Improvements to Beeston: Broxtowe’s Plans.

This is my 300th post on Beestonia,so was going to be something sentimental, indulgent and whimsically nostalgic. Yet I’m too busy for that, so I’ll save it for my 500th post, sometime around November.

I mentioned before that I the first meeting of Continuum Beeston was attended by Broxtowe Borough Council’s Head of the Built Envionment, John Delaney. He presented the steering group with a draft list of the Council’s planned improvements to Beeston centre in anticipation of it’s relaunch, costed and assessed. I was keen to get this out to a wider audience as it is still in the draft stage, the list ‘operational’, ie: open for public asessment and input. He’s now sent this over and I’ve decided to print it in full. Note the two costings, ‘economy’ and ‘maximum’: quite a gulf; so even individual ideas presented here have a wide possibility of the extent in which they are carried out. Some ideas are pretty routine, others a little more imaginative.

In return, I have sent John and his team the document I compiled through my own consultation, through comments here, notes from the New Deal Meeting and other places.

(Oh, it might not be the easiest thing to see, so probably best to download. I’ve just spent the best part of an hour swearing at MS Excel and it’s utter rubbishness)

Suggestions, as ever, very welcome:


Beeston Continuum: first thoughts on first meeting / Becoming an honest man.

Pure glamour, my life. Last week, on a Saturday night, I cycled in icy rain to a small room in the back end of a church to discuss town planning policy. Rock, meet roll.

It is fascinating though, I have to confess. I seem to have uncovered a hidden side of me in the last few months, one that is not just caring deeply about our town’s past, but also it’s future. And when it comes to exciting times for a town, few probably beat Beeston right now. Imagine if I was writing a blog about some sleepy Cotswold town where seldom happens year on year? I’d go mad, probably, but sometimes it’s an alluring thought.

I’ve been meaning to write the meeting up for sometime and I will soon, but I will give a precis now. Myself, Sheila from the Beeston Express, Nick Palmer, representatives from the civic society who also had experience in local planning, and John Delaney, Broxtowe Head of Built Environment met and had a long discussion of what we wanted, how to get it and why we needed it. I’ve been rigorously collating a document over the last month developed from your emails, texts, comments and suchlike. I’ve had so many I’ve been unable to reply individually to most, but I have read every one. The document therefore is a taste of these, once I’ve extracted duplicates, wholly impractical ideas; and the plaintive suggestion ‘Move to Long Eaton’. The result I can send over as a Word doc to anyone who wants to read through, email and I’ll forward one on. This document has been distributed to all parties, and is far from a closed book. Yet it is something to base ideas upon.

John Delaney spoke candidly to us about what restrictions the council is under, who owns what in Beeston, proposed development timetables and much else. He also bought along a very interesting document, laying out the council’s plans for polishing up the town, all costed and timetabled. He agreed to send me a copy, which I will put on here for comments when he mails it over. Again, he is keen to get feedback on ideas: I am sure you will be vocal in your opinions.

We’re meeting again soon and inviting several other parties along, notably Simon Barton from Bartons, whose huge site could play a crucial role in future development, and others who can help influence, inform or even sniff out funding for the town. I’ll keep you up to speed, and host a more detailed report / documents as I receive them.

On Tuesday morning, I attended another meeting at Beeston Town Hall hosted by Beeston BID, to discuss ways to promote events in Beeston. While we now have four key, bedded in events (Chinese New Year, Carnival, Oxjam and the Christmas light switch on) so much more happens that isn’t promoted well enough. It’s all very well hosting a cultural, artistic or sporting event but without adequate promotion, there is little chance of getting the message out. Some good ideas were mooted, and I’m discussing some of these right now with others. Again, promotional ideas are welcome.

