Councillor Martin Suthers OBE was elected to represent the Bingham division on Nottinghamshire County Council in August 2000. In June 2009 he was elected to the position of Deputy Leader of the Council.
Martin has a long history of local government service and community involvement. He was previously a Nottingham City Councillor 1967-69 and 1976-95, and was Lord Mayor of Nottingham in 1988-89.
Councillor Suthers was born in Swindon and educated at Dulwich College and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he studied history and law. He is a consultant at the Bingham office of a Nottingham firm of solicitors.
Martin is a keen opponent of government centralisation and wants to see more powers given back to local communities and more local democracy.
Martin holds a surgery on the 2nd Thursday of each month at The Old Court House, Bingham, 10:30 a.m. - 11.30 a.m. He attends meetings of Bingham Town Council and the four Parish Councils in his division on a regular basis. Whenever possible he also takes up invitations to attend the Parish Meetings held in the seven smaller parishes in his area.
He 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.
Martin'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 Bingham 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.
Martin'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.
Visits to local businesses
Nottinghamshire County Council is sounding out businesses on its economic development plans and proposals to stimulate growth and jobs. Recently I was one of a delegation of committee chairmen and council officers, led by Councillor Kay Cutts, to visit the award winning Southwell-based business, Advanex Europe.
Advanex specialises in design and manufacture of metal and plastic components, springs and assemblies to sectors as diverse as medical, pharmaceutical, aerospace, electronics and agricultural engineering manufacturers. The meeting and tour was the latest of a series of visits to companies throughout the county to talk to local businesses about the issues facing them, local growth plans and how the Council can provide support.
Senior Councillors have made twelve formal visits to Nottinghamshire firms in the last two years, including Laing O'Rourke (Worksop), Alliance Boots (Beeston), Abacus Lighting (Sutton-in-Ashfield), Synseal (Huthwaite), British Sugar (Newark), Hardstaffs (Gotham) and British Geological Survey (Keyworth).
There's no substitute for getting out there and seeing how our businesses are doing on the ground. Often there are actions the County Council can take which make a huge difference to businesses and their employees - from small things like tweaking a bus route or trading standards advice to major infrastructure projects such as improving the A453 and faster broadband.
Karl Sirrell, Regional Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses and Mark Chivers, Director of Nottinghamshire Enterprise Zone (Alliance Boots) recently became co-opted members of the County Council's Economic Development Committee. And businesses from throughout the county were involved in the production of Nottinghamshire's first Growth Plan, which is out for consultation until 7 December. It can be viewed at: http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/growthplan
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
With the London 2012 Olympics approaching, there were some key sports grants up for consideration at the Grant Aid Sub-Committee, of which I am the chairman, on 19th July.
The committee was asked to discuss and approve an award of £39,100 to the Nottinghamshire Schools Council for Sport (NSCS) for the year 2012/13 to help sports associations to engage children at school in competitive sport. It uses a network of around 1,300 volunteers for young people in a range of sports including athletics, badminton, cricket, football, table tennis, hockey, netball and swimming. Many of the volunteers are teachers and ex-teachers, employed on an expenses-only basis, helping aspiring young sports girls and boys to compete and represent their school and county. An estimated 24,000 pupils participate in sport under the guidance of the NSCS.
A separate agenda item sought discussion and approval of an award for £25,000 to professional rugby side Nottingham Rugby Club to fund its community work for the 2012/13 season. The club initially approached the county council for support in 2008 and following detailed discussions it was agreed a Grant Agreement should be established, initially for three years, and subject to annual funding depending on performance. The award being considered by the committee for 2012/13 would also be in principle for the following two years, subject to available funds and satisfactory reporting and evaluation. It is planned that the community programme will be managed by Nottingham Rugby Club’s manager and delivered by coaches from the Community team, utilising players and coaching staff to raise the profile of the scheme for both the council and the club. The programme includes a range of initiatives to boost the opportunity and appeal of rugby across the county including a School-Club Pathway Programme, Schools Development and Coach Development Nights.
Elsewhere in terms of community voluntary services, the county council’s Corporate Grant Aid strategy states that where possible, grant aid agreements should be made for a period of three years to help them with their long term financial planning. However when the awards for certain advice services were made for 2012/13, they were only approved for one year, so the committee will discuss whether or not to extend the grant agreements to take into account 2013/14 as well. This will apply to a number of organisations that are set to undergo a review of advice services in 2013/14 which will form part of the HealthWatch contract.
These organisations had the following grant amounts approved for 2012/13 and it was recommended the same grant awards were approved for 2013/14 as well:
Collingham Rural and Resource Centre - £10,000
Cotgrave Advice Centre - £4,000
Mansfield Welfare Rights – £1,000
Radcliffe on Trent Advice Centre - £3,000
Disabilities Living Centre - £30,000
Disability Nottinghamshire - £40,000
ISAS – Incest and Sexual Abuse Survivors - £15,000
Nottingham Rape Crisis - £26,000.
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.
At Full Council on 3rd November I presented proposals to reduce bureaucracy and make it easier for Nottinghamshire voluntary organisations to apply for grant aid funding from Nottinghamshire County Council. Our aim is to cut the red tape and make it easier for groups to access funding so they can concentrate on carrying out their services for the benefit of Nottinghamshire residents.
The local voluntary sector was consulted over a four-week period from 15th August on the authority’s Corporate Grant Aid Strategy 2011-15 which included an online feedback form and focus groups with affected organisations in the county’s seven districts. Around 80 percent of online respondents agreed with the proposal for the new small grant allocation of £500 to £5,000 instead of up to £1,000. The same percentage of online respondents also supported plans to simplify the application process, including standard applications forms for small grants and grants over £5,000 which will be available online. The proposal to award the majority of grants for a period of up to three years was welcomed by 90 percent of respondents.
The Council will be introducing an annual small grant pot available from June 2013 for innovative projects in response to concerns that the sector also needs access to short-term funding for new initiatives that may arise.
A budget of approximately £1.6 million is available for 2012/13 and interested organisations can apply for a share by Wednesday 16th November 2011.