Councillor Carol Pepper is the current Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council.
She was elected to represent the Arnold North division in June 2009, a two-member division also represented by County Councillor Ged Clarke. Carol previously served as a Nottinghamshire County Councillor between 1989 and 2005 and has also served for thirty years on Gedling Borough Council. She was the Mayor of Gedling Borough in 1987-88.
Upon her re-election to County Hall in 2009, Carol was appointed Business Manager for the Conservative Group and continued in this role until she became Chairman of Council in May 2012. Formerly known as Chief Whip, this role involved allocating and organising the committee duties and outside body responsibilities of all Conservative councillors.
Carol has lived in the Arnold area for more than 40 years and through her work as a councillor has been involved in a wide range of community initiatives and projects. She says she particularly enjoys helping local people to solve problems and access the services they require.
In her spare time, Carol enjoys gardening, cooking and especially watching Nottingham Forest Football Club.
Carol'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 Arnold North 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.
Carol's latest news...
Bassetlaw Day Service centre revamped
I was delighted to meet service users at the official opening of a Worksop day service building that has received a £1.87m transformation to improve the facilities on offer and make it a more attractive environment for service users. Nottinghamshire County Council has extensively refurbished the Bassetlaw Day Service centre on Albion Close, formerly known as Eastgate Day and Community Support Service, as part of a £6m modernisation of day service bases across the county.
The building has been fitted with multi-purpose activity rooms, an audio sensory room, comfortable lounges, salon and dining area. New toilets, showers and changing facilities with adaptations for use by older people and people with disabilities have also been installed.
The service was previously only used by people with physical disabilities but the refurbishment allows the centre to offer a wide range of activities to older people and people with learning disabilities. Activities include arts and crafts, sports, educational and leisure pursuits, horticulture and community based activities.
The improved centre is expected to be used by an estimated 536 people per week throughout the Bassetlaw district. The building will also be available for use by the wider community, with groups being able to hire rooms for meetings and activities when not in use by the day service.
Nottinghamshire County Council decided to modernise its day services following a countywide review. One conclusion from the review was that the day services were not making efficient use of buildings, which were operating at an average of just 39 percent of their capacity. Following the programme of improvement works across the county, day services will operate from 14 multi-purpose buildings, including Bassetlaw Day Service.
We will remember them
On Friday morning, 9th November, I joined the Council Leader, fellow councillors and council employees for our annual Ceremony of Remembrance and 2-minute silence at the front of County Hall, ahead of Remembrance Sunday. As always, this was an immensely moving ceremony and I used my Chairman's address to thank everybody for their attendance, showing that none of us will ever forget those who gave their today for our tomorrow.
With this in mind it is fitting to report that 99-year old Jim Flint, the oldest and most decorated surviving RAF war veteran and Bomber Command Pilot, recently visited a Nottinghamshire memorial to seven RAF airmen who lost their lives in 1943. The aircrew of Lancaster ED823 are remembered by a large granite boulder near the crash site in School Lane, Halam near Southwell. The memorial was funded through the Nottinghamshire County Council Local Improvement Scheme and unveiled in 2011 with relatives of the crew from Australia, Canada and the UK present at the blessing.
Over the last 8 years the county council has funded the restoration and creation of more than 35 war memorials across Nottinghamshire to the tune of £500,000 with RAF memorials being erected in villages including Staunton, near Newark and Milton near Retford. Projects have also been undertaken with the Newark Air Museum.
Jim Flint received the George Medal for bravery after his plane ditched in the sea near Cromer in Norfolk. His navigator was trapped and he swam back to rescue him, saving his life. It is men like Jim to whom we owe such huge gratitude and the Council Leader was honoured to show him the work we have been doing in memory of his former colleagues.
On Saturday 10th November, I helped to sell poppies in and around Meadow Lane football ground at Notts County's match with Crawley Town and then took part in a minute of silent remembrance on the pitch ahead of the game, joined by players and club board members.
At Full Council on 1st November, councillors unanimously agreed in principle the replacement of the mosaic outside the main entrance of County Hall with a lasting memorial to all those who have died in the service of their country (see Council agenda Item 10).
Carrying a torch
On 20th August I was pleased to host an event in the Civic Office giving everyone a chance to be pictured holding the Olympic Torch. In return for a £1 (minimum) donation, which is being split equally between the Chairman's Charity and 3rd Ruddington Brownies, visitors could follow in the footsteps of David Beckham, Torvill & Dean and hundreds of the country’s unsung heroes by holding a piece of history in your hands.
The torch being used during the event was carried by Carol Jaggers in Ingoldmells on 27th June as part of the flame’s journey to the Olympic Stadium. Carol, from Nottinghamshire, has been Leader of Ruddington Brownies for 25 years and was chosen to carry the Olympic flame because of her years of working with local children.
This year’s Chairman’s Charity is the Nottingham Hospitals Charity appeal to build a new cystic fibrosis centre for Nottinghamshire.
Council Chairman Councillor Carol Pepper formally accepts the Peace Sword from Ruddington councillor Reg Adair at the Full Council meeting in July
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 me as Chairman of the Council at July's Full Council meeting.
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.
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.
