Chris has been a resident of Ravenshead in Nottinghamshire for more than 25 years where he lives with his wife Tracey and two teenage daughters, Lucie & Emily.
He retired from the Nottinghamshire Police in 2004, whilst holding the rank of Detective Superintendent, after more than 34 years with the Force. He is currently the Chairman of Governors at the Joseph Whitaker School - an Academy & Specialist Sports College in Rainworth and was also a governor for 12 years at Abbey Gates Primary School in Ravenshead where he was the Chairman for 8 years, stepping down in 2008.
Chris has a long track record of public service in his role as a Police Officer and School Governor and since his retirement has sought to extend this through his interest in national politics and involvement in local government. He was elected to Ravenshead Parish Council in May 2007 where he is currently the Vice Chairman and was simultaneously elected as a district councillor representing Ravenshead Ward at Gedling Borough Council where he is now the Conservative Group Leader and sits on the Planning and Audit committees.
Having been elected to the Nottinghamshire County Council in June 2009 Chris was appointed as the Conservative Group's Deputy Business Manager and is now Chairman of the Planning & Licensing Committee and Vice Chairman of the Transport & Highways Committee. Originally appointed to the Nottinghamshire Police Authority in 2009, Chris has subsequently been appointed as a member of the Nottingham City & Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Authority, where he sits on the Finance & Resources Committee.
Chris has a strong belief in the role and value of local government and the need for greater effectiveness and efficiency in local service delivery. He believes that "local decisions should be made by local people" and that those decisions should be locally accountable. He believes that with his election to Nottinghamshire County Council he is able to provide a ‘One Stop Shop’ for residents to be able to access advice and assistance with local services and to give them continuity and consistency in the communication of their opinions and influence across all the local authorities.
Chris' 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 Newstead 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.
Chris' 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.
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!
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.
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.
Freckland wood sculptures
Sculptures of mining tools have been unveiled in Freckland Wood near Newstead, thanks to funding from Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Improvement Scheme. A pick axe, a shovel and a sledge hammer depict the heritage of the area where the former colliery used to stand. A local artist worked closely with children from Newstead and Annesley Primary Schools and the Women’s Institute to come up with ideas that best reflected the area’s history.
Preserving our heritage is one of the core objectives of the Local Improvement Scheme and I'd like to congratulate everyone connected with this project as there has been a real community spirit on show.
Japanese Water Gardens at Bestwood Country Park
One of Nottinghamshire’s latest tourist attractions has been unearthed in Bestwood Country Park. Japanese Gardens, dating back to Victorian times, have been carefully and painstakingly restored after receiving funding from Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Improvement Scheme (LIS).
I am delighted to have supported the £30,000 project, which has seen work carried out by conservation and archaeology experts and has included an archaeology dig, a landscape survey, ground clearance and the restoration of stone paths. Particular care has been taken to keep intact the plants, shrubs and trees at the gardens as they are the original plantings and date from the turn of the century.
The LIS funding also provided two interpretation boards detailing the history of the gardens and a map of Bestwood Country Park. A number of elements most commonly associated with Japanese Gardens are featured in Bestwood including stepping stones, rocks and stone arrangements and enclosures such as a hedge or fence of traditional character. Original bamboo and fern shrubs are also featured throughout the gardens.
The Friends of Bestwood Country Park (who keep an eye on such things as bird and wildlife sightings within the park, flora and fauna and reporting instances of anti-social behaviour) have welcomed the gardens as a wonderful asset and hope in time that they will attract visitors from across the county and beyond.
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.
Traffic lights make A60 junction safer
After campaigning long and hard and holding numerous meetings with officers, I'm delighted to report that a potentially hazardous road junction will now have traffic lights installed. The Forest Lane junction with the A60 Nottingham to Mansfield road, near Papplewick, is one of the busiest junctions in the county. Traffic surveys recorded peak-time queues on Forest Lane of more than 60 vehicles. Driver frustration caused by the delays contributed to a higher than normal rate of accidents at the junction, with a total of 17 personal injury accidents recorded there in the period 2004 to 2010, most of them involving motorists turning right out of Forest Lane colliding with northbound vehicles on the A60.
Nottinghamshire County Council is spending £490,000 to improve the junction by installing traffic lights to control traffic. The Council has contributed £170,000 from its Local Transport Plan budget, while £320,000 has come from the Government’s Growth Point Initiative which is designed to provide support to local communities whilst assisting large-scale and sustainable growth, including new housing. The work is due to be completed by the end of January 2012.