Thursday, 14 March 2019

Broxtowe Borough Council elections. 1973–2019 What do they tell us?

Click on table to enlarge. 

Labour has only only won outright control of Broxtowe Borough Council twice (in 1995 and 1999). The Conservatives have won outright control 7 times and there have been 3 elections where no party has won outright control.

The Liberals did not have any councillors prior to 1987 but if their aim was to achieve a balance of power rather than outright control then they have been more successful than Labour.

The 1983 elections were muddied by the presence of SDP candidates who split the left vote to the advantage of the conservatives (their most councillors ever — 38).

The 2019 election on 2 May may see the intervention of candidates standing as 'Independents' supporting Anna Soubry and the breakaway 'Tiggies' (The Independent Group) and it would be foolhardy to try and predict the outcome of such a intervention.

Logic says Anna Soubry needs to create a grassroots organisation across the constituency if she wants to hold onto her seat for more than one general election. When better to road test it than in May’s borough elections.

We can all play around with statistics, but something special will have to happen in the next six weeks for Labour to take control of Broxtowe Borough Council. Perhaps, just perhaps, Anna Soubry fielding candidates might just split the Conservative vote enough for Labour to win — but this is assuming no Labour voters are tempted to vote Tiggy if they get the opportunity.

In the meantime all Labour can do is to motivate its supporters to vote whilst not making a lot of noise in the process. Ideally, Labour wants Conservative and Liberal supporters to fall asleep on 1st May and not wake up until 3rd May!

Council Tax exempt student housing in Beeston map now showing numbers

The earlier map just showed locations and not how many properties at that location as defined by the postcode. These are overwhelmingly in Beeston.

I have now entered a number in the postcode pin on the map and entered an explanation on the map itself. The map is a good guide and I make no other claim for it. Six months from now the number will have increased as private landlords buy up more houses in Beeston to let to students, given the continuing restrictions in Nottingham. My aim over the last few years has been to demonstrate that you can map what is happening. At 70 I stopped doing committees and at 75 in a few weeks time I will let others worry about Beeston as I move onto more personal interests. I will help if asked but my self-volunteering days are really coming to an end after 60 years!

I do not doubt for one moment that the Lentonisation of Beeston continues apace. 

I also believe Broxtowe Borough Council should work closely with students and other young people needing housing in the Borough to develop innovative housing schemes, which the young tenants would co-manage with others, ideally funding by a levy on landlords equal in value to any council tax exemptions they receive for existing properties. This money could be used to help secure funding to build housing in partnership with students and other young people. The way the present council tax exemption system works just means extra unearned income for landlords. Decent homes for all trump landlord profits.

Click on the map to enlarge:

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Mapping Council Tax Exempt student property in the Broxtowe Borough Counccil area

The six maps below have been created using data listing 567 properties I received from Broxtowe Borough Council today. I will add comparative data in a few days.

If I can create these maps (and the earlier Beeston HMO Map below) with my very limited I.T. skills then it should be easy enough for others to do it better than me. For now I publish my maps without comment (click on a map to enlarge):

At best the data has to be taken as a guide and needs more attention than I can presently give it. Compare the map of Beeston council tax exemption properties above with the map of Beeston HMOs below. Broadgate (pin showing 10) and Low Road (pin showing 14) in particular. This may a case of where multiple entries for the same postcode do not show up on the council tax exempt map — in other words my council tax exempt property map for Beeston should have more 'pins' than it does.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Vote Labour, vote Curtis Howard today*

Okay this post does come with a asterisk (*) because to vote for Curtis Howard, our 19 year old grandson, today you will have to be a registered voter in the Aberystwyth North ward of Aberystwyth Town Council.

We wish him well. He'll be pleased to come second. Until now it has been a safe Plaid Cymru seat and uncontested by the Labour Party in last year's Town Council elections. Curtis and his friends in the Labour Students group at Aberystwyth University are running the campaign.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Beeston Transport spider map updated

My Beeston public transport map has its own page and link in the right-hand column. I have just updated it and have plans to add a collection of inset maps to highlight other locations in more detail like the two inset maps already included for Beeston town centre and Nottingham city centre. The only question is how such an enlarge map can be published? 

Click on the map to enlarge:

What do Women have to say when it comes local bus services?

A really interesting interview in The Verge with Caroline Criade Perez, who has written a book called Invisible Women – Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.  I wonder how much attention bus planners give to the views of women when it come to planning local bus routes? With a tram or train you have no real choice — they go where they go but bus routes can be tweaked in so many ways, and what she says about women using buses at night really struck a chord. Even older folk like me disappear from buses at night.

I have copied the question and answer from the interview:

What type of change is necessary to get rid of this data bias on a large scale? Do you have any numbers on how expensive these types of changes would be? 
Essentially, what needs to be done as a first step is to collect the data because without the data, it’s impossible to know what is needed and how much it’s going to cost. For a lot of things, like subways, there’s no doubt that that would be expensive, but there are much cheaper forms of transport that you can deal with, like buses. Buses are much more likely to be used by women because they’re the low-cost option, and it would be very easy to collect the data on where women need the buses to be and what they need for safety.
One thing I find very interesting is that women form the majority of bus users in London during the day, but that switches over at night. We don’t have data on why that is, but I think it’s fairly easy to guess. So if women were using the bus at night, the bus companies would perhaps be making more money, and that could pay for anything they did to try and get more women on the bus, like making sure the stops are in well-lit areas.
I think Caroline Perez makes some good points and it may be that none of this is news to you, but it is an issue which has interested me for a while and I have mentioned before. See my blog from early 2017 at:

(Click on the map to enlarge. Slightly different to my original map because of service changes since Jan 2017, but my argument for such a Beeston Bramcote Buggy Bus network remains unchanged).

Maybe evening bus services would be more frequent and profitable if they looked at what women bus passengers want.

The Tram in Nottingham was aimed at men using cars. How true that is now I’m not so sure, but I have femail friends who use The Tram because they perceive it to be safer and more comfortable (the latter I dispute). I suspect the nature of tram stops contributes to the former view, simply because they are more substantial and better lit. Bus stops at night, despite the best efforts of councils like Nottingham, can be pretty grim.

Finally, here is a photograph I took of Beeston Interchange in 2015 (click to enlarge).

It hasn’t changed. I could have taken the same pic last week when I walked through it. Deserted and grim and not a year old at the time!  The land to the right has yet to be developed and Broxtowe Borough Council talks in hazy terms about ‘late-2020’. I feel as sorry for NCT and Trent-Barton as I do the poor sods who have to use it at night.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Message for Penny Benford re: copies of Beeston map.

Hello Penny

Happy to help. There are a few copies left.

Please contact Beeston Civic Society.

If they don’t have enough they can contact me and I will get them to you.