In other news, despite being hugely busy on Beeston Continuum, The Beestonian, Beestonia:The Movie; The Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya, Oxjam (just signed up for a 4th year), Creative Beeston, freelancing articles and other projects I can’t remember right now, I went down to Nottingham Council House last Wednesday and booked myself on a new initiative: so in less than 12 weeks time I’ll be marrying my long-term partner Ellie. Woe betide calling her Lady Beestonia after May 16th though: she actually has a proper title that she earned (Dr) rather than my self-aggrandizing self-applied moniker that came from a , piquish, drunken moment of ego some years ago. We’ll be having a party in Beeston. A big party. And not one document pertaining to urban renewal, development funds or transition towns will be permitted that day. I’ll save them for the honeymoon.

Continuum Beeston/ The Star is Rising / Issue 24 of The Beestonian…is GO!/ Jim ‘Beeston’s Pete Seegar’ Dunn goes viral…

Readers of the Beeston Express would have caught the latest edition’s  story: ‘Continuum, Beeston…’, which explained where the Beeston New Deal initiative goes from here. If you missed it, then I’ll fill you in: tomorrow I will be meeting with Sheila, editor of The Beeston Express, and a hand-picked group of local experts including Beeston BID, Beeston’s town centre manager, Beeston Civic Society and others to examine and evaluate the huge amount of good ideas sent over since the meeting. The intention is to get the best ideas put into practise, pushing them directly onto the people who can make them happen.

We’re named this ‘Continuum Beeston’, and Sheila has taken the reins. These won’t be public meetings, more a steering group to get stuff done. Anything I get sent though, whether in the comments here, on Facebook, email or approaching me in the pub will be represented by myself at the forthcoming meetings.

I’ve already expressed my pleasant surprise at the avalanche of idea I’ve received, and apologise that I have only been able to reply to a small fraction of these: I assure you though, if you’ve sent something in, I’ve read it. If you’ve approached me in the pub however, I might have forgot it depending on the amount of booze that followed.

So this is really just a last call for ideas, and a promise from myself that I will go to tomorrow’s meeting with a high degree of intent to get stuff pushed through. This is a real chance to get the people who can affect change in this town, who hold the purse strings, who understand the way planning works, who understand the civic fabric, and let them know that we, as Beestonians want.


Some interesting new businesses are coming here on their own accord, I’m happy to announce. The Star will be reopening in spring, designed and ran by the team behind the phenomenally successful Horse and Jockey, Stapleford, which has now won Pub of the Year with Notts CAMRA two years running. It looks like live music could be strong part of it’s reopening, which means that we now have a staggeringly impressive amount of venues showing off how creatively wonderful we are. I’m going along to see what to expect in a few days: I’ll report back my thoughts.

I also here that the long-lamented Library restaurant is returning under a new guise, a French restaurant called ‘Table 8’. Again, more as I get it.

Not a new business, but The Bean coffee bar, one of Beeston’s most successful independents, as gone through a total refit and is now reopened. Although it’s a bit confusing to adopt to the new things in there: newspapers on wooden poles? The milk jug moved to a different place? Toasties being served? Change. The older I get, the scarier it becomes.


Issue 24 of The Beestonian is out at last! Or will be when I collect it once I’ve finished writing this. It’s been a bastard to get to print due to me being ill, my assistant being ill, then, just as it went to print, our printer getting ill. If you fancy a gawp from the comfort of your own home/workplace (tut) then it’s online and resplendent here:

I’ve also just found I have a bunch of Beestonian t-shirts in stock, so if you fancy an utterly unique (well, one of 50) bit of local apparel then drop me a line and I’ll get one over. Free delivery in NG9!


And finally, local folk-legend Jim Dunn got in touch with me earlier this week wondering if I could shed a light on why a video he made some time ago, where he sings a paean to our town’s main pedestrian through-fare, seemed to be getting loads of hits. It’s been online for ages, attracting a few hits here and there, but recently seems to have gone viral, picking up 3,000 hits in a matter of days. Seems afer we posted it on our FB site  ( join here! It’s updated more often than here) it’s been picked up on a few other sites and as such, become a local hit. Have a gander below: