Venue: Knighton Park Table Tennis Club, 83 Knighton Fields Road East, Leicester LE2 6DP
Contact: Angela Martin, Community Engagement Officer (Tel: 0116 454 6571) (Email: Angela.Martin@leicester.gov.uk) Jason Tyler, Democratic Support Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6359) (Email: Jason.Tyler@leicester.gov.uk)
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, Chair for the meeting led introductions and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from John & Aileen Orme and the City Warden.
The Action Log of the previous meeting held on 7 March 2017 is attached for information and discussion.
The action log of the previous meeting on 7th March 2017 was agreed as an accurate record.
DeMONTFORT HALL - TREE CULTIVATION - SUMMER PROGRAMME
There will be information on the programme of tree works proposed at De Montfort Hall during the summer.
Antony Flint, General Manager, De Montfort Hall gave an update on the Tree Cultivation programme.
It was noted that when built in 1930 there were 50 trees on site, mostly in 2 columns but over last 100 years the number of trees had increased and there were now over 250 trees on site. This increase had led to some issues of crowding and some trees were unhealthy or at end of their natural life i.e. purple plum trees. Ecologists and tree planner’s advice had been taken to put together programme primarily about tree health and maintenance. It was confirmed that discussions with tree wardens were taking place about which trees would be replaced.
Councillor Kitterick suggested there was a needed for a clearer protocol of when local councillors or public should be consulted on issues like this.
ACTION details to be provided to next meeting on options for tree replacements and other options such as bee planting.
Concerns were raised about the tree at the junction/corner of Clarendon Park Road which was in a dangerous state.
ACTION: CEO to report issue to trees and woodland section to investigate.
UNIVERSITIES - PROGRESS
There will be an update on progress concerning liaison with the Univeristies.
Brita Sread, Director of Estates and Campus Services, University of Leicester was introduced to the meeting and gave a brief update of her role and current priorities which included details of 2 current consultations as follows:
· Brookfield relocation of business school and plan to build a small extension– consultation due to close on Friday 28th July 2017,
· Percy Gee building extension to provide more facilities including a food court, IT lab, student accommodation and replacement Queens Hall theatre.
It was noted that Queens Hall as it currently stood would be replaced with a food court. Additional floors would be created above and the university would be investing in a scholar’s bar. The university were conscious of concerns raised and were looking at all options and how to take on board comments raised.
In terms of the consultation local residents and businesses had been “post-carded”
Councillor Kitterick confirmed this was a pre-planning application process and there would still have to be a planning application submitted.
Brita commented that there was an information page on the universities website with full details and they were looking at arranging Campus tours for wider community to talk and hear about the universities plans.
Concerns were raised about the perennial issue of parking and displacement from university sites and Brita agreed that those aspects would also be considered.
RAILWAY BRIDGE - KNIGHTON RD EAST / KNIGHTON ROAD WEST
There will be a discussion on the Railway Bridge at Knighton Rd East / Knighton Road West.
Graham Seaton gave an update on highways issues which included:
· Traffic calming measures had now been introduced on Knighton Fields Rd East, the speed limit for area had been reduced to 20mph with new signage,
· 20mph zone due to be introduced in Avenues area from 7 August,
· Railway Bridge issue continued to be a concern as the pedestrian walk through was used mainly by parents of/and children walking under bridge. This was a complex issue, some options included improving lighting under the bridge and mainly looking at speed of traffic which seems to be increased as cars manoeuvre into centre of road to go under tunnel, one option was to put in a refuge and it was intended to organise a pilot to trial that towards end of the school summer holiday which might lead to a permanent solution if the trial was successful.
In relation to the enforcement of 20mph zones it was explained that when an area was considered for 20mph zone a road survey was undertaken if that showed speeds too high then traffic calming was proposed to bring speeds down but wherever possible the council worked with the police to ensure wherever speeds changed the areas are self-enforcing.
Residents were advised that they could make suggestions to officers for 20mph zones to be considered in areas where there were concerns about speeding.
ACTION: Request speed survey for Avenue Rd to investigate issue of speeding cars.
LOCAL PLAN - UPDATE
There will be an update on the consultation concerning the new Local Plan.
Senior Planners from Planning, Development and Transportation gave a presentation on the Leicester Local Plan.
Points made included the following:
· The consultation on the new local plan had started on 26 July 2017 and would continue to the end of October 2017.
· The Local Plan set out the Council’s planning framework up to 2031 and sought to meet the needs for homes, jobs, shopping, leisure and open space. It also set out policies to determine planning applications.
· The next stage would be to formulate a draft local plan after taking into account the comments and views expressed in the consultation, a revised Draft Local Plan would then be drawn up - expected to be available Winter – Spring 2018.There would then be a further period of public consultation.
· The finalised plan would need to be approved by the Planning Inspectorate and by full council before it was adopted. It was anticipated that this would be by the end of 2018.
· There was limited open space in Leicester for new housing and employment opportunities. A list of all potential development sites had been drawn up and views were sought from residents as to what sites should be developed and what should be protected.
