Richard Butler has represented the Cotgrave division on Nottinghamshire County Council since June 2001, and is also a Rushcliffe Borough Councillor representing the Cotgrave ward.
When the Conservatives gained overall control of Nottinghamshire County Council in June 2009, he was appointed Cabinet Member for Environment & Sustainability. Previously, in Opposition, he served firstly as the Conservatives' spokesman on Community Safety and then on Adult Social Care & Health issues. Following the change of governance arrangements to a committee system in May 2012, he is now Chairman of the Environment & Sustainability Committee.
Richard was born in Nottingham and educated at St Peter's Junior in Ruddington, South Wolds School in Keyworth and South Notts College. He has a background in the management of post-16 learning, skills and communications and previously worked in newspaper and TV advertising and the retail sector. He is interested in wildlife and has a keen concern for the green belt around the county. He says he wants the rest of the country to realise that Nottinghamshire is a fascinating county with many attractive areas.
Richard regularly attends the meetings of Parish Councils in the Cotgrave division and is happy to receive comments, observations and requests. He is available to meet constituents at any convenient time at a suitable venue. His contact details are displayed on the left of this page.
Richard'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 Cotgrave 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.
Richard's latest news...
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.
Nottinghamshire County Council is investing more than ever in the provision and storage of road grit and gritters. All main roads and bus routes are treated when appropriate. Also, the number of "severe weather" routes have been increased, meaning that some roads that are not routinely gritted, will be when weather is particularly cold. There is a very useful map available on the county council website, showing which roads are treated. This year, for the first time, Hollygate Lane in Cotgrave is included in the routine gritting routes.
Cotgrave shopping precinct
There are, unfortunately, some unhelpful/alarmist comments circulating on the likes of political Facebook pages that the County Council is "withdrawing funding" from the Cotgrave shopping precinct improvement/"Masterplan" project.
The situation is that the Council has never agreed a direct financial contribution as such, but did sign a "concordat" agreement with other agencies to work together on the aspirations, hope and planning of the new precinct. This has always been linked and tied in with the housing and commercial development that will take place on the pitsite.
There have been a few "concept" ideas in recent months showing what the precinct could look like, including a possible shared services building, which might include town council office, library etc.
As we all know, the country is in a very serious financial situation and all councils and public bodies are having to save hundreds of millions of pounds. Only four years ago, Cotgrave library was refurbished by the County Council at a cost of around £300,000, and it provides a very good service indeed. People might question whether to demolish and rebuild so relatively soon is appropriate.
Despite the economic situation, I am confident that the precinct will be improved/redeveloped, due to the planning permission requirements of the pitsite. During 2013, there will be more public exhibitions of actual design ideas and plenty of opportunity for residents to have a genuine say as to what they would or would not like to see.
Nativities and more!
I was delighted to attend and was very impressed, by the Year 1 and 2 pupils at Candleby Lane school's nativity performance, "Hey Ewe!". Everyone did a great job creating many laughs and smiles for the audience. I think it's fair to say that there were a few moist eyes in the audience, too!
Also, I must mention the 1st Cropwell Bishop Scouts. They have had a great year and continue to recruit more local youngsters to the ranks. They held a marvellous Christmas lunch and celebration. Well done all!
As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I know that times are very challenging for us all one way and another. Despite the recession and reductions, council services continue to be delivered and our aim is to ensure that we provide services that people want and need. Despite the headlines about cutbacks, the fact is that investment in facilities and services is still going on and shall continue to do so.
All good wishes for a Happy New Year.
New telephone number for Nottinghamshire County Council
Nottinghamshire County Council has launched a new telephone number 0300 500 80 80 which is cheaper than the previous 08449 number. The change to 0300 500 80 80 means that wherever you live in Nottinghamshire, you'll pay a local call rate when you get in touch with the Council. Calls to 0300 numbers are included in all-inclusive minutes and discount schemes offered by telecoms and mobile phone providers, meaning that some calls are even free of charge.
To celebrate, the County Council's Customer Service Centre has revealed some of the strangest requests it has received since it was launched in 2008, including a lady requesting an audience with The Queen and someone asking if it's okay to exercise their kestrel at a local tip!
Make Cotgrave Smile!
I am delighted that work to "Make Cotgrave Smile" has been rewarded with a place in the top 10 national finalists for the Tilley Awards, which honour terrific work in cutting crime. These are organised by the Home Office, and the overall winner is announced in December.
Votes are needed to make sure the project wins - we are in competition with other parts of the UK. If it wins, Cotgrave will get a small sum of money to make more improvements. But, more importantly, the community will get a positive national reputation for being a great place. Please help by voting here:
The work carried out as part of "Make Cotgrave Smile" includes the excellent Positive Futures projects, the community clean-up days and "days of action" organised by the councils, police and other agencies.
Vote now - it's easy!
I was very pleased to take part in Cotgrave Candleby Lane School's 'Candleby Life' project, where pupils are given special activities to choose as part of their life skills progress. The children are given a short interview by teachers and volunteer governors to find out why they want to do a particular activity.
As ever, the standard of responses and replies to the questions was excellent and I was genuinely impressed by the enthusiasm shown by all the "applicants" - it really was like a job interview!
I continue to be impressed by the standard of this and the other schools in my area - Cotgrave Church of England Primary, Cropwell Bishop Primary and Langar Church of England Primary. Likewise, for older pupils, the new South Nottinghamshire Academy and South Wolds Academy do excellent work with our young people and students. We really are fortunate.
