Our Beeston –
Our Future


An independent group inspired by the past and passionate about the future of Beeston, is encouraging an online conversation about the future of Beeston in anticipation of a special open event in Spring, 2022

This Is Beeston, by Philip Francomb.


Summarised responses to #Beeston2020Vision received to April 2022.

Responses are available unedited on the current hosting site, cpwalker.co.uk/pages/beeston-2020-vision, and facebook.com/Beeston2020Vision 

1. #Beeston2020Vision, Why an online conversation? 

At the outset the Organising Panel, an independent group inspired by the past and passionate about the future of Beeston, was encouraging an online conversation about the future of Beeston in anticipation of a special open event, initially intended for May 2020, but postponed until a safe point in the Spring of 2022, and now fixed for Wednesday 27 April in The Royal British Legion. We seek creative ideas about the future of Beeston over the next decade. 

The Vision idea stems from a melding of both ‘The Story of Beeston’ written by local historian David Hallam and commissioned by CP Walker and Son to mark their 120th anniversary and an earlier Vision for Beeston event sponsored by the Beeston and District Civic Society on 7 April 2017. The Forward to David’s book invites ideas about Beeston’s next chapter post 2020. An important lesson from the 2017 event was that an open discussion about our future would be best served by first inviting ideas from a wide base in the Beeston community.  Covid has prolonged that consultation.

2. Beeston Basics 

Beeston is a Nottinghamshire town in the Borough of Broxtowe, 3.4 miles (5.5 km) south-west of Nottingham city centre. Beeston has a river frontage from Rylands to the adjoining Attenborough Nature Reserve and bird sanctuary. 

The 2011 Census records Beeston’s population as 37,000, of which 71.2% are classed as White British and 28.8% as different ethnicities. Suburban development in the mid-20th century extended the built-up area of Beeston to the former villages of Chilwell to the west, and Wollaton and Lenton Abbey to the north. The City of Nottingham boundary forming the town’s eastern edge. The commercial centre and shopping district sits to the north of the railway line, with the mixed residential and industrial area of Beeston Rylands to the south. Beeston is well connected locally and nationally by rail, tram and road and nationally and internationally by air from East Midlands Airport. 

3. Charlie Malone, Diverse town centre facilities helping to strengthen the Beeston community, (July 2021)

I have lived in Beeston all my life – I am 19 – I really like that the town centre is within walking distance. I particularly like the fact that we have a fantastic gym in the town centre. I go there a lot! There are some good bars and restaurants around. It would be nice to see more outdoor / sociable places to eat and drink. There is a good community spirit all around Beeston and it would be good to see that get even stronger. I would like to see more focus on health and fitness – maybe in the types of shops we have or other fitness venues”. 

*4. Chris Frost, Sub Editor of The Beestonian, Our creative town, (undated)

Chris, also co-originator of the ‘I am Beeston’ Project, believes that much will remain familiar over the next decade, but what could change? Back in early 2020 he looked at challenges to our local society over the next ten years covering transport, environment, employment, housing, shops and recreation in what he describes as ‘our creative town.

5. Civic Voice, Our national charity supporting Civic Societies, (March 2021)

Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement in England, representing local civic societies, including our own Beeston and District Civic Society – providing them with services. It campaigns nationally on their behalf, promoting civic pride. Griff Rys Jones, president since 2009, advises that, “Civic Voice works to make the places where we live more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive”. Civic Voice is aware of our developing conversation about the future of Beeston. 

*6. Cllr. Janet Patrick, Mayor of Broxtowe, 2020-21, Working together to keep Beeston special, (June 2020)

What makes Beeston so special, what are its strengths and what challenges do we face? Among these are the shortage of housing, leisure facilities for you

people, and the challenges of working together in a pandemic. She suggests that we can make Beeston a better place to live, work and play by the Borough Council, voluntary groups and individuals working together more closely. 

7.  Cllr Janet Patrick, (02), Mayor of Broxtowe, 2020-21, Bringing out the best in people, (April 2021) 

The pandemic has been hard for everyone, yet the worst of times has also brought out the best in people. Beeston, like the rest of the Borough, has become a more caring community, bringing a sense of responsibility that Janet hopes will continue. Meanwhile building work continues uninterrupted and street art has recently been extended. Beeston is buzzing! 

8. Colin Tucker, Things to aim for in a thriving Beeston, (undated)           

Colin would like to see a thriving High Street with specialist shops, complemented by safe extended, open spaces. Ideally he would like to see a performance and exhibition space like Lakeside, and restricted car access to open up more of the centre to pedestrians and encourage a greener approach to traffic movement. 

9. David Hallam, (01), Reinventing Beeston for the 2020s – lessons from the past, (December 2019) 

Beeston is a resilient community that has successively and successfully reinvented itself over the past 120 years to meet changing needs. There have been important examples of recent local initiatives, such as the change from retail to eateries on the High Street and the Canalside Heritage Centre. Local government initiatives will play an important part in future change, but input from all who care about our future – that should include all of us – is essential and can make a difference by developing ideas and driving them forward.

10. David Hallam, (02), The High Road, where change must start, (June 2020) 

Most towns are judged by their centres, increasingly under threat by out-of-town shopping and on-line buying. Encouraging places where people can relax with a coffee and more has worked well in Beeston, but Covid and increasing on-line shopping has accelerated this threat to retail. We might pursue a strategy of encouraging a sustainable number of in-demand retail outlets and replace the surplus – often with under-used upper floors – with innovative residential units. This could be transformational, especially if there is a corresponding increase in green space. An agreed strategy to protect and manage the High Road area might protect us from the worst of market forces and help to achieve longer term objectives. 

11. Dean Thomas, Building on strengths to make Beeston a better place, (March 2020)

Dean suggests diversity, services, location and good public transport, but asks how can we build on strengths like the Middle Street Resource Centre, Beeston Library and the Pearson centre to make Beeston better? There is much to address if we are to develop our pride of place and make Beeston a better place to live, work and play. 

12. Erika Bewers, Bees as a Beeston brand? (March 2021)

Growing up in Beeston Erika knew that we had no particular history of beekeeping, but it was a clear image to present to strangers, and a great way to picture and remember the town. Now Erika works for Hands On London, a charity supporting environmental projects across the city, mobilising volunteers to increase and improve green spaces in local communities. 

This year Bee the Change forms the focus of Hands On London environmental work. It aims to help improve and increase habitats that support pollinators – vital for a healthy natural environment and crucial for our food system – working alongside environmentalists, horticulturalists and local authorities. The campaign helps create new wildflower areas, improved pollinator friendly planting and installing beneficial features such as bug hotels and ponds. 

In March 2021 Hands On London worked with Maxilla Men’s Shed, a community workshop in North Kensington, constructing Bee Hotels with environmentalists and council representatives. These pollinator hotspots will form a Borough wide pollination network or ‘stepping-stones’ to join existing habitats and green spaces, forming Kensington and Chelsea’s Bee Superhighway and hope- fully in time across more London boroughs. 

A Bee Hotels campaign like this could be translatable to Beeston. Supporting bee conservation would play into the distinct bee image that identifies with the area and the historical fiction of the town. The construction and maintenance of Bee Hotels would also provide a wealth of opportunities for local people, businesses and visitors to work together to create something not only symbolic, but beneficial for insects and humans alike – Helping Beeston Buzz! 

13. Finn Rogers, Youth Mayor Broxtowe, 2020-2021, Supplying safe and welcoming facilities where young people can meet, (undated), Contact: Broxtowe Youth Voice

Finn, the present Deputy Youth Mayor representing Broxtowe Youth Voice, would like to see a Beeston youth centre where young people can meet with friends to socialise in a safe and welcoming environment. He would also like to see an urban green space in Beeston open to all – a space that respects environmental values, looks good and caters for entertainment. 

14. Fr. Wayne Plimmer, Church of St John the Baptist, St John’s Beeston – a safe refuge in a changing community, (March 2021)

Father Wayne Plimmer, Vicar of Beeston, would like St John’s to make a distinctive contribution to the life of our local community at this time of change – a place where people feel safe and where they can explore the Christian faith. At its most basic this means having the Church doors open as often as possible and ensuring a warm welcome when people visit, We want local people to feel that it is a building for them – whoever they are. Fr. Plimmer is particularly concerned for the welfare of young people and the lonely.

*15. Gary Smerdon-White, (01), Beeston as an exemplar community, (July 2020)

It is crucial that future town development, design and construction is of a high quality and embeds sustainability into all activities, developments and programmes to help climate change, enhance air quality and improve our health and well-being. Gary would like to see Beeston and Broxtowe working with the City to become a medium sized town exemplar in sustainability. He develops this argument in the context of the built environment, transport and travel, suggesting Beeston as a working hub for green technology and innovation and concludes by considering the extent of adjustment we will all have to make if any of this is to happen. Are we ready for this? 

16. Gary Smerdon-White, (02), The built environment – a green future, (July 2020)

Gary applauds Broxtowe’s Green Futures Programme and aim to get net emissions to zero by 2027, focussing on the change programme needed to deliver this objective through sustainability policies and standards. 

17. Gary Smerdon-White, (03), Transport and travel opportunities, (July 2020)

Public transport, cycling and walking are his focus in creating a convenient, cost-effective and coherent transport network across the county. He suggests Beeston as a centre for travel, fitted out with waiting areas, catering and advice services, cycle parking and e-bike charging stations, plus an improved cycling infrastructure. He recommends using the pandemic as an opportunity to create a Beeston walking and cycling zone in the area bounded by the River Trent and Nottingham Canal, the boundary with Erewash, the A50 and Woodside Road, where road speeds are reduced and priority given to cyclists and pedestrians along with other initiatives. 

