Monday, 16 December 2013

How much do North West Leicestershire District Council ACTUALLY make out of car parking charges?

Last week I was contacted by a Coalville town centre trader who wanted to ask me a question, a question many of us will have thought of at one time or another:

'How much do North West Leicestershire District Council ACTUALLY make out of car parking charges?'

I agreed to find out an answer to his question and using the Freedom of Information Act I've done just that.

I passed the information on to my town centre trader but given how often I, and I presume other Councillors, are asked the question I thought I would take this opportunity to set out the facts once and for all.

For simplicity all of the following information is for the financial year 2013/14 and as such is based on 'budget book' projections.

It is also important to note that car parks are broadly broken down into 2 'cost centres' - Maintenance & Offstreet Enforceent - I have listed these separately before combining them to give an overall figure.

(Please contact me directly if you are interested in 'actual' figures for 2012/13.)

Car Parks - Management and Maintenance
Total Income (Includes Fees, Staff Parking Fees, Season Tickets): £500,080
Less Car Park Management & Maintenance (Including corporate recharges): £395,980
Net Cost of Car Park Management & Maintenance: £104,100 'profit'

Car Parks - Offstreet Enforcement
Total Income - Penalty Charge Notices: £68,000
Less expenditure (Includes corporate recharges): £207,480
Net Cost of Offstreet Enforcement: £139,480 'loss'

Total cost to NWLDC of operating car parks: £35,380

From these 'headline' figures it would be very easy to say 'If our car parks are losing £35,380 a year, then why are we operating damaging parking charges?'

The answer is simple and is included once again in the budget books.

Many of the associated costs of running car parks would be incurred whether parking charges are in place or not, i.e. 'fixed liabilities'.

If NWLDC were to remove ALL charges AND stop ALL Offstreet Enforcement there would be 'fixed liabilities' of AT LEAST £155,010 which would have to be made up from other sources (i.e. Council Tax).

I certainly am not saying car parking charges are a good thing, they have been damaging to Coalville - although not as damaging as some would suggest - but it is right to set out the facts.

Sadly, from a taxpayers perspective, right now car park charges are the 'least worst' option.

As councillors we need to seek ways to minimise the damage that parking charges do to our town, that's why as Labour Group Leader I sought to introduce a 'first hour free' initiative and that's why I support local traders with their parking refund scheme.

There's no doubt about it car park charges epitomise the challenges facing local government.

Trying to decide upon the lesser of two evils.






Friday, 13 December 2013

Who are YOUR local heroes?

Leicestershire has a wealth of fascinating history and Leicestershire County Council are keen to celebrate some of the important people and places linked to the county.
 
That’s why the County Council are introducing their Green Plaque Awards Scheme and they want you to tell them which people, buildings and sites you think really deserve recognition.
 
Leon Spence, County Councillor for Whitwick says 'I very much welcome this scheme to recognise our local heroes.
 
'Some great people have lived in our community over the years. People like Thomas Elsdon Ashford, who won the Victoria Cross, and the great philanthropist Charles Booth, and many others. It would be great for the whole county to recognise those who have made a significant contribution to our villages.'
 
'I would very much urge local schools, community groups and social clubs to have a conversation about who should be nominated and put your local heroes forward for consideration.'
 
You’ll get the chance to vote for the winning schemes when the shortlist is announced in February 2014.
  
You can nominate war heroes, local heroes and famous people, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, places with cultural or heritage connections as well as buildings of historic or architectural importance.
 
Anyone nominated for a green plaque must have been dead for at least 20 years.
 
You can make your nomination – in not more than 500 words – by completing the online nomination form or by writing to:
 
Green Plaques
Communities & Wellbeing
Room 500
Leicestershire County Council
County Hall
Glenfield
LE3 8RA
 
You can also pick up and drop off your form at any county library.

Forms will also be available from Tourist Information Centres throughout the county.
 
Nominations should include a recommendation about where the plaque could be located and if possible evidence of the agreement of the owner of the building or structure on which the plaque is to be mounted. The County Council would prefer to put the plaques on dwellings with strong associations with the person nominated.
 
The Selection Criteria gives details of how we will evaluate nominations.
 
The closing date for nominations is Friday 24 January 2014

Friday, 6 December 2013

Invictus

In an event so monumental as the death of Nelson Mandela my comments are meaningless. Instead I would pay tribute through the same words the great man used to recite to other prisoners on Robben Island. Rest in Peace.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Fatal collision in Coalville

Crime number: Incident 741 of 05/12/2013
 
Leicestershire Police is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision in Coalville.

Two vehicles collided at about 7pm on Thursday, December 5 on the A511 Stephenson Way, Coalville. The collision occurred between Stephenson College and the Hoo Ash roundabout, where the A511 meets the A447.

The female driver of one of the vehicles suffered fatal injuries.

The male driver of the other vehicle, a black car, sustained injuries which are not thought to be life-threatening. Police believe neither car had passengers.

The black car was being driven towards the college, away from the Hoo Ash roundabout. Officers would like to speak to anyone who saw this vehicle on any part of its journey, or who saw the collision itself.

Anyone with information should contact Leicestershire Police on 101, and ask to speak to the Serious Collision Investigation Unit quoting incident 741 of December 5.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Memorial Square Christmas Tree - statement

Following the Christmas light switch on event last Saturday there have been many comments received about how good Coalville's Christmas decorations are looking this year. I agree.

Some local people have expressed disappointment that there isn't a Christmas Tree on Memorial Square.

The following statement has been issued by North West Leicestershire District Council to clarify the matter.

The Council is extremely proud of the Memorial Square in Coalville and works closely with the Royal British Legion on all activities, events, items of street furniture and decorations in this area.

A large Christmas tree has not been insitu at Memorial Square for a couple of years now due to previous acts of vandalism to it and also the increasing cost which is in excess of £1,000 per annum.

However, the District Council has continued to invest in Christmas lights for the town centre and this year spent over £7,000 which included new lights on the Clock Tower itself.

Following the Councils popular Christmas Lights Switch On celebration event last Saturday (30 November) the Council has received some very positive comments about the new lighting at the Clock Tower and how it stands out as an attractive feature in the centre of the town.

We do very much welcome local interest and involvement in our activities and would be happy to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact our Cultural Services Team Manager via 01530 454545.

Monday, 2 December 2013

North West Leicestershire District Council set to introduce tax rises, charges and service cuts

Conservatives politicians at North West Leicestershire District Council as set to approve far reaching budget proposals which are set to have a significant impact on residents of Whitwick, Thringstone and the wider district.

Papers for the Council's Cabinet meeting on 10 December have been published which finalise the Tory administration's plans for the coming year.

Proposals include:

  • Introducing an annual charge of £30 for fortnightly collection of garden waste bins. A charge of £25 a year will apply to smaller garden waste bins. (A £5 discount will be applied for those who pay the charge by direct debit.)
  • No longer returning to collect 'unjustified missed bins'.
  • Increasing parking charges in town centre car parks
  • To start charging 'concessions' 50% for bulky waste collections.
  • To start charging 'concessions' 50% for treating wasps, fleas and bedbugs.
  • To start charging 'concessions' 50% for casual swimming (75% next year). 
  • To stop giving Community Grants.
  • To stop publishing 'Vision' magazine.
  • To significantly scale back the role of district council 'Chairman'.
Cuts are being made and new charges introduced as North West Leicestershire faces a projected budget shortfall of £500 thousand next year, rising to £2.8 million in 2017/18.

It is still expected that Council Tax will increase by 1.5% next year.

Leon Spence, County Councillor for Whitwick, said: 'This Tory-lead Government are having a devastating effect on local councils.

'Up and down the country, as a result of central government cuts, councils are having to make unpalatable decisions about the future of their services.

'We hear so much about how the economy is supposed to be getting better but we all know that local people face a cost of living crisis. As wages stagnate, council tax goes up, and you have to pay more for parking and for your garden waste bin to be emptied.

'The truth is for many local people the pound in your pocket is simply not going as far as it used to.'

Resurfacing of North West Leicestershire Council Offices Car Park

The access road and the main car park at North West Leicestershire District Council Offices will be resurfaced commencing on Saturday the 30th November 2013 and finishing on Wednesday the 4th December 2013.

So that the works can be done safely and efficiently the car park will be closed during this time. On the three working days during the five day period - Monday 2nd December, Tuesday 3rd December and Wednesday 4th December the Council Offices car parks will not be available for use.

The car park entrance & exit at Whitwick Road will be closed off and only the contractor undertaking the works will have access to what will temporarily become a works site - no one else will be permitted to enter or exit the site in a vehicle at any time during the five day period. Please note that the London Road Public Car Park / Stenson House Car Park is not included in the works and will be open as usual.

Anyone who would normally use the office car parks will need to use an alternative parking location on the three working days when the car park will be closed.

It is inevitable that inconvenience and disruption will be caused by these works, - but this is unavoidable. With works of this nature it is always possible that events beyond our control (e.g. adverse weather conditions, unforeseen circumstances) may affect the proposed programme, though hopefully this will not be the case.

The works will be completed as quickly as possible and the car park restored to normal operation at the earliest possible opportunity. Investment in resurfacing works will improve the amenity for residents by providing a safe, welcoming place to park cars for residents and visitors of the District. 

The resurfacing works will result in the car park not needing resurfacing for another 20 years.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Calling Whitwick and Thringstone's environmental heroes: The Green Footprints Awards are back!

North West Leicestershire District Council are celebrating the commitment of local residents, groups and business to making North West Leicestershire a greener place to live, work and visit.

The Green Footprints Awards champion the eco work of businesses, schools, young people and the community who have met the challenge of choosing greener ways to live and work. There are five categories:

• Businesses
• Children and young people
• Partnerships and community groups
• Schools
• Sustainable urban design.

The awards are now open at http://footprints.nwleics.gov.uk/

The deadline for applications is Friday 24th January 2014 – and shortlisted projects will be invited to the annual civic ball and awards’ night on Friday 4th April.

Deena Garnham, Director of Sales at Radisson Blu Hotel East Midlands Airport said: "Having been named as the greenest hotel in the country, we are proud to be sponsoring and hosting the Green Footprints Awards.

"It’s always such an exciting night for local groups, schools and businesses who have been nominated – and we’re delighted to provide them with a top-class experience on their big night."

County Councillor Leon Spence said: "There is some amazing environmental work taking place in the villages of Whitwick and Thringstone.

"It would be great to see our community being recognised for all of the eco work that it does. If you are a school, nursery, community group or business why not promote your green initiative through the awards? Awareness of what is going on makes us all more responsible."

For further information and to apply online, visit the Green Footprints website: http://footprints.nwleics.gov.uk/

Friday, 8 November 2013

Is it time for a Thringstone Parish Council?

The way that councils provide services to us is changing.

Never before have local authorities faced the financial pressures that they will be placed under over the next few years.

Leicestershire County Council have just consulted members of the public on how they can save £110 million pounds from their annual budget, roughly one third of all the money it currently spends.

The future of finance at North West Leicestershire District Council is not in a dissimilar position.

Both Councils plan to increase council tax next year (and for years after that) at the same time they are planning cutting, or even cancelling, many of the services that they provide.

The changes to local government will undoubtedly affect every community in North West Leicestershire but I fear will particularly impact on Thringstone.

You may ask why Thringstone could be badly affected and I will give you three examples.

  1. Our Community Centre, Thringstone House, is significantly funded by Leicestershire County Council. There is a serious concern that over the coming years the County Council will choose to stop providing that financial support.
  2. Leicestershire County Council is currently undertaking a piece of work which considers the prospect of merging our County and District Councils. Such mergers have happened in other counties. It is argued that mergers can save significant amounts of taxpayer money, at the same time many believe decision making is too far removed from local communities.
  3. The vast majority of communities in North West Leicestershire are governed by Parish Councils, Thringstone is not (alongside just central Coalville and Greenhill). The things that are normally done by Parish Councils are done on their behalf by NWLDC through a mechanism called 'Special Expenses'. The district council are now planning on moving services away from the 'General Fund', which all district residents pay for and into 'Special Expenses', which are paid for just by residents of the special expense area. It's all legal but it does mean residents in those communities will be provided with less services than they are now.
As services are reduced and, potentially, are moved further away it becomes increasingly important that there is a level of decision making which is based in the community. The level is logically a Parish Council.

Parish Council's are responsible for many of the things that make villages (and towns) nicer places to live - the sort of things which could well be cut as local government changes.

Parish Councils can be responsible for allotments, bus shelters, community centres, dog control orders, litter bins, and play facilities to name just a few areas.

Local people are able to decide what are their own very local priorities and increase or reduce council tax to pay for them. In fact other Parish Councils, like the relatively newly formed Whitwick Parish Council, have not increased council tax since it was established 3 financial years ago.

The best Parish Councils make a huge difference in making villages  much nicer places to live. Look no further than Swannington, Osgathorpe or even Shepshed.

I believe the residents of Thringstone should have that same opportunity.

In order to formally ask North West Leicestershire District Council to consider establishing a 'Community Governance Review' which forms a Thringstone Parish Council it is necessary to gather a petition of local residents.

For Thringstone 250 valid signatures are required on the petition.

After discussing the issue with, and at the request of, a number of local residents I have agreed to compile such a petition.

Over the coming weeks I will be around the village gathering signatures. If you specifically would like to sign the petition which formally starts a conversation about forming a Parish Council then please get in contact and I will make sure you get the opportunity to do so.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Local litterpicking hero recognised by North West Leicestershire District Council

Nita receiving her award
A local litterpicking hero has been recognised for her contribution to keeping Thringstone tidy by North West Leicestershire District Council.

Nita Pearson, Chairperson of the Friends of Thringstone community group, goes out collecting litter on a daily basis - regardless of the weather - in an effort to keep the village clean, tidy and a great place to live.

Nita was presented with her award by NWLDC Chief Executive Christine Fisher, and officers, at a reception at the Council Offices last week.

Whitwick and Thringstone County Councillor Leon Spence said "Congratulations must go out to Nita who is a fantastic role model in our community.

"In addition to her work as a volunteer litter picker Nita also regularly spots issues and reports them to the council. She really is a community hero."

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Secondary school place closing date - TODAY

Parents who haven't applied for a secondary school place must do so today.
 
Applications for children who transfer in the autumn term 2014 need to be in by 31st October and Leicestershire County Council is encouraging parents not to miss the closing date.
 
The transfer process is not automatic and is the same for a local authority school or a recently-converted academy.
 
If parents apply late - even if they live next door to the school - their child is unlikely to get a place.
Anyone expressing a preference for a non-catchment school is urged to also apply for a place at their child’s catchment school.
 
Ivan Ould, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for the children and young people's service, said: “It is very important that all parents apply on time to give their children the best possible chance of being offered a place at their preferred school.
 
"Last year, we were very successful in meeting parents' preferences but as always, late applicants run the risk of disappointment as schools do become full.
 
"Applying online is easy, cost-effective and secure and by reducing stationery and postage costs, it also saves the council money."
 
Online applicants will receive an email acknowledging receipt and be able to view the decision on 3rd March 2014. Parents can also apply by post if they wish.
 
To find out more, please visit www.leics.gov.uk/admissions , email admissions@leics.gov.uk or call 0116 305 6684.

Monday, 28 October 2013

County Council considers changes to school holiday dates

Do you have a child who attends, or may be due to start, a Leicestershire school?

Maybe you work in a County school?

If so you may be interested to know that Leicestershire County Council is consulting on school term and holiday dates for the school year 2015/16 onwards.

Options being considered are maintaining the current, established pattern of holidays that have been in operation in Leicestershire for many years, or, following the same holiday pattern of other neighbouring local authorities.

You can respond to the consultation by clicking here .

Some schools, such as Academies, will not be bound by term date changes but in all likelihood many will adhere to county term dates.

County Councillor for Whitwick, Leon Spence said: "I would urge all parents to make their views known. We all know how expensive going on holiday can be and how parents are discouraged from taking holidays during term time. By responding to the consultation parents can have a real say in how term dates are planned for in the coming years."

The consultation will close at 5pm on 6th January 2014 and approved dates will be published in April 2014.



Sunday, 27 October 2013

Labour members select Jamie McMahon to fight North West Leicestershire

Jamie McMahon
Labour Party members in North West Leicestershire have yesterday, Saturday 26th October, selected Jamie McMahon as their candidate for the next general election. 

Local party members made their choice following a hustings meeting which was held in Coalville. Jamie is the regional director of a children’s charity and works to protect vital public services children.  

An experienced campaigner Jamie is determined to use his experience to stand up for local people and protect communities in North West Leicestershire from the unfair cuts of the Tory-led government. 

Following the selection Jamie said: “I am honoured that party members in North West Leicestershire have selected me to stand as their candidate for the next general election. 

“What’s clear to me is that local people are paying the price of the Tory-led government’s failure to tackle Britain’s cost of living crisis. Local people are hurting under a Tory government that has seen prices go up faster than wages month after month. People need a Labour government to stand up for them and I’m determined to make that happen.  

“I will stand up for North West Leicestershire and will make sure that every voice is heard and every corner is fought. I’ll work hard to attract new investment into our local town centres, ensure investment in our public transport and will work to control new developments across the constituency. 

“I believe we need to get to grips with the damaging impact of youth unemployment and as an MP one of my first tasks would be to organise an apprenticeship and jobs fair to bring employers and young people together.  

“North West Leicestershire cannot afford five more years of the Tories. We need an MP that will stand up for them and who will put North West Leicestershire first, not someone who will support the failed policies of David Cameron and George Osborne.  

“The general election may be eighteen months away but I’ll not rest. Starting from right now I’ll be out there listening to the views of local people and will be fighting hard for a better deal for North West Leicestershire.” 
 
Whitwick County Councillor, Leon Spence, said: "Jamie will be a first rate candidate fighting for the best interest of the residents of Whitwick and Thringstone at the general election. I'm looking forward to welcoming Jamie to our community and supporting him as he works to become our MP."

Leicestershire County Council publish savings consultation results

Results of the county council’s consultation into how it can save £110 million and reshape services have been published.
 
Over 7,200 county residents, council staff and stakeholders gave their views over the summer. They identified which services they wanted to protect, which they wanted to spend less on and their views on Council Tax levels - 69 per cent favoured a rise.
 
Residents said that the top 10 services the council should save money from are:

1) street lighting
2) grants to communities
3) funding for agencies
4) travel to schools
5) grass cutting
6) early learning
7) children’s centres
8) funding for businesses
9) school support
10) museums
 
The top nine services on this list had more than 50 per cent of respondents saying they wanted to make a reduction, either “a great deal” or “to some extent”. Together, these nine services account for around £32 million of spending.
 
Residents said that the top 10 services the council should protect are:

1) gritting*
2) older people, community services*
3) older people, prevention*
4) roads and paths*
5) mental health
6) older people, residential services*
7) physical disabilities
8) learning disabilities – community services
9) trading standards
10) safety maintenance
 
For five of the services above (*), more than half of respondents said the service should not be reduced at all. These five services account for £64 million of spending.
 
Most of the services that people wanted to protect – especially care services – have some of the council’s largest budgets. The exception is gritting, which is the top priority for residents but has a relatively small budget.
 
Residents had the following views on new ways of working:

• 92 per cent agreed with working more with partners, such as the NHS, district councils and police, to redesign services together
• 33 per cent agreed with letting the private sector run services and 45 per cent disagreed
• 73 per cent agreed with letting residents and community groups run services and 18 per cent disagreed
• 70 per cent wanted to reduce the number of public sector organisations
• 45 per cent supported charging for services and 37 per cent disagreed
 
Residents had the following views on Council Tax levels:

• overall, 69 per cent of residents supported a rise
• five per cent wanted a rise of more than three per cent
• 14 per cent of people wanted a three per cent rise
• 50 per cent wanted a 1.5 per cent rise
• 31 per cent wanted no rise
 
Whitwick County Councillor, Leon Spence said "The results are exceptionally useful in understanding what services local people feel are the most important.
 
Councillor Spence however added a note of caution "We must be careful that we fully understand the data that the consultation provides with us when planning services, for example we need to be mindful that there is an under representation in responses from younger people and conversely an over representation of older residents."
 
The full report is available at www.leics.gov.uk/future
 
Of the 5,000-plus residents who took part, more than 3,000 completed the paper survey in the council’s newsletter, Leicestershire Matters and the remainder completed the form online.
 
The consultation findings will be considered by the council’s scrutiny commission on November 6th and by the cabinet on November 20th.
 
Budget proposals will be published in January and the full council will take a final decision on February 19th.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

£30 to empty your green waste bin? 92% of you say 'no thanks'

As North West Leicestershire District Council consult on charging taxpayers £30.00 a year to empty their 'green waste' wheelie bin I asked what YOU would do if a charge is introduced.

Of the 138 people who voted in the poll a massive 92% said that charging is wrong with 75% (104 people) saying that they would simply put their garden waste into their household refuse, meaning the council would potentially become liable for a significant increase in 'landfill tax'.

Just 10 people who took part in the poll agreed that charging was the way forward, and of those only 5 people (or 3%) thought that £30 a year was 'about right'.

Councillor Leon Spence said 'Although the poll sample is relatively small if it is representative, and there is no reason to believe it is not, it would suggest that potential income for North West Leicestershire District Council would be far less than the £150,000 that has been projected.

'In fact, if take up across the district was around the 3% the poll suggests then the scheme could end up costing the council money.

'The Conservative administration at Whitwick Road need to think very carefully before introducing a green waste charge. There is a real chance that alongside the environmental damage that could be caused the council could also suffer financially.

'I'm well aware of the council's financial position but savings or charges should only be made where there is a clear business case for doing so.'

Friday, 11 October 2013

Campaigners delight - Whitwick Green Wedge saved as Judge dismisses appeal

Whitwick County Councillor Leon Spence has tonight expressed his delight welcoming a decision by High Court Judge Mrs Justice Lang DBE to dismiss an appeal by developers wanting to build thousands of houses on the Whitwick Green Wedge – the last piece of land separating the village from Coalville.

Councillor Spence said "So many people have worked so hard for this decision today. Campaigners, councillors and members of the public all working together to protect the identity of our community. Today is a real victory."

Builders William David and Jelson Homes went to the High Court to try to overturn decisions – by both a Government Planning Inspector and North West Leicestershire District Council – to refuse a housing scheme on Stephenson Green (known locally as the Whitwick Green Wedge).

Both firms argued the refusals were unlawful. But their attempts to overturn the rulings were thrown out.

Eric Pickles MP – Secretary of State for communities and local government – had already upheld the inspector’s decision in August 2012.

The Judge said the inspector was entitled to conclude that the council’s proposed ‘Area of Separation’ policy was intended to prevent ‘coalescence’ and maintain the physical separation of settlements.

Read the full judgement: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2013/3058.html

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cat deaths in Thringstone

Crime number: LN/0540713-6
 
Police are appealing for information regarding a number of cat deaths in Thringstone.

The victim who lives in Melrose Road has recently found five of her cats unexpectedly dead near to her home between Tuesday October 8 and yesterday (Wednesday October 9, 2013).

Police have liaised with the RSPCA and further examination of the cats will be taking place to determine how they died.

PC Adam Thompson from local neighbourhood team: “There is a possibility that the owner of the cat was targeted and her cats were deliberately harmed and we would ask anyone who may have any information in relation to this to please contact police.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC 337 Adam Thompson on 101, follow the instructions to leave a message for a police officer and when prompted key in the officer's identification number 0337. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous, on 0800 555 111.

Calls to 101 cost 15p for the entire call from both mobile ‘phones and land lines. Please note some mobile ‘phone service providers may charge for the Crimestoppers call.

Book and pay online at Hermitage (and Hood Park) leisure centres!

You now have even less excuse for missing that exercise class or gym session – because you can book from your bed if you want!

Wednesday 2 October marked one of the biggest changes to the way customers book and pay for sessions at Hermitage and Hood Park Leisure Centres.

For the first time, people booking fitness classes, courts and health suite sessions can now pay when they book.

A council spokesperson, said: “Customers can now book courts, fitness classes and health suite sessions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 7 days in advance over the internet.

“If you still prefer to ring up to book then you’ll also be able to book all fitness classes from 8am – instead of having one booking time for morning classes and another for evening classes.

“And with more people booking online, it means smaller queues at our leisure centres – so we can serve you faster in person too.”

To use the online booking facility customers need a Login ID and PIN. Email hermitagelc@nwleicestershire.gov.uk or visit www.nwleics.gov.uk/pages/leisurebookings to find out more.

If you need to cancel with more than 24 hours notice you’ll be able to move to another time, or get a credit to use at any time in the following three months.

You can now book and pay online for:
- Badminton
- Squash
- Fitness classes
- Health suite
- Short tennis
- Astro turf pitch (Hermitage Recreation Ground)
- 3G hybrid 5 a side pitches (Hood Park Leisure Centre).

Council Tax cheats face crackdown

People currently getting a discount on their council tax bills are being asked to prove they are entitled to a 25% reduction – or risk losing it.

North West Leicestershire District Council is contacting every resident currently claiming the Single Person Discount – and will take action against anyone attempting to cheat the system.

A district council representative said "Every year councils get a lot of applications for the 25% Sole Occupier Discount. Sadly some of these applications are not genuine and – just like benefit cheats – these people are breaking the law by claiming reductions in their bills.

"Some fraud of course, will be unintentional and the district council will consider each case based on its own merits. In some cases, the mismatch may be due to someone moving out recently – or if there is a carer resident.

"We will investigate people who choose not to declare the change – and remove their discount if necessary. These people are taking advantage of our genuine council tax payers.

"Council Tax cheats can now be prosecuted in the same way that benefit cheats are – through the court system – and made to pay back the money they owe.

The council spokesperson added “Our residents expect value for money for their council tax. Many families are struggling as the economy takes time to recover. But at a time when we must make difficult decisions about how we pay for essential services, it’s even more important we do all we can to stamp out fraud in the district.”
Anyone sent a letter must reply within 14 days – or risk losing their 25% discount.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Could a Leicestershire super council save £25 million a year or erode democracy?

In recent weeks, as Councillors continue to deal with the financial challenges facing local authorities, many of us have been talking about the future of Local Government in our County.

A number of Councillors have suggested that one way to save money would be to merge the services provided by District Councils, such as North West Leicestershire District Council, with the County Council. It is argued by those who are suggesting the idea that up to £25 million pounds a year could be saved after transition costs have been recouped.

On the other hand many people are worried that merging councils will dilute local democracy and accountability, that it is vitally important that local people determine the services they receive at a local level.

As your County Councillor in Whitwick and Thringstone I would love to know what you think.

Do you think we must keep our district councils? or, Is having just one unitary council the way forward?

If you have a view about the future of Councils in Leicestershire please feel free to leave a comment, alternatively why not take part in the poll on this site?

Friday, 4 October 2013

Fancy yourself as a Brownlee? 'Try a Tri' for free in Whitwick on Sunday 13 October

Triathlons are hard – only for the very fit. But why not ‘try a tri’? Swim 200m, cycle 3km and run 1.5km in a fun competition around Hermitage Leisure Centre on Sunday 13 October.

Enter by Friday 11 October for the event – either as yourself or as part of a team.

Come along with work colleagues in teams of two or three and compete against other local workplaces to get the lowest combined time – and win a leisure centre prize.

