Speech to full @ambervalleybc Council Meeting on 26 September 2012 re: 550 houses planned for #Codnor

This is interesting – my first speech to full council before I had any idea I may become a councillor.

Speech to full Council meeting – 26 September 2012

You say that the Borough Council’s Vision for Amber Valley, as set out in its 2012-15 Corporate Improvement Plan, is ‘Making Everywhere In Amber Valley A Great Place To Live’. Well these plans for Amber Valley are the exact opposite.

Great places to live aren’t hemmed in by unwanted housing developments, they are surrounded by open green spaces where children can play and enjoy nature. Great places have good infrastructure and facilities – not already stretched drains, full schools, and clogged up roads. Sustainable communities don’t just absorb the residents of five hundred houses overnight, they grow naturally. Amber Valley isn’t going to be an attractive place for people to live, work, and visit. With your building strategy, it’s just going to be one urban sprawl.

The vision of Codnor with these 550 extra houses behind Alfreton Road is a nightmare. Three thousand extra traffic movements a day on already congested streets. Access for this development is due to come out on Alfreton Road, and this street cannot already take the traffic it is meant to serve at the moment. As the houses are mainly terraces, the residents park on both sides of the road. There is hardly space for two cars to pass each other, let alone two lorries, and yet the Borough Council is also proposing to build a bypass that starts in Ripley and ends at the end of this road. I don’t believe you’re going to build the bypass as the edge of this development. You don’t have the funding.

Traders on the marketplace tell me that there is a crash at the junction between Alfreton Road and the main road every day, as left-hand drive lorries struggle to get out safety. Five hundred houses with three thousand traffic movements and a bypass will exacerbate the situation. What’s more, I’ve also been told that the area you plan to develop was opencast in the early 20th century, so I question whether there are environmental concerns with the land.

I fail to understand why the council policy is to build on greenbelt land when there are brownfield sites that need developing and regenerating. I fail to understand who is going to buy these houses when there are already 237 properties within a mile radius of Codnor that are unsold. I fail to understand why, even if Derby needs an extra 9000 homes for growth, people would want to live in Codnor and commute to Derby.

I’m not opposed to sensible development within Codnor or within Amber Valley, and I’m sure there are sites that need regenerating by a piecemeal approach, Sheehy Hall for example, but I ask you to listen to the people of Amber Valley and rip up these disastrous plans.

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Simon Says Four

Teddy bear, teddy bear

Turn around.

Teddy bear, teddy bear

Touch the ground.
Teddy bear, teddy bear

Climb the stairs.

Teddy bear, teddy bear

Say your prayers.

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Simon Says Three: Your Sweetness is my Weakness

Simon Says Three


Your Sweetness is my weakness


So here we were for the jam.

I’ve always liked the idea of a jam, if I’m honest, though not the fruit kind. More, the getting together of musicians and having play.

Not necessarily improvisation. This word scares me. The uncertainty. The bit where suddenly someone points and you and it’s your turn. So you play a few scales, get confused. You know the theory as you’ve read about it, but not the practice. So the conductor gets fed up and points to the lad next to you with the flaxen hair, who manages something exciting that exactly goes with the chords and goes very high. As if they planned it. And you’re looking sheepish again.

But a general getting together of musicians with sheet music is always a pleasure. Always a joy. And perhaps not a jam. How would I know? I had never been invited to one since the whole bloody improvisation incident.

But these aren’t my heady but brief music centre days. We are concerned with the taking of the fruit off the tree and the making of jam. The date was set between Simon and his parents. The loppers have been brought. I breastfeed my hungry baby while my mother in law and father in law and husband nurse the apricots off the tree. I’m so pleased to be sitting down. I’m exhausted from the feeding every couple of hours, day and night.

‘We’ll have a sit down while you make a drink. It uses a lot of energy harvesting the apricots.’

My mother-in-law takes off her Clarks shoes in the bootroom and comes in, and I’m pleased she’s respecting our no shoes rule.

‘Would you like a cup of tea, Frank?’ I ask.

‘No,’ he says, sharply. ‘I don’t drink tea. I only drink coffee. You ought to know that by now…’

Louis cries. He probably needs more milk. Or burping. Or a poo. I’m not really sure.

‘Louis’s crying,’ says mother-in-law, helpfully.

‘I know,’ I nearly say. But I do not, because… I’m not rightly sure any more, as I am tired through lack of sleep. Louis is only four weeks old. But it is apricot harvesting time. We do this every year. We take them off every year before they are ready to drop.

As I go to Louis in the pram section of his buggy in the sitting room, I hear mother-in-law say. ‘She still breastfeeding?’

‘Yes,’ says Simon.

Louis is awake and does need more burping, so I pick him up. I can still hear them through the six panel pitch pine doors.

‘Did you tell her about that formula that you can add in with the breastmilk?’

‘She’s pretty resolute on just feeding him herself.’

‘He just seems a little… hungry.’

I jiggle Louis back into the lounge and make sure every single last bit of milk that will come back out has come back out onto the muslin square on my shoulder before I lay him back down.

‘Don’t worry. I’ve sorted the coffee,’ shouts Simon. And as I walk in, he says ‘did you want one?’

(c) Rebecca Deans 2015

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A little event to commemorate a huge undertaking: marking the @Pentrichrevolt

For immediate release

29 April 2015

A little event to commemorate a huge undertaking: 13 June at Pentrich Village Hall from 1pm to 6pm.