18. Gary Smerdon-White, (04), A working hub for green technology and innovation, (July 2020) 

The Nottingham zero carbon vision is that the (local) economy will be built on new sustainable technologies, creating high quality local employment and a worldwide reputation for innovation and excellence. Gary outlines the opportunities this offers for Beeston in encouraging schools excelling in science and green technologies, encouraging green technology research and products, work experience and student placements to implement carbon reduction initiatives; all leading to more graduate retention and new jobs. 

19. Gary Smerdon-White, (05), Living in the green community, (July 2020) 

Beeston is limited to what it can do alone, but there is much that Broxtowe Borough Council can do to deliver effective and efficient processes to meet these objectives. We all have a part to play in reducing waste and increasing reuse of waste, managing water use effectively, encouraging habitats for bio diversity, reduce meat and dairy production, shopping locally, consuming renewable energy, being energy efficient and supporting ethical companies. 

*20. Grace Li, Youth Mayor Broxtowe, 2019-2020, Embracing, enriching and enlarging our multi-faceted community, (undated)

Grace’s experience of Beeston is of a lively, creative and multi-cultural community, well connected by good public transport to a wider world. She does not seek radical change, but continuity of present trends to embrace, enrich and enlarge our common culture. We can take pride in our multi- generational, multi-cultural, multi-racial community, while working towards carbon neutrality. 

21. Ian Culshaw, What I would like to see in Beeston over the next ten years, (undated)

Growing up in the Rylands, away at University and London and now back again, Ian sets out how he would like to see in his home town develop. Top of the list are locally run cafes in the town’s parks to create informally policed meeting places, making vulnerable areas better used and safer. He would like to see less plastic, fewer pubs, more clubs and more focus on younger people. 

*22. Inna Schutts, Thoughts on Beeston’s culture, community and potential, (June 2021)

Safety, family friendliness, proximity to the city centre and good schools were the most important aspects for Ina’s family when relocating from the USA to the UK in 2018. Beeston ticked all the boxes. “Beeston is a great community and has the feel of a family-friendly suburb. At the same time, it is near the University of Nottingham which gives it a young vibe with diversity and energy. On top of it, Beeston is bursting with creative people, poets and authors, artists and photographers. The location is great as well. In less than twenty minutes, you can be in the heart of Nottingham or find yourself in the countryside”. 

Ina’s family has lived in many different towns which may allow us to draw comparisons to other communities about what is good, not so good and what can be done to make it better. “Since the Beeston community is very artistic it would be great to have several small galleries showcasing local talent. Thanks to Jeanie OShea, we now have temporary displays at a few different locations. If we had small, permanent art galleries throughout the town or art Centre, Beeston could be similar to Mendocino and Caramel in California well known for their artistic communities and galleries. Our creative community on display can become Beestons brand” – its signature.” 

Another suggestion is to create an interactive place for children like the Children’s Discovery Museums in San Francisco and Chicago. “It could be a great place for children of different ages to spend rainy days by expanding their horizon with fun hands-on activities including arts and crafts, Lego building and various STEMs (Science Technology Engineering Maths) programs. With the University nearby, such a place could host presentations and science related demonstrations for our children, spiking their interest in science and creativity. It would have a great economic effect and benefit the local community in general as well. Success of Science Days at the University of Nottingham organised for the children is a good example of communitys interest”. 

When we travel around the UK, I have noticed that towns with antique stores are popular and attract tourists. Antique shops would give Beeston a certain charm and bring visitors. “Beeston is already a great place, but there is potential for Beeston to become even better. Collective effort can make Beeston one of the most desirable places to live, work and enjoy life!” 

23. Ivan Gould, A roadmap for Beeston’s future, (August 2020)

Ivan sets out a short, medium and long term five star road map for Beeston covering people, eco-innovation, sustainability, the environment, sport and leisure and connections. 

24. Jamie Martin, Understanding Beeston as a community as we grow and prosper, (June 2021)

NG9 News is the local volunteer based news platform for Beeston, created for local people and run by local people. NG9 News is there to inform as and when things happen, together with a programme of future events and activities. 

Our vision is that Beeston can grow and prosper. More especially if the local community know exactly what is going on, and when it is going on, and where. That way we can better understand Beeston, the place we live, become involved and contribute to the community. We envision the NG9 platform being in the vanguard of developing a thriving, cohesive community for Beeston and the wider environs. We want to bring Beeston and NG9’s news back into the hands of the locals – making a positive contribution to the vibrancy and vitality of our area, more attractive and engaging for all concerned. Contact us with your news, events, activities and information via ng9news@gmail.com OR https://ng9news.co.uk/ng9news/get-in-touch/” 

25. Jeanie Barton (OShea), Encouraging creativity, Beeston Street Art Project, (undated)

A seventeen year absence in London made Jeanie realise on her return just how many creative people live here, including musicians of all genres, plus poets, writers, film makers, graphic designers, photographers, dancers, actors, presenters, painters and so on. 

Beeston was like Camden without the physical vibrancy, leading Jeanie to start the Beeston Street Art project to reflect and encourage the abundant creativity of our town. Attractions and events help the retail experience, while cultural vibrancy is an attraction to residents too. Creativity is a unique selling point for Beeston that will continue to bring in visitors from far and wide. 

26. Justin Donne, Investing in neighbourhood growth without sacrificing quality, charm and intimacy, (June 2021)

Justin bought his house in Beeston when the tram was being built because it was a sound investment. Justin knew house prices would rise because of the improved infrastructure. Similarly property values will increase in the long run with HS2. We all benefit from investment in Nottingham. 

What really keeps Justin here is his street. It has a neighbourhood feel, with a dedicated WhatsApp Group started during Covid that continues to share and care. The town centre is good too. He would like to see more small local businesses, fewer chains, and fewer Homes in Multiple Occupation. Beeston is a good place to live and has the potential to become a great place if we are mindful not to allow growth to run away at the expense of quality, charm, intimacy. 

27. Cllr. Kate Foale, Nottinghamshire County Council, Community Engagement, (May 2020)

For Cllr. Kate Foale the most positive outcome of the Pandemic has been the community coming together to support the vulnerable and lonely. It is encouraging that Beeston folks get stuck in – no-one stands back to leave it to others. Community engagement is a particular passion and this is a good time to find out what works best. There are many ways local councillors can get to know and understand their communities. Kate invites thoughts on what more can be done to involve people who for various reasons remain silent. 

28. Lamar Francois, Evening entertainment with a creative hub for Beeston Freelancers, (May 2021)

Lamar is encouraged to see the changes in Beeston since he was a student here in 2011 at the University of Nottingham, particularly the street art. He is also encouraged to see the Arc Cinema on the site of the former multi-storey car park – having entertainment and an evening offer to attract people will be good. He suggests a creative hub alongside offering work- spaces for freelancers that could also be adapted to become an evening concert/entertainment venue to take advantage of the students and give them an alternative to Rock City. 

29. Lauren Guest, The importance of engagement to a sense of belonging, Beeston as an example, (April 2021)

Living in Ilkeston, Lauren finds Beeston inspiring as an example of a local community transforming a town to make it more engaging to the public and more attractive to visitors. 

Beeston is a great example of how to involve people to help create a sense of belonging in an area. Projects like Street Art gives a sense of community power because they are able to change perceptions of space. Involving local artists and young people really highlights how transformative these projects can be by facilitating a platform for social interaction, and ownership. 

Lauren envisages that these ideas could be transferred elsewhere – inspiring communities to get en- gaged with their own spaces. Beeston projects are uplifting by giving people a sense of ownership. Lauren would love to see something like this happen in Ilkeston. 

30. Marcus Gilmore, Beeston as a creative and multi-cultural community, (May 2021)

Marcus first came to Beeston to live in 2012 when he was 19. As a graphic designer, animator and illustrator, he believes that it is the active, creative and multi-cultural community that has made Beeston what it is today. He singles out the Art Culture Tourism network and Culture-crossing events, including Roberto Alborghetti’s annual visits, together with the big impact of Jeanie Barton’s Street Art project, her music and the Beeston Showcase. Each are special. And all this in the inspirational setting of the University Park and the river and Attenborough Nature Reserve. Marcus enjoys meeting friends in Beeston’s restaurants and coffee shops. A stronger sense of creativity and culture than Nottingham can make Beeston more attractive to students than the city centre. The new hub cinema, akin to Nottingham’s Broadway cinema, could be a focal point for creatives to potentially network or meet and show a more culturally vibrant side. 

31. Marion Wallwork, Founder Member and President, Beeston and District Civic Society, Social engagement and volunteering as part of Beeston’s culture, (July 2020)

Much damage was done to Beeston in the 1960s, but Marion remains positive, welcoming the new cinema and Phase 2 flats for the life they will bring to the centre. Marion would like to see higher standards of architecture in new buildings and shop facias managed in such a way as to give some uniformity and distinctiveness to the Town. More trees on the main roads would be good for our health and help to reinforce Beeston’s leafy identity. Community activities are much in evidence, embracing OXJAM, Chinese New Year, churches, U3A, painting groups and local societies. Social engagement and volunteering are part of our culture. 

32. Martin Reynolds, Making Beeston work for you, three thoughts for the future, Leeds Business School, (undated)

A Beeston resident for 20 years, Martin surmises why Beeston is attractive. Beestonians want to make it work for them. It is secure and comfortable, combining individuality with a community spirit that allows for varying degrees of engagement. 

Martin suggests three areas of thought for the future. First will be the importance of sustainability based initiatives, which will dominate our attention over the next decade. Second is that Beeston competes with other areas as a suburban destination around the City. There must be a local economic thread to our future vision if we are to attract a balanced community. We are in a competition to attract the right kind of businesses and social enterprises. Community engagement is third. Our diverse population is a real strength as it attracts a variable and flexible response to initiatives and action. 