Love food, hate waste
A quick word for Nottinghamshire County Council's 'Love Food Hate Waste' campaign. We can all save money and help the environment by reducing the amount of food we throw away every week. Wasting foodcosts the average couple £480 a year, which increases to £680 a year for the average family with children.
Not only that, but wasting food has a huge environmental impact – if we all stopped wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in every 5 cars off the road!
If you have a moment, please take a look at the Love Food Hate Waste page on our website.
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.
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.
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.
Candleby Lane crossing a big success
Councillor Butler and Candleby Lane pupils try out the new crossing
Crossing a busy road to get to Candleby Lane School and Little Kites Nursery in Cotgrave had become a worry for parents and pupils alike. The School Council, which is made up of pupils from different school years, listened to everyone’s concerns and decided to take action. They started a petition and as well as parents' and pupils' signatures they got local residents and business people to sign it. The School Council then presented the petition to me as their local councillor and a governor at the school.
I have long wanted some sort of pedestrian crossing facility here and had been lobbying for it for a number of years, but the real and genuine comments and petition from the School Council helped to achieve what we all wanted. The crossing was installed and designed by Nottinghamshire County Council as part of its popular Local Improvement Scheme.
The new zebra crossing has had the thumbs up from pupils and as well as helping children and parents to cross the road safely, the new facility is also encouraging parents to walk to the shopping precinct across the road so local businesses are also benefiting.
The Local Improvement Scheme has also helped the school set up a school farm with a number of animals including mountain goats, pigs, rabbits and ducks as well as an educational out building where pupils are taught how to care for animals and what to feed them.
A453 preparation works underway
As reported in the Nottingham Post, preparations are under way for the planned expansion of the A453. In May 2011 Nottinghamshire County Council pledged £20m towards the scheme if it was bought forward and in November 2011 the Government announced that it would indeed be fast-tracked, bringing a potential £540 million boost to the local economy.
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
Lorry weight limits and new speed signs
Nottinghamshire County Council is introducing 7.5 tonne lorry weight limits in various areas around the county. This means that unless there is a legitimate reason for doing so (e.g. delivering goods locally etc.) lorries over this weight limit can be reported for contravening the limits. The idea is to protect villages and communities from inappropriate heavy traffic.
One of the first areas to get these new limits is Cotgrave and surrounding villages. New signs are being installed at various junctions and entry points.
Of course, we have to accept that staff and officers can't be monitoring the area all the time and nor can the Police. But, as the weight limits are now legally in place, it is possible for anyone to report any apparent or obvious contraventions via a Nottinghamshire County Council web page. This is the link: http://secure.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/traffic-and-travel/lorry-watch/
It asks for basic information such as registration number, where and what time the contravention was seen and if there is other information such as a company name etc.
So, knowing that many people in my area have commented and complained frequently about large lorries coming through villages when they really don't need to, this is a way of reducing the problem and doing our bit. And remember, it's all online, so it doesn't mean that you have to approach the lorry driver directly.
I hope that you will find this helpful.
Additional Interactive Speed Sign (ISS) for Cotgrave
Interactive speed signs are a non-threatening and useful way of reminding drivers to observe speed limits, especially in built up areas where there could be numerous pedestrians and other road users of all ages.
Nottinghamshire County Council is committing more money to have more signs installed around the county. The next phase of installation will see a new one appearing on Owthorpe Road coming into Cotgrave near the Saxon Way junction. Many people have long wanted such a sign along here, and it is hoped that the speeding will be reduced as a result.
New speed signs and road markings for Hollygate Lane near the canal bends
Nottinghamshire County Council is planning to install new verge, approach and on-road markings for Hollygate Lane near to the canal junction. Traffic often travels too quickly along this stretch, causing potential danger to themselves and also pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders who cross or use the road at the canal. Work should be completed soon.
Hollygate Lane added to gritting routes
Hopefully, we don't need to think about winter just yet, but when we do, thoughts turn to road gritting. Surprisingly, Hollygate Lane has not been on the gritting route previously, but from this winter it will be included as part of the standard gritting run by the County Council.
Cotgrave Candleby Lane School sees more exciting improvements to its community farm
During March 2012 I was delighted to visit and see the latest work and extension carried out to Cotgrave Candleby Lane School's community farm. This is a wonderful facility that brings much enjoyment and education to the children at school. The latest additions include allotment plots for each year group and community plots for parents and helpers to use.
The school goes from strength to strength in its curriculum and community work and I am so proud of everyone involved. It is also wonderful to know that so many parents and volunteers give of their time daily to help with school activities and looking after the farm animals. The farm was funded from Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Improvement Scheme, which is funding many hundreds of projects all over Nottinghamshire.
Cotgrave library to have extended opening hours
Despite the difficult and challenging financial times that we all face, I am very pleased to see that from April, Cotgrave Library, along with most other Nottinghamshire County Council libraries, is to have its opening hours extended. Currently the library is open 20 hours a week, but this will extend to 25. The main change is that it will now also be open on Monday mornings (currently closed) and extra half hours on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Local Improvements around the county
As well as looking after the Cotgrave area, my responsibilities as Cabinet Member for Environment & Sustainability include the overall Local Improvement Scheme work which takes place all over Nottinghamshire. Recently I have visited projects in Calverton, Mansfield, Brinsley, Newark, Balderton, Staunton-in-the-Vale, Radcliffe-on-Trent, West Bridgford, Bunny and East Stoke. All projects are suggested by members of the public, parish councils and other community groups and I am very pleased that we are able to help their ambitions come to fruition.
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.