Venue: Holy Trinity Church, 2 Upper King Street, Leicester LE1 6XE
Contact: Punum Patel, Community Engagement Officer (Tel: 0116 454 6575) (Email: Punum.Patel@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 Myers (in the Chair) led introductions.
There were no Declarations of Interest.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Sangster and Harvey Roberts (City Warden).
The Action Log of the meeting held on 26 February 2019 is attached for information and discussion.
The Action Log of the meeting held on 26 February 2019 was confirmed as a correct record.
It was reported that Crowdfund Leicester would be invited to make a presentation to a future meeting.
Updates were noted in respect of the Draft Local Plan, the proposed Lancaster Road scheme, and ongoing works at Victoria Park arising from the London Road improvement scheme. It was suggested that the next meeting to be held on 27 November 2019 be dedicated to issues concerning Victoria Park, including proposals for the development and future café operation at the pavilion.
WARD COUNCILLORS FEEDBACK
The Ward Councillors will provide feedback and updates on their Ward activities.
Councillors Kitterick and Myers referred to the ongoing progress of the London Road transport improvement scheme and its positive impact on Victoria Park.
Various discussions had been held with interested groups concerning the future of the park in general, including enhancement of the wildlife area and the possibility of establishing a bandstand.
The suggestion to submit updates at the next meeting, in order to provide more detailed information on proposals and issues concerning Victoria Park was welcomed.
NEW WALK CONSERVATION AREA CONSULTATION
There will be an update concerning the consultation on the New Walk Conversation Area.
Justin Webber (Senior Building Conservation Officer) presented details of the Consultation Draft of the New Walk Conservation Area Appraisal Management Plan.
The 50th anniversary of the Conservation Area was noted and the special character and architecture of the area was recognised. The boundary and extent of the Conservation Area was noted.
Copies of initial thoughts and ideas for improvements to Museum Square, De Montford Square and The Oval were submitted for information. The suggestions to increase tree planting and establish wild flower meadow areas were particularly supported. Photographs showing other areas within the Conservation Area that had also been identified for suggested upgrades were also presented.
In terms of specific initiatives, it was noted that discussions were ongoing with the Holy Cross Church concerning the current security meshing. It had been proposed that replacement mesh in keeping with the heritage of the site should be considered as a more appropriate solution.
The initiative to replace railings was welcomed and it was confirmed that all existing railings would be retained, and where necessary improved.
In respect of New Walk specifically, concern was expressed at the recent installation of blocks, intended to discourage cyclists. It ws confirmed that the blocks were temporary measures, which would be removed once the London Road cycle scheme had been completed. It was also noted that the controversy arising from the installation of the blocks had led to press interest, which had increased the awareness of the issue.
Further concerns were expressed due to maintenance and associated resurfacing works on New Walk. It was noted that the surface had become patchy with temporary tarmac repairs. In response it was reported that the resin bond surface treatment used could only be applied in certain weather conditions and that a number of temporary repairs would be tolerable awaiting full repair, due to economies of scale and the engagement of contractors.
In conclusion, it was reported that the consultation exercise would continue until 5 September 2019. The means of accessing materials and information on the consultation process were provided, at:
Formal responses and comments were encouraged.
LOCAL POLICING UPDATE
Leicestershire Police will provide an update on their activities in the Ward.
Insp Adam Archer (Police Commander for the City Centre) introduced himself to the meeting, and thanked Councillors and the public for his generous welcome in his new role. He referred to the outstanding contribution and progress made by his predecessor, Insp Manjit Atwal.
Insp Archer submitted recent crime figures for the Ward and informed the meeting of the analyses of trends, which allowed for priorities to be identified.
Particular areas of concern in the city centre involved regular and continued anti-social behaviour around the vicinity of the Clock Tower, the Haymarket Bus Station and the Market. Initiatives to challenge these behaviours and confirmation of recent arrests were also provided.
A previously reported problem of cycle thefts was discussed and it was noted that the numbers of reported thefts was reducing. The enhanced education and liaison with cycling groups, together with the increased availability of affordable high security D-locks was recognised.