Engagement generates ownership and momentum to build on developments. Beeston folk value their diverse community, which is why many stay around to enjoy it. 

33. Marysia Zipser, An Art, Culture and Tourism Vision for Beeston, (December 2020) 

Beeston’s creative impact and sense of community led Marysia to found Art Culture Tourism in 2013, essentially to promote art and culture in Beeston. She points to the vitality and energy generated by creatives of every kind who have made Beeston their home. These include The Beestonian founded by Matt Turpin, the Beeston Street Art Festival and project led by Jeanie Barton, the Beeston Film Festival founded and directed by John Currie, The ABC Art Trail, the Chilwell High Road Street Festivals and much more. 

34. Marysia Zipser, (02),  The magic of Spring – a letter from Beeston, (undated) 

For Marysia and many others, nature and the environment inspire us to investigate and to create. There’s magic out there. It is Spring. Time to get out just to listen to the sounds and to explore. Breathe in these moments as the days get longer and warmer. Climb the steps, and at the top look over the walls at the green expansive scenes below. What do you see? How do you feel? Reinvigorate yourself. Search for that magic out there on your doorstep. 

35. Mel Bernstein, Beeston as a place for All, (undated)

Fast forwarding into the 2020s, just where will Beeston people live? Class divisions and distinctions are unlikely to change in the short term. The better-off will continue to live near the top of the hill, with the white collar and socially mobile community to the west and blue collar in terrace houses nearer the centre and to the east. There will be students and old folk dotted about. Multi-occupied property will also continue. Is it realistic to suppose that there will be any real change in social balance, social cohesion or integration? We all have to live somewhere and change comes slowly. 

36. Mell Belshaw, (01), Retail revisited, encouraging customer loyalty, (undated)

Inter-personal relationships are at the heart of the local shopping experience. Handled well they generate customer loyalty and repeat business through recommendation. Shop local initiatives with loyalty bonuses, voucher schemes and other incentives or benefits might be explored, including at its extreme a local currency. The Beeston Groat may be a step too far, but there are many ways to enhance the visitor experience and encourage customer loyalty. Experiences are about much more than retail if visits are to be interesting, absorbing, entertaining and enjoyable. 

Recent research from Springboard, retail data specialists, points to a shift in consumer behaviour from large towns to smaller centres, suggesting that Beeston could also have advantages of size and convenience. 

37. Mell Belshaw, (02), Possibilities of a changing political landscape in the 2020s, (September 2020)

How will the political landscape change in the 2020s and how could it affect our community? The County Council Network recently released a report on local government reform based on an analysis carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers, calling for 213 smaller councils in England to be replaced by 25 new authorities. They claim that this could save almost £3bn over five years, reducing complexity and giving communities a single unified voice. The District Councils Network for their part argue that bigger councils are unwieldy and undemocratic. 

A debate on local government restructuring is under way. In time this could lead to local changes and the possibility that Broxtowe may not survive in its present form ten years from now. 

38. Mervyn Brown, (01), A Skate Park for Beeston? (August 2020) 

Skate Nottingham, in association with Broxtowe Borough Council, envisage skateboarding parks across the Borough in the run up to next year’s Tokyo Olympics – coinciding with skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport for the first time. Beeston could be a part of this, potentially involving young people in the design and execution of a local skatepark. Who can tell where these skills might lead these youngsters in the years to come? 

39. Mervyn Brown, (02), Beeston is not about bees – or is it? (August 2020) 

Places like York, with its images of cats, and Holt with its owls have both developed successful town trails. Closer to home the City of Nottingham has had the Robin Hood Robins, generating interest and involving traders and artists in collaborating in the process of execution and display. So how about bees for Beeston, stimulated by the former Town Hall murals and the Beekeeper? A more visible bee based town trail and a town trail app may help put some buzz back into Beeston. 

40. Mervyn Brown, (03), Uplifting images – street art benefits Beeston, (undated) 

Unveiled high on the Argos corner of Beeston Square in time for the Pride Nottingham event in July 2020, artist Alex Rubes has designed a piece of abstract street art inspired by Paul Smith’s signature stripes. Incorporating a rainbow, it reflects the original San Francisco Pride Flag, a symbol now universally associated with tolerance and equality. Plus – during Covid – the rainbow image has symbolised a public grateful for the NHS. These are all positive associations for Beeston as well as brightening up a dark corner of the Square formerly blighted by the clock where time stood still. 

41. Mervyn Brown, (04), Restoring balance – volunteering in Lockdown, (January 2021) 

As lockdown continues behaviours are changing – sometimes in ways that are challenging to mental health. So how can we restore some balance to our lives? Giving time to others can be beneficial to both recipients and to the volunteer’s own wellbeing, but it is important to find something close to your heart where you will be able to contribute something positive. Choices can be very personal if we want to make a difference. 

42. Mervyn Brown, (05), Activities to keep Beeston buzzing, (March 2021) 

Commentating on the post-Covid ‘Road to Recovery’ in the shadow of the recent UK budget, one pundit said ‘Culture is the route to recovery. Culture related activities can draw communities together creating a sense of wellbeing and reinforcing identity, but there is much more to it. Vitality brings people in. Beeston has an extraordinary range of entertainments that attract visitors such as proms in the park, town centre entertainments and events, farmer’s market, jazz, pub and club entertainments, Oxjam, art trails, artist open studios, film shows and much else. Beeston is buzzing and it is vibrant. These events and activities are crucial elements in the planning and rebuilding of our community post Covid and most particularly in supporting town centre retail in the years ahead. So where could we go from here? It will take leadership and determination. 

43. Embracing visitor experience to improve community quality of life, (undated) 

In her December 2020 Guardian article Mary Portas suggests that local high streets and town centres need to focus on improving quality of life in local communities by embracing the visitor experience. Her hypothesis is that businesses that add value to the local community are more likely to sustain greater customer loyalty. Retail expert Mark Pilkington in the same article predicts that shops will become windows for goods held online. The shop floor will shrink and become more of a way of engaging with customers beyond any on-screen experience. 

*44. Nelson Blackley, (01), Understanding the Beeston retail offer, (undated)

Nelson Blackley, a locally based retail analyst, gives a professional take on Beeston’s retail offer. Pre-pandemic Beeston had a retail vacancy rate of (5%): lower than the national average of around 12%, while above average numbers of hair, beauty and nail salons, barbers and estate agents reflect the relative health of the personal care and property markets in our local economy. At the same time Beeston had only around 5% of its total shop units occupied by local and national charities, that is below the national average of 8% for towns of similar size. Beeston could do with a marketplace or public square where people can gather, as Beeston Square is too off-centre on the main retail axis of Chilwell Road and High Road to fulfil that function. The future of Beeston needs to be focussed on four key pillars: flexibility and resilience; localness, connectivity and greening. 

45. Nelson Blackley, (02), A post-Covid evening economy for Beeston, (February 2021) 

The announcement that the eight screen cinema in the centre of Beeston will open later this year (2021) raises questions about its impact on the town centre. Nelson Blackley made his views known when speaking to Nottinghamshire Life on 13 February 2021 about changes in Beeston’s High Road over the past ten years and prospects for the future. 

Although the future post COVID is still unclear for all towns, it will be interesting to see whether the increased focus in Beeston around the evening economy, leisure and entertainment succeeds. Hopefully when we can begin to socialise normally at some stage in the future, the new cinema and the variety of interesting restaurants in Beeston, for the example the Frustrated Chef on Chilwell 

Road, the Yak and Yeti and Cafe Roya, both on Wollaton Road and Lagan India Tapas in the Square, and pubs such as the Victoria Hotel and the Crown, will all see business return and thrive”. 

Work on building the cinema complex continued throughout lockdown and the contractors have recently handed the building over to Arc, who are currently completing internal installations, with a planned opening date in June 2021. This is part of a £50 million Phase 2 development that began just over a year ago – including 132 new homes and a range of food and drink outlets. Work on the new homes has yet to start. 

Phase 1 of the Beeston Square development began in 2014 and 2015, to coincide with the arrival of the tram, when a Pure Gym, Costa Coffee, Wilkos and B&M stores were opened. Pre-COVID, Beeston had a retail vacancy rate around the same as the (then) national average of 12% and their retail offer included around 30 national brands. 

46. Rt. Rev. Paul Williams, The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Our future together, local communities as beacons of hope, service and creativity, (May 2021)

I was pleased to read something of the aims of #Beeston2020Vision, seeking to encourage wider conversations about how the community of Beeston can best serve all who live, work, play and visit this Nottinghamshire town into the 2020s and beyond. 

This past year has been an affecting reminder of the importance and potential of our local communities as beacons of hope, service and creativity. As we emerge from this pandemic, may the community of Beeston discover afresh an aligned vision for the mutual flourishing of all residents and those serving in education, business, the arts, faith and hospitality. 

May you be assured of my prayers for Gods blessing in this season of renewal.” 

47. Peter Robinson, (01), Beeston strengths and opportunities for change, (undated)

Beeston has real strengths to build on with its green location and river frontage set beside a world class nature reserve, with good transport links and a welcoming, tolerant and resourceful community. Our household population should increase over the next decade simply on the strength of committed development and we will still need basic local services. Both should help to keep the town centre alive. 

Change offers opportunities to wealth creators, while community action – essentially self help – can also shape our lives. Giving time freely is at the heart of many powerful local initiatives, such as the Attenborough Nature Reserve, the Canalside venture, Middle Street support, and station improvements. 

48. Peter Robinson, (02), Positives and negatives of Lockdown behaviours, (June 2020) 

We are living in strange times. Working from home can be empowering for some, while an absence of commuting can make a day longer, healthier and our world more sustainable. We are getting to know our neighbourhoods and our neighbours more intimately by exercising on foot, while some individuals, families and communities are performing valuable caring and sharing services out of simple human kindness. 

