Monday, 28 April 2014

Local councillor to 'live below the line'

District Councillor for Thringstone, Leon Spence, is this week taking part in 'live below the line' - an international project to raise awareness of extreme poverty.

The campaign, which supports charities including Unicef, Save the Children and Oxfam, challenges people from western countries to eat and drink for 5 days on a budget of just £1 a day - the internationally accepted 'Extreme Poverty Line'.

It's calculated that currently 1.2 billion people around the world, around 20 times the population of the UK, live in extreme poverty.

Leon said 'I'm really lucky. Taking part in 'live below the line' is something I can do but be safe in the knowledge that I've got a roof over my head and something to fall back on. Hopefully it will help me to better understand some of the discomfort millions of people around the world go through on a daily basis without having that backup.

'For many £1 a day has to pay not only for food and drink but everything else as well. For most people in this country making the conscious decision to live 'in poverty' is a discomfort with a clear end date, it's not the lifelong predicament millions see themselves in with hope of escape.

'The aim of the project is very much to raise awareness but also funds. If anyone would like to know more then they can check out, it's not too late.'

Further information about 'live below the line', or to sign up, can be found by going to

Controversial planning application due to be decided

A controversial plan to build four new homes off Loughborough Road, Whitwick is due to be considered by the Planning Committee of North West Leicestershire District Council.

The plan to build three bungalows and one detached house on a plot accessed from 191 Loughborough Road has seen 204 letters of objection from local residents sent to the council and has been 'called in' by Whitwick District Councillor, Ray Woodward.

Whilst planning officers are recommending that the application be approved local residents are highlighting many areas of concern including the site being in the least sustainable part of the village,  the impact on surrounding countryside being unacceptable and the dangerous precedent for further development approval would set.

The application will be determined on Tuesday 6th May.

What do you think? Should more houses be built on Loughborough Road? Will permission create a dangerous precedent that starts to endager the beautiful countryside? Leave a comment

Charles Booth awarded Green Plaque

Leicestershire County Council have announced that Victorian philanthropist and social reformer Charles Booth will be honoured by becoming one of the first six recipients of the authorities prestigious 'Green Plaque' scheme.

Booth, a successful businessman who lived in Thringstone, organised and funded a survey on poverty and was instrumental in the introduction of the universal old age pension.

The plaques whose recipients were voted for by Leicestershire residents are aimed at recognising the significant contributions made by notable places and people in the county.

Chair of Friends of Thringstone Nita Pearson said “Friends of Thringstone is exceptionally pleased to learn that Charles Booth has been granted a Green Plaque. As a village, we are incredibly proud of our association with the Booth family. Charles Booth did a lot for the village, but also gave to the nation as a whole by working to highlight the issues of poverty."

Ray Woodward, District Councillor for Whitwick, who also nominated Mr Booth commented “This is wonderful news! It recognises Charles Booth as the entrepreneur and philanthropist who gave the community centre to the local area.”

Charles Booth is in prestigious company as a recipient of the award. Plaques have also been announced for Brigadier-General James Lochhead Jack, Dambuster pilot Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Rice, missionary Alice Young, founder of Monty Python Graham Chapman and the John Taylor Bellfoundary of Loughborough.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Picnic in the Park 2014 – call for stalls

Community groups and charities are invited to book a stall at one of Coalville’s biggest family days of the year – Picnic in the Park.

The event, which will be held in Coalville Park on Sunday 29 June from 12 noon to 5.30pm, is just one part of a whole weekend of family friendly events and activities in Coalville.  

Pitches are available to community and charity organisations from £18, giving a chance to raise the profile of groups, boost funds and enjoy a good day out. 

The fun-filled weekend is organised by North West Leicestershire District Council and the Coalville Town Team.  

Included on the bill is the popular Motorfest in the town centre on Saturday 28 June, followed by Picnic in the Park on Sunday 29 June.  The relaxed Sunday event gives families the chance to meet at the park for a picnic, whilst enjoying the traditional atmosphere, family entertainment and a choice of community and charity stalls. 

