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
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


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.