Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting (26/04/16)

Present:           Thirty parishioners, including Gotham Parish Council members: M.J. Sheppard (Chairman), J.M.F. Royce, J.P. Anderson, H.Taylor, G.Hutter,  M.Wilkins, B.J.Walker.


  1. Welcome: The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.


  1. One Minute’s Silence:

The Chairman requested that the meeting stand for one minute’s silence in memory of those who had fallen in the Two World Wars and for whom this Recreation Ground and Memorial Hall had been donated, in their memory after the 1914-18 war.


  1. Apologies: Councillors C. Dabell, G. Holbrook, A. Clayworth, D. Bexon.


  1. Acceptance of Minutes of Parish held on the 28th April, 2015.

The Minutes of the Gotham Annual Parish Meeting held 28th April, 2015, were authorised for approval.

PROPOSED: J.M.F.Royce SECONDED: B.J. Walker  Vote: All in favour.


  1. GPC Chairman’s Report (M.J. Sheppard).

At the last Annual Parish Meeting in April 2015, Alan Towle addressed the meeting suggesting that the Royal British Legion would make an excellent enlarged shop and include the Post Office. The meeting voted with a show of hands their approval. A group of parishioners under John Anderson volunteered to join the Steering Group’ who would come up with proposals and prepare a bid. A great deal of hard work was done by John and the team, a company was formed and registered, bank account opened, share offer documents were distributed, and much work done to raise essential funds. The project was abandoned on 4th March, all funds have since been returned.

The Biblical story of David and Goliath sadly wasn’t to be repeated in the High Court in London last April. After all the hard work put in by John Anderson, our planning consultant Ken Mafham and Julian Coles Barton parish council (were DAVID), preparing the case to challenge Nottingham City Council, Broxtowe and Gedling Councils (were GOLIATH) in the Judicial Review of the Aligned Core Strategy. It was reported by those attended the hearing, that our barrister Richard Tearney, a leading barrister in this field, made a very strong case. The defence barrister for the opposition on the other hand was weak and ineffective. However the Judge ruled in their favour; no doubt his career progression to the upper echelons of the judiciary might have closed if he had ruled in another direction!

So the large swathe of prime agricultural land from Lark Hill, with it’s magnificent view of the landscape unfolding to the South will become a miasma of houses, large warehouses, buildings of various shapes and sizes, concrete and tarmac etc.. adjoining the Clifton estate and stretching down to the Fairham Brook and creeping nearer to Gotham …. Not a pleasant prospect, we will await the plan.

The Parish Council have decided to retain the services of Ken Mafham to challenge aspects of the plan which we consider unacceptable, and any other developments which might threaten our village. John will report on all this later

The A453 since it opened has relieved us of the rat-running in the morning and evening rush hours. However, with the frenetic house building that’s happening in East Leake currently; there is approval for over 800 more houses, that’s about the size of Gotham!  We must keep a watchful eye on the additional traffic that will come through our village from the speed and safety aspect.

A danger spot in the village now is the Kegworth Road junction with Nottingham Road, traffic doesn’t legally have to stop at this junction, it is supposed to ‘Slow’ – but that doesn’t always happen. With cars parked on both sides of Nottingham Road, and more customers visiting Spar, and pedestrians crossing the road. We will have to keep that under review too.

There is no doubt, that the tram is a boon for anyone going into Nottingham, more people from East Leake and Gotham are using it now, with the facility of parking cars at Lark Hill.

Before Christmas, we had a ceremony to switch on the Christmas tree lights, featuring Batman and Batgirl. We were fortunate to recruit Owen Trickett (Batman) and Paige Lowe (Batgirl) this was the evening after the they had appeared in the enjoyable Robin Hood pantomime. Councillor Harry Taylor drove them round the village in his open vintage D B Lagonda to attract attention. It was very well received by everyone; this is a definite pre-Christmas feature which will be repeated this year.

Because of the appalling weather on the day of the Carol sing-song, I rang the Rev Richard Coleman at lunch time, and he invited us to stage the ‘sing-song’ in the Church. During the afternoon, seats were cleared to the side, and he he spent hours before the event inputting the words of the carols into the church computer, which were then projected onto the screen. The Phil Reckless group were set up in the choir. It all worked out very well. Santa gave the children chocolates as they left. Businesses and individuals in the community had kindly given financial support for what is now a regular pre-Christmas event. It was a very successful evening again; and that this year the event will be held in St. Lawrence Church, unless the weather is mild and no wind, and we might hold it outside as before.