Chernobyl children welcomed to Nottinghamshire
On 9th August 2012 as Council Chairman I had the pleasure of welcoming to County Hall ten Belarussian children whose health and lifestyle are still being blighted more than 25 years on from the world's worst ever nuclear disaster. The impact of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station disaster in 1986 was 96 times greater than the Hiroshima atomic bomb and its effects are still being felt in the region today. There are increasing incidents of children born with leukemia and related illnesses such as thyroid and intestinal cancers or heart and other organ defects.
Although the Nuclear Power Station was in Ukraine, Belarus bore the brunt of the disaster with a quarter of the country's farmland and forestry reduced to wasteland. Aged 8 to 13, the children visiting Nottinghamshire have all been directly affected by the disaster either through serious illness, being evacuated from contaminated areas or being orphaned. They are staying with host families in the county for four weeks on a visit organised by Chernobyl Children Life Line (Newark and Sherwood), which has been providing breaks for children affected by the disaster for the last 20 years.
Incredibly, it is believed that their short stay in Britain breathing fresh air, eating non-contaminated food and receiving any medical care necessary may add as much as four years to a child's life. As well as enjoying local attractions, the children will all receive check-ups and treatment at local dentists and opticians during their stay, which is not available to them at home. The children arrived in Nottinghamshire on 21th July and will return home on 18th August.
I am delighted to support the Chernobyl Children Life Line initiative. People can make a contribution to the project or discuss hosting a visiting child by contacting Suzanne Crampton on 01636 830 708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mansfield Day Service Reopening
As Council Chairman I was delighted to officially reopen the Mansfield Day Service on Southwell Road West following a half a million pound makeover of the facility.
Mansfield Day Service Reopening Ceremony
The centre has been redecorated, its facilities upgraded and the layout altered to make the building more flexible for all the people who will use it. The building, which is run by Nottinghamshire County Council, was previously used by people with learning disabilities and older people. After the refurbishment it will also be used also by people who have mental health issues, and people with physical disabilities could choose to attend.
Features include improved hairdressing and beauty facilities along with new toilets, showers and changing facilities. Many of the changes have been based on suggestions from people who use the service and their carers. The refurbished building will also be available for use by the wider community, with groups able to hire rooms for meetings and activities when not in use by the day service.
The Woodland View bungalow on the site, used for horticultural projects, has also been revamped with a new toilet and kitchenette along with replacement floor coverings, new windows and general redecoration.
The centre was the first purpose built day service building in the county when it opened its doors in 1964 and was formerly known as the Red Oaks Day Service. Nottinghamshire County Council decided to modernise day service provision following a countywide review. One conclusion from the review was that the day services were not making efficient use of buildings, which were operating at an average of just 39 percent of their capacity. Following the programme of improvement works across the county, day services will operate from 14 multi-purpose buildings, including Mansfield Day Service.
Council adopts a committee system
The Council Chamber at County Hall, where most of the meetings under the new committee system will be held
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.
As stated below, my Chairman's Charity for 2012/13 is the Nottingham Hospitals Charity appeal to build a new cystic fibrosis centre. You can read more about this on my Chairman's Charity web page. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque payable to Nottinghamshire County Council to:-
Chairman's Charity Appeal
Nottinghamshire County Council
Chairman of the Council
At the Full Council meeting on 17th May it was my honour and privilege to be elected Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council for the year 2012-13. I am grateful to my council colleagues for their confidence and I am really looking forward to representing the people of Nottinghamshire over the coming year.
I am delighted to be supporting the Nottingham Hospitals Cystic Fibrosis Campaign as my Chairman's Charity for the Year and I hope that the money raised will greatly benefit sufferers of the condition from throughout the county.
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.
A Grisly History of Nottinghamshire!
On 16th November, as Vice Chairman of the County Council I was pleased to help launch a new book for children revealing the gory details of the bloody and gruesome history of Nottinghamshire. The book is the Council's first local history book for children, and is entitled 'A Grisly History of Nottinghamshire in 10 Spine-chilling Chapters'. The book has been written by local children’s author Michael Cox, and is illustrated by Clive Goddard. It has been published by the council’s Libraries, Archives and Information Publications Group.
The book covers the history of Nottinghamshire in ten grisly and humorous chapters and wonderful illustrations. It reveals:-
- Which horrid king dangled screaming children from the walls of Nottingham Castle until they were dead;
- Why the River Trent ran red with blood on one sunny summer afternoon in 1487;
- How a posse of blood-thirsty Nottinghamshire ‘hard-cases’ massacred woolly mammoths;
- Which Nottinghamshire town was blasted to bits in three bloody sieges then devastated by a gruesome plague!
Present at the launch were 30 children from Arnold's Robert Mellors Primary School who were captivated by tales from the book. Far from being overawed, children are fascinated by such stories which are told in a fun and humorous way. Any publication that encourages a child's enthusiasm for reading should be welcomed and this book would make an ideal Christmas present for youngsters aged 10-14.
A Grisly History of Nottinghamshire’ can be bought for £5.95 from Nottinghamshire Archives and major libraries. It can also be purchased by post by sending a cheque for £8.95 (including £3.00 for postage and packaging) payable to Nottinghamshire County Council to: Libraries, Archives and Information, 4th Floor, County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP.