- From Members of the Public
- From Councillors
QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Lord Mayor: Question number 1 is from Mr. Paul Southwood, please.
Mr. Southwood: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Bus service number 74 from Anstey does not now terminate at the Haymarket Bus station. It terminates in Charles Street, approximately 200 yards away, near to Midland House. It then continues as service number 16 to the General Hospital. Can the 74 bus be allowed to stop at the bus shelter opposite the Haymarket Shopping Centre marked alight only. This bus shelter is used by Arriva services 84, 85, X3, but note that the bus service 74 is operated by First Leicester. Also note please that the return number 74 service still departs from the Haymarket Bus station.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Mr. Southwood. Councillor Clarke.
Councillor Clarke: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Thank you Mr. Southwood. This was raised at the recent Bus Users Panel on February 27th, where officers did give an undertaking to look into this. Obviously they will need to look into any issues that might occur in terms of congestion for other buses, but we are looking into that as promised at the Bus User Panel meeting you attended. Thank you.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Mr. Southwood do you have a supplementary question?
Mr. Southwood: Well, no, just information my Lord Mayor. Just to say I did suggest a date of April 3rd, which is the first Monday in the month of April. It will give time obviously for the City Council to actually go through the procedures. I would not demand it straight away and that, but it does help people with buggies, senior citizens to alight nearer the Haymarket Shopping Centre.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Mr. Southwood. Does that require a response?
Councillor Clarke: I am happy to respond. We obviously want to bring this forward speedily and at the most appropriate time.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Mr. Southwood, your second question please.
Mr. Southwood: Why are the holders of concessionary bus passes still being charged to use the free park and ride services into Leicester? The charges started on 19th January 2015, yet 14 months later in March 2016 Councillors voted to increase their expenses backdated to the 1st April 2015 and the City Mayor intends to spend £11m on the old Haymarket Theatre with taxpayer’s money having been paid for the rates, water and electric bills for the theatre for at least the last 10 years.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Mr. Southwood. Councillor Clarke please.
Councillor Clarke: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Thank you again Mr. Southwood. Mr. Southwood is right in that we do charge for the use of park and ride. Park and ride is very different from what we would call our traditional standard bus services and it is designed for people who own cars, who would otherwise be paying to park in the city centre. What park and ride offers is for those people with those cars who can afford to park in the city centre a much cheaper alternative at a very, very low price, currently set at £1 per journey.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Mr. Southwood your supplementary at all?
Mr. Southwood: Well the supplementary question is that people are basically being put off by the charge and that given you have to reach a certain age before you are concessionary, senior citizen or disabled, and you want to come into Leicester to pay money. Also, it must be noted that this is the free park and ride is a joint venture with the Conservative County Council. On several occasions, more than several occasions, this Council condemns the service. Why?
Lord Mayor: Mr. Southwood this has to be a question for each one related to the answer
Mr. Southwood: Why are you agreeing with the County Council that it should happen instead of promoting it to allow people to come into Leicester and spend money?
Lord Mayor: Councillor Clarke.
Councillor Clarke: I do think that it is good that we do provide a facility for people in the county to come and spend money in the city, to contribute to our economy. On this matter at least we are very happy to be working with the County Council and to be sharing the subsidy equally between us, to enable people to come and contribute to our local economy.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Mr. Southwood your third question please.
Mr. Southwood: My Lord Mayor. Why is the City Council unable to keep the disabled parking places in front of City Hall clear for its intended purpose, ie blue badge holders only?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Mr. Southwood. City Mayor please.
City Mayor: My Lord Mayor, I am not aware of any particular problems with that stretch of disabled parking. It is obviously one that I see on a fairly frequent basis and I do know that the Council does, as elsewhere, take steps to ensure that the appropriate restrictions are enforced. I did actually have a check on the extent to which it had been enforced on there and I know that at least three parking tickets have been issued on that particular stretch in the last few months.
Lord Mayor: Thank you City Mayor. Mr. Southwood do you have a supplementary please?
Mr. Southwood: No supplementary question, but it does seem a bit obvious that in front of City Hall that it is allowed to happen. Thank you.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Mr. Southwood. Can I remind future speakers that it is actually questions relating to the original answer please. Thank you. The next question is from Ms. Nancy Bennett please.
Ms. Bennett: Thank you my Lord Mayor. I would like to know why when I looked at the budget information after being sent a letter asking what I thought about it, there wasn’t any information in it. There is no detail. I would like to comment on details rather than comment on the overall budget?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Ms. Bennett. City Mayor please.
