A slightly longer than usual blog in which I answer questions posed by a local resident:
1 About you
Q. Your CV shows expert knowledge on land use and some thoughts here. Will you/ do you have any conflict of interest with potential developers?
Do I? – A: No, I am not working with any developers in the Broxtowe area.
Will I? – A: As an environmental consultant I have clients from both private and public sector – usually in relation to land contamination aspects of redeveloping land. I would not work for developers with interests in Broxtowe.
Q. If elected how would you deal with the developers who approach you?
A. I would welcome the chance talk with anyone who wants to invest in Broxtowe! Throughout my professional life the possibility of conflict of interest has come up from time to time. If I think there is a potential conflict of interest, I would take advice and seek to err on the side of caution by turning down work if I thought there was a conflict between the work and being a Councillor. I am a recognised expert in my field and I would seek to use that expertise through my role as a Coucnillor.
Q. Would you consider becoming a school governor at Bramcote?
A. I have considered this from time to time in the past. School governors are an important part of the way the County Council runs its schools however I am standing for election at the Local Government level and if elected I will focus on serving as a Borough Councillor.
Q. Your literature is about land/soil but the bigger picture needs to come out somehow for the development of Bramcote.
A. My literature is about a lot more than land and soil. My position is about creating places where people can thrive without destroying their own environment or passing on the problem to the next generation. This involves making better use of our resources and facilities, avoiding creating the need for car journeys to carry out the basics of everyday life and protecting the environment that supports us all.
Q. Siting the new school is important but getting better results is the key.We have seen bright new schools being built around the country and results do not always follow. New house in the area will generate more school places and parents will want to see far better performance.
Some ideas- link the school to George Spencer somehow?,link both Universities to the school.
A. Your ideas are interesting, but I’m not sure that Borough Councillors would be in a position to move them forward. White Hills Park is a Federation and as such is independent from all other schools. The extent to which they want to be linked to other schools in the area is a matter for their directors and governors. The Universities have increasingly good links to local schools – especially in the sixth form.
Q. Are you in favour of HS2?
A. We need to continue to invest in our infrastructure and if HS2 attracts the investment support it needs to be built then yes I would favour it; specifically I would favour the East Mids station being at Toton. It would help regenerate the area and link to the new tram extension. Better public transport links to East Mids airport and to Derby and Leicester would be needed.
Although the question was not asked, I would be equally in favour of other improvements to rail infra such as HS3 and the Cambridge-Oxford link.
Q. What are your views on job creation in the area -are their any sites that could attract factories/offices?
A. There are plenty of employment sites in the and the Universities are accelerating their role as engines of growth. Wealth creation needs to be at the centre of any area’s growth. For example, he City Council has worked with the University of Nottingham to support local small businesses improve their performance on many generic aspects of growing their business – I know because I took part in and still benefit from the Growth100 programme.
Q. You have mentioned that Bramcote will not [directly] benefit from the tram. Would you support better bus links [from Bramcote] to the terminus?
A. Yes I would support – and use – better bus links to Beeston! We are fortunate to have good bus links into Nottingham City Centre but the L10 bus that links Bramcote to Beeston is only an hourly service. For it to be an option for those who could drive to Beeston but would choose to go by bus it needs to be a much higher frequency than that – I would say every 15 minutes. I say this as someone who has a car and chooses to travel to work at University Park by bus.
5 OLDER FOLK
Q. The census figures show an increasing number and would you support a retirement village in Bramcote?-assuming it were in planning terms in the best position.
A. Yes, I think retirement complex providing suitable accommodation among the community for our elderly residents is a good idea. It would mean that long standing residents could stay in their community and would probably hasten the release of family homes for younger people to buy. It would need to be located either close to existing shops and services or close to high frequency bus routes to such places. I do not think the golf course is a good site for a retirement village as it will build over currently open land which has significant wildlife value.
In addition, I think that we could make much better use of what I call ‘pocket brownfields’ – those small bits of awkwardly shaped land in among our houses which no-one makes much use of – to bring services and facilities closer to where people live.
6 GREEN BELT
Q. Would you align yourself if elected to parties who would protect the green belt and would you say this before the election next week? I think that Labour have said they will not protect the green belt
A. I am standing as an independent and have no wish to align myself with any party – why else would I stand as an independent? I would oppose inappropriate development on Green Belt land and would oppose any development on Bramcote’s open spaces.
7 OTHER ISSUES
Q. How would you vote if elected on say raising council tax, reducing services………………. in other words the big financial stuff
A. I would want to see the details of what the tax was being spent on to ensure we were getting good value for money. My experience in other parts of the country are that public sector procurement rules do not necessarily seek value but the cheapest price. Last year Broxtowe had an online consultation where you could make changes to the budget to increase or decrease spend and the level of services offered. I recall my overall answer (after cuts in some places and increases in others) would have been a small reduction in the council tax. However we need to be aware that most of our council tax is spent at County not Borough level.