Download an entry form from https://www.nwleics.gov.uk/pages/news

Or find out more from Chris Mawbey on 01530 454606 or e-mail Christopher.mawbey@nwleicestershire.gov.uk.

Claim your free tree by 28 October - thanks to the National Forest

The overwhelmingly popular North West Leicestershire Free Tree Scheme is back again for 2013 – and this year we’re branching out…

We’ve teamed up with the National Forest Company to offer every home and community group in North West Leicestershire a chance to grow their own trees.

The scheme has already seen local people plant thousands of trees all across the district – all part of our ‘Green Footprints’ commitment to make us all feel prouder of our district.

And new for this year is our Hedge Fund – but not the sort favoured by London bankers!  We have a limited amount of packs available – containing mostly hawthorns and a smaller number of other suitable hedge trees.

To find out more about what trees are available this year – and to place an order, please complete the form at www.footprints.nwleics.gov.uk/free-tree-scheme-2013

The closing date for applications is Monday 28th October and the collection day is Sunday 24th November – please put the date in your diary, as this will be the only opportunity for you to collect your trees.

The district council will confirm the collection point information by email. For more information contact Wendy May on 01530 454769 or wendy.may@nwleicestershire.gov.uk

Kids Run Free to launch monthly events in Whitwick TOMORROW!

Sports charity Kids Run Free will be launching its newest event in Coalville on October 5th 2013.

The FREE event at Hermitage Leisure Centre, Whitwick kicks off at 9am. It’s for children of all ages to take part in a series of fun running activities.

More than 150 children are expected to attend this free event. Children of all abilities and ages are welcome.

Kids Run Free is a charity inspiring children to become passionate about sport, exercise and health. The charity organises free monthly running races for children of all ages and abilities. Based in Warwickshire the charity organises monthly events in Solihull, Leamington Spa, Coventry, Birmingham, Stratford, Nuneaton and Leicester.

Coalville will be eighth location that Kids Run Free operates events in.

For more information contact Joanna Welch at Joanna@kidsrunfree.co.uk or visit http://www.kidsrunfree.co.uk

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The National Forest - Lives Transformed

A delightful new short film about the development of The National Forest and how it's affecting the lives of young people.

Voluntary Group's staggering litter pick success

From Nita Pearson - Friends of Thringstone

Friends of Thringstone is a voluntary group who, as well as planting and maintaining 5 flowerbeds, regularly pick up litter in the village and surrounding woodlands. 
 
Records kept by the group show that since June, they have removed a staggering 734 bags of litter from the area.
 
Cllr Leon Spence,  District Councillor for Thringstone and County Councillor for Whitwick and Thringstone, said
 
'This is community action at its best.  Friends of Thringstone have a dedicated team of litter pickers who go out in all weathers picking up litter which others drop, making our village so much nicer as a result.
 
'They recycle where possible, and all cans they collect are donated to a local hospice as part of their fund raising appeal. 
 
'They also have a large community litter pick every quarter. The next one is 19 October meeting at 10am from The Green as part of the Make A Difference campaign. 
 
'The group have all the equipment people would need to help with this work, and everybody is welcome.'

£30 Green Waste charge - Have you voted yet?

North West Leicestershire District Council have revealed plans to charge £30 a year to empty your brown 'green waste' wheelie bin.

What do you think?

How do other local residents feel about the charge?

Why not vote in our online poll to give your views? or, submit your comments direct to the district council here.

Why not leave a comment below, I will forward all attributable comments to the council offices?

Thringstone Pantomime and Drama Society - Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington is a really great pantomime for all the family, with lots of comedy, catchy songs and fabulous costumes. This year there are many new members on stage, and their youth and enthusiasm should really give the show a lift. Most people will know the story of ‘Dick Whittington’, but if you don’t, there is a synopsis on the web site. Rehearsals are now well under way – and it promises to be a great show.
 
Performance dates in January 2014 are Friday 17th, Saturday 18th (matinee and evening), Sunday 19th matinee, Monday 20th, Thursday 23rd, Friday 24th and Saturday 25th (matinee and evening). Evening performances start at 7.30pm and matinees at 2.15pm.
 
Once again TPADS have held ticket prices to only £8.00 for adults and £7.00 for children with a senior citizen concession night at £7.00 on Monday 20th. We also offer a discount of £1.00 per seat for all bookings of 15 or more ordered and paid for at the same time. It’s great value – where can a family of two adults and two children see a live show, with fabulous costumes and scenery, for only £30.00? Many societies are now having to charge much more, but as TPADS is a community-based group, where everyone gives their time and talents for free, in spite of rising costs we can manage to keep ticket prices at a sensible level.
 
Tickets are now on sale. You can order by ringing the ticket line – 01530 834575 – by email to  tickets@tpads.org.uk – or via the web site. We do request that once ordered, arrangements should be made to pay for and collect tickets within two weeks, unless special arrangements are made (such as for large groups, etc.) As well as the normal postal method, tickets can be collected and paid for at the Community Centre within two weeks of ordering. The community centre however cannot, themselves, issue tickets which should be ordered by one of the methods indicated.
 
Matinee performances are always very popular, and so early booking is advised for matinee tickets. We also have to emphasise that a ticket must be purchased for everyone who attends any performance, and that the show is not generally recommended for under-3s. Also we are unable to admit parents with babes-in-arms.
 
We do hope that you will decide to come and support us. As many of you know, through our front-of-house raffles we also support a variety of local and national charities, and we are continuing this with ‘Dick Whittingon’.

Alan Price for TPADS

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Child Sexual Exploitation - Could you spot the signs?

New guidance is set to help young people and parents across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

Since Monday 100,000 leaflets have started being sent out as part of a new thought-provoking campaign called 'could you spot the signs?' launched by the two local safeguarding children boards.
 
The advice outlines what child sexual exploitation is, the tell tale signs to look out for and where to find help or report concerns.
 
Exploitation is a form of abuse which can affect young men and young women and often victims don't recognise what is happening to them.
 
Although child sexual exploitation is unusual, it's thought that there is under-reporting across the country.
 
The drive - which is supported by local agencies including Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, Rutland County Council, the NHS and district and borough councils - is designed to raise awareness and encourage people to talk about the issue which is often seen as taboo, and report concerns.
 
Paul Burnett, independent chair of the Leicestershire and Rutland Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "We want to reassure parents that although child sexual exploitation is rare, it's an issue we take extremely seriously.
 
"National research suggests under-reporting is an issue across the UK and we're keen to raise awareness by starting a conversation. Often the victims are not aware they're being exploited and we hope that this simple but powerful campaign will help people recognise the tell tale signs and encourage them to speak up if they have concerns."
 
David Jones, independent chair of the Leicester Safeguarding Children Board, said: "Child sexual exploitation, although rare, can devastate lives, so the safeguarding boards in Leicester City and Leicestershire and Rutland take this seriously.
 
"Preventing child sexual exploitation is everybody’s business, not just the police or social workers, and it is hoped the leaflets and information launched by both boards today will raise the profile across all communities."
 
