Agenda and minutes

Castle Community Meeting - Tuesday, 10 September 2013 6:00 pm

Venue: Bishop Street Methodist Church, 10a Bishop Street, Town Hall Square, Leicester, LE1 6AF

Contact: Angie Smith/ Francis Connolly 

No. Item



Councillors will elect a Chair for the meeting.


Councillor Patrick Kitterick was elected as Chair and welcomed everyone to the Castle Community Meeting.




There were no apologies for absence.



The first main item on the agenda 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.


Members are asked to declare any interests they may have in the business to be discussed.




Councillor Senior declared an ‘An Other Disclosable’ interest in that her partner was a Team Leader, Travel Planning & Development Co-ordination at the City Council, and if that Team’s work was specifically mentioned, she would leave the room. Councillor Senior also declared she was a member of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Panel.



The Minutes of the previous Castle Community Meeting held on 25th June 2013 are attached, and Members will be asked to confirm them as a correct record.


An amendment to the minutes of the Castle Community Meeting held 25 June 2013 was requested as follows:


Item 8. City Warden’s Update


Much officer time had been spent on one case for illegal advertising (not littering), but the Council were successful in court, and had been awarded £7000 - £8000.



that the minutes of the meeting of the Castle Community Meeting held 25 June 2013, subject to the above amendment, be agreed as a correct record.




The Chair invited Denise from Leicestershire Aids Support Services (LASS) to address the meeting to talk about a forthcoming public health awareness event.


Denise explained that £1,000 had been received from Community First to hold a public health awareness event to take place on Saturday 14 September 2013 from 11.00am to 3.00 pm.  The event would take place at the Central Baptist Church and there would be free testing for a number of health issues such as diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. There would also be informative discussions on Tuberculosis, HIV awareness and sexual health.


This would be one of four events for Castle Ward residents.



An officer from the Substance Misuse Team will give an update on the support services available within the ward in relation to drug and alcohol misuse.


Bernadette Wharton from Leicester City Council Care Services and Commissioning gave an update on the Drug and Alcohol Misuse Service.   Bernadette made the following points:


·         There were plans for the Leicestershire Partnership Trust’s Alcohol and Drug Service in West Street to move to Renaissance House on Princess Road West. It was possible that the move could take place early in 2014.


·         The service at Nelson Street would be moving to larger premises at Mansfield Street.


·         There had been problems with funding at the Dover Street Centre; however funding had now been obtained and it was anticipated that the service there would be improved and more robust.


·         The Quality of Life Service on Cumberland Street, which provided structured day programmes and recovery programmes to help people back into the community, was looking for new premises.  Councillors would be kept informed if there was any news of a new possible location.


The Chair thanked Bernadette for the update and asked for officers within the service to work with the ward councillors on any discussions and plans for the new location of the service.



An update will be given on the timetable of decant of services from New Walk Centre and possibilities for the future of the site.


Peter Cook, Programme Director, Planning and Major Works and the City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby were introduced to the meeting. Peter Cook explained that he was managing part of the project relating to the forthcoming move of council staff from New Walk Centre to Attenborough House. 


Peter Cook made the following points:


·         1100 members of staff would need to re-locate from New Walk Centre to alternative premises. Some of these would re-locate to Attenborough House.


·         Expressions of interest in relation to the New Walk Centre site had been invited.


·         In place of the New Walk Centre, the council were looking for a project on the site, with a good design that would fit in with the realm of that area of the city; that would also be sustainable and would create job opportunities.


·         There would be detailed negotiation, which could 6 – 12 months.


·         It was possible that it would be February or March 2014 before the last person had vacated New Walk Centre. It was aimed that the demolition contractor would commence immediately afterwards as this would minimise security and guarding costs.


The City Mayor commented that the council were determined to cause as little disruption to the area as possible and to bring something back to the site that would contribute to the economic development in the area. It was possible that the development might include some residential use, but the site was valuable and provided a good opportunity for employment. He added that he did not envisage student accommodation there as part of the development and commented that it was his intention that the council would remain in control of the site.


A question was raised over the scale and height of any new development and the City Mayor responded that in his view, generally the scale of the development would not be as high as the current buildings and would be more in keeping with the surrounding area.