On the downside, lockdown highlights things that are important to us by their absence, particularly the joy of company. We are discovering that social media is no substitute for face to face contact and it was Beeston that was our place of gathering. We enjoy mixing. Rubbing shoulders, handshakes and big hugs are all things that really are the stuff of life. 

49. Peter Robinson, (03),  Meeting changing needs is a tested survival strategy, (June 2020) 

Suburban settings like Beeston are well placed to accommodate a more home centred world. Our town is big enough to support supermarkets and small enough to be conveniently accessible on foot or bike, which makes it healthy for us and good for the planet. Our past suggests that meeting changing needs is a tested survival strategy. If we want Beeston to continue as a shopping and services centre we must plan to meet needs that cannot be met easily online, while as individuals and as businesses we must use our local services if they are to survive. Council led initiatives have a role in supplying a policy framework with clear objectives. 

50. Peter Robinson, (04), Where is this conversation about the future going? (December 2020) 

Encouraging a conversation about the future of Beeston was a first step towards an informed discussion at what would have been our May 2020 open meeting. The focus of #Beeston2020Vision is to think about how Beeston might develop over the next decade to meet the needs and aspirations of our community.

Initially postponed until September 2020, the event is postponed indefinitely until such time as it will be safe to meet again. Meanwhile our conversation is developing in scope and depth to become a valuable source of ideas in its own right. 

At the time of writing in December 2020 it was morphing into something of a voyage of discovery – embracing what it is in our sense of identity that makes Beeston special now, through to exploring the potential for future change and much else in between. There is growing public interest and many contributor insights. 

This is a good time to talk about the future. Lockdown is shaking us up and there are no shortages of ideas.

51. Peter Robinson, (05), Opportunities for community support in Lockdown, (January 2021) 

At a time of isolation and loneliness there are many local opportunities in Beeston for volunteers to enrich their own lives, gaining stability, new skills and confidence through helping others. Volunteers have always played a key role in supporting communities, but volunteering under lockdown offers a rare opportunity to mix legitimately in a wider community outside the home, from helping neighbours to assisting with food banks and even vaccinations. 

52. Peter Swann, Devising retail measures that do justice to Beeston, (undated)

Beeston is a good local retail centre, with many excellent shops, cafes and restaurants and much of Beeston High Road is pedestrianised, yet Beeston does not achieve especially good ratings in the league tables produced by various consultancy companies. These rankings are really designed for high streets and retail parks that have many of the big brand chain stores, and that sort of measure does not do justice to things that Beeston does well. Peter Swann would like to see a new sort of location ranking emerge, which is not so preoccupied with big brands, but tries to measure how well a retail location serves the diverse needs of a local population. Such an index would go beyond existing measures of retail quality to consider rankings for retail diversity, sustainability and a healthy independent sector. Such an approach could do justice to things that make Beeston special. 

53. Postponement of the September 2020 Open Event, (announcement) 

It was announced in June 2020 that our #Beeston2020Vision open event, planned for 25 September 2020 until at least next Spring, or for as long as Covid remains a threat to assembly. In the meantime we continued to look for further contributions, particularly from younger people, while encouraging interactive comment on our Facebook page. We had received close to forty submissions by June 2020, creating a pool of ideas for improving Beeston’s sense of identity, quality of space, policies and priorities. 

54.  Collaborative working on the High Street to strengthen the Beeston brand, (May 2021)

Working together and helping each other out are positive features of the Covid months. Not least we are discovering things we have in common, so now is a good time to reflect on what we can learn as Beeston begins to return to some sort of normal. 

Take Save the High Street, encouraging local business to work more collaboratively together to ensuring the survival of local trading communities in difficult days ahead. The key is seeing beyond self-interest towards collaborative actions that strengthen the community as a whole. Essentially the message is that working more closely together strengthens the Beeston brand. 

We have the well established examples of the Beeston Carnivals and the separate Heritage Open Days, where joint participation helps to show off Beeston as a living, working and vigorous community. How much more we could achieve by following that Covid spirit of common interest – maximising enjoyment and reinforcing a positive sense of Beeston identity. (SaveTheHighStreet.org is a coordinated industry-wide movement to support and empower every local shopkeeper nationwide)

55. Rex Walker, How can we contribute to the diversity, independence and vibrancy of Beeston? (undated)

Modern day Beeston is defined by its diversity, independence and vibrancy. We are not a homogeneous community. It is the interactions and combinations that make Beeston a special place. Traditional town centres will continue to face overwhelming pressures over the next decade. The key is to build more houses of all types and lots of them. This is more than a numbers game of having to build to meet targets. Instead we might give thought to where and what we would like to build and welcome schemes that cater for all areas of need in the housing mix. Developing pride of place starts with accepting and celebrating the town’s individual character. In ten years time each of us might ask ourselves the question “how did I contribute to the diversity, independence and vibrancy of Beeston in the 2020s?” 

56. Rhodri Jones, Community uses for Beestons Argos Corner, (January 2021) 

At the end of 2020, Rhodri Jones, Beeston resident for over thirty years and narrowboat owner, suggested that the then vacant Argos Corner to the Square – and the empty English/Maths corner to the tram interchange – be reused for community purposes. He suggested a cafe with drop-in music, plus a possible tree wall – all to bring some vitality back to the Square. Coincidentally on Tuesday 12 January 2021 Broxtowe Borough Council gave the Beeston and District Civic Society permission to create window displays on the Argos Corner. The building remains closed, but the window displays continue to bring colour to a dark corner of the interchange passage. 

57. Robert Dable, Beeston Boulevard, a retail avenue from The Last Post to Humber Road, (undated)

Robert Dable was born, brought up and educated in Beeston and has worked in the area for many years, latterly running a family firm. Robert recommends replanting mature trees from The Last Post, (Weatherspoons) to Humber Road to create a green Boulevard style canopy, so encouraging nature back into the shopping environment. Creating a clean, green, living, avenue will attract people and help to boost retail confidence. Also more might be done to link a greener Beeston Square more directly to the St John’s Churchyard.

58. Robert Howard, Restoring vitality and sense of place to the High Road, (undated)

Giving Beeston a bio-friendly makeover need not cost the earth and we can create a lush green environment as part of that process. A green canopied corridor from the Square via the High Road and Broadgate to the University’s West Entrance could restore a sense of vibrancy and difference. A continuous canopied run on both sides of the High Road, with well placed wind breaks, could be achieved in stages over time. This is the greening of the town centre and its environs through enterprise and partnership. As the climate warms, so trees, shade and breezes become ever more important. 

59. Roberto Alborghetti, Inspirational Beeston, (April 2021)

Based in Bergamo in the alpine Lombardy Region of Northern Italy, Roberto Alborghetti is a prize-winning journalist and author. He is a visual artist, a bestselling writer, official biographer to the present Pope Francis and much more besides. Now a frequent visitor, his positivity shines through. 

Who could have imagined from a quick visit of a few hours that a solid and lasting relationship could be born? So it was for me first arriving in Beeston. Interest and curiosity were triggered from that first moment in October 2014. Activities, events and initiatives over the following years strengthened and developed this relationship. I am always discovering something new to see and admire on returning to Beeston. I have met many people who have become friends and we continue to build bridges of collaboration.” 

60. Rodney Rouse, Making Beeston Town Centre a destination of choice, (September 2020)

Brought up in Beeston, Rodney Rouse has experienced highs and lows over the years first hand, including the penalty to town centre businesses of many months of tram works. His vision to put Beeston back on the map as a suburban destination of choice is to look at accessibility for all ages, safe footpaths and cycleways, with priority for buses and cycles, remembering that parking is important too. People need most of all a reason to visit, which we might encourage by selective building – the cinema is a welcome addition that could bring life to the Square – and by making better use of the public spaces and parks that we have by incentivising lively local events. Can we avoid empty shops by encouraging larger brands? 

61. Ron Glen, Attracting people to Beeston – pulling the brand together, (May 2021) 

Over the years there have been various “Whats On In Beeston?” websites. Ron Glen would like to see an eye-catching comprehensive, accurate and constantly updated web-page that could become a major resource in attracting people – making Beeston an attractive destination. It would need to: 

* show Beeston as an attractive place;
* acknowledge different audiences;
* include an updated calendar of events, with simply accessed information; and * be easily navigated via links to Relevant Topics 

The real issue is how to make it work. “Who is to take this on board? Who are the beneficiaries? Where will the leadership come from? Could this be an enterprise that is self-funded by advertising and sponsorship?” 

62. Encouraging retail resilience – learning from elsewhere, (April 2021)

The pandemic has impacted hard on all types of location, but commuter settlements like Beeston have shown greater retail resilience than larger towns and city centres. There is much to be positive about and a great deal we can learn from elsewhere. 

Lockdowns and working from home have kept us all close to home and many expect the pandemic local focus to continue to be important even as restrictions ease. Against this background SaveTheHighStreet.org is involved in a growing number of high street recovery projects run by local authorities. 

SaveTheHighStreet.org is an industry movement on a mission to ensure diverse and successful high streets, now and for the long term. SaveTheHighStreet.org provides support for high street businesses, community champions, trade associations, local authorities, landlords, industry innovators and others, across the UK, through the Coronavirus-era and beyond. 

63. Cllr. Shaun Dannheimer, Broxtowe Borough Council, Beeston Rylands, ideas for a more vibrant Town, (undated)

How can we attract people to a vibrant Beeston and Chilwell? Engage with the University to encourage students to spend time and money here? In rethinking the High Road and shopping areas we might look to thriving towns like York, Lincoln and Cambridge where there are specific areas for arts and crafts away from shopping areas and also small, weekly specialist markets. The tram does a good job in getting people in and out of the town centre, but it is not enough in itself. Electric shuttle buses from Rylands, Chilwell, Attenborough, the University and other adjoining areas would help draw people in. More entertainment could improve the evening economy, perhaps including performing arts? We have made a welcome start with street art and more might be encouraged. Extending pedestrian areas could offer space for market stalls, street cafes and exhibitions. 

