Agenda and minutes

Eyres Monsell Community Meeting - Wednesday, 11 January 2012 10:30 am

Contact: Heather Kent 

No. Item



Councillors will elect a Chair for the meeting.


Councillor Palmer was elected Chair for the meeting.




Apologies were received from Joan Garrity, Jean Dutfield and Dee Dixon.



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.



There were no declarations of interest.



The minutes of the previous Eyres Monsell Community Meeting, held on 6th September 2011, have been previously circulated and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.




that the minutes of the Eyres Monsell Community Meeting, held on 6th September 2011, were confirmed as a correct record.



Officers will be present to explain how changes in benefits and pensions systems will affect residents.


Councillors agreed to hear agenda items out of order and heard the following item next.


Darren Moore, from Welfare Rights Service gave details on proposed changes to welfare benefits.


Welfare Rights Service, Leicester City Council helped Leicester residents claim £6 million in additional benefits and tax credits in 2011. The government aims to cut benefits by approximately £16-17 billion, per annum and will be changing the way increases in benefit are calculated, ceasing to use the Retail Price Index (RPI) and using the Consumer Price Index (CPI. This will reduce the amount of increase in benefits for claimants over the years, and will affect all benefits. Welfare Rights Service can also help people who have been turned down for benefit and want to appeal. The government are looking at abolishing legal aid for a lot of areas from 2013, for example welfare benefits law, and there will be fewer agencies to give advice.


Welfare Advice Service also undertook benefit checks for people with Home Care service, to ensure they were receiving all possible help available to them.


The government introduced a phased increase in retirement age for men and women, who would now retire at age 66 in 2020, age 67 in 2026 and age 68 in 2034. The figures above may change as there was currently a Welfare Reform Bill going through Parliament. Also people of working age in receipt of benefits would face a tougher testing for eligibility. It was reported that many people on Incapacity Benefit being reassessed, now known as Employment Support Allowance from 2008 (ESA), had been visiting Welfare Advice claiming they had been assessed unfairly and had been refused ESA. It was noted that there was a process of appeal. Another change to the benefits system from 2013 would be the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64. This benefit would face a different test and some people might not meet the criteria, estimated to be half a million people.


Also, in order to simplify the benefit system a Universal Credit was set to replace the present benefit structure in 2013. There would be initial confusion as the two systems would run concurrently for a period of time. There would also be a new Enterprise Allowance created to assist unemployed people set up in business themselves.


The government would be tightening up on the number of people in work on low income claiming tax credits. Couples would now have to work 24 hours per week to qualify (previously 16 hours), and the backdating of claims would be reduced to one month. The change would also mean people would not receive extra tax credit if their income fell.


Jane Gallagher, Liaison Officer with Revenues and Benefits gave information on housing benefit and council tax changes.


It was stated that from April 2011 there were changes to housing benefits as part of the Welfare Reform Bill, which affected mainly  private tenants claiming Local Housing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.



Ward Councillors will give an update on their work within the community.


Councillor Cleaver informed the meeting about victim support drop-in sessions which took place on the second Thursday of each month at the community centre. Described as being warm and friendly, the sessions were an opportunity for residents, officers and the police to get together to discuss issues in the area. Also available during the sessions were complimentary therapy treatments for people suffering from stress as a result of being a victim of crime, and positive affirmation sessions to help build people’s confidence. The sessions were an opportunity to support people, but if people had been victim to more serious crime, they were dealt with in confidence and referred to the necessary supporting agencies.


Councillor Cleaver informed the meeting that a friendship group had been set up at Rupert House, which was sheltered accommodation for the elderly. Councillor Cleaver stated the friendship group had successfully applied for community meeting funding to host a Christmas party. Councillor Cleaver received a phone call from the Treasurer for the group, who stated there was a ‘buzz’ around Rupert House, and that residents were pleased the community had taken the time to be involved.


The meeting were informed that some members of the Forum for Older People (FOP) and Councillor Cleaver had visited the sensory garden at Leicester General Hospital. It was stated people were unhappy over news the garden was to be moved, but fears were dispelled after a meeting with the NHS, and there were also plans to create a garden at Leicester Royal Infirmary.


Councillor Cleaver stated that Catch 22 were successful in a bid for funding for a project for which the Community Association will oversee. The project will support young people aged 8-19 years, and will work with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour. Top youth workers would be addressing hot spots in the area by giving the young people positive things to do, and provide training to help the young people stay out of trouble.


Councillor Cleaver also thanked the Events Committee who worked throughout the year fund raising and putting on events. She reported the craft fair was a huge success, and hoped that the coffee morning event which hosted the Emmanuel Gospel Choir would become an annual event.


