Chairman's Report August 2012
11 August 2012
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT: 07 AUGUST 2012.
1. FRIAR’S MILL & THE HERITAGE
PARTNERSHIP: I have told the City Council they should compulsory purchase,
restore, redevelop and sell at a profit on the very day that this broke as a
Mercury story. However C&D are prevaricating as there is technically no
owner. But the Bank of Ireland owns the mortgage, so the Council could
presumably purchase this. Meanwhile GVA Grimley, the bank’s agents, is seeking
permission to demolish and clear the site, which SPS has publicly said is a
non-starter. Jamie Lewis is still interested and assures me he would restore
the façade and roof, involving careful reconstruction from the ground up if the
walls were unsound. (He reminds me that the Equity Shoe Factory was also
damaged by arson) I shall be pressing for action at the next meeting of the
Heritage Partnership on 13th August. Also for security personal to
be put into the Farben Works on Slater Street, as the only remaining part of
Leicester’s industrial “Rotten Core” not yet wrecked or destroyed by arson.
I am also getting heartily fed up
that after five meetings of the HP the Civic Society by virtue of its CA
surveys, is the only one actually doing anything. The City Council have
produced an “Action Plan”, which actually proposes doing nothing new for some
years, and the others just treat the meetings as another talking shop. Everyone
fiddles whilst Rome burns!
2. “TELLING THE STORY OF
LEICESTER PLAN”: As this is to go to the Heritage, Leisure & Sport Scrutiny
Committee the Mercury are picking up on the Belgrave Hall aspect, which
Leicester Museums thought they had brushed under the carpet. I said we would be
seeking to help form a “Friends of Belgrave Hall” in September. Museums are
also proposing to extend winter closure of the Guildhall by one month, which as
they did not consult with me (or anyone else) about, I roundly condemned.
I attended the “Story of
Leicester Plan” “1850 to 1940” discussion group meeting on Thursday 12th
July at the Town Hall. Approximately half of us loony’s who made the first
session came to this one, so interest is waning at the usual rate. In a way
this is a pity, as these routines have to be ploughed through to produce any
3. MIDLAND STATION: Work
has now finished. We need to be instantly aware that Network Rail will seek to
insert retail pods (that’s shops in portacabins) with - or without - the
benefit of listed building consent.
OF PRESERVATION TRUSTS: Jennifer and I attended The Association of
(Building) Preservation Trusts conference at the Guildhall on Friday 6th July.
In appalling weather we were treated to guided visits of 21 St. Martins and The
Master Hosier’s House, where we met the new owner, who has paid the City
Council what they were owed for the two previous Urgent Works Notices and is
now undertaking minimal restoration (it was raining more inside than out) to
enable the building to be marketed. Good news at last - unless someone sets fire
to it first!
AREA SURVEYS: Latest survey was Ashleigh Road CA on Saturday 4th
and thank you to Howard, Peter and Leigh for their support. The next and
hopefully last for this year, will be Aylestone and Aylestone Park from the
corner of Hall Lane/Aylestone Road at 14.00 on Saturday 11th August.
III: The hunt is on for the remains of King Richard. I personally think
that after 527 years there is little chance. But modern archaeology has
achieved miracles before now and I love being proven wrong in such things. One
thing is certain - any attempt to remove identified remains from Leicester
would be up against one hell of a fight. Ben, can we update our campaigns page
by adding this please?
LEICESTER: I am attending the launch event for the Jubilee Square public
consultation on 8th August. Sparks may fly!
MATCH & ANNUAL DINNER: At Trusha’s suggestion we have agreed a joint
contest with Wigston Civic Society, at the Horse & Trumpet Wigston on 30th
November, which she is now organising
We also need
to decide a venue for the 2013 Annual Dinner by the next Citizen deadline. (13th
October) Having been there to give a talk to Oadby Rotary, my money’s on “The
Wigston Stage”, though bright ideas are still very welcome.
9. LOVE ARCHITECTURE: We have now been paid by Leicestershire
Promotions and have paid RIBA, though Tim and I are still to meet them to
discuss the future of this initiative.
GAS MUSEUM: The distraught curator informs me that the Museum is run by a
Trust who have now scattered the collection into store and given him no
indication as to when it is likely to be reassembled following completion of works,
about which they have published no timetable. I feel a campaign coming on.
Along with the National Space Centre, the National Gas Museum is one of our
most important private museums with the largest collection of its kind in the
world. I could be that some bad publicity is what this so-called Trust needs to
get them to pull their finger out.
11. JUBILEE AWARD: Su and I duly attended the glittering
ceremony at Beaumanor Hall on 19th July.
12. ANCIENT LEICESTER PART I: Guided Walk 21st July:
We had 22 walkers.
COMEDY FESTIVAL: I am meeting a Geoff Lowe on 9th August to see
if we will lend our support as part of our commitment to the city’s Cultural
PARK FESTIVAL: I am attending the launch reception at the Guildhall on 20th
August and I am to give the Castle Tours on Saturday 25th and Monday
27th. (Jennifer and I are doing the “Roman Leicester” guided walk
for Friends of Jewry Wall Museum on Sunday 26th)
GRANGE GARDENS: Saturday 1st September: 13 bookings so far.
LEICESTER PART II: Saturday 22nd September: 6 bookings so far.