City Mayor: Well, my Lord Mayor, I think we will perhaps understand that it is not possible to send out the full Council budget with every Council tax bill, but of course the information relating to the budget is available on our website and for those who have specific questions or want stuff in hard copy it can easily be provided. I would just invite Ms. Bennett to perhaps contact me and I could arrange for anything that she is not able to get from the website to be sent to her personally.
Lord Mayor: Thank you City Mayor. Ms. Bennett do you have a supplementary question?
Ms. Bennett: OK, I will ask my next question because he did not actually tell me what I wanted. I am very concerned about young people and the impact that closing provisions down will have on elderly family members who will take on some of the support for families. How many youth provisions and adventure playgrounds will be closed through the passing of the budget?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Ms. Bennett. Councillor Russell please.
Councillor Russell: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Thank you for the question Nancy. In terms of passing the budget, there is no direct closure of any provision as a result of that. We have a spending review programme in place and we have got consultation going on at the moment around our youth centres. If I touch on the adventure playgrounds first, because they are mentioned in the first part of your question. They have been part of the early help spending review where we have had to look at changes to children’s centres and early help across the city as a result of government cuts. The proposals for that did involve a reduction in the funding for adventure playgrounds, not a proposal to cut any of them, but as a result of further discussion we are using, or are proposing to use, our service analysis team to go out and work with the adventure playgrounds to learn more about who is using them, when and various things about them before we move forward with any funding reductions. But it is important to say there has not been at any point a proposal to close the adventure playgrounds. We very much want to support them to continue. We do want them to see where they can look at other funding opportunities as well as the Council to put them on a more long term sustainable footing. In terms of youth services, that consultation is live at the moment and what we are asking people is whether they want the Council to run what we call our open access youth provision, which is that that is open for everybody, what people think of as traditional youth clubs, or whether they want the voluntary sector to run that. It would be at a smaller amount than we do now, because we can’t afford to run at the level we are now, but we are looking at still ensuring that there is youth provision across the city, so making sure they might be in buildings that are used for other things rather than dedicated youth provision, but still having the services wherever we can.
Ms. Bennett: I just think it is important to point out that these things always have a knock on effect for the rest of the family and the older people tend to have to bear the burdens. So I am reasonably pleased with your answer Sarah, thank you.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Ms. Bennett. Moving on to question 6, is there a Miss Thorpe in Council? Ok. I understand Councillor, sorry former Councillor, Ms. Potter is unable to attend tonight. Sorry for that slip. Could I therefore ask Miss Thorpe to put question 8 on the script please.
Miss. Thorpe: Thank you my Lord Mayor. The charges being levied for using community centres by groups is too high and does not encourage groups to use them regularly. Why are the charges so high and can anything be done about them?
Lord Mayor: Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Thank you Miss Thorpe for the question. Charges for our community centres were set back in September 2013 and have been not increased since April 2014. As an example, for a community group for a small hall there is a £16.30 charge for an hourly rate and a 65% concession is applied to that. So a £5.60 charge for a community group to use a small hall in one of our community centres would total in a price of £5.60. This is a standard charge and we don’t make profit on that, that is purely just to turn the lights on and open the door. So an hourly rate for a group to use a community centre at this moment in time, and the prices have not gone up, is £5.60 an hour.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Master. Miss Thorpe do you have a supplementary question at all?
Miss. Thorpe: Yes. What I have come across is far above that per hour there was one – it was £90 for 2 hours.
Lord Mayor: Councillor Master, did you want to respond?
Councillor Master: If you want to provide me with those details of which centre it was £90 for 2 hours, I can assure you it would not have been a Council facility, or a Council-run facility, but if it was I am happy to take those details and go and address that with you and find out why that was the case, but our facilities would not be charging those hourly rates.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Master.
Miss. Thorpe: Alright. Thank you.
Lord Mayor: Question 9. Mr. Andy Tasker please.
Mr. Tasker: Thank you Lord Mayor. I would like to ask is, the £2m budget towards schools used solely for improvements inside the school, or does it go towards improvements for the surrounding area? In particular I would like to know when improvements will be made to Alderman Richard Hallam school, as there is a pending development which will impact on the safety of school children.
Lord Mayor: Thank you sir. Councillor Russell please.