The question of security around the site was raised and an attendee commented that the barriers around the Marlborough House site were effective.


A request was made for the council to stipulate the use of local contractors on the rebuild and the City Mayor responded that it was intended that the council would retain some control so they would be in the position to use and develop the skills of local people and to benefit the local economy.

An attendee questioned whether a public space could be created; perhaps with trees and a seating area. In response, Sir Peter informed the meeting that there were opportunities to create an open space by New Walk; and acknowledged that currently New Walk was brought to an abrupt end with the existence of the two large office blocks.


The Chair requested that the ward councillors be kept informed as quickly as possible if there were any key decisions to be taken, as there were residents and businesses in the area.



A City Council Traffic Management Officer will be at the meeting to provide an update on 20 Miles Per Hour zones in the area.


Bona Matturi from Transport Strategy provided an update on 20 mile per zones in the area.


There was some discussion as to which roads already had a speed restriction; a copy of the Jarrom Street Traffic Regulation Order is attached to the back of these minutes.


An attendee expressed concern that the speed humps on Jarrom Street were too high and that they slowed down ambulances and a request was made for the size of the speed humps to be reduced to the same size of those on Grasmere Street. Flashing speed signs were also needed as a measure to reduce speeding traffic. Other concerns were raised that speed humps were not effective, that drivers used Jarrom Street as a rat-run whilst Mill Lane was closed and that 20 mph signs were needed. A concern was raised that residents had been previously informed that the 20 mph signs would be put up and these had been expected 3 or 4 months ago but nothing had happened.


Councillor Clayton responded that when he had been Chair of the Transport and Climate Change Scrutiny Commission, the commission had reviewed 20 mph zones and had found that traffic calming was more effective when reinforced with road signs. A 20 mph speed restriction sign on its own, was not always effective.  The Chair suggested that it would help to put up signs warning of speed humps to act as a deterrent to prevent some of the heavy traffic.


The Chair asked Bona to take details of those attendees who had raised concerns and to liaise with them directly outside of the meeting.  



An update will be given on recent Police developments and successes.


Police Sergeant Jim Smallman provided an update on policing issues in the Castle Ward. Ps Smallman made the following points:


·         There was a crime prevention initiative relating to the theft of bicycles and the police were promoting ‘D’ locks for cycles. These were very sturdy locks and on sale for £10.


·         Generally there had been a decrease in burglaries. Concerns had been raised relating to burglaries in the Clarendon Park area, however the number of burglaries there were low.  Councillor Senior commented that this was reassuring as she had received enquiries from concerned residents. If people were concerned, it might be possible to obtain funding from the community meeting budget for improved security measures such as alley gates.


·         Since the previous ward meeting, there had also been a reduction in the number of thefts of motor vehicles in the city centre.


·         There had been incidences of anti-social behaviour in Dover Street.


·         When students returned to university after the summer vacation, the police spoke to them about crime prevention measures and anti-social behaviour issues.


The meeting heard that work had been carried out between the councillors, the universities and promotion companies to address the problems that residents (for example on New Walk) had experienced from student revellers.  An appeal was made to Ps Small for late night police patrols and Ps Smallman reminded people to call the police if there were experiencing problems.


An attendee thanked Councillor Kitterick for the work that had been carried out with Leicester University and promotion companies to alleviate some of the resident’s problems. An attendee who lived on New Walk expressed concerns that between 11.00pm and 4.00am, there were disturbances from people who were drunk.


The Chair reported that there were ‘hot spots’ in the Castle Ward, which included New Walk, Grasmere Street and Jarrom Street and there were also some issues around Clarendon Park and Queens Road. He added that everyone would be grateful if the police would carry out some pro-active work in those areas.



The local City Warden will provide an update on work within the Castle Ward.


Chris Bramley-Brown, the City Warden for the Castle Ward explained that the service was being evaluated and it had been agreed that there would be 15 wardens across Leicester City. The priorities of the service were evolving, with more of a focus on problem solving and less of a focus on littering. Chris added that 200 fixed penalty notices had been issued for a range of offences; 88 unlicensed skips (about 15% of the total) had been found, along with unlicensed scaffolding. The service would also be taking on powers to deal with untidy alleyways and untidy gardens.


