Agenda item




“Personally I have one announcement to make.  After the meeting in the room behind, there are drinks, sherry and wine and I think there are a few mince pies.  So you are quite welcome to come and join us.”


Leader of the Council


“I do, Madam Chairman, thank you, I’ll give a brief report on my portfolio.


“Regeneration and Place Area: Place Enhancement: Discover Ashfield, the new brand for the District, was launched in November at the Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 Business Meeting and with a very positive article in the Chad.  The brand will be promoted at Christmas events with information provided on the brand as well as give-aways and competitions.


The Discover Ashfield website is up and running, helping to promote the area for business investment, to boost visitor numbers and tourism as well as increasing pride in our communities.  We are recruiting Discover Ashfield ambassadors who will be supported to promote the District from a business, community and/or visitor perspective.


Moving forward sub-groups from the Place Board will be implementing an action plan to support these themes.  We’ve already secured a number of place brand ambassadors including Rolls Royce and it’s been very ably chaired by Martin Ridley who I would, again, like to put thanks from the Administration for all the work that he’s done. 


In terms of economic growth, Madam Chairman, a blue chip IT company, after some serious lobbying from this Council, has decided to open an operation at Sherwood Business Park and planning to create around 200 jobs there over the next two years.  Corporate Communications Officers are working with their counterparts at the company to co-ordinate the publicity.  A public announcement and launch event is expected in the very early new year.


Unfortunately, though it would appear that Prolog will be closing their Sherwood Business Park distribution operation with the potential loss of around 500 jobs.  We understand that Prolog is looking for another operator to take on the plant and the workforce and we wish them well in that search.  We have been working with the DWP’s Rapid Response Team and will be doing what we can to help any affected local residents to find alternative employment should Prolog’s search for another owner not be successful. 


With D2N2 consultations we have submitted our second set of comments back on the D2N2 Draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).  This Council’s feedback in September has resulted in a more recent consultation on our recent feedback and has been largely very supportive.


A more important consultation is still to come in the early new year with the D2N2 Local Industry Strategy (LIS) due to be created.  This LIS, aligned with the finalised SEP, will be more focussed on where and how future funding, predominantly in the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, will be spent making it very important that our views are incorporated.  The Shared Prosperity Fund will affectively replace the EU’s ESIF funding, including the ERDF2 funding and ESF funding etc. 


The Future High Street’s Fund was announced in the last budget to help the LEP’s Government contracts put together the guidance.  D2N2 have been asked to suggest the types of town centre projects that might be considered eligible for funding.  The £8M N2 Town Centre Improvement Programme pulled together by the RSS and run by NCC has made the area a trusted expert in such things.  Officers are currently pulling together a list of potential projects that might benefit from Future High Streets funding probably focused on Sutton in Ashfield. 


Town Centres and Markets:  a Winter 2018 Newsletter was circulated to all shops in the three town centres highlighting Small Business Saturday, social media skills training, free weekend parking in Council car parks throughout December, Christmas shop window competitions, tree lighting events and business grant funding.


The Take a Seat initiative was launched in Ashfield in partnership with Age Friendly Nottinghamshire with over 50 local retailers and businesses that signed up for over a three week period.  Myself, County Councillor Samantha Deakin and the Chairman of that board at the County Council opened that in Idlewells in Sutton in Ashfield.


Idlewells Indoor Market is due to reach 75% of occupancy before Christmas with the introduction of a fruit and veg stall already in.  The Artisan Cobbler and a fishmonger is in taking place, taking their stalls up now.  The market has been supported and promoted through a number of events during the run up to Christmas and signage is due to be installed within the Idlewells and externally.  Members will remember the dire state that market was in with just over 30% occupancy when I took over this portfolio. 


It was in a terrible state, the market, it was just over 30% occupancy.  We’re very pleased that it’s now at 75% and vibrant.  I will inform Members that the tenacity of Trevor Middleton in that department and me personally negotiating a number of contracts with stalls has been successful.


Planning:  We’ve now published our Local Development Scheme which sets out the timeline for producing the New Local Plan.  Our next step is to issue a call to landowners to put forward sites they wish to be considered for inclusion in the New Plan.  This will take place in January.


