Gordon Wheeler was elected to Nottinghamshire County Council in June 2009 to represent the West Bridgford West division.
Gordon and his family have lived in West Bridgford for more than 20 years. His wife is a teacher and they have been married for over 35 years. Their three children, who are now all adults, were educated at local state schools.
Gordon has served for more than 30 years in the public sector, his job having brought him to Nottingham in 1991. He says he feels privileged to live in West Bridgford, not only because his home is a short walk away from his beloved Nottingham Forest FC, but also because it offers all the facilities expected of a busy town and yet also affords easy access to beautiful rolling countryside nearby.
Gordon is currently Vice Chairman of the Economic Development Committee. He served on Nottinghamshire Police Authority and and he is the Lead Spokesman of the Conservative Group on Nottinghamshire Fire Authority.
In addition to being a County Councillor, Gordon is also a member of Rushcliffe Borough Council, where he represents the Compton Acres Ward. He is Chairman of Performance Management, serves on Development Control (Planning) and is Chairman of the Local Area Group (LAG) covering the Compton Acres and Lutterell Wards. He also attends LAG meetings for Musters Ward.
Gordon'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 West Bridgford West 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.
Gordon's latest news
Heymann Primary School extension underway.
The £7 million extension to the Heymann Primary School has begun in order to meet the ever increasing demand for school places in West Bridgford.
The former West Bridgford House office site is being transformed into a new annexe building to accommodate 270 Key Stage One children that will increase the capacity of the school to 630 pupils.
The extension will also create 39 new full-time nursery places making the school the only maintained nursery in all of West Bridgford. Whilst Key Stage Two pupils will enjoy upgrades being made to existing school buildings.
This has all been possible with the County Council investing £30 million in expanding and upgrading schools across the county. The additional capacity being added at Heymann Primary School is part of the 1,400 extra places being created at 17 Nottinghamshire schools, all in time for the next school year which will begin in September 2013.
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.
New West Bridgford Library official opening
West Bridgford library artists impression
I'm delighted to report that the new £5.3 million West Bridgford Library and state-of the-art youth centre will open on time and within budget on Friday 15th March 2013. An official opening ceremony will be led by the Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Carol Pepper and the opening duties will be performed by our Rushcliffe Member of Parliament, The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP.
I am pleased to be the Chairman of the new Youth Centre Focus Group, which brings together young people, youth group leaders, youth services and other partners.
I have no doubt that the library will prove to be a superb and popular facility for residents of West Bridgford and the surrounding area for many years to come and I encourage residents to pay a visit there at the earliest opportunity.
Duke of Edinburgh Awards
I was delighted to be invited to present awards to our young people at the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) Awards Scheme awards ceremony.
DoE is thriving in Rushcliffe and is recognised by Universities and employers. It encourages our young people to help themselves, work within the community, get fitter, develop skills, go on expeditions and participate in residential activities.
Through my Councillors Divisional Fund (CDF) I have been able to provide financial assistance for DoE projects to West Bridgford Academy, Becket School and Rushcliffe Academy to enable them to update their equipment (primarily new tents) so that even more young people can join the programme.
On behalf of our community I would like to say thank you to the many unpaid DoE volunteers who give up so much of their time to assist, encourage, support and develop our young people. Well done!
Throughout Nottinghamshire there has been a 35% overall reduction in crime. In West Bridgford this owes much to various Police initiatives and crime prevention measures. A key factor is that residents are heeding the crime prevention advice given to them by the Police, including fitting alarms, ensuring cars are locked and reporting suspicious incidents at the earliest opportunity. am always pleased to lend my support to our excellent Neighbourhood Watch participants.
On 24th September 2009 Nottinghamshire County Council voted to withdraw its financial support for the NET Phase Two transport scheme. As a Conservative County Councillor I was elected on a manifesto which stated: "We will avoid spending a small fortune on tram extensions which few people in the county will be able to use."
The County Conservative position on the tram has never changed, but the Coalition Government subsequently decided to give the scheme the go ahead. Excavation work is well underway and likely to continue for several months. I shall be monitoring the position to ensure all works are carried out within laid-down guidelines.
Suffice to say that as a Conservative County Councillor I am not happy with the situation, which was not of our making, but we are where we are and my duty now is to assist constituents to the best of my ability.
The February closure of sections of Ruddington Lane for the tram works has caused local disruption. I continue to work with County officers to find solutions such as 'Keep Clear' boxes on Compton Acres. Other measures under consideration include a temporary pedestrian crossing and extended double yellow lines.