An attendee queried the situation regarding fixed penalty fines for bins that had been left out on streets as he said he had been informed that there was a ‘hold’ on the issuing of such fines. Chris explained that the situation would change as an act was currently going through parliament; but it was not known when this would come into force.


Concern was raised about amplified noise from people speaking publicly at the Clock Tower etc.  The Chair commented that there was currently a lack of clarity about what was / was not allowed and he believed that a review was being planned to resolve this. In relation to street buskers, it was acknowledged that there were differing views regarding buskers and it was suggested that the council might wish to look at some of the practices in London, where buskers were given auditions and pitches were marked out for them, to avoid too many congregating in an area.


The Chair suggested that it might be interesting to discuss the street entertainment / busker policy at a future community meeting.



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.


The following budget applications will be considered:



Applications for consideration and received since the last meeting


i)          Eric Hudson – Leicester Jamaica Community Service Group                                                                                                                               £950.00

(Joint application with Coleman Ward – total £1,900)

Application for support for a Christmas dinner for elderly African Caribbean users who attend the West Indian Senior Citizens daycare centre.


ii)         Rita Patel – Camping Trip – Opportunities for Children      £499.00

Application received to take children from Sparkenhoe and Medway schools on a residential camping trip.



Applications not supported


Leicester Cathedral – Richard III Family Fun Day                                 £490.00


Withdrawn applications


Leicester Jamaica Community Service Group – Sun Fest                   £500.00



The Chair presented the community meeting budget and explained that the following funding applications had been received:


Leicester Jamaica Community Service Group:


Submitted by Mr Eric Hudson


Funding was requested from the Castle and Coleman Wards for support for a Christmas dinner for elderly African Caribbean users who attend the West Indian Senior Citizens’ day care centre.


Amount requested: £1900 in total; £950 from the Castle Ward.



                        that the funding application be supported to the value of £950


Opportunities for Young People


Submitted by: Rita Patel  - Extended School Co-ordinator


Funding was requested to take children from Sparkenhoe and Medway Schools on a one night camp in September 2013.


Amount requested: £499



                        that the funding application be supported to the value of £499


The following funding application was received after the agenda had been finalised.


Reflections; A Community Film Project


Submitted by Quality of Life (QoL),Leicester; a centre for recovering addicts and alcoholics.  QoL is administered by Phoenix Futures, a national recovery agency and charity as part of the Leicester Recovery Partnership.


Funding was requested for a community film making project that would largely involve the participation of ‘hard to reach’ people in Leicester (i.e those with addiction and mental health difficulties). The film would be made by the participants under the supervision of professionals.


Amount requested: £1000. (£500 had already been agreed from the Abbey Ward Community Meeting).



                        that the funding application be supported to the value of £500


The following funding applications were not supported:


·         Leicester Cathedral – Richard 111 Family Fun Day : £490 requested

·         Halloween Ghost Walk


The Chair explained that both projects were considered to be worthwhile, however it was likely that they would attract people from outside the city and there did not appear to be a focus for people who lived within the Castle Ward.


The Chair stated that the next meeting would be on 5 November. It was anticipated that funding applications might be received for the Christmas Fair on Queens’ Road and for Christmas lights in the Cultural Quarter and if so, any such funding applications would need to be agreed prior to 5 November 2013 in order that the projects would be able to proceed on time. Councillor Senior stated that if an application for Christmas lights in the Cultural Quarter came to the meeting, she would need to declare an interest and withdraw as it might include Charles Street where she had a property.
The Chair added that it had been agreed in principle to support the funding applications for the Christmas lights in the Cultural Quarter and for the Christmas Fair on Queens’ Road (Councillor Senior was not party to this agreement because of her potential interest as stated).


Members of the community were asked for further suggestions as to how the ward budget could be spent to benefit residents of Castle Ward. A suggestion was made that some of the money should be spent on projects to benefit people who lived  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.




A member of the community questioned whether any action could be taken to address the problem of alarms going off in serviced offices and there being no one with the alarm code available to de-activate it. It was reported that the alarm at the museum also regularly went off.  The Chair asked the attendee to talk to Chris, the City Warden after the meeting had closed.




The meeting heard that the next meeting would be held on Tuesday 5 November 2013 and would be held in the Clarendon Park area.




The meeting closed at 8.15 pm.