Agenda and minutes

Westcotes Community Meeting - Tuesday, 26 June 2012 6:30 pm

Venue: Main Hall, East West Community Project, 10 Wilberforce Road, Leicester LE3 0BG

Contact: Elaine Baker, tel: 0116 229 8806 

No. Item



Councillors will elect a Chair for the meeting.


Councillor Connelly was elected as Chair for the meeting.




Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Russell.



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 Westcotes Community Meeting held on 20 March 2012 are attached and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.


The minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2012 were received.


It was noted that the proposed meeting to discuss Section 106 funding and green space in the Ward had not been held yet, but would be arranged as soon as possible.


Further to minute 45, “General Planning and Development Matters”, it was reported by residents that the City Council had offered double glazing to the tenants of some properties near the development by Jamie Lewis Residential in Upperton Road.  It was thought that this was to reduce noise during the development, but not all tenants had received the offer.  The Chair undertook to look in to whether this was the case.


The Chair then gave updates on the issues raised under minute 45 as follows:-


·           Planning permission had been given for student accommodation above the Co-op on Briton Street, despite representations against this by the Ward Members;


·           The doctor proposing to establish a surgery on the CPH Thurmaston site was continuing with these plans.  The planning application from Jamie Lewis Residential to use part of the site for student accommodation had been refused;


·           The Planning Inspector had visited the hostel at 20 Westcotes Drive in relation to the appeal made by the applicants against the decision not to allow the property to be used as a hostel;


·           The Ward Members had asked Planning officers to check that the development on Western Road was in line with the plans approved.  Officers had confirmed that it was, but the plans were not necessarily reflected to scale in the drawings submitted by Jamie Lewis Residential; and


·           Consideration would be given to providing vinyl window coverings through European Gateway funding after consultation with local businesses.


The number of bins on the corner of Narborough Road and Westcotes Drive was increasing, (minute 46, “City Warden Service”, referred).  These were all full and had been there for nearly three months.  In reply, Jamie Stubbs, (City Warden for Westcotes Ward), advised that there had been problems in identifying the owners of some bins around the Ward, but an order had now been placed for various bins to be emptied.


Marie Murray, Area Manager, advised that the key for the noticeboard outside the Catholic Church had been found, (minute 49, “Any Other Business – a) Noticeboards”, referred).  It was suggested that investigations could be made to see if it was possible to move the board forward, as in its current location it was not possible to see what was on it.


Marie Murray also reported that it had transpired that the Handyperson Service had two more boards, which could be put up where required in the Ward.  Suggestions for where the additional boards could be located were invited.



1)    That the minute of the meeting held on 20 March 2012 be approved as a correct record;


2)    That a Special Westcotes Community Meeting be held before the next ordinary meeting to discuss:-


a)     how green space in the ward can be developed, including whether  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



Representatives from Leicester LINk will be present at the meeting to give a presentation on forthcoming reforms to the NHS and the creation of local Health Watch’s from the current local LINk’s.


John Gater, of Leicester Local Involvement Network, gave a presentation on the development of Healthwatch, a copy of which is attached at the end of these minutes for information.


During this presentation, he drew particular attention to the following points:-


·           Healthwatch was being formed under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and would function from April 2013;


·           Primary Care Trusts were being replaced by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).  CCGs would be run by GPs, who would buy services from local hospitals;


·           Health and Wellbeing Boards would be run by local councils;


·           Healthwatch wanted to know what issues were important to residents, as Healthwatch had statutory powers to raise issues on the public’s behalf;


·           There was a recognised shortage of GPs in some areas, as it could be difficult to recruit them;


·           Those present at the meeting were invited to complete an evaluation form to assess whether the vision proposed for Healthwatch was suitable; and


·           There were various ways in which people could get involved.  These were set out on slide 5 of the presentation.



Mike Candler, representing Culture and Neighbourhood Services at the City Council will be attending the meeting to provide a review of the recent Riverside Festival.


Mike Candler, (Cultural Quarter Project Director with Leicester City Council), explained that a City-wide review of the festivals and events programme was in progress. 


This followed an undertaking given in 2011 that a review would be made of all festivals and events part or full funded by the Council.  However, as a wide range of festivals and events would be included, it was decided that only those receiving £5,000 or more from the Council would be included in the review.


Mike Candler explained that he was at this meeting to explain how the review affected the Riverside Festival.  He thanked the Community Meeting for the grant that had been awarded to that 2012 Festival to help with the clean up after it had closed and expressed the hope that this had helped leave a good environment for residents.


He then drew attention to the following points:-


·           The consultation would end at 6.00 pm on Friday 27 July 2012;


·           The Festival was managed and delivered in conjunction with Riverside Housing and British Waterways;


·           The Council contributed £18,000 to this Festival.  This represented approximately 51% of the overall cost of the Festival of just under £35,000;


·           It was estimated that approximately 16,000 people had attended over the whole weekend of the event in both 2011 and 2012.  This made the cost to the Council approximately £1.12 for each attendee;


·           In 2011 a new partnership was established with the organisation “Dusk to Dawn”, with the aim of extending the Festival on to Braunstone Gate in the evening.  It was felt that this was well attended; and


·           The recommendation made in the review was to maintain current funding for the Riverside Festival and to explore the opportunity to hold a satellite event in Castle Gardens.  This would be linked to the main Riverside Festival by events staged along Western Boulevard.