In the meantime, officers are working up a detailed timetable to work with Members to develop the new vision and options for future development and build a revised evidence base for the New Plan.  The consultation on the new design guide for the conversion of retail premises into residential has now closed.  The response to the consultation and any amendments will be reported in January.


The Hucknall Town Centre Conservation Area Consultation is due to close on the 7th January and will be reported in due course.  Work is currently underway on the Sutton Masterplan which will also be reported in due course.


Finally, I’ve been working with officers to develop a response to the consultation to HS2.  A response is shortly to be issued to HS2 which covers are key concerns and the potential for mitigating the worst effects of development as well as the economic, social and environmental opportunities for this Council.


It’s clear that some of our residents will be deeply affected by the HS2 proposals but we are working hard to influence how HS2 responds to those concerns and also helps Ashfield to capitalise on the available opportunities.  We continue to work to ensure that empty buildings are safe and secure and owners are being actively encouraged to bring back buildings into use.  We would much rather work with owners on a voluntary basis, however, we will not hesitate to take enforcement actions where buildings are in a dilapidated or dangerous state.


That does now include the Police Station in Sutton in Ashfield, which we have been lobbying the Police and Crime Commissioner to get rid of as an eyesore in the public realm at the last Police and Crime Panel which I have attended and he announced that he is going to put that up for sale for residential use.  So hopefully that place would be put back into space.  I’ve attended all of mine rather than the eight months that were left by the previous Leader, Madam Chair.”



Cabinet Member (Outward Focus)


“Thank you, Madam Chairman, I’ll talk a little bit about the issues that I’ve been involved in. 


First of all, Better Care Funding:  Since September 2017 we have assisted 69 tenants to remain in their homes and live independently with the aid of additional assistive technology grants totalling £17,000.  The types of sensors that have been fitted are fall detectors, smoke detectors, property exit sensors and bed occupancy sensors.  Throughout the funding project we have received positive feedback from both the service user and their families that the equipment provided has given peace of mind and aided hospital discharges. 


Tenants Roadshows:  During October and November 2018 we held four Universal Credit Roadshows across the District to advise on the rollout of Universal Credit and to offer advice and assistance.  In attendance were Welfare Reform staff, Housing, the DWP, Nottinghamshire County Council Welfare team, Ashfield District Ashfield Citizens’ Bureau and our Revenues team.  The roadshows were well received by tenants who attended these, with many of them thanking us for taking time to explain about UC and for offering to provide support and assistance.  The roadshows also encouraged many tenants who couldn’t attend to arrange home visits with us to discuss their individual circumstances. 


Tenants Portal:  As part of our digital service transformation a new Tenant Portal will be launched in the next few weeks which will fully integrate with our Housing Management System to offer customers a secure and seemless user journey and real time data such as rent account balances and repair tracking. 


The new self-service online portal which is named the Tenant Portal will allow tenants to view their tenancy details and amend their contact information, view their rent account statements and current balance, request and view repairs, e-mail their assigned officers, contact us and make online payments.  An engagement plan has been agreed with our Communications Team to maximum awareness and registration of the portal. 


Homelessness Review and Strategy:  The Council is working in partnership with Mansfield District Council and Newark and Sherwood District Council to review its homelessness service and devise a strategy that will help determine future priorities for the service.  The review stage is nearing completion and the findings will be made available for consideration and comment in December.


The Council has successfully implemented the requirements of the new Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.  The Act that came into effect in April 2018 has brought with it fundamental changes to the role and responsibility of the Council in assisting residents who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.  The impact of these changes will form an important part of the revenue and the subsequent strategy document. 


Winter Warmth Campaign:  This winter the Council’s Strategic Housing team in partnership with the Corporate Communications team will soon be launching a campaign aimed at keeping older and vulnerable residents warm this winter.  In addition to focusing on those in need the campaign will seek to reach out to families, friends and the wider community.  A key part of the campaign will be a series of winter pleasures that we would encourage Members and residents to commit to.


Winter Homelessness Shelter:  Once again this winter the Council will be working in partnership with Mansfield District Council to ensure accommodation is available for those who are homeless and rough sleeping.  And like in previous years, the shelter will be open seven days a week this year running from the 1st of December through to March.  The provision is over and above what the Council is duty bound to provide under the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol.  The shelter will be located in Mansfield but transport will be provided for those who are referred and need assistance to get there. 