GOTHAM NEWS:- As copies of the East Leake Parish magazine have appeared in the Spar shop, I delivered 30 copies of Gotham News in November to the East Leake Library, which they were happy to receive; and they’ve had 30 copies of the latest edition too; we send 2 copies each to Barton, Thrumpton and Kingston. The Editorial Team decided to increase the advertising rates with effect from January 2016.

Please let me have any news of your groups, and other items of interest; reading about it in the GN may help to generate further interest. It also helps to inform the community of activities in the village which they may not know about but would be interested in.

Gotham Remembers its fallen in the Great War, is a popular feature in each edition; it is well written and interesting, a good deal of hard work goes into this by the team, Peter Inskeep, Pat Dines and Fraser Royce.

I like to feature achievements and news of sportsmen in our community, it hopefully helps to increase interest and membership of the clubs and encourage the younger competitive members of the village.

It would be good to cover all activities in turn eventually. I hope you enjoy this three times a year read; I try to keep a balance between copy and advertising. It is important to let me have your copy and pictures by the copy date, the copy date for the next edition is Friday 17th June. I have posted the advertising rates on the panels at the back of the Hall if you or your group wish to advertise.

In conclusion, I would like to say a personal thank you to all those of you who help with the various activities we have in the village without your help we would not be able to enjoy many of these things.

Finally, I have been asked to mention

West Bridgford Singers Concert in St Lawrence Church

Friday 10th June. Tickets £8 to include Pimms and Nibbles.

Some of the songs will in celebration of Queen’s birthday.










  1. Finance Officer’s Report: (J. Raven).


Gotham Parish Council Financial Report:  Year Ending 31st March 2016


Full income and expenditure accounts for the year ending 31st March, 2016 will be available for inspection from the 14th July, 2016.

Memorial Hall Car Park: The Parish Council, in conjunction with the Trustees of the Memorial Hall, shared costs to re-surface most of the car park and renew drains. The final payment of £825 was made in June 2015:  .

Cemetery Development: Ongoing improvements to the Cemetery have included regular mowing by Horizon Contractors and gardening at a cost of £2,469.

Green Belt Campaign: Our ongoing fight to save Clifton Pastures has continued in conjunction with Barton, Clifton and Thrumpton with costs shared. Gotham’s share last year: £11,457.75. This figure included the costs incurred by taking the Notts City Council Aligned Core Strategy to Judicial Review.

Well House Refurbishment: During the year, the Council has undertaken structural advice on the state of the Well House at a cost of £715. Ongoing improvements are underway with the bulk of the cost, hopefully,covered by the Heritage Lottery Grant.

Railway Walk Maintenance: Continuing improvements to the Railway Walk following last year’s vandalism, a replacement post and wire fence, to match the opposite one alongside the Brickyard Track, was installed at a cost of £360.

Village Defibrillator: After much discussion on the siting of a second village defibrillator, the Bus Company kindly removed the inside defibrillator to the outside wall and shared the costs of a cabinet. The Parish Council cost was £327.

Royal British Legion Site: At this meeting last year it was voted to try and secure the Royal British Legion Site with an Asset of Community Value order. This being successful, costs were incurred by the specially formed management committee to attempt to secure the site – £2,499. These costs have been fully covered by Charitable Grants.

Gotham Remembers: Articles appearing in Gotham News to remember Gotham’s war dead. £539.

Gotham News Costs: Production of Gotham News this year: £1,234.

Play Equipment – £862


Good causes supported in 2015/16:

Carol Singing for Christmas: £50

Church Clock: annual service: £190

Royal British Legion civic wreath:  £250.00.

DARE T Shirts. (Drugs Awareness Course at Gotham School). – £95

Gotham Rangers – £130

Barn Owl Project – £100

Grant towards publication of Gotham News: £650.

Bus Company charity mountaineering climb – £100

Cricket Club mowing and annual grant – £1,375.

Bowls Club annual grant – £900


Subscriptions paid in 2015/16:

Notts Footpath Association – £5

Notts Wildlife Trust – £33.

Information Commissioner’s Office: £35

C.P.R.E. Subscription – £36

Society of Local Council Clerks-  membership: £103

National Association of Local Councils: £263


  1. Report from County Councillor A. Brown:

In 2017 the Soar Valley Division will become Ruddington and Leake Division and comprise of two Councils with two Councillors. There is a reduction of Councillors from the current sixty seven to sixty six. This equal number might mean that nothing gets decided!

I am now a member of the Economic Development Committee (bringing new businesses to the area) and the Crime and Police Committee. An Election will take place for the postion of Police Commissioner and the two candidates are Tony Harper and Paddy Tipping.

My Councillor Fund is shared between eleven villages. This year, Gotham received a donation towards its defibrillator and the Well House refurbishment.