64. Professor Shearer West, Vice Chancellor, University of Nottingham, A vibrant and diverse community ready for a post-pandemic world, (June 2021)

The inspiration behind the Beeston Vision is needed more than ever as we move on from what has been an incredibly tough period for us all, to a future which we know will be more optimistic but also altered by the challenges that faced us. 

With each inspiring contribution on the website and social media, you cannot fail to be reminded what a vibrant, creative and engaged community Beeston continues to be. In particular, it is telling to hear from those who came to Beeston (often as a student) and, whether they stayed or left, con- sider themselves Beestonians in perpetuity. 

As our welcoming, diverse neighbour, Beeston remains a firm favourite among our staff and student community, particularly those international staff and students who have come to Nottinghamshire to work and study. In return, the University and our talented, passionate and curious community have much to offer, and we want to ensure lifelong Beestonians can continue to embrace and enjoy this… 

It is an exciting time for Beeston, with much to look forward to as society reopens and the benefits of the new cinema and renewed night-time economy begin to emerge. In the same spirit that we welcome local communities to visit and enjoy our campus, I invite Beeston businesses, residents and community groups to find innovative, creative ways to welcome our diverse community into the town and harness their energy and ideas, so that the positive benefits continue to grow over the coming decade”. 

65. Andrej, Skateboarding and wall art, (undated)

A local resident and skater, Andrej would be disappointed if the skateboarding initiative for Beeston did not happen for whatever reason, but he is encouraged by other projects, particularly street art. These initiatives are making Beeston a livelier and more exciting place to live, with a real sense of identity. How about a wall dedicated to people who might want to express themselves? 

66. Steve Williams, More questions about the future of Beeston town centre, (September 2020)

Will having a say change anything? Large manufacturing employers do not exist any more, with many potential sites for employment replaced by housing. Will there be any space in future for employment? What can Beeston offer? Supermarkets, pound shops, charity shops, hairdressers? Maintaining a vibrant retail market is important to more than the town centre. Parking is important to attracting visitors and yet some on-street parking time has been reduced to half an hour. Now that we have the tram can we have some incentive for passengers to get off rather than pass through? Grants for shop fronts improvements could help and perhaps tax incentives to encourage more retail rather than charity shops? Familiar High Street names and a good post office may assist. Events in the Square might attract people. Could the cinema be used for other events too? Some sort of social hub for younger people might encourage more vitality. 

*67. Stewart Craven, Let the local community have a bigger say about our direction of travel, (undated)

Where is Beeston going? Local democracy has a lot to answer for, for example the quality of discussions leading to the sale of the former Beeston Town Hall. Decisions should be for the good of the community and not decided simply on party lines. The potential should be there for a brighter future for Beeston with the University and Boots on our doorstep. Let the local community rather than Broxtowe Council have a bigger say. 

68. Tamar Feast, Positively managing the natural world around us, (undated)

Nurturing the natural world where we live should be at the heart of our future actions and not a mere afterthought. Bees have much to teach us. We need to invest more time, money and effort into protecting and encouraging wildlife in Beeston and this should be integral to every aspect of our decision making, development and planning. For example by encouraging green roofs and roof gardens and insisting on providing bat bricks and swift boxes, while following a maintenance policy of less mowing in public spaces to encourage more diverse habitats. The name ‘Beeston’ describes a town of grass, so let us return it to meadow grass, full of life, colour and buzz in the hazy summer months. Beeston could and should be an innovator by setting a challenging carbon neutral target for 2027. 

69. The Adam Cullen Skating Project (01), Bringing younger people together into a welcoming community, (undated)

This project brings young people together to create a dual purpose skateboard and roller skate park of ramps, rails and slopes in memory of skating lover Adam Cullen. Both boarding and roller skating encourage physical activity and imagination, so drawing young people together into a wider community where all feel welcome. 

70. Patricia Cadman, Adam Cullen Skating Project (02), Skating for all,(April 2021)

The Adam Cullen Skating Project was created in memory of Adam, a good, kind person, a wonderful friend and a brilliant roller skater. Only a couple of us knew just how much roller skating benefits the mind and soul as well as the body – the bonds of friendship that are formed have to be seen to be believed. 

Roller skating and skateboarding can level the playing field – just friends together having fun.  Having Skate Hubs in Beeston and across Broxtowe will promote inclusion, a sense of belonging and a joint ownership of something that is just for them. Too many activities and centres for young people have disappeared. After the sacrifices they have made over the past year due to the pandemic the children in our community need to get outside, have fun and broaden their social circle. 

71. The Bike Lounge, Consult cyclists. We have a long heritage in Beeston,  (September 2020)

The Bike Lounge on Wollaton Road opened during the pandemic at what turned out to be the right moment to meet the needs of those rediscovering their love for two wheels, including electric bikes. An anxiety is that the new normal may not last unless we can improve cycle lanes and safety for cyclists. Consultation with cyclists might help. Cycling has a long heritage in Beeston and a cycle training park might be a project to consider. Beeston’s two strong cycle clubs are more than capable of organising events if the facilities are in place. Cycle lockers might help discourage theft. 

72. Tom Ringrose, Beeston described in four quarters, (undated)

Tim Ringrose, an architect at the Halsall Lloyd Partnership in Nottingham, sees Beeston as comprising four distinct zones or quarters, each radiating from the present Square. To the north he sees a civic quarter; to the west along Chilwell Road a Creative Quarter; to the south a Cinema Quarter and to the east a pedestrianised quarter of eateries and shops serving a diversity of cultures from all over the world. He suggests that this eastern pedestrianised area be redefined as Beeston’s Embassy Quarter to reflect, promote and encourage our cultural diversity. He also suggests that more might be done to enhance the Square as a focal point. 

73. Will Heard, Fight for Beeston town centre’s integrity as the focus for a viable independent community, (undated)

Leaving Beeston at 18 and returning regularly over 20 years as an outsider, Will Heard has observations based on what he sees as threats to his adopted community of Balsall Common, near Solihull, Coventry and the NEC. (Will describes Balsall Common as a town fighting to retain its identity as a local hub, eroded by decisions made elsewhere). In Beeston we should be prepared to fight for our town centre, which he sees as the focus of a viable independent community, retaining integrity as a local hub with small independent businesses, pubs and cafes at its heart. Get this right and the rest will follow. But we cannot be complacent. We need to be proactive as a community to encourage a sense of identity and a high standard to maintenance, (let prospective Bankseys have a go”). We need to give people a reason to come to our town centre and make it a place where independent, enthusiastic doers will want to settle. Try a survey, ask people what they want? 

74. Will Mee, Former Broxtowe Youth Mayor, 2018-2019, Working together to create a sense of place, (May 2020), Contact: Broxtowe Youth Voice

For Will Mee, Beeston is special because a wide range of shops, cultures and facilities make it is possible to satisfy most needs locally. Things are available to hand and there is a sense of community that embraces younger people. Working together across age and cultures can contribute to a sense of place. 

75. Design Awards, Promoting design quality and a sense of place, (April 2021)

The Beeston and District Civic Society Design Award, in 2021, now in its second iteration, is one of several promoting design quality and a sense of place available to the Beeston community. 

Nominations for design awards as a whole signal a community’s interest in attaining high standards. They help to increase the visibility and identity of that place – for us factors in making Beeston special. Each of the following (and there may be others) offers an opportunity to mark quality in different ways: 

  • Civic Trust Award;
  • Civic Voice Design Awards
  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards and Prizes 
  • Royal Town  Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards; and
  • National Railway Heritage Awards (NRHA) 

76. Jordan Bunker, Bustling Beeston, an example for others, (July 2021)

“Beeston is a great example of how a small town can integrate both big business and small independents. On the occasions when I have visited, the High Street has always been busy which is a stark contrast to where I grew up. Greenhood Coffee House is exactly the type of place I would want to have nearby and living in a town of similar size, Beeston can be a blueprint for neighbouring areas and highlights how businesses do not have to be based in city centres in order to be successful.” 

77. Amrik Sandhu, Some practical ideas for a better Beeston, (August 2021) 

“I found during my time at ‘Simply Drinks’ one thing Beeston needed was some public toilets with access and changing facility for babies. If the council could have a provision for this that would be greatly appreciated by most residents.

Personally, I would like to see some more independent food traders trading like a street food festival in the square. I think this would be a great addition to the square and hopefully encourage people to come from further afield. 

On a site note, it would be nice to see the land opposite Lidl developed in to the 10 apartments that it had planning for some years ago. I feel this is an eyesore as you drive into Beeston on Wollaton Road. With such high demands for housing it’s a shame it looks like a dumping ground. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get my views across. Hopefully we will see Beeston further flourish in the years to come”.

78. Gemma Brown,  Encouraging a healthy social calendar – views from a proud Beestonian,(August 2021)

“I am born and bred in Beeston, and am a very proud Beestonian. I wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else. I am very pleased to see how Beeston has been developing over recent years. 

Going forward, I would like to see a healthy social calendar in town. This can include such events as the farmers market, and music events like Oxjam for example. 

I think we should strive to push events that promote local businesses of all kinds – retail, hospitality and the like – amongst others”.

79. Cllr. Richard McCrae, Mayor of Broxtowe, 2021-22, Beeston is a vibrant town catering for many tastes, (Sept. 2021)

“Beeston has seen significant investment over recent years and the new Cinema development is something that will be well used by local residents and also attract new people to the town and help boost the night-time economy.

The town has a vibrant leisure offer with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants with a wide and varied offer that will suit all tastes. There are also some great shops and busy markets to enjoy so go along and support local traders”.