Section 106 Properties:  The Council has completed the purchase of nine properties on the Persimmon development at the former Rolls Royce site in Hucknall.  All nine properties are now let and local residents in housing need have taken up residency.  The Council continues to look for similar opportunities with a view to purchasing more S106 properties to add to the housing stock. 


Procurement:  The Housing and Assets Directorate have successfully procured the Property Health and Safety Check Partnership, that’s gas, solid fuel servicing and electrical testing, which included the re-profiling of how this service was delivered to a rolling eleven month programme.  This has realised both operational benefits for officers and support services while maintaining 100% compliance and has engineered a reoccurring saving to this Authority of £60,000 a year, year on year.  With scope to make further saving throughout the duration of the partnership. 


And finally, Apprentice Success:  In October 2018 plumbing apprentice Keaton Pierce was entered into the D2N2 Public Service Compact Apprentice of the Year Awards and was selected as the overall winner of the Apprentice of the Year Award.  A great acumen to the work that this Council is during. 


Thank you, Chairman.”



Cabinet Member (Joint Focus)


“Okay, just hopefully some nice brief updates.


The Council’s Community Safety team obviously continues to work tirelessly to keep the residents safe.  We’ve got new patrol plans that have been developed to ensure good breadth of focus including patrolling schools, parks, town centres, estates, hot spot locations.  CPO’s focusing on problem solving and prevention on the street.  Enforcement and reporting issues to the right services with the majority of time now spent on foot. 


Members may also be aware that one of our officers was injured in the line of duty at the weekend following an assault while addressing an off road motorcycle issue.  Whilst the CPO was badly bruised they produced a statement and provided CCTV evidence to the Police and action will be taken. 


We most recently had a possession of a Council property, having been granted, which has gone to the High Court and has been ongoing for several years, demonstrating the team’s dedication and perseverance to resolving anti-social behaviour.  The warrant will be executed on the 5th of December for possession of that property. 


The Council has led a multi-agency approach in addressing issues in Sutton town centre.  Key issues including the scale of the problem impacted by Mamba users in the town centre, substance misuse options, housing provision and charitable offerings.  Some of the key individuals are now in treatment due to the continuous efforts and work of the seconded Drugs Misuse Officer.


Work has taken place regarding the suitability of charitable offerings.  Tenancy enforcement and management of individuals, custodial sentences, drugs intelligence being supplied.  Ensuring the community and the traders are confident with using these areas.


We have had one of our ASB and Nuisance Officers was threatened in Sutton town centre.  Statements have been provided and the offender has been prosecuted at Court.  We have had two injunctions granted to safeguard a vulnerable resident and both offenders have been issued conditions to not enter specific locations and to manage their behaviours. 


Ashfield District Council are taking forward 16 days of activism on the White Ribbon Campaign from the 25th of this month so that’s ongoing.  We’ve got events across Ashfield including Kings Mill Hospital, West Notts. College, Sutton Idlewells, Hucknall Broomhill Children’s Centre and Jacksdale Community Centre. 


I’m sad to say that currently we have four domestic homicide reviews ongoing.  Two are expected to be completed in the early, of the new year. 


From a community safety point of view, we have funding confirmation from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government securing finances for a dispersed refuge accommodation located within Ashfield until 2020.  The Council will work with the provider to support the sustained services moving forward and I feel this is a great service for Ashfield. 


Just want to come onto some important environmental health notices that I’ve got.  The Environmental Health team and Legal have successfully prosecuted a case against Alliance Care Dale Homes Limited at Nottingham Crown Court.  Alliance Care were ordered to pay a fine of £600,000 and costs totalling a £100,000 for failing to ensure health and safety of residents and employees of Kestrel Lodge Care Home in Kirkby in Ashfield.  This is an extremely sad case.


The details first arose when Environmental Health Officers investigated a confirmed legionella case on the 6th of November, 2012.  A 90 year old resident in good health when he entered the home some ten weeks before contracted legionella.  Died on the 15th of November, 2012, from legionella contracted in the home.  Ashfield Council brought the case because the company’s failings had exposed vulnerable residents and staff to the home to very poor standards of care and serious risks in relation to their safety from the water management.  I am delighted that as a Council we have demonstrated that we will not accept poor standards in this District. 