Councillor Russell: Thank you my Lord Mayor. I had to check with the questioner briefly beforehand, because there are a number of different funds which this question could have been referring to, but with some clarity I understand you are referring to the school parking, for looking at issues around school parking across the city. That fund has been used for both hard and soft measures around the schools, for things like fitting bollards, changing railings, laybys, various other bits and there is a programme where they have looked at schools right the way across the city, so it is both inside the schools in that sense, but also on the areas immediately adjacent to them, to answer the question. At the moment following the prioritisation of schools looking right across the city, looking at accident data, near accidents, all sorts of other factors, Alderman Richard Hallam comes 22 on the list, so that is out of about 110 schools, so it is quite near the top, and officers are going to be going out to talk with the school about exactly what improvements it would be most appropriate to spend a proportion of the money on. I hope that answers the question.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Russell. Do you have a supplementary question?
Mr. Tasker: Yes. Is it possible for speed humps or flashing speed signs to be installed outside of schools encouraging motorists to slow down? Is there scope for the school to be priority for budget spend in terms of traffic calming measures, as there has been several incidents outside school in recent times?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Mr. Tasker. Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you Lord Mayor. Just following on from Councillor Russell’s response really. We have met with your Ward Councillor at the school. We went on a site visit with our highways officers to see what amendments we could make around the school and this school is part of an ongoing schools programme. So we have come up with some suggestions, we are having some correspondence at the minute. Of course, any measures that we can take in and around schools to potentially reduce incidents, or in fact stop them completely we would absolutely look at all the time. We will work with your Ward Councillors and if there is anything else you want to feed in it will go on the schedule of works and we will do our upmost to make sure the school and the surrounding areas are as safe as possible for children to attend.
Lord Mayor: Did you have a supplementary question at all?
Mr. Tasker: No thank you.
Lord Mayor: Thank you for that and thanks to all the members of the public for their questions this evening. Moving on now to questions from Councillors.
QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS
Lord Mayor: Can I request that when any Members have questions for tonight’s meeting they bear in mind the requirements of the Constitution that questions should be asked and answered without discussion and that supplementary questions must be a question for the purpose of clarifying the reply, not a statement. Please note that I will be seeking to curtail any Member that does not comply with these requirements, as always. I have agreed to take Councillor Cleaver’s question first, because I understand she has to leave rather early. Councillor Cleaver your question please.
Councillor Cleaver: Thank you Lord Mayor, it is appreciated. Can the Deputy City Mayor please inform Council what the Chancellor’s announcement of additional money for adult social care means for Leicester and does he think this is adequate?
Lord Mayor: Deputy City Mayor.
Deputy City Mayor: Thank you my Lord Mayor. We understand the Chancellor’s budget announcement for social care in Leicester could mean up to £14m of additional funding over the next 3 years, but I don’t think we should be under any illusion that what the Chancellor announced in his budget statement a couple of weeks ago has solved the funding crisis in adult social care. It has not. People should not believe that to be the case. We will be left with a significant budget challenge going forward in adult social care here in Leicester with those additional monies. And more importantly, whilst we have an understanding of the amounts of money we will expect under that additional funding, we do not yet know the strings attached to those funds and the specific detail of what we may or may not be allowed to do with that money, but as importantly following the shenanigans of yesterday, we are not too sure how the Exchequer will be finding this £2b for adult social care. So my view post budget is actually the situation for adult social care here in Leicester and nationally remains as financially precarious as it did before the budget.
Lord Mayor: Thank Councillor Palmer. Did you have a supplementary Councillor Cleaver?
Councillor Cleaver: I do thank you my Lord Mayor. The Deputy City Mayor will be aware that Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, has voiced a view in relation to the recent additional funds should contribute to releasing between 2,000-3,000 bed spaces in acute hospitals. Has the Deputy City Mayor a view on this in the local context of the city and the excellent work being undertaken through the local Better Care fund by adult social care in relation to delayed discharges.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Cleaver. Councillor Palmer.
Deputy City Mayor: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Thank you Councillor Cleaver for her supplementary question. Clearly, managing transfers of care out of hospital, getting people home or into other settings for their ongoing care and support is a big priority, something which we are currently performing relatively well on. The monies from the Better Care fund have helped that, but more importantly the efforts of our staff and NHS staff working together are making a real difference to people, getting people out of hospital quickly. But of course the broader pressures on the system mean that even despite that important and effective work here in Leicester, it still means that Leicester’s hospitals are still facing real pressure, it means that the broader social care system continues to face real pressure, so I hope that the additional monies, as I said Simon Stevens presumably knows more than most of us about what this money may or may not be allowed to be spent on. Once we get the detail of that we will examine it in detail and make decisions accordingly, but clearly we want to make sure we continue to have arrangements where people can get safe, good quality care in the community or at home and that we can get people out of hospital as quickly as possible when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Palmer. Reverting now to question 1, Councillor Riyait please.