The campaign includes sending flyers to taxi companies, B and Bs, pubs and other sections of the leisure industry.
 
Running until next Easter, it will also involve a theatre group visiting schools in the new year, online web chats and community engagement. It includes a series of seminars starting on 1st October which are being run by Leicestershire Police to help parents spot the signs of online sexual exploitation and protect their children.
 
The local safeguarding children boards are independent bodies who ensure that agencies are working together effectively to protect children.
 
Over the last 12 months, the two boards have:
 
  • trained over 500 teachers, social workers, police officers and other practitioners to help them spot the signs and know what to do if they suspect abuse
  • created a new child sexual exploitation action plan which councils, police, health and other agencies have signed up to .

From this week, the guidance for children is being sent out to schools. Copies of the leaflet for parents will be available from libraries, children's centres and local agencies.
 
 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

What do you think of Council Tax rises, 'Green Waste' collection charges and paying more for car parking?

You will have heard by now that North West Leicestershire District Council, like every other council in the country, are suffering tough financial times.

By 2016 the Council needs to save £1.5 million, that amount is forecast to rise to £2.84 million by 2018.

The Conservative administration at the Council have started making plans to realise savings.

They are planning on:
  • Raising your council tax.
  • Charging more for some services, like car parking, bulky waste collections for concessions or casual swimming for concessions.
  • Charging for some services that are currently free, for example a £30.00 charge for your 'green waste' wheelie bin.
  • Asking others to take on council services, for example moving more 'general fund' spending to Coalville special expenses which may mean getting rid of Christmas lights, or losing the annual 'Coalville Twenty13' style event.
  • Stopping some services altogether, for example by getting rid of the NWLDC Vision magazine.
No matter which party is in control of our district council tough decisions will need to be made.

The cuts that are being made by Tory-led Government to local councils will have a devastating effect.

My political opponent, Nick Rushton, summarised the situation perfectly when he recently spoke to local MP's:

'We left them in no doubt that popular services, from bus services to libraries, will not escape scot free, as we are losing more than a third of our budget....the question is whether the Government, which is responsible for our funding, will listen. I am not hopeful.'

The Conservative administration at North West Leicestershire District Council want to know what you think about their proposals.

You can read a detailed report here .

You can let your thoughts be known by clicking here .

UPDATED School Information - Teachers Strike on 1st October 2013

Parents will be aware that members of two teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT, are striking on Tuesday 1st October 2013.

The following list provides the current plans of schools which serve families in the Whitwick Division (i.e. Whitwick and Thringstone).

Whitwick St John the Baptist C of E Primary: Closed to all students

Holy Cross Primary School: Closed to all students

New Swannington Primary School: Closed to all students

Thringstone Primary School: Open to all students

Forest Way School: Closed to all students

Newbridge High School: Closed to all students

Castle Rock High School: Open to all students

King Edward VII: Closed to Year 10 and 11, Open to post-16 students

De Lisle School: Closed to all students

This list will be updated as further information becomes available.

Information has been gathered from school websites, Leicester Mercury website, Leicestershire County Council website or confirmed verbally by telephone call to the school.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Media Release - Guaranteed Interview for Veterans

Leicestershire veterans are set to get a guaranteed interview after cross party support for Labour’s proposal to introduce the Veterans Interview Programme for County Council vacancies.
 
Leicestershire has a proud and long standing affiliation to the armed services and this scheme recognises that.
 
Leon Spence, who tabled the proposal, said, “It can be difficult for returning Service men and women to reengage back into civilian life.
 
“This scheme is aimed and levelling the playing field for our veterans to ensure they get a fair shot at the civilian jobs market.”
 
Leon hopes that it doesn’t end there. His ambition for the scheme is that the County Council act as a catalyst and flag bearer; encouraging private and public sector bodies in the county to also adopt the scheme.
 
The DWP backed scheme was launched by Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy MP who said, “The talents of those leaving the Services are a big asset to business, but we must raise awareness of their skills and increase access to employment”
 
The scheme has already been adopted by O2, Greggs, John Lewis and New Look.
 
When implemented, Leicestershire County Council would be one of the first Public Sector bodies to participate in the programme.

Coalville Community Forum - Thursday 10th October

Community Forums are the place to Have Your Say!

The next Coalville Community Forum meeting will take place on Thursday 10th October 2013 at Newbrige Academy Trust, Forest Road, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 3SJ in their Performing Arts Area Hall.

Find out about the County Council's Personal Travel Planning Initiative, meet your local Councillors and view information about the successful Community Forum Budget projects.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

New grit bins in Thringstone

Cllr Dave Everitt and I are delighted to let local residents know that new grit bins have been installed around Thringstone.

Following last years heavy snow we have been working hard to ensure that the village is more prepared for this coming winter.

Sadly given the financial situation that all councils find themselves in and the strict siting criteria set down by the County Council it wasn't possible to get more than the three now installed.

New grit bins are located on the corner of Glebe Road and Tithe Close, the corner of Main Street and Glebe Road and the corner of Springfield and Heathfield.

There's always more that we can do and both Dave and I will keep striving to ensure the best services for local residents. As ever we'll keep working hard for you all year round.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Leicestershire Roadside Interview Surveys - you may be asked to stop by the police

I have recently been notified by County Hall that Leicestershire County Council will shortly be carrying our roadside interview surveys.

The surveys, which will take place on some roads in or nearby to Whitwick and Thringstone will commence on 24th September.

Motorists should be aware that the police will be responsible for stopping traffic at survey sites.

The operation of the surveys will involve stopping a sample of drivers who will be asked a few questions about their journeys; mainly the origin, destination and purpose.

The survey has been designed to minimise disruption but if you are stopped it will take around two minutes to complete.

Unfortunately it isn't possible to tell you where the surveys will take place as bias the results.

It isn't the intention of the County Council to cause disruption however these type of surveys are invaluable in planning future transport investment.

Further surveys will also be carried out in spring and summer next year.

Monday, 16 September 2013

North West Leicestershire to raise parking charges?

Plans have been revealed by North West Leicestershire Conservatives to increase parking charges around the district.

Whilst our town centres are still suffering from the blight of empty shop fronts and hard working local families from a lack of disposable income it's expected that charges for parking will increase on 1 April 2014.

If proposals tabled for approval are accepted parking for 1 hour will increase from 50p to 60p, for 2 hours from 80p to £1.00 and All Day from £2.00 to £2.20. Charges for 3 hours will remain unchanged.

It is expected that increasing parking charges will bring in around £100,000 income to the council.

What do you think?

Are our car parks good value?

Are you less likely to use our town centres?

Your comments would be very much appreciated.

Are you a keen recycler? Charging to empty your 'brown bin'

If so then read on...

We all understand in these austere times that our Councils have to save money.

At this time of year local authorities start positing how they can make the books balance from next April, and North West Leicestershire District Council is no different.

Next Tuesday the Conservative Cabinet will meet to consider proposed cost savings for the 2014/15 financial year and as you might expect most of them either mean cutting services or you paying more for them.