Councillor Alison Smith MBE, Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Deputy Leader at North West Leicestershire District Council, said “Visitors to our annual event have always enjoyed relaxing in the park, and this year we’ve reverted the name back to ‘Picnic in the Park’, simply because that is what everyone calls it! 

“The event has a reputation of being a fantastic family day out, with lots of things to see and do.  Adding to all the greenery and relaxing atmosphere, the park will be filled with arts and crafts, live music, cycling activities, children’s entertainment, community and charity stalls and food and drink, which will bring it alive with fun and laughter.”

 Any groups that are interested in booking a pitch should contact Julia Harley on 01530 454604 or email 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Post Office confirm move to new Thringstone premises

The Post Office have confirmed that they will be proceeding with a move to new premises in Thringstone.

In a letter to customers who responded to a recent consultation the Post Office have confirmed that the current branch at 6 The Green will close on Wednesday 21 May with the new branch opening at Thringstone Stores, Loughborough Road the following day.

The three page letter from Adrian Wales, Regional Network Manager for the Post Office, acknowledges customer concerns raised as part of the consultation process 'I am confident that the new branch is suitably located and that this new way of offering Post Office services will meet customer needs, whilst helping to provide future sustainability for the branch.'

County Councillor for Thringstone, Leon Spence, said 'I'm delighted that the long term future of the Post Office in Thringstone has been secured.  For many people, particularly the elderly, the Post Office is a vital lifeline and it's great to know that it will continue to be there for them.'

A copy of the Post Office's decision letter can be viewed here.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Plans formally submitted for 85 new homes on Loughborough Road, Thringstone

Property company Investin Properties Ltd have submitted an outline planning application for 85 new homes at Loughborough Road, Thringstone.
Developers sketch of potential layout

The application follows a public consultation on the proposals at Thringstone Community Centre, which was held on Thursday 27th February.
Whilst the application specifies the building of 85 homes it does not state the mix of privately owned and affordable housing options or how many bedrooms each property will have.

The applicants state that having listened to local resident concerns following their public consultation event that 'the exact amount of affordable housing the development will provide will be determined in negotiation with the Local Planning Authority based on evidenced local need.' 

Perhaps the most contentious aspect of the application with local residents is the potential detrimental effect on local roads, particularly where the site is proposed to access on to Loughborough Road and any domino effect on access to the nearby A512.

The applicants have contracted civil engineers Armstrong Stokes & Clayton Limited to conduct a transport assessment. Their 130 page report shows that at peak times the development would generate 53 traffic movements per hour (or 461 over a 24 hour period). They conclude 'The development will not have a detrimental impact on the operation of the local highway network in the vicinity of the site...'
County Councillor for Thringstone, Leon Spence, said 'It's vitally important that any application ensures that road safety and capacity isn't adversely effected. I will be asking the County Council, as highways authority, to provide substantial assurance that our roads can cope with the extra traffic generated.

Cllr Spence continued 'Local people are understandably going to be concerned about any large development such as this, for example they will have worries about the knockon effects  to local schools and services. I would strongly urge any concerned residents to contact me and I will be happy to represent them.'

Proposed site access

Sunday, 13 April 2014

New homes set for Thornborough Road, Whitwick?

Land at Thornborough Road
8 new homes are set for an empty plot on Thornborough Road, Whitwick.

A planning application has been received by North West Leicestershire District Council for the construction of the affordable dwellings, together with 'associated parking and formation of new access' at land adjacent to 223 Thornborough Road.

District Councillor, Leon Spence, said 'It would be good to hear the views of local residents about this application.

'As it stands right now the application will be determined by officers without going to the planning committee. It's vital that if neighbours have objections to the application that they speak to me as soon as possible so that we can ask for the matter to be considered by the full committee.'

Easter Craft Fair - Coalville Market

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Coalville Park name change?

A few months ago a letter was sent to the Coalville Times suggesting that Coalville Park be renamed to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 and those who lost their lives as part of it.

The letter suggested the name 'Coalville Centenary Park' might be appropriate.

What do you think?

Should Coalville Park's name be changed as a memorial? or, is Memorial Square sufficient?

Should the name reflect the fallen and veterans from all wars?