Councillor Riyait: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Would the City Mayor support a permanent memorial to the achievements of Claudio Ranieri as manager of Leicester City Football Club?
Lord Mayor: Thank you. City Mayor.
City Mayor: Thank you my Lord Mayor. This question obviously gives me an opportunity to join you in congratulating the Club on their recent success in the Champion’s League. It really has been quite amazing and obviously very good for them. Its incidentally also very good for the city and its reputation. I think particularly when thinking of the city’s reputation, I want to pay tribute to the way in which the people of Leicester have welcomed fans as they have come to Leicester as part of the Champion’s League. We saw it just last week in the welcome given to the fans from Seville, but I think we have seen it before with others. It really has been a wonderful atmosphere in the city and I think they can only have gone back, albeit the Seville fans somewhat disappointed, but they can only have gone back with a very positive impression of the city and its people. Lord Mayor, Claudio Ranieri was a brilliant manager and he brought unprecedented success to the Club and I think we must all be very grateful for the success he brought to the Club and also for the way in which he conducted himself while he was the manager of the Club. He was courteous, he was thoughtful and he was an inspirational leader and for all of those things, as well as the success he brought to the Club, we have much to thank him for. I know there have been a number of proposals about ways in which some form of memorial might be made and I would simply say in response to this I am very sympathetic to those proposals and would be delighted to meet with anybody who has any firm proposals and to discuss ways in which I, or we as a Council, can facilitate their proposals. It may well be that now you may want to let the dust settle a little after recent events and may want to wait until the end of the season, but I hope before too long there will be some discussions and I hope that they may actually lead to such a permanent memorial.
Lord Mayor: Thank you City Mayor. Councillor Riyait do you have a supplementary please?
Councillor Riyait: Yes, thank you. Thanks to the City Mayor for that reply. Given that the City Mayor has acknowledged what a great ambassador for the city Claudio Ranieri was, would he consider bestowing the Freedom of the City to Claudio Ranieri? Thank you.
Lord Mayor: City Mayor please.
City Mayor: Yes my Lord Mayor. I mean, it is something that has been suggested by quite a number of people and it is something that I certainly would not rule out. I think obviously there are all sorts of practicalities about, you know, how it would be done, when it would be done, and indeed whether he would find it an acceptable thing to do. I do think that is one of the things that will be discussed over the weeks, perhaps months, ahead and it may well be one of the proposals that is brought to me and I will be happy to discuss it with those who favour it.
Lord Mayor: Thank you City Mayor. Councillor Singh, question 2 please.
Councillor Singh: Thank you Lord Mayor. As there is a high volume of car usage by parents in dropping off and collecting children at school, is there information available about the levels of CO2 emissions in the vicinity of our primary and secondary schools in the city?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Singh. Councillor Clarke please.
Councillor Clarke: Thank you my Lord Mayor and thank you Councillor Singh for the question. Details on carbon dioxide emissions are obtained from government and are on a city-wide level. There is a common misconception actually that carbon dioxide actually is not classed as a pollutant. Carbon dioxide contributes towards global warming, the heating of the planet, the raising of sea levels, etc and some of the flooding that we see globally and of course here in Leicester on occasion. What I think Councillor Singh might be alluding to is NO2, nitrogen dioxide pollutants, coming from diesel vehicles in our city. We do know that through our school parking programme that Councillor Russell and Councillor Master have alluded to earlier, that there are many cars congregating around our schools in the morning and in the evening, but in terms of our own monitoring of that, firstly we have a very good relationship with the University of Leicester who house DEFRA’s nitrogen dioxide monitoring station. I should say, it does not only monitor nitrogen dioxide it also monitors something called PM10, PM2.5 and several other pollutants, but the key concern for us is nitrogen dioxide and the PM10 that I previously mentioned. We also have monitoring stations around the city, which also help us to understand where the NO2 and NOX, (which is nitrogen oxide, nitric oxide sorry), where they are occurring in the city. What we are waiting for now is for government to come back to us following a High Court ruling against the government following a case brought by an organisation called Client Earth, which we think will enable us to accelerate some of the work we are doing for our air quality action plan, which will enable us to strategically work out ways of making sure that we aren’t having too high levels of nitrogen dioxide in our city.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. A supplementary question Councillor Singh?