The Meeting agreed that this was an excellent event, which was very well advertised.  The craft stalls on Braunstone Gate and the cycle tours were particularly mentioned.  The high standard of cleaning after the event also had been appreciated.


However, some reservations were expressed about extending the area of the Festival, as the Council had already proposed cancelling the Castle Gardens Festival.  It was suggested that it could be better to operate two separate events.


In reply, Mike Candler explained that a festival previously had been held in Castle Park during the week before the August bank holiday, but many people identified with Castle Gardens, rather than the Park.  It therefore was proposed to introduce a heritage and arts weekend festival, which would focus on the heritage of the City.


It was recognised that the Riverside Festival attracted many visitors from outside of the area and probably was at capacity in its current location.  As Western Boulevard was closed for the Festival, using it as part of the Festival area could encourage people to walk along the towpath and use the Castle Gardens.  Mike Candler emphasised that this was only a proposal and care  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



An update on planning and development issues in the Westcotes Ward not covered elsewhere on the agenda will be given at the meeting.


The Chair advised that an application to convert an old print shop in Harrow Road in to accommodation for single people had been rejected and the site was still vacant.  The current position regarding the Kenning site was not known.


It was asked if children could be given access to the field owned by Shaftesbury Community Junior School, as there was a shortage of places in which they could play in that area.  It was noted that, although the school allowed King Richard III Infant and Nursery School to use the field, opening it up to use by others often led to problems with travellers moving in and it was difficult to require travellers to leave a site if it could be shown that the public were accessing it.  (This did not include organised events.)  To require travellers to leave such a site, the Council would have to go through a legal process, which could be lengthy.



That the Ward Members seek advice from officers on whether there is any way in which the playing field at Shaftesbury Community Junior School can be made available for use by children in the area without any legal risk to the Council.




Jamie Stubbs, (City Warden for Westcotes Ward), advised that:-


·           Bins had been fitted in Bede Park and along Great Central Way, but some people were still leaving dog waste in bags in these areas;


·           She was working with Leicester College to counteract graffiti and get litter cleared;


·           A new officer had been recruited to work in Bede Park, but a start date was awaited.  When in post, they would carry out duties similar to some of those done of City Wardens and Enforcement Officers.  It was anticipated that they would mostly be in the Park in the evenings during the summer, from approximately 2.00 pm to 10.00 pm; and


·           Consideration was being given to how the new officer for Bede Park referred to above could deal with problems caused by barbecues in the Park.  In the meantime, as there were no signs up in the Park explaining that barbecues were not allowed there, a temporary one could be placed on the Park noticeboard.


The Chair reminded the Meeting that consideration had been given to using the open area by Tesco as a barbecue area.  Discussions on this had stopped when Tesco introduced a requirement that only barbecues purchased in their store could be used there.  The Council was not averse to having a proper site for barbecues and these already existed in some other parks.  However, Bede Park was small and putting such an area there would reduce further the area available to other park users.


It was noted that Leicester City Challenge had bought the Everards site, but it remained unused.  It therefore could be useful to enquire whether the site returned to its original owner if it was not used within a certain time and, if this was the case, whether it could be used for barbecues.




Sergeant Simon Barnes of Leicestershire Constabulary reported that no crime had been recorded at this year’s Riverside Festival.  Issues with alcohol arising at last year’s Festival had been addressed, making this year’s event more family focussed.


The following crime statistics were reported:-



Number over the last 7 months

Number of the same period last year


Burglaries from dwellings




Burglaries – other than dwellings



The increase was due to a spate of store thefts, (eg, staff phones from under the counter)




Due to decreases in the Bede Park area

Theft from persons



This increase was partly due to the spate of store thefts referred to above

Thefts from motor vehicles



This was constantly high.  It had no particular pattern, although a lot of the thefts happened in the side streets off Narborough Road.  The main problem was people leaving items such as satellite navigation and phone equipment on view

Anti-social behaviour





Sergeant Barnes then drew attention to the following points:-


·           Westcotes Ward had seen the largest decrease in all crime of the four Wards covered from the Hinckley Road Local Policing Unit;


·           There had been 9 reported incidents at Bede Park;


·           The installation of 27 alley gates had started on 25 June and it was hoped that more could be installed later;


·           A meeting had been held with various agencies on 28 May about Bede Park.  This meeting looked at the issues for each agency present in relation to the new building developments in the Ward that were due to start in September; and


·           The cameras in Bede Park owned by De Montfort University were due to be upgraded in the new year.


It was noted that some consideration had been given to establishing an Alcohol Control Zone for Bede Park.  Introducing this would mean that the police would be able to enforce the removal of alcohol from people who it was felt were abusing alcohol, (for example, street drinkers, or larger groups of people drinking in the Park).  A meeting would be arranged to consider how this could be dealt with, following which residents living in the area around the Park and Park users would be consulted.


The Chair reported that, following previous concerns that the cameras in the Park were blocked by trees, he had met the Trees and Woodlands Officer.  However, to provide a clear view would mean either removing a whole row of trees, which had a visual value, or cutting them back on a regular basis.  The officer therefore had agreed to speak to De Montfort University to see if they would consider funding the installation of an arm on the camera pole, to extend the range of the camera.  (This arm would be fixed, but the camera head would be able to move round.)


In response to a question, the Meeting was reminded that film from De Montfort University’s cameras could only be viewed for specific reasons.  For example,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.



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.


a)      An update on the 2012/13 Community Meeting budget will be provided.


b)     The Meeting is asked to note the following grant application, which has been approved under then Council’s fast track procedure:-


Project:          Kaleidoscope Arts Project – Contemporary Cultural Fusion Carnival & Workshops – Manor House Community Centre


Applicant:      Kaleidoscope Arts


Amount approved:       £500




A large-scale modern cultural fusion arts event, concentrating on contemporary mediums for example digital arts, to expose and celebrate modern art forms and cultural diversity in Leicester – 7th July 2012. Leading up to this a variety of arts based workshops would allow the community to contribute and participate and learn new skills April – July 2012.


Leicester is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country and the Manor House sits on the border of three of the most distinctly culturally varied areas on the outskirts of the city centre.  It has been identified that the ethnic groups within these communities are segregated, partly due to lack of activities that encourage integration through breaking down cultural barriers and prejudice to develop cultural enrichment.  This area has high levels of unemployment and anti-social behaviour, so the organisers wish to engage with these people and give them something inspiring to do and keep them occupied.  They would with local schools and organisations to get everyone involved and would actively aim to work with mixed ability people and integrate them with the rest of the community.


The event will be focussed around the theme of the Olympics to celebrate and explore the vibrant cultural mix within Leicester, producing a contemporary take on the genre of carnival.  



Support in kind had been confirmed.  Other costs, for which applications for funding were made to this Ward and Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields Ward:-


Facility hire on the day of the event to be given for free - £300
Editing equipment/facilities for film aspect - Phoenix Square - £600
Discount for room hire for workshops for 15 days of workshops - £180
Extra time needed for project - organising the event 2 days at 200 per day - £400


Total £1,480



c)    Any grant applications received before the meeting will be presented for consideration


a)    Kaleidoscope Arts Project – Contemporary Cultural Fusion Carnival & Workshops


The Meeting noted that this was the second year in which this event had been held.  Substantial Arts Council funding had been received towards the costs involved.



That a grant of £500 to Kaleidoscope Arts for the Contemporary Cultural Fusion Carnival and Workshops at the Manor House Community Centre had been approved under the Council’s fast track procedure.


b)   Cycle Racks and Bollard on Fosse Road


Councillor Connelly submitted a verbal application for funding for two cycle racks and one bollard on Fosse Road.


He explained that problems were being encountered with cars parking on pavements in the area of Fosse Road between Barclay Street and Harrow Road.  As well as inconveniencing shoppers and other pedestrians, this created safety issues for the children of local schools who used this stretch of road. 


There currently were no cycle racks available at this location, so installing some, along with a bollard, outside the newsagent’s premises could resolve the problem of vehicles parking on the pavement as well as providing facilities for cyclists.



That a grant of £647 be approved for the installation of two cycle racks and one bollard in Fosse Road.


c)    Break in at Robert Hall Memorial Baptist Church


It was noted that there recently had been a break-in at Robert Hall Memorial Baptist Church, with various items being stolen.  Items owned by the Street Pastors had been insured, but those owned by the youth group had not been.  However, the Police had found some items and donations had been received, so it appeared that replacement items had been found.



That groups who had lost items as a result of the break-in at the Robert Hall Memorial Baptist Church be encouraged to apply to the Ward Community Fund if replacement items, or other emergency funding, were needed.




a)         West End Community Centre


A resident advised that they had tried to access the West End Community Centre at 4.30 pm, but had been unable to do so.  No information on opening hours was displayed at the Centre and the letterbox in the wall was blocked by mail from several months previously. 


It was noted that the Centre did not currently have a management committee, although there previously had been one.


The Meeting agreed that the Centre’s opening times should be displayed and the Chair undertook to pass this on, as people could not use the Centre if its hours and/or activities were not advertised.



That Councillor Connelly advise the Assistant City Mayor for Neighbourhood Services of the access problems that had been encountered at the West End Community Centre.


b)         Polish Restaurant, Hinckley Road


It was noted that a Polish Restaurant in Hinckley Road had just received an alcohol licence, but there were serious concerns about the way in which it was trading. 


It previously had been opening and trading without a licence, so one had been applied for to regularise the situation, but some members of the committee that had granted the licence felt they had been misled over the nature of the business, as the premises had no kitchen. 


The hours of the licence were not known.




The meeting closed at 8.37 pm