This article by James Morris appeared in the Fabian Review – Up Our Street – Winter 2016 http://www.fabians.org.uk/publications/fabian-review-winter-2016/
James urges the Left to look at the gig picture and argues astutely that however effective our “ground field campaign” is, it’s of little use if the message and messenger is found wanting.
You can find James on Twitter at @JamesDMorris
Submission to Nottinghamshire Council regarding suggested highways improvements in Kimberley – Swingate and Maws Lane areas
Wednesday 24 August 2016
This letter – at the Word document (and also shown below) – represents a culmination of extensive consultation with residents over a significant period of time (and their subsequent feedback). It asks Nottinghamshire County Council to take a serious long term look at the traffic problems in Kimberley and urges a detailed plan to be drawn up looking at various proposals for improvement.
A Word document can be found in full by clicking on:
The text of the letter is also shown below:
Nottinghamshire County Council
FAO – Mrs Steph Walford
Senior Improvements Officer
Via East Midlands Ltd
Major Projects & Improvements
NG2 7QP 24 August 2016
Request for consideration of suggested improvements for traffic flow and pedestrian safety
Swingate, Kimberley & Maws Lane area Kimberley
(Swingate & Hardy Street Action Plans)
I have pleasure in submitting papers for your detailed consideration with relation to community consultation exercises that have been undertaken in Kimberley during 2016.
I hope that we can work together with partners to produce some imaginative and long term benefits for local people and therefore address long standing traffic problems in this part of Broxtowe.
Many thanks for your time and assistance in this matter, and would be happy to meet up to discuss in more this in more detail.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Richard S Robinson
Labour Councillor – Kimberley
Broxtowe Borough Councillor
4 Peacock Drive
0775 1970 640
In my January 2016 newsletter http://richardsrobinson.org.uk/2016/01/broxtowe-news-update-information-service-main-edition-january-2016/ I produced a report as follows:
This report emanated as a result of discussions with residents of two separate areas of Kimberley – Hardy Street/Maws Lane and Swingate, during 2015.
I subsequently held two consultation meetings on Wednesday 27 January 2016 and
Saturday 30 January 2016 to discuss with members of the public the suggestions contained in the above report.
As a result of the public consultations – a number of detailed suggestions for improvement came forward from local residents – these are contained within my March newsletter:
Extracts from this are shown below:
With regards to Hardy Street area a number of residents requested that consideration be given to making Maws Lane and Hardy Street a one-way system. Particular issues were raised about traffic congestion in and around Hardy Street and also poor visibility at the Eastwood Road/Maws Lane Junction.
Additionally, I was presented with a petition regarding the possible loss of two car parking spaces on Eastwood Road Kimberley, close to the Maws Lane junction. The feedback from local residents was that taking two car spaces away would only be a short-term solution and would not resolve the wider issue that needs to be addressed; that of the traffic congestion in and around the Maws Lane junction, and that a more comprehensive solution was required.
- Make Maws Lane and Hardy Street a one -way system: traffic would flow up Maws Lane and down Hardy Street. It is envisaged that having this arrangement in place would reduce the congestion at the Maws Lane junction, and make traffic flow better overall. This would also have the added benefit of potentially keeping the two parking spaces that were at risk.I have also designed a special survey about the suggested one-way system, which you can access here:
- Traffic exiting Greens Lane
- This is a summary of points raised by local residents at the January public meeting concerning the Swingate area of Kimberley:
- Traffic needs to be able to exit Greens Lane more quickly; this would relieve congestion – this could be achieved by having traffic lights at the bottom of Greens Lane to replace the mini roundabout.
- Make a wider exit at the bottom of Greens Lane having a left and right turning lane – this would enable traffic to exit Greens Lane more quickly – this would involve taking some of the flowerbed away on the left of Greens Lane.
- Pedestrian crossing too close to mini roundabout at bottom of Greens Lane.
- Bus stops on Greens Lane – opposite each other, also bus timing point on Greens Lane – contributes to congestion – could timing point be moved to Knowle Lane?
- Construct lay-bys for buses on Greens Lane to relieve congestion – Sainsbury’s to contribute to cost. Acknowledged this would take space from car parks in both precinct and Sainsbury’s.
- Possible escape road for Swingate residents from Sainsbury’s car park routed through old telephone exchange on High Street, Swingate. This would avoid need for Swingate residents to turn onto Greens Lane when exiting Sainsbury’s car park.
- Cherubs Day Nursery – problem caused by vehicles exiting onto blind corner – suggested these vehicles could exit via road through old telephone exchange (see above).
Suggestions relating to both areas
- 20mph limit through centre of Kimberley from Broomhill Rd to Nine Corners (Hardy Street)
- 20mph limit along Maws Lane, Cliff Boulevard and Hardy Street.
This is a summary of points raised by local residents at the January public meeting concerning the Maws Lane area of Kimberley
Findings from survey – and individual feedback from constituents:
As a result of the public survey http://richardsrobinson.org.uk/2016/03/consultation-on-making-maws-lane-and-hardy-street-kimberley-one-way/
the following results have been compiled as follows:
Consultation on Proposals to make Maws Lane/ Hardy Street One-Way:-
Summary of individual email responses on proposals (see Appendix 1):
Number of email respondents who agree with proposal 24
Number of email respondents who disagree with proposal 19
Summary of results from online consultation on proposals (see Appendix 1):
Number of online respondents who agree with proposal 38
Number of online respondents who disagree with proposal 41
I presented a petition to Broxtowe Borough Council on 2nd March this year urging that Broxtowe work with the County Council to look at the longer term traffic problems in and around Eastwood Road/Maws Lane junction. I understand that this petition subsequently was presented to the County Council and was referred to the appropriate committee for consideration.
I have seen correspondence from the County Council during the past couple of weeks from Crash Investigator Phil Gow – and have a site meeting on Thursday 25 August 2016 to discuss the proposals to remove car parking spaces on the Eastwood Road/Maws Lane junction.
My recommendation is that the County Council look seriously at the long-term traffic issues affecting Kimberley, and in particular address the problems that have been highlighted in both the Swingate and Hardy Street areas. The problems identified are long-standing issues that will not go away and will only increase in intensity as increasing numbers of houses are built locally.
The feeling of many local residents for example concerning Maws Lane is that purely taking away two car parking spaces will simply act as a ‘sticking plaster’ over many more significant problems.
I have, for example, at the request of local residents, asked the County Council to relocate the bus stop in this area that causes much annoyance to both pedestrians and drivers alike.
Clearly there are divided opinions on making Maws Lane one-way. I would like to specifically request that detailed transport plan be drawn that considers the advantages and disadvantages of a one-way system on Maws Lane and also identifies the indicative costs.
I would specifically like to request that the County Council undertake a separate study of the Swingate area – to consider the problems on the corner of Greens Lane and High Street near the Cherubs Day Nursery. There are tangible suggestions that local residents have mentioned for improvement here – for example changing the egress for drivers coming out of the Nursery.
Consultation on Proposals to make Maws Lane/ Hardy Street one-way
Responses received April/May 2016
Number of respondents 45
Respondents’ addresses (not given by everyone):
Maws Lane 7
Hardy Street 6
Beverley Drive 4
Eastwood Road 3
Edinboro Row 2
Kempton Close 1
Haydock Close 1
Truman St 1
Jubilee St 1
Town View 1
Number of respondents who agree with proposal 24
Number of respondents who disagree with proposal 19
Respondents who make observations but do not express an opinion 2
Maws Lane residents:
Number of respondents who agree with proposal 5
Number of respondents who disagree with proposal 2
Hardy Street residents:
Number of respondents who agree with proposal 2
Number of respondents who disagree with proposal 4
The parking places at the bottom of Maws Lane:
- Specifically mentioned by 12 people,
- 6 people think they should be removed ,
- 3 people think they should stay,
- 2 people think a one-way system isn’t justified to save parking places,
- 1 person thinks parking does restrict view of right turners.
