This week Gedling Eye was given the chance to grill Gedling Borough Council boss Cllr John Clarke on your behalf.
We sat down with the council leader at their HQ in Arnold on Monday and put to him a number of your burning questions about Gedling borough.
Here’s how he answered…
Q: Why was Gedling Tip closed? (Bob Thacker)
JC: The tip was closed by Nottinghamshire County Council. We did fight to keep it open but lost that battle. Unfortunately the nearest tip is now right out near Calverton. The argument at the time [for closing it] was because lots of people using the tip in Gedling came from the City.
I don’t know if there’s any chance in the future they could get a piece of land to make it more local, but the way the funds are at the moment, it’s not high on Nottingham County Council’s priority list. We will keep pushing for it.
Gedling Borough Council do a lot of things that assist with waste collection – like collecting the bins and glass. I think we’re the only ones in the county now that do glass collection. Green waste collection has also gone from strength to strength – that’s the one we charge for extra to your council tax. It’s good value and the take-up has been tremendous.
Q: You need to take action on fly tippers that dump stuff on the streets like on Phoenix Avenue in Gedling. It’s disgusting. People are regularly dumping stuff since you closed to tip. (Tracey Locke)
JC: Flytippers are the bain of our life and we’re consistently trying to deal with it. We have all sorts of tricks up our sleeves to deal with the problem, like using hidden cameras, and we’ve managed to prosecute a significant amount of people.
The only way the flytipping problem is going to get solved is by people reporting it to us. It costs the council a serious amount of money. People can report an incident via the website https://www.gedling.gov.uk/resident/reportit/ or call Crimestoppers.
Q: Is anything going to be done to improve fire safety in council flats in the light of recent events in Grenfell and the unfortunate events at Walton Court during the past week? (Clare Filipowicz)
JC: Yes it is. I sit on the board of Gedling Homes who look after Walton Court and it’s something I’ve been pressing for. I’ve been asking some very searching questions on it. They are doing a full inspection on Walton Court and I do believe there is already action on some work on door closures which I understand that some people struggle with – particularly the elderly. It’s a top-of-the-list job for Gedling Homes.
Q: The roads around Carlton and Gedling are shocking, surely getting them fixed properly is cheaper than paying out compensation to people for damaged vehicles (Tony Novellino)
JC: The roads in Gedling Borough are looked after by Nottinghamshire County Council and are repaired by Via. Some extra money has been put into repairing the roads by the County Council this year – an extra £3m I believe.
Q: Do the CCTV cameras in Netherfield actually work? Word on the street says they are fake and for effect only. (James Haslam)
JC: They [the cameras] have been very successful. They are still recording and have been successful in the past as they assisted with both a serious attack and also a murder investigation – this was just after we put them in. The police still regularly use them.
We are proposing to link these cameras up with the City as they have better technology than ours and their teams would then start monitoring them. Some people have been questioning why we would link up with the City, but why not? They have more people that can monitor the cameras, so if more people are monitoring them then that will help the police as well. I think the move over to City will happen this year.
Q: Why did we lose Carlton Police Station?
JC: I’m very disappointed by the loss of Carlton Police Station, which I believe could now become a supermarket.
They’ll be knocking down a perfectly built building and putting the people who do the job onto the front desk at the fire station, which is far inferior to what they had at Carlton Police Station.
I am very disappointed at that decision – but it wasn’t ours. We tried to get hold of the building but sadly we were not successful. It’s dead frustrating.
Q: GBC seems to be all about house building, roads and infrastructure. I don’t feel they have any real sense of value for the environment and countryside. I feel as long as this council is in place they’ll tarmac over every field in the whole borough. (Bill Schofield)
JC: I totally disagree with Bill on this. Just take a look at the green avenue from the Trent which we’ve been working on with the City. We’ve already got Netherfield Lagoons there, which has been heavily assisted by Gedling Borough Council for something like 15 years. Teal Close will be getting a new eco area which will link up to the Lagoons, which will then in turn link up to the Mineral Line. The plan is to then take the Mineral Line and possibly run a tram but also a cycle and walkway which will run all the way up to Gedling Country Park, where you’ve got 300 acres of land there and none of that is disappearing. We’ve also just taken on management of Bestwood Country Park off Nottingham County Council which is 660 acres. We’ll be now maintaining that.
I think Bill is wrong there – we’re not tarmacking everywhere.
Q: When is the equipment at the park near Arnold Market going to be mended or replaced? It’s been well over a year since some of the equipment was fire damaged and my daughter asks me when it’s going to be fixed every time we go (Hannah Sanders)
JC: The new equipment has just been put in, but we still have problems with people messing about on it. The sad thing is we can’t get insurance on outside equipment, so when our play areas get damaged we take a BIG hit. I think the damage to that park cost us around £30k.