The rewidening of the A453 has been a great success. The Lorry Watch is supposed to deter lorries from travelling through villages. If you spot a lorry travelling through Gotham, go to the County Council website to report which road it is travelling along and details of the lorry involved. If later proven that this lorry is not supposed to be in the village, Trading Standards can impose a £1,000 fine on the driver.

A petition, with 64 signatures, drawn up by riding stables and householders along The Ridgeway re speeding traffic, was handed to me to present to the County Council at a meeting on the 25th February, 2016. A traffic survey was carried out on the straight road length within the 40mph. limit northwest of the Bunny Lane junction. The peak hours 85th percentile speeds travelling southeast were 43.9 mph. – 44.4 mph. with flows varying from 264 – 342 vehicles per hour. This meets the traffic flow but not the speed criteria for a permanent interactive speed sign. Northwestbound, the speeds in the peak hours were 48.2 mph. – 48.5 m.p.h. with flows of 257 – 387,  this meets both criteria. The site will, therefore, be considered for a future interactive speed sign programme. Cost £15,000. The carriageway surface is aesthetically poor with numerous areas of repairs and some fretting of the surgace course. The carriageway is included in the 2016/17 surface dressing programme. There is no definite start date but work should be completed during July – September, 2016.

The Kegworth Road junction with Nottingham Road has funding in place for improvements.

Fly tipping on Soldiers Lane reported. Soldiers Lane is an official bridleway.

The Recycling registration rule may cause increased levels of fly tipping.   


  1. Report from Borough Councillor Stuart Matthews. Apologies received.


  1. Report from Parish Councillor John Anderson, Chairman Planning Committee:

Councillor John Anderson thanked Andrew and Stuart Matthews for regularly attending Gotham Parish Council meetings. They had both worked very hard on Gotham’s behalf.

Clifton Pastures: Not a lot has happened recently. The Oxalis plan was two years ago and no further application has been forthcoming. David Mitchell of RBC has stated further work on Section 106 and traffic issues are still under discussion. Further archeological work undertaken and we await a report. The viability report is also awaited and then a consultation will take place with Parish Councils.

Ken Mafham is of the opinion that this is a landowner driven iniative and there is no demand for housing – as not easy to find a developer willing to take it on. Nottingham City hasn’t expanded as previously expected. RBC has been caught out as it has yet to produce a five year building plan. RBC turned down a small development of houses in Aslockton but the developer won the appeal as RBC couldn’t prove a five year housing plan meaning they are in the developer’s hands. We will find out when a new housing planning application comes out and we will take note of the traffic issues.

Notts Core Strategy and RBC Core Strategy ignored Leicestershire and the planning hub at Junction 24 of the M1 so huge developments there which will be felt by RBC. Gotham will also be affected by traffic from the eight hundred new houses under construction at East Leake.

Gotham Parish Council will retain Ken Mafham’s help. He will assist the Council in obtaining the very best outcome of any future building. The Council will also continue to work alongside Barton and Thrumpton on these matters.

Colin Raynor continues to challenge Nottingham City housing numbers. The student demand for houses has dropped considerably. Chilwell barracks has closed allowing eight hundred houses to become available.


The Barton Sand and Gravel site objection was supported by Gotham Parish Council. In December, the Mineral Local Plan did not include Barton. This was possible because of the lack of house building on Clifton pastures when a sand and gravel supply would have been useful. Some people are still pushing for the sand and gravel site.

The archeological report has not shown any dinosaurs but a medieval settlement was uncovered.

Local Plan Part Two: Gotham status in a green belt envelope and supported by Gotham Parish Council. Responses available on the internet.

Gotham Housing Survey: The Housing Survey shows support for between ten and eleven affordable houses and some three to four bedroom houses. The Parish Council support this so we need to identify a suitable piece of land. Waterloo Housing is in talks but finding it difficult to find a suitable site. We are in meetings with St. Gobain who might or might not allow us to have the land behind the former Royal British Legion site at £10,000 per plot. They have indicated that they are interested in their land South of the village to develop it into working sites.

Neighbourhood Plan: (Parish Plan undertaken in 2006). A Neighbourhood Plan is the latest version as part of a legal structure for planning. It has to work within the Local Plan with limitations but can identify village needs and architecture, etc. Is it time for Gotham to do one?

There is financial support available but we need people to come forward and volunteer to help. If you are interested please contact me.

Royal British Legion Site: Eighteen bids to purchase the site were received. Unfortunately, Gotham Parish Council wasn’t one of them. We will find out the successful bidder but it may take a while for the Royal British Legion to decide. Three Parish Councillors met with their Agent and made him aware of Gotham’s desires for the site. He was of the opinion that RBL would sell for the highest price. I am disappointed that the Community Hub failed but thank you for supporting it to the tune of £200,000. An outstanding result.


