63.1 The following question was submitted by Lewis Bryan for the Chair of the Community Safety Committee:
"Myself and my partner witnessed an increased number of anti-social behaviour incidents by young people during the start of the new academic year. In one recent incident my female partner witnessed three young men urinating outside the entrance to our apartment complex.
What actions have and will Broxtowe Borough Council take to ensure young new arrivals into the area respect the community they live, study and work within?"
The Chair of the Community Safety Committee responded that there were over 60,000 students studying at further education establishments in the Greater Nottingham area. While the majority of these lived in Nottingham City, some lived in the surrounding boroughs, including Broxtowe.
Broxtowe Borough Council recognised that a large percentage of these students were young people who were living away from parental controls for the first time in their lives and this could, in some cases, lead to a reduction in social responsibility and respect for their community. While this may have been understandable, it was clearly not acceptable. Anti-social behaviour could take many forms including noise from dwellings, noise in the street, as well as behaviour brought about by consumption of excess alcohol.
The Council had powers to deal directly with some anti-social behaviour (for example noise from dwellings), but also worked with a number of partners to try and minimise other aspects of such behaviour and increase respect amongst the student population for the communities in which they lived. The role of the universities themselves and Nottinghamshire Police were much bigger in this regard than that of the Council.
The Communities Team of the Public Protection Division was co-located with Nottinghamshire Police in Beeston. This enabled both organisations to work very closely on a range of issues, including dealing with anti-social behaviour. Officers from the police attended Freshers’ Week to deliver advice and information and represent both teams at this event.
Every student at Nottingham Universities signed up to the Student Charter. These had been developed and agreed in partnership with the Students’ Union. They sought to describe the environment, relationships and mutual expectations which underpinned the student experience at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. They also contained a Code of Discipline (Nottingham University) and Code of Behaviour (Nottingham Trent). The purpose of these was to ensure that good standards of communal life were maintained. Both set out that students were expected to adhere to the regulations, procedures and policies of the University, to show respect for the persons within, and for the property of, the University and the wider community. Where the University believed that the behaviour of a student fell below the expected standards, the procedures in the Codes could be instigated. The Codes extended to alleged misconduct by a student occurring on or off University premises and where the affected party was the University itself, a member of the community, or a visitor.
Ultimately, legal sanctions for anti-social behaviour could be applied against individuals, but as with any offence, this relied on evidence and perpetrators being identified. However, the Council and other partners would seek to advise and change behaviours in the first instance, with the ultimate aim of producing a community where all could enjoy their own lifestyle without causing alarm or distress to others.
63.2 The following question was submitted by Lyn Harley for the Chair of the Jobs and Economy Committee:
“The village of Trowell has been subjected to odours, dust, noise and excessive HGV traffic for many years from Quarry Hill Industrial Estate, the latest application which was passed by Derby County Council allows a waste recycling company to operate within a building from 04.00 until 23.00 Monday to Friday, 04.00 to 19.00 Saturdays, Sundays & Bank Holidays, with extended operations on all other parts of the site from 07.00 to 19.00 Monday to Friday and 07.00 to 13.00 Saturday to 06.00 to 19.00 six days a week. Broxtowe Borough Council or Trowell Parish Council were not consulted. This site is about 750 metres from Trowell when are BBC going to act on behalf of the residents of Trowell to mitigate the damage being done to their health, environment and living conditions.”
The Chair of the Jobs and Economy Committee responded that the licence for this activity was issued by Derbyshire County Council. This Council intended to write to Derbyshire County Council to ask, on behalf of residents of Trowell, that Derbyshire County Council take the necessary steps available to minimise disturbance to nearby residents as a result of this activity and also to ensure that the impacts on Trowell residents were taken fully into account when this licence became necessary for renewal.
63.3 The following question was submitted by Don Pringle for the Chair of the Jobs and Economy Committee:
“In July 2025 HS2 Limited will commence work in close proximity to Trowell on 6 Construction Compounds, Building the Viaduct, Realigning the M1, building a bridge over Stapleford Road (A6007), commence major earth moving operations between Trowell garden Centre and the M1, commencing major earthworks on Trowell Moor, closing 7 footpaths permanently, followed by a bridge over Nottingham Road (A609) in mid-2026. This work will be completed between 2027 and 2031. How do Broxtowe Borough Council (BCC) plan to get HS2 ltd to mitigate the damage about to be inflicted on the residents of Trowell, and will this be addressed if and when BCC respond to the Consultation ending at 23.45 on the 21st of December. Trowell Residents need to be able to travel to work, take children to and from school, enjoy a social life and shop for food during this period of construction.”
The Chair responded that the Council’s Jobs and Economy Committee considered this matter at its meeting on 17 December and the Council would be writing to HS2 to ask that the negative impacts of the construction work were minimised and also that unavoidable effects were mitigated as fully as possible. A number of points were discussed at the Committee meeting, including the need to ask that all construction traffic for the station utilised the new access road to the station, therefore keeping disturbance to a minimum to surrounding communities. Additionally, that there must be access maintained on both sides of the railway line to Stapleford and Sandiacre during construction, that the loss of the local nature reserve at Toton was avoided, that the Greenwood Community Centre was not demolished, other demolitions were kept to the minimum that was necessary and that bridge arrangements over existing roads were fit for purpose during construction work.
