Contact: Anita Clarke, Community Engagement Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6576) (Email: Anita.Clarke@leicester.gov.uk) Angie Smith, Democratic Support Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6354) (Email: Angie.Smith@leicester.gov.uk)
INTRODUCTIONS & APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chair will introduce those present and make any necessary announcements.
The Chair and any other Councillors who are present will make any declarations as required by the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
Councillor Waddington as Chair led the introductions and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Members were asked to declare any interest they might have in the agenda items to be discussed. No declarations of interest were made.
The Action Log of the previous meeting held on 20 December 2020 is attached for information and discussion.
The Action Log of the previous meeting held on 20 December 2020 was confirmed as a correct record.
Councillors will provide updates on issues and their recent activities in the Ward.
Councillors provided an update on the following:
· The memorial site for the people killed on Hinckley Road explosion was virtually ready, with just another plaque to be placed. The Bishop of Leicester had been very supportive of the families.
· Brookmead Academy on Fosse Road North was expected to open September 2023.
· A visit had been made to Fosse Mead Academy (former Fosse Primary School). It was noted a lot or work was required to improve the building.
· Councillor Cassidy continued in his role as councillor to take on case work and lead of scrutiny of the City Mayor as Chair of the Overview Select Committee.
· The little pocket park on Vernon Street had been re-opened and thanks were made to those that had attended the opening. Councillors were keen to see investment for some play equipment.
· With regards to the Buckminster Road closure, Councillors were receiving a very large number of complaints, particularly from residents on Colwell Road which was being used as a cut through alternative route. The Director Planning, Development and Transportation has been written to asking for the experimental closure to be brought to a swift end. The response received was the experiment had only been running for two months, and offers wanted it to run a little longer. A survey would also be undertaken to measure impact. Members of the public should register objections by sending them to email@example.com.
· Fosse Neighbourhood Centre and library were being used as a Covid-19 test centre and vaccination centre. The situation would be reviewed in March, particularly as the community were missing out on an important facility.
· There were plans to raise money to elect a blue plaque in memory of Alice Hawkins who lived on Mantle Road. A bid would be made for Community Ward Funding. Permission had been gained from the homeowner. An event would be held which would involve children living in the area.
POLICE ISSUES UPDATE
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 the agenda items out of order, and to the Police Issues Update next:
Sergeant Shauna Ashton was present at the meeting to provide an update on Fosse Ward.
· The Team for Fosse Ward was at full capacity with Sgt. Ashton, 4 PCSOs and 3 PCs. An officer would also be added as an attachment in the summer.
· Crime in the area remained stable but there were peaks and troughs.
· For Vernon Street, there were no new crimes of anti-social behaviour connected to the park, which was good news.
· During October the Police ran an operation to reduce knife crime. On the rally there was a knife sweep and knife arch. A weapon was recovered from bushes on the Rally, with more handed in.
· A search warrant had been gained to check for cannabis in a property. It was reported there were four house fires last year in connection with cannabis growing. Residents were encouraged to report suspected properties through Crime Stoppers.
· During November funding was received to enable ‘Safer Routes’ patrols, for the protection for women and girls. Unfortunately, since the patrols had stopped there had been a sexual assault on the Rally. Police had re-applied for the funding.
· Funding had also been applied for to enable two more cameras on the Rally to be installed to make the area as safe as possible and act as a deterrent.
· Anti-social behaviour was police priority for the area and issues could be reported through Neighbourhood Link.
· Road safety had been highlighted as a concern of residents in Fosse. A road safety campaign working with agencies had seen vehicles pulled in and removed with recovery vehicles.
· Regular complaints were received from the public about e-scooters. The issue would be taken up alongside another traffic operation to be run in Fosse in February.
· A County Lines operation was planned in Fosse Ward.
Councillors noted the many complaints regarding the Colwell Road area as a result of the experimental road closure on Buckminster Road. Issues included double yellow parking and peoples’ drives blocked. Residents also noted the issue with cyclists on the pavement alongside e-scooters, both of which were considered dangerous. Sgt Ashton reported there would be further road policing operations run around traffic, and e-scooters.
Councillors thanked the Police with their support towards the food bank. They also appreciated the twitter feed from offices for keeping them up-to-date with policing activities in the Ward.
RESIDENTS PARKING SCHEME TIMETABLE AND UPDATE
An officer from Highways will be present to provide an update.