As well as seeking views on general issues in the city, feedback was requested on local issues and officers were attending community meetings to seek residents’ views. Officers were therefore keen to hear from residents in the Ward.
During discussion the following points were made:
· an expert/consultant had been tendered on particular expertise to gather evidence and compile report and the council used procurement processes to avoid self-interest, e.g. housing trends etc were completed county wide.
· there was also a lot of internal research and gaining of local views and that was the point of consultation to gain views including those of anyone who disputed the evidence in the reports.
· in relation to the overlap between city and county authorities and potential clash of views on transportation, housing, retail etc it was noted that there was a duty to co-operate with adjacent authorities and the independent Planning Inspectorate would look at that duty test.
Concerns were expressed about insufficient consideration of current usage of retail space in particular there were a lot of premises empty in/closed in the city centre.
A view was expressed that there was also a lot of student accommodation which was not all full.
Attendees were encouraged to respond to this phase of the consultation and reminded that comments needed to be received by end of October.
POLICE - UPDATE
The Police will provide an update on their activities in the Ward.
Inspector Manjit Atwal introduced herself to the meeting as the new Neighbourhood Policing Area Commander for Central Leicester which encompassed the Castle Ward.
Inspector Manjit Atwal outlined her main priorities which included working with partners and voluntary agencies to deal with issues, focusing on areas where demand was highest and working closely with universities to keep students safe. In terms of the City Centre, shop thefts were rife and work was ongoing with shops to ensure prevention measures were in place. Issues such as tackling begging, street drinkers and rough sleepers were also priorities.
· Victoria Park incident – investigation was ongoing and a person had been arrested. Police were in talks with councillors about how area could be made safer including better usage of CCTV around New Walk/Museum Square.
· De Montfort Street – police had conducted a recent op to tackle issue of soliciting in the area, which had resulted in 16 men being dealt with for soliciting.
Referring to the incident on Victoria Park, Councillor Kitterick reported that whilst matters were still under criminal investigation, it was apparent that the entrance on Coach Drive was not a good area and felt unsafe; plans were being drawn to look at improving the area, moving recycling bins, making entrance clearer and lifting/removing tree branches to open up vicinity, as well as looking at new LED lighting and where best to position that. The council were also considering a suggestion to link up with Leicester university security to share/take up responsibility for monitoring of CCTV.
Brita Sread, Director of Estates & Campus Services for University of Leicester confirmed that the university wanted to be involved in the solution and were working with police.
Concerns were raised about several properties in the Holy Trinity area owned by Midland Heart where drug dealing was alleged to be taking place. Inspector Atwal reported that work was ongoing in that area and intelligence was being gathered. Those present were reminded of the importance of reporting all incidents to the police as they relied on this information to target resources.
The issue of cyclists on New Walk was discussed and it was noted that there had been an increase in problems especially since delivery companies such as Deliveroo & Uber Eats were using the route and were also using electric bikes. Councillor Kitterick confirmed there was ongoing discussion about safer cycling options along London Road that continue to be worked upon.
Inspector Atwal advised that the Leicestershire Police website could be accessed for a range of information including local crime reports and statistics.
CITY WARDEN - UPDATE
The City Warden will provide an update on environmental and enforcement activities in the Ward.
The City Warden had sent apologies and no update was available to the meeting.
COMMUNITY MEETING BUDGET
Councillors are reminded that they will need to declare any interest they may have in budget applications.
An update will be given on the Ward Community budget.
Councillor Kitterick reminded those present that the purpose of the Community Ward Budget was to support projects/events that would specifically benefit the residents of Castle ward.
The meeting was informed that Councillors had considered applications for funding from the community budget since the beginning of the financial year as follows:
· Leicester Philosophy in Pubs Group – application for PIPS Family Picnic - NOT SUPPORTED.
· Young Adventures, Leicester Creative Arts – to set up a young people’s group – NOT SUPPORTED.
· Park Lodge Project - seaside trip – awaiting further information.
· Ndi Igbo Leicestershire – participation in 2017 Caribbean Carnival – awaiting further information.
· St John the Baptist Church – to support renovation of parish rooms – PART SUPPORTED provisionally to sum of £2000 pending further information.
· Leicester City of Sanctuary – funding for a training day – £500 SUPPORTED.
· Plurality of Abhinaya – to attend cultural event at Curve for users of Jain centre – PART SUPPORTED to sum of £100 for cost of tickets.
· Clarendon Park Traders Association - summer fayre – PART SUPPORTED to sum of £3,000.
· Stars Performing Arts School - summer workshops – PART SUPPORTED to sum of £500.
The total spend to date from the community budget was £6,100 leaving a balance of £12,077 to the next cycle of bids. The deadline date for applications in the next round was 30 September 2017. Potential applicants were reminded that all applications must now be made online and the community engagement officer could be contacted for assistance with completing forms.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Concerns were raised about gates being left unlocked at Clarendon Park Gardens adjacent to Knighton Library and the gardens being used for heroin use.
ACTION: CEO to investigate if area behind library is on “lock up” list, if on list chase the company responsible to ensure the gates are being locked. If not included on list request it is added.
Meeting closed at 20.08 pm