Councillor Cleaver informed the meeting that many people in Eyres Monsell required carers, and that there were many courses starting soon. Details of the courses could be found on leaflets in the community centre, and there would be ‘taster’ sessions for people to try out the courses.


Councillor reported that car parking in the area continued to be a problem, and that residents might want to consider allocating some of the community meeting budget to tackle the problem.


The meeting was informed that surgeries continued to be busy, and community work continued to be carried out by councillors. Councillor Cleaver asked that if any residents knew of or were worried about the forthcoming benefit changes, then they should contact Welfare Services at Leicester City Council for advice.


Councillor Palmer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.



A discussion will take place regarding a proposal to improve areas around bungalows by building raised flower beds.


Ben Stevens, Community Engagement Officer, informed the meeting that the City Council would undertake consultation on proposed improvement in areas around bungalows by building raised flower beds. Further information would be reported to a future community meeting.



Sergeant Andy Partridge will give an update on police activities and priorities in the ward.


Sergeant Andy Partridge was present and reported the following:


·         Wokingham Avenue as a priority area for anti-social behaviour had quietened down, and the priority area was closed on 10th January 2012.

·         There were no other priority areas for Eyres Monsell, and crime and anti-social behaviour levels were low and the area quiet.

·         When young people were involved in crime, diversionary projects were often seen as a reward, but projects did work, though they were not suitable for all young people. He stated that one 13-14 year old in the area was institutionalised already, and that locking up was not the answer.

·         In the short-term there would be no change to the neighbourhood policing team, though this might change after the Olympics when a review would be undertaken. There would be no change to the service, and the team might increase in size.

·         In response to a question from a resident, there was a questions mark over the future of PCSOs funding after 2013. Councillor Palmer suggested the question over the future of PCSOs be raised with the Police Commissioner after the election in November 2012.

·         A resident informed the meeting that the BBC aired a programme on how the police in Leicester were leading the way in their use of technology.


A leaflet was also distributed at the meeting with information on Neighbourhood Link, the Police Community messaging system. A copy of the leaflet is attached to the minutes for information.



Scott Clarke, City Warden, will give an update on his work and environmental issues in the ward.


Scott Clarke, City Warden, informed the meeting he had taken over from Matt Copley, and that his area now covered Freeman Ward. He notified the meeting that numbers of city wardens would be reduced in April 2012, from 20 down to 12. Scott stated there would no longer be a dedicated warden for each area, and that wardens would be more reliant on issues being reported.


Scott reported that vehicles for sale had become a parking nuisance in the area, with four locations being particularly problematic. He informed the meeting that £100 fine enforcement action had been taken regarding car issues, which could occur two to three times per week in Eyres Monsell ward.


A resident reported that dog fouling was on the increase in the area, and after going through proper reporting procedures no action had been taken. The resident stated that he had been told by one officer to ask the dog-walker for details, but the resident stated they would not want to get into any confrontations. Scott stated that early morning and late night patrols were carried out, but wardens relied on residents to report incidents, and that residents should not confront dog owners. Dog fouling received an £80 fixed penalty notice (FPN), and Scott had distributed 195 FPNs over a twelve-month period, predominantly for littering. Scott informed the meeting that FIDO (Faeces Intake Disposal Operational machine) was used city-wide by Cleansing Services.


A resident who reported fly-tipping on Whitley Drive garages was informed that it could be reported online or by telephone to the Council to have it removed. Scott stated that in order to prosecute offenders, evidence was needed.


A resident at the meeting complimented road sweepers on Packhorse Driver for their good work.



Councillor Palmer will introduce the proposed Council budget for the next financial year.


Councillor Palmer gave a briefing on the draft proposals for 2012/13 to 2015/16.


He informed the meeting that a link to the budget consultation could be found on Leicester City Council’s website. He stated that it was the most challenging budget Leicester City Council has had to set. He explained to the meeting what the General Fund Revenue Budget was and how most of the money was received from the government in the form of grant, on which Leicester City Council was heavily dependent. This was the funding the government was cutting.


In 2011/12 the grant was cut by 30% (£30 million), 2013/14 (£20 million), 2014/15 (£20 million). The cuts were front loaded and this had given Leicester City Council less time to adapt.


Leicester City Council was maximising efficiency savings across the Council, trying to increase income, targeting services at need, i.e. children’s centres would be kept open, but there would be less specialist work in the centres. This would protect key services for vulnerable people. He informed the meeting that money was also being protected around economic development. It was not proposed to close museums, sports centres, or community centres. However, Leicester City Council would be looking at the reduction of 600 full-time jobs.