Reasons for agreeing with one-way system
- Removes confusion over right of way on Maws Lane; some people don’t understand it,
- Avoids aggressive road rage incidents on Maws Lane,
- Avoids dangerous right turn at bottom of Maws Lane,
- Removes dangerous bend on Hardy Street about halfway up by Parkham Road,
- It would improve traffic flow,
- Retains parking places outside shops on Eastwood Road.
Some people express agreement but do have reservations about it.
- Wider road network needs to be taken into consideration e.g. Newdigate Street which is considered worse than Maws Lane; residents feel that proposals would displace traffic onto Newdigate Street,
- Reduces options for Hardy Street residents to avoid congestion as they would be forced to use Maws Lane or Newdigate Street to access Watnall/ Hucknall area,
- Hardy Street would become a main road with increased traffic flow and speed causing concern for school children’s safety; traffic calming measures would be needed. Apparently the brewery avoided using top part of Hardy Street as a courtesy to the school,
- Issues surrounding parking – inconsiderate parking, school parking. Parking problems on Hardy Street would not be solved by one-way system. Haydock Close already used as school carpark and possibly this would be made worse.
Other concerns raised and opinions expressed
- Lorries are using Maws Lane/Cliff Blvd as access from Watnall/Hucknall to IKEA island – is a weight limit in place and is it enforced?
- Large volume of traffic using Eastwood Road instead of the by-pass,
- Excessive speed of traffic on Eastwood Road – dangerous for pedestrians,
- Position of bus stop and pedestrian crossing is very close to exit of Maws Lane onto Eastwood Road, this makes situation worse; feeling is these could be moved nearer Premier shop/Gilthill,
- Mini roundabout would be needed at the bottom of Hardy Street (Nine Corners) as this is another difficult right turn,
- Impact of the new housing on Hardy Street and Brewery site not considered,
- Unknown effect of the Golden Guinea becoming a Co-op shop,
- Proposals could affect Truman St and Jubilee St – could increase traffic on these roads,
- Concern re impact on bus provision for elderly residents,
- Concern re emergency vehicles access if one-way system introduced, would it cause delay?
- What would happen to Brewery Street?
- Occasional flash flooding on Eastwood Road by Church Hill has caused diversion up Hardy Street and down Maws Lane; this would not be possible if new system in place,
- If Parkham Road is part of solution – it is un-adopted and no one knows who owns it,
- Things are better left alone; narrow streets just have to be accepted.
Other solutions suggested relating to Maws Lane
- Traffic lights to control traffic on Maws Lane instead of Give Way,
- STOP sign at top of Maws Lane instead of Give Way which drivers ignore, also improve painted lines to prevent confusion over who has Right of Way,
- Make Maws Lane exit onto Eastwood Road left turn only,
- Mini roundabout at Maws lane exit,
- Alternative one-way system suggested: Jubilee Street one-way up and Maws Lane one-way down; takes Hardy Street out of the equation,
- Build new road on derelict land behind Maws Lane (which used to be builders yard) to relieve Maws Lane problem,
- No parking outside shops at Maws Lane junction or restrict parking to 30 mins.
- Make parking on Maws Lane residents only,
- Maws Lane parking impossible as Council refuses to drop kerbs and allow front gardens to be used for parking.
Other suggestions and concerns
- 20 mph speed limit needed
- Pedestrian crossing on Cliff Blvd by Hardy Street; this is needed by school children
- Widen Cliff Blvd and take out speed bumps and chicane
- Cliff Blvd problems are worse; rearrange parking to be diagonal rather than horizontal to create more spaces. Take away some grass verges on Cliff Blvd to make more spaces
- Build new road from Watnall to IKEA island
- Poor street lighting on Maws Lane
- Difficulty getting to IKEA as a pedestrian due to traffic/ traffic issues at IKEA island
- Concerns about more housing
This document has also been sent to Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire Authority for their comments
Wednesday 2 March 2016
Madam Mayor, Fellow Councillors, officers, ladies & gentleman
I want to start off my brief comments by commending the Labour Group – on producing a comprehensive and rational alternative Budget Statement. Something we never ever received during all the many years the Conservatives spent in Opposition at Broxtowe.
In fact It’s been over 20 years since a Tory controlled Budget presented to this council. Milan, me few others here witnessed that. Over 20 years, I had a full head of hair, Tony Blair was leader of the Opposition, Donald Trump was anonymous, Leeds United were in the Premiership, Howard Wilkinson Manager.
Some things have changed – fortunes of my beloved Leeds United, runners & riders American Politics my hair radically changed, somethings however remain exactly the same.
That is this, lack of leadership, lack of leadership shown by Conservatives in Broxtowe, controlled by a vocal yet manipulative inward aggressive looking elite.
Lack of leadership
Madam Mayor – Conservatives have had over 20 years to present a vision, work out where they want to take Broxtowe- yet their message from the early 90s, is just the same as today
- They don’t really want to build houses
- They don’t like public transport
- They want to close Durban House
- Close cash offices (hit poorest areas hardest)
So translated – particularly in the north of the borough – Broxtowe is closed for business. No vision, no plans, no asks. No willingness to be brave or think outside the box.
And it is particularly closed for business with regards to Oxylane. This is the starkest example of single lack of leadership.
Myth that the leisure centre in Kimberley can continue until further notice, – is that a myth. That Oxylane would spell it’s death knell is also a myth. Conservative members been told that.
Yes, you can turn around and say that we had several goes to see this development through. We ain’t perfect. We failed, failed because every single Conservative member voted to oppose. Some however, since very bravely and commended can see here an opportunity. They see what’s in the interests of the people of Broxtowe, and not in the interests of the Tory party.
Oxylane you have the Opportunity to invest, enhance environment, improve health sports provision for youngsters, and families. Boost council finances. That’s what Labour would do.
You have the opportunity to make life better, fairer residents Broxtowe, but you have failed after 1 budget.
This budget fails, fails though lack of leadership, lack of vision, lack of credibility, after over 20 years opposition people of Broxtowe deserve better.
Nick Palmer was Labour MP for Broxtowe between 1997 and 2010. He is sorely missed in Broxtowe.
I worked in a voluntary capacity for him for a number of years as both borough and county councillor. I don’t recall ever having met someone who worked as hard as Nick, yet he always had time for constituents. He was an excellent back-bench Labour MP.
One of Nick’s many attributes was being able to reach across the political divide, and especially in Broxtowe – which in large measure has a strong natural Tory tendency. He was able to reach out to many constituents (just over 3,000 at the last count) by in part, keeping in touch via email with detailed and regular newsletters.
Even though he now has no official ties with Broxtowe he still takes the time to write occasionally on matters of interest – his latest missive, on Europe is shown below:
Europe – decision day fast approaches
Hi all, I’ve not posted for a while, and I’m afraid it’s just that I’ve been taking a break from politics – travelling for pleasure, going out to the theatre and movies, sorting out some family issues, winning some poker tournaments. I’m sorry not to have won last May, but freedom has its charms too! However, with the referendum apparently just months away, I thought it might be helpful to post some comments on that. It’s a pity, in my view, that the debate is focused so much on whether Mr Cameron’s frankly modest renegotiation package is successful or not. It’s always been obvious to anyone in politics that Mr Cameron had a 3-point plan:
1. Offer the referendum as a way to bring UKIP leaners back and win the election
2. Get some sort of token package of reform
3. Declare victory and win the referendum
Older people remember all this – it’s exactly what Harold Wilson did in the 60s. You may think it’s cynical, though stage 1 certainly worked – if the Conservatives hadn’t offered the referendum, they’d have leaked a few percentage points to UKIP and we’d now have a different government. A good thing or a bad thing, it’s all history. But quite soon, Mr Cameron will also be history – he’s retiring whether he wins or not. I wish him many happy years, but it would be ridiculous to decide the future of Britain on the basis of whether we approve of a retiring politician and his manoeuvres. The fundamental issue is this – and it’s something which has struck me with increasing force in my present (animal welfare) job, which has taken me to 25 countries in the last few years.
