Councillor Bruce Laughton was first elected to represent the Caunton division on Nottinghamshire County Council in June 2001, and since 2005 has represented the Southwell & Caunton division.
Bruce is a farmer and a businessman. His family have lived in north Nottinghamshire for three generations. Born in 1957, he graduated in Agricultural Science at Nottingham University in 1978 and went on to hold a three-year commission in the Duke of Wellington's Battalion, reaching the rank of Captain.
Bruce has a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and has taught at two Nottinghamshire comprehensive schools. His business interests include Rufford Park Golf & Country Club in Nottinghamshire and the Grassmoor Golf Centre, Chesterfield. He lives in Rufford with Emma and their two young daughters.
Prior to the Conservatives gaining control of the Council in June 2009, Bruce was an Opposition Spokesman on Finance & Property and Environment issues. Between June 2009 and May 2011 he served as Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety and he is now Chairman of the Rights of Way Committee.
Bruce's latest Councillors' Divisional Fund awards...
Each Nottinghamshire County Councillor now has an annual fund of £10,000 to support worthy initiatives in the division they represent. The Councillors' Divisional Fund aims to make use of each councillor's 'grass roots' knowledge to identify projects, events, people and clubs that work hard to benefit and promote their local area, but often lack access to resources. Even a small amount of funding can sometimes make a huge difference.
If you know of a deserving initiative in the Southwell & Caunton division that might be eligible to receive a CDF grant, please contact me. You can click the following link to read the eligibility guidance criteria.
Follow this link to the Councillors' Divisional Fund web page to see some of the latest projects I have been able to support.
Council tax frozen for the fourth consecutive year
At the Nottinghamshire County Council budget meeting on 28th February 2013, I joined my Conservative colleagues in voting to freeze county council tax for a fourth consecutive year.
In the 2013/14 financial year, Nottinghamshire County Council will be investing: -
an extra £13.3 million in services to children and young people;
an extra £17.9 million in adult social care;
an extra £3 million on the county’s highways;
an extra £500,000 for a Youth Employment Strategy; and
an extra £700,000 for our ‘Olympic Legacy’ sports development fund.
This followed our ‘Big Budget Conversation’ consultation process, in which 65% of Nottinghamshire respondents supported a council tax freeze, with only 21% against. Further information on the results of the Big Budget Conversation can be found in Appendix A to the budget report.
Nottinghamshire County Council is now spending over £40 million more on services to vulnerable adults than it was four years ago, and over £35 million more on services to vulnerable children.
Robin Hood Festival is a success
Thank you to everyone who visited the 28th Robin Hood Festival and helped to make it such a success. Crowds flocked to Sherwood Forest despite the sometimes inclement weather. Some photos from the Festival are posted on Facebook so please take a look at www.facebook.com/robinhoodfestival. The Nottingham Post also came along and had a great time - read what they had to say and view their gallery of photos.
If you enjoyed the Festival and are interested in finding out about more Robin Hood-related events being held in the county then please visit www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/robin-hood for details.
New sensory room at Minster View
Families will get the chance to chill out in a new £100,000 sensory room which is opening at a Southwell children’s home on Wednesday, 29th August during its summer fete.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Minster View provides permanent and short-break accommodation for children and young people with severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, including those on the autistic spectrum.
GCSE results up again in Nottinghamshire
On 23rd August young people in schools across the county received the results of their GCSE examinations.
The provisional results for Nottinghamshire based on 41 (out of 45) schools show that: -
These results show that pupils have been working extremely hard with support from their teachers and on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council I would like to congratulate them for their hard work.
Secondary school admissions
The application process for children transferring from primary schools to secondary schools across the county in September 2013 is under way. Letters from Nottinghamshire County Council setting out the procedure for applying, key dates for noting and their child’s unique ID number are in the process of being sent out to parents and carers across Nottinghamshire.
Parents and carers can now start applying for a secondary school place and the Council's committee chairman for children and young people’s services, Councillor Philip Owen, is urging as many as possible to apply online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/admissions.
