Venue: Zoom Virtual Meeting
Contact: Anita Clarke, Community Engagement Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6576) (Email: Anita.Clarke@leicester.gov.uk) Ed Brown, Democratic Support Officer (Tel: 0116 454 3833) (Email: Edmund.email@example.com)
INTRODUCTIONS, DECLARATIONS & APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chair will introduce those present and make any necessary announcements.
Apologies for absence will be noted.
The Chair and any other Councillors who are present will make any declarations as required by the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
Councillor Cassidy as Chair led the introductions and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies were received from Grant Butterworth. Fabian D’Costa and Rachel Mkanza led the item on the Local Plan in his absence.
No declarations of interest were made.
The Action Log for the last meeting, held on 13 February 2020, attached for
information and discussion.
The Action Log of the previous meeting held 13 February 2020 was confirmed as a correct record.
Regarding Item 21 of the Action Log, an invitation to the Clinical Commissioning Group had been sent, but no reply had been received. Action: Community Engagement Officer to follow up.
Regarding complaints about verge-parking mentioned in the previous meeting, it was observed that works to install a cycle lane had temporarily prevented this on Groby Road, however this would need monitoring once the works finished.
WARD COUNCILLORS' FEEDBACK
Councillors will provide an update on ward information.
Councillor Waddington observed that Covid-19 had affected everybody and that the ward was in Tier 3, which had the potential to severely harm the local economy. She reported that Leicester City Council had produced a £1.4million package to help support families who had been financially affected and would also provide meals to children over the school holidays.
She further reported that Councillors Surgeries had not happened since the first lockdown, but residents had continued to be in touch. It was hoped that virtual surgeries would begin on Zoom in early 2021.
She reported that once restrictions were lifted, surveys would be conducted with residents parking for Woodgate and Tudor Road in order to see the extent of the issue so that consultations could be made.
Councillor Cassidy reported that the memorial to commemorate those killed in the explosion on Hinckley Road would be installed during planned works on Westcotes Drive in 2021.
He further reported that people had been in contact with Council Officers and the Police and responses had been good. The local Police inspector was keeping councillors in touch with serious issues in the ward.
Officers from Leicestershire Police will be at the meeting to provide an update on police issues in the Ward.
At this point, the Chair agreed to consider items out of the order listed on the agenda, as follows:
Sergeant Ed Jones gave an update on Police Issues in the Ward:
· Crime had been falling overall which had partly been explained by lockdown. However, demand on Police was still high.
· Serious and violent crime had fallen with the exception of domestic abuse which had risen. Shops had been leafleted to provide information on where to seek support.
· A dedicated car was being utilised to tackle serious breaches of Covid-19 restrictions.
· Robberies had been low, although one high-profile incident had been reported.
· Officers regularly patrolled Rally Park and had moved on street drinkers where their behaviour was considered anti-social. Since the lockdown in March, the Police had not received any reports of such activity in that area but continued foot patrols as art of their daily tasks.
· The Violent Crime Reduction Network had been working with schools and hospitals focussing on knife crime.
· Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) had been assisting Traffic Wardens with parking violations.
· A scheme called Neighbourhood Link was working to get an idea of what the community wanted form the Police. Residents were encouraged to join.
· Police were aware of cannabis farms in in the Tudor Road area and were working to shut them down.
· The team had been short of officers, and Beaumont Leys police had been supporting them. Three new PCs had been recruited and would be starting work in the ward shortly.
· Plain clothes police officers were operating in the ward.
Councillor Waddington asked as to how the community could further address the problems of cannabis farms and breaches of Covid-19 restrictions.
With regard to cannabis factories, Sgt Jones stated that landlords were being encouraged to visit houses suspected of being used as farms regularly.
With regard to breaches of Covid-19 restrictions, Sgt Jones stated that work was being done with shops and supermarkets encouraging the use of masks and preventing anti-social behaviour towards staff.
Officers from the Local Plan team will be present to give an update on the Local Plan.
Team Leader (Generic Planning) Fabian D’Costa gave a presentation on the Draft Leicester Local Plan (attached).
A resident asked what would happen if the neighbouring districts refused to take on some of Leicester’s housing need as was required by the plan.
Fabian D’Costa explained that Leicester City Council (LCC) had been working with the neighbouring district councils for the past two years as the tight boundaries had been exhausting options within the city. He added that the importance of open space in the city was recognised and as such brownfield sites were being considered, whilst being sensitive to heritage aspects of those sites.
It was asked as to how housing density was being approached with regard to keeping green space. It was further asked as to where growth was coming from in the city. Concern was expressed over loss of green space.
Fabian D’Costa clarified that all authorities needed evidence to support their figures based on births, deaths and migration in and out of the city (including students) and that work was done jointly with the neighbouring districts on the housing needs assessment. The government had been looking at how these figures were calculated, and it was possible that they may change. He added that 400 sites had been put to the public and a shortlist was done on these sites, however there was still a way to go to see if they would be deliverable.
On the matter of open space and housing density he stated that low-density housing was aimed for in suburban areas with around 30 dwellings per hectare rising to 50 per hectare in the Central Development Area and a target of 2.88 hectares of open space per 1000 of the population. He added that the quality of open space would be improved where possible.
Responding to a query about whether there would be a consultation per-site, Fabian D’Costa responded that there would be a consultation in 2021 on sites brought forward and comments had been made on individual sites.