Councillor Singh: Yes my Lord Mayor I do. I want to thank Councillor Clarke for the clarification and perhaps a very usage might have been air quality. Lord Mayor we know that air quality is a killer, and there has been enough indication in the public media with regards to that. Will the Deputy, or should I say in this case, will the Assistant, Mayor consider the option proposed by the Mayor of London that cars could be banned from the roads near the schools to reduce air pollution? I would say 100 yard parking exclusion zone outside schools between 8-8.30am and 3-3.30 in the afternoon periodically enforced hence eliminating this contamination to young children and maximising children’s safety. I think ….
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Singh. I think you need to ask a question.
Councillor Singh: … across the city.
Lord Mayor: Councillor Clarke please.
Councillor Clarke: Thank you. Indeed Mayor Khan in London is considering a range of interventions. London is a special case in Britain, in that its air quality is by far the poorest because of the amount of business and traffic and pollution through other means that exist there. Like I say, we are waiting for data from government and looking at our own data and working with Leicester University to work out how to strategically approach the air quality issues that we face. One thing I would be wary of, would be to be placing zones around schools when this might actually displace the problem and move the issue somewhere else. You might create issues down the line. It is not something I would necessarily rule out, but I would be loath to compare us directly with London – this is a very, very special case. However, like I say we are working at this strategically, we are investing a lot of money through our air quality action plan and bringing in expertise as well as using the own expertise within City Hall.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Question 3, Councillor Chaplin please.
Councillor Chaplin: Thank you my Lord Mayor. Will the fee for permits in residents’ parking zones be increased in the next five years? Sorry to have to be asking my co-Councillor this.
Lord Mayor. Thank you Councillor Chaplin. Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you my Lord Mayor. It is a very timely question, as my co-Councillor Chaplin said. There are no current plans to increase the annual charge for residents’ parking, which at this moment in time sits at £25 on an annual basis.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Master. Councillor Chaplin, a supplementary at all?
Councillor Chaplin: I do my Lord Mayor. So if there is no plans at present, can we have assurances that, and this is something that people in the Ward are asking about, that if there are any plans to review the charges, could there be notice of that before the consultation in Stoneygate and in other Wards that is coming up on residents’ schemes is complete because otherwise people won’t have the full information to make decisions that are obviously long term decisions.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Chaplin. Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you Lord Mayor. I think that is a fair request and I think if there was any plans to increase the residents’ parking schemes we would have to go out to consult on those and I think that would only be right to do so if we are asking people to commit to those schemes in whichever parts of the city they may be.
Lord Mayor: Thank you for that answer. Councillor Chaplin question 4 please.
Councillor Chaplin: Thank you my Lord Mayor. How many Parking Enforcement Officers does the Council have, and what are their hours of work?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Chaplin. Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you my Lord Mayor. We currently have a staff team of Civil Enforcement Officers, 32 in total, one of those being the manager who looks after the team. In terms of hours, 25 staff operate on a day time schedule, which is between the hours of 7.15 in the morning until 6.15 in the evening Monday to Saturday on a rota system, which is 11 hours a day approximately and on the evenings there is a further 6 staff routinely that operate between the hours of 5.30pm and 1.45, which is 8 hours and 15 minutes approximately. So in a 24 hour day we are approximately covering between the 25 operational staff on any one day 19 hours, just over 19 hours.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Master. Councillor Chaplin a supplementary please?
Councillor Chaplin: Thank you that is really helpful. So again if, and I know no decisions have been made about the present consultations, if more areas do become residents’ parking areas, is the Council planning to employ more Enforcement Officers and to review the hours of work given the fact that in some residents’ areas, for example on Evington Road, there are take-aways and other premises that have extended licences beyond the times of the Enforcement Officers currently have and therefore residents are losing parking spaces, or could be losing parking spaces, to people who are using those licenced premises.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Chaplin. Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you Lord Mayor. We are always trying to increase our staff pool in this area of Civil Enforcement Officers and I think that will continue to be ongoing. What I could say in terms of enforcement, we are looking at the timetables of areas of the city and where they are enforcing right now and it has been incorporated into our schools’ parking action plan as well because there has been a lot of conversations being had about where our Enforcement Officers are at different times in the city. So we are happy to take that on board and will always look at the options of where these Enforcement Officers need to be to ensure that enforcement is being applied a) for parking b) for bad traffic issues, school parking etc, so we can take those back, that is fine.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Master. Question 5, Councillor Dr. Barton please.