Q: What’s happening now about Arnold Market? (Kaye Brennan)
JC: Some sound and sensible discussions have taken place.
Q: What is going to be done about the traveller problem? The area has been blighted by problems over the summer and it must have cost the council (and taxpayer) thousands. Will there be new measures in place for next year? (Bryan Rogers)
JC: I’ve called the leaders of all 19 authorities together as we can’t solve this problem by ourselves. We’ll be sitting down and I’ll be asking them to help us find a way to get this resolved.
We have to find a sensible solution as the people in these communities need to go somewhere – but their behaviour has got to improve as well.
But you can imagine if we chose an area or land next to someone’s house and told them it was going to be a traveller camp then they’d be up in arms about it, so we have to be careful about what we do.
The current cost to the taxpayer is about £20k to £30k by the time we’re done. This is after we’ve taken people to court and the got the court time. There’s also the cost of prevention work that’s been taking place. We’re currently looking at using titanium locks to secure some of our sites.
Our local MPs Vernon Coaker and Mark Spencer are having a debate on the issue in Parliament this week I do believe.
Q: When is the children’s playgrounds at Arnot Park going to be updated as it’s getting very tired and it’s right on the council’s doorstep (Tina Jefferies)?
JC: We’ve now had some funding come in so the park will be updated soon. That’s hot off the press.
Q: Why does Netherfield feel so unloved by Gedling Borough Council? No money is ever spent there. The shops are all becoming empty, the promised market never happens and the parks are terribly run down – especially Jackie Bells. All the money is spent in Arnold and we get nothing. The town centre needs a facelift to attract more shops. Are there any plans? (Lisa Clough)
JC: I think you could see more shops closing in Netherfield and then being turned into houses because what you’ve got at the bottom of town is a mini city – whether you like it or not. A lot of the big stores on the retail park provide employment for people in Netherfield.
Sainsbury’s is coming soon and that will provide jobs for the area and a lot of companies on the park want to expand. All sorts of things are happening down there.
What you see on Victoria Road is a vast improvement to what it was – there’s no doubting that. You’ve got St George’s Centre for example which Gedling has put money into and also a lot of the things on the main road there.
We also subsidised the railway system through there. There’s now more people using the railways thanks to people like Tony Cave and we’ve put quite a bit into that.
The market in Netherfield never took off because nobody supported it. It came along and there was about five stalls on it. It just didn’t happen and if you don’t use it – you lose it.
I don’t agree about Jackie Bells Playing Fields. It’s in remarkable condition when you consider the amount of people that use it. We always make sure these area are cleaned up. If people think there are issues they should tell us.
We clearly recognise the difference between Arnold and Netherfield, but Arnold is our main trading town.
Q: I would like to know if there are any plans to build single-level properties for disabled people and their families. At the moment all bungalows in Gedling BC seem to just be for over 60s. I can not have my house adapted for myself as it is a family home, Yet I can’t find a suitable disabled property as I’m under 60 years of age (Jane Kirkman).
JC: We’re not house builders but I’d welcome a chat about the problem with Jane. We could then find out more about what the needs were and look at trying to get them introduced when a new developer comes along. Tell Jane to get in touch with me for a chat.
Q: How much have the various wood sculptures in Arnot Hill Park cost over the last 10 years? Why is there no thought as to where they are placed nor any attempt to protect them against the elements. One of the original sculptures has rotted so much due to poor weather protection that it had to be removed within a couple of years of being made. (Lorna Thomas)
JC: They are made from damaged trees; we thought we’d do something nice with them instead of just removing them.
Q: I live in Netherfield and as many of my neighbours I don’t have a car. How can I get my kids to the country park as you have to go into town to come back? Could we get the 44 to make it a stop have a new bus there please. Nobody in Netherfield can go there without a car but we all helped pay for it. (Tom Bell)
JC: We’re fully aware of it and talking to the bus companies about making something happen as we want the park to be accessible to all. There’s a bit of red tape at the moment but I can assure you we’re working on it.
Q: I would like to know why GBC currently does not allow the recycling of aluminium foil and food waste and when, if ever, residents can expect that they will.
JC: We have to try and find a market for it. If the markets become available then we will do.
Q: Does anyone check the pavement areas in the Gedling area to see if they can be used safely? Walking down from Carlton Hill towards Carlton Square requires walking into the road in places to get past the vegetation.
JC: You need to report this on our website: https://www.gedling.gov.uk/resident/reportit/and we can then sort out problems with the overgrown vegetation.
- A big thanks to Cllr John Clarke and also Gedling Borough Council’s communication manager Rob McCleary for arranging this session. We hope to be able to put more of your questions to Cllr Clarke in the near future – so keep them coming.