Perhaps most controversial is a proposal to start charging you to empty your brown 'Green Waste' bin.

Papers released by NWLDC reveal plans to charge £30 a year to collect your bin, which will be reduced to £25 if you pay by Direct Debit.

Although the scheme won't come fully online until the summer of 2015 it is forecast that savings of £22,000 will be made next year with annual savings of £150,000 when the scheme is fully operational.

In the same papers it's revealed that NWLDC will start refusing to collect bins which have been put out late, saving a further £10,000 a year.

What do you think?

Is £30 a year a reasonable charge?

Will charging to collect your 'brown bin' stop you from recycling? Will you do more home composting? or will you just press your 'black bin' down more?

Your comments would be appreciated?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Waste tip opening times

As Leicestershire County Council continue in their drive to make savings the attention of the Conservative Cabinet has turned this afternoon to Household Waste Sites.

At their meeting the Cabinet agreed to the following changes:

  • From 1 April to 30 September each year sites will be open 7 days per week from 9.00am to 7.00pm.
  • From 1 October to 31 March each year, sites will open for 5 days per week from 9.00am to 4.00pm. Leicestershire County Council will ensure all sites are open at weekends and a proportion of sites around the county will be open every day during the week.
  • Sites will continue to close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
Each site will publicise which days they are to close.

It is anticipated that the changes to opening hours will come into effect from 1 November.

The Council has some very tough financial challenges facing it over the coming years.

It seems to me that the approved changes will not have a significant impact on residents although they will be slightly more inconvenienced. However, as we try to minimise the impact of massive cuts elsewhere it's one measure which seems to me at least well thought out and as far as these things can go, welcome.

The Oak, Whitwick

Further to local speculation about the future of The Oak I have been in contact with Midland Cooperative Society (MCS).

MCS have confirmed to me that they have indeed purchased the site as part of their property investment strategy.

They have made it clear that it is not their intention to 'landbank' the site but to bring it back to an alternative use as soon as possible.

MCS have several ideas for how the site may be used, which at this time do not include a retail shop, however until they have finalised their own intentions they cannot say what the likely use will be. (subject to planning approval).

I have stressed to MCS the importance of not letting the site deteriorate, as we have seen with The Fox in Thringstone, a point which they fully accept.

MCS have also confirmed to me that it is their intention to start construction work on the approved Whitwick Marketplace store in the very near future.

As I get further information I will make sure I keep you informed.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

APPEAL - Man sought by Leicestershire Police

Daniel Perry
Leicestershire Police is asking for the public’s help in locating a man they would like to speak to in connection with several incidents in and around the county.
 
Officers would like to speak to Daniel Perry, 13/08/1979, from the Shepshed area of Leicestershire, about incidents including commercial burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and thefts from motor vehicles.
 
Police have released an image of Perry in the hope that someone will recognise him and report his whereabouts to the police.
 
Inspector Johnny Monks the Local Policing Commander said: “We are asking that you take a moment to look at the photo, do you recognise this man? Do you know where he may be?
 
“This man is wanted for numerous criminal offences committed in Loughborough, Shepshed, Hathern, Sileby and Coalville.
 
“In the latest incident which took place last night (September 9), Perry failed to stop for police officers and injured an officer by ramming their police vehicle.
 
“Be assured that all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
 
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Loughborough Police by calling 101, follow the instructions and speak to an operator who will inform local police officers. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous, on 0800 555 111.
 
Calls to 101 cost 15p for the entire call from both mobile phones and land lines. Please note some mobile phone service providers may charge for the call to Crimestoppers.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Please behave responsibly with your dog - Leicestershire Police

Leicestershire Police are encouraging dog owners to behave responsibly when taking their pets out in public.
 
This is due to police in the North West Leicestershire area seeing an increase in dogs attack reports both on people and other dogs.
 
PC Adam Archer, Northwest Leicestershire Police, said: “People need to understand that if their dog, or a dog they are in charge of, attacks another person or another animal then they are liable and potentially face prosecution for a criminal offence.
 
“Therefore, it is important that dog owners keep their dogs under control at all times.”
 
The most effective way to ensure a dog is under control when out in public is to ensure it is kept on a lead at all times, as this ensures the owner has control over their pet’s behaviour and can deter the animal from attacking other dogs. It is also recommended that dogs are trained in basic obedience so that they understand and react to commands as instructed.
 
Dog owners are also reminded not to let their pets roam the streets alone. This is an offence and there are financial penalties if the dog is picked up by a dog warden and impounded.
 
Anyone with information about crime and anti-social behaviour in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland is urged to call Leicestershire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, which is free * and anonymous on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Grant funding for community groups and organisations

Does your community organisation have plans for a special event or maybe a one-off project? If so, read on...

The North West Leicestershire District Council ‘One Off’ grant fund is open to community organisations and groups within the district to apply for a maximum of £450 to fund either a particular project or initiative. 

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they are able to meet one or more of the Councils Strategic Aims. 

Future deadlines for the 2013/14 are: 30th September 2013 and 31st December 2013.

In 2012/13 a total of thirty two ‘One Off’ grant applications were approved by the Council’s Grants Review Working Party.  Amongst the successful applicants were community group Friends of Westfields to run a new Mums and Tots group and organize their summer fete; Ravenstone Local History Group received funding towards production of a leaflet illustrating historical walks; The Palace Community Centre received funding towards their Christmas Festival in Ibstock; Ellistown Allotment & Gardens received funding towards the purchase of alarmed padlocks and Crimestoppers marking kit.

Grants of up to £250 are also available from the Coalville Special Expenses Community Chest grant fund for Community groups and organisations within the Coalville Special Expenses Area (Coalville, Bardon, Snibston, Thringstone, and Greenhill)

If you know of a community group or organisation that could benefit from receiving our funding, please take a look at the Application Form and Guidance Notes on the Council’s internet site –

http://www.nwleics.gov.uk/pages/grants_and_development_fund

If you need any help or assistance, please do not hesitate to pick up the telephone and give us a call on 01530 454541 or email grants@nwleicestershire.gov.uk

One off grants can make a real difference to the life of a community. If your group has an idea which could benefit your area please consider applying.

Friday, 23 August 2013

What happens to your washing machine when you give it to the scrap man?

It costs YOU money to tidy up
We have all heard those out of tune horns played by unlicensed scrap dealers who come around regularly looking for old white goods and other unwanted metal.

But have you ever considered what can happen once you give the scrap man your old washing machine? Today I found out.

After I became aware of an abandoned fridge freezer recently I contacted North West Leicestershire District Council to ask them to remove it and investigate to see if it would be possible to hold someone responsible for flytipping.

The response surprised me.

I am told that a problem which is becoming increasingly common is that white goods which are given to unlicensed scrap dealers are simply stripped of their motors (the bit that is apparently worth money) and then thrown off the back of the van onto grass verges and in laybys which, of course, costs you as taxpayers money because someone (usually the local council) has to clear those unsightly and often dangerous illegal dumping sites up.

