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GE2017 Liberal Democrat manifesto

Sorry this is so short! (and late). ‘Changing Britain’s future’ it seems does not include saying anything about the green belt (or even ‘greenbelt’) nor about brownfields.

But there is talk of enforcing house building on unwanted public sector land. No details on who decides whether or not it is unwanted or if the proposal allows for different types of public land owner.

There is talk of a land tax, and mention of a potential Tory landslide.

There is also a lot of rubbish. Well, waste to be more precise. A 70% target for recycling and also extending the landfill tax to an incineration tax.

There is also talk of a Zero-Waste Act, including legally binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources, and introducing incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency – something very high on the EU agenda too.

School rebrokering and all that – What happens if it goes pear shaped?

“Marriage is for life” – well that is certainly my opinion although 27 years in I cannot be sure as I have yet to complete my first marriage!

But death and taxes apart, few things are certain in this life. So spending a bit of time thinking about what could go wrong, how to prevent it and how to minimise the damage in case things do go “pear shaped” is probably wise.

What happens when an academy trust is judged as underperforming is its schools are ‘rebrokered’ – that is they are transferred to someone approved by the Department for Education (DfE) to support an underperforming academy, a so-called ‘sponsor’.

Last month the first academy trust in the country had to give up all its schools after financial problems and concerns from Ofsted over poor outcomes for pupils.  In February it was reported that “more than 100 schools are now rebrokered every year”. There is also a growing multi-academy trust (MAT) merger market.

There is no suggestion here that WHP is facing the prospect of rebrokering but neither is there a guarantee that it won’t at some point in the future. Nor that it will not become part of a larger multi academy trust which may want to dispose of assets in Bramcote to fund activities elsewhere.

Only by retaining any land and buildings in County Council ownership can the public be sure that these assets will continue to be available for the children of Bramcote, Beeston North and Stapleford now and into the future. What happens in 40 years time when the new buildings will need replacing?

Bramcote faces losing much of its green belt and large swathes of its open space because the LibDem/ Conservative coalition government cancelled the Labour Government’s Building Schools for the Future scheme just as Nottinghamshire schools were getting to the front of the queue.

Since then, the academy that runs the Bramcote and Alderman White schools chose to seek its independence from the County Council, becoming a Multi Academy Trust in 2012. It took on the lease of the land and buildings. It has been unable to maintain the buildings of the Bramcote School and is closing the buildings down in June.

The need for new buildings is clear. The reason for a Labour controlled County Council handing land, and essentially the money to build these buildings, over to a Trust outside the public sector is not at all clear.  The County Council could rebuild and then lease the land and buildings to the Trust.

On balance it is sensible to vote on 4 May for a councillor who will give Bramcote & Beeston North a voice in County Hall to help keep #PublicLandsInPublicHands

Paul Nathanail
The Independent Candidate for Bramcote & Beeston North.

Please consider voting for PAUL NATHANAIL on 4 May 2017 to help retain land and school buildings in public ownership.

SIGN UP TO MY EMAIL LIST: http://eepurl.com/cKuty1

 

Links:

11 Academies close their doors:
http://schoolsweek.co.uk/11-academy-trusts-close-their-doors/

Education Fellowship trust gives up all 12 schools over poor performance
http://schoolsweek.co.uk/education-fellowship-trust-gives-up-all-12-schools-over-poor-performance/

Booming academy transfer market…
http://schoolsweek.co.uk/booming-academy-transfer-market-pushes-costs-to-potential-30m/

Promoted by Peter Nathanail on behalf of Paul Nathanail, both of 86 Moor Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham, NG9 3FH

 

 

Homes on the Bramcote School site?

“Enabling development” refers to development that would usually be considered harmful but is considered acceptable because the resulting benefits outweigh the harm.   Our planning system has developed over the past 70 years into a sophisticated but complex system to help make decisions about land use.  The concept of “enabling development” is one that will be central to the decisions about what to do with Bramcote’s green belt in the coming months.

White Hills Park (WHP) Federation’s advisors consider that building 300 homes on the Coventry Lane playing fields to be enabling development – this much is not news. However they also consider development for housing on the current site of the Bramcote School to be enabling development too.  Yes, they talk about 40+ new homes on that site.