I am in discussions with NET and the contractors to seek to minimise disruption. They have agreed to provide replacement fences to properties along the old railway embankment and to consider further noise dampening provisions. Residents can contact me if they have any concerns.
As reported in the local media, Nottingham City Council's Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) has drawn criticism from the business community. Nottinghamshire County Council's position is that it values and respects businesses and the local community and will not be introducing a WPL or any similar scheme.
West Bridgford Infant School refurbishment
The County Council temporarily converted an empty office in Nottingham into a school so that the £500,000 refurbishment of West Bridgford Infant School was completed in time for the children going back to school in September 2012.
The nine-week programme began in July and involved stripping out redundant services from the primary school so that improvements and redecoration could take place.
Interactive Speed Signs in Compton Acres
Following the recent installation of the first interactive speed sign (ISS) in Compton Acres, a further ISS was installed on Compton Acres Road, down the hill from the Apple Tree Public House. These signs have proved successful in reducing traffic speeds in various parts of the county and perhaps prove that while a small minority of drivers have no regard for speed limits and must be punished accordingly, the majority do not speed intentionally and will slow down when warning signs flash. Whatever approach works, improved road safety for pedestrians and drivers is always the council's first priority.
'Fantastic fencer' Matt Bolton selected for the Great Britain squads!
You may recall a while back I made a donation from my Councillors’ Divisional Fund to assist local young fencer, Matt Bolton. I am now delighted to report that, thanks to three solid performances at tournaments throughout September, Matt has secured places in the GB Epee squads for both Juniors (U20) and Cadets (U17).
The first ranking tournament was held at Kidderminster and doubled up as both a ‘Junior’ and ‘Cadet’ ranking tournament. Matt started slowly, only winning one of his fights in the first round of pools. In the second round however he reversed the proceedings, by only losing one fight. This gave Matt a middle position when it came to the knockouts. He comfortably beat his first opponent from Stockport before unluckily coming up against the eventual winner, Sam Ridley from Newcastle. Matt put up an excellent performance and gave Sam a real battle, but eventually lost 15-12 despite being all level at 12-12 at one stage.
Next up was the very strong Bristol Open, a senior competition with 154 entrants which also doubled up as a 'Junior' ranking tournament. Matt was again in the middle after the pools, then comfortably beat an opponent from London before securing two epic 15-14 victories which catapulted Matt into the L16 and masses of ranking points! So unexpected was the L16 finish in such a prestigious tournament (Matt was rubbing shoulders at the tournament with one of our female sabre Olympians) that it was only on the journey back to Nottingham that it began to dawn on Matt that he might have qualified for the 'Junior'GB team at the age of just 16. This proved to be the case!
The final tournament in September was at the Bolton Arena near Manchester, a venue purpose-built for the Commonwealth games in 2002. This was a ‘Cadet’ ranking tournament, and despite going 3-0 down in his first pool fight Matt recovered to win all 5 bouts with a strong indicator (goal difference) to be top seed for the knockout. He got a bye for the first round, then absolutely annihilated England fencer Tim Andrews from Plymouth 15-2. Then, despite taking an early lead against Alex Edwards (Wales) whom Matt had never previously lost to, he went down 15-10 in a very quick fight which left Matt without time to reconsider tactics. Still, he ended the tournament in 9th position which was sufficient to secure a place in the ‘Cadet’ squad.
So Matt is now training hard for the upcoming trips to Bonn with the GB Cadet Squad, and to Bratislava with the GB Junior Squad, both in November. There is also another trip with the Juniors to Helsinki in December to be confirmed, and if Matt remains in either squad after yet more upcoming ranking tournaments then even more European trips may come his way. In the aftermath of our Olympic games success it's great to see a local young sportsman making such rapid progress.
Civic celebration of local Olympians heralds major new commitment to Nottinghamshire sport
On Tuesday 9th October, Nottinghamshire County Council hosted a Civic Reception at Trent Bridge, the home of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, to celebrate the successes of local athletes, coaches and other key contributors to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Culture Committee Chairman, Councillor John Cottee meets Olympic slalom gold medallists Tim Baillie (left) and Etienne Stott (right) at the National Water Sports Centre, where they trained for the London 2012 Olympics
Dressage rider Sophie Wells and swimmer Ollie Hynd are among the local athletes funded through the county council's Shining Stars Scheme who have won gold medals at the Games. In total, ten athletes who are funded through Shining Stars represented Team GB, receiving an annual grant of £2,012 to help with transport and travel costs.
