Agenda and minutes

Castle Community Meeting - Thursday, 4 September 2014 6:00 pm


Contact: Angie Smith, (0116) 454 6354 

No. Item



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 Kitterick in the Chair.  Councillors Clayton and Senior also present.

Everyone welcomed and introductions given.

Councillor Senior declared that her partner was employed by the Council and that his role involved advice on transport matters when planning applications were being considered. She advised that she therefore would not comment on any such applications if they were discussed.




There were no apologies for absence


ACTION LOG pdf icon PDF 71 KB

The Action Log of the previous Castle Community Meeting held on 3 June 2014 is attached for information and discussion.


The Action Log from the Castle Community Meeting held on 3 June 2014 was noted



An update will be given by officers leading on the New Walk Centre demolition project.



All to note that:-

·           A competitive procurement process for a developer to regenerate the New Walk Centre site following demolition was underway;

·           It was hoped that the redevelopment would be mixed use, but some things were not considered suitable for the site, (for example, student accommodation, a casino or a large supermarket);

·           The site would be completely cleared by the end of May 2015;

·           New Walk Centre would be demolished using “controlled initiated collapse” once the buildings had been stripped out;

·           “Competitive dialogue” was being held with six potential demolition contractors;

·           Engagement with the community was an important part of the planning for the demolition and redevelopment;

·           When the building was demolished, the only pollutants released would be concrete dust.  The dust cloud would disperse quickly and settle around the building footprint, although it could travel a small distance depending on wind conditions.  The demolition contractors would also clean the outside of buildings in the immediate area of the demolition;

·           People living within the exclusion zone set on the day that the buildings were demolished would be provided with somewhere to go until they could return to their homes later the same day;

·           The foundations and underground car parks of neighbouring properties would not be affected by the demolition, as a ditch would be created around the building to absorb vibrations and changes in air pressure would be accounted for;

·           No date for the demolition had been agreed yet, but the site would be cleared by the end of May 2015.  If possible, the developer would move on to the site immediately after that, but some delays could occur; and

·           On the day of the demolition, security around the buildings would be very tight, involving the use of the contractor’s staff as well as police officers.



A discussion around access to the playground will be held, and residents will be asked for their views.


Ward Councillors to arrange a meeting with residents living near the playground to obtain views on the possibility of locking the playground overnight.

Residents invited to provide evidence to Parks officers and/or City Wardens in support of any request for the playground to be locked overnight, (for example, anti-social behaviour or noise nuisance), and views on the impact of locking the park early in the winter, (for example, at 4.30 pm).

All to note that:-

·           If this playground is locked at night, Clarendon Gardens also should be locked overnight, to avoid moving anti-social behaviour from the playground to the Gardens;

·           The Council does not encourage volunteers to lock playgrounds, as volunteers have been attacked when asking people to leave at night; and

·           In the past, locked parks have had their locks broken by people trying to gain entry, but if parks are not locked, groups of people can claim “ownership” of the park at night.

Residents asked to let the Parks service or the City Wardens know of recurring problems at parks they are aware of.



A representative from Leicester University will be present to talk about the project being run by the Student Union.


All to note that:-

·           Leicester University Students Union hoped to develop a project to address problems between residents and students through improved communication;

·           As a pilot project, six students would be employed to visit properties in the Lorne Road / Thurlow Road / Howard Road area during September and October 2014, to enquire whether problems were being experienced and, if so, what they were;

·           A meeting then would be held between the Students’ Union, the Council and residents to develop an action plan in response to issues raised.  It was anticipated that the action plan would be implemented November – December 2014; and

·           It was hoped that neighbours could be encouraged to talk to each other before problems arose.



An update will be provided at the meeting on the Council’s policy on Houses in Multiple Occupancy, and Letting Boards.


a)    Houses in Multiple Occupancy

All to note that:-

·           The City Council is implementing a new agreed planning policy in parts of Castle Ward (see Leicester City Council website for full list of streets concerned), which means that if the use of certain properties changes from housing a single household to being a shared house, (that is, housing three or more non-related individuals), planning permission has to be applied for.  However, there are already planning rules in place for some larger shared properties / houses in multiple occupation. Permission would not normally be granted;

·           This would apply to all houses, not just student houses.  However, If a property was shared before 20 August 2014, it could continue to be so;

·           The Council was seeking an appropriate test case under this legislation;

·           There was a voluntary register of shared properties. Suggested that the Council could write to letting agents with boards up in the area round Jarrom Street who were not on the register;

·           As there had been a number of questions on the policy from residents and how it applies in a number of different situations, Frequently Asked Questions on the policy were being updated on the Council’s website as officers became aware of issues. If residents have specific issues as to how the policy will be applied they can contact the City Council planning section, or via the Castle Ward Councillors.

b)    Letting Boards

All to note that:-

·           Letting agents have been given a year to comply with a voluntary code on letting boards, (for example, not leaving them up at all times of the year);

·           The Council had to show that it had given a reasonable amount of time for compliance with a voluntary code;

·           No decision had been made yet on next steps.  This would be done when the year allowed for compliance with the voluntary code ended this Autumn;

Ward Councillors to provide a full update at the next meeting.



