Chairman's E-newsletter November 2017 #127
16 November 2017
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT No.127: 14 NOVEMBER 2017.
20151948: THE BLACK BOY: A good hearing on 24 October. The inspector was very
fair and balanced, and invited my full participation. Our side consisted of
Steve Brown, James Simmons, a QS (I think) and myself. Theirs: Solicitor,
architect, heritage consultant and QS. Small audience - including some of our
members. Leicester Mercury present.
They tried to claim poor
condition of property but James was quick to point out that this had only
happened during the developer's ownership and the Council had served a legal
notice on them obliging them to secure their property to prevent this. When we
paid the site visit it was obvious that this had not been followed and we made
the point that trespass by rough sleepers could easily lead to fire with loss
of life and property. (Just what they want - But I didn't dare say that!) They
were rather shame faced about this and said that the building would be properly
secured that night. This might not affect the appeal result but was a strong
point that we made strongly. The good news is that our torches clearly showed
that the fine wood panelling and ceiling plasterwork is all intact in the
lounge and that previous reports of its loss are therefore incorrect. One
wonders how much longer it will remaint
They tried to claim that the
local community for the pub's use was no more but I denied this andthe
visit demonstrated an entirely new community given the large numbers of
apartment blocks now going up on Chatham Street, York Street and Dover Street.
Expect a decision by about
first week in December. Fingers crossed.
2. BUILDINGS AT RISK: Historic
England published this year’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register on 26 October. This
lists Grade I, Grade II-star buildings and Grade II places of worship. A
previous initiative to include all Grade II buildings at risk appears to have
come to nothing, due to the scale of the problem.
The Leicester Register includes three
new entries taking it to fifteen, five of which are at The Newarke and
Leicester Castle, all the responsibility of Leicester City Council and amongst
the most important elements of our historic built environment. Mercury coverage on 26 October. I shall be
seeking a meeting with the City Council about this as a matter of urgency. The
Iron gates in the gardens of Newarke Houses. (New entry) Listed Grade II-star
and Scheduled Monument.
Newarke Wall at rear of gardens of Newarke Houses. (New entry) Listed Grade
II-star and Scheduled Monument.
O’Gaunts Cellar, Leicester Castle. Listed Grade I and Scheduled Monument.
Gateway, Castle View. (New entry) Listed Grade I and Scheduled Monument.
Magazine Gateway, The Newarke. Listed Grade I and Scheduled Monument. Excellent
piece on this in the Mercury on 30 October.
3. LONDON ROAD IMPROVEMENTS:
London Road improvements went out for public consultation for a mere one month
period ending 10 November. The proposed loss of 18 mature trees on Victoria
Park to accommodate an unnecessary double cycle lane has thankfully created
considerable controversy and there has been an excellent piece in the Mercury
on 04 November. Jennifer attended a meeting of angry locals on 06 November and
can report. I feel that these proposals are so ill-conceived that they could
almost be an urban designer’s afterthought.
I have been contacted by Madeleine
Oldham of ‘CrowdJustice’, a crowdfunding platform built specicifically for
legal cases and which is heavily involved in the legal challenges mounted to
combat the distruction of street trees in Sheffield. At the moment we are only
dealing with a City Council consultation, but as with St. George’s Churchyard,
we have been here before. If the Council see sense all will no doubt be OK but
if not the campaign will move up a notch.
MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: Membership as at 10 October meeting = 378: Plus 4 new
members by 14 November meeting = 382: Minus 17 non-renewals as at 31 October =
365. The non-renewal rate this year is therefore 4.5%, which is the best ever. If we can recover the number of 17 lost members by the
end of the year we then have ten whole months to reach the magic 400. But how do we do
- Front page advert in “The Street” ( LE2 Circulation 12,000) for
November has been submitted. Leaflets in Knighton Library please. (Jennifer)
- I have submitted an article on the Society for the
November/December issue of Aylestone Park News. ( LE3 Circulation 2,750)
Leaflets in Aylestone Library please. (Sue & Herbert)
- Leicester Citizen is out and is hopefully working
its magic. It includes a membership by Christmas Gift Voucher for the
first time in three years. There has always been a poor response to this
in the past but this year it has also gone for inclusion in the City
Christmas Guide. (City and County circulation 60,000?) I have topped up
the leaflets in Visit Leicester, The Guildhall and OTIP.
thinks that we might get someone to run Facebook for us if we offer to pay for
their membership via a Facebook advert. This would therefore cost us nine
pounds per year, which I think is worth it.
5. 2017 AWARDS: Open with issue
of Citizen. Nominations to date:
Restoration Award: 1) Winstanley
House. 2) 6 Springfield Road. (Tippetts &
Brookes) Work started in June so yet uncertain it will qualify for 2017. We
shall also have to arrange nominations for The Great Hall of Leicester Castle
(De Montfort University Business School) and The Queens Building, Orton Square,
both of which are outstanding.
New Build Award: New House at 1, The Avenue, Stoneygate. Any more please.
I am delighted to
report that the Very Reverend David Monieth, The Dean of Leicester, has
accepted my invitation to be our Guest of Honour on 13th April 2018.
WINSTANLEY HOUSE: It has taken three years to restore Braunstone Hall,
the culmination of nine years of effort. The Parmars had purchased a large
historic building, semi-derelict and damaged by lead theft, vandalism and
arson, and needed to create a high-class hotel and restaurant. The result was
opened by Sir Peter Soulsby on 10 October and I was honoured to be invited as a
guest on this occasion. Braunstone Hall has been transformed as “Winstanley
House”, renamed in honour of the family whose home it was for so many years.
House has undergone a magnificent restoration and conversion, with modern
extensions towards the stables and gardens incorporating a Grand Ballroom for
450, and southwards with another ballroom for 150. There are nineteen splendid
boutique hotel rooms and the “Back Iron Restaurant” on the ground floor of the
hall. The interior décor is fabulous and the views over mature wooded landscape
breathtaking. There has been massive coverage in the Mercury, including a
drawing by Olwen.The only word is wow!
7. ANCIENT LEICESTER PROJECT: This
is a working title at this early stage. I have had discussions with John Cook,
an illustrator who has produced some first rate images of the ancient town at
various points in its history. (Roman,
Saxon, Medieval and Georgian) The idea
is to produce a marketable leaflet (six-fold DL or even A5?) If you are happy we will need to work
further on this to look at viable print numbers and establish costs before we
consider progressing further.
For your info:
Plan Consultation: I have commented on the latest stage. Basically an abbreviated
re-run of the 2014 Issues & Options Consultation.
attended the lauch of the Cathedral Economic Impact Assessment on 11 October. This
was chaired by The Dean, with contributions from the City Mayor, Rev. Pete
Hobson and Wolverhampton University, who conducted the surveys and assessment.
It was an extremely constructive evening.
Friendship Group: Howard and I gave the ‘Romans in Leicester’ talk on 07