Councillor Barton: Thank you my Lord Mayor. What support is being offered to EU citizens of Leicester who may be worried about their future rights if and when the UK leaves the European Union? And my question is directed at the City Mayor.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Barton. Deputy City Mayor to reply please.
Deputy City Mayor: Thank you my Lord Mayor. The City Mayor has asked me to respond on this and Councillor Barton raises a very, very important issue in her question. Clearly there are people in Leicester and beyond who are facing a period of very difficult uncertainty post the Referendum last June, but moreover following the vote in Parliament this week, when there was an opportunity for the government to provide some initial certainty to EU citizens who live in the UK. We are exploring what we can do practically, particularly through some of the voluntary and community sector groups we have contracts with in terms of how we can practically offer some support to people affected by this and will continue to develop that work as things become clearer in terms of the national situation and the government’s negotiation. But I think the most important thing we as a Council can do at this point to support EU citizens here in Leicester is to be unequivocal in saying that EU citizens in Leicester make an important and valued contribution to our communities, they run businesses, they work in our public services, they are our friends, they are our neighbours, they are our colleagues, they are human beings with hopes, with aspirations, with thoughts and feelings. What they are not are bargaining chips in a negotiation.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Deputy City Mayor. Councillor Barton do have you a supplementary?
Councillor Barton: Yes, I know the impact on individuals of the uncertainty can be devastating, but in Leicester we have got whole communities that could be affected. What is the potential loss, I know you have almost outlined that in what you were saying, what is the potential loss to the city and to individuals if people were to feel pressure to relocate?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Barton. Deputy City Mayor.
Deputy City Mayor: Thank you my Lord Mayor. I think in a word or two, very significant. I think it would be very difficult to put a number on that and I think actually putting a number on it sort of starts to you know sort of make this a very technical thing. It isn’t a technical thing, its about people and their lives and their hopes, their aspirations. You know people have come here from all parts of the world. It is one of the things that makes this city what it is and people from different EU nations have come here and under different circumstances. Some people are here in Leicester as EU citizens have come here as refugees fleeing you know awful circumstances. We have a duty, an obligation I think to you know whatever view we as individuals took last June I don’t think any of us in this chamber want to see EU citizens in Leicester feeling that they are some bargaining chip in the government’s negotiation of Brexit. We need to send a very clear message that you know we are here to support and understand the concerns of those citizens and we value their contribution to our public services, to business in the city and to the cultural life of the city. I think sending that message from this Council this evening is probably the most important thing we can do at this point, as we clearly you know keep our eyes closely on the national situation. We will do what we can as appropriate and as we can through that process.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Deputy City Mayor. Question 6, Councillor Singh please.
Councillor Singh: Thank you my Lord Mayor. “Will the City Mayor inform the Council of the details of the Space Park project under the LLEP’s economic and employment strategy and outline the time scales for its commencement and completion?”
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Singh. Councillor Waddington please.
Councillor Waddington: Thank you Lord Mayor and thank you Councillor Singh for the question. I have a comprehensive answer for you. May be too long for some, but it is filled with the relevant and important information about this exciting development. The City Council in partnership with the LLEP and the University of Leicester and the National Space Centre will bring forward an ambitious programme to develop the Space Park on land at and around Pioneer Park. The development will support businesses, focussing on space and satellite technologies, building on the specialist skills which already exist in our city. Also, building on the success of the National Space Centre and the Council’s Dock business space, the Space Park will capture economic growth, the opportunity of space and space-enabled technologies, through a new hub, where research and business can co-locate. The project has the potential to make Leicester an important national and international centre for the space industry. The project is supported by the recently announced Enterprise Zone designation and Growth Deal 3 funding. Growth deal will provide £13,870,000 allocated as follows. First of all, £5m for the City Council to undertake remediation and servicing of 6 hectares of brown field land at the former John Ellis Community College site, thereby enabling 3 kilometres of public footpath, some cycle ways and unlocking 34,000 square metres of commercial floor space. Secondly, there will be £7.87m for the University of Leicester to undertake construction of the first phase of the Space Park, including a new home for the University of Leicester’s Institute for Space and Earth Observation Science, creating 200 jobs and providing 4,000 square metres of high specification research and development space, with state of the art facilities and laboratories. Finally, there will be £1m for the extension of the National Space Centre to support it to continue to be the leading visitor attraction for space science and astronomy and to build its capacity to deliver science workshops for schools and deliver learning and apprenticeships in space engineering. Work on the John Ellis site will commence from mid-2018 and construction of the first buildings will commence before 2020. The current funding will allow for the whole site to be serviced and we anticipate a first phase of development will be completed by the University of Leicester by the end of 2021. Subsequent phases of the development will be undertaken in line with demand for further space. Thank you.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Waddington for that very comprehensive response. Councillor Singh do you have a supplementary related to that response please?
