Venue: East West Community Project, Wilberforce Road
Contact: Jason Tyler, tel: 0116 454 6359 (ext 37 6359)
INTRODUCTIONS & APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
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 Russell chaired the meeting. Councillor Connelly was also present.
Georgina Jane Paget, the Youth Council representative for the Ward was introduced and welcomed. Georgina informed the meeting of the Youth Council’s activities and confirmed that she would attend future meetings.
Attached for information and discussion.
The Action Log of the previous meeting held on 9 September 2014 was agreed as a correct record.
a) Beaconsfield Road Off Licence
Councillor Russell confirmed that she had attended the Licensing Hearing in respect of the above. It was reported that the requested licensed hours of 8.00 am – 12.00 midnight had been resisted and, following representations of objection being received, a licence had been granted with the hours restricted to 11.00 am – 9.00 pm only. It was noted that the Hearing had been held at the end of September 2014 and although the applicants had indicated that they would be opening within a short time following the grant of the licence, to date the shop remained closed.
b) Eastleigh Road Pocket Park
It was noted that fencing of the area had been undertaken to reduce the potential of further anti-social behaviour. Proposals for the development of the land were being sought.
c) Restorative Justice Programme – Training
Following the approval of ward funding for the above, a resident indicated that she would be prepared to become involved in the programme and officers agreed to pass her name on as nominee to receive the training.
BEDE PARK DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Adrian Edge, the City Council’s Landscape Development Manager, will be at the meeting to talk about the Bede Park Development Plan.
Adrian Edge, Landscape Development Manager, updated the meeting on the Bede Park Development Plan.
He circulated plans and images of proposals arising from the purchase of the land at the rear of the Tesco store and confirmed that monies existed from S.106 planning contributions to install equipment which would suit an older age range than the existing children’s playground. Adrian emphasised that the equipment and layout as indicated on the circular related to the initial consultation stage and that no decision had been made on the final provision.
The future wider consultation was explained including the full cooperation of stakeholders such as ‘Friends of Bede Park’ and it was confirmed that the images and proposals would be uploaded to various websites allowing for maximum input from the public. Displays would also be arranged in the library and in other public buildings, and on notice boards.
As an initial design, the area had been split into three sectors; bbq, gym, and parkour. It was noted that the parkour equipment was particularly designed for the benefit of older youths, involving skatepark type equipment.
In respect of the bbq area it was reported that the open bbq modular concrete blocks could also be used as planters to ensure that the space would continue to be an attractive area throughout the year.
In debating the proposals, the following points were noted for future consideration:
· The importance of the proposed tree planting was emphasised and it was requested that more mature trees be introduced to resist damage and vandalism. Adrian confirmed from experience in other areas that there was less likelihood of multi-stemmed trees being damaged, and multi-stemmed birches had therefore been proposed.
· The vandalism and graffiti being experienced with the display boards, originally installed for cycling events, was noted. As these boards were no longer used their removal was suggested.
· There were various ‘redundant’ boxes and posts around the area and within the wider park. Adrian agreed to take note of individual locations of such posts, and particularly one service box, and take any necessary action.
· Lighting options were being considered and these would be scrutinised further during the wider consultation.
· The need to ensure that the equipment was suitable for older youths was emphasised and this was supported, as it was considered that the installation of the equipment would allow for the existing playground type equipment to be more properly used by younger children.
In conclusion it was reported that the consultation would continue until the end of April 2015 and the results would be reported back to a future meeting.
GET GROWING GRANT
Details of the Get Growing Grant will be discussed at the meeting.
Details of the ‘Get Growing Grant’ scheme were circulated, which encouraged residents to grow their own food.
It was confirmed that £1,000 was available for each Ward and that any individuals or groups could apply for funds to support projects.
Harsha Patel, the Community Engagement Officer, confirmed that she would assist anyone with enquiries and applications.
PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT MATTERS
An update on planning and development issues in the Westcotes Ward not covered elsewhere on the agenda will be given at the meeting.
Councillor Connelly reported the following:
· An application for a residential development of flats at ‘The Huntsman’ site for flats had been received and was being consulted on.
· The ‘Nine Bar’ had requested an extension to licensing/opening hours to 12.00 midnight Sunday to Thursday and to 1.00 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
· The area of land at the end of Western Road, adjacent to Norman Road, remained undeveloped although it was thought that a planning permission had been granted in the past. Similarly, the former factory building on Westcotes Drive that had received various permissions remained undeveloped. Land owners had been contacted by the City Warden and asked to ensure that their redundant land and buildings were kept in a suitably tidy and safe state.
To receive an update on issues identified on patch walks around the Ward.
It was reported that patchwalks involving the attendance of various agencies, including the City Warden, the Police, City Cleansing, Neighbourhood Development Manager, Community Engagement Officer were continuing and over 200 issues had been recorded.
It was noted that the proposed actions for each issue had been determined and a breakdown of information would be provided to the next meeting, without identifying specific properties.
The City Warden will give an update on issues in the Westcotes Ward.
Alexander Kazmierz was welcomed to the meeting as the new City Warden for the Ward. Alex reported on his previous experience, and updated the meeting on his recent environmental and enforcement activities. He stated that the main areas of concern involved bins on street, fly-tipping and side waste, untidy land, and littering.
Alex reminded the meeting of the ‘Love Leicester app’ which allowed for reports to be immediately referred to him, or appropriate agencies.
The meeting referred to the following points of concern which Alex agreed to follow up:
· Large commercial bins were often left on street causing obstruction. It was suggested that although these were commercially contracted paladin type bins, the collection times could be obtained to ensure that the bins were returned to the rear of premises between collections.
· Improved communication between the Parking Enforcement teams, Park Services officers, the City Cleansing teams and the City Warden was suggested, as it was considered that these Council workers were in a position to assist the Warden with reports where appropriate.
· Concerns arising from shops displaying their goods on the pavement was reiterated as problems persisted. It was noted that in some areas of the Narborough Road the pavement had been marked to delineate the area/width required for pedestrians.
· There would not be a waste collection on 26 December and a double collection would be undertaken the following week. The methods of informing residents by leafleting and using luggage style tags on bins were debated.
· A report from a resident concerned with the disposal of domestic waste from single occupancy flats in the Narborough Road area was noted. It was reported that as there were no external areas for waste to be stored, the domestic waste was therefore often left on-street for a considerable time between collection days causing obstruction. It was reported that in some instances the residents had found it necessary to use the public waste bins on-street to dispose of their waste. It was suggested that the Planning Section should have greater regard for such needs and ensure adequate provision of bin storage areas when approving plans for future residential development of this type.
POLICE ISSUES UPDATE
Officers from Leicestershire Police will be at the meeting to provide an update on police issues in Westcotes Ward.
PS Smart (Local Neighbourhood Sergeant) updated the meeting on crime statistics for the Ward and referred to the following points:
· He referred to the increase in burglaries from dwellings and commented that two individuals who were known repeat offenders were in custody, and therefore a decrease in the problem was expected. PS Smart did however report on the educational aspects of dealing with the problem of burglary in the Ward as it was noted that alleygates were often unlocked and that windows and doors had been left unlocked at night. These problems were particularly evident with the student population in Westcotes.
· Work continued to reduce the numbers of people cycling on the pavement as incidents of pedestrians being knocked down and injured were being reported. It was noted that improved cycle lanes and safer cycleways/routes would encourage cyclists to use the roads rather than the pavement.
· An initiative to offer free membership of the Boxing Club on Western Road to youths had resulted in a reduction in anti-social behaviour, and work with schools and families continued to improve the situation.
· Neighbourhood Watch schemes were encouraged as a method to assist the Police and residents were asked to make contact with the Police in this respect.
· Changes to the ways in which the police operated were ongoing and it was noted that more dedicated ‘beat’ Officers would be available as these officers would not be involved in investigations.
Councillors are reminded that under the Council’s Code of Conduct they should declare any interest they may have in budget applications
a) An update will be given on the Ward Community budget; and
b) Grant applications received will be reported for consideration. (See sheet attached at Appendix B).
There were no applications for consideration at the meeting.
It was reported that the following applications had been approved under the fast-track procedure.
· 5051 (joint bid with Fosse)
The can man - Adrian Ablett
Boxing Club- PC1743 Darren Cramp
In respect of previously approved bids the meeting noted the following:
· The Coping with Cancer Charity had sent a thank you message and photographs of the fencing erected to protect their premises, following a previous approval of ward funds.
· Adrian Ablett (the Can man) referred to a project in the Fosse ward at the Woodgate Adventure Playground which involved community participation. Funds received from the project were to be shared with the playground and prizes were being offered to the youngsters who had collected the most recycling materials.
Adrian was congratulated on his efforts.
· Gary Philpott, Artistic Director, ‘Upstairs at the Western’ Theatre Company, referred to the use of previous funds and reported on the activities of the company. The significant benefits to the community from the approved funding were noted and a breakdown of the total funding of various development funds, supported by the Ward was provided. In summary, it was reported that the ward funding to support ‘Upstairs at the Western’ had allowed the Theatre company to thrive as an organisation to promote Westcotes positively.
Gary was thanked for his report and the meeting expressed their pride in the contribution made by ‘Upstairs at the Western’ to the local community.
· The Polish Mums and Childrens Centre reported on the success of their recent event and commented on the significant attendance of around 200 people. The meeting noted that the event had been attended by a wide range of community groups and the Polish community representatives commented on the importance of explaining their culture and expressed thanks for the contribution of funds made.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
A) ILLEGAL PARKING – COMMERCIAL VANS
The meeting was informed of a problem with commercial vans illegally parking at peak hours at their premises adjacent to the busy junction of Fosse Road South and Upperton Road. It was noted that the problem had been dealt with in the past, but that the incidents were beginning to recur. The warden took note of the situation to refer to the Paring Enforcement Team.
B) WESTCOTES DRIVE – TREES
It was considered that trees in Westcotes Drive were blocking some street lighting. Officers agreed to refer the matter to the appropriate department for investigation.
C) TREE FELLING – ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
It was reported that some mature trees on the riverbank had recently been felled by the Environment Agency and Officers agreed to find the reasons for the work being undertaken.
CLOSE OF MEETING
The meeting closed at 8.45 pm.