The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 31st October 2012. For more information about the application process, schools, the number of places available or how places are allocated, please visit the website at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/admissions or call 01623 433499.
Royal British Legion Southwell branch
The Southwell branch of Royal British Legion approached me for funding for a new Union Flag standard and I was happy to provide £200 from my Councillors' Divisional Fund for this worthy cause.
Kirklington Road resurfaced
As suggested by the title, resurfacing work has been completed on Kirklington Road and a good job has been done. The Police Station Road outside the Court house is due to be repaired in September.
Pedestrian crossing in place at The Ropewalk in Southwell
I'm delighted that a pedestrian crossing is now in place on The Ropewalk in Southwell. This facility at The Ropewalk and another at Lowes Wong were implemented due to the failure to attract a school crossing patrol officer. We have consulted with the church, residents and the school and a pavement 'build out' is due in the near future to protect children crossing the road. 150 parents signed a petition supporting a safety scheme.
Church Street, Southwell
Road works including yellow lining, bollards and footway widening are now complete on Church Street in Southwell. I've asked the new Transport & Highways Committee to investigate the possibility of downgrading the A612 to a B road, but it could be some time before we get movement on this.
Council adopts a committee system
With approval at the Council’s Annual General Meeting on 17th May 2012, Nottinghamshire County Council exercised its new power under the Localism Act 2011 to adopt a committee system of decision-making. This replaces the Leader and Cabinet model adopted under the Local Government Act 2000.
The rationale for a committee system is that it is the most democratic and transparent form of governance. It ensures all 67 democratically elected Councillors are able to fully participate in decision-making and shaping the policy of the Council. It ensures greater transparency in that all reports are publicly available prior to any decision being made, and most decision-making meetings are held in public.
Reports were taken to the Full Council meetings in January and March, with final approval being given, as stated above, in May.
New gritting routes
I am pleased to announce that two new gritting routes have been added in my area for regular treatment. They are the unclassified road from Kirton to Egmanton through to Tuxford, and the Wellow road from Wellow to Eakring. I am still lobbying to help Maplebeck and Laxton, which suffer if there is a prolonged spell of cold and icy weather.
Continuing the winter weather theme, Nottinghamshire County Council has signed up more than 40 farmers on a scheme that pays £45 an hour to clear snow. More are needed and I have been encouraging local parishes to get their local farmers and contractors involved. Snow wardens have also been appointed in most communities.
It's taken time, but I'm pleased to report that 7.5 tonne weight limits are being introduced to address the problem of heavy vehicles travelling through Carlton on Trent and Cromwell. The Council is now looking at Norwell, Caunton and Bathley for similar treatment.
I was pleased to be able to help the Clerk of Laxton Parish Council, Ken Shepherd, to obtain £1,690 of Nottinghamshire County Council funding for a new path to Moorhouse Church and urgent repairs to this unique building. Supporters of the Church are well-known for their tireless efforts and on behalf of the community I thank those who organised and delivered the work.
Campaign for Superfast Broadband in Notts
Calling all villagers, rural businesses, farmers, parish councils, landlords, online gamers, film fans, home-workers, vicars and everybody who wants a more prosperous future for Notts.
Thousands of residents and businesses across Nottinghamshire suffer very slow speeds or get no broadband service at all. It's frustrating for home computer users, but potentially disastrous for businesses.
Join our campaign today for Faster Broadband in Notts, to help businesses thrive and get decent speeds for everyone across our county.