The harm is clear enough. Housing on the Bramcote School site. A figure of 40 homes or more has been mentioned in correspondence between WHP advisors and County Council officials. This would change the character of the area, reduce options on where to redevelop a leisure centre in Bramcote and fly in the face of the Broxtowe Councillors’ decision to allocate that land for educational or leisure uses.  That is also the site that the Bramcote residents most want to see developed for a new leisure centre before or at the same time as any school building.

So what might the benefits of building 40 or more houses on the Bramcote School site be? Principally building those homes it seems would raise some £2million for the County Council so it can expand Bramcote Hills Primary School to accommodate extra children from all the new housing in the area.

So because WHP cannot afford to build its new buildings, it wants Notts County Council to gift it land to raise the £20 million for the new buildings. And, because of the extra children, Bramcote Hills Primary School will need to be expanded. And to pay for this, Notts County Council needs to sell the site of the Bramcote School for housing.

I wonder when the councils involved were planning to tell us?

Perhaps it is time not only for Public land in public hands but also for state schools in public hands!

 

 

Paul Nathanail

The Independent Candidate for bramcote & Beeston North.

Please consider voting for PAUL NATHANAIL on 4 May 2017 to help retain land and school buildings in public ownership.

SIGN UP TO MY EMAIL LIST: http://eepurl.com/cKuty1

 

Promoted by Peter Nathanail on behalf of Paul Nathanail, both of 86 Moor Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham, NG9 3FH

Shale gas in Broxtowe: Labour’s dilemma; LibDem confusion and Tory … environmentalism?

The County Council planning committee voted on 22 March to give planning permission for further exploration for shale gas in the county.

The vote was close: 6 councillors in favour and 5 against granting planning permission.

The Nottingham Green Party reports that the councillors in favour of more exploration for shale gas were four Labour councillors, one Liberal Democrat and an Independent.

The five who voted against further exploration for shale gas were three Conservatives, a Labour and an Independent.

So I WAS SURPRISED TO read in the Winter/Spring 2017 issue of the “Labour Today” news sheet that Labour is against fracking in Broxtowe although they voted in support of fracking elsewhere in the county.

Labour says it has “major concerns about this controversial technology” and it believes “that it will contribute to damaging climate change; it will snarl up our roads with heavy construction traffic; and it could pose a serious threat to water supplies”. So why are their county councillors voting (4 to 1) for such technology?

LABOUR SHOULD CLARIFY WHETHER THEY ARE IN SUPPORT OF FRACKING IN NOTTS OR AGAINST IT.

The LibDems cast their single vote – and it turns out to have been a crucial vote – in favour of further exploration. What do their Green Party electoral partners make of this I wonder? Do they regret not standing in Bramcote and Beeston North to give voters a true choice?

And the Conervatives? The three Tory councillors voted against granting planning planning permission for further exploration. While a Conservative government overturns County Council decisions elsewhere and gives a green light to hydraulic fracturing.

Only an independent councillor for Bramcote and Beeston North will fight to protect our area from the enormous environmental impact shale gas extraction brings with it.

Paul Nathanail
Please vote for PAUL NATHANAIL for an independent voice for Bramcote and Beeston North in County Hall.

 

SIGN UP TO MY EMAIL LIST: http://eepurl.com/cJf5x5

NOTICE: The author is the independent candidate for Bramcote and Beeston North in the County Council elections on 4 May 2017.

Please consider voting for PAUL NATHANAIL on 4 May 2017 to help retain land and school buildings in public ownership.

 

 

LINKS:

Nottingham Green Party: https://nottingham.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/03/22/county-council-vote-6-5-in-favour-of-second-exploratory-drill/

Drillordrop: https://drillordrop.com/2017/03/21/live-updates-decision-meeting-on-igas-shale-plans-for-tinker-lane-notts/#comments

 

Promoted by Peter Nathanail on behalf of Paul Nathanail, both of 86 Moor Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham, NG9 3FH

White Hills Park Federation consults on disposal of land and surrender of lease

There are only a few days left to respond to the White Hills Park Federation consultation on its intention to apply to  the Secretary of State for Education for permission to sell the 10 hectares (approx 25 acres) of playing fields adjacent to Coventry lane. This land is owned by the Nottinghamshire County Council and leased by the Federation on a 125 year lease.