An explanation of the proposed ward boundary changes will be given, and its effect on Castle Ward.


All to note that:-

·           The Boundary Commission had undertaken a review to make sure that all Wards were approximately the same size and that the Councillors represented approximately the same number of people;

·           Despite the Ward Councillors’ objections, Castle Ward would lose some roads in the Highfields are and Grassmere Street area;

·           The changes would be made in 2015; and

·           Further information could be found on the website for the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, via the following link:



There will be an update on policing issues in Castle Ward.


All to note that:-

·           During August 2014 there were approximately 100 less crimes than in August 2013.  It was predicted that there would be approximately 600 less over the year;

·           Crime in general was down, but theft of motor vehicles was up, although from a low start point;

·           A focus for the Police was theft from persons.  Offences had reduced from 72 in June to 22 in August, which was the lowest for two years;

·           Another priority was cycle theft.  There had been 76 cases reported in July and 52 in August;

·           “D” locks for cycles could be bought, at cost, from the Police;

·           Kerb crawling and prostitution in De Montfort Street and surrounding roads was being targeted.  Letters were being sent to the owners of cars seen kerb crawling;

·           Under Operation Tiger, Conduit Street and the Gallowtree Gate / Humberstone Gate East / Haymarket area had been identified as “tiger territories”, where crime and anti-social behaviour were always higher;

·           It was likely that Leicestershire Police would have to lose about 300 Police officers over the next three years, due to budget cuts.  As a result services would be restructured so that:

o    Responsive policing would become borderless;

o    Local policing units would be replaced with neighbourhood policing, which would be based on larger areas;

o    Specific officers would investigate crimes; and

o    An increased number of Beacon Officers would deal with local issues; and

·           Residents were reminded to ring 101 for any incident other than an emergency and to dial 999 in an emergency.

Residents asked to pass on any information to the Police they have on where stolen bikes are going.

Residents asked to advise the Police of any problems encountered with street drinkers and beggars.



The City Warden will provide an update on issues in Castle Ward.


All to note that:-

·           As a result of a project to reduce fly tipping, Clarendon Park now suffered from less tipping;

·           A new application for use on mobile devices would be launched during the week commencing 22 September 2014.  This could be used to report environmental issues and to find out local and Council information and news, and to purchase tickets for venues such as the King Richard III visitor centre;

·           Julie Peatfield had joined the City Warden team for Castle Ward; and

·           The City Wardens could be contacted on telephone number 0116 454 1001, or by e-mail at .



Councillors are reminded that they will need to declare any interest they may have in budget applications.


a)     An update will be given on the Ward Community budget; and

b)     A list of grant applications submitted for consideration at this meeting is attached.


·            Leicester Jamaica Community Service Group (ref 5014) – Grant of £600 to Eric Hudson supported, the level of this grant based on the number of people attending the event from the Ward

·            Leicester’s Got Raw Talent (ref 5043) – No grant approved, as this was a city-wide event that did not target Ward residents

·            Leicester University Student Union pilot project (ref 1164) – Grant of £2,000 supported for work on advice to new students about how they can best integrate with the local community and to note initiatives and services locally that might help them in their new city, it being noted that this funding will be match-funded by Leicester University


All to note that:-

o    Determination of the grant application from Beverley Hall for the Checkpoint Advice and Support project (1142) has been referred to another Councillor for determination, as all three Ward Members know someone involved in this project

o    The following grants have been supported under the Council’s fast track procedure:

§  The Bridge project (5018) – Grant of £500 to Liz Carney

§  Clarendon Park Community Garden (1140) – Grant of £500 to Heather Cross

o    It was anticipated that a request for funding would be received from the organisers of the Clarendon Park Christmas Fair




·           An event would be held in Victoria Park from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm on 14 September 2014, as part of a consultation about investment in skateboarding facilities in the Park;

·           A Blue Badge guided walk of Victoria Park would take place between 12.45 pm and 1.45 pm on Thursday 11 September;

·           Various events were being held in September as part of the national Older Persons’ Month, most of which were free.  Leaflets were available that included contact numbers, as well as contact numbers for the 50+ Network and the Forum for Older People; and

·           Residents were invited to take part in the current public consultation on the cumulative impact of off-licenses on Granby Street / London Road.