Venue: East West Community Project, Wilberforce Road
Contact: Anita Clarke, Community Engagement Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6576) (Email: Anita.Clarke@leicester.gov.uk) Elaine Baker, Democratic Support Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6355) (Email: email@example.com)
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 Connelly in the Chair.
Everyone welcomed and introductions given.
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Russell, who was unable to attend due to another commitment.
Councillor Connelly declared an Other Disclosable Interest in agenda item 7, “Ward Community Budget”, in that he was a governor at Shaftesbury Junior School and his daughter attended that school. He confirmed that he had been unaware of the grant application for the Shaftesbury Green Spaces project until it was submitted. In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, this interest was not considered so significant that it was likely to prejudice Councillor Connelly’s judgement of the public interest. He therefore was not required to withdraw from the meeting during consideration of the item.
The Action Log of the meeting held on 20 September 2016 is attached for information and discussion.
Agreed as correct.
Community Engagement Officer to refer the case of grant application reference 3261, (“The Westcotes”), to the Council’s debt recovery service if the grant paid but not used is not returned in accordance with Council procedures.
BEDE PARK UPDATE
There will be an update on issues concerning Bede Park.
All to note:
· The new outdoor gym area is well used;
· The creation of a new barbecue area is nearly finished. If it is unsuccessful, the raised concrete structures can be converted to plant troughs;
· The slide is fenced off as it is unsafe. It has not been possible to consult on a replacement, as the manufacturer needed an immediate response in order to complete the work before the summer. Replacement work is due to start on 3 April;
· Sufficient Section 106 funding is available to provide some tress for the park. Advice on types and best planting times is awaited from Trees and Woodlands officers. Fencing may be erected around the trees to prevent vandalism;
· Someone has been arrested following the serious sexual assault that recently took place in the Park; and
· Following anti-social behaviour on the mound (former railway embankment), shrubbery has been cut back and benches removed, which has reduced the number of reported issues. Fencing, mostly funded by the Police, is to be installed to stop people getting on to the mound, but not stopping access to the river.
Ward Councillors to speak to Planning officers about problems with the CODE development site encroaching on to the footpath in the park. An update on this to be given at the next meeting.
The resident holding funds originally provided to plant new trees to contact the Council to determine how these funds should be repaid, subject to any decision on whether some of them can be used to provide a memorial plaque for a deceased resident who was involved in establishing the City Challenge programme.
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.
All to note:
· As a result of the Council losing its appeal against the CODE student accommodation development, with no objections being upheld, Council planning policies will need to be reviewed;
· An application in relation to Bradgate House is to be considered by the Conservation Advisory Panel;
· The former doctor’s surgery on the corner of Narborough Road and Ashleigh Road is being converted in to apartments;
· Despite representations made by the Ward Councillors to the Council’s Planning and Development Committee, applications to convert two properties in Westcotes Drive in to apartments have been approved, (one being the former Scotia Hotel at number 12);
· There is concern that the above applications are indicative of a trend in the Ward for applications to convert properties in to flats that are below national space standards, as these standards have not been adopted by the Council. Officers also considered concerns about limited parking at the above properties to be unfounded, as the residents’ parking scheme could absorb additional vehicles across the zone. However, this could mean that residents could still have difficulty parking near their properties;
· Enforcement action has been taken against the owners of two storage units in Westcotes Drive that have businesses operating from them; and
· There is concern that planning applications are not being suitably advertised in the vicinity of application sites.
The City Warden will give an update on issues in the Westcotes Ward.
All to note:
· The new City Warden for the Westcotes Ward is Richard Sutton;
· Work on clearing fly tipped items from the Linkway Gardens / Cherryleas Drive area is ongoing. Fixed Penalty Notices have successfully been issued for other fly tipping incidents;
· Community Protection Notices were being issued to address anti-social behaviour, such as the significant litter along streets; and
· Leaving bins on streets has been decriminalised, so the Wardens are now taking action to deal with incidents of this. Education work also will be undertaken, to make people aware that bins should not be left on streets.
All residents encouraged to report environmental incidents to the City Warden, although resource availability can restrict the action that can be taken.
City Warden to arrange for a report to be made to the next meeting on how the Love Leicester app works, including how reports are passed to City Wardens.
POLICE ISSUES UPDATE
Officers from Leicestershire Police will be at the meeting to provide an update on police issues in Westcotes Ward.
All to note:
· PC Tam Singh-Bains has joined the Westcotes Neighbourhood team. However, financial cut-backs mean that the number of Police officers in the Team has reduced overall and may decrease further over the coming year. Increased use of other resources is unlikely to mitigate this, as those such as CCTV are expensive;
· Burglaries continue to be a problem in the Ward, particularly in terraced houses. However, there has been a 41% reduction in the number reported from the same time the previous year;
· Other ward priorities include problems with theft from motor vehicles and criminal damage to motor vehicles. A number of arrests have been made following a significant number of incidents on individual days in December. The situation continues to be monitored;
· Priorities for the force are set out on its website (https://leics.police.uk);
· The residents at a problem address in Stuart Street, which had been attracting criminality, had been evicted. There were some other addresses of concern in the Ward and work on tackling the issues raised by activities at those addresses was ongoing;
· A new Neighbourhood Watch group has been established in the Cherryleas Drive area; and
· Problems associated with the lock-up garages at the end of Raymond Road are known to the Police and Council. Work is ongoing to resolve them.
As the garages at the end of Raymond Road are in the Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields Ward, City Warden to request an update on progress with resolving the issues there from that Ward’s City Warden.
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) Determination of Grant Applications
Councillor Connolly reminded the meeting of his declaration of interest in the Shaftesbury Green Spaces grant application.
· Weekly Art Club (ref: AF193327) – grant of £200 to Westcotes Library Art Club supported
· Western Boulevard Railings (ref: AF196901) – grant of £770 to the partnership working with South Leicestershire College and the City Council’s Parks and Open Spaces team supported. All to note that this work is to be undertaken by students needing experience with solvent-based paint
· Festival2funky 2017 (ref: AF198001) – no grant approved, due to the limited level of local involvement
· Leicester Riverside Festival 20 Year Anniversary (ref: AF201547) – grant of £3,000 to the City Council’s Festivals team supported
· Shaftesbury Green Spaces (ref: AF205284) – grant of £310 to Shaftesbury Green Spaces supported
· Westival (ref: AF204836) – grant of £1,000 to Westival Leicester supported, it being noted that applications also have been made to Fosse Ward and Western Ward which have not been considered yet. All to note that, although this is to be a May Day event, it is not expected to be negatively impacted by the Riverside Festival in June, as the latter is a city-wide event
b) Feedback from Previous Grant Recipients
The winter Westival had included a festive market, featuring many local craft and food sellers, a funfair and local performers. Approximately 4,000 people had attended and it was estimated that 70% of these were from the LE3 area.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
· All to note that, as a result of the success of the Braunstone Gate Places for People Project, a further one year project has been agreed, with a worker employed part-time to support the group. Work completed includes:
o Two proposed new layouts for Braunstone Gate, (one being the preferred option), based on comments received from consultation carried out during the past two years. These will be presented to the Council for consideration;
o Consultation identified four main requirements for the new layout: increased greenery; wider pavements (for cafés and pedestrians); the separation of cycle routes from pedestrians and the road; and increased parking for shoppers;
o Road crossing points (raised tables) have been suggested in the two locations at which people already cross Braunstone Gate. These also will slow down the traffic;
o Under the preferred proposal, one bus stop will need to be moved approximately 20 metres;
o A disabled access group has been involved in developing the new designs for Braunstone Gate; and
o The next stage in developing the proposals is to undertake full impact studies.
· Thanks extended to Charlotte Jones for her leadership of the Braunstone Gate Places for People Project;
· Ward Councillors to ask Jamie Lewis if the hoardings on Braunstone Gate can be removed. In the meantime, officers to inspect the hoardings, to ensure they are safe;
· All to note that Prince Charles made a successful visit to Narborough Road and Westcotes Library on 25 January;
· An application for grant funding to be submitted for signage to stop people parking in the cycle lane in Briton Street;
· Ward Members to ask the City Mayor to ensure that parking restrictions in cycle lanes across the city are enforced;
· City Warden to ask officers to ensure that the verges along the route of the Great Central Railway along Upperton Road are in a suitable condition to stop them flooding; and
· Thanks extended to all those involved in the work being done to improve the railings on Western Boulevard, which has made a great improvement to the area.
CLOSE OF MEETING
The meeting closed at 9.02 pm