Thursday, 27 February 2014

Investment programme planned for North West Leicestershire

More than £800,000 will be spent on a series improvement schemes across North West Leicestershire following a meeting of the District Council on Tuesday 25 February.

Councillors agreed that all proposed capital schemes would go ahead over the next four years, including a new astro-turf pitch and car parking at Hermitage Recreation Ground, an upgraded car park surface in Ashby and recycling separating technology.

The following key schemes will go ahead between 2014 and 2018:

Hermitage Recreation Ground – astro-turf replacement - £140,000
The current surface is fourteen years old and has worn significantly.  The fencing is also in poor repair.  The improvement work will reduce maintenance costs and bring in extra income for the council as more sport groups use the facility.

Hermitage Recreation Ground – car park - £11,500
The two access roads and the car park for the all weather pitch will be resurfaced

South Street, Ashby – car park resurfacing – £22,500
This popular car park will be completely resurfaced, as repairs are not economical

Linden Way Depot – material separating technology - £190,000
This technology, which is widely available and used by other councils, will be used to separate plastic and cans collected by the refuse teams.  This will generate more income for the council, as separated recycling brings a higher price.

Whitwick Business Centre – central heating system - £150,000 
The current central heating system, which is very old and regularly needs extensive repairs, will be replaced with a new environmentally-friendly heating system

Other schemes include an upgrade to the council’s computer network, replacement of the data disaster recovery system, a fire alarm audit at Hood Park Leisure Centre and a fire risk system at the Appelby Magna Caravan Site.

Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “Whilst a number of our capital investments are necessary to upgrade old equipment or facilities, many of these investments will also save or generate money in the longer term. 

"For example, the new astro-turf at Hermitage Recreation Ground will make the facility much more appealing to footballers, and we expect its use to increase significantly. Similarly, we can charge a higher price for recycling that is thoroughly sorted into materials, so the sorting technology at the depot will increase our income.  I’m pleased that the council is in a good financial position, and is able to make these improvements to its services.”

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Proposed changes to school transport - impact on Thringstone residents

Leicestershire County Council are currently carrying out a consultation on proposed changes for home to school transport.

The changes will mean that free school buses are only provided for children to their nearest school if that school is more than 3 miles away (2 miles for primary schools).

Investigations show that a number of Thringstone families may be affected by these proposals.

Historically most children who have attended Thringstone Primary School have 'fed up' to Newbridge High School in Coalville as the village has fell in the secondary schools catchment area. Many children living in the north of the village (Henson's Lane, Springfield, Melrose Road etc.) have received free bus transport as Newbridge is more than 3 miles from their home.

Under the proposals free bus transport would not be provided to Newbridge as Castle Rock High School is nearer and seemingly (using walking routes on Google Maps) less than 3 miles from any home in Thringstone, meaning that free transport would not be provided to that school either.

The County Council are proposing the changes will come into effect from September 2015 and will not affect any children currently at Newbridge who receive a free bus pass.

County Councillor for Thringstone, Leon Spence, said "I would strongly urge any parents who think they may be affected to respond to the consultation before it closes on 12 March.

The consultation can be completed online by clicking here.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Cost of democracy to rise in Whitwick?

Today the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has announced a new warding pattern, to come into effect in May 2015,  for North West Leicestershire District Council comprised of 38 'single member wards'.


The warding pattern will mean that Whitwick, which has long been represented by a 3 councillors in a 'multi member ward' will now be divided into 4 distinct wards (picking up parts of the old Thringstone and Greenhill wards) each represented by a single councillor.


Whilst this might not make a great difference to local people the knock on effect to Whitwick Parish Council and local residents almost certainly will.


As a result of the LGBCE decision the civil parish of Whitwick will now become warded, which means that in May 2015 separate elections will have to take place for each ward.


Currently Whitwick Parish is represented wholly by 11 Parish Councillors. From next May 2 Parish Councillors will be returned from the Broom Leys ward and 3 each respectively from Holly Hayes, Hermitage and Thornborough.


