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.