Statistics concerning domestic burglaries, burglaries at locations other than dwellings, specific incidents in the Cultural Quarter, Clarendon Park, and the Freemen’s Common leisure site were also submitted and noted.
In respect of the problems expected from the upcoming ‘Freshers’ events, the links to universities and enhanced liaison was confirmed. Issues concerning the policing of the forthcoming Caribbean Carnival were also reported and noted.
In conclusion, the public were encouraged to use the 101 phone number to report crime, or to use crimestoppers.
Insp Archer was thanked for his attendance and report.
In discussing the issues raised, residents commented on problems frequently experienced when attempting to report crime and anti-social behaviour using the 101 number. It was noted that this often involved lengthy delays and on occasions unhelpful operators.
In response Insp Archer agreed to refer the comments to colleagues and it was noted that reporting systems and methods were currently under review, including information and access to the police website.
CITY WARDEN UPDATE
The City Warden will provide an update on environmental and enforcement activities in the Ward.
It was noted that the City Warden had submitted apologies. An update would be provided at the next meeting.
PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT UPDATE INCLUDING THE UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
Information on current Planning and Development matters in the Ward will be discussed, including an update from the University of Leicester.
A written update was provided from the University of Leicester concerning the ongoing development works and was read by the Chair.
Since the approval of planning permission for the development, a resident noted that reasons for refusal of separate later planning applications at other sites across the city had been given on the grounds of building height. It was considered that this apparent inconsistency should be challenged.
It ws reported that an unpublished Townscape Study had also been referred to in previous correspondence and the status of that study had been referred to the Council’s Monitoring Officer. It was expected that the issues concerning the consistency of policies would be addressed during the ongoing process and consideration of the Draft Local Plan.
It was not considered that a ‘resolution’ of the Ward meeting would be appropriate for this or any other matters, as the Ward Community Meetings were established to provide a consultative forum between Council members, officers and residents. It was considered preferable to maintain the informal nature of the meetings.
The position and update was noted.
CYCLE LANES UPDATE
There will be an update on issues concerning cycle lanes in the Ward.
Pravin Godhania (Project Manager) presented details of cycle schemes in the city centre, including the London Road scheme and proposed Lancaster Road scheme.
It was noted that the London Road scheme had started and was progressing well with resurfacing works currently being undertaken. It was confirmed that the scheme had a completion date in September 2019.
In terms of the Victoria Park section of the scheme the proposed routes and consideration of alternatives submitted by ‘Friends of Victoria Park’ and individuals were discussed. The difficulties in providing a cycleway on the carriageway ‘out-bound’ were expressed and consultation and reasons for the choice of route through the park were recognised and accepted.
The behaviour of pedestrians and cyclists once the cycleway was in use remained an issue of contention. It was accepted that pedestrians often used the cycle lanes, and vice versa, and that conflicts at other previously implemented schemes had been witnessed regularly.
It was reiterated that the next meeting would be dedicated to discussing this and other issues relating to Victoria park.
The position and the update was noted.
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.
The Chair referred to the availability of funds and reiterated previous comments
that applications in the Castle Ward should show a specific benefit to the Ward and its residents, and not be related to an event or project held centrally for the wider benefit. The position concerning the determination of applications and allocation of the Ward Community Fund was noted and accepted
The Community Engagement Officer provided an update on the Ward Community Budget.
It was reported that Councillors were minded to approve four applications submitted within the period, as detailed below, with one being unsupported.
· Stoneygate Baptist Church – Improve heating in main hall
· Jdearden Art – Shout Out Project
· St Philips Centre – Interfaith Joke Spot
· Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation – Restoration of main hall flooring
The balance remaining was confirmed at £16,450 and residents and community groups were invited to submit applications for funding.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
A resident expressed concern with the Council’s move towards cashless systems, making particular reference to elderly and other users of leisure facilities. It was felt that the policy would prohibit people from using and enjoying these much needed facilities, which were promoted to them by the Council on the basis of health and wellbeing.
Other problems with accessing information on line were reported, including difficulties in accessing planning and licensing reports.
The concerns were noted.
CLOSE OF MEETING
The meeting closed at 8.30pm.