Half Hour Break for Refreshments and to have a chance to read the information boards at the back of the hall. Articles supplied by many village organisations.


P.C.S.O Cathy Lucock addressed the meeting with a report of recent activities regarding Notts Police. P.C. Kelly Warwick is no longer responsible for our area. It is now the job of P.C.S.O’s to report crime. The area includes East Leake, Ruddington and the Soar Valley villages. It has not been the best year in Gotham regarding crime with an increase in thefts of and from motor vehicles. It is always unwise to leave valuables on show in the car. Sheds, especially on allotments, have been targeted for theft and garden machinery stolen from houses along The Ridgeway. It has become a ‘right of passage’ for boys in the 14/15 age range to have been seen capable of thieving these kind of items. This has resulted in an increase in police patrols.

If you need to report an incident, please ring 101 and press the 2nd option. The control room will send the nearest police car to the scene of the crime. Contact details also available via the website. Gotham has been listed at the Police Priority Setting meetings as a priority for garden shed crime. It is advisable to sign your email address up to the Neighbourhood Alert System which spreads the word of ongoing crime to Rushcliffe South, Keyworth, Radcliffe and Bingham.


P.C.S.O. C. Lucock left the meeting at 8.35 p.m.


  1. Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations:

Peter Phillips is in charge of arranging a street party along The Mall with invitations to all the Queen’s charities on the 9th June, 2016.


Gotham will hold a celebration which could include a picnic in the park, fancy dress, maypole dancing, rounders match, special tree planting in The Square. A suggestion box will be placed inside the Spar shop and I urge you to contribute an idea or two.


  1. Defibrillators: Wallet sized information cards passed around the audience with advice on how to access the defibrillators.
  2. Hutter has kindly take on the duty of regular checks on the defibrillators to ensure they are in good working order. If an incident occurs and you suspect a heart attack victim:
  3. Ring 999 who give a code number for opening the defibrillator cabinet.
  4. Access the defibrillator. The Ambulance Service instructs you what to do next with a recorded message.

If not required, replace the defibrillator inside the box and Gill Hutter will check it is in the correct order.


  1. Any Other Business:

Well House: G. Hutter announced the successful outcome of the application from the Heritage Lottery for Well House refurbishment funding. Some changes to the building will see its original features of 1862. This will include the stanchions supported on plinths. The provision of seating inside will be smaller and, with the removal of the dais, allow access for wheelchairs and push chairs. The banding of roof tiles is to be re-introduced.

Thanks to all those people who signed the petition and wrote letters of support for the Heritage Lottery funding and to the Countryside Trust for funding the replacement finial. Other financial support was received from County Councillor Andrew Brown, Borough Councillor Stuart Matthews, Eon,, British Gypsum, Dr. Gerrard’s Trust, Sally Hudson and Gotham Parish Council. Individual donations provided one third of the funding with the Heritage Lottery, two thirds. Information boards will be installed into the roof of the Well House to include the history of the village, Church, Nature Reserve, Tales of Gotham, Gypsum mines, Batman connection. Thanks to the Gotham History Society for a wealth of information.


The opening of the newly refurbished Well House will take place at a Heritage Day. We need a team of volunteers to help with the organise the proceedings. We are joining with the Bus Company who celebrate ninety years of business and St. Gobain. Once again, the History Society will assist with historical scenes and a photographic exhibition.


The Chairman thanked Gill Hutter for her hard work on the Well House project and she received a round of applause.


M.J.  Sheppard reported, he had written to Earl Howe, whose forebears built the original Well House and laid a drain from the Weldon Spring to provide Gotham with, easier to access, water. The Earl had responded to my letter containing the official letter of GPC ownership of the Well House. He has also been invited to unveil the newly refurbished Well House in September. The refurbishment work should take place during the summer. The Heritage Day will be professionally advertised with interest already received from BBC TV.


Tithe Barn: Kevin Thorpe had received notice, from Notts City Transport, of an opportunity to view inside the Tithe Barn. Please contact Kevin, if interested.


Four years ago, Greg Farnsworth created a Heritage Trail to include Cheese Hill and the Tythe Barn. The trail takes two hours’ to walk and involves six Heritage Boards along the route.


Village Entrance Signs: E. Perrell inquired about the recent talks on replacing the village entrance signs. There is still a budget of £1,500 in the GPC capital account for signage but, as the stolen Nottingham Road sign was recovered by Police, the project was put on hold. The County Council signs are now secured to avert the problem of theft.


There being no more business, the Chairman thanked the attendees and speakers and the meeting closed at 9.40 p.m.