Councillor Singh: Yes, absolutely Lord Mayor. Absolutely. Can I say that I am very grateful to the Assistant Mayor, great significant statement. Will the Assistant Mayor agree that this is ongoing endorsement of this Labour Group’s priority to continue to have the city’s economic viability foremost and job creation to benefit the city constituents. Would she agree with that?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Singh. Councillor Waddington.
Councillor Waddington: Thank you for the supplementary and I will say yes, I do agree with that. Thank you.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Waddington. Question 7 has already put, so question 8, Councillor Grant please.
Councillor Grant: Thank you Lord Mayor. One effect of storm Doris was the loss of a number of trees across the city. Can the City Mayor say when these trees will be replaced, as we are so close to the end of the planting season?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Grant. Councillor Clarke please.
Councillor Clarke: Thank you my Lord Mayor and thank you Councillor Grant for the question. Storm Doris was indeed an event that caused a lot of issues in the city, including the felling of a number of trees. Just to put that into context we believe that the final tree count could be around 200 trees felled. And to put that into further context, in the whole of 2016 we lost 218 trees. So it has put a lot of pressure on our City Council officers and operatives and I commend those people for the work they have done during the clean-up exercise, which actually continues. There are no current plans to replace those trees because actually as I say the clean-up continues and we are focussing on making sure areas are safe and cleared. Having said that, there is proactive management of stock around the city and we will look at where we do want to replace trees as a result of storm Doris.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. A supplementary Councillor Grant?
Councillor Grant: Yes. Thank you Councillor Clarke. Is there any way that we can seek an assurance that those trees might be replaced over the coming planting season, if not this one? It was unfortunate from some people’s perspectives that we did not lose the banners which have been put up in Knighton, but we obviously found money for those and many people would prefer actually the more organic street scene provided by trees. Can I also ask Councillor Clarke that, in looking to replace trees, we have lost a number on Shanklin Drive due to the number of road traffic accidents and when we are replacing those, can we ensure that we seek the costs from the drivers or their insurance, because in both cases that I am aware of drink driving was an affect.
Lord Mayor: Thank you for that extensive supplementary question.
Councillor Clarke: I am more than happy to give Councillor Grant further opportunity to criticise what I think are fantastic banners in Knighton village that celebrate the heritage of the area that he currently lives in and the one I was brought up in, so I love it driving through Knighton. In terms of the question around the coming tree planting season, obviously we are auditing what the damage was at the moment and looking at where we need to replant. In terms of the road traffic accident question that you raise, as I understand it we do seek, in general in terms of road traffic accidents, we do seek to charge the insurance company associated, unless there has been a fatality of some sort that might cause some issues in terms of sensitivity to that.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Councillor Grant question 9 please.
Councillor Grant: Thank you Lord Mayor and given the time saved by the absence of former Councillor Potter and Councillor Porter, can I ask the Assistant Mayor to pass on the thanks for the cones that have been put out around Overdale School recently, which kind of relates to this question. Can the City Mayor tell us how much is committed to the programme to make the roads around schools safe in 2017/18?
Lord Mayor: Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you City Mayor and thank you Councillor Grant. I am pleased the cones are making a bit of a difference and it is nice to see some of the work is making an impact out there. In short, approximately £1m per annum goes on making improvements in and round schools and just to break that down for you in some of the headlines that I have here, the Council is allocated £2.2m in its current capital programme to support the delivery of parking improvement action plans, which as you know has schools threaded throughout it. In addition, we have £1m for transport improvements work programme, as we are committed to ongoing of the roll out of 20mph zones across the city, which directly tackles road safety and speeding outside schools and this commitment also is around £250,000 per year up until 2022. We also have funding within our local environmental works programme, around £300,000 for pedestrian works and school crossings and local safety schemes and educational programmes. So over a full period, it is £1m approximately per annum, though we invest heavily to make sure that our schools are safe, our roads are clear and we do our upmost to ensure that it is ongoing.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Master. Councillor Grant do you have a supplementary please?