If you have any unwanted old white goods or scrap metal please think about how you are going to dispose of them. Getting rid of electrical items, if it is done properly, COSTS money.

If you are thinking of giving a ripped out dishwasher to someone coming round playing an out of tune horn ask to see their waste disposal licence.

Remember, if you give an old fridge or washing machine to an unlicensed scrap dealer there is a very real possibility that you will be responsible for flytipping.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Fantastic opportunity for charities, community groups and local businesses

Do you run a charity or community group?

Are you a local business that sometimes needs to dispose of surplus stock or equipment?

If so, read on...

I have recently been told about a locally based website that have come up with a great solution of linking up businesses with surplus stock and equipment to responsibly and economically dispose of it by passing it on charities and community groups.

What a great idea!

If you want to know more take a look at www.givingworldonline.com

A quick search will show there are loads of lots which may be of use to your charity or community group.

There are rules that you can't sell items on and you have to arrange for collection, but I suppose that is the least you can do isn't it?

One regular user of the website told me 'the lots are so useful and make a real difference to us, givingworldonline.com is fantastic'.

Whitwick Music Festival - 25 August

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Whitwick Number plate event

On Saturday 24th August between 10am and 3pm, Leicestershire Police volunteers together with staff from Coalville Tyre and Exhaust, will be holding an event where motorists can have free anti theft number plate screws fitted. This will take place at;

Hermitage Leisure Centre, Silver Street, Whitwick, Coalville, LE67 5EU

No appointment is necessary

Police in North West Leicestershire launch “Don’t be a zigzag shark” schools parking campaign.

PCSO Cheryl Moore outside
St John the Baptist Church of England Primary School
As local schools return after the summer break, the police in North West Leicestershire are embarking on a campaign of education and enforcement to reduce problems caused by inconsiderate parking near to school entrances.

The first stage of the campaign will be to warn and advise parents of their bad parking, and as a reminder they will be given an air freshener containing the campaign slogan, ‘Don’t be a zigzag shark.’

This will be followed where necessary, by enforcement in conjunction with officers from North West Leicestershire District Council where drivers who fail to heed the advice will be issued with fixed penalty notices or prosecuted. In cases of obstruction this could result in their vehicle being towed away.

In parallel with the ongoing campaign of education and enforcement, pupils at two schools in Whitwick: Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, and St John the Baptist Church of England Primary School, will be participating in a road safety poster competition, with prizes donated by the Leicestershire Police Road Safety team.

PCSO 6580 Cheryl Moore from the Bardon Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “Inconsiderate and illegal parking near to school entrances places children at risk. We would urge parents to park safely and legally, even if it means having to walk a few minutes to the school.

“We are hopeful that our campaign will strike a chord with parents and that they will think carefully about where they park when dropping their children off at school.”

Christine Killip, Headteacher of St John the Baptist Church of England Primary School said: “We are introducing several initiatives to encourage parents to consider the safety of the children when travelling to school especially by car. Our School Council has been proactive in seeking improvements to the traffic problems by meeting with a local councillor and traffic officer and they are promoting the values of a positive community to which we hope parents will respond.”

Anyone wanting further information about parking issues can contact North West Leicestershire District Council by ringing 01530 454598, or by email street.enforcement@nwleicestershire.gov.uk
PCSO Cheryl Moore of North West Leicestershire Local Policing Unit can be contacted by ringing 101. Follow the instructions to leave a message for an officer and when prompted key in her identification number 6580.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Thringstone Miners Welfare Social Club - Prospective change of opening hours

The management of Thringstone Miners Social Centre on Homestead Road have asked North West Leicestershire District Council to remove a condition from their planning permission which would allow them to have longer opening hours at the Clubhouse.

The application to relax the planning condition is to enable the social club to have opening hours consistent with similar other clubs.

The original planning condition was that the social club could open:

Monday to Thursday until 10:00pm.
Friday and Saturday until midnight.
Sunday until 7.00pm.

The club are asking permission to open:

Monday to Thursday until 11:00pm.
Friday and Saturday until midnight.
Sunday until 10:30pm.

If you have any views regarding this issue please let me know by no later than this Friday, 16 August, in order that I can feedback to the planning department.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Helping our ex-servicemen and women into employment

Over the past few years Help for Heroes has rightly become one of the most supported charities in Britain.

Help for Heroes provides invaluable support for our wounded servicemen and their families but every year there are thousands of servicemen and women who leave our armed forces and have to face the difficult task of moving back into civilian life, for many it is not easy.

I believe as a society we owe a great deal to those who defend our country. Those who, without question, put their lives on the line to defend all of us.

Without a doubt those men and women have served our country with more commitment and dedication than most of us ever could hope to, I know I couldn't place myself at risk in the same way that our armed forces knowingly do on a daily basis.

That is why, I believe, we must do all we reasonably can to help our ex-servicemen and women transition back into civilian life.

Sadly finding employment is often all too difficult for those recently leaving the forces.

I was therefore delighted to hear recently about Labour controlled Rochdale Council's adoption of a guaranteed job interview scheme for Armed Forces Leavers.

In a world where large numbers of people are applying for every job with the council Rochdale are guaranteeing that ex-servicemen and women who meet the person specification of a vacancy will be offered an interview.

I believe that such a scheme offers distinct advantages not only to those that we owe so much who are looking for a job, but also brings benefits to the council who will have the opportunity to meet disciplined and committed potential employees.

It would be great to see such schemes, which internationally are commonplace, become more widespread amongst local authorities and other public and private employers.

Over the coming weeks and months I intend on lobbying our local councils and businesses to do just that.

It would be great to hear your views.



Thursday, 25 July 2013

When Leicestershire County Council needs to save so much what is the excuse for needless waste?

Leicestershire County Council has got to save upwards of £100 million pounds over the coming years.

To make those savings we will see efficiency improvements, new charges, increases to council tax and not least cuts to services.

We all appreciate it's tough times right now which it makes it all the more galling when we see money being wasted.

Which turns me to this weeks Coalville Times.

Leicestershire County Council, as they are obliged to, have published and presumably paid for getting on towards two full pages of Public Notices about temporary traffic orders (and the like) in this weeks newspaper.

All well and good so far...

Coalville Times - 26 July
The only problem is of the 12 notices published only 1 of them (and that is somewhat tenuous) is for the area covered by the Coalville Times!

This week the Coalville Times has Public Notices covering Oadby, Enderby, Market Harborough and Wanlip... to name but a few!

Now I fully appreciate that the County Council are obliged to publish notification of traffic orders, and so on, but surely the first rule is that they should be published in a newspaper relevant to the area where the order is being made?

My question is how much did these pointless Public Notices cost? and, if the Coalville Times is full of irrelevant notices how much is being wasted, perhaps weekly, in publications across the county?

The Conservative administration at County Hall is rightly setting an agenda seeking to improve efficiency.

I shall be asking in what world could errors like this be seen as efficient or cost effective, or is it a matter of the Tory Cabinet taking their eye off the ball?