Venue: Sir Charles Napier Pub, Glenfield Road, LE3 6AR
Contact: Anita Clarke, Community Engagement Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6576) (Email: Anita.Clarke@leicester.gov.uk) Jason Tyler, Democratic Support Officer (Tel: 0116 454 6359) (Email: Jason.Tyler@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 Cassidy welcomed those present and led introductions.
Reference was made to the selection of the venue for the meeting, Councillor Cassidy commented that it had been considered important to meet close to the Hinckley Road site (Item 3 of the Agenda refers).
There were no Declarations of Interest.
The Action Log of the meeting held on 15 March 2018 is attached for information and discussion.
The Action Log of the previous meeting held on 15 March 2018 was submitted and noted.
HINCKLEY ROAD RECOVERY UPDATE
There will be an update on the recovery efforts following the Hinckley Road incident in February 2018.
Lee Warner (Head of Neighbourhood Services) provided an update on the situation following the explosion at Hinckley Road in February 2018.
He reported on the work in the community that had been undertaken since the tragic incident, involving patchwalks and information and support provided to residents. Details of the recovery plan that had been put in place and the level of support and assistance were reported and noted.
It was confirmed that a Community Recovery Committee had been established and the selection of Committee members on a voluntary basis, including members of the emergency services, was explained. The remit of the Committee was also confirmed.
Meetings had also been convened with Headteachers from local schools, with further engagement being planned.
It was considered that the recovery plan had been appropriately implemented in a sensitive and respectful manner.
The complex issues concerning the management of the site following the explosion were reported. It was noted that land ownership issues arising from the need for the demolition of property had been complicated.
In terms of a permanent tribute at the site, it was confirmed that discussions were ongoing to ensure sensitive management of the issue.
The likely lengthy continuation of the process and continued engagement with businesses, schools and the wider community was explained. As an example, it had been considered by some community members that the hoardings used to screen the site had been too sombre and artwork had been suggested in recent consultation responses. Options were currently being considered, including input from local schools.
It was also confirmed that a consultation forum for traders had been established.
In conclusion, thoughts of residents concerning the implementation of the recovery plan and suggestions to assist the ongoing process of recovery were encouraged.
The update and position were noted.
There will be a presentation on the introduction of Universal Credit.
Details of the position concerning the introduction of Universal Credit were provided.
It was noted that Universal Credit was an ‘out of work’ benefit that had been introduced to support progress into work, replacing six forms of benefit payment. A guide explaining the revised approach to benefit payments was circulated for information. It was confirmed that individuals receiving any of the previous six benefit payments would be required to migrate to the revised system.
Although the revised service had gone live (on 13 June 2018) it was reported that the first payments had not yet been made, and more details on the impact of the revised arrangements would not be known until that time.
Letters were being sent to those affected and it was expected that migration would commence in 2019 and rolled out until full implementation in 2023. Enhanced partnership with the Job Centre to ensure a smooth transition was explained and noted, together with the levels of support being offered including ‘work coaches’. Links to potential training opportunities were also noted.
In terms of the requirement to register online, it was clarified that for elderly and vulnerable individuals, visiting officers were available to assist in the process. It was also confirmed that the payments would be monthly single household payments, paid to one person per property. The reasoning for the single monthly payment was explained as a method for preparing people to go into work, receiving payments and budgeting based on monthly income.
The increased engagement and consultation being undertaken through outreach work was confirmed and it was noted that this had included information and advice centres being established at community centres, customer service centres, libraries and advice offered through liaison with GP practices.
In discussing the implementation of Universal Credit, residents expressed concerns at the delayed payment methods and length of time to process applications. Concerns were also expressed regarding Job Seeker Allowance and Income Support implications, and issues arising from the repayment of housing benefits to landlords. It was noted that the Government remained in favour of Universal Credit, but that consultation with national organisations was ongoing and changes to the process may be announced as a result.
In conclusion, Councillors referred to the training and support offered to them and advised that individual cases could be referred to them for attention as appropriate.
The update was noted.
There will be a presentation to provide an overview of Healthwatch Leicester.
Attendees were asked to note an update from Gillian Jillett, Healthwatch Leicester and Leicestershire.
Points made during Gillian’s update included the following:
Anyone interested in volunteering was asked to speak to Gillian or to contact Healthwatch. Leaflets promoting the organisation’s activities were circulated for information.
HIGHWAYS - FIVEWAYS PROJECT
There will be an update on highways issues, including the Fiveways project.
Naresh Pancholi (Senior Engineer) provided an update on highways projects in the Ward.
It was noted that junction improvements had been agreed as part of the Leicester North West Phase 2 scheme.
The progress of the project had been on schedule and the legal contractual process was complete, with contractors due to be on site in October 2018. It was expected that the works would be completed in April 2019.
Ongoing consultations with the contractors were noted and it was confirmed that the works would inevitably bring some disruption during the construction period.
It was noted that the fiveways junction had been removed from the current works, but that plans remained under consideration.
Residents expressed concern that the junction improvements at fiveways had been delayed and commented on the importance of the public safety implications. Reference was made to previous consultation as advertised on the Council’s website and to responses made at public meetings and events, which now seemed redundant. It was agreed that an update on the plans and a likely revised timeframe be presented to the next meeting, which was to be held at the Woodgate Resource Centre.
In terms of the work that was to be progressed in October, it was confirmed that trees would be removed and replaced, to achieve the necessary widening of Blackbird Road. Concern was expressed at the loss of mature trees in the city.
The update was noted.
POLICE ISSUES UPDATE
Officers from Leicestershire Police will be at the meeting to provide an update on police issues in the Ward.
Alex Baxter (Leicestershire Police) provided an update on Police activities in the Ward.
Details of the operations undertaken by the Beat Team were explained, and it was noted that the continued spell of hot weather had led to an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and other nuisance incidents. Recent ASB issues on Swannington Road and Kate Street were particularly noted and the Police initiative to coordinate an enhanced multi agency response was supported and welcomed.
Councillors referred to their ensuing patchwalk, which would be involve the Police and other partner agencies.
In respect of other recent work, arrest warrants for drug offences were reported and it was noted that the successful action had been made possible following reports received from the public. Residents were encouraged to report any incidents of crime or ASB and the Police Facebook page was promoted.
The update was noted.
The City Warden will give an update on issues in the Ward.
Charlotte Glover (City Warden) provided an update on recent environmental and enforcement activities in the Ward.
Details of the recent advice campaign concerning fly-tips was circulated. The campaign had highlighted householder responsibilities for the appropriate and proper methods for dealing with waste. Businesses had also been made aware of their responsibilities and requirements for waste management contracts.
In respect of individual properties, it was confirmed that a serious case involving a significant amount of waste at Cambridge Street had been successfully progressed and work to remove the fly-tip was to be undertaken under the Community Payback scheme.
In response to comments from residents, it was noted that enhanced patrols of the Tudor Road Gardens and surrounding area were required due to frequent mis-use. An issue concerning a problem at Carlisle Street was also noted.
In conclusion, the LoveLeicester app was promoted as an appropriate and effective method of reporting issues to the City Wardens Service.
WARD COMMUNITY BUDGET
There will be an update on the 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
The Community Engagement Officer provided an update on the Ward Community Budget.
It was noted that in the current round of applications, 4 had been supported and 1 had been refused. A further application was pending, awaiting further information from the applicant.
Residents and community groups were encouraged to submit applications for projects online. It was confirmed that the balance remaining was £16,400.
The following helpline number was provided: 0116 454 1940
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
a) Tudor Road Bench/Waste Bin
Residents welcomed the recent installation of the bench at Tudor Road, but commented that the waste bin needed to be relocated to a more suitable location.
b) Arts Festival Grant
Thanks were expressed for the financial support received from the Ward Community Budget for the Arts Festival, which would be held in August 2018.
c) Fosse Arts Centre
Representatives of Fosse Arts addressed the meeting to express concern that the organisation had been informed that it must leave the Fosse Neighbourhood Centre. Alternative premises at a former nursery at Beaumont Leys had been suggested, but this was not considered an acceptable option.
Councillors agreed to pursue the matter on behalf of Fosse Arts as the relocation would be a significant loss to the Ward.
CLOSE OF MEETING
The meeting closed at 7.40pm.