Leicester Civic Society
Chairman's E-newsletter May 2018 #133

08 May 2018


1. BSS FACTORY, FLEET STREET Of the three applications 2357 for demolition only, has now been refused, solely on the grounds of the Local Interest List. This is very good news. Ena objected on our behalf, so if the developer appeals we may make representations. However, 2677/2678 for demolition and redevelopment are still live applications, though with 83 objections. I don’t see how 2357 can be refused but 2677/2678 granted. However, stranger things have happened. In any event they would have to go to planning committee if planning recommended approval and we can then speak out. If they are refused and the developer appeals, once again we may make representations as Stu objected on our behalf. We have done the right things so far and this is all very interesting.

2. TREES AGAIN! Prebend Gardens are causing the current scandal. Faced by “antisocial behaviour” the City Council yet again blames trees and starts cutting them down. In this case apparently 40 trees are going during the bird nesting season to provide a clear sight line for a CCTV camera, even though Adam Clarke assured me that the Council does not cut trees down between March and September. As with De Montfort Hall Gardens (50 trees lost) here has been no public consultation, and as with De Montfort Hall Gardens, a proper maintenance regime in place would have avoided this situation.

Meanwhile 20171911 St. Georges Churchyard has still not made it to planning committee. Quite clearly this is because the current committee, following their site visit in January/February, have indicated they are not minded to grant consent. I therefore smell a rat that may not make its appearance until committees are rearranged after May.

3. 2017 AWARDS: A splendid occasion on 13 April. Numbers were slightly down on last year but thanks largely to Peter’s organising genius a record number of 18 members looked after 24 guests and everyone appeared to enjoy the evening immensely. My thanks to all of you. My only disappointment was that illness prevented me being there. The first such occasion I have ever missed. However, as predicted yet again the Mercury ignored the whole thing. The commendations will feature in an article in July’s Leicester Citizen.

4. GODDARD EXHIBITION at ISKCON: 11 to 15 April. Many thanks to those who turned up to support ISKCON. Their restoration project is vital for the future of this important historic building and we must continue to do all we can to help them.

‘Urban Sketchers Leicester’ are drawing the ISKCON building on Saturday 16 June. Their work is always a good opportunity to observe the city, appreciate it, improve creative skills and socialise.All those who fancy having a go with their pencils are welcome.


5. GUIDED WALKS: Saturday 05 May: “The Capital of Non-Conformity”. Congratulations to Jim McCallum who led 25 walkers on this well-researched tour of Leicester’s historic chapels. We are lucky that new volunteers come forward to organise guided walks. Well done Jim.

Saturday 16 June: “Radical Leicester”. Bookings: Civic Society = 8, Visit Leicester = 5, Total = 13 to date. All publicity issued, so - get those leaflets out.

6. SHROPSHIRE TOUR: Saturday 12 May. Excellent! As at today we have sold 34 seats out of 39. Only 1 behind the records set by Saltaire (September 2015) and Port Sunlight (September 2016) But let’s try to fill the remainder of the coach, shall we?

7. MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: I have ordered a pop-up banner. This will create a mini-exhibition that together with leaflets (I have ordered a 1,000 reprint to tide us over until the 2019 AGM) I can take anywhere that offers us a table. Leicester City Council are holding a SPAB event on ‘Maintenance of Faith Buildings’ on Tuesday 23 May at City Hall and the Senior Buildings Conservation Officer has invited Heritage Partnership members with such exhibitions to attend for free. I don’t know how many have responded but I said yes straight away. Meanwhile New Walk Museum is holding a Heritage Exhibition on Saturday 16 June and has invited us to exhibit. Once again, I said yes. An exhibition that I can easily move about myself gives us exciting opportunities - though helpers are always welcome on the day.

8. HERITAGE FAIR: Saturday 26 May. Leicester Civic Society, Leicester Group of the Victorian Society, Leics. & Rutland War Memorials at Risk Trust, Leics. & Rutland Family History Society, Oadby Remembers the Past, ISKCON, Friends of Welford Road Cemetery and Wigston Civic Society are all exhibiting. So it’s a full house! All publicity is out, with posters and leaflets with Guildhall, OTIP, Visit Leicester and Bishop Street Church. All media have been informed. But - get those leaflets out.

I shall arrive 09.30 - 09.45 with magazine rack, the new pop-up banner, etc. Peter needs to bring down the exhibition and banner. Howard to collect c15.45 so that we are then ready for the Thursday of HOD’s in September. Once again, I do not think we need to roster but everyone who can spare the odd hour please turn up and help.

9. AGM: Saturday 02 June. I took your advice and moved the date, time and place in an attempt to deal with the appalling (and expensive) turn outs of recent years. Now it’s up to you! We also have a first-rate speaker in Jo Mungovin, who immediately after the AGM will give “The Life, Times and Places of the Elephant Man”. You may have seen Jo with Michael Portillo in his new series “Hidden Histories”, taking about Joseph Merrick and the Royal London Hospital. This promises to be fascinating - don’t miss it.

Gordon will announce that he is to retire at the 2019 AGM. This is crucially important. As a registered charity we cannot continue to exist without a treasurer. I will repeat that I intend to retire at the 2021 AGM.

10. QUEEN AETHELFLAED: Tuesday 10 June. I have been invited by Tamworth Civic Society to represent the Society at a service to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the death of Queen Aethelflaed of Mercia, who at the head of her army retook Leicester from the Danes in 917. This will be at St. Editha’s Church, Tamworth, so I might not be back in time for our meeting. In which case Howard will please take charge.

11. VICTORIAN SOCIETY: I am to attend the Victorian Society 40th Anniversary Dinner on Thursday 10 May.

12. HERITAGE PARTNERSHIP: Monday 14 May at Great Meetings. No further details at the moment.

Registered Charity No. 502932.   Member of EMACHS.   Member of the Historic Towns Forum.
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