Would a change which may cost several thousand pounds, for new signs and legal costs, be a good use of taxpayers money?

Would a name change be appropriate for other parts of the district, for example 'Whitwick Great War Memorial Park'?

What do you think? Your comments would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Thringstone Co-op secures Green Footprints award

2014 Green Footprints award winners
Central England Co-operative have secured a prestigious Green Footprint award for the
redevelopment of their Thringstone store on the site of the old Rose & Crown.

The awards, now in their sixth year, are organised by North West Leicestershire District Council and seek to recognise and reward local businesses, community groups, schools and young people for their commitment to making our district a cleaner, greener place to live.

The Co-op picked up their award in the 'Sustainable Urban Design' category with judges particularly commending the supermarket chain on how the store blends into its surroundings.

James Barker from Central England Co-operative, said “We’re looking to make all our new stores as low carbon footprint as possible and fit in with our local communities.  We’ve really listened to the communities we’re building in  to make sure that we fit in with what they need and do what we can to provide them with the services they require within their village.” 

Other winners this year include Castle Donington Detachment Army Cadet Force, Coleorton and New Lount Volunteers and Snarestone Primary School.

Holly Hayes woodlands management plan given seal of approval

The following press release has been issued by Friends of Holly Hayes Wood:

Friends of Holly Hayes Woods are delighted that their Woodland Management Plan has received the thumbs up from various agencies, including the Forestry Commission, National Forest Company, Natural England and Leicestershire County Council.

The group – all volunteers, have worked with all these agencies to produce a 20 year detailed Woodland Management plan to ensure the woods are receiving the best possible care – protecting the trees, flora and wildlife in the 65 acre site.

All the agencies will give on-going advice and regular monitoring visits.

The group employ a professional Woodsman, Tony Smith, to oversee the work, assisted by young trainees learning forestry skills. He said "I am delighted to have this approved plan in place. Whilst I have extensive experience and qualifications in forestry and conservation, it is so valuable to have this wealth of expertise on the end of a phone or regularly visiting the woodland."

The training is carried out in partnership with Whitwick Community Enterprises, and their Training Director – Rhonda Dean – said "The woodland management plan makes life so easy. We always worried about balancing training courses with the needs of the woodland, but now it is so simple. We match training courses to the plan, and then we know that the tasks carried out by our trainees are exactly what the woods needs at that time."

Part of the site is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest so Natural England have statutory duties to oversee the management there. They have included the woods in their Higher Level Stewardship scheme, which provides funding for work carried out under their advice.

The first task required by Natural England is to fence of the area with the most rare plants and wildlife. Small parts of the area will then be closed off occasionally to allow these rare species to thrive, but these occasions will be minimal, and the vast majority of the woodland will remain open throughout the year.

Volunteer Doreen Cridland said "The woodland is there for the community, that is why we raised the money to buy it in the first place, to save it from development. However we do need to balance that with preserving rare species, so occasionally small areas will be closed, but the main site will always be open."

The group are working on providing boards and signs to explain their management scheme to visitors, and Natural England have offered to fund those. However temporary signs erected for the same purpose have been consistently torn down, so the group are now considering a more permanent solution.

Friends of Holly Hayes Wood is a Voluntary Community Group operating in Whitwick – North West Leicestershire. In 2008 they purchased Holly Hayes Woods, from the local quarrying company. The aims of the group is to provide a community woodland in perpetuity and to provide training opportunities in land management and conservation. The group is made up totally of volunteers. In addition there is a community of friends, local people who are interested in the work.

The site is 65 Acres, and as well as the ancient woodland, it has a meadow area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Rare species found in the area includes creeping willow, newts and several species of insect and butterfly.

On acquisition of the woods the first task was clearing rubbish, over 200 black bags and two lorry loads of scrap metal were removed in the first year. The area now has paths, access gates, and regular maintenance to ensure the community can enjoy visits there.

Further details please contact the Chairman of Friends of Holly Hayes Woods, Peter Christian on

Holly Hayes Woods are an issue of great debate in Whitwick right now. What's your view? Feel free to leave a comment.


Coalville's Motorfest is coming...