Councillor Grant: Yes. I mean, I think I would like to commend the Council on the spend on this particular priority, which I know we both share, but given that so much of this money is actually required because of the selfish, inconsiderate and almost antisocial activity of a small number of parents, does he share with me the emotions that I have basically, generally of sadness, frustration and anger about the need to spend this money?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Grant, Councillor Master.
Councillor Master: Thank you Lord Mayor and I would l absolutely echo what Councillor Grant has just said and one of our key themes going forward is around educating inconsiderate parents and the way that they behave in and around schools. When there is hundreds of young people trying to get to school and their inconsideration about parking and speeding and road rage as well. And we have seen it first hand out on patch walks with some of my colleagues here in the chamber as well. So I would absolutely echo those points but we still have a commitment as a local authority, as a council, to make sure we can do our upmost to ensure we can try and quell that as best as possible.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Master. Question 10, Councillor Grant please.
Councillor Grant: How much was the city centre street cleaning budget increased by to allow for Jubilee Square?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Grant. Councillor Clarke.
Councillor Clarke: Thank you my Lord Mayor. The cleansing budget was increased from the 1st April 2015 by £18,000 for additional street cleaning of Jubilee Square.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Councillor Grant do you have a supplementary?
Councillor Grant: Now that there is significant cuts in the street cleaning within the budget for the city centre, isn’t the effect actually of Jubilee Square that actually there will be more dirt in other areas of the city, particularly as this being a high profile project it is unlikely that Jubilee Square will suffer from any cuts?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Grant. Councillor Clarke.
Councillor Clarke: There is a recognition that the Conservative Government’s cuts may have an impact on the cleansing activity in the city and we have undertaken, as the Leicester Mercury reported, to closely monitor any impact of those cuts on city centre cleansing. To put that figure into context, it is 0.5% of the total cleansing budget. I will resist lecturing Councillor Grant about the subject of place making, but the Knighton banners and Jubilee Square do both fall under the context of the idea of place making and making places liveable and making sure that people enjoy where they are. Jubilee Square is a fantastic addition to our city centre, as shown by residents of Porto, of Copenhagen, Bruges and of Seville visiting there to enjoy Leicester and to use those businesses in the area. So for me, Jubilee Square is an area of our city that is to be welcomed, it has been welcomed by people not only in Leicester, not only in the country, but also across Europe.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Question 11, Councillor Grant.
Councillor Grant: A point of information Lord Mayor for Councillor Clarke. The people on Brinsmead Road liked living in Knighton before his banners went up.
Lord Mayor: Moving on please.
Councillor Grant: Not necessarily. In 2016 how many residential planning applications have included cycle parking provisions as part of their application? Of those how many included a commitment or condition that this provision be secure?
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Grant. Councillor Clarke.
Councillor Clarke: In terms of cycle storage in our planning regime, obviously I don’t have a role in the planning department and as a member of the planning committee Councillor Grant has a certain degree of influence there. We would obviously like to see cycle storage being put into all planning applications as conditions of planning. There are, I think there have been, about 103 in the last calendar year, planning applications that have included conditions on cycle storage. They are not however the only cycle storage installations as it were within new developments, because obviously people voluntarily as developers put that storage in without it needing conditions.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke. Councillor Grant your supplementary?
Councillor Grant: Yes. Is there a way that we could strengthen the requirements on developers, because as a member of the committee I have seen a number which come forward which are quite obviously tick box exercises by the developers? If these actual cycle storage provisions are actually used, they would result in increased crime because the bikes would be stolen and therefore the reality is they are offering nothing in assisting us in terms of sustainable transport benefits.
Lord Mayor: Councillor Clarke please.
Councillor Clarke: I think obviously the most secure the storage can be the better. There is a balance to be struck though, because if the access to that facility is to be open to all, then obviously there needs to be some sense of accessibility for people to use that storage. However, I mean I have conversations internally within the Council to make sure that we are putting in the correct cycle storage for our own means and our own purposes, and though there is some very high quality products out there that provide secure storage, and I would absolutely agree with Councillor Grant that developers should be making sure that the most appropriate storage and most secure storage is going in there, so they are indeed used and people feel safe leaving their bikes, which is their property, in those facilities.
Lord Mayor: Thank you Councillor Clarke.