Author Archives: JonCollins

Ten Achievements of Nottingham City Council in 2018

As 2018 comes to an end I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the things Nottingham City Council has achieved working alongside many of our partners including Nottingham City Homes, Nottinghamshire Police, Framework, Intu and many others.

Here are ten things I’m proud the Council has done in 2018:

1. More School Places in Good Local Primaries – in 2018, 480 school places and 26 nursery places were created following expansion programmes in Westbury Special School, Glade Hill Primary School and Middleton Primary School.

2. Safer Private Rented Accommodation with Selective Licencing – This year Nottingham City Council introduced new licensing rules to tackle rogue landlords, improve standards and enforce basic safety requirements that anyone would want for their home.

4. Remembering and Celebrating our Armed Forces – To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War a number of events were organised and earlier in the year HMS Sherwood was given Freedom of the City, recognising the contribution of the East Midland’s only Royal Naval Reserve unit. 

4. Building a Better Nottingham with new Affordable Homes – A number of Nottingham City Homes ‘Building a Better Nottingham’ developments were completed with Lenton Green as one of the highlights, transforming the area with 142 homes, including bungalows, flats, family homes and independent living schemes.

5. Providing Support for Homeless People – Homelessness is on the rise across the country, but the City Council continues to fund initiatives to address the issue. This year we have secured an extra £420,000 to help fund this work and provide extra bed spaces to cope with additional demand and are also ensuring no one in Nottingham need sleep rough. We have also managed to reduce the numbers of people using bed and breakfasts as temporary accommodation to single figures and are set to reach our target of 0 by Christmas.

6. Cheering England on in the World Cup – Nottingham Castle played host to the screenings of England’s World Cup quarter and semi final with 3000 people coming to cheer England on in a positive and family friendly atmosphere.

7. Greener City with Nottingham’s Clean Air Plans– Nottingham is one of the first cities to have their clean air plans approved by Government. Many other cities around the country are struggling to get their clean air plans passed so the fact they have approved Nottingham’s is testament to the numerous green initiatives that have taken place over many years.

8. A Move Back to City Focused Policing – Though we have had success in reducing anti-social behaviour, crime has risen as Government cuts have hurt frontline policing. It was encouraging though to see Nottinghamshire Police took the decision to move back to city focused policing which will increase joint working between the police and council.

9. Plan to Improve Children’s Literacy – Building on our status as a UNESCO city of literature, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library book giving scheme was rolled out to three more wards in the city, Bridge, Wollaton East and Lenton Abbey and Dales. The scheme is currently providing books to more than 4000 children in Nottingham. I was proud to spend the summer walking a marathon a day on the Pennine Way, raising £5340 for the charity.  We have also consulted on plans for a new library with the aim of making it the best children’s library in the country.

10. Progressing with the Broardmarsh Development – The Council Executive has agreed to proceed with the redevelopment of intu Broadmarsh and the new Broadmarsh Car Park which will bring jobs, growth, more visitors and greater confidence in the city centre.

There are many other things Nottingham City Council has achieved this year and even more to try and achieve in 2019. It is a good record to build on however, and a testament to all the people that work in Nottingham City Council and our partner organisations, who continue to strive to deliver the best for Nottingham people.

Working Together to Tackle Homelessness

As the winter draws in we are continuing our commitment that there really is no need to be sleeping rough in Nottingham this winter.

Homelessness is on the rise across the country, but the City Council continues to fund initiatives to address the issue.

Every year we work with our partners, including Framework, Emmanuel House, the Fire Service, hostels and local churches, to implement a cold weather plan to prevent and respond to rough sleeping.

Last year, we were able to prevent 258 people from sleeping rough and this year we have secured an extra £420,000 to help fund this work and provide extra bed spaces to cope with an additional demand.

You can find out more about how we’re working to end homelessness here:

If you see someone on the street this winter, please contact Framework on 08000665356 so that they can offer support.

Making our city centre a better place for everyone to enjoy

The City Council recently consulted on a proposed new “Public Space Protection Order” (PSPO), designed to help ensure that the city centre provides a safe, clean, vibrant and attractive environment for all.

Public Space Protection Orders give councils the ability to better manage their public spaces, so that we can promote the kind of city centre we want to see. The PSPO is intended to promote a vibrant, welcoming city centre by facilitating things like busking in appropriate locations and streamlining the offer provided by those giving food to those in need, for example by ensuring there is an offer available across the week, rather than several on the same day.

If you think about the Victoria Centre, security guards are able to manage the centre to ensure that visitors get the best possible experience without disturbance. The PSPO will give CPOs the ability to manage the city centre in a way that makes it a better place that we can all enjoy.

The PSPO is not about banning things. In fact, there are only 3 bans included, and they are for things I’m sure we can agree on- urinating and defecating in public, blocking entrances and exits and using psychoactive substances. Other activities are restricted so as to ensure that they can be managed for the good of the public as well as in the best interests of anyone undertaking those activities. It also strengthens powers to deal with acts of public indecency helping make our city centre a better destination for businesses, local residents and visitors.

The PSPO provides particular pitches for Big Issue sellers, will limit ‘chuggers’ and people giving out flyers without agreement from the council to do so and will promote respectful street entertainment that makes our city centre more vibrant.