Also it was stated that the plan was not to reduce library facilities, but to move them, for example, Aylestone Library could move into Aylestone Leisure Centre.


A budget summary was given and Cllr. Palmer stated there was still work to do to meet the budget gap in 2014/15. Also he stated that the government was talking of further cash cuts.


There would be an increase of spend on repairing pot holes/ road repairs. It was believed that if the repairs were not carried out the problems would get worse.


Councillor Palmer explained that it was proposed to increase Council Tax by 3.5% in 2013/14 and 2% in 2014/15. To increase Council Tax any higher than this would involve the costs of holding a referendum.


Members of the community were reminded that there would be a consultation on the budget proposals in The Link magazine, the Leicester Mercury and on Leicester City Council’s website.


A resident asked if there would be a consultation on the salaries for the City Mayor and Deputy City Mayor, and that it would create good feeling if they were to take a pay freeze. Councillor Palmer responded that no decision had been made on the salaries, and that council officers were looking at options for an independent panel. By law every four years an independent panel had to set Members’ allowances.



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.


An additional £2000 has been added to the Community Meeting funding from Community Cohesion budgets. The meeting currently has £10,255 remaining.


The meeting is asked to note that the following items have been agreed by councillors since the last meeting:


Catch 22 – Gymnastic Project £250 (also supported by Freemen Community Meeting.)

To take young people to a gymnastics project in New Parks.


Saffron Support for the Elderly – Christmas Celebrations £250

To provide a Christmas event to isolated and elderly users of the Southfields Drive Community Centre.


Rupert House Friendship Group Christmas party and group set-up £500

To fund the start-up of the friendship group through provision of materials and equipment, and to fund a Christmas party.


The following items are for consideration at the meeting:


Application 1:

Goldhill Play Association, football support £300.

For the hire of St Margarets Pastures MUGA. 10 sessions to include transport, certificates and pitch hire. To promote football to under-11s through coaching and a mini-tournament.


Application 2:

Children’s Hospital School, gardening project £500.

To purchase a shed/summer house for the allotment area that has been developed over the last 18 months. The shed/summer house will provide protection for the students during the winter so that work can continue on the plot. The project brings together different communities, young and old.


Application 3:

Pink Lizard, Supporting our Artistic Youth, £1752.

This application was deferred at previous meetings to await further information.

The project sees 10-18 year-olds being taught dance, acting and music. This funding is requested whilst longer-term funding is sought from various funding sources to continue delivering the services at the Samworth Academy. The funding requested is for tuition and support workers. Attendees are from Eyres Monsell and Freemen wards and the application is split across the two wards, with each being asked for £1752.


Application 4:

Monsell Mail – provision of new software £500.

To improve the efficiency of production by installing new software on Community Centre PCs.



Application 1

Goldhill Play Association – football support, £300


For the hire of St Margaret’s Pastures MUGA. 10 sessions to include transport, certificates and pitch hire. To promote football to under-11s through coaching and a mini-tournament.



that the application be supported to the value of £300.00.


Application 2

Children’s Hospital School – gardening project, £500


To purchase a shed/summer house for the allotment area that had been developed over the last 18 months.



that the application be supported to the value of £500.00.


Application 3

Pink Lizard – supporting our artistic youth, £1,752


This application was deferred. Members asked that further information be brought to a future meeting.


Application 4

Monsell Mail – provision of new software, £500


To improve the efficiency of production by installing new software on Community Centre PCs.



that the application be supported to the value of £500.00.


Application 5

EyresMonsell Primary School PSA – Spring fete, £1,500


To provide entertainment facilities for the Spring fete at the school.



that the application be supported to the value of £1,500.00.



Matters Approved Under the Fast Track Procedure


The following budget requests were included on the agenda for formally noting as it had been agreed by Councillors in-between meetings to enable the project to take place.


1.    Catch 22 – Gymnastic Project - £250 (also supported by Freement Community Meeting)



that the previously agreed funding be noted.


2.    Saffron Support for the Elderly – Christmas Celebrations - £250



that the previously agreed funding be noted.


3.    Rupert House Friendship Group Christmas party and group set-up - £500



that the previously agreed funding be noted.




1.    Councillor Palmer thanked Ben Stevens on behalf of the meeting and community for all his effort and hard work over the last year with projects and the community, and wished him luck in his new employment.

2.    Gary Bucher informed the meeting about FAB weight management service, which took place in Eyres Monsell, Saffron and Freemen wards. The nutrition and exercise course was for six weeks in duration and cost £10. Groups could also request the course be held at other venues, and costs could be negotiated, but there would be a charge for administration and publicity. Details on the course could be found at the community centre.




The meeting closed at 12.41pm.