County Councillor for Whitwick, Leon Spence, expressed his concern "What this means is that the cost of carrying out elections in Whitwick, a cost borne directly by local residents, may well increase significantly.


"In 2011 £6,500 was budgeted  to cover the cost of the inaugural election for the Parish Council but because only 9 prospective candidates put their name forward an election was not needed and the actual cost was £43.26.


"Under these new arrangements it's entirely possible that some wards will have more prospective candidates than places, thereby forcing an election, whilst other wards may have nobody putting themselves forward to stand.


"It is quite possible that in 2015 the cost of electing a Parish Council could top £10,000 - and we may still end up having to hold additional elections or co-opting.


"I desperately want to see more local people taking part in the life of the Parish Council but these ridiculous proposals could have the effect of taking money away from local services whilst at the same time turning aspiring candidates off the democratic process even further.


"The sensible thing to do to increase participation is to hold a single election for the whole of Whitwick, the boundary commission have done just about the daftest thing with these recommendations."


Full details of LGBCE's proposals can be found here.



Monday, 24 February 2014

Whitwick burglary - appeal for witnesses

Police are appealing for witnesses following a burglary which has taken place on Talbot Street.

The incident happened between 10:30pm last Thursday, 20 February, and 6:45pm the following morning.

Burglars gained entry by forcing a ground floor window and made off with a rare make of television, playstation and remote controls.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have information is urged to call the police on 101, or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Proposed new housing development - Loughborough Road, Thringstone

Proposed site highlighted in red
Property developers Investin Properties have announced that they are working up an outline planning application for a new housing development (with detailed means of access) to a parcel of land to the west of Loughborough Road, Thringstone.

Working alongside local chartered surveyors, Fisher German, the developers have announced they will be looking to build up to 85 homes on the site with 20% being 'affordable' dwellings.

The developers have confirmed that it will be their intention to retain existing hedgerows and trees as well as adding additional planting, landscaping and public open space.

If approved the developers will seek to access the site directly off Loughborough Road which will mean some rearrangement of existing traffic calming measures.

As part of the next steps Fisher German will be holding a public exhibition of their current intentions and asking for local resident views on Thursday 27 February between 4pm and 7pm at Thringstone Community Centre, The Green.

District Councillor for Thringstone, Leon Spence, said "I would urge all local residents to attend the exhibition and let the developers know their views.

"Developers really do listen at these type of events and will usually finalise their planning applications informed by them."



Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Coalville Rugby Club - Memorial Game

Local people are invited to Coalville Rugby Club on Wednesday 26th February for a memorial match which might just have a little spice to it.

The club are staging the Stu Ewing Memorial Match between a Coalville 3rd XV and a side made up of the counties finest, a Leicestershire Police XV.

The match is being played in memory of Stu who was both a member of Coalville RFC and a serving police officer when he passed away unexpectedly at work.

Weather and pitch permitting the match will kick off at 7.00pm

£31.4m annual saving if county had one council? An issue which must be debated

An independent report reveals that having a single council for Leicestershire would save up to £31.4 million per year - helping to protect frontline services and reduce Council Tax bills by an average 3.1 per cent.
 
Leicestershire County Council has published the report online today, at a time that the authority has to save £110 million by 2018.
 
County council leader Nick Rushton said: “We commissioned the report following a strong steer from Council Taxpayers and local MPs.
 
“People who responded to our budget consultation last summer said they wanted fewer councillors and public service organisations. And when we briefed MPs about our financial situation, they mooted the idea of a unitary council.
 
“I’m not commenting on the conclusions today and I’m not advocating an immediate campaign, either for or against. But, at a time we must save a third of our budget and front-line services have to be reduced, this report is an important contribution to the public debate. We’re happy to hear from members of the public.”
 
County Councillor for Whitwick, Leon Spence, said: "There is an important debate to be had, and we do need to have it.
 
"There is a potential to save many millions of pounds and cut council tax significantly. At the same time we have to ensure that services continue to be delivered locally and that local people remain in touch with and part of the decision making process."
 
The report, by consultants Ernst and Young, says:
 
•Having a single, unitary council for Leicestershire would save up to £31.4 million per year, compared to the cost of running the current county council and seven district and borough councils.
 
