Well, stuff really seems to be moving on the New Deal front. I haven’t wrote on here for a while as every time I do, something new pops up. As such I’ll be ignoring all emails, text messages, gmails, Facebook messages, tweets, phone calls, letters and coded messages sent to me from the television while I type out an update.
So we really have touched a nerve: even making the front page of The Beeston Express this fortnight, with a favourable and pleasingly optimistic write-up. Our attempt to create a ‘steering group’ , a public forum that can evaluate the stated desires of Beestonians, and then get them up to those who can actually do something about it. An essential part of this for me was to get the Civic Society on board: as I have frequently stated here there work over the past 40 years in Beeston has been invaluable and wide-reaching. They have a wealth of knowledge of he town, and a history of effective strategy well beyond my own. They have agreed to be involved to a degree, which I am very happy with.
I have also had progressive and encouraging contact with the retail side of Beeston; and the burgeoning cultural wing. They are enthused to get behind the New Deal, and will be responsive to our wish-list.
Of course, time is of the essence. The tramworks on Chilwell Road are to be extended considerably, and work on Beeston Square is set to pose another set of complications onto the town. We shall be holding he first meeting very soon, and once I have dates and a venue then I will let you know. To work well, this has to be grassroots, not top-down. Beestonians need to be the ones driving this, lobbying for a Beeston they want to live in. Watch this space.
I also want to say a belated thank you to Nick Palmer, who has done all the legwork for New Deal while I take the credit. 13 years as an MP gives Nick organisation skills and influence to make sure New Deal is effective and representative. I am an utter novice at this, hence why I am not keen to run the initiative once it’s in place, so Nick’s knowledge has been invaluable, and he hasn’t minded me sending him demanding emails at silly times of the morning, even when he’s about to jet off to Asia as part of his real job.
The announcement that Chilwell Road will be closed for several extra months has heated up the local debate. It was sad to read that Greenfingers florist is to close, but near infuriating to read the response to this from NET:
“If the owners of the Greenfingers Flower Shop believed the tram works were affecting the business, we could have looked into it, but they have not been in touch with us.
“While some traffic routes have been altered in the area, there are no tram works outside their shop, so it’s not clear if or how the tram works have led to their decision to relocate.
The stated belief that the florist is not affected by the tramworks is terrifyingly ignorant. The florist is now very difficult to get to: very little traffic passes by now, Cator Lane is closed, and the buses no longer run by it. No, there are not gaping pits outside the shop, but if NET believe that the only adverse effect of closing off an arterial road/ bus route is felt by traders directly next to the diggers, then that is worrying. The same problem hit Bartons too: without the steady stream of traffic, and the ability to easily reach the venue, they had to drastically scale back their plans to develop into a huge entertainment complex. It’s like a doctor sawing off a patient’s leg and then being puzzled why the amputee can’t feel their toes.
If that makes you want to swear, then do so. Here, in my monthly column for The Nottingham post, I explain why a few effs, jeffs and scatological screams can be a good thing.
On mOnday, February 3rd, we’ll be reopening The Film Club at Cafe Roya again. Over the last few weeks while we’ve been in hibernation, I have been seeking out local filmmakers to exhibit their talents, and have been consistently amazed by the breath of talent out there. We’re kicking off with a Sci-Fi Special, with Roya cooking some, err, space-burgers for the interval. I’ll post more details on the Facebook page tomorrow, and if you fancy coming down (or even bringing some of your work/something amazing you’ve found) then drop me an email at email@example.com.
Also making a return soon is The Beestonian, with Issue 24 being polished into perfection right now by the hugely talented bunch of writers, illustrators, reporters and designers who make me look good by being the editor. We’re looking to expand again, but need cash to do so: if you’d like to bung us a donation (we’re totally not-for-profit, and reinvest all the pennies we make back into the mag); or buy an advert we’d be right made up, and you’d get that warm glow of knowing you’re helping us get the word out on why Beeston is the centre of the universe toa wider audience.
As I’m trying to use this blogspace to concentrate on issues such as New Deal, I’ve decided to split off, albeit temporarily, my thoughts and rants on politics to a different blog. If you fancy a gander, click here and sign up for alerts. I’m also looking for contributors who can kick out interesting, informative and entertaining articles to send stuff in. Followers of all parties and persuasions are invited, the more politically pluralistic the better.