Rupert Bedder (Highways Network Asset Manager) was present to provide a general highways update, as follows:
· The Workplace Parking Levy might have an effect on neighbourhoods with workers using streets to park, WPL may create issues next year with workers using the streets to park.
· Carriageway repairs were scheduled for Medina Road / Totland Road / Barton Road.
· There was an issue with parking around Castle Mead school. It was planned to install railings and bollards to prevent anti-social parking around school times.
· The Memorial works on Hinckley Road were complete.
· There were Santander bike docking points at Paget Road, Stephenson Drive, Buckminster Road, and A50 area.
· Follow-up traffic surveys would be conducted for the Buckminster Road experimental closure.
· The Five-Ways junction was a big project and it had taken time to employ a consultant. The project was near design stage and would be shared with Ward Councillors. There would be open sessions for members of the public to view the design for the scheme, and also a letter-drop to nearby households. It was expected the scheme would comments late 2022 with completion in 2023.
· Consultation was being prepared for two residents parking schemes for Woodgate and Tudor Road. The plans for each area would identify the extent of the parking schemes. Surveys would be undertaken at different times of the day to identify issues. Currently identified issues were City Self Drive vehicles, and school staff, workers parking around Woodgate and Fosse Road Central. The complaint enquiry database had been checked, and 60/80 enquiries wanted a residents parking scheme. Covid restrictions permitting, there would be public exhibitions of the schemes. Every resident and business in the area would be lettered and asked to contribute to the consultation
In response to questions the following points were made:
· It was not known what the outcome was for Buckminster Road, but it was believed the road was a link for more sustainable transport than cars.
· It was asked if a scheme similar to the one in Clarendon Park would be adopted. It was noted that Queens Road was a busy shopping area, and could be a possibility, but if there was no capacity for such a scheme then the Council would look to introduce residents full time parking.
· There would not be a residents vote, but all indications were there was a lot of support for a residents parking scheme, and people were encouraged to submit their views.
· The link for people to suggest locations for additional electric bike docking stations is www.widenmypath.com/leicester
The Chair thanked the officer for the update.
CONSERVATION AREA AND ARTICLE 4 EXTENSION
An officer from planning will be available to provide information on recent consultation.
Justin Webber (Senior Building Conservation Officer), and Grant Butterworth (Head of Planning) provided information on recent consultations undertaken in the ward. The meeting noted the following information:
· Consultation was undertaken towards the end of 2021 on the potential new ‘St Paul’s Conservation Area’, with a high level of support for the new Conservation Area from those who responded. A suggestion had been made to include the whole of Kirby Road. The proposal would be considered, potentially as a further phase as the additional properties would need to be consulted which would delay the process. Property owners would be eligible for grants from the Council’s ‘Historic Buildings Grant Scheme’ to repair properties once the area had been confirmed. The Council will look to revise the related documents and move to adopting the new Conservation Area soon, alongside the making of heritage based Article 4 Directions.
· The consultation to extend the areas of control for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) had concluded.
· HMOs were described as having persons of different families living in the same house.
· Currently to convert a house to a small HMO did not require planning. The Article 4 Direction would mean planning permission would be needed and there would be a presumption of refusal of HMOs in the area covered.
· The majority of respondents were in support of the proposals, with some requests for minor amendments to the scheme.
· The Direction had been made, but would not come into force until after 12 months’ notice period had expired (November 2022).
· It was noted that currently planning applications were only required for conversion to larger HMOs. Less than six persons could live in a converted HMO without planning permission until November 2022. Those present were advised against raised expectations before the Article 4 Direction orders were confirmed that HMO development in the area would cease as smaller HMOs would not need consent, and that each application for larger HMOs case would be determined on their own merits.
· An overview of the Article 4 Direction consultation could be found at Article 4 Direction extension - Leicester City Council - Citizen Space
The Chair thanked the officers for the update and on completion of the work, which she stated Councillors had been pushing for quite a while and would benefit residents greatly.
RALLY HOUSE BUILDING UPDATE
An officer will be present to provide an update on Rally House (current Foodbank premise).
An officer was not present. The Chair asked that Ward Councillors be kept informed of future updates on the Rally House building.
The City Warden will give an update on issues in the Ward.
The City Warden was not present. A handout provided is attached for information.
WARD BUDGETS REPORT AND FOODBANK UPDATE
Councillors are reminded that under the Council’s Code of Conduct they should declare any interest they may have in budget applications
It was reported there was £2,765.80 remaining in the budget. A small application for £150 had been received and was awaiting assessment.
