Leicester Civic Society
Chairman's E-newsletter February 2018 #130

15 February 2018


1. 20171911: ST. GEORGE’S CHURCHYARD: The application went to Planning Committee on 10 January with a recommendation for approval. Cllr. Kitterick and Friends of the Earth spoke against. Many Councillors were clearly concerned about various aspects of the proposal and after much argument the Chairman moved deferral pending a site visit. This motion was passed: 5 for, 1 against and 2 abstentions. To the best of my knowledge this has yet to take place and the proposal not taken back to committee on 31 January. Their next meeting is on 20 February, but this is only eight days before the physical stipulations of the Wildlife & Countryside Act come into force.

Meanwhile on 20 January a ‘Tree Festival’ was held in Orton Square to protest against the proposal. Despite some awful weather this was well attended by many well-meaning people. However, as with the Aylestone Meadows protest in 2011, they all need to turn up at the relevant Planning Committee for Councillors to witness the level of opposition for themselves. If everyone now sits back and lets things take their course, they will - and we shall lose.

2. THE BLACK BOY: I have had discussions with the architects to seek a way forward.

3. TREE STRATEGY: Both Margaret and myself have commented on the City Council Draft Tree Strategy directly to the City Mayor. I am grateful for Margaret’s comments, which were very helpful. I am struck by the existing Leicester City Council Green Infrastructure Strategy and the newly launched Woodland Trust Charter for Trees, Woods and People, both of which are strong on the levels of protection that should be afforded to trees in the urban environment.

4. 2017 AWARDS: We have had one more nomination for ‘New Build’, which takes nominations to a record 8, 4 in each category. All is now in order for the adjudication visits.

Adjudication Panel visited Restoration nominations on Saturday 10 February in the following order:

· Winstanley House by Mr & Mrs. N. Parmar. Grade II LB. Nominated by Gordon Goode.

· Engineering Building, University of Leicester. Grade II-star LB. Nominated by Sue Eppel.

· Leicester Castle Great Hall for De Montfort University Business School. Grade I LB and SAM. Castle CA. Nominated by Stuart Bailey.

· 15 Portland Road by Tippetts & Brooks, Stoneygate CA. Nominated by Peter Jones.

Many thanks to Peter, Howard, Jennifer, Richard and Ann for their hard work. Our decisions have been made but cannot be made public until after:

Adjudication Panel to visit New Build nominations on Saturday 17 February:

· 88-90 Rutland Street, St. George’s CA. Nominated by Staniforth Architects.

· 14 Burlington Road, Stoneygate CA. Nominated by Peter Jones.

· The Lumis Building, Southgate Street. Greyfriars CA. Nominated by Ena Martin.

· No.1 The Avenue, Stoneygate CA. Nominated by Stuart & Kate Andrews.

5. MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: On 25 January I spoke to Friends of Clarendon Park on our proposals for a Clarendon Park CA. I also promoted membership with an enhanced information pack incorporating our membership forms. This was a good meeting. The Friends already function as if they were a conservation area society. All they need now is a conservation area.

On 26 January I attended the launch of Western Ward Community Enterprise. They are taking over the former Eco-House on Hinckley Road as a community centre and the former science block at the Open-Air School as a park cafeteria. These are by lease agreement with Parmar Properties. However, they will then have three years in which to raise the money for restoration. This was a very well attended and enthusiastic meeting and we shall be doing all we can to promote them. I pushed our proposals for a Western Park CA and Society membership.

6. LEICESTER CITIZEN: All is either organised or in hand for: 1) 06 April Skittles Match against Wigston Civic Society at the Black Horse, Aylestone, 2) 13 April Awards Ceremony & Dinner at the City Rooms, 3) 2018 Programme of Guided Walks, 4) 12 May Coach Tour, 5) 26 May Heritage Fair at Bishop Street and 6) 02 June AGM & Lecture at Newarke Houses Museum. All these need to be advertised in the forthcoming edition, which is on time for publication on 02 March.

7. HERITAGE PARTNERSHIP: On 29 January a tour of Winstanley House - at which everyone who had yet to see it were suitably impressed - was followed by a good meeting of the HP. I am grateful to the Conservation Team for meeting me in advance on 23 January to discuss the concerns over Heritage at Risk raised in my memo to the City Mayor of 01 December. As a result of this we gave a joint presentation to HP and I have written an article for the March edition of Leicester Citizen.

The meeting also saw good presentations made on the restoration of Winstanley House and the latest edition of the City Council Heritage Action Plan.

8. MID-WINTER MEET UP: 02 February at The Globe, Silver Street. This was a big success and was clearly a very popular event, for which I have had some excellent feedback. Many thanks to Ena and Howard for their assistance.

9. ALICE HAWKINS STATUE: On 04 February Jennifer, Michele and I represented the Society at the unveiling of the Alice Hawkins statue in the New Market Square. It is magnificent! The pictures don’t do it justice, so go and see for yourselves. The ceremony was followed by a lot of useful networking at the Town Hall Reception.

10. GREYFRIARS THI PROJECT BOARD: A good meeting on 09 February at City Hall. The Mill, Millstone Lane will be a capital project for 2018. There are exciting proposals for cinema space in its courtyard. 2019 will be the centenary of Leicester becoming a city. (For the third time?) Also, the 50th anniversary of the first conservation areas. I feel another new guided walk coming on!

For yr info:

· TREE OF LIFE: I am to meet Rachel Bennetts of the Tree of Life Monastic Community on 12 February. They are taking over the row of C18th houses facing the Cathedral, between the KRIII Visitor Centre and New Street. This should be an interesting development. She wants to know all about the history of the locality so Pete Hobson has put her into me!

· ART EXHIBITION at LEICESTER CATHEDRAL: I have been invited to attend the launch of this on 15 February.

· WIGSTON HISTORY DAY: 10 March at Age UK, Paddock Street, Wigston. I am going to promote the Heritage Fair and should be there about 11.30. Please feel free to join me.

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