80. Sir Martyn Poliakoff,  Beeston for All, (October 2021)

I am delighted and impressed by the range of ideas that fellow Beestonians and others have contributed to #Beeston2020Vision – ideas covering many topics and showing commitment to the future of our community. 

A snappy slogan to encapsulate our collective vision might help, so I am making an opening bid with `Beeston for All’ – expanded by using each letter to convey more of what has been said in the posts:  

B:  Beeston Friendly;

E:  Everyone welcome;

E:  Education, Exercise, Entertainment;

S:  Sustainable energy and housing;

T:  Trams, Buses, Trains;

O:  Opportunities for All;

N:  Nature, Wildlife;

F:  Forward-Thinking;

O:  Outward-Looking;

R:  Restaurants, Shops, Recycling;

A:  Arts, Culture, Music;

L:  Live Events, Leisure

L:  Love being here!

We could circulate a version to primary/junior schools across Beeston and ask them to encourage their pupils to paint posters with pictures and the slogan/list. Then each pupil could take their poster and put it up in the window of their homes, just like people did with rainbows during the Lockdown.”  

81. Janet Poliakoff, (01), Making a difference by living lightly on the Earth, (November 2021)

Greening Beeston began in 2009 when a group of local people joined a campaign to help Beeston residents make a difference to the environment. 

Our initial aim was to reduce consumption of energy and water as part of the national Greening Campaign, supported by Broxtowe Borough Council.  At our launch event in 2010 we distributed our green leaf cards to houses in the Rylands and later in Beeston South and Central.  This modest start showed that a big difference can be made by small adjustments to behaviour, such as: 

  • switching off un-needed lights, 
  • taking shorter showers, 
  • walking or cycling when possible,  
  • not leaving the TV on stand-by, and
  • increasing loft insulation.  

From the number of cards displayed and data from the Greening Campaign we were able to estimate how much those households had reduced their carbon emissions and water use.  We were pleased to find that many people making small changes could really make a difference.

As well as these serious messages of saving energy and water we have tried to make it fun.  At one event we had a competition for children to see who could put on as many warm clothes as possible – jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves.  

Beyond our core energy-saving message we have covered other environmentally-friendly activities, especially avoiding food waste with its energy implications.  

We want to discourage waste of all sorts and subscribe to the new 3 R’s: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.  We have recipes for using up food that is in season and encourage locally grown food (no food miles).  Our planters in Chilwell Road and at the Canalside Heritage Centre demonstrate how to grow your own food.  

These ideas are on hand-outs and our website, where we also have links to information about other environmental topics, such as how to compost (avoid waste miles), cycling, public transport and a member’s website about their experience of eco-renovations (insulation, double-glazing, …).  Our website also has seasonal recipes (to reduce food miles) and we have our own Recycling website (where in Beeston to recycle things that can’t go in the green bin).  We have really enjoyed hearing about other people’s ideas.

Anything we can do to help Nature is also important. We encourage gardeners to think of Nature, encourage wildlife and avoid harmful pesticides, as well as peat-based products which destroy peat bogs and release CO2.  A new idea from Felixstowe is to create a Community Nature Reserve which involves many people devoting part of their gardens to Nature.

Being inspired by what other groups are doing brings me to what I consider a lovely aspect of what we have been doing: it isn’t a competition and we really want to share ideas.  We actually hope people in other places will copy anything good that we are doing, and for them to inspire us in turn with yet more ideas. 

82. Janet Poliakoff, (02), Cutting greenhouse gases – Greening Beeston, (November 2021)

With increasing awareness of the Climate Crisis and COP26, as well as the energy uncertainty in Britain, Greening Beeston’s core message of reducing energy and water consumption is particularly relevant.  

For over 10 years Greening Beeston has been making people aware of simple ways of cutting down on both energy and water use at home as well as energy use for travel, enabling them to help the environment At the heart of our work are two main ideas:

  • actions which help the environment can save you money, such as installing solar panels and insulation. With gas prices rising, we are launching a “Hold on to your Heat” campaign to help Beestonians save more money by avoiding wasting heat from their houses; and 
  • small actions by individuals replicated across Beeston can make a big impact.  Data from our 2010-11 Greening Beeston campaign helped us estimate that households in just part of Beeston had reduced their carbon emissions per year by roughly 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide and 115,000 litres of water.  

Do not forget that methane and nitrous oxide are important greenhouse gases too, quite apart from carbon dioxide, so diet can be important.  A book published last year gives details of greenhouse gas emissions from different foods, with cattle the worst for greenhouse gas emissions. So much more can be done with your help. Follow us on: greeninginbeeston.weebly.com

83. Jacquelyn, (Ways Pharmacy), A business model to serve local communities, (December 2021)

Dr Anran Hu, the founder of Ways Pharmacy, studied for his PhD at Nottingham University School of Pharmacy. He joined Pfizer briefly after graduating in 2015, before returning to serve Beeston. 

Anran has developed a business model that serves both local people and a broader Asian community. He aims to put something back. 

Beeston benefits from a unique location and convenient transport links.  Particularly attractive to Ways is cultural diversity. It is a well-connected, safe and welcoming town that is clean and friendly. The centre has an international flavour with plenty of food choices from English through Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine – backed up by good coffee. 

Ways is keen to become more involved in the development of Beeston and to contribute to a thriving community – one where local people and those from different backgrounds interact, learn and benefit from each other. 

84. Adele Lee, Beeston – a good place to live in a diverse, multi-generational community, (January 2022)

 I grew up in Beeston in the 90s so for me there is a lot of familiarity in the parks, the businesses and the shops on the High Street. Bumping into familiar faces is something I’ve come to really appreciate. 

A nice thing is that Beeston is a mix of the familiar with a rotation of students and young blood. Along with the new independent coffee shops and restaurants opening up in the town centre, it does feel more of a place to go. You don’t need to travel to Nottingham to be somewhere high end and aspirational when you can get an espresso martini and a fancy doughnut on your doorstep.

The thing about Beeston is that it feels safe enough for families, but is vibrant enough for those in their twenties and thirties – without completely excluding the older generations who have lived here for their whole lives and raised families. Beeston becoming more desirable as real estate has brought up the standard of housing. It is cleaner and in general it is becoming a nicer place to live. 

Many friends have moved to Beeston and my parents still live here. For me it is a hub, so when I am in Beeston I rarely need to venture into Nottingham. 

As to the future, I think I would like to see more independent, local businesses opening. More authentic international cuisine would be amazing as well – there is such a diverse community in the area and yet not a huge amount of established international eateries. I think places like The Garage are great too – we need more one-off events, market days, music venues etc. that bring people down to the area and showcase local talents! 

I wouldn’t say that there is a strong shopping culture in Beeston and I wonder if this is yet to be tapped, with some nice local boutiques and shops? 

85.Stuart Baird, Protecting and enhancing our well connected town of many strengths,(January 2022)

Beeston has been my home for 23 years, I love the diversity of the community and the fact we are surrounded by fantastic green spaces, The University of Nottingham Trent Building is a daily reminder that our town and neighbouring city nurtures UK and global talent and innovation – spanning generations.

We live in a wonderful area where our children have grown up safely and happily. I love the fact we are so connected to Nottingham and personally I love nothing more than running or cycling the Big Track to Trent Bridge or up to Sawley Marina. Our transport connections mean we are an hour from Aberdeen, France or Holland by plane, under two hours by train to London, and just over four hours drive to Edinburgh.

I would like to see green spaces protected and enhanced, heritage buildings protected, high value jobs, and housing so we don’t price out our children and grandchildren and force them to move to other areas.

 86. Peggy Wainwright, Broxtowe Freeman, Caring, sharing and engaging in a multi-generational community, (February 2022)

I have lived in Beeston for over 50 years and ran a dance school for more than 30 years. I still organise tea dances in the borough, raising funds for charity enabling people to meet socially for pleasure, recreation and exercise. We use the community centre as it is central, accessible and provides well kept facilities for people of all ages to engage together.

Beeston folk are friendly, helpful and supportive and special to those who live alone. We enjoy good transport links.

Looking forward, Beeston could do with a greater variety of shops – specialist food and clothing for instance.  Future generations are well served by good schools. Perhaps more could be done to involve teenagers in enjoyable, engaging and practical activities.

87. Paul Gayton, Supporting Beeston businesses, (March 2022)

Paul came to Nottingham to study at the University of Nottingham, setting up Wren Accountants and Business Advisers in 2002 with fellow director Ravi Kesari. They moved to Beeston in 2005. 

Helping to run the Beeston Business Network, Paul enjoys Beeston’s community atmosphere and the variety of independent businesses that make the town centre such an attractive place to work. 

For the future, Paul would like to see all the empty shop units – particularly near the new cinema – filled, preferably with local independents or decent quality national chains. More street art and great events like the Light Night could help.  Perhaps one event per month to draw people into the town centre and increase footfall? 

We had a BID some years ago that did not continue. Now new businesses  are asking why we do not have something like BID in Beeston?

88. Cllr Tim Hallam, Broxtowe Borough Council Chair Economic Development, Beeston as a place of opportunity, (March 2022)

I want Beeston to be a destination and a hub for entrepreneurs, creatives and academics alike, where vibrant and diverse individuals and businesses are drawn both socially and economically, creating opportunities for all to live, work and play.

89. Cllr Helen Skinner, Broxtowe Borough Council, My Beeston Vision, (April 2022)

I would start by demolishing the Argos block and creating a square which has the beautiful St John’s Church as its backdrop. 

The Square would be re-built so that it could serve as an amphitheatre type performing area, a place to gather, a market place an exhibition centre and a place to socialise. 

