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.