The world is increasingly divided into regional power blocs. Nearly every continent has one now, in different stages of development, each with preferential trade internally and an attempt to form a common front to defend their interests globally. We do not have a choice of blocs – we can’t sensibly join NAFTA in North America or ASEAN in South East Asia or the African Union.
We can be in the EU, or we can be on our own. And to be on our own in today’s world is a risky and frankly unusual decision. If we think we can win global arguments on our own, we are deluded; what will usually happen is that we will bob along in the slipstream of decisions made by others. This is not to argue that the EU is a terrific example of good governance. It creaks. It’s not very transparent. It’s slow. It’s dominated by big business. But for this continent, it’s actually the only game in town. That’s illustrated by the difficulty that the Leave campaign is having in identifying the alternative. Broadly speaking, there are two variants. We can join EFTA, like Norway, or we can refuse to join anything. If we join EFTA, we will have almost exactly the same rules as now – for instance, we will still have free movement of labour from throughout the EU. In EFTA, I don’t think we’d see a big exodus of business. The difference is merely that we will have less influence in deciding what those rules are, and certainly no veto. Or we can be entirely separate. But that means being outside the EU free trade area, subject to tariffs. In that case, we really would see the big companies moving out with a big loss of jobs. Their European offices are going to be more important than the British market if we force them to choose.
I’ve heard the comparison that the EU is like an awkward marriage – there comes a point where you feel that the marriage is just too much hassle, and you’d be happier with someone else. But we need to be clear that there isn’t anyone else: the alternative is splendid isolation. To pursue the analogy, we would be choosing to be lone bachelors in a world increasingly dominated by families. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think we realistically belong in the European area, and we should work to make the best of it instead of grumbling from the sidelines. But I’m not saying that because I’m interested in Mr Cameron’s package, or any other politician’s stance.
It simply seems to me that we are best off staying in partnership with our neighbours, whether it’s difficult or not. In the end, Europe is going to sink or swim together, and we cannot opt out of that reality – only from being part of the decisions that will decide whether it succeeds or not. Don’t vote for tactical reasons, to annoy Cameron or reward anyone else. Instead, vote for a coherent long-term future for Britain as part of the continent where we live.
Best regards Nick
To contact Nick: twitter: @nick4broxtowe
What can be done to improve traffic flow, congestion and pedestrian safety in Hardy Street/Maws Lane, Cliff Boulevard & Swingate areas of Kimberley? Initial report.
Neighbourhood consultation – Swingate & Hardy Street/Cliff Boulevard Action Plan – January 2016
– Wednesday 27 January 2016 – between 3pm and 7pm
– Saturday 30 January 2016 – between 10am and 12 noon
Members of the public can meet with myself informally over tea and coffee to discuss the report that has been compiled following a questionnaire being issued last year. Two Kimberley residents – John Sykes of Swingate and Sue Page of Tewkesbury Drive will also be present as they have helped compile the report.
“What can be done to improve traffic flow and congestion, and pedestrian safety in two specific areas of Kimberley: Hardy Street/Cliff Boulevard and Swingate/High Street areas?”
Feedback from neighbourhood consultation – initial report
My name is Richard Robinson and I have been a Borough councillor in Kimberley continually from 1997 to date. In that time many issues have been brought to my attention by local residents ranging from housing and planning issues through to anti-social behaviour, HGV vehicles weight limits and restrictions, parking, transport and regeneration matters. Some issues remain relevant for a while for example anti-social behaviour. Others however have a much longer life span and tend not to simply fade into the background, or even if they do they soon come back to life at relatively short notice.
The following report is in response to long standing and ongoing local traffic related concerns which have been highlighted by numerous individuals over the years, and which continue to blight our community.
At this point I would like acknowledge the work of members of the local community. Lots of people have taken the time to get in touch and for all of the comments I am extremely grateful. I would especially like to thank Ros Broker, Mary McGuckin and
Rev Barbara Holbrook for their support. Additionally, and in particular two Kimberley residents Sue Page of Tewkesbury Drive and John Sykes of Swingate, have given up their time and helped to interrogate the survey data and compile the responses.
In compiling this report we have sought the support of many members of the public. Through our traffic survey we have identified what the main issues are and some thoughts on how they may be resolved.
As a community we need a forward thinking and collaborative plan to tackle these problems which have been plaguing our historic town for years. I know we can create a very positive momentum behind this initiative that involves all stakeholders, and allows us to continue to work together to ensure Kimberley becomes a better place to live and work in, as well as a place that people will want to visit.
Following on from the publication of this initial report I have arranged a number of meetings which the public are welcome to attend. The meetings will be held on
Wednesday 27 January 2016 at Rumbletums, Victoria Street, Kimberley between 3pm and 7pm, and on Saturday 30 January 2016 same venue between 10 am and 12 noon.
The purpose of the meetings is to discuss the initial survey findings, identify next steps/ ways in which we can work to enhance our community’s quality of life by defining and facilitating longer term effective traffic management measures.
This report advocates a different kind of approach to problem solving, a more collaborate and inclusive arrangement which is community-led and which puts the views of local people at the forefront of any changes.
Our aim in publishing this report is to provide a high degree of awareness of the problems and how they affect people, to invite local residents to join the discussions, encourage everyone who is affected to contribute to the development and implementation of a long term plan, and to provide regular updates and promote consultation events.
I hope you can take the time to read the information in this report and feel free to contribute in any way you can.
In moving this initiative forward, we will of course work closely with the statutory agencies and principal councils, as well as our own town council.
Labour Borough Councillor Kimberley
Background and Context to report
Between February and May 2015 last year in particular, some very specific problems of traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and traffic flow were specifically raised with me again by residents in two areas of Kimberley who were frustrated with the lack of any noticeable improvements to long standing problems. Those areas are Swingate and High Street, and Hardy Street and Cliff Boulevard, Kimberley.
For people living in the Swingate area the main problems related to a hold up on Greens Lane near Sainsbury’s which can lead to periods of frustration and delay for residents trying both to enter and exit this area. Swingate is said to be one of the longest and largest cul-de sacs throughout the whole of Broxtowe.
For people living in the Hardy Street/Cliff Boulevard area the main issues highlighted were traffic congestion and other driving related problems, ie drivers frequently mounting pavements, parked vehicles restricting visibility for turning at the top of Hardy Street, frequent congestion in and around Cliff Boulevard.
Due to the volume of concerns that were raised I wrote to residents in both areas in June 2015 asking for their feedback not only on what the problems were, but also what they would like to see done to address the issues. The main body of this report covers the responses I received.
This report is a true reflection of the views and opinions of those people living in these areas, and directly affected by the problems. It is set out in such a way as to allow those reading the report to have a greater understanding of the direct effect of these issues on people’s lives. There is recognition that many of these problems exist in many other parts of the country and the way forward to resolve or minimise the problem is to work closely with multiple agencies, including county, borough and town councils, highways agency, local schools, the police, health facilities, bus companies and public and private sector organisations.
Pages 5 to 8 set out the findings of the traffic surveys in and around Swingate area Kimberley
Traffic Survey – Swingate area
Responses to a letter from Cllr Richard Robinson to Swingate households delivered in June 2015.
Description of problem/contributory factors according to respondents:
- Swingate is effectively a cul-de-sac with two ways in (Greens Lane and High street) but only one exit (Greens Lane). Residents experience delays as traffic builds up on Greens Lane preventing their exit from, and also entry to, Swingate.
- Regret expressed that building of A610 meant that Knowle Hill became a no through road, thus reducing entry and exit to and from Swingate.
- Increase in traffic over last 30 years, new schools/nurseries, bigger Sainsbury’s store.
- Drivers use Kimberley as an alternative route (“rat-run”) whenever there is congestion on M1/A610 and this contributes to overall problem.