Seating areas could be incorporated within ‘greenhouses’, sheltering beautiful plants, trees and people from the elements whilst maintaining an open aspect 

The block of flats should be an imaginative structure with living walls which would be treated like a vertical park and maintained as such.  

A series of trails would meander through Beeston with tunnels, pergolas, cloisters and archways.   

A sculpture trail would enhance the existing Street Art. Buskers and pavement artists would be encouraged.  Every building and space would be supporting greenery. Edible plants, herbs and fruit would be a trail through Beeston. 

I would call upon the imagination, creativity and skills of our residents, especially the students, to incorporate these ideas into something amazing. 

90. Robert Howard, Creating Green Corridors, (April 2022)

Urban trees are increasingly recognised for the many benefits they provide, such as removing carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air, habitats for wildlife and making our urban areas more attractive, enjoyable and healthy places to live. 

Greening Beeston streets through enterprise and partnership can be achieved over time and extended to include all Beeston. As the climate warms so trees shade and breezes become more important.

We all have an interest in creating a sustainable, eco-friendly environment which meets the needs of Beeston residents and visitors. Green corridors are for everyone to enjoy, (see also 58. Robert Howard, Restoring vitality and sense of place to the High Road).

Canopy2050.org is a Beeston-based community project led by Helene Laanest, with the object of increasing the urban tree canopy to 30%, as per the national target.
Email: info@canopy2050.org or find them on Facebook.

91. Peter Robinson, Beeston and Broxtowe Described, (April 2022)

A grasp of Beeston’s geography, identity and context are inevitable starting points in any conversation about our future, especially asBeeston’s footprint has changed through time, sometimes controversially. So when we talk of Beeston and District now, just what do we mean?

Broxtowe Borough Council’s constitution describes Beeston as the administrative centre of an area covering the southwest of Nottinghamshire, with Beeston as the largest of four principal towns – the others being Eastwood, Stapleford and Kimberley. Beeston and District might be defined within this administrative area as that portion of Broxtowe around and to the south of the A52.

There are four Beeston wards: Beeston Central, Beeston North, Beeston Rylands and Beeston West; plus the adjoining wards of Attenborough and Chilwell East, Bramcote, Chilwell West and Toton and Chilwell Meadows. In all what we take to be the Beeston and District community is represented by 20 councillors in a Borough council of 20 wards and 44 councillors.  

Local government responsibilities are split between Broxtowe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, but it is worth noting that these wards are in a corner of Broxtowe lacking parish and town councils.  Stapleford has a town council and a mayor, reinforcing a sense of community and identity.

Geographically Broxtowe forms the western edge of the Greater Nottingham conurbation, bisected by the M1 corridor, with the City of Nottingham forming much of the eastern boundary. To the west are the Derbyshire Boroughs of Erewash and Amber Valley. 

Broxtowe covers an area of 8,028 hectares, two thirds of which is greenbelt, and has a population of 109,487 (2011 census), representing 10.6% of the total population of the County of Nottinghamshire.

A wider view is that Beeston is one of Nottingham’s most highly regarded suburbs, with an excellent location and extensive range of local amenities. Property is in high demand as we are beside Nottingham University campus and near to Boots global headquarters, and can access a wide range of shops and facilities.

Beeston was described briefly early in this consultation (in Item 2)

92. Ron Glen,Beeston now and as it might be – a personal view, (April 2022)  

Over successive generations, Beeston has shown itself to be inventive and responsive to change – embracing new challenges as they have come along from agriculture to manufacturing, through pharmaceutical and communications, now service industry and digital solutions companies. 

Ron – a born Scot who has spent more than 40 years in Beeston and Attenborough – sees Beeston as a diverse community of many strengths, offering many useful examples from creativity and street art, through sport and leisure, to being a well placed town geographically and having the University on our doorstep.

He lists a  personal view of things to consider for the next phase of Beeston’s Development, including good quality and carefully placed information boards, setting up a weekly ‘What’s on in Beeston’, a review of car parking, the re-establishment of a good quality Jazz club and exploiting the potential of Beeston’s excellent public transport network to promote local businesses. 

Our future might be secured if we worked together for the common good as we have often done in the past, (see also 61. Ron Glen, Attracting people to Beeston – pulling the brand together, May 2021)

93. Mervyn Brown, A Strategic Partnership for Beeston? (April 2022)

Beeston is the only township within the Borough of Broxtowe that does not have a Town or Parish Council.  Neither do we currently appear to have a Town Centre Manager. 

For some time now Beeston has been devoid of a representative body to oversee and advance the interests of businesses in the town and – just as significantly – to represent the interests and aspirations of its residents and those who visit.

We desperately need a Strategic Partnership of stakeholders and others who have an interest in Beeston being a vibrant community – maximising its retail, commercial and residential potential – making Beeston worthy of a visit and a place to invest in –  All encapsulating the idea of making Beeston a better place in which to live work and play – in which to do business and to shop.

94. Creating a Cohesive Community – A Quick Quiz, (April 2022) 

A cohesive community is one where there is common vision and a sense of belonging – The diversity of people’s different backgrounds and circumstances are appreciated and positively valued…” Ted Cantle in 2001, former Nottingham City Chief Executive.

Crises encourage sharing, caring and a sense of belonging. We can learn something about our own abilities to get things done when the chips are down. So how can we work towards a more inclusive, welcoming and cohesive community for the common good? In the end it is down to individuals wanting to make it happen and a measure of social interaction – hence the quiz. 

95.  Peter Robinson, Preparing for an interactive discussion, (April 2022)

By way of preparation for the interactive element of the Our Beeston – Our Future event, ideas from the consultation were grouped and ordered into five broad categories reflecting consultation responses:

1.  Community related issues, including volunteering, (28%);

2.  Town Centre related issues, (19%);

3.  Energy related ideas, Targets and management, (10%);

4.  Aims, strengths and branding, (aggregated 22%); and

5.  Creativity, particular needs and miscellaneous issues, (aggregated 21%).  

Each table would be asked to come up with thoughts, ideas and priorities, so at the end of the evening we could point to the kind of things that Beeston needs over the next decade and their priorities. Conversations were to be off record.

The interactive process would be:

Step 1; A Postit from each attendee stating a personal priority for action in Beeston over the next ten years to make this a better place to live and work and to be written down immediately, clearly and anonymously.

Step 2; Table Discussion we were looking for each table’s thoughts, ideas and  priorities, summarised into 50 words. It should reflect the table’s priorities for action in Beeston over the next ten years.

Step 3; A General Discussion would take place as time allows about thoughts, ideas and priorities for Beeston and District over the next ten years, so that the mood of the evening can be summarised. The audience would be encouraged to think about how ideas can be turned into reality. Smartphone feedback facilities would assist online voting.

Step 4; Feedback Online will be via the Beeston and District Civic Society website, where a Digest of responses to the #Beeston2020Vision is posted and on CP Walker website and the #Beeston2020Vision Facebook page.

96. Reporting ‘Our Beeston – Our Future’, Community Event, (April 2022)

Close on 100 Beestonians attended the Our Beeston – Our Future event on the evening of Wednesday 27 April, in the community friendly Royal British Legion Social Club.

This was the long-promised conversation about the future of Beeston that should have gone ahead in May 2020, but postponed twice due to Covid. 

Attendees were a mix of responders to the #Beeston2020Vision consultation sharing their views with a wider audience, including the Mayor of Broxtowe, Councillors and officials. The focus of the evening was hearing what the audience – sitting in table groups – had to say about Beeston’s future. 

Chaired by long standing Beeston resident Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff, the event was in two halves. 

The first half, by way of background, included the showing of a specially commissioned film ‘This is Beeston’, with a dedicated message from Sir David Attenborough. Three speakers – Peter Robinson, Cllr. Helen Skinner and Professor Lucelia Rodrigues, covered respectively the Vision consultation, a Broxtowe view of zero carbon targets and the scale of action necessary to insulate existing Beeston housing, followed by questions.

The second half was an interactive session seeking individual and table responses to possible actions over the next decade, ‘to make Beeston a better place to live and work and to record their order of priorities’. Dr Miriam O’Duill from Nottingham University summarised the points digitally and conducted voting in real time using audience smart phones. 

Principal findings were: Providing for Sustainability and green spaces, closely followed by an attractive town centre and providing for young people. These  were the top three of ten priorities voted for by our Beeston audience.  

A follow-up meeting with officials of Broxtowe Borough Council will take place shortly. The film ‘This is Beeston’ is available on You Tube.

97. Our Beeston – Our Future, A flavour of individual ideas and Table discussions, (April 2022)

Our audience posted 102 individual ideas on priorities for the next ten years with a dozen Tables offering group comments. The examples below reveal a rich variety of individual ideas and a flavour of serious table discussions.

Think local”

Thinking local could make Beeston a better place to live. Broxtowe College had closed at just the time when local ‘green skills’ are needed – it could be a technical college working on installing and maintaining green technology and working with the University. Individual ideas included supporting wilding and greener living, more social housing; restoring local FE education to supply skills for a local green economy; clean affordable warmth for all homes; and local food production.  

An affordable place for young people to live and work”

If Beeston is to survive then it needs to be affordable for young people to live in. Communities are about more than housing, so it must also be attractive as a place to work and enjoy leisure time, with various amenities to bring up young families. We should seek ways to encourage more younger people to engage positively in their future. Individual ideas included a sensible mix of student accommodation; Council owned flats to rent for single people; zero carbon asap; saving green spaces; sustainable, affordable housing supported by community facilities; and making Beeston attractive for young people to live and work.

Make the Square a place to showcase creativity”

Making the Square a focal point and destination for showcasing creativity was the agreed objective, followed by creating a means to coordinate, promote and organise town-wide activities. Retaining and enhancing diversity in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic groupings and age were also important.

