Venue: St Andrew' s Church Community Centre, Gateway Street, Leicester
Contact: Angie Smith/ Francis Connolly
ELECTION OF CHAIR
Councillors will elect a Chair for the meeting.
Councillor Senior was elected as Chair for the meeting.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from PS Butler, Wendy and Dennis Allum and Angela Murphy.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The first main item on theagenda is Declarations of Interest where Councillors have to say if there is anything on the agenda they have a personal interest in. For example if a meeting was due to discuss a budget application put forward by a community group and one of the Councillors was a member of that group, they would not be able to take part in the decision on that budget application.
Councillors are asked to declare any interest they may have in the business on the agenda, and/or indicate that Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.
Councillors were asked to declare any interests they had in the business on the agenda, and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applied to him.
Councillor Senior declared an Other Disclosable Interest in Item 8 on the agenda ‘Policiing Update’ as she was one of three representatives for Leicester City Council on the Police Authority Board, and would absent herself when discuss the funding application from Leicestershire Constabulary to be discussed under Agenda Item 10, Budget.
Councillor Senior declared an Other Disclosable Interest as her partner was an employee in Highways and Transportation at Leicester City Council.
The agenda items were heard out of order to the printed agenda.
An Officer from Revenues and Benefits will be present to discuss benefit changes with residents.
Karen Wenlock, Revenue and Benefits Manager, delivered a presentation on the Welfare Reform changes to come, and the presentation is attached to the minutes for information, accompanied by a booklet on Advice Services and poster highlighting important government changes to housing benefit and council tax benefit. Karen highlighted the following points from the presentation:
· The Welfare Reform will save £20 billion welfare benefits bill. A further £10 billion benefits cuts are planned.
· The reforms will simplify the benefits system and there will be one point of contact for people claiming.
· The changes will not affect pensioners, at present from 62 years of age, but the age limit will increase.
· Income related benefits will be affected, and income support / incapacity benefits will be reassessed.
· Disability Living Allowance will be replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) and will no longer be lifelong. There will be two levels of assessment instead of three, and the numbers of people eligible will reduce.
· The new Universal Credit (UC) covers both in/out of work claimants, and covers Housing Benefit and Council Tax Credit.
· Mainly an online service, payments will be made directly to tenants.
· Claimants will lose some existing premiums, for example, disability and carer credits.
· Changes come into force on October 2013 for new claimants and change of circumstances.
· 25-34 year single people are no longer eligible for the one bedroom rate other than shared accommodation, which will be reduced from £91.15 to £58.00 per week. The new rate applies to new claimants and those coming up for a review. No payments will be made to people under 25 years.
· Consultation on the new scheme will complete on 30th October 2012.
· Council Tax Support will replace Council Tax Benefit from April; 2013. Pensioners will be protected, but the contribution from working age people will increase.
· Benefit Income Capping will commence from April 2013, (£500 per week for families / lone parents, £350 per week for singles), regardless of the number of children in a household.
· Any other ‘benefit income’ above £500 will not be paid, for example, Housing Benefit. This will affect the public and private rented sector. Council Tax Benefit is not affected.
· Exemptions will apply if people are in receipt of:
o Disabled Living Allowance
o War widow / widower
o Support element of ESA (and Universal Credit when in)
o Working Tax Credit
o ‘Grace period’
· The cap will not be applied for 39 weeks if people who have worked continuously for 12 months lost their job through no fault of their own.
· Housing Benefit restrictions or the ‘bedroom tax’ affects working age claimants in social housing:
o 14% reduction for one extra bedroom
o 25% reduction for two or more extra bedrooms
o No allowance if a claimant has children part-time.
· There are exemptions to the Housing Benefit restriction:
o Claimant is of pensionable age
o Shared ownership property
o Non-mainstream rental, e.g. caravan site
o Temporary accommodation, e.g. statutory homeless provision
o Supported ‘exempt’ accommodation.
· Local ... view the full minutes text for item 64.
The minutes of the previous Castle Community Meeting, held on ????, are attached and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.
The minutes of the previous Castle Community Meeting held on 17th July 2012 were approved as a correct record.
DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY - COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Officers will be present from the University to provide information on community engagement.
Jit Pandya and Sheri Paice, De Montfort University, were present to provide information on community engagement.
A resident asked why the students left waste bins in the street after collection day, and left rubbish outside as it caused litter and rats and was very stressful.It was also stated that orange bags were used by the students, but not always correctly and had the wrong sort of waste in them. Jit responded that messages were constantly sent out to students, and that warnings were given that they could be fined. Students were also given links to the city Council website and Biffa. Information was also passed on to students using social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. Jit also stated that if it was established that issues in the area were caused by students, the University took the matter very seriously. He asked that residents find out if the property where problems were occurring was occupied by students and inform the University. Nik Krneta, City Warden, reported that the fine was now £80 per household due to changes in legislation. Nik added that if a property was full of students, each and every person was responsible. The landlord was responsible if the property was vacant.