Councillor Cassidy raised the issue of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and stressed the need to limit them.
Councillor Waddington added that the concentrations of HMO in the ward were resulting in family homes being lost. She also highlighted certain brownfield sites in the ward that should be developed including on Repton Street. She further added that green spaces needed plans for improvement.
She raised two further questions, concerning the consequences of developments and growth of population and the planning process for proposed new schools.
Fabian D’Costa informed those present of ‘Article 4 areas’ which restricted the numbers of HMO containing 3-6 unrelated people in a property (more than 6 needed planning permission in any area) and added that these areas were being considered for extension. He added that there was a draft plan to assess the impact of HMO. Action: Fabian D’Costa to find out timescale on plans for HMO.
Senior Planner Rachael Mkanza responded to Councillor Waddington on the issue of Brownfield sites.
Those ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
Highways officers will give an update on highways issues in the Ward.
Highways Network Asset Manager, Rupert Bedder, gave an update on Highways issues in the ward:
· Stokes Drive was in the 20mph programme set for delivery in 2022.
· Regarding concern raised about parking on streets causing single-lane traffic, visits had been made from the parking enforcement team but only one ticket had been issued. The team would be asked to focus on the issue.
· A parking team had been asked to visit Fosse Primary School to enforce the zig-zag lines.
· Highway Maintenance had re-lined yellow boxes that had been fading.
· Regarding Groby Road bus lane, Major Transport Projects Manager, John Dowson, had reported to Assistant City Mayor Adam Clarke and The City Mayor and raised concerns from the Ward Councillors and residents.
· Regarding parking outside the Groby Road Medical Centre, a meeting between the design team and the medical centre would take place in 2022.
· A lamp had been issued for repair on the Rally Park.
· 208 Footway repairs and 144 Highway repairs had taken place since the last meeting.
· Work on Buckminster Road had been recently completed.
· Work to ensure social distancing outside schools had been implemented using cones and stencils.
· Work was ongoing concerning the Woodgate Van Hire Company.
· The Transforming Cities Fund had implemented schemes in the ward including walking and cycling improvement that had temporarily prevented verge-parking. Whilst it could not be guaranteed that verge-parking would not return once the works were complete, cars would be removed if they blocked footways or cycleways which would deter verge-parking,
· Work on the 5-ways junction was due to start in 2022.
A resident remarked that measures to enforce social distancing had also had the added effect of preventing problem-parking which had been positive, but also had the effect of leaving room for only single-lane traffic.
Action: Rupert Bedder to feed back to the team to consider options.
Councillor Waddington enquired about plans for Anstey Lane and Groby Road.
Action: Rupert Bedder to report to the Fosse Ward Meeting when plans were known.
CITY WARDEN UPDATE
The City Warden will give an update on issues in the Ward.
City Warden Charlotte Glover reported on issues in the ward:
· 38 Community Protection Warnings/Notices had been issued.
· 7 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued.
· A team of Wardens were working to tackle bins on streets.
· The City Warden would be in court on Monday to try and obtain a warrant to get on to land to cut back an overgrown garden.
WARD COMMUNITY BUDGET
Councillors are reminded that under the Council’s Code of Conduct they should declare any interest they may have in budget applications
An update will be given on the Ward Community Meeting budget.
Since the last ward meeting there had been a new budget from April 2020.
17 Applications had been submitted, of these 13 had been supported by Ward Councillors totalling £8750. This left £9250 in the budget with three applications still to be assessed.
Applications supported included:
· Fosse Mutual Aid
· Woodgate Adventure Playground
· Drum and Bass
· Groby Road allotments
· Community Hub
· Peter Barratt
· Stokes Wood Allotments
· Swar Music Promotion
· Fosse Primary School
Any applications over £500 needed to be made by 31 January 2021 and any applications under £500 needed to be made by mid-February 2021
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Representative of Woodgate Foodbank Eve Drayton-Hill gave an update on the activities of the foodbank:
· The foodbank was operating from Woodgate Adventure Playground (socially distanced) three mornings a week with one day of delivery service for those who could not come to them.
· On average 144 people per week used the foodbank and 38 deliveries per week were made.
· Numbers in need of the foodbank had grown exponentially.
· Ward funding had been secured and Fairshare had been made use of.
· Volunteers had been helping out, including refugees, asylum seekers and those using the foodbank themselves.
· The foodbank had won the Leicester Community Champions Award.
Councillor Waddington expressed hope that the Council Building on the Rally Park would be made use of by the foodbank in the future.
Anna Parr of Leicester Adult Skills and Learning Service (LASALS) promoted the training offered by the service to help those who had faced the loss of jobs and/or earnings in the face of Covid-19:
· Free employment skills training was being offered. And career booster courses were offered to help people be more confident in applying for jobs.
· Qualifications in business finance, accountancy and book-keeping were on offer. Teaching Assistant and Food Safety qualifications were also on offer.
· The above courses were free to anyone who met the residency criteria.
· Services were being run online, and when face-to-face services were offered it was socially distanced. The service could help people get online if they had trouble. Classes were run from New Parks Library outside of lockdown.
Councillor Waddington requested written information on LASALS so that it could be disseminated. Action: Anna Parr to send out brochures.
Councillor Waddington suggested that LASALS make use of Fosse Neighbourhood Centre. Action: Anna Parr to suggest the idea to her team.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8:06pm