Again, loads to cram in, and I’m hot and irritable, so if I miss anything out, send me a deservedly arsey email and I’ll bang it in my next gushing.
Saturday saw myself, Assistant Editor Tamar and Prof J attend the University of Nottingham outreach event, Mayfest, in our capacity as the editors of The Beestonian. Despite being terrified I would be sat a table with a big pile of the publication and utterly no interest, a situation known as an ‘Artie Fufkin’, loads of you were utterly lovely and came along to say hello, offer help, accept my shiny new business card and, on one occasion, tell me a wonderfully indiscreet and totally unrepeatable story about a prominent local politician who makes the occasional appearance on this blog. We had a giant table-cover which we let visitors write on what Beeston meant to them, and amongst the usual suggestions: Paul Smith, Shane Meadows, Bendigo, we also got the wonderful ‘ DOES NOT SMELL’ and the equally ace ‘NOT THE ONE IN LEEDS’. Cheers to all contributors, I’ll print the whole list soon.
Issue 9 of The Beestonian will have the theme of the Uni and it’s impact on the town, so if you’d like to add your two -bob to the debate drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, we’ll be exhibiting again at the very exciting Not the Camden Market at Barton House on June 3rd, moe info here . Come along. I’ll drink a lot less coffee this time and try and speak coherently.
It’s another HUGE issue in Broxtowe and even attracted East Midlands Today to Foster Avenue. It’s a typically complex issue, but can be summarised thus: we have to find a set amount of land to build new houses on within the Borough, else have central government remove the power of planning allocation which would give developers carte blanche to stick houses all over the place. Followers of Nick Palmers/ Anna Soubry’s newsletters will see how this has become a key battleground, with Soubz playing the SAVE THE GREENBELT eco-warrier role pretty unconvincingly. She has already been forced into one retraction, and will have to make another one soon after urging people to write to the council on the wrong part of the proposal. Oops.
Her strong refusal to allow any building on greenbelt may seem admirable to some, though as this piece points out, we do need more property in Broxtowe (allocation is important though: think how many people could have been housed in the huge swathe of land Tesco occupies over the area).
And say she does prevaricate and prevaricate until local planning is disregarded and in sweep the developers to throw concrete anywhere they fancy, who gains? Well, builders for one. Especially ones that like to build low-quality, opportunistic poor value boxes. Anna Soubry’s long-term partner and campaign manager is Neil Davidson. Neil Davidson is a big cheese at Persimmons builders, who have a whole section on their Wikipedia page titled ‘criticisms’ and lists their appearances on BBC Watchdog, ITV New Homes from Hell and other examples for building crappy houses. Surely just a coincidence.
Still, as the estimable Javid has pointed out, at least she’s not adding to the crisis by swelling the population by moving here>
I bumped into a old friend of mine recently, Pete the taxi-driver. A fantastically interesting and chatty chap, his one -man business as one of Beeston’s independent cabbies is having a bit of trouble. Why? Nothing to do with the recession, but simple some bad planning on the council. Since the bus station has been cordoned off, the cab rank has been moved to Foster Road, attracting virtually no foot traffic, the bread and butter for the jobbing cabbie. This might not be so bad if people knew about it so could stroll up if they needed to, but there’s been very little, if any, communication from the council about this. The drivers are thus stranded out the way and business is terrible. When we meet, Pete explains he took a single fare the other day. It’s a desperate situation and he looks scared as hell. As we talk, a cab from a large local firm pulls up outside The Last Post and picks up booked custom from the pub ‘That keeps happening’ sighs Pete. ‘They have no idea we’re taxis’.
So if you are a councillor, do the decent thing and get the word out that the rank has moved. And if you need a ride, you could do a lot worse than Pete. He is a lovely, funny chauffeur and even tolerated me talking about how much I loved Hellenic culture for the first year of knowing him after I mis-heard his name as ‘Pete the Greek’, rather than ‘Pete the Sikh’. Stick his number in your phone: 07836641927 . I’d ask you to tell him I sent you, but he might tell you the story about when he drove me back from the pub with me complaining he was going the wrong way only for him to point out that I maybe too drunk to remember, but he could recall I’d moved house a fortnight before and my directions were taking me to my erstwhile abode. And I’d like to keep that event to myself.