Leicester Civic Society
Chairman's Report April 2016

08 April 2016


1.20151948: BLACK BOY PH. ALBION STREET: Further to my March report we currently have 788 pages of comments posted on the City Council website. Counting a random number, I reckon that this is something over a 99% objection rate. Of course before the relevant committee I shall count every one carefully. Adam Clarke is being very supportive and I have told the Mercury that the best thing the developers can do is to withdraw and enact their previous consent.

2. HERITAGE PARTNERSHIP: 21 March. We had an extremely constructive meeting:

2.1. David Beale gave a presentation on Friars Mill. I asked if the golden ibex is to be reinstated. Answer: Yes. The crane must be on site once more to fit ventilation louvres to the top of the chimney. The ibex will be placed atop the cupola at the same time.

2.2. Nisha Popat spoke on the heritage plaques: There are now 90 in place and another 25 due to go up over the next two years. However, I have my own short list that I have been discussing with Sally Coleman and I also raised the need for better interpretation of Roman Leicester.

2.3. Nick gave a first class presentation on Stoneygate Conservation Area.

2.4. Justin Webber spoke on conservation area appraisals and management plans. The priority has to be a new planning guidance for All Saints. A new character appraisal and management plan for Church Gate is also in the course of preparation. Leicester has three outstanding appraisals to complete, Braunstone, Knighton and Evington, and these will be a further priority. The only management plan in place is Greyfriars, which was necessary for the THI bid. Following HE advice the proposal is to produce three or four ‘thematic plans’ that can be applied to groups of similar conservation areas. E.g: The six city centre, the six villages, and residential suburban such as Stoneygate, Evington Footpath, Spinney Hill Park, etc. I welcomed this initiative and looked forward to us getting involved.

2.5. There was however no commitment whatsoever on new conservation areas. I shall continue to pursue this matter at every opportunity.

2.6. I raised the need for detailed consultation over any improvements to St. George’s Churchyard.

2.7. Next meeting: 04 July: Friars Mill or Guildhall?

3. LOCAL INTEREST LIST: I have written to the City Council detailing five recommended additions to the list: 98 mile turnpike MP, (Belgrave Gate) 100 mile turnpike MP, (Abbey Lane) The Venue (formerly John Sandford Sports Centre) Western Boulevard, Welford Road Sports Pavilion and Humberstone Station House.

The Council has produced an excellent draft document on the Local Interest List detailing every entry so far but has asked me to proof read it by the end of April!

4. LEICESTER’S 20th CENTURY ARCHITECTURE: Sunday 20 March: Howard gave a good presentation to a full room at Jewry Wall Museum. We sold 7 and the museum 15 plus. Well done Howard.

5. 2015 AWARDS: Friday 15 April: We a final figure of 28 bookings; 14 Civic Society members and 14 guests. Guests are up but society members are down on last year’s figures. (8 guests and 17 members) In view of Peter’s efforts to engage this potentially huge audience this is disappointing. Leigh will need to let me have labels for the 2015 photographs to be added to the exhibition. (I shall supply a list) Peter will need to bring the exhibition, journal rack and old journals on the night. Also the background music please. This worked really well last year. I shall be at the City Rooms by 6.15 - 6.30. Doors open at 7.00pm.

6. FUTURE EVENTS: Events from April to June are in the March Citizen and all bookings are now open. Members are particularly reminded to note the AGM (11 May) and Heritage Fair (28 May) in their diaries. The Leafy Leicester Walk is now advertised all over the place. But get those leaflets out! We have 10 for the Cambridge Coach. For pre-bank holiday bookings this is quite good. We still have six weeks to go and we need another 11 to break even.

7. MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: Our new printers have produced a full colour issue of Leicester Citizen for the first time ever, (“it looked better”!) and an extra 50 copies gratis. This means we have 50 additional high quality journals for less money. We must not look this gift horse in the mouth and must use these additional journals to boost membership. Anyone who thinks they can take some and do so then let me know. I can post you copies or they can be collected at our meetings. Leaflets continue generally available. (We have about 800 at the last count) Help yourselves. With membership now touching 340 we must not allow this initiative to flag. I repeat this item verbatim from our March meeting to ensure all members get the message.

8. CONSERVATION OFFICER: SOUTH & EAST: At our last meeting Ena volunteered to fill this vacancy from the AGM. Many, many thanks. Leigh, Ena and I will meet to discuss the details for a handover. (All parties please bring your diaries)

9. MEETING DATES: At our last meeting it was unanimously agreed to move our regular meetings to the third Tuesday of each month. But note this will still be subject to those not then present agreeing. Any such move must be unanimous amongst the committee. In addition, I will then need to agree the move with the Regent Club. Finally, this cannot commence until August when the next edition of Citizen can carry the new dates.

10.HERITAGE PLAQUES:14 March: I met with Sally Coleman to discuss further ideas for plaques.

11.STORY OF PARKS: 24 March: I spoke to a crowded meeting in the Bowls Pavilion on Western Park. This appeared successful. I think we might have gained new members.

12.QUALITY OF LEICESTER: 17 April: For those who missed the previous presentation at the Friends Meeting House it is being given again at the Secular Hall at 6.30pm.

13.VICTORIAN SOCIETY: 19 April: I am to meet the committee of the Leicester Group to discuss future co-operation.

14.CONSERVATION MEETING: 20 April: Next meeting with the City Mayor.

15.GREYFRIARS: 27 April: Next meeting of the Project Board.

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