Nik stated there was an issue with rats and litter, and there was a particular problem around Ellesmere and Windermere. Councillor Kitterick said there were problems with rats in the area and hedges had been cut back, and rat boxes put out, but the issues was exacerbated as some residents were feeding the birds, which encouraged rats into the area.
A resident raised concerns regarding the closure of Mill Lane, as it had impacted on surrounding residential streets, namely Jarrom Street and Grasmere Street. He stated that it was hard to cross the road due to the heavy traffic, and asked that a traffic survey be undertaken, as prior to the road closure the impact was ‘best guess’, and a follow-up survey was required. Jit responded that the issue would be taken back to De Montfort University, and if there was funding, thought the survey was a good idea. The Chair stated that even if a survey could not be undertaken, then a forum should be arranged to take on board the concerns of residents, and would provide a better form of communication for residents.
A resident asked the representatives of De Montfort University and Leicester University if they contacted residents in the areas surrounding the two universities to find out if residents had any issues, as he had never received correspondence or had any visits from University representatives. He added if the Universities had taken any steps to gain a proper insight of the area around the campuses? He asked that a meeting be arranged with local residents to discuss issues, as each year there were problems, with only one contact number at the University Estates department. He suggested that the universities only looked after the interests of students and not local residents, ... view the full minutes text for item 66.
The Head of Libraries will be present to provide an update.
Adrian Wills, Head of Libraries, was present to provide an update on City Libraries, and reported on the following:
• In the City, there were 16 Libraries, 2 Bookbuses for outer estates, and 23 Children’s Centres.
• Libraries helped thousands of people of all ages each year to use computers, which people also enjoyed.
• 50 book groups round the city were supported, which brought people together.
• Hundreds of events were held, including author visits, live bands and tea dances. A major programme had just been completed called ‘Everybody Reading’.
• There were volunteering opportunities for 70 people in a number of roles, for example, taking books to external people with disabilities that were unable to access a library. It was hoped the number of volunteers would increase.
• On-line services included book renewal, item requests, book reviews, an e-library of information sources including family history, to which library members could subscribe to.
• 150 new PCs had been purchased for use in libraries across the city
• There would be self–service machines in 4 libraries in 2013, including Leicester Central Library.
• Free Wi-Fi access is available in 13 of the 16 libraries, and library Wi-Fi in the Town Hall Square.
• Major children’s reading events were held, including the annual summer reading scheme. The ‘Our Best Book’ event involved 20 schools in voting for Leicester’s favourite book. The scheme would be extended to 33 schools next year.
• Support reading and educational programmes such as Everybody’s Reading , Black History Month, Adult Learning week, World Book Day were held. There were also ‘Taste and Try’ sessions and open Health days to support the Health Agenda.
• There was reading and homework help for older children each week, and under-five sessions where children were read to.
• 70,000 new books were available in libraries per year.
• There was a 10% discount on Phoenix tickets for library card holders.
• There was greater use of Facebook and Twitter to update residents on services.
Adrian reported on changes to opening hours for libraries due to budget restrictions, but informed the meeting that Sunday opening was still retained at Belgrave, Hamilton and Westcotes libraries. Adrian opening time information for Castle, Knighton and Westcotes Ward libraries as follows:
Leicester Central Library
Monday –Thursday 9.30-7.00pm
Monday – Thursday 10.00-6.30pm
Monday – Wednesday 10.00-7.00pm
Friday – Saturday 10.00-5.00pm
Councillor Kitterick encouraged people to visit the new Central Library following its refurbishment, which Adrian had been involved with. Adrian stated there had been an investment made in the library, but savings would be made since moving from the building on Belvoir Street. He informed the meeting that works had restored the coloured glass ceilings which were now visible.
The Chair thanked Adrian for the update.
An update will be given on recent Police developments and successes.
PC Ryan Mahoney gave an update on Policing issues and answered questions from residents, highlighting the following points:-
- A beat surgery was held on a Wednesday once a month at Walnut Street.
- Monthly duties would be advertised in the Tenants and Residents Association when open.
- Following discussions heard at the meeting, PC Mahoney stated there would be a community consultation to which a couple of questions would be added regarding Universities and Students issues in the area.
- Crime statistics in the ward for the period July to September 2012 had fallen in comparison with the same period in 2011, but robberies had increased. In the City Centre there had been eight robberies reported over two days recently. Plan clothed Police Officers had witnessed robberies occurring in front of them.
- A lot of proactive work was taking place in the Ward regarding street drinkers, beggars and anti-social behaviour.
- There had been a slight increase in criminal damage in the area, namely tagging and arson. The Police were looking at the ‘SO12’ tag in particular which had pooped up in the City Centre and Clarendon Park, and asked residents to email photos of the tag to the Police and the location.
- With regards to anti-social behaviour, PC Mahoney stated that incidents were not caused by students alone, but by some residents also. The Police were working with Midland Heart Housing Association to issue acceptable behaviour contracts to residents, and asked that members of the public inform the Police of any issues with residents.