I can also announce that we’re holding a Healthy Options Takeaway event in the new year to showcase suggested ways of providing healthy alternatives and demonstrating the use of substituting ingredients.  We’re also pushing forward showing the actual healthiness of our takeaway outlets within the area.  So if you ever want to go and have a look at how these are rated, not only on how good they are on the various apps that you can find them on but actually how their health are going, you can go to  We put all of our outlets on that site and you can go on there, have a look and you can see actually how they rate on the healthy assessments.  The scores are updated monthly.  So obviously we keep it as up to date as we can. 


And one nice bit of news, the Council has once again scooped top awards at the RSPC’s Annual Community Animal Welfare Award for stray dog services.  The Council has won three awards, Gold, Diamond and Platinum, which were presented earlier this week.  We are only one of four authorities to win all three of these awards.


Despite this we are not resting on our laurels, stray dogs’ protocols have recently been reviewed and our working with local vets continue to improve processes with reuniting pets and their owners as quickly as possible.  The protocol is currently out to consultation with local vets and obviously we’ll be getting that back soon and acting on it.


Finally, the study in relation to the Ministerial Direction air quality has been accepted and acknowledged for its good work by the Government and the air quality issues identified will be resolved sooner than anticipated.


I thank you for your time.”



Deputy Leader of the Council (Inward Focus)


“Thank you, Madam Chair.


So obviously quite an exciting time in the Leisure and Activities portfolio.  Particularly an update on Selston Leisure Centre transfer.  The transfer operations to the Two Counties Trust is progressing on schedule.  In regards to the new Kirkby Leisure Centre, obviously with the swimming pool, site feasibility studies are in train and scheduled sites will be updated at the January’s Cabinet. 


Moving on, the Lammas Leisure Centre celebrated its 10th anniversary recently.  It was a fantastic day of activity hosted by the Olympian and TV personality Colin Jackson.  That took place obviously at the Lammas Leisure Centre on Saturday November the 3rd.  Other celebrities on-site were Olly Hynd, Commonwealth World swimming medallist and Paralympic champion.  Forest Glade Choir sang a Happy Birthday to Lammas Leisure Centre with a specially adapted song and there was a number of free activities along with raffles and free memberships that were won during that day. 


Being Mobile with Everyone Active launch recently:  Launch of a spectacular mobile app took place on Saturday the 10th of November at Sutton Lawn.  We were joined by local families who took part in a number of fitness activities including a fitness trail along with Everyone Active’s team.  The launch is a start of a series of sessions which will lead to Everyone Active and Sutton Lawn at the Kings Mill Reservoir in the new year. 


Of course we’ve had the fantastic event just down the road here with the poppy downfall on the 19th of November.  We’ve had obviously the Remembrance Day Parades which were absolutely fantastic.  We attended particularly the one in Huthwaite which I went to.  There was easily twice as many people there as normal and it was, I know Councillor Anderson joined me there, it was absolutely fantastic and I’ve heard the one in Sutton was the busiest they’ve ever seen it as well and I only hope that can continue going forward.


Events to look forward to:  the first Christmas event is the Kirkby Christmas Festival on Friday the 30th, 4pm until 8pm.  Then we’ve got Sutton on the 1st of December, 10am until 4pm and then Hucknall on Wednesday the 5th, 4pm until 8pm and there’s a number of other activities going off in December which again I’ll circulate to Members. 


And finally, and not by no means least, Ashfield Council are working in partnership with SureStart on local breastfeeding pier supporters and volunteers to encourage further sign-ups to the Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme with a particular focus on Sutton town centre and surrounding areas. 


So that’s kind of a brief update on my portfolio, Chair, and obviously with particular emphasis to developments in the leisure centre programme, it’s fair to say it’s quite an exciting brief to currently hold at this Council, Chair, thank you.”



Deputy Leader of the Council (Outward Focus)


“Thank you, Chair, I will brief just a few things that I wanted to pick up on. 