- Impatient driver behaviour coming out of Sainsbury’s store and petrol station, and the precinct opposite. Drivers get impatient and just drive out, ignoring people coming down from Swingate, or indeed up to Swingate. Suggested yellow cross boxes would help with this, but would have to be strictly enforced.
- Drivers straddle both exit lanes when leaving Sainsbury’s car park, thus right turners block people who wish to turn left up Swingate. A badly located bollard and poor road markings are the main reason for this.
- Drivers waiting to turn into either the precinct or Sainsbury’s cause traffic to build up. Poor entry/exit design causes this.
- Driver behaviour exiting two nurseries at Swingate/Greens Lane. Cherubs Day Nursery access/exit is abysmal, so many people just park on the road.
- Blind corner caused by high wall at Cherubs Day Nursery – cause of accidents. Also, the corner is almost too tight even for cars, let alone larger vehicles.
- Kimberley school parking problems – parking on blind bend, double yellows, school zig-zags (driver behaviour).
Opinions suggested from respondents regarding improvements
- Leave alone/talk to people to resolve situation/walk more. Not enough – there are serious problems that need tackling.
- Improve pedestrian experience, encourage walking, wider pavements, reduce dog fouling.
- Work with Sainsbury’s to find solution. Alter entrance/exit road markings and remove bollard. Provide space for a bus layby on Greens Lane.
- Work with schools to reduce school run traffic, discuss drivers’ behaviour,
- Scheme to encourage walking to school. Will require safer routes.
Specific suggestions regarding Parking
- Suggest bigger car park at schools. For drop off and pick up, or any car park where non currently exists (ie Swingate Primary School).
- Suggest parking restrictions at schools, double yellow lines to prevent dangerous parking on blind corner. Be wary of this option – double yellow lines outside the school would serious penalise residents.
- Parking restrictions outside both day nurseries. At least restrict to one side only, above the junction.
- Traffic wardens to pay attention to illegal/dangerous on-street parking rather than overstay in car parks.
- Strict enforcement of no parking on double yellows and school zig-zags.
Specific suggestions regarding High Street
- Change High Street to two-way traffic with priority flow given to traffic exiting Swingate. May need a lights system with traffic sensors. If Greens Lane is congested, all traffic from Swingate must use High Street, ie temporary No Entry down Greens Lane will keep junction clear. Also, no right turn into High Street when congestion exists.
- Change High Street to one-way traffic in the opposite direction to what it is now, that is from Swingate towards Church Hill and Eastwood Road. Previous arrangement may be better.
- Do not allow parking on High street and widen High street. Maybe, used to be that way. Most properties do have off-street parking or could park in streets opposite.
Specific suggestions regarding Speed limits
- 20 mph speed limit on High Street. From James Street to Greens Lane?
- 20 mph speed limit on Main Street from Broomhill Road to Nine Corners. Possible but in heavy traffic speed is already reduce and this maybe a problem when traffic is very light.
Specific suggestions regarding Bus stop/pedestrian crossing
- Reposition bus stop/change bus timing point outside Sainsbury’s as this contributes to congestion by blocking vision at Sainsbury’s exit. Maybe Sainsbury’s should give up a little space to enable a layby to be installed on Greens Lane. Also move the bus stop opposite the precinct, since both stops are currently directly opposite.
- Buses waiting at library bus stop causes congestion. This really should not be a timing point.
- Reposition pedestrian crossing at junction of Greens Lane/Main street (just by mini-roundabout) as this contributes to congestion. Crossing is too close to junction. This should be a pelican-type crossing with a repeater advisory control indicator at the bottom of Greens Lane.
- There are too many pedestrian crossings and they interrupt traffic flow. The new crossing on Greens Lane should be a pelican-type with traffic sensing. It does not supplant the bollard “crossing” close to the Main Street junction and simultaneous use of both crossings is a problem when traffic is already busy.
Specific suggestions regarding Road improvements
- A number of big road improvements suggested eg new slip road to A610, new road to Strelley. However, these ideas are then dismissed as causing more problems and too expensive.
Specific suggestions regarding Traffic lights
- Traffic light control of, or instead of, mini roundabout at bottom of Greens Lane. If installed, these would very much have to be traffic volume controlled and could also accommodate pedestrian crossing facilities. The downside could be causing traffic build-up on all approaches. Alternatively, a yellow box junction, possibly with roundabout rules, might be more efficient.
- Traffic light control needed on High Street if open to two-way traffic. Maybe, but proper controls should be implemented to ensure optimum traffic flow in both directions.
Suggested further research and Conclusions
How much of a problem does the fire and ambulance service actually have with Swingate? Probably not so much along Swingate, but certainly around the Greens Lane/High Street junction/corner, especially when cars are parked there.
What are their views?
What are the accident statistics for the area, particularly outside Sainsbury’s?
Is it known as a bad area for accidents? Important topic, but suspect very low and not the real issue.
What do the police think?
What are their views and suggestions?
Could Sainsbury’s mark the two exit lanes more clearly for left and right turners? They must do this, and remove the bollard.
Reposition Sainsbury’s entrance or the precinct entrance. Given the petrol station exit too, there is not much scope moving either the Sainsbury’s or the precinct entrances/exits onto Greens Lane.
Involve Trent Barton:
What are their views? Would they be prepared to move the bus timing point? This is critically important issue and should be strongly pursued with Trent Barton.
Involve the school and nurseries:
Can they work with parents regarding parking?
Could the school encourage parents to allow children to walk to school?
Strict enforcement of parking restrictions around school. But not to the ultimate detriment of local residents.
Many suggestions revolve around changing people’s behaviour including encouraging more walking, more considerate parking and drivers thinking about their behaviour.
A number of respondents suggested changes to High Street including two-way traffic or one-way traffic in opposite direction to currently. This is a key element for Swingate access/egress.
Introduce 20mph zones in Kimberley and Swingate. There is already a 20mph sign-controlled limit on Swingate during school start and finish times. Seems unnecessary at other times. Risk of backing up traffic in the centre of the town. When traffic is heavy, even 20mph is not usually achievable. When traffic is light, 20mph would be an unnecessary constraint.
Pages 9 to 11 set out the findings of the traffic surveys in and around the Cliff Boulevard, Hardy Street, Norman Street, Maws Lane area of Kimberley
Traffic Survey – Cliff Boulevard area
Responses to a letter to these households from Cllr Richard Robinson in June 2015
Problems and the possible solutions
Number one problem by far relates to parked vehicles: Respondents go to some lengths to describe what they see as unsafe, impatient behaviour from drivers. Vehicles mounting the pavement causes concern to several respondents. It is emphasised that parking at school times is a particular problem. Residents are concerned to find a solution as the new houses on the Brewery site will make matters worse.
- Parked vehicles create hazard on Hardy Street, Cliff Boulevard and Maws Lane by restricting visibility making it dangerous to turn right at junctions and by making it difficult for two-way traffic to pass.
Solution: Create more parking space on Cliff Boulevard by doing the following:
- Encourage people to use their own drives/garages. Sensible, but accesses must not then be blocked by others parking on the street.
- Properties on Cliff Boulevard have parking space to rear of properties which is not used – it this was used properly then it would reduce on street parking.
- Align parking slots on Cliff Boulevard at right angles to road to make better use of available space. There appears to be plenty of space for this and it would help reduce parking on the street.
- Create more parking slots on Cliff Boulevard by taking out some of the grassed area.
- Formalised parking bays on Cliff Boulevard, have build-outs with shrubs. However, these could be tantamount to chicanes.
- Widen Cliff Boulevard to allow two-way traffic and a parking lane.
- Solution: Restrictions on parking
- Restrict parking to residents only on Cliff Boulevard and Hardy Street – introduce parking permit system. Should include for legitimate visitors too.