•The costs of setting up the new council - £12.8 million - would be repaid in just over a year, mainly from reduced management and support service costs.
 
•The savings could lead to a reduction in Council Tax of more than £7 million per year across the county. The current average band D Council Tax for county and district councils would reduce by 3.1 per cent (£37 per year). Of the 280,000 properties in Leicestershire, more than 230,000 would see their Council Tax bill reduce by between 0.6 per cent and 8.4 per cent.
 
•Experience from the last wave of unitary councils, including Shropshire and Durham, shows they “engage and empower” local areas, through new forums and committees with devolved budgets.
 
•Experience from Cornwall and Wiltshire shows how extensive service cuts can be avoided, due to the savings achieved by unitary status.
 
•Based on Boundary Commission advice and what has happened in other areas, the number of councillors in Leicestershire could reduce from 316 at the moment to around 100 in a unitary council.
 
Ernst and Young says its report is guided by four key principles:
 
1.Reducing the cost of being in business, by eliminating duplication of running costs
2.Improving service efficiency, by integrating services
3.Improving local political engagement and leadership, by ensuring councillors are closer to parishes, towns and communities
4.Ensuring a council’s area is a “natural community”, with a recognised geographic identity and pride
 
The full report is available at  www.leics.gov.uk/unitary_council_report

Monday, 10 February 2014

North West Leiestershire District Council is planning on freezing council tax...

What do you think?

Is it a welcome relief in a world of increasing bills?

Or, are vital public services suffering and you would be prepared to pay a bit more?

Leave a comment and vote in the online poll.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Thringstone Post Office to move?

The Post Office have today announced plans to move its Thringstone branch.

Thringstone Post Office has been located at 6 The Green for 50+ years but now, as part of a three year investment and support programme, plans have been announced to relocate to Thringstone Stores, 19-23 Loughborough Road.

As part of the move Post Office services will be offered from a till on the retail counter in the store with longer opening hours and the majority of Post Office products and services still being available at the new location.

There will now be a public consultation process, starting from 7 February and lasting until 21 March, to allow all local residents to have their say on the plans.

If all proposals go to plan it is envisaged the relocation will take place in May.

County Councillor Leon Spence said 'I would urge all local people to have their say on the proposals. I'm sure that everyone wants to see a Post Office in Thringstone for many years to come and relocating the service to Thringstone Stores will be one way of ensuring this.'

You can make your views known by logging on to www.postofficeviews.co.uk and entering the branch code 28721799.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

FREE Health Checks come to Thringstone

North West Leicestershire District Council are to run free health clinics offering a range of health and well-being advice.

Come along to Thringstone Members Club, (formerly Rangers Club) Loughborough Road, Thringstone on 11th February 2014 between 2pm and 6pm and you will be able to get your FREE cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index screenings.

These successful clinics offer a range of health and well-being advice, including the new Posture Analysis screening, advice on how to stop smoking, diet and nutrition, back to basics cookery and much more.

There are fun exercise challenges with prizes for all ages, fun activities for children and fruit juices to try during the afternoon.

Organised by the Council, the clinics can help you make positive changes to your lifestyle and are a fantastic opportunity to access free healthchecks and find out how they can improve their health and well-being in 2014 and beyond.

For further information contact Julie Summerton 01530 454541 or e mail julie.summerton@nwleicestershire.gov.uk

Talbot Street Housing Plan - Rejected

Plans to build 8 homes on Talbot Street, Whitwick have tonight been rejected by North West Leicestershire District Council's Planning Committee.

Councillors from all political parties supported County Councillor Leon Spence's call to reject the application.

Councillor Spence had previously expressed concern about road safety and the potential for flooding at the nearby Grace Dieu Brook.

Councillor Spence said at the meeting '...this application is wrong and the statutory consultees are wrong.

'The application endangers the lives of motorists and pedestrians. It endangers the homes of local residents.'

Following the meeting Councillor Spence said 'Neighbours have been gravely concerned about the potential impact of this development, I very much welcome the decision of the Planning Committee.'