Venue: East West Community Project, Wilberforce Road
Contact: Harsha Patel, Community Engagement Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 0169) (Email: Harsha.Patel@leicester.gov.uk) Jason Tyler, Democratic Support Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6359) (Email: Jason.Tyler@leicester.gov.uk)
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 as Chair welcomed everyone to the Westcotes Community Meeting.
The Action Logs of the meetings held on:
a) 17 March 2015 (not previously submitted); and
b) 12 October 2015
are attached for information and discussion.
Action Log for the meeting held 17 March 2015
The Action Log of the meeting held 17 March 2015 was agreed as a correct record.
Action Log Update
Item 37: To-Let Boards
A consultation had taken place and a report would be going to the Planning and Development Control Committee on 17 February 2016 which sought authorisation from the government to remove deemed consent rights for the display of ‘To Let’ Boards within specific areas of Leicester, including Westcotes.
Action Log for the meeting held 12 October 2015
An addition to the above action log was agreed to include the following:
An attendee asked whether it would be possible to create a green link between the Great Central Way and Forest Way. This would be referred to the Nature Conservation Officer.
The Action Log, subject to the above addition was agreed as a correct record.
Action Log Update
Item 7: Update on Bede Park Developments
Assurances had been given that the gym equipment would be installed in May.
Item 11: Ward Community Budget
Westival Funding Application –Attendees were asked to note that the funding application of £1000 was not submitted by the West End Traders’ Association and they did not receive the grant. The grant instead was received by a different community group with a similar name.
Riverside Festival Funding Application - Councillor Russell requested feedback on last year’s Riverside Festival as she would be meeting senior officers soon to discuss the event. The following comments were made:
· There was excessive consumption of alcohol on the Saturday
· There was insufficient advertising (both for this and the comedy festival). A suggestion was made that there could be balloons with signs directing people to the river.
· There was a need for additional parking provision, particularly for people with disabilities.
The City Warden will give an update on issues in the Westcotes Ward.
Attendees were asked to note an update from Alexander Kazmierz, the City Warden:
· There were problems related to some of the properties that were let by G4S. They were mostly short term lets and residents tended not to be aware of the rules and procedures regarding rubbish bins, waste and recycling etc Gaul Street was a particular ‘hotspot’. However, there were new regulations which put some of the responsibilities onto the landlords.
Police Sergeant Chris Brown asked Alex for updated information on the properties owned by G4S.
· There were significant problems with waste being left on the car park at the old ‘Kennings’ site on Braunstone Gate. Jamie Lewis who owned the car park had been asked to secure the site but this had not yet happened and furniture and white goods were being left there, albeit it neatly stacked. Investigations were taking place to ascertain who was responsible. The build-up of waste on the site was considered to be an eyesore. Jamie Lewis had been approached to improve the look of the hoardings there. It was suggested that a letter be sent to his wife as she was responsible for his PR.
· An attendee expressed concerns that people were accessing the bridge. This presented a serious safety risk as the railings were in a dangerous condition. The Chair responded that people should not be able to access the bridge, this would be reported.
· Alex asked people to contact him if they saw people fly-tipping. If they were driving a vehicle (and in particular a white van), he asked for the make and registration number of the vehicle.
· People were asked to contact Alex if they were aware of problems with graffiti. A resident reported that there was graffiti on the newly created mural. Alex was asked to liaise with the resident as he had graffiti removal kits and also details of a grant that might be available for such purposes.
· An attendee reported that there had been a very significant increase in the number of abandoned used needles, particularly around Narborough Road. In Gaul Street there were used needles in blue bags which had been placed in the litter bins, but those bins were overflowing. The Chair asked for details of the location to be forwarded to the local police team.
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.
Attendees were asked to note an update on Planning and Development issues in the Westcotes Ward.
· An application for Code Student accommodation was refused unanimously last year at the Planning and Development Control Committee; the applicant had submitted a new application. Residents were encouraged to re-submit their views on the application.
· Councillors had successfully objected to a Pizza takeaway on Western Boulevard as it had applied to open until 4.00am. A second application had been submitted with opening hours until 11.00pm and this had been successful.
· In relation to the old Doctor’s Surgery on Ashby Road, Councillors believed that pre-planning discussions were now taking place.
· In relation to Bradgate House on Westcotes Drive, Councillors understood that a formal planning application should be forthcoming.
POLICE ISSUES UPDATE
Officers from Leicestershire Police will be at the meeting to provide an update on police issues in Westcotes Ward.
Attendees were asked to note an update from Police Sergeant Chris Brown:
· The statistics for crime in total, for the period between November 2015 and January 2016 were comparable to the same period the year before.
· The crime rate in Westcotes was higher than in the Fosse Ward, but there were a significantly more people living in Westcotes and the area was quite dense.
· There were various initiatives to reduce crime including a workshop with the perpetrators of violent crimes in order to address their behaviour. An eight week football project would start on 2 March; this would be for girls and boys aged 11 – 16 years old. In addition, an Eastern European Working Group had been set up with the aim of improving issues around alcohol consumption.
· Currently the Policing and the Westcotes Ward boundaries were different but it was hoped that these would be brought into line by the end of February.
An attendee informed Sgt Brown of a recent incident of graffiti and stated that she knew who was responsible. The Chair asked Sgt Brown to investigate further.
BRAUNSTONE GATE PLACES FOR PEOPLE PROJECT
Charlotte Jones will provide an update on the Braunstone Gate Places for People Project.
Charlotte Jones, Sustrans, provided an update on the Braunstone Gate Places for People Project. Charlotte aimed to work with the community around Braunstone Gate, to support and empower them to improve their neighbourhood. There was also an aim to encourage more cycling. Future plans included the following:
· To narrow two entrances to the street by using planters; by having a gateway at either end of the street, the area should look more attractive. Some space for short stay parking would be retained and it would be a way of trialling the widening of the pavements. The Chair added that at this stage, this was only an experimental initiative and the situation would be monitored.
· There would possibly be more trials in the summer which might include a temporary pedestrian crossing and occasional traffic free dates. There was an aim to hold seven events on Braunstone Gate where the street could be closed. Charlotte added that they would listen to people’s views and try to find a consensus before decisions were made.
· There was an aim to paint a mural on the arches opposite the taxi rank. In relation to the taxi rank, the Chair added that taxis were double parking there in the evening; Sgt Brown said that he would forward this information to the officers who worked in the evenings.
WARD COMMUNITY BUDGET
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) A list of grant applications will be submitted for consideration.
The meeting received an update on the Ward Community Meeting budget as follows:
Upstairs at the Western – Off the Fence Theatre Company: £1728 requested for rental costs.
This application was not supported because funding was requested to pay rental. Councillors stated that community meeting funding should not be used to pay ongoing revenue costs.
Community Arts and Crafts – LCIL: £3000
This was supported in full.
West End Pay As You Feel Café – The Real Junk Food Project: £2750
This was supported in full.
Educating the Black Child 4 Awards Evening – The Phoenix Agenda: £350 requested
This was not supported as there was no data as to how many children came from the Westcotes Ward.
Find the Right Words Community and Rap Event– Find the Right Words: £500 requested.
This was not supported as the funding was requested by a commercial organisation.
Westcotes Street Pastors – Maintain and develop website and Phone: £500 requested.
This was supported in full.
The Chair explained that two further funding applications had been received too late for submission on the agenda.
Ndiigbo Leicestershire - IRI-JI (New Yam) Festival 2016: £1500 requested.
The Chair expressed a concern that the Westcotes Community Meeting budget was being approached to fund the entire cost of hall hire. In addition there was a need for better publicity within the area. It was suggested that the organisation might like to re-submit their funding application with more of a focus on publicity.
African Catholic Chaplaincy Leicestershire – African Catholic Chaplaincy Leicestershire Cultural and Educational Trips: £800
The Chair advised that she would need confirmation that there were appropriate safeguarding checks for all adults accompanying the children on the trips. Subject to these assurances, the cost of the coach hire could be supported but other costs would need to be met elsewhere.
The meeting heard that the East West Community Centre Musical Evening, which had been funded by the Westcotes Ward Community Meeting, had been successful. An evaluation of the evening had been submitted to the Community Engagement Officer.
The Chair encouraged other Community Groups to submit funding bids; these needed to be received before the end of the financial year.
CLOSE OF MEETING
The meeting closed at 9.10 pm.