After considerable organisation and the influence of a government agent provocateur on 9 June 1817 around 400 local men from Pentrich and South Wingfield decided to march with picks and scythes to Nottingham. This hunger march through Ripley, Codnor, Langley Mill and ending in Giltbrook became known as the Pentrich Revolution or Pentrich Rising.

The bicentenary of the march is 9 June 2017, and a group has been formed from local historians and community-focused individuals to raise local awareness and create commemorations that do the rising justice. The Pentrich and South Wingfield Revolution Group is working in partnership with Derbyshire County Council, Amber Valley Borough Council, Pentrich and South Wingfield Parish Council, and other local authorities along the route, along with Derby University. Local businesses have also offered their support and sponsorship.

The first event building up to the bicentenary will be held on Saturday 13 June at Pentrich Village Hall from 1pm to 6pm – around 198 years after the rising. The ‘Little Event’ will be an exhibition of relevant material complemented by children’s activities, book sales, a tombola, tea and cake, and speakers. Everyone is welcome to come along and find out about the rising and their possible connection to it.

Further events planned include short talks about the build-up to the rising, events focused on the genealogy of the revolutionaries, and walks around the area incorporating the history of the rising. We also hope to attract volunteers to help us in our endeavours. A series of paintings have been commissioned that depict certain scenes within the revolution.

To find out more contact Sylvia Mason on 01773 748299.


  • On 9 June 1817 over 300 men set out for Nottingham from villages on the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire border.
  • They thought they were part of a general rising to bring down an unjust and oppressive government. Motivated by poverty and hunger, all efforts to gain a hearing suppressed and having no vote, many saw an armed revolt as the only alternative.
  • Unknown to them, government agent provocateurs, including Oliver, had encouraged the armed revolt. Rebel leaders had already been arrested and only a handful would take up arms in Huddersfield and Nottingham. The Derbyshire men were to be used as an example to others.
  • Ambushed by troops, the marchers fled and many were arrested. At their trial in Derby, three, Brandreth, Ludlam and Turner, were sentenced to death, to be hanged then beheaded. Fourteen were transported to penal colonies in Australia, others imprisoned. Their families were evicted and homes destroyed.


This post was brought to you by my copywriting and press release writing side, which can also be found at beckydeans.co.uk

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Still Something in the Water?


I really enjoy Graeme Cumming’s blog. Check this out. It’s lovely.

Originally posted on graemecummingdotnet:

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the solar eclipse in 1999.  I’d been reminded of that experience by more recent events and felt it was something worth sharing.

In the post, I said I’d expand on it by explaining what happened this time – but I allowed life to get in the way and time slipped by.  The 2015 eclipse has probably become a distant memory for most of you.  Even so, when I’ve said I’ll do something, I do it… eventually.

When I realised another eclipse was on the way, I got excited – until I realised seeing totality would mean heading out into the North Atlantic.  The advantage would be the abundance of water, but practically speaking, it was too far to go on a work day.

Thinking about the whirlpools (really, you need to read this first), I wondered whether to head for the…

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Doing the new reed dance

I don’t tend to post about this on my blog, but I’m a saxophonist. Sure, I’m a saxophonist who works mainly as a copywriter and does creative writing when she can, but I have a performance diploma from the ABRSM and I have a small teaching practice.

So I was delighted when I was offered some free reeds from D’Addario. Delighted because reeds are good (do I risk sounding like the Shamen there?) and costly and always useful, delighted just to have been asked at all, but mostly delighted because I don’t have a favourite reed at the moment. I’d equate that to not having a favourite notebook or favourite pen for writing followers. It’s the sort of thing that can really put you off.

I’ve been using the same reeds since I was 13 and my second teacher just took one look and said you can’t use those (inferior brand in her tone), you must use these. The change paid off, mind, and I was hooked. Everyone I knew was using just about the same set up and strength. Eventually I got the mouthpiece everyone was using too. Then the ligature. I just had that brand, 2.5 strength, and that was it. I’ve even done the ‘you can’t use those’ to my students.

I had tried what I think was an earlier incarnation of the D’Addario Reserve a few years back and it didn’t do it for me, but this time was different. I found them instantly agreeable, though had to move them on the mouthpiece to up the resistance a little. I was impressed with the low notes, as I had previously been thinking I had a leak. I still need to get my sax checked out with a repairer but I found the lower notes generally came out easier than with my usual sort.

And I put this new reed through its paces. I tested it with some overtones playing: this is something I am working on but they were very responsive still. Playing the altissimo notes was a dream. I got up to a top d sharp using Sigurd Rascher’s fingerings. There seemed to be lots of extra possibilities altissimo-wise using the reed.

I then tested the reed with an impromptu classical tune, and a bit of jazz. Yes. Still doing it for me. Tried it again the next day. (I looked forward to that). Yes. I managed a lovely bit of improvisation with my new reed. So I am currently doing the *I have a new reed dance* and very pleased to Tom at D’Addario for setting me off on this new adventure.

You can generally find me talking about my saxophone playing at https://www.facebook.com/beckydeanssaxophonist

This is almost like a guest post from my other self!

©Rebecca Deans 2015




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You are my life, my completeness

This love is my weakness.

You’re my before and my after

The absence of laughter.

I’m held. You’re my holder.

My future is stuck in your folder.

My strength is this:

To shred the paper without looking,

To walk into the silence.

@Becky Deans 2015

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