Victor Bobo was elected to represent the West Mansfield division on Nottinghamshire County Council in June 2009. He has been Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (Mansfield & Ashfield branch) for last 5 years and serves on the Board of the Sherwood Coalfield Community Development Trust. He has been a member of the Mansfield 2020 Business Club for more than a decade and is also a member of the Constitutional Monarchy Association and the Newstead Abbey Byron Society.
Victor was also a non-political board member of Mansfield Diamond Partnership programme, which oversaw some of the key flagship projects in Mansfield in recent years, such as the Millennium Business Park, the Salvation Army building in West Titchfield, the Portland Business Park and the Moor Lane Recreation Ground. From 2001-2007 he also served on the Warsop Area Assembly, representing Mansfield 2020.
Victor is available to meet with constituents at any convenient time at a suitable venue. His contact details are displayed on the left of this page.
Victor'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 Mansfield 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.
Victor'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.
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!
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.
Full speed ahead with new Mansfield bus station
As reported recently in the Chad newspaper, Mansfield's new £9 million bus station is continuing to take shape with the major steel skeleton of the building now in place. The new bus station, which is less than 200 yards away from the market place, is a crucial part of Mansfield ‘s town centre regeneration.
My colleague Councillor Richard Jackson, the Chairman of the Transport & Highways Committee, visited the town to oversee the installation of a 70-metre footbridge which will form the crucial link between the bus station and the town’s railway station, creating a new transport interchange fit for usage in the 21st century.
Before the building officially opens next year a time capsule containing snapshots of one day in the life of Mansfield will be buried beneath.
Bronze successes for Becky
Nottinghamshire County Council provides annual grant funding to Nova Centurion Swimming Club and we cheered along with the rest of the nation as Becky Adlington clinched Olympic bronze for Team GB in both the 400 metre and 800 metre freestyle events. She was named by the County Council as Sportsperson of the Year at the Nottinghamshire Sports Awards earlier this year, as voted for by coaches and local sports experts who work at grassroots level in the community. With my Council colleagues I am only too happy to be offering my congratulations to her once again.
Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire County Council continues to look forward to the progress of some of local athletes who are funded by its Shining Stars fund, and this year each have received £2,012 to help with their training and general costs for travel.
Mansfield Day Service reopens
I'm delighted to report that after a half a million pound makeover, Mansfield Day Service on Southwell Road West has been reopened by Councillor Carol Pepper, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council.
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.
Mansfield Materials Recovery Facility Open Day
Have you ever wondered what happens to your paper, cans and plastic when they have been collected for recycling? Have you ever wondered what these can be turned into? Well, here's your chance to find out.
On Saturday 25th August 2012 Nottinghamshire County Council in partnership with Veolia Environmental Services will be holding their 'Waste & Recycling Wonder' Open Day between 10 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. at the Mansfield Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), Warren Way, Crown Farm Industrial Estate, Forest Town, Mansfield NG19 0FL.
Guided tours will be running throughout the day with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and discover what happens at this state-of-the-art recycling facility. These open days are very popular, so to avoid disappointment please pre-book your tour by calling 0203 567 3425.
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.
The new-look Nottinghamshire County Council website includes a page about the refurbished Mansfield Library, which was reopened by the Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council earlier this year. The page includes a video and a selection of images before and after the improvements, as well as details on opening times and the new services provided. Follow this link, it's worth a look.
I was pleased to join Mark Spencer MP in attending the final day of the Big Scouting Weekend event at Southwell Racecourse in May. About 3,500 Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers from across the county attended the event, including Mansfield District Scouts, helped by funding from my Councillors' Divisional Fund. The event opened on Friday night (4th May) with a disco, followed by three days of activities for youngsters aged from 6 to 18.
Notts Scouts held mass camps in 2007 and 2009 to mark the centenary of Scouting and Notts Scouts respectively. The 2012 camp marked not only the London Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee but also celebrated a momentous year for Notts Scouts. The organisation has just experienced its highest annual growth rate (10%) in membership in a 103-year history, attracting more than 700 new Scouts. It took the total number of Scouts in the county to more than 7,100.
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.
Junction improvements bring new Mansfield bus station a step closer
WORK on Mansfield’s new £9m bus station is a step closer following major improvements to a busy junction close to the site. Improvements to the junction of Station Road and Belvedere Street were completed last week and mean that the next phase of works – to Quaker Way and the Station Road car park – can begin.
The entire junction is now controlled by signals, helping to improve access to the railway station, the Midland Hotel, Arrival Square and to the bus station, once completed, from Belvedere Street. The new junction layout also means that Station Road, from Quaker Way to the station access road, can be removed from the highway network and lowered in height to become part of the bus station turning area.
The new bus station will be located at the Station Road Car Park, just 180 metres (195 yards) from the Market Square and within the heart of the town centre. It will be much closer to the railway station and will benefit the five million passengers using the old bus station each year and, hopefully, encourage more people to travel by public transport. The building will be light and airy, with extensive use of glass. It will be fully enclosed and have a comfortable waiting area with plenty of seating, toilets, a baby changing area, shops and refreshments. It will include a staffed travel information office, electronic timetable information, CCTV cameras linked to the town centre system and automatic doors separating the waiting passengers from buses.
£2.5 million boost for Supporting People
Despite local budget pressures and a reduced grant from central Government, Nottinghamshire County Council has invested an extra £2.5 million in its Supporting People programme.