- Restrict parking by extending double yellow lines along Cliff Boulevard to High Spannia, on Hardy Street at its junction with Cliff Boulevard top of Maws lane to Cornfield Road and on lower sections of Hardy Street.
- Enforce no parking on double yellows; police don’t seem bothered about it.
- Allow parking only on one side of Hardy Street (mimic Maws Lane)
- No parking allowed at all outside Hollywell school on either side of Hardy Street.
- Ask parents to use Ascot Avenue or Haydock Close to take pressure off Hardy Street.
- Ask parents to use Golden Guinea Car Park (not possible as it will be new Co-op)
- Encourage children to walk to school.
Other problems identified:
- Cliff Boulevard used as through route from IKEA island to B600
- Solution: Make Cliff Boulevard more like Maws Lane with parking lane and one direction having priority.
- Have 20mph zone on Cliff Boulevard, Hardy Street.
- Reduce speed by making speed bumps more severe.
- Cliff Boulevard used by heavy lorries and coaches
- Solution: Enforce weight restrictions, route coaches another way.
- Make Cliff Boulevard access only.
- Vehicles (4X4s in particular) mount the pavement; creates hazard to pedestrians.
- Solution: Bollards on pavement to prevent vehicles mounting pavement.
- Raise kerbs to make it difficult for vehicles to mount pavement.
Other suggestions made
- Make Hardy Street one-way (downhill) or access only.
- Make Maws Lane one-way (up-hill). Important to avoid Lawn Mills Road being used as alternative downhill option.
- Adopt Parkham Road (currently unmade road); this would allow access onto Hardy Street for Dorchester Road/Tiptree residents. This would take pressure off Cliff Boulevard.
- Link Tiptree Close with Coatsby Road (apparently in original plan for estate) to provide another exit without using Cliff Boulevard.
- Have traffic island at the bottom of Hardy Street at Nine Corners, this would slow down traffic coming into Kimberley and make it easier to exit Hardy Street. This is probably a very good idea in conjunction with a pelican crossing nearby.
- Have speed plateaus made of block paving sets as these have visual impact/change of level to reduce speed.
- Take out speed bumps and chicane on Maws lane and Cliff Boulevard. Congestion is the fault of hesitant drivers.
- Build a new road between B600 and IKEA island.
- Road surface on Cliff Boulevard is appalling, needs resurfacing.
Suggested further research and Conclusions
Get statistics for Maws lane, include exit from Maws Lane onto Eastwood Road, also
Cliff Boulevard, Hardy Street.
What do emergency services think, have they had problems with access?
What do police think about this problem?
Discuss with parents.
As with Swingate area work with the school to resolve parking issues around school drop-off and pick-up times.
Main issue relates to problems caused by parked vehicles, so give this priority,
Speak to residents to resolve parking issues.
Talking to people and changing people’s behaviour is worth a try before road improvements.
Next Steps / Way Forward
I am including in this report some further information which may be helpful in considering the next steps and a way forward for the development of longer term effective traffic management measures within the areas identified in this report.
In 2011 the government introduced the Localism Act which provided new rights and powers, and allowed local communities to shape new developments in their communities (in particular housing). One of these powers allows the local town / parish councils to develop a local neighbourhood plan. The opportunity exists within these plans for the local council to ask the question “what other aspects of living in the town need to be considered?”. Clearly there is a need as part of any neighbourhood plan, to create a series of policies which would address specific current and future traffic management problems, including traffic congestion and pedestrian safety. There is therefore scope to include traffic management issues as part of the development of a broader neighbourhood plan.
I am aware that Kimberley Town Council are currently moving forward on the development of a local neighbourhood plan.
Following on from our meetings in January I would propose to invite the various agencies mentioned in the body of this report to make comment on the contribution they can make to minimise the current problems and how they may contribute to a longer term strategy.
I have no doubt after having studied the information in the report that whilst new policies and close working relationship with many agencies will contribute to reducing the extent of the problem, the real challenge will be in reshaping or changing people’s attitudes and making them more aware of the affects of their behaviour on their fellow citizens.
I hope that that the contents of this report might make people sit up and take notice and that we can introduce an awareness strategy of how small changes in the way people behave can greatly improve the quality of life for many others.
Additional information updated from contact with residents during January 2016
Corner of High Street Kimberley – a number of residents are seriously concerned about people who are parking around the corner from Greens Lane to go into Cherubs Day Nursery – they park on the left hand side near the entrance (dangerous parking) on top of that people are parking opposite on the road and some cars are parked for a whole day. This really must be dealt with as a priority. There is probably a case for double yellows around the Greens Lane/High Street corner on the Cherubs Day Nursery side, as far as the BT exchange entrance. On the other side of the road, any parked vehicle results in traffic being on the wrong side when passing, and also being even less visible to vehicles coming around the bend.
Regarding Nine Corners
A growing number of people are asking about the possibility of a zebra crossing in this area, and additionally I have also had contact from Rev Barbara Holbrook on several issues who writes as follows:
I wonder whether there can be a way of coming down from Swingate and turning
left onto High Street and then down Church Hill? You would still want to
disallow a right turn for people coming up from Sainsbury’s. There would
need to be some priority setting in the short ‘one-way’ stretch to enable
this to happen. This would allow traffic from Swingate to get out of
Kimberley without having to go through the bottleneck on Green Lane and the
Town Centre. As I told you, we once had a bride turn up 25 minutes late
because the traffic was that bad on a Saturday. This would also require a right turn restriction from Swingate into Greens Lane whenever the latter is badly congested. Otherwise, traffic would block the junction making High Street inaccessible.
Re: Nine Corners;
As you know, both Kettlebrook Lodge and our Church Hall have playgroups
every weekday. A large number of families with small children walk to
playgroup, and cross over the road at Nine Corners. The reverse is true for
families with children at Hollywell School – who walk up Hardy Street. When
the school come to perform their Nativity play at Christmas, they have the
police there to manage the traffic. It is also the crossing place for
people using the bus stops. It is a difficult place to cross because of poor
visibility and a poorly defined pavement area by the Brewery gates. I know
that when I cross there, I am never certain about traffic, as there is no
clear distinction about what is pedestrian and what vehicular. Walking on
that pavement with a Guide Dog would be a nightmare. Along with that, the
‘hidden’ nature of the bend (I have congregation members who have been
coming to meetings at my house for years and hadn’t realised that there was
a right angled bend) means that drivers rarely allow for the lack of
visibility and slow down accordingly. The number of minor bumps on that
stretch of the road highlights that (I know of at least four in the last 6
months). This will only get worse as the new houses are occupied on Hardy
Street, and the main access to the Brewery Site development is added
somewhere along that stretch of road, especially as the only plans I have
seen have it between two blind corners. As yet, there has been no major
incident there while I have lived here, but it is an accident waiting to
Ideally, a mini roundabout and zebra crossing would be good, as would
ensuring that the access to the Brewery Site was via the existing gate onto
such a roundabout, rather than further down the road”. Any crossing(s) should be a pelican type and must have traffic sensors so as not to cause undue congestion. Also, a pelican crossing should be located maybe halfway between a roundabout and the bus stop, but certainly not close to the roundabout.
Jonathan Rutherford sets the scene at the outset of 2016 about how exactly the Labour Party can start the process of renewal.
Family, community & country – earning, belonging & culture, some hard truths and key challenges.
Click on the link below to read the full article, which is reprinted from the Winter 2015 Fabian Review.
Jonathan Andrew Rutherford, is an academic who is a Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Middlesex. Within British politics Rutherford is associated with the Blue Labour school of thought within the British Labour Party, and has been described as one of its “leading thinkers”.
Tram extension Line 4 phase III to Kimberley, Eastwood, & into Amber Valley
On Saturday 18 March 2017 Cllr Richard Robinson together with local residents visit Eastwood Town Council for the Eastwood Neighbourhood Plan public consultation. Members of Eastwood Town Council confirm that they fully support in principle the tram extension from Phoenix Park through to Kimberley & Eastwood. They have alternative suggestions for route through Eastwood.
