to invite representatives from Long Eaton Natural History Society (LENS) so we can provide environmental perspectives from both sides of the Sidings
- Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) meeting: Traffic infrastructure
- Richard, Ian Ward (the SG strand lead for Area infrastructure), and myself attended a meeting with the DIO on Friday. This is the latest in a series of meetings with the DIO and their consultants to discuss elements of their proposals for the Barracks. Previously we have discussed the Heritage Assets on the site: this time we discussed traffic implications
- It was a wide-ranging discussion that lasted most of the morning. We explained that current traffic congestion was the critical concern for our members. This has been made clear at every consultation event and survey we have undertaken over the last 12 months or so.
- We reiterated our view that there must be a solution to the current issues experienced daily at Swiney Way/Stapleford Lane junction. We believe the only viable solution is to create a north/south road through the Barracks. The DIO are sympathetic to this approach, but their hands are seemingly tied since they no longer own the houses at the northern edge of the site.
- Hence, the DIO’s view that a new road from the Barracks to Stapleford Lane (opposite Woodstock Road) is needed as a secondary access point to the main entrance on Swiney Way. Their traffic surveys conclude that this option is viable and will help to alleviate pressure on the Swiney Way/Stapleford Lane junction.
- We made clear we oppose this solution as, in our view, it only adds to current problems. However, we also have to acknowledge that the main Swiney Way entrance cannot be the only way to get in/out of the site. We therefore ‘agreed to disagree’ about a Stapleford Lane entrance for cars. We will meet again to further understand in detail the data they have used to justify their view on the viability of Stapleford Lane entrance. More on this in future editions
- Regarding the Heritage Assessment, the DIO have set a date in early July for the site visit by our consultants. However, our visit is restricted to just an external tour of the site – we are not allowed access to any of the buildings. This is very disappointing, but we have decided to make the best of a bad job. However, we will ensure our Plan makes clear that the DIO refused to allow us to produce an effective assessment of heritage assets.
- Locality networking event
- I attended a community networking event on Wednesday organised by Locality. These events can be a bit ‘hit and miss’ when it comes to effectiveness.
- This one was hosted at Nottingham’s St Ann’s allotments, which is why I was happy to attend. I’ve always wanted to have a look around the Grade II listed site. And it didn’t disappoint. If you haven’t been to one of the allotment’s Open Days, I can recommend it – it is well worth a trip; a really fascinating place.
- As for the workshop itself, well… I made some new contacts of community groups in the East Midlands, which will be useful. But my main ‘takeaway’ from the day was a list of potential funds and funders that we can apply for grants. I also learnt a bit about Community Asset Transfers, which provides some food for thought. So, the day ended up proving to be very worthwhile!
- And finally…..
…… a selection of events that caught my eye from the Centenary Commemoration of the Shell Filling Factory disaster. Full details here.
Remember, most events are free but some require booking in advance
- Weds 20th Jun at 7.30pm: ‘The Chilwell Explosion 1918 revisited’. Chilwell Memorial Hall
- Mon 25th Jun at 7pm: ‘Canary girls on film’. St Mary’s Church
- Thurs 28th Jun at 2.30pm: ‘No 6 NSFF 1915-1918’. Chetwynd Barracks (arrive between 1.30 at 2.00 to clear security in good time)
- Fri 29th Jun at 7.30pm: Play – ‘Swan Canaries’. Chetwynd Barracks (arrive 6.15 to 7.00)
- Sun 1st July at 6.30pm: Special Commemoration Service. St Mary’s Church (please be seated by 6pm)
And that’s it (more than enough) for this week – and next, since I’m away again on holiday. See you in a fortnight.