At a time when the police presence in our city has diminished due to eight years of Government funding cuts, ensuring our Community Protection Officers are properly equipped with the powers to deal with the growing challenges is essential to maintain our city centre as an attractive public space for people to work, relax and enjoy.

The consultation closed last month and whilst the responses were overwhelmingly positive, we are taking any issues raised seriously and looking to address them in our final proposals. Submissions included those from Nottinghamshire Police, Big Issue, Nottingham Business Improvement District, local churches, the Big Issues, Musicians Union, Equity and local residents.

Nottingham Remembers the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War  and there are a number of events that have been organised to remember this important centenary. In my own ward, St Ann’s, I was lucky enough to meet Hilda Hutchinson, who is 101 years old and was the guest of honour at the unveiling of a refurbished memorial at St Ann’s Church. Hilda owns her very own piece of Great War history – a Christmas card sent to her by her father from the trenches in 1918.

This week has already seen a number of events organised across the city to remember the centenary with the 1918 Arnustuce Centenary Concert at the Royal Concert Hall, featuring the Nottingham Harmonic Choir, Mraimah Kannneh-Mason and Southwell Girls Choir. We have also had the Games of Remembrance at Meadow Lane and City Ground playing host to a match between troops from the British Army Football Association and the German Bundeswehr to commemorate soldiers from both sides.

To mark Remembrance Sunday itself The Victoria Embankment will once again be the city’s focal point for commemoration on Armistice Day with the two minute silence and wreath laying taking place from 11am. To conclude the day of national commemorations, beacons will be lit infront of Victoria Embankment along will also include poetry and music to pay tribute to the 14,000 men and women from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire who lost their lives as apart of the Battle’s Over A Nation’s Tribute.

We are also working with the County Council to deliver a new war memorial at Victoria Embankment. The memorial will be the first collection of all the names of those from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire who died in the First World War. The plans final design has been approved and the memorial should open before May next year.

I know there are lots of people in Nottingham will want to remember those that lost their in the First World War and I hope as many people as possible go to their local Remembrance Service to do just that.

Any Local Government Reorganisation Must Consider an Expanded City Boundary

Local Government re-organisation is a distraction from the very real issue of unfair Government funding of local authorities and the growing challenge of sustainable funding for social care services. However, if local government reorganisation has to happen, there should be one Nottingham and one council for an expanded city – not the current muddle of six councils that people in the urban parts of the conurbation are living with now.

The existing boundary between Nottingham and Nottinghamshire is an nonsensical anomaly from the 1998 local government reorganisation, leaving Nottingham at a disadvantage over other cities.  Any local government reorganisation needs to be sustainable and future-proof and that should include a single council that serves the whole of urban Nottingham. Proposals based only on the County boundary would stifle Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s potential growth and reduce accountability for city services. A new large county unitary’s focus would be diluted if it was trying to deliver services to former coalfields and growing market towns as well as fulfilling metropolitan duties in an arbitrary ring around Nottingham.

Currently, less than half (48.7%) of those who work in the city also live in the city – significantly less than for other comparable cities such as Sheffield (75.7%) and Leeds (70.5%.) Many people from outside the city make use of city services and its infrastructure and enjoy it as a destination for leisure, entertainment and shopping. But their Council Tax doesn’t contribute to funding the city services they use regularly and they are not in a position to hold Nottingham’s decision makers to account for choices made in the city that can significantly affect their daily lives.

The City Council has submitted a response to the County Council’s consultation into their plans and City residents should respond as well. There are ramifications for city residents if the County Council goes ahead with its proposals as currently drafted. The County Council’s proposals and consultation can be seen here:

New Neighbourhood for Nottingham?

Nottingham City Council has long held the ambition to develop the Waterside area close to the city centre and this week Executive Board was proud to approve consultation of the planning document which sets out our ambition and gives future developers guidance on how to meet those aspirations. The bank of the River Trent is one of Nottingham’s greatest assets, but other than Victoria Embankment, it is an asset that is currently underutilised.

The opportunity to develop the area with high quality new homes, a new school, new transport links while also preserving and enhancing the unique riverside location and green space is one we should take. Our plans lay out the creation of a new residential community with its own identity and character. It’s hoped that people will be able to enjoy the best of contemporary living, in a healthy, sustainable and vibrant riverside setting. I want to see new developments which will provide improvements to public spaces, including a cycling and walking path and green space along the river bank connecting the Nottingham and Beeston Canal towpath with the Victoria Embankment through to Colwick Park.

Due to the scale of change envisaged for the 27-hectare site, the council will control the level, type and timings of the change required ensuring that the area’s best assets are retained and used in the best way possible. The City Council will work with developers and landowners to implement new development schemes in line with the planning guidance in phases.

Over the last few years a number of regeneration projects have been completed close to the Waterside area and include upgrades to Nottingham Station, a new retail development at Eastpoint on Daleside Road and successful eco-home schemes in the Meadows.  Housing developments are also under construction along Arkwright Walk, Queens Road and Saffron Court on Crocus Street.

Though the Waterside development is many years off from being realised, this week is a landmark in its journey. I look forward to the consultation launching in the beginning of November and hope as many people as possible will take part in it.