Some of the highlights for Nottinghamshire at London 2012 included:-
- Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie (gold) and David Florence and Richard Hounslow (silver) taking canoe slalom medals having all trained at the National Water Sports Centre managed by the county council;
- Two bronze medals at the Aquatics Centre for Mansfield’s Rebecca Adlington whose swimming club Nova Centurion receives an annual grant from the county council;
- Shining Star medal successes including Richard Whitehead (gold), Sam Oldham (Gymnastics, bronze) and Charlotte Henshaw (swimming, silver);
- Nottinghamshire County Council staff Maggie Else and Pete Edwards named as line judges for the Boccia tournament at the Paralympics.
National Water Sports Centre
At the Civic Reception, Culture Committee Chairman Councillor John Cottee announced that the Council would respond to Lord Coe’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy plea with compelling investment plans to help produce future sports stars. The event saw the launch of proposals for a £1 million Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Fund to support sports development across Nottinghamshire. There will be two streams of funding – Kick Start grants of £500-£10,000 and Game Changer grants of £10,000 to £50,000 to help local sports organisations promote sport and nurture talent to find the sports stars of the future.
Plans were also announced for funding of £900,000 to Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club to part-fund a new scoreboard and replay screen, a commitment made to guarantee that Trent Bridge hosts two Ashes Tests over the next four years, bringing an estimated £30 million of economic benefit to the county.
The cricket club plans to introduce a three-year, fully funded, "Positive Futures" social inclusion programme in Hawtonville, Newark worth £270,000 over three years. It is modelled on the successful Cotgrave Positive Futures programme, which has tackled youth crime and social exclusion in the last four years.
Bridgfest is a success again
As reported in the Nottingham Post, Nottinghamshire County Council's free annual 4UTH Bridgfest event took place on 12th August at Bridgfield Park in West Bridgford. It was a resounding success with over 5,000 in attendance.
Bridgfest is a summer festival of music and fun activities for young people which this year included a science gazebo, an activities marquee and urban marquee. There were bands on the main stage and lots of activities in the park including laser quest, a skate ramp and basketball.
Sometimes the negative actions of a small minority of young people divert attention from the exemplary qualities of the vast majority of whom we should be proud. It is through events like this that we can showcase and reward all that is best about our young generation. Bridgfest has clearly established itself on the annual events calendar and I hope it will continue to go from strength to strength.
Outstanding Ofsteds in Rushcliffe
Twenty three primary, secondary schools and academies in Rushcliffe have been awarded an Outstanding Ofsted in their last inspection.
The Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Kay Cutts joined the Chairman of the Council, Councillor Carol Pepper to welcome more than 150 guests to a reception at County Hall. Headteachers and chairmen of governors from more than 70 schools, special schools, children’s residential homes, children’s centres and the youth justice service from across Nottinghamshire attended the reception which recognised and celebrated the achievements of the county's children's services providers.
Councillor Philip Owen, Chairman of the Children and Young People’s committee, said he was delighted that so many schools and other children’s services had achieved such high standards. He added: "To see so many head teachers and governors receiving awards is testament to the excellent academic standards in Nottinghamshire schools."
The full list of schools and academies in Rushcliffe judged to be outstanding by Ofsted are:
Archbishop Cranmer C of E (Aided) Primary School, Aslockton
Robert Miles Infant School, Bingham
Carnarvon Primary School, Bingham
Cropwell Bishop Primary School
Crossdale Drive Primary School, Keyworth
St Peter’s C of E Primary School, East Bridgford
Flintham Primary School
James Peacock Infant and Nursery School, Ruddington
Kinoulton Primary School
Langar C of E Primary School
Orston Primary School
Radcliffe on Trent Junior School
Robert Miles Junior School, Bingham
St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary, West Bridgford
Candleby Lane School, Cotgrave
Tollerton Primary School
West Bridgford Infant School
West Bridgford Junior School
Willoughby Primary School
The Becket School, West Bridgford
Toot Hill School, Bingham
The West Bridgford School
I remain concerned that the refuge at the junction of Eton/Musters Road is inadequate. Discussions with officers are ongoing despite the fact that a predestrian and vehicle movements survey produced disappointing outcomes in my bid to secure a rampred zebra crossing. The temporary interactive speed sign (ISS) on Musters Road has now been replaced by a permanent ISS and road markings at the Eton Road/Musters junction have been improved. The road surface by the refuge has also been significantly enhanced.