Thursday 23 March 2017 – Labour MP for Ashfield Gloria De Piero and Cllr Robinson both formally write to Eastwood Town Council pledging to work closely with Eastwood Town Council on tram developments.
Eastwood Town Council (27 February 2017) deliver hard copy Neighbourhood Plan for consultation with local residents in Eastwood. A draft on-line copy of the document with the town council’s preference for the tram extension covering Eastwood is shown at the following link: http://www.eastwood-town-council.org.uk/images/NeighbourhoodPlan.pdf (page 25).
On 2 December 2016 the following article appeared in the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser (click on the following three links): epson005 epson006 epson007 – I support the development of HS2 (with the important provisos that the fares are fully affordable and not premium pricing, and that there are no adverse affects on the proposed tram extension to Kimberley). On the latter point – there in fact should be some positive effects due to the need for increased connectivity by public transport in wider parts of Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire.
15 November 2016
Kimberley, Eastwood and Nuthall Tram Action Group (KENTAG) cautiously welcomed today’s announcement of the route that the northern section of HS2 will follow, including confirmation of the location for a station at Toton to serve Derby and Nottingham. This is seen as the seed which will deliver a network of light rail routes throughout the region.
Cllr Richard Robinson said; “Whilst today’s news is very good news for the prosperity of the East Midlands, we must ensure that construction is planned carefully and allows for other projects. We are particularly concerned that provision is made for the Kimberley and Eastwood tramline. I have received assurances that this will be allowed for at the design stage, and I want that set in stone.”
“Connectivity is vital for business and the creation of jobs. Now we know that the East Midlands will join the High Speed rail club we want to ensure that the prosperity it brings is shared out and doesn’t stop at Phoenix Park and the Nottingham city boundary”
“The M1, although vital for north-south connectivity, is a barrier to east-west development. The Nuthall roundabout creates a serious disincentive for firms to locate westwards. Just to the north is an underused bridge under which could easily carry a light rail line with the capacity of at least a dual carriageway road.”
(Andrew Braddock, Chairman of the Light Rail Transit Association (LRTA), said: “Now the HS2 route has been confirmed it is clear we need to address means of getting to its stations. Toton is in a very fortunate position, not only being just one kilometre away from the current terminus of NET but also in a place where various disused mineral railways converged. These lines are ideal for light rail use and can reconnect several former mining towns and villages to the new prosperity. The proposed Kimberley and Eastwood extension to NET would uses parts of these mineral lines.”
Steve Barber (Vice President elect of the LRTA and chair of Beeston and Chilwell for Integrated Transport) added “There is no doubt that construction of NET phase 2 was a difficult process, but the extension to Kimberley would involves no street running and little disruption. Now Nottingham has the beginnings of a network the advantages are becoming clear. Beeston High Road has no retail units available for rent and the town has a shop vacancy rate of just 3%, against national and regional averages of around 10-12%. As happened in Manchester, now is the time for a big expansion to include lines to Kimberley, Eastwood, Gedling and possibly the airport.”
Jim Harkins (from the secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group on Light Rail) said: “Nottingham is to be commended for its work on air pollution. For a city of its size it is punching above its weight and showing the rest of the country how it should be done. Research in Oslo has shown that around 50% of the most dangerous PM10 and other particulates don’t come just from engines but from the vehicle tyres and road surface wearing out and going into the low level atmosphere. Particles frombrake linings are a source of atmospheric pollution too.
Recent reports from the Universities of Oxford and Manchester amongst others, has indicated a significant link with Alzheimers Disease being caused by the Magnetite particles generated from the interface between wheels and road surfaces.
The steel wheels of electric trams running on steel rails (electric trams) do not emit any of this pollution.
Notes for Editors:
Satisfaction in Nottingham’s trams is running at 98% and exceeds other networks; http://thetram.net/net-is-number-one-say-customers.aspx
Construction of NET phase alone benefited Nottingham’s businesses by £100m; http://thetram.net/report-reveals-tram-projects-100m-economy-boost.aspx
this item appeared in the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser in August 2016.
For the most up to date details please of ongoing campaigning work on the Tram extension please visit my “Work in Broxtowe Pages” – July and August 2016 updates: http://richardsrobinson.org.uk/work-in-broxtowe/
August 2016 – Gloria De Piero – Labour MP for Ashfield (covering Eastwood) gives her commitment to supporting the tram campaign “I am delighted to be working alongside Richard to secure popular support for the tram to be extended to Kimberley & Eastwood”. She added “it’s a fantastic way to travel and I will be campaigning hard in Eastwood to bring jobs, investment, growth and to reduce traffic congestion as a result of us getting the tram network extended”.
You may have read various reports in local newspapers and heard details on local radio about the tram feasibility study for Kimberley.
The full report presented at this stage by Mott MacDonald is now public and shown here – click on the following link: 305248-AC-DOC-001 (DRAFT)
As the report is 106 pages long (light bedtime reading), I’ve asked Steve Barber (Vice President elect of the Light Rail Transit Association) to provide a briefer summary – he writes as follows:
“Basically it looks at 6 possible alignments and immediately dismisses 2 of these. (see pages 60-61 for overview maps). I’ve made the following observations as I’ve worked through the document:
Option 1 is broadly the one Atkins came up with in 2001, we’ve investigated it in detail and frankly would seem to be the preferred option. I’ve concentrated my thoughts on that but just to quickly analyse (and in my view dismiss at this stage) the others:
1a) Too much street running, too slow, property and land acquisition needed and a disruptive build.
1b) Again too much street running, allows for a difficult park and ride site if one at all and disruptive build.
2) Loss of quality amenity, property demolition, time disadvantages.
2a) As 2 but also misses markets and can’t be extended.
2b) This could be a possibility if the tunnel is found to be unusable, but is inferior to option 1
· A number of residential developments are proposed along the route. In the past Kimberley Councillors have ensured a route through has been safeguarded.
· Other than these developments, around 6,500 homes would be connected if the tram runs just to Giltbrook (see my opinion below)
· Mention is made of future extensions into the Amber Valley
· HS2 is not seen as a problem to the alignment.
· The report doesn’t seem to propose as much re-use of bridges and tunnels as I would have thought. It is proposed to demolish the existing, but buried bridge at New Farm Lane, by the cemetry and an at grade crossing is proposed instead of using the tunnel at Watnall. It is vague about this tunnel, it does exist, I’ve been inside it (OK only by about a metre) and we took a railway engineer to investigate; he thought it could be lined and re-used. However, it is filled in and largely inaccessible so there’s currently an imponderable. An at grade crossing would be disruptive, expensive and involve land take with possible demolition. Investagative work definitely needed here.
· It would pass through a SSSI, which I understand is for geological reasons (the sides of the cutting) so shouldn’t present too much of a problem. However, further on it passes through a SINC which is a fairly low designation, Phase2 overcame such objections by mitigation.
· Beyond Kimberley, there is a compelling case that it should extend to at least a park and ride, involving an expensive structure over the A610. This seems unavoidable.
British Land were major contributors to this report costs so it is natural that it looks at serving their retail park, this is questioned on the grounds of cost on page 12. However, I would further question as to whether that is the best destination, after the Park and Ride proposed near Awsworth. I would have thought Eastwood with a population of 18,000 and a new major employment site under construction would be better. If the tramway remains on the western side of the A610 there are a couple of under used bridges which lead into Eastwood, the first via the residential areas of Newthorpe Common and Hill top. There may be a third option for this section.
Option 1 as proposed by Atkins and studied in considerable detail by KENTAG and associated consultants is the best option and should be taken forward. If the tunnel and bridges which exist can be excavated and re-used there is virtually no major disruption to the town or elsewhere, this is a totally different project to NET phase 2 through Beeston. Serious consideration should be given to extending the route to at least Eastwood. This is clearly a project for the combined authorities of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as the benefits to the ex-mining, steelworking and brewery communities are significant.
Independent experts have predicted an extra £300m of growth per annum into Greater Nottingham due to phase 2 of the tram. The A610 corridor should tap into and enhance this but is currently constrained by poor connectivity, due to the M1 acting as a barrier to east-west growth”.
On 7 September 2015 at a meeting of the Strategic Planning and Economic Development Committee, Broxtowe council members voted to ask Mott MacDonald to provide further information on highways and wider transport issues before coming to a firm recommendation on how to consider the Tram route to Kimberley any further. The committee above will then look at the issues again in December this year.
If anyone has any comments or questions please get in touch with myself or Cllr Andy Cooper (Kimberley Town Council) & Chair of KENTAG – Kimberley, Eastwood, Nuthall Tram Action Group – firstname.lastname@example.org
- We would envisage the first stop being Hempshill Vale, with then one or two in Watnall/Nuthall with Kimberley then being the final destination for the first part of the extension.
- (tram stops) Whatever our initial thoughts are the whole purpose of having a Feasibility Study is to ascertain where exactly the prime locations would be and for the experts to give full and proper guidance
- Concerning the Tram Walk – on 8 February 2015, this was the sixth. The last one before this was the best attended yet with 50 people walking the route. In the past Radio Nottingham have attended, and we have got good media coverage.
- We welcome those who are doubtful about the benefits of the proposed extension as well as those who are in favour to send in comments.
- The Feasibility Study is hugely important as the report that comes from there will confirm the best route, tram stops etc.
- Concerning the route KENTAG believe that the route would be as follows: it would leave Phoenix Park on colliery line – then joins up with Great Northern line, but then leave this and joins Old Midland route.
- The Great Northern route is unacceptable as a tunnel has collapsed there.
More information available from myself – Cllr Richard Robinson or Cllr Andy Cooper – Chair of KENTAG – Kimberley, Eastwood & Nuthall Tram Action Group.
The pithy remark by Eugene Peterson (The Message) in his introduction to the book of Habakkuk “living by faith is a bewildering adventure“, is probably somewhat of an understatement, but definitely something we can all resonate with. Indeed we rarely know what’s coming next and not many things turn out just how we anticipate.
There are of course many prophets in the Old Testament, with Habakkuk being just one. Yet as Peterson further states “most prophets speak God’s word to us, however Habakkuk speak our word to God. He gives voice to our bewilderment, articulates our puzzled attempts to make sense of things, and faces God with our disappointment with God”.
Whilst there’s only three chapters in total, I think it’s one of the most significant books of the Bible and it speaks so much into the heart of what so many Christians struggle with today (well certainly I do).
Probably the most famous verses are in chapter 2 where the prophet talks about waiting for God, and then at the end of chapter 3 where, despite innumerable problems – the prophet still praises God.
Here’s 10 lessons from Habakkuk I jotted down from a sermon I heard 20 years ago – we’ve looked at them in our Small Group at Trent Vineyard recently – I hope they help you.
1) Admit your confusion
2) Talk to God about your feelings
3) Give God time to reply
4) Establish a spiritual context in which to think through the problem
5) Recognise God may keep us waiting for an answer
6) Understand to live by faith
7) No matter what, God is in control
8) Worship God daily and open your heart to fervent prayer & praise
9) Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness in the past
10) Face every situation with an attitude of joy
I first came across this talk: SCAN0100201140241010023100 (Faith in the Public Square) on 14 June 2014 when spending time with a few friends including Rev Dr Martin Robinson, Principal and Chief Executive of Springdale College: Together in Mission.
Martin talked warmly of Maurice Glasman and in particular his talk delivered in January 2013 – Faith in the Public Square.
I’ve read through Faith in the Public Square two or three times since the weekend; it’s a compelling read. I’m struck by its honesty, emphasis on relationships and willingness to stress the need to be radical.
Many salient phrases come to mind – “in the Labour Party we need to re-engage with our past in order to find any relevance in the present”. Then Maurice goes onto mention a new form of politics – one that will emerge from conversation, experience and engagement – being based on the core insight “there has been a fundamental lack of love in the system“.
This new politics does not claim that Labour by renewing its marriage vows with its Christian tradition will lead to a sudden utopia. However Labour’s mission to transform the destiny of millions of working people in this country will be better equipped when its sine qua non relationship with its Christian roots is renewed, restored and reinvigorated.
Read Faith in the Public Square.
It may change the way you think & act.
For more information on Blue Labour see:
For more information on Dr Martin Robinson – see: http://togetherinmission.co.uk/about-us/
The paragraph immediately below is extracted from Nick Palmer – Labour PPC for Broxtowe – e mail to around 3000 members of the public in the constituency. To contact Nick Palmer – NickMP1@aol.com
…..What follows is from Ed Miliband’s office. Adding a brief personal comment (Nick Palmer) what the proposals are effectively trying to do is trade off less price-gouging in the short term with a longer-term guaranteed market for clean energy, which will improve the standard of living in 2015-2020 but give companies a basis for a profitable longer term. Because it links into the clean energy targets, it also shifts the push for solar and other renewable technologies into a higher gear, which is part of the general effort to make the British economy more competitive in the medium term. What is doesn’t do is guarantee long-term low prices – I don’t think that’s a guarantee that could honestly be given by anyone in today’s world. But in the realm of the feasible the plan should work well.
Competition: the Big 6 supply energy to 98% of homes and run 70% of Britain’s power stations. Lack of competition means people can’t shop around to get a fair deal and so get overcharged.
Transparency: A lack of transparency with firms generating and selling electricity to themselves means that the Big 6 can get away with putting up bills when energy prices rise and not reducing them when they drop. When energy prices went up in 2008, bills went up. But when energy prices fell by 45% in 2009, household bills only fell by 5%. This overcharging is unfair and undermines trust in the market.
We will reset the market by doing 3 things:
· Getting energy companies to separate the parts of their businesses that generate energy from the parts that supply to the public with different licenses and separate operations.
· Requiring all energy companies to trade their energy in an open market by selling into a pool; and
· Introducing a simple new tariff structure so people can compare prices.
* Create a tough new energy watchdog
Despite repeatedly finding that the energy market is letting down customers, Ofgem has failed to start putting things right. In 2008, it identified 16 things that it thought needed to be improved for the market to work properly. In 2011 it admitted that 12 of these had got worse or stayed the same, but still took no real action.
We will create a tough new energy watchdog with new powers to police the market, including the power and remit to force energy companies to cut their prices when there is evidence of overcharging, for example when wholesale costs fall and the market fails to respond. Our reforms to make the market more transparent (‘the pool’, and separation of generation and supply) will allow the regulator to assess when action is necessary.
3. Freeze bills
Our market reforms will reintroduce proper competition and create a system based on fairness and public trust. But these measures will take time to kick in and we need to put an immediate stop to unfair rises in bills. It is estimated that by January 2017 the new regulator and market structure could be in place.
We will take immediate action upon entering office to freeze prices until January 2017 when our reforms start kicking in. This will save the typical household £120 and the average business £1,800.
We will introduce legislation immediately on entering office to give the Secretary of State the power to modify energy suppliers’ licences to require energy companies to freeze their prices.
The freeze would stop prices rising, but they could still fall and consumers could still switch tariffs to cheaper products.
4. Energy Save
To ensure that bills are affordable in the long run, we need to reduce the amount of energy we use. But the Government’s schemes are wasteful and not making enough difference.
The Government Green Deal has failed to have any impact. Since its launch only 384 households have signed up for a package and of those just 12 have been installed. That’s less than one for £1 million the Government has spent on its £16m marketing budget.
The government’s ECO scheme for the fuel poor is badly targeted and inefficient. Up to 60% of the funding available under ECO could end up going to people who don’t need it, and the cost of ECO is coming in well above the Government’s estimate of £1.3bn/year.
Labour will scrap the Green Deal and replace it with a new ‘Energy Save’ scheme. We will look at how we can offer cheaper loans for homes and SMEs.
We will do our part to reduce the cost of energy efficiency on bills by scrapping ECO and using the £1.3bn to tackle fuel poverty through an area based scheme. This will bring down costs by installing measures in multiple properties at once, reducing the upward pressure on bills.
We need to attract up to £110bn in clean electricity generation and transmission in the next decade. Yet under David Cameron, large scale investment has slumped from an all-time high of £7.2bn in 2009 to £3bn in 2012. Commentators from the CBI to industry and green groups have blamed this on the Government’s failure to provide the policy certainty needed to de-risk investment.
To support investment we will provide policy certainty by setting a 2030 power sector decarbonisation target and sticking with the new system of contract for difference in the Energy Bill.
To further bolster investment we will establish a new Energy Security Board to plan for Britain’s energy needs for the future.
And to deliver large scale investment in the green sector we will give the Green Investment Bank borrowing powers.
Won’t your reforms reduce investment?
No, by rebuilding trust in the market and providing greater investor certainty they will support investment. What any investor needs isn’t short term returns based on overcharging but long term certainty on returns. That is why we will commit to the 2030 power sector decarbonisation target which the industry has been calling for and we will stick with the system of contracts for difference which guarantees investors a return on their investment.
But don’t the Big 6 need profits to invest?
53% of investment in clean energy is coming from a whole range of sources outside of the Big 6. And profits aren’t being linked to investment – in fact the energy companies that have been making the highest profits are actually investing the least in new plants and paying the highest dividends. Centrica, for example, has had the largest profit margins over the last few years but has invested the least.
How will you actually freeze prices?
We will introduce legislation immediately on entering office to give the Secretary of State the power to modify energy suppliers’ licences to make them freeze their prices.
Why does the price freeze end in January 2017?
This is the amount of time that we think we need for our reforms to start kicking in. 20 months gives us enough time to bring forward legislation, create a new regulator and begin implementing are reforms to reset the market.
Isn’t this illegal under EU law?
No, this is a temporary freeze while the market is put on a genuinely competitive footing. European law allows price intervention to prevent consumers losing out. Many European countries have much more heavily regulated energy prices.
How will you stop companies just increasing their prices once the freeze ends?
The freeze will run until January 2017. At that point our market reforms will start kicking in and the new energy watchdog will be up and running. With its new remit and powers, it will be the job of the regulator to police the market and make sure that companies are charging consumers a fair price.
If you announce it now, what would stop the energy companies just increasing their prices beforehand?
Most energy companies realise that they have lost the trust of the public. These reforms and the price freeze are a chance to draw a line under this and restore trust. If energy companies opt to hike their prices in advance, the public would take a dim view of this. And we would hope that if this happens next year, David Cameron would stand up for people and put a stop to it. If he doesn’t, an incoming Labour Government would take action to deal with this as we implement the freeze.
Isn’t government policy to tackle climate change to blame for rising bills?
No, we’ve analysed what proportion of the increase in people’s bills is accounted for by investment in clean energy and it’s only a small amount of the price increases. The vast majority of increase in consumers’ bills has nothing to do with investment in clean energy.
Ed Miliband was Energy Secretary in the last government – isn’t he to blame for rising bills?
No, energy bills fell £100 when Ed Miliband was Energy Secretary, they’ve gone up £300 under the present government. And it’s because of the changes that happened when Ed was Energy Secretary that energy companies are now required to report on how much money they’re making, which has made more transparent how this market is leaving consumers being overcharged.
Aren’t bills going to go up whatever you do?
Growing demand and the cost of investing in new energy sources will put pressure on bills. But this is why it is all the more essential that people have a market that they can trust. So if bills go up they can see why and they know it’s fair. This is why we need to reset the market to end overcharging and deliver a fairer deal for consumers.
Broxtowe Labour Parliamentary Candidate Nick Palmer has highlighted some of the challenges facing a future Labour government at the 2015 General Election. The details below were sent to Nick’s e mail list in Broxtowe – which numbers around 3000 constituents.
To contact Nick: NickMP1@aol.com
Office for Budget Responsibility to audit Labour’s manifesto
Labour will ask the Office for Budget Responsibility to independently audit the costings of every spending and tax commitment in Labour’s manifesto at the next election.
In 2015 we stand to inherit a very difficult situation. After three years of lost growth, far from balancing the books, in 2015 there is now set to be a deficit of over £90 billion. So we will have to govern in tough times.
The Government’s day to day spending totals for 2015/16 will have to be our starting point. Any changes to the current spending plans for that year will be fully funded and set out in advance in our manifesto. There will be no additional borrowing for day to day spending. And we will set out tough fiscal rules – to balance the current budget and get the national debt on a downward path.
Ed Balls is today writing to Robert Chote, head of the OBR, asking him to independently audit spending and tax changes in our next manifesto.
Robert Chote has said in the past that he would like to do this and that it would help the independence of the OBR and lead to a more informed debate. The Conservative chair of the Treasury Select Committee agrees and so do we.
This is the first time a Shadow Chancellor – the first time any political party in Britain – has ever said it wants this kind of independent audit. A radical change from what’s gone before, we feel it will help restore trust in politics. It also undermines partisan myths if parties do this – claims that “the other party has a black hole of £x billion” can be exposed as propaganda.
Working parents to get 25-hrs free childcare for 3&4 year-olds
Labour will expand free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents, paid for by an £800m rise in the bank levy.
Childcare costs are part of the cost-of-living crisis families are currently facing. Last year nursery costs rose six times faster than wages.
High childcare costs are squeezing families and making work unaffordable for many parents, particularly women. ASDA’s recent Mumdex survey showed childcare costs prevent 7 in 10 stay-at-home mums working.
But currently some families are losing up to £1,500 a year in support through the childcare element of the working tax credit. In total, the Government have will have taken up to £7 billion a year of support away from families with children by 2015.
See also previous note on school age childcare
Labour will expand free childcare for three and four year olds from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents. Around 440,000 children aged three or four years old and where all adults in the household are in work would benefit from this policy.
The extra 10 hours of free childcare (on top of the 15-hr early years entitlement) would be available to households with 3 and 4 year-old children where all adults are in work – either single-parent households where the single parent is in work, or couple households with both adults in work.
The 15-hour early years entitlement will remain universal.
As with the 15-hour early years entitlement, the new 25-hour offer is for 38 weeks a year. The value of this extra childcare support is over £1,500 per child per year.
The next Labour government will increase the bank levy rate to raise an extra £800m in order to meet the cost of this extra childcare support for families. In the last financial year, the banks paid a staggering £2.7bn less in overall tax than they did in 2010. Over the last two years the government’s bank levy has raised £1.6 billion less than they said it would. At a time when resources are tight and families are under pressure that cannot be right.
We will be consulting on implementation details such as the definition of being ‘in
work’, or how eligibility would be assessed, to make sure the package works for both parents and childcare providers.
Isn’t this unfair to stay-at-home mums?
Labour has previously created policies like the child tax credit and the early years entitlement to benefit all families with children. But at a time when we need to support jobs in the economy and resources are limited we’re saying the next step in our expansion of the childcare system will be focussed on supporting working parents struggling with childcare costs and parents who want to move into work but where childcare makes it unaffordable.
The Government say their new childcare proposals are better?
What we are announcing is in addition to other support for childcare such as tax credits and tax relief. It should be kept in mind that the Government will have taken £7 billion a year of support away from families with children by 2015.
In 2015 will you keep the Government’s proposed new tax-relief scheme?
Labour introduced tax relief on childcare so we support tax relief. The Government are consulting on their proposals and we’ll look to see what they eventually decide. What we’re announcing today is in addition to tax relief.
And a non-announcement, in response to a newspaper scare story:
Is Labour looking at taking Child Benefit away from families who refuse to give their children the MMR vaccine?
No. This proposal is not part of the Policy Review.