In total 19 applications had been supported. £1,800 (10%) of the budget could be carried over to the next financial year for 2022/23, but further applications would still be taken for the current financial year.
Councillor noted that in the past organisations who had received funding had provided updates on how the funding had been spent. Councillors stated it would be useful if that process could be reinstated for the next meeting.
Representative of Woodgate Foodbank Lynn Wyeth provided an update on the activities of the foodbank:
· The foodbank was set up in Woodgate and Fosse Area during the first lockdown in March 2020. Woodgate Resource Centre was used initially, then the adventure playground then Rally House.
· Since starting, over 3,000 people individuals had registered.
· The foodbank also had people registered on the outskirts of the ward at Abbey and Westcotes.
· About 35 deliveries were still being made each week. It was further noted there were still a lot of elderly and disabled people in isolation.
· There were approximately 110 visits a week to Rally House on Saturday mornings between 11.00am – 12.00Noon.
· Officers and volunteers did not want to normalise the foodbank, so were getting to know customers to see if they could be helped in other ways, for example, debt and hearing advice, support in applications for other financial assistance.
· Other support included community wellbeing activities, helping with mental health, skilling people up, community activities, and asking people what they wanted to see in the area, for example art projects, children’s activities, parent / mother groups.
· The community ward funding had been gratefully received, and it was hoped that with the additional funding this year and small amount from the DWP it might mean that the majority of food was secure for most of the year.
· Fareshare delivered food every week, and was topped up with fresh food, including halal, gluten free and sanitary products.
· There were some outgoings for example, on a small amount of building work, cleaning materials, personal protective equipment (PPE) and admin checks.
The Ward Councillors thanked Lynn and all the volunteers. They invited local residents to put forward ideas for further fund raising.
An officer from Housing will provide information on current consultation on landlord licensing.
Tony Cawthorne, Senior Project Manager, was present to discuss consultation undertaken on Discretionary Licensing (Additional and Selective) in the private rented sector (PRS). Slides delivered during the discussion are attached for information. Further additional comments were made as follows:
· Discretionary licensing set minimum standards, ensures documentation required by law was in place, to ensure safe warm homes are provided in the PRS.
· The Housing Team are looking at mandatory licensing, for premises or more than five people or two families sharing.
· Monies received in fines from identified non-licenced properties were returned back to the local authority to enable more enforcement work.
· There is a task force working with private sector housing on rogue landlord enforcement. During 2021 74 emergency prohibition notices had been served, usually on housing where conditions were so bad no one should live in them.
· Over 104 electrical safety issues had been found with major works required.
· Reasons for the requirement to consult were laid down in law on both selective and additional licensing.
· The evidence base showed the national average of PRS was 19%, with areas of the city having higher concentration of PRS at 75%.
· It was reported there were more issues with housing conditions and anti-social behaviour in the PRS sector. A table of Wards with tenure type was presented where it was highlighted the ward where complaints were highest were those wards with the highest rates of PRS and HMO dwellings, namely Westcotes, Fosse, Saffron, Braunstone Park & Rowley Fields and Stoneygate wards.
· Three options were being considered for each of the wards and could include a mix of selective and additional licensing, or consultation might result in no scheme being adopted.
· Areas of PRS were analysed. of finer level of detail (Lower Super Output Area (LSOAs)) showed areas of multiple deprivation in the top 20% in the country.
· Option A for selective licensing was mapped out and overlapped with option B for additional licensing across the city. Option C would target specific areas with high concentrations of HMOs for additional licensing. Further information on the different options could be found on the Council's website.
Councillor Cutkelvin, Assistant City Mayor for Education and Housing, was present. She noted that all three schemes could be introduced in Fosse and Westcotes because of the concentration of anti-social behaviour, noise and nuisance which impacted on the quality of life of residents in the ward and was mainly to do with the types of housing in the wards which were ideal for conversion to HMOs. She added the schemes would deal with the concentration of HMOs and look at safety standards, and with engaging with landlords it was hoped it would improve the look and feel of the area. The schemes would also requires a strong robust enforcement strategy. The decisions on which option to adopt would be made by Full Council.
The Chair summarised the options and points made:
· It was possible to introduce more than one option in an area, but would be difficult to ... view the full minutes text for item 48.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
As there were no further items of urgent business, the meeting closed at 8.12pm.