Leicester News Round-Up #3

January 24: Campaigners working as part of Leicestershire Against The Cuts “are nearing 1,000 signatures on a petition aimed at triggering a referendum on scrapping Leicester’s elected mayoral post.” “The movement hopes to collect 12,000 names – five per cent of the city’s electorate – on the petition, which was launched before Christmas.”

January 25: “Councillors have rounded on Tesco after receiving a petition opposing the company’s plans to open a store in Clarendon Park. Campaigners presented Leicester City Council with the names of 2,000 people opposed to the company’s proposed conversion of a former Barclay’s bank in Queens Road.”

January 25: “Residents in Leicester’s Western Park say they are having to cope with the increase in cars in their streets as an unintended consequence of permits being introduced in neighbouring Westcotes last month.”

January 27: “Developers have submitted long-awaited and controversial £445 million plans to build thousands of homes to the north east of Leicester. The proposals would see 4,500 houses, as well as offices, factories, schools and shops, built on 890 acres of farmland, near Hamilton and Thurmaston.”

January 28: “Labour deselects Deepak Bajaj and Iqbal Desai pair for next Leicester City Council election.” Deepak Bajaj, who has represented Evington ward on Leicester City Council since 2007 ”has said he will be appealing against the decision to deