Venue: East West Community Project, Wilberforce Road
Contact: Anita Clarke, Community Engagement Officer, (Tel: 0116 454 6576 (Email: Anita.Clarke@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 Russell, Chair for the meeting led introductions and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest or apologies for absence.
The Action Log of the meeting held on 16th January 2018 is attached for information and discussion.
The action log of the meeting held on Tuesday 16 January 2018 was agreed as a correct record.
BEDE PARK UPDATE
An update will be given on issues concerning Bede Park.
It was reported that there had been recent problems at Bede Park, due to the continued hot weather and increased use.
The City Warden referred to ongoing work between the Police, the Highways Service and the Parks Service concerning an unauthorised event that had been promoted using social media. The event had involved a DJ and was specifically targeted at students. It was confirmed that a significant number of canisters had been collected following the event, demonstrating the use of nitrous oxide. The park had been left in an unacceptable state and details of the enhanced clean up works were reported.
It was confirmed that increased liaison with the University had been undertaken since the event to help to ensure that the problems would not be repeated.
Following further concerns with parking in the vicinity of Bede Park, increased enforcement of restrictions at Tarragon way and other locations had been suggested.
It was also confirmed that Ward Councillors were discussing options for a ‘parks hot weather plan’ with colleagues, as similar problems had been experienced at the other Council parks and open spaces. It was envisaged that such a plan would allow for increased number of cleansing staff and more frequent bin emptying. The police had also been involved in the formation of the proposed plan to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all parks users.
In respect of the numbers of disposable barbeques being used on the park, it was suggested that enhanced signage be provided to direct parks users to the proper designated barbeque area.
Having regard to the recent works to repair the slide, copies of information leaflets which had been provided to update parks users and interested parties were circulated. It was confirmed that works were due to be completed, following a lengthy process involving contractual arrangements with a company in Germany, and following ROSPA’s safety report.
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.
It was noted that continued problems were being experienced with the numbers of conversions of family residential properties in to flats and bedsits. It was reported that although an Article 4 Direction was in place to prevent conversions to flats, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HiMOs) were still being let as bedsits, which were not subject of the current restrictions. It was confirmed that adequate policies to prevent further conversations were being considered as part of the revised Local Plan process.
It was reported that a problematic commercial operation involving a garage and motor repair shop at Westcotes Drive had been closed, following a lengthy planning refusal and appeal process.
Concerns had been expressed in respect of a the Bradgate House property at the corner of Westcotes Drive, where ASB and fly-tipping problems were evident. It was noted that the owners of the property had been contacted by Council officers with a view to an appropriate use being maintained.
In response to a question concerning multiple occupancy and single person occupancy of properties, Councillors confirmed that they supported the need for increased social housing, but however commented on the issues in the Ward where a majority of short-term student lets had led to an imbalance of housing types and uses. It was considered that the numbers of conversions and short-term lets had been a factor in the breakdown in community cohesion, where conversions had been prevalent instead of purpose built student accommodation.
The City Warden will give an update on issues in the Westcotes Ward.
Richard Sutton (City Warden) reported on his environmental and enforcement activities.
The following key points were noted:
· Since the report to the previous meeting, it was confirmed that work to alleviate the numbers of shopping trolleys being left inappropriately had been enhanced and liaison with supermarket managers was ongoing.
· Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) had been issued to businesses that had not properly put in place methods for disposing of their commercial waste.
· Bins on Streets continued to be a concern and notices were being issued to residents to ensure compliance.
· Leaflets were circulated, advising residents to ensure that anyone employed to remove waste and goods from properties had been properly registered. The associated increased promotion of the Council’s bulky waste collection service was confirmed.
In response to questions it was confirmed that site clean-up operations had recently taken place, following reports being received from concerned residents.
Concerns were expressed concerning the time taken to replace alley gates. In response, the process involved to procure replacement gates was explained and it was noted that this was a significantly longer process than for the replacement of locks.
The report and update was noted.
POLICE ISSUES UPDATE
Officers from Leicestershire Police will be at the meeting to provide an update on police issues in Westcotes Ward.
Police Sgt Spencer Dyer and PC Matt Eld reported on recent activities in the Ward.
The following key points were noted:
· An update on the Police position concerning the inappropriate use and unauthorised music events at Bede Park was provided. It was confirmed that increased patrols during hot weather had been arranged.
· The number of burglaries had fallen, although the national trend showed an increase. Residents were reminded to protect properties and ensure the security of valuables. It was suggested that recent arrests of known individuals who were repeat offenders had led to the reduction in the Ward.
· Arrests had been made recently for various drug offences. Information concerning activities at a particular property in the Ward that had been of interest to the police was provided.
· Issues concerning knife crime had received national attention. Associated local initiatives to educate young people and to reduce knife crime were confirmed.
· In respect of public concerns and reporting of crime generally, it was clarified that the collation of evidence, intelligence, reporting of ASB, nuisance crimes and other issues relied heavily on public reports. It was highlighted that reports should be provided to officers using the 101 number. It was confirmed that only serious crimes should be reported using the 999 number. The increased use of Social Media to report and to respond to crime reports was also noted.
· The need to increase multi-agency and multi-cultural activities with faith groups was recognised and was ongoing.
The update was noted.
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
The Community Engagement Officer provided an update on the Ward Community Budget.
It was noted that 7 applications had been recently supported and that the funding in the 2017/18 financial year had been fully allocated to support local projects.
A further £18,000 had been provided for projects in the forthcoming financial year 2018/19 and applications were invited. Information on how to apply could be found at the following link:
CLOSE OF MEETING
The meeting closed at 8.20 pm.