63.4 The following question was submitted by Debby Pitchfork for the Leader of the Council:
“The report of the Interim Monitoring Officer lists a number of procedures that should be put in place for future sales of council-owned assets, implying that no such protections were previously in place. Moreover, the council has not produced any clear criteria that were used for determining the selection of land for sale and the order in which it was sold. To what extent do you feel that the move to sell off council-owned garage sites without criteria for site selection and clear protections in place contribute to the Redwood Crescent situation and the council's breach of its legal responsibilities?”
The Leader responded that following the incident a new policy had been developed and adopted, which set out a clearer framework for decision making relating to surplus assets. It was not wrong to sell-off assets such as garage sites which were under-utilised, unoccupied, redundant or unproductive, as long as all the appropriate formalities and safeguards were complied with. The Leader stated that he was satisfied that lessons had been learnt from the experience of what happened at Redwood Crescent.
63.5 The following question was submitted by David Johnson for the Leader of the Council:
“No background papers are provided with the Interim Monitoring Officer’s report. When might we expect papers upon which the officer based his report to be released?”
The Leader responded that the material relied on by the Interim Monitoring Officer was exempt and so not listed on the report. In response to Freedom of Information requests the Council had already released as much background material as it could legally produce without prejudicing proceedings which had recently concluded or which may be anticipated in the future.
63.6 The following question was submitted by Graham Lockwood for the Chair of the Jobs and Economy Committee:
“I understand that at last week’s full Council meeting of Erewash Borough Council on 13th December, where their HS2 mitigation plans were hotly debated, it was surprising to hear them declare that tunnelling under our joint areas had been turned down twice. However, when questioned at their last road show HS2 ltd stated they had never been formally asked to consider a tunnelling option. In our previous question this evening you heard what will happen to Trowell. Broxtowe (Trowell and Stapleford) and Erewash (particularly Long Eaton) will be the most affected areas in The East Midlands, why do you not both combine and jointly petition HS2 Ltd to properly cost the tunnel option, making sure that is measured against the cost/effect 6 years of major construction will have on the business and public economy in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.”
The Chair of the Jobs and Economy Committee responded that Broxtowe was a member of the HS2 Mitigation Board which had commissioned work to investigate the potential for a tunnel to minimise the impact on residents and businesses in Broxtowe. It was understood that the work would be very costly, but the Council could include a response to the current consultation that HS2 fully investigate this option as part of their ongoing mitigation work.
63.7 The following question was submitted by Kath Johnson for the Leader of the Council:
“The Interim Monitoring Officer's report states that the council were legally bound by the option agreement. However, given that concerns were raised with the Council months before the sale went through, what attempts, if any, were made to negotiate the matter with the purchaser?”
The Leader responded that there was no evidence of attempts to negotiate a buy-back of the land from the Developer. Given the Developer’s wish and steadfast intent to develop the land for modular housing development it seemed highly unlikely that this would have been a course of action that would have been possible without incurring additional costs.
63.8 The following question was submitted by Robert Pitchfork for the Leader of the Council:
“Prior to the September 2017 Planning Committee, residents and developers had agreed to a process of meditation run through the council's own mediation service. Without notifying residents, this process was cancelled shortly before the committee and the developers agreed with the Chief Executive that there would be just one meeting, of which residents received very short notice. Upon speaking to the Chief Executive, I was told that there was no other option and that this was the only meeting that would happen. At the meeting with the developers, we were told by them, in front of several witnesses, that if they did not get planning permission at the September 2017 Planning Committee, they would have to pull out. This would have offered a way out of the option agreement for the council. On this basis, to what extent does the council leadership feel responsible for the sale and all of the difficulties that followed?”
The Leader responded that the questioner posed a hypothetical situation regarding what might have occurred if the Developer had taken a certain course of action. It would not have been helpful for him to speculate on what might have happened in those circumstances, although he had ensured that the full facts on what actually did occur or did not occur, which were known, had been made public as soon as this had been practically possible to share the information.
63.9 The following question was submitted by Lindsay Clay for the Leader of the Council:
“The report states that the sale price of £60,000 for Redwood Crescent was considered to be within a range of value in all the circumstances and so a definitive judgement about whether the best consideration was obtained for the land could not be made. However, this value range covers the land if it had planning permission and if it did not. The value given for the land without planning permission was £30,000; the value with planning permission was £120,000. The trigger for the option agreement was that the developer would have to get planning permission. In that context, surely the accepted price of £60,000 was far below what might have been obtained if the sale of the land was advertised and a range of potential bidders approached?”
The Leader responded that it was difficult to speculate about what might have been the outcome if different choices had been made. If more units of accommodation had been permitted to be built on the land, a higher price might have been obtainable, however this would not have been in accordance with the preferences of local residents.
63.10 The following question was submitted by Kris Poole for the Leader of the Council:
“The Interim Monitoring Officer's report states that the only record of approaches to developers other than Precision Homes about the sale of land at Redwood Crescent is a statement made by a council officer. This same officer could not name any such companies and has since been dismissed for their actions. In the absence of any corroborating evidence, is the Leader of the Council therefore willing to accept that Precision Homes was the only company approached, or is this a matter that residents will need to refer to the Information Commissioner and Local Government Ombudsman?”
The Leader responded that the position was as outlined in the report to Council. He further stated that he was not aware of any additional information to that which had been stated in the report. He was satisfied that there had been a proper process of holding to account for what had occurred, and had made a public apology on behalf of the Council for what had gone wrong which he repeated in response to the question.