The Federation is also consulting on a proposed application to the Secretary of State for Education to surrender its lease with Nottinghamshire County Council of approximately 4.7 hectares (approx 2 acres) of land occupied by the school buildings of the Bramcote School (formerly the Park School).   The Federation claims that “No decision has been taken at this time regarding the future use of this site.” In fact Broxtowe councillors have already decided to earmark this land for “Land for replacement School. Land for replacement Leisure Centre if required”

Details are at: http://www.whpfederation.org/index.php/buildings-and-improvements/consultation

The consultation is open until 9 April 2017:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FV9JZJN

 

 

SIGN UP TO MY EMAIL LIST: http://eepurl.com/cJf5x5

NOTICE: The author is the independent candidate for Bramcote and Beeston North in the County Council elections on 4 May 2017.

Please consider voting for PAUL NATHANAIL on 4 May 2017 to help retain land and school buildings in public ownership.

Promoted by Peter Nathanail on behalf of Paul Nathanail, both of 86 Moor Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham, NG9 3FH

Hole in one or hole in the foot? Musings on Bramcote Hills’ Golf Course

“No man is an island” and neither is any piece of land, whether private or public. Each site adjoins others, is visible from elsewhere and is part of the intricate web of flows of air, water, seeds and animals that respect no laws of trespass and know nothing of ownership.

But hermits can isolate themselves – in cave, a desert or atop the Stylites’ pole. I don’t need you and I reject your polluting influence on me. Land can be fenced off, gated and secured to keep out unwanted homo sapiens. But wildlife is more sensitive. The pavement slab, the stretch of tarmac, the splash of night light are chasms – unknown, unfamiliar and unfathomable. The chain is broken, the link severed, the corridor turned into a dead end.

Let’s turn now to the golf links. The ball is teed up, the club swung and the trajectory is true and sweet… the green approaches, the ball lands, rolls and… disappears in to the hole. A moment of glory, an eye blink of elation that hinged on a blade of grass, a gust of wind or even the angle the flag pole was returned. It’s traditional that the achievement of a hole in one is followed by paying for one’s envious friends drinks in the 19th hole. Such is the cost of such largess that one can buy insurance against that glorious day.

When undeveloped land is built on, to all intents and purposes it’s forever. No till death do us part, no quickie divorce. The decision to build may take as long as a planning committee takes to raise its hands. The consequences echo down the years and decades. A monument to those raised hands. Sure the buildings will last, sure they’ll be used. But at what price? And who’s, and what’s, paying the cost? How far will the ripples go?

Broxtowe’s tory blue councillors face a dilemma this coming week. On Wednesday, 20 July 2016, do they follow the advice of their officers and permit development of part of the former Bramcote Hills’ golf course or do they listen to the clamour of the local community and the trinity of local councillors who stood on tickets so green they were the envy of Robin Hood.

As they ponder their decision, they might reflect on why they are in this position in the first place. They might lament the missed opportunities: Beeston Town Centre Phase 1, the air space above the bus-tram interchange, profligate low density development, the lure of the silver screen in Town Centre Phase 2.

They might also copy St Ignatius of Loyola. Eyes closed… fast forward in time: what will Bramcote look like if they say ‘aye’ and what if they defy their officers and say ‘nay’?

Is the ridge the place for concrete, bricks and mortar? If so, why stop at the Golf Course? What example will they be giving to others? Will this be a starting gun fired to encourage others in the race to pave Bramcote yet further?

Or is the ridge the place to savour that sweet moment of saying Bramcote is good; Bramcote works; Bramcote is sustainable. Even if there may be a, post hole in one, challenging cost to saying so.

This is a defining moment for a blue administration that wants to be seen as green: will it be a sweet hole in one or a bullet hole in the foot?

Wednesday night will tell.

Proper Planning Prevents Pitiful Places for People

Britain has a long standing policy of plan led development to make sure that a presumption in favour of land owners developing their land as they wish is tempered with the impact of the wishes and needs of others.
Every decade or so local planning authorities decide how much development and what sort of development their area needs and then produce maps of where they would wish such development to take place.
Inevitably plans are controversial. Change is uncomfortable – but inevitable. Plans allow for the wider, positive and negative, impacts of new developments to be anticipated and the worst errors avoided while minimising the chances of opportunities being missed.
People living in an area have long had a voice in agreeing local plans – through formal and informal consultation. While that voice may be heard, it is not always listened to.
As a country we can have pretty much anything we want. But we cannot have it everywhere and we cannot have everything. Negotiation, compromise, altruism and mutual understanding can give power not only to our elbow but also to our collective voice.