Councillor Barrie Cooper is the current Vice Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council. He was first elected to the Council in May 2005 to represent the West Bridgford Central & South division and was re-elected in June 2009. West Bridgford Central & South is represented by two county councillors, the other being Councillor Michael Cox. It includes the Abbey, Edwalton, Holme Pierrepont & Gamston, Lady Bay, Melton and Trent Bridge electoral wards.
Barrie first became involved in local politics after retirement, when in 2003 he was elected to Rushcliffe Borough Council to represent the ward of Holme Pierrepont and Gamston. He continues to serve this ward and was Mayor of Rushcliffe for the 2008/09 Civic Year.
Before his election as Vice Chairman, Barrie served on Nottinghamshire County Council's Social Care & Health Standing Committee, the Education Standing Committee and the Appeals Committee. He is currently a member of the Culture Committee, the Environment & Sustainability Committee and the Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority.
He is a member of the South Nottinghamshire Community Safety Partnership, a member of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) and a governor of Lady Bay Primary School. He was formerly Chairman of West Bridgford Local Area Forum and a Trustee of the Nottingham Citizens' Advice Bureau.
Barrie was born in the heart of West Bridgford and is married to Jean, a founder member and former President of West Bridgford Women’s Institute. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Given his current duties he has very little spare time but has a keen interest in sport, gardening and anything happening locally. He is a former Class 1 football referee.
Barrie is available to meet constituents at any convenient time, at a suitable venue. His contact details are displayed on the left of this page.'
Barrie'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 Central & South 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.
Barrie's latest news...
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!
Peace Sword goes on display
An ornate limited edition sword, produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II has gone on public display at County Hall. Since being presented with the sword in 1995, members of the Ruddington & District Branch of the Royal British Legion had put it on display at various locations in the county but it has been out of public view since October last year because they could no longer find a suitable location.
They approached Councillor Reg Adair as their local member and he was delighted to formally present the sword, on behalf of the Ruddington Branch, to the Chairman of the Council at July's Full Council meeting. As Vice Chairman of Council I joined Councillor Adair and the Chairman, Councillor Carol Pepper, outside County Hall for a picture celebrating the presentation.
The sword has now been placed on display in a showcase near to the reception area at County Hall. It is a beautiful piece of craftmanship and deserves to be on display for the public to see. It was manufactured by Wilkinson Sword Ltd as a limited edition to mark 50 years since VE Day. The stand includes a quotation from Winston Churchill: "1945-1995 The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".
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.
Maintenance work at Rushcliffe School and Leisure Complex
Work has started on a major programme of maintenance work at Rushcliffe School and Leisure Complex on Boundary Road, West Bridgford.
Contractors, working on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, are carrying out the £500,000 scheme in two phases. Work to the Sixth Form Block will be carried out first so that it is completed in time for students returning after the summer break. Work to the Leisure Centre will then follow from September.
Securing the future of the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont
Nottinghamshire County Council's National Water Sports Centre provided a training base for Olympic gold medallist canoeists Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie and silver medallists David Florence and Richard Hounslow. This illustrates the importance of the Centre, which is a major part of the British Canoe Union's plans for the future. It is unique in offering all of the facilities required, like flat water and slalom courses, in one place.
The Council took back responsibility for the operational management of the Centre from Sport England in April 2009 in return for a one-off capital contribution of £2 million and annual contributions of £500,000 from Sport England until 2012/13 towards the running of the facility.
In the 2010/11 financial year, the operating cost of the Centre to the Council was approximately £300,000. Without Sport England's revenue contribution, the net revenue cost to the Council would have been approximately £800,000. Such costs cannot be sustained over the long term and Sport England has confirmed it will not sustain its revenue contribution beyond 2012/13.
This is why, in September 2011, Cabinet members approved a new ambition for the Centre: "An accessible, high quality family activity and sporting centre with an adventurous flavour set in stunning green space". We agreed to seek an operating partner to manage and operate the Centre on the Council’s behalf and the initial list of interested parties has now been narrowed down to two bidders, as reported in the Nottingham Post.
Councillors were updated on the progress of this initiative at the June 2012 meeting of the Culture Committee, which was held in one of the conference rooms at the National Water Sports Centre itself. The report stated that when our operating partner is chosen, their brief will include:-
the continuing operation, at the current site, of high quality leisure provision for local community and our elite athletes, to include maintaining the core water-based provision at the Centre;
the Centre’s site being retained and promoted as a community open/green space with free access; and
in the medium to long term, the Centre becoming revenue cost neutral to the Council.
The National Water Sports Centre has been described as "the jewel in the crown" of Nottinghamshire's sporting and leisure facilities and regular visitors to the site will appreciate why. It is a beautiful site with fantastic potential. The County Council is committed to securing a long-term positive future of the Centre including significant investment. We do not want to burden the taxpayer, so we believe a partner with expertise in this industry will be the best way to help us achieve our ambition.
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.
New West Bridgford Library taking shape
Work is continuing on the new £5.3 million West Bridgford Library, which is scheduled to open next Spring. The site will feature a young people's centre with a meeting place, a recording studio, a performance area and a dance area, offices for the registration service, a gallery, two community rooms, free use of computers and Wi-Fi and ... of course ... two floors full of books!
There will be a strong focus on catering for young people and a specific service aimed at foster carers where they can borrow books for children in their care.
While we await the arrival of the new library on the existing site at Central Avenue, a temporary library is open at 52A Rectory Road, West Bridgford, NG2 6BU.
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
West Bridgford Infant School refurbishment
The County Council has temporarily converted an empty office in Nottingham into a school so that the £500,000 refurbishment of West Bridgford Infant School can be completed in time for the children going back to school in September.
The nine-week programme began earlier this month and involves stripping out redundant services from the primary school before improvements and redecoration can take place.
The traditional Victorian building at Avon Gardens on George Road needed to be vacated before the end of term to avoid repair works continuing into the autumn term when the new pupil intake begins.
Duke of Edinburgh Scheme Awards Ceremony
The Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme is thriving in Nottinghamshire with more young people participating than ever before. To March 2012, the award attracted 1,500 new participants which is up 9% on the previous year. Overall, there are more than 2,500 active participants across the county taking part in volunteering and physical exercises as well as learning a new skill and planning expeditions.
In the last year in Nottinghamshire 79 people were awarded gold awards, 297 silver awards and 775 bronze awards. At the latest awards ceremony at County Hall, as Deputy Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council I was delighted to welcome young people from across Rushcliffe who have engaged in the many activities on offer. I also thanked the hundreds of volunteers enrolled on the scheme and acknowledged the support given by parents.
There are 55 Duke of Edinburgh centres based in schools and academies, sixth form colleges, youth centres and ‘open’ venues stretching the length and breadth of Nottinghamshire. Long may this success continue!
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.
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.