John Hempsall has a wealth of experience in local government, having represented the Tuxford division on Nottinghamshire County Council since 1985. During that time he has performed numerous roles including, more recently, Conservative Spokesman on Personnel & Performance matters and Chairman of the Rights of Way Committee. He is currently Vice Chairman of the Environment & Sustainability Committee.
Away from County Hall, John and wife Helen run 'Hempsall's Heritage Orchard' at East Markham. John is well known for his knowledge of apple varieties and has put on displays at various exhibitions throughout the country as well as being interviewed on the radio on this subject.
John is available to meet constituents at any mutually convenient time at a suitable venue. His contact details are displayed on the left of this page.
John'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 Tuxford 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.
John'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.
106 lime trees restored to former glory
An avenue of 106 mature lime trees in Milton has been restored to its former glory following 12 months of work by tree specialists. The avenue, which borders the road leading to Milton Mausoleum, was planted by the 4th Duke of Newcastle in the 1840s as a suitable and fitting approach to the mausoleum. The work has involved the removal of dead, diseased and damaged branches which in turn improves the life expectancy of the trees.
I was pleased to lend my support to Markham Clinton Parish Council's application for funding for the £20,000 project under Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme. After more than 150 years the trees were beginning to show their age, so work on them was long overdue.
Pictured with me admiring the restored lime trees earlier this year is Mr Jim Swindin, Chairman of Markham Clinton Parish Council. With the arrival of new leaves during the spring and summer I’m delighted to say the avenue is now looking resplendent and I’m sure people in and around Milton will appreciate the work carried out.
Green burial notice board at Tuxford Cemetery
In recent years there has been an upward trend in people seeking alternative burials which in turn has lead to a rise in the number of green burials. Tuxford Cemetery in Newark Road has an area at the front of the cemetery that has been consecrated and designated as a 'natural' or 'green' burial ground.
I was pleased to give my support to an application submitted to Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Improvement Scheme to fund a notice board to display the rules and regulations of a Green Burial. The rules state that coffins are made of biodegradable materials including untreated wood, cardboard, wicker baskets or shrouds and that no metal can be used in the construction of the coffins. The rules and regulations also state that no wreaths, flowers, vases or other tributes are allowed on to the site except in the designated areas.
There are a number of plaques displaying the names and location of those buried in the green burial area.
The site is one of exceptional natural beauty and provides a final resting place for those who want a more environmentally-friendly burial. As reported in the Retford Times, it was my pleasure to attend the unveiling of the new notice board, where I was joined by Tuxford Town Council Clerk, Lisa Hill.
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.
Public consultation on Elkesley incinerator plan
Residents and businesses have an opportunity to submit comments on updated plans for a new combined heat and power plant (wood-fuelled incinerator) in north Nottinghamshire.
R Plevin & Sons Ltd submitted a planning application to construct and operate the wood fuelled incinerator at Crookford Hill in Elkesley, Retford in 2010. This was followed by an initial public consultation. However, Nottinghamshire County Council has now re-opened the consultation after the applicant submitted a number of amendments and additional information to the original application.
The main alteration in the revised plan is the reduction in the overall height of the proposed heat and power building from 27m to 20m. The plans also incorporate additional information about storage areas, the substation, public rights of way and alterations to site access as well as a series of technical reports on further survey work and clarification statements. The new consultation period will stay open until 4th October 2012.
The updated plans are available to view on the Nottinghamshire County Council website at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/planningsearch using the reference number ES/1848. Hard copies of the plans are available to view at:-
Members of the public, businesses and other interested groups can comment on the proposals in writing to Nottinghamshire County Council, Development Management, Trent Bridge House, Fox Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 6BJ or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Nottinghamshire County Council's Planning and Licensing Committee is likely to determine the application towards the end of this year or early in 2013.
Further consultation regarding access to Bridge Street, Bridge Place and Castle Street in Worksop
Nottinghamshire County Council would like your views on how to reduce the number of vehicle movements through Bridge Street, Worksop to make the area as pedestrian friendly as possible.
The consultation starts on Wednesday August 22nd and forms can be picked up from local libraries, shops and council offices. Alternatively fill out the form online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/worksoptowncentre. The closing date for receiving responses is Wednesday September 19th 2012.
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.
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. Speaking as Vice Chairman of the Environment & Sustainability Committee I'm sure you will find this to be an interesting and informative day out.
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.
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.
Green light for Elkesley Junction Improvements
Through his Autumn Statement on 29th November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that the Government has approved planning permission for the £9.8 million scheme to improve two junctions on the A1 at Elkesley. This follows years of pressure from residents and local councillors and we are delighted that the scheme is now set to go ahead. See Autumn Statement page 54.
£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.