There was support for the green corridor idea; providing communal electric vehicle charging points; providing public toilets close to interchange; encouraging train use, especially from Beeston; everyone with a garden being asked to reserve one area for wild flowers. They also supported provision of places to walk, retaining amenities that are good at present; considering hybrid/home working and being sustainable.  Individual ideas included making Beeston Square a proper Square – useable and a focal point; building more houses of all types; providing public toilets; continuing to shop locally; more trees and seats.

A Greener and more sustainable Beeston” 

Greenery, including community allotments was a top priority, with attractive seating areas. Encouraging cycling, local sustainable energy schemes like the Meadows, and more sympathetic developments in Beeston were others. Individual ideas included seeking a vibrant town centre to meet the needs of people enjoying cafes, pubs, green spaces, art and installations for public use; more restrictions on new developments and repurposing of existing buildings. To build Beeston around people rather than cars.

Living sustainably for wildlife and humans”

Providing a sustainable, equitable environment for all ages was the first priority – encouraging green canopies and corridors, a supported environment for the elderly, a health drive for an ageing population, clear access to environmental energy, and a sustainable and wildlife friendly architecture and infrastructure. This was about matching wildlife to human needs and educating the young. Individual ideas included a bigger and better central square space, more local live music, green corridors everywhere, more seats in groups, a sculpture trail, a poetry trail, encouraging more representation of different cultures, including food music, etc. Celebrate ethnic and age diversity, return of the Festival of Light, swap shops, repair shops, care share, electric car charging points. Repair shops for everything, clothes, appliances, furniture and shared tools, guided tours to encourage wildlife and plants in the town. The general population need to know how to reach Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) levels for their houses and how to access the right resources to insulate. Ensure public transport remains viable and services are not reduced. Environmental and sustainable buildings from houses to industrial units. Wildlife and sustainability should come first for everything we do, including energy generation and construction. Planning actions should always consider these points first.

Better local transport serving a multi-cultural and car free centre”

Subsidised public transport that is better connected, cheaper and more convenient than driving is a first priority, coupled with better cycle routes within and around Beeston and more pedestrian routes within Beeston centre – all reducing car use and encouraging car share. Planning for low energy was another priority, with all new houses carbon neutral and support for community green energy projects. On a different tack, multi-cultural events, music, arts that celebrate diversity and reflect a wide range of cultures in our community should be encouraged. Individual ideas included better subsidised public transport connections from the River to Beeston town centre, access by bus to Bramcote Baths, a better bus service generally. Encourage growing our own fruit and vegetables, with a local advice network. Enlarging The Square to create an open air meeting place; renewable energy and small wind turbines. Purchase local community farm and community allotments. Free Beeston of single use plastic. Traffic free centre in Beeston, with greenways, walkways and cycle routes. A repair service for electrical goods and clothes; Work towards a circular economy, with community energy projects and a car share scheme.

An art and cultural strategy promoting individual and personal growth”

Buzzing Beeston captures a sense of excitement and possibility, with a sense of vitality and future potential. We need more fun! Individual ideas included developing practical tools to assist households achieve carbon neutrality. More local user friendly shops. Encourage green businesses that will help ordinary households reduce their routine energy use. Create an environment that encourages walking, recreation and good health. Trees to hide ugly buildings and more childrens’ playgrounds. An art and culture strategy that will nurture, promote and develop creative enterprise. 

Create an attractive town centre”

A wish list to help make this happen included providing for cyclists, encouraging more eating houses and bars, providing affordable housing, including sheltered housing, and ensuring that student housing was acceptable to residents. Leisure facilities might be improved, including a pool and skatepark. Individual ideas focused on reviving the Town Centre. ARC a great addition, but plenty of empty shops, uninviting to young families; Maintain and develop a pleasant, welcoming, relaxing town centre.

Bring people together by drawing on experiences from the University and local industry” 

An ambition to create a hub linking local industry, education and knowledge for sustainable solutions. This could happen by making Beeston an exemplary community for environmental sustainability by drawing on University knowledge to gain a lead and by having college supported apprenticeships and training in relevant trades. A sense of civic consciousness for the future could be encouraged by linking local industry and knowledge, so people can find out what is going on and what is available – including a place to buy locally grown food. Individual ideas included upgrading the Town Centre to something pleasant and attractive that we can be proud of. Make external wall insulation affordable and accessible to private property owners – encourage incremental insulation improvements. Rolling support for local startups in the empty shops, reducing rental for limited period.

Engage with young people. Give them a reason to stay”

Reach out and engage with young people to make them feel part of the community. Individual ideas included exploring possibilities for vertical axis wind turbines on bus and tram stops; a centre run by the community with more community led events organised by the community; access to free leisure activities. ‘Thrifting’(ie to shop at a thrift store, garage sale, or flea market where you will find used items at discounted prices); summer food nights around The Square, with music and seating to attract more people into Beeston. More affordable space for light industrial startups/enterprises; free advertising for local businesses, outdoor exercise equipment, more engagement with youngsters, secure bike storage. Organise an event like this at Beeston Youth Club. Build a skate park, indoor-outdoor roller-skating, walls for real graffiti.  

More green spaces, more trees, more affordable housing, more independent shops and better public transport”

More green spaces to encourage people outdoors was the priority, with street trees in new developments, plus an emphasis on quality housing and opportunities for children to play outside and more access for everyone to sustainable energy.  Individual ideas included retaining a mix of independent shops; better public transport to the north of Beeston; keeping and creating more green spaces. Promote high quality efficient housing design with street trees, hedges and sustainable building and spaces, independent local shops and cafes. Provision of a swimming pool. Retain the unique identity of Beeston.

“Be positive about living in Beeston”

A verbal submission only, described by the Chair as a very positive way to end.

Individual ideas included helping to make Beeston more pedestrian friendly; coordination and promotion of events and activities in Beeston. Start a community energy project – model provided by projects in The Meadows producing clean, local energy. More toilets; Find out from Broxtowe Borough Council what they are doing on climate change etc. Act on facts not dreams.

98. Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff,  Real time voting on ten core issues and Chair’s closing remarks at ‘Our Beeston – Our Future’ Community Event

Dr Miriam O’Duill digitally summarised ten main themes from the Table report-back session in real time, before inviting the audience to vote via smart phone, so creating an order of priorities and percentages representing the issues and priorities of the audience on the evening of the meeting: 

 1.  Sustainability, Green Spaces, 68%

 2.  Attractive town centre, 49%

 3.  Young people, 41%

 4.  Planning standards, 41%

 5.  Independent shops, 41%

 6.  Transport, cycle facilities, 38%

 7.  University expertise beyond campus, 38%

 8.  Think local, 35%

 9.  Art, Culture, History, 35%

10. Affordability, 24%

In closing the event Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff noted that, ‘The Individual and Table consultations were highly successful with everyone being positive about living in Beeston and a high level of agreement that we want to make it even better in the future.  We also need to remember that Affordability will be a key factor in keeping young people in Beeston.  Nottingham is unique in having two universities in the top four most sustainable of 900 universities across the world. This represents a huge resource for Beeston to draw on.  

The next stage is to implement a strategy and to identify where to start.  The Creating Green Corridors proposal displayed during the evening is one example of how things that could be achieved realistically and in stages.  

Overall, the enthusiasm of the audience is a really promising sign that Beestonians are determined to make things happens.  People will say “It started in Beeston”!’  

99. Chris Salter, Ideas arising out of Table discussion for a Beeston Winter Garden and for inspiring young people, (May 2022)

Referring to Our Beeston – Our Future, on Wednesday 27 April, Chris Salter writes,’Thank you for the excellent ‘Our Beeston’ meeting where positive ideas were put forward for the future of Beeston.

At our table I suggested that we take a serious look at the idea of a Winter Garden as manifested in Sheffield. This could tie in with the idea of the green corridors and create an attractive meeting place and green area in Beeston square. It would not be as large or as ambitious as the Sheffield winter garden but could glaze over most of the Square with potentially elegant laminated wood structure or less attractive steel structure.

The main benefit would be the creation of a pleasant meeting place more akin to a continental square that could also serve for events, craft fairs, market stalls and cafes.

The other topic from our table concerned the involvement of young people in the future of Beeston. Our suggestion was to work with local schools who must study local history and geography and provide support through study packs that covers the diverse industrial and social history in the Beeston area. As school projects often involve parental support it may also draw younger adults to be more involved in Beestons future choices. 

I hope this makes sense to you and can help to support the excellent ideas that came from the meeting’. 

100. Tom Ringrose, Ideas for Beeston High Road and the Square, (June
Further to the #Beeston2020Vision event in April, I had some time over the
recent bank holiday weekend to draw up thoughts for the useable artwork idea
that I put forward at the event.
The idea is that the publicly useable installations along the High Road
coordinate with the new Beeston Street Art and help to enliven the pedestrian
route to The Square.
People could use the seats and outdoor bar stools casually with friends or more
formally, for example, selling mulled wine at Christmas or ice creams in the
summer. Void retail units could also be boarded out whilst they wait for new
tenants in coordinated artwork (this was a design feature used to good effect
when we lived in Shanghai).
Beeston Square could also benefit from a modern update to the stepped podium
area to create a level access podium with improved sound and lighting
provision for public events. Again, the idea being to coordinate with the existing
Beeston Street Art to reflect the creative life of Beeston.
The retail units behind the square (where Argos used to be) could potentially
also be redeveloped with residential above to help finance these public art
ideas. The cinema and upcoming adjacent student accommodation have
raised Beeston’s skyline and a more civic scale building behind the Square
could be appropriate.
I hope the ideas provide good food for thought and look forward to hearing
from you if you’d like to pursue the ideas with us in more detail.

Peter Robinson 


submissions so far


project established

Want to volunteer?

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“Beeston folk have always shown their resilience and goodwill, and I am sure they will rise to the challenge.”

David Hallam, local historian