Cakey Heaven / Tram Hell

First: a huge thank to all who came to the Beeston Bake-Off as competitiors, volunteers or just fans of cake. We had a great day, witnessed some fantastic bake skillz and raised just shy of £500. Thanks also to the Red Arrows who flew over our opening ceremony precisely at the moment Deputy Mayor Stan Heptinstall cut the ribbon and pronounced the Bake-Off open. I can’t remember booking them, but thanks anyway.

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News in from TramLand, formally Chilwell Road, that the works are several weeks behind, and that fumes kicked up by machinery has forced businesses to close. Not good news at all: and as such Simon Barton of Barton’s has lost faith the tram liaision group and penned us this statement:

If we have so far seen the best that can be done by all influential parties to enable the High Road Chilwell/Chilwell Road area to function satisfactorily until the reopening of the road to through traffic, then the best is simply not good enough. Fair play to those currently involved and giving up their time and energy, but to me things seem bad and getting worse, rather than adequate and getting better.

Local people and businesses have so far shown enormous tolerance. But the tolerance so far was achieved by the claims that genuine and meaningful support would be shown to existing residents and businesses by the tram promotors and constructors in return.

We have seen among other things, genuinely pretty branding of our existing Chilwell ‘village’ type community, satisfactory levels of parking to replace the lost ‘on street’ spaces, and a little white empty bus too (a bit like an ambulance I think when I see it, which may be appropriate). But in truth we are not seeing nearly enough people.

Having attended the Tram Liaison group meetings at Broxtowe Borough Council so far, I know of no radical plan that is being discussed beyond persisting with current measures to stop the dramatic decline in visitors (and therefore revenue for businesses) that I detect now coming to the area.

In the absence of a radical plan, if one simply extrapolates from how things were before road closure until now, and multiply the period by 4 (we are a quarter of the way through the claimed construction period) I say the area could well already be in crisis. It is just that people may not want to admit it for making matters even worse, even quicker.

I understand that it is the case that if businesses close they will not be eligible for compensation, saving rather than costing Nottingham City Council money. I cannot believe that this is unnoticed by those with access to the purse strings for compensation.

But my point would be that 20,000 plus people in the town area, and say 500 businesses, should not be tolerating the devastation being brought down on us by what is, when all said and done, just another business, without putting our case in return. We like them have a right to be treated fairly.

I believe there is a always a radical plan available that would much improve any situation, but the chance of finding one and it becoming reality are doubled if two significant parties work toward the same aim separately , in this case I mean the tram liaison group on one hand and my Company on the other.

I’m sure that they, like me, would appreciate support for anything sensible that can be come up with in the future from this hopefully low point on our trajectory back to the sort of community we want to live and work in.

In my mind everyone needs to be looking and demanding that from say October, when the construction work moves to the Chilwell end of the road, that things are ready to propel us forward positively and differently from that date.