New highways schemes
Nottinghamshire County Council's Cabinet has passed the following highways schemes for funding and delivery in 2012/13:
Weston Road tree removal and safety fencing
Ossington Road, Kneesall footway extension
Carriageway improvements A616 Kneesall to Kersall crossroads
Carriageway improvements from Norwell to Bathley Road
Carriageway improvements C25 Eakring to Wellow
Council tax frozen again in 2012/13
At the Nottinghamshire County Council budget meeting on 23rd February it was agreed to freeze county council tax for a third consecutive year. With public finances under strain across the country, the council has saved £87 million so far, £44 million of which has been reinvested directly into frontline services. In the coming financial year we will spend: -
- £2.8 million more safeguarding children;
- £5.2 million more on care for older people;
- £2.7 million more on adults with mental health & learning disabilities;
- £1.4 million more on adults with physical disabilities; and
- £1 million more to support young carers.
We are also committed to invest £289 million in capital over three years on:-
- Improving school buildings;
- Modernising day centres;
- New youth clubs;
- Improving libraries;
- Improved broadband services;
- Improved roads and pathways;
- New and improved bus stations.
Councillor Reg Adair is the council's Cabinet Member for Finance & Property. In his speech presenting the budget, he outlined the results of the council's budget consultation. In response to public feedback, we are: -
- providing additional library opening hours at 15 locations across the county;
- holding Meals at Home charges at £3.95 for 2012/13; and
- not increasing charges for Blue Badge holders in 2012/13, unlike many other local authorities.
Success! The A453 gets the green light!
I am absolutely delighted by the Chancellor’s announcement that the Government is fast-tracking the widening of the A453. This is the best Christmas gift that businesses and residents in Nottinghamshire could have, bringing a £540m boost to the East Midlands economy.
In May this year, Nottinghamshire County Council pledged £20m towards the scheme if it was bought forward. Since that pledge was made, the campaign to widen the road has garnered support from the local business community and other local councils, including a pledge of £500,000 towards the scheme from Rushcliffe Borough Council in October.
The A453 has been on the Council’s wishlist since the 1970s. At last it is going to happen and I am thrilled for local businesses and commuters alike. I want to particularly thank East Midlands Airport, Boots, RH Freight, Hardstaffs, the Nottingham Post newspaper and partner authorities for their support in this campaign.
In the five years up to October 2010, there were 185 accidents involving personal injury on just the Nottinghamshire part of the A453. The Nottinghamshire section of the road is the second most congested part of the national road network after a short section of the M25. This congestion has been costing larger businesses as much as £100,000 a year because of increased fuel usage, difficulty reaching customers, abandoned journeys and accident costs.
Finally, we can look forward to smoother and safer journeys on this vital road link through Nottinghamshire from the M1 and I am immensely pleased that the Government has listened to our determined campaign.
Strategic Flood Risk Management Board
As Nottinghamshire County Council's lead spokesman on flooding issues I am now a representative of the authority on the new Strategic Flood Risk Management Board. This follows a Government review of how drainage and flood risk is managed, following the severe flooding affecting Nottinghamshire and other areas of the country during the last decade. This is an important development for all those dwelling in small towns and villages in the county that were affected by flooding. It should help us get proper drainage schemes and ensure the people of Notts are less likely to be blighted by flooding in the future.
Improved facilities for disabled children
A scheme to improve changing facilities for disabled children at leisure centres in Nottinghamshire has now been completed thanks to money from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Aiming High for Disabled Children programme.
Southwell Leisure Centre has had its changing rooms revamped to include a changing bed, a hoist in the changing room, support rails and a pool chair. Specialist equipment has also been purchased to make sport more accessible across the county including off road wheel chairs, sports chairs, hand bikes, Inline Sledge Hockey equipment and funding for new sports clubs and sessions.
The aim is to help transform the lives of disabled children and their families across the county. We want Nottinghamshire to be a great place for all children and young people to grow up. I am delighted with the new facilities and equipment and hope that they will help young people across the County lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
New Tuesday night provision for 10-14 year olds in Southwell
In keeping with Nottinghamshire County Council's commitment to improving youth opportunities, The Core youth centre in Southwell will soon be running a session for 10-14 year-olds on Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. This is in addition to current opening hours catering for the 13-19 age group on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. A Disability Support Team Link Club will be opening on Mondays in the near future.