First of all, I’m happy to report that we’re making good progress continuously on development and implementing a wide range of improvement projects with several projects completed already as part of the Greenspace Play Projects. 


The Play Strategy:  a number of projects were presented to Cabinet in October as part of the Play Strategy to invest up to a £120,000 in each of the four areas of the District over the next four years, with the Rurals area prioritised in year one, subject to approval at Council this evening.


The following projects will be progressed:  Friezeland recreation ground, Underwood, outdoor gym and scooter park; multi-use games area at Jacksdale Recreation Ground and an extension to the main car park in Jacksdale.  Proposals for a new play area in Broomhill Park in Hucknall are being progressed, the design and selection of the new equipment is now complete and quotations are being sought from local contractors for installation.


The new play provision is being developed in close consultation with local schools, community groups and local neighbouring residents.  It is envisaged that the opening event will be held before the end of March once the works are complete.  Works to replace old play equipment at Sutton Lawn, Morven Park and West Park in Kirkby are due to be completed by March next year.  The Council is working with Sutton Junction Residents Association to complete the replacement of the play area at Roundhills Recreation Ground. 


There has been a significant amount of money put into improvements to bowling greens within the District namely at Huthwaite, Sutton Lawn, Titchfield Park in Kirkby and at Kingsway Park.  Kingsway Park works to improve the main grass football pitch on Kingsway Park have been completed.  The new perimeter fence and spectator hardstanding area and barriers, improved access for spectators and players and new dug-out provided. 


The Kings Mill Reservoir Heritage Project was presented to the Heritage Lottery along with a project tour in final preparation for the grants panel meeting on the 29th of November.


The group tour included the Leader and the Chief Executive of the Council along with the Environment Agency and Chair of Sherwood NHS Trust.  Hosting the Heritage Lottery provided an opportunity to discuss how the project will improve local greenspaces and sustainability, support wider benefits to visitor economy and greater opportunities to improve health and wellbeing.  If successful, the commencement of the improvements would start from January 2019. 


Discover Ashfield is now showcasing the Council’s town centres and beautiful parks and open spaces.  This clean-up campaign shows residents that the Council remains committed to maintaining and developing these fabulous spaces in spite of the national conversation around reducing greenspaces. 


Tackling fly tipping is a priority for the Council and residents will now start to see signage around the District highlighting our new CCTV cameras.  Our Environmental Enforcement Officer is investigating all reports of fly tipping and working hard to gather evidence for prosecution.  We urge all residents to report any fly tipping they see to including details of vehicles or perpetrators if you have it. 


Brierley Forest Visitors Centre has a new operator who will be moving into the site imminently.  Once the legal documents are signed you will see the site open for traditional breakfast, a lunchtime offer, an afternoon tea offer and a new evening offer. 


In Hucknall Titchfield Park, the Council has selected an operator to take over the running of Titchfield Park café in Hucknall.  The current operator is due to move out on the 1st of December 2018 and the new operator will take over shortly after.  The new operator will continue to work with the sports teams and park users at the site.  Look out for exciting new menus to come.


Last few bits, Madam Chairman, around waste.  Residents of Ashfield will have received their new calendars which highlights the Christmas collection dates.  There’s some information on the calendars to support residents with their recycling.  We’ll be also releasing information on how to have a sustainable Christmas by recycling as much as possible.  Hints and tips will be released over the month of December.  The Council remains committed to helping residents recycle as much as possible as we strive for the 50% target by 2020.  Look out for our Waste Advisor at the local Christmas events who will be providing advice on what can be recycled and giving away goodies to help reduce waste. 


We’re gearing up for Christmas tree collections in January for those residents who prefer the real deal at Christmas.  Look out for the collection information on our website which will also be on Facebook and Twitter. 


And on the last note, it’s just to remind residents that the first red lidded bin collection after Christmas, we will be accepting one bag of side waste also to help residents get through the busy period of Christmas.


Thank you, Madam Chairman.”


(During the announcements, Councillors Lachlan Morrison and Keir Morrison left the room at 7.12 p.m. and 7.16 p.m. and returned to the meeting at 7.14 p.m. and 7.20 p.m. respectively.  Councillor John Knight also entered the meeting at 7.08 p.m.)