Penny Gowland, Labour Councillor for West Bridgford North updates the community.
‘Many of us hoped that lockdown would show us a new way of living.
But traffic is nearly back to the old normal and it seems to be upsetting people more than ever.
I’m contacted many times each week about speeding, drivers missing zebra crossings and parking around schools.
I’m trying to bring a motion to Nottinghamshire County Council for a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas but we haven’t had time to discuss this at the last two council meetings.
This has been really frustrating, since in my opinion it is the only thing we are discussing that will have an immediate impact on residents.
Fingers crossed for next month!
In the meantime, I’m supporting some local campaigns around school travel, which have really highlighted to me why we need every child to be within walking distance of an excellent school.
But drivers are also struggling. I’m trying to get a car club running (that is paying to briefly borrow a car).
If this can even slightly reduce the number of parked cars, it may help with the issue of parking in some streets.
EV charging is another difficult problem and I am now talking to Council officers about some helpful suggestions from residents.
I am on Health Scrutiny Committee. In September we considered GP services. The data clearly showed that patients’ satisfaction is often related to the level of wealth or deprivation around their surgery.
This isn’t surprising since we know deprivation causes poor health which puts more strain on GPs.
I hope the plan to give money to GPs who provide face to face appointments won’t inadvertently end up taking money away from the surgeries that need it most.
I was concerned about the tone of some discussion: being rude about all NHS receptionists is unfair and unhelpful. This month we reviewed NUH maternity services. It is clear that there is a problem with the culture in the unit, and so although I cannot condone calls for individual members of the leadership team to resign, I do think it is time for an independent public enquiry.
The QMC has been part of some of the most important moments in my life, so it makes me sad that it is having such problems.
I went to visit the West Bridgford Youth Centre (next to the library).
It was great to see the young people getting back together after the pandemic- they missed out on so many of those important teenage experiences.
The staff were lovely and obviously very caring. I would have relished the opportunity to hang out somewhere like this when I was a teenager.
This service actually helps everyone, young and old, since residents are often concerned about teenagers congregating around town, so it is a shame to hear how provision has been cut over the last 10 years.
Nothing is available in the holidays now, when arguably it is needed most.
Recently I also went to the night-time Shadow event for young people in Sherwood Pines. This was was great fun: a perk of being a councillor! Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who gave up their Saturday night to make this happen.
I also visited Framework earlier in the month. I was mainly there to understand how we look after young people in care, so it was unfortunate that the staff assumed I was there to talk about residents’ concerns, (if you live locally and have any issues do let me know). To be honest, the house seemed a bit impersonal: it’s a shame that young people need to be so independent so young.
As COP26 starts I’m pleased that nearly everyone now agrees on the importance of protecting the environment.
I think in the end it will make our lives better: if you know my house you will know that I am very keen to get it insulated just to be more comfortable! But we must do this in a way that reduces the inequality in our society.
Watching national news recently, it’s been shocking to realise just how much our society undervalues people doing absolutely vital jobs.
Brexit is a tragedy of lost opportunities, and I believe that many of the leaders of the Leave campaign hoped that Brexit would allow them to reduce workers’ rights. But maybe we use this chaos to reduce inequality in pay and assets, and to make sure we respect and value people in all jobs.
In the meantime, I hope to see you at our surgery (in West Bridgford Library or on Central Avenue, depending on weather, 11am-noon, last Saturday in each month).’
Penny Gowland is the Councillor for West Bridgford North Nottinghamshire County Council, and for Abbey Ward on Rushcliffe Borough Council.