Supporting People is a national programme that provides housing related support to help vulnerable people live independently. It will see its Government grant in Nottinghamshire reduced to £17.6 million this year, threatening the County Council’s previous year’s Supporting People spend of £22.5 million.
However, thanks to a new £1.5 million investment from the local NHS, plus a further £1 million diverted from the County Council budget, the Government’s allocation has been given a vital boost in Nottinghamshire. This limits the reduction in the County’s Supporting People budget to just over 10%, from £22.5 million to £20.11 million. The restricted budget reduction has also been made possible by the County Council’s decision early this year, following public consultation, to keep its savings on Supporting People to £10 million over the next three years rather than two higher reduction options of £12.5 million and £15 million.
These funding measures support feedback gained from a second, two-month public consultation on Supporting People services this year (in Feb/March), to form new proposals which went before Full Council on 30th June 2011. These proposals ensure that:-
- Most accommodation based services continue to be funded, albeit at reduced levels;
- ‘Floating support’ services, which offer support to people in their own homes, will be delivered consistently across issues of homelessness prevention and offender, drug and alcohol, gypsy and traveller and young people’s services;
- Mental health services are reviewed and delivered more efficiently;
- Young people’s services are reviewed for greater efficiency;
- Community alarm and warden services for older people are replaced with a new short term service targeted at helping vulnerable people to remain independent in their own homes.
We’ve talked to those who use the services, to our District Council partners, to project providers and voluntary and community groups, including church leaders, to find ways to make savings through efficiencies. We will target the money at front line services that meet the needs of those who are most vulnerable and in greatest need.
Nottinghamshire was successful in securing Government money under Supporting People when the programme first started eight years ago but we’ve seen this central funding steadily fall by nearly £11 million since that time. We believe that after the £10 million savings have been made, the level of funding in Nottinghamshire for these services will still compare well with other Council areas.
State-of-the-art young people's centre opens in Mansfield
I am delighted to report on the opening by the Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council of the new £6.5 million state-of-the-art Westfield Folkhouse Young People's Centre on Westfield Lane in Mansfield. It will offer youth clubs and projects seven days a week and is regarded as the county's "flagship" youth centre.
Nottinghamshire County Council contributed £1.5m towards the project, with the remaining money coming from the Government. The building has multi-media gaming zones, music and dance areas, a DJ booth, a cafe and offices. It will have activities for disabled young people and vocational training programmes for teenagers.
Outside, there are sensory gardens, allotments, walls for graffiti art and five-a-side football, volley ball and chess areas. The main building is a restored 1830s grade II listed building.
School buildings investment
I am delighted to report that the Ethel Wainwright Primary and Rosebrook Primary & Nursery in West Mansfield division are amongst the schools set to benefit from the first phase of Nottinghamshire County Council's new £100 million programme to refurbish and improve school buildings.
At the Annual General Meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council on 19th May, The Cabinet Member for Children & Young People's Services, Councillor Philip Owen set out the full Schools Capital Refurbishment Programme List, covering three years up to 2014.
In line with the "Three R's" set out by the Government for school building works (Refresh, Refurbish, Re-use), Nottinghamshire County Council has set the criteria to prioritise the schools most in need of improvements for the first year. The condition of roofs, external walls and windows, electrical arrangements and mechanical issues such as boilers have been considered.
More in-depth surveys of the schools in the first year list will take place from June and works on a small number of schools will begin during the summer holidays. The Council started a review of school buildings across the county following the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.
The County Council will be funding around £30m of the programme with the remaining money coming from the authority’s Government grant for school maintenance.
New bus station for Mansfield
During March, Nottinghamshire County Council started preliminary work, with Mansfield District Council, on a new Mansfield Bus Station. The preliminary work to construct new retaining walls and sections of pavement is being followed by alterations to nearby roads. Actual construction of the building should start later this year, with the opening due by early 2013.
Final Government approval for £7.2 million towards the £11.6 million cost of the project was received in February. The rest of the cost is being covered by both councils and £125,000 from the East Midlands Development Agency Single Programme budget. The £11.6 million project cost includes the £1.1 million value of the land and £1.5 million that has already been spent on design, planning and initial groundwork, meaning the cost of the actual building will be £9 million.
The new bus station will be located at the Station Road Car Park, just 180 metres (195 yards) from the Market Square and within the heart of the town centre. It will be much closer to the railway station. This will benefit the existing five million passengers using the current bus station each year and, hopefully, encourage more people to travel by public transport.
The building will be light and airy, with extensive use of glass. It will be fully enclosed and have a comfortable waiting area with plenty of seating, toilets, a baby changing area, shops and refreshments. It will include a staffed travel information office, electronic timetable information, CCTV cameras linked to the town centre system and automatic doors separating the waiting passengers from buses.
New-look for Mansfield Library
The new-look Mansfield Library is set to open this Autumn following a major refurbishment. This £3.25 million project will provide a number of new facilities including: -
a bright and spacious modern interior;
self-service which will make it faster to borrow books, DVDs and CDs;
twice as many computers for the public to use for free;
a second lift, which will make it easier for wheelchair users to access the upper levels;
more floor space and resources for the children and young adults section and a "chill-out" space for readers;
a new-look user-friendly local history section which will now move to the first floor; and
new male, female and disabled toilets all with baby changing facilities.