Parliament has risen for the “conference season” which means I am able to devote all my time to working in the constituency.
Brexit continues to obsess most occupants of the Westminster bubble. Back in the real world I have little doubt most constituents are heartily fed up with all the squabbling, speculation and commentary and want us to “get on with it”.
But bear with me because the negotiations are the most important and complex in many decades and we must get it right for the sake of generations to come.
I very much hope that in her speech on Friday the Prime Minister will provide clarity on what we want by way of a transitional period and the eventual deal. The economy and jobs must come first, and although technically we have to leave the single market and customs union when we leave the EU in March 2019, I want us to keep de facto membership until such time as we have negotiated a final settlement.
Enough of Brexit! (though I hope you might read on to my various contributions in Parliament in the last few weeks). There’s a lot of other news.
A52 speed camera progress
Highways England have revealed details of their speed survey on the A52 from Sherwin/Bramcote roundabout to the QMC. Their work follows a campaign led by Bramcote resident Tony Smith following a number of accidents (including a double fatality in November of last year). Residents have been complaining that cars were racing, especially in the early hours, and the results prove what we all already knew!
Tony and I met Highways England and were told that based on the evidence speed reduction measures are necessary. Average speed cameras appear to be the solution and further assessments will be made. In the meantime Highways England continue to improve road safety notably on Sherwin roundabout.
We asked for better road markings and we got that. However ‘Stapleford’ was abbreviated to ‘STED’ not ‘STFD’ but thanks to Tony Smith and Bramcote Borough Councillor Martin Plackett Highways England quickly fixed the mistake!
More money for our schools
Earlier this year I wrote to the head teachers of all schools in Broxtowe asking them to send me their thoughts on the proposed changes to the National Funding Formula, which I then reported to the Government. At the time, a few schools looked to lose out as a result of the changes, however I am pleased that after considering our submissions to the consultation, the Government has rightly listened to concerns and that Broxtowe schools will now see an average 1.6% increase in funding, with some previously underfunded schools seeing up to 9% increase in funding per pupil.
Water Safety at Beeston Weir
Following the tragic death of Owen Jenkins at Beeston Weir in July, signs and a temporary barrier have been installed. Last week I attended Broxtowe Borough Council’s second meeting to improve safety at the Weir.
Life saving equipment will be installed very soon and we discussed permanent measures to dissuade people from going on to the Weir. We agreed to identify other open water sites that need similar safety measures in Broxtowe – on the Trent and at the Attenborough Nature reserve.
HS2 returns to Trowell
Almost 500 people attended another HS2 consultation at Trowell Village Hall yesterday. There is considerable opposition to a planned 60 feet high viaduct through the village to deliver the route. I have asked (again) for a scale model of the plans. HS2 assure me they are in listening mode and I have requested they look at all alternatives to the viaduct. I will continue to keep residents updated.
Pasture Road update
I paid an unannounced visit to Pasture Road in Stapleford where inconsiderate and dangerous parking by some businesses is blighting the lives of residents. Following my robust representations for vehicles to be removed from the verges, the situation has improved. No-one wants any business to move or close but all must act responsibly and there is an argument that some require more off-road parking facilities. To that end, the Chair of Broxtowe’s Jobs and Economy committee, Councillor Tony Harper, has visited all the businesses offering assistance. More action is planned and I will keep residents fully informed.
Multi faith civic service
Sunday’s civic service celebrated the election of Councillor Halimah Khaled MBE as Broxtowe’s Mayor with local leaders of the three great faiths – Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Halimah is our first Muslim Mayor and she is bringing people together to create a better understanding of faith and Islam in particular.
I visited Boots HQ and saw how their plans for the site are progressing. A new road will soon be completed which is critical to the construction of hundreds of new homes and dozens of businesses.
Opening of Beeston Library
Beeston Library has reopened after a £1 million refurbishment that sees the original entrance restored and in use. The abundance of books is striking along with some excellent community services and facilities.
No Library in Notts has closed since the 2008 financial crash which is a testament to the Conservative administrations at County Hall; the last Labour Council continued that policy so credit to both parties.
The new Conservative administration has pledged to continue invest another £1.4 million in our libraries next year.
Moorgreen speeding update
I met representatives of Moorgreen Residents Association for a catchup on measures to stop speeding on Moorgreen and related roads. I believe we are making progress but we need more data which I hope Notts County Council will agree to gather.
Bramcote Old Church Tower
Many congratulations to the Friends of Bramcote Old Church Tower Group who have secured over £360,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding to restore the Old Church Tower in Bramcote Village. I supported their application which will mean the 13th Century ‘sunken church’ will be saved and used by community for years to come.
Kimberley chapel open day
Kimberley Town Council have organised an open day at the Chapel on the Hill on Saturday (September 24th) from 10am until 2pm. It really is worth visiting this beautifully restored grade ll listed Chapel with fabulous panoramic views.
Beeston Station gets make over Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Friends of Beeston Station (FOBS) community action day. Painting cleaning and a general tidy up were the order of the day and a great job was done. Please let me know if you would like to join FOBS. I have made a formal request for a meeting with the Railways Minister as part of my campaign to improve access for all at Beeston Station. I will keep you informed of the outcome.
Bramcote’s future – have your say Bramcote Neighbourhood Forum have launched a consultation on their draft plan for the future of Bramcote. It is important that as many local residents have their say as possible before the closing date which is 20 October. You can access the full consultation online here:
Draft plans for Kimberley and Stapleford are also almost finished and their consultations will open shortly. I will keep you updated.
Bus services hit by tram The number of passengers using the No. 18 bus between Stapleford and Nottingham has fallen by 32% since the tram extension opened, according to Trent Barton. As a result the service has been cut to one an hour. Following complaints from constituents I met Trent Barton who explained why they cannot restore the half hourly service.
There will still be regular services from Stapleford into Nottingham via the i4 or 30 buses but that doesn’t help people in Beeston Rylands.
NHS Pay I am very proud of four generations of Soubrys all of whom are working, or have worked, in the NHS. You can read my contribution to the recent debate in Hansard here or watch on Parliament TV here. The clock was against me so I ran out of time to say that Broxtowe’s GPs have increased spending on mental health services by 5.7% and our Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG that comprises of our GPs and other local health workers) has seen an increase in funding of 2% this year.
The EU Withdrawal Bill and a meeting with the Prime Minister Please do not believe everything you read in the papers! There is cross party agreement that as part of the process of leaving the EU (and to remind hard line Leavers I voted to start that process by voting for the triggering of Article 50) we need to move all existing EU laws, directives, regulations etc into British law. Accordingly, the Government has introduced the EU Withdrawal Bill. It is a complex and very important piece of legislation. I agree with its aims but not the means of delivery and in my opinion (and indeed a large number of MP’s – both so called Leavers and Remainers), it needs serious amendment. Labour agree with the aims of the Bill but, somewhat foolishly in my view, decided to vote against the second reading. Notable exceptions were Dennis Skinner who joined me in the lobby to vote for the next stage of the Bill. I and others have tabled various amendments to the Bill. You can see my contribution in Hansard here or on Parliament TV here.