- Residents near to and around Grasmere Street were being consulted upon as to whether they wanted alleyway gates fitted for added security, though it would not be compulsory for residents to have them installed.
A resident asked what were the emergency services views on Mill Lane being closed? PC Mahoney responded that queuing had increased in the surrounding areas due to increased traffic, and the queue for the Leicester Royal Infirmary Car Park had also increased. He also mentioned that the emergency services had the code for the bollards at the end of the roads, which had previously been an issue.
A resident asked if the decrease in crime figures for 2012 was due to an increase in figures in 2011 due to the disorders that had taken place in the City. PC Mahoney responded that he did not think the crime figures had increased in 2011. He added that crime was defined according to National Recording Standards, and that crime mapping statistics for the city were good.
Chino Cabon from The Race Equality Centre Leicester & Leicestershire asked how low-level hate crime could be reported in the area. PC Mahoney reported that there was one reporting centre at the Tenants and Residents Association, and a beat office at the Leicester Royal Infirmary near to Accident and Emergency entrance, or crime could be reported on (0116) 2222222.
Councillor Senior reported that information would be brought to the next meeting in respect of ... view the full minutes text for item 68.
CITY WARDENS UPDATE
The Local City Wardens will provide an update on work within the Castle Ward.
Nik Krneta gave an update on issues dealt with in Castle Ward, and questions from residents were answered:
- The previous two weeks had seen clubs leafleting along Mill Lane with no licences. 30 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued, and over 2,000 leaflets confiscated. One promoter was being taken to court.
- Bins left on streets would result in an £80FPN being issued to households, and each person in the household would be responsible for payment. If the penalty was not paid, each person in the household would be taken to court, and the fine would rise to £500, to be paid within 28 days. Tower Street, Newton Street and Lower Hastings Street had been targeted, with Clarendon Park area to follow. Nick stated that bins should be taken in by the next day after collection day at the latest, and that information packs would be put through doors to remind people. Nik reported that the Council had worked closely with Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, as gas pipes were situated on the front of terraced houses and could have serious implications with regards to bin fires.
- Between 30th October and 3 November, Leicester City Council would work with the Tenants and Residents Association in a clean-up operation in the area.
- Information would be brought to the next meeting on Fixed Penalty Notices.
The City Warden was thanked for his update.
Councillors are reminded that they will need to declare any interest they may have in budget applications, and/or indicate that Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.
Approved under the fast-track process:
1. Leicestershire and Rutland County Football Association
Proposal: Notice boards around inner city ball courts – Leicester City
2. Leicestershire Police
Proposal: Alley Gate – St Leonards Road
The following budget applications will be considered:
Proposal: Oxjam Leicester Takeover (multi-venue music festival in aid of Oxfam)
Summary: The event is to be held in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter using venues in the area and one outdoor stage, with all proceeds going to Oxfam.
Budget Items for consideration
Application 1 – Oxjam – Oxjam Leicester Takeover (multi-venue music festival in aid of Oxfam)
The application was for £820.00 towards the event. The event was to be held in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter using venues in the area and one outdoor stage, with all proceeds going to Oxfam.
That the application not be supported.
Members stated they had quite a few applications for funding for events that would take place in the City Centre, but benefitted residents city-wide, and were not specific to Castle Ward residents.
Matters Approved Under the Fast Track Procedure
The following budget request was included on the agenda for formally noting as it had been agreed by Councillors in between meetings to enable the project to take place.
a) Notice Boards around inner city ball courts - £97.98. Councillor Kitterick informed the meeting that he had requested at the JAG that a notice not to play ball games on the court after a certain time at night be erected at the ball court.
The Chair, Councillor Senior, left the meeting at this point prior to discussions around the following budget application, as she was a member of the Police Authority. The Chair was passed to Councillor Clayton.
b) Alleygate, St Leonards Road - £480
that the previously agreed funding applications be noted.
Councillor Senior returned to the meeting and resumed position as Chair.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
(i) A resident asked if there was access to Section 106 funding money from developments that had taken place in the area. The Chair stated that information would be sought and brought back to a future meeting. The meeting was also informed that Section 106 monies was separate to Community Meeting monies.
(ii) Residents asked that a road traffic survey be undertaken to observe the shift of traffic in the area, due to the closure of Mill Lane. Councillor Kitterick observed that problems occurred at specific times, and that he would request a traffic survey of the area as soon as possible. Councillor Kitterick also informed the meeting that there was a commitment from the three Castle Ward Members to work to a solution. The meeting was informed that Traffic Officers from Leicester City Council would be invited to the next meeting. Councillor Senior stated that she might have to absent herself from the meeting should her partner be one of the present officers at the meeting when the item was under discussion.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting is scheduled to take place on 6th December 2012.
The next meeting will take place on Thursday 6th December 2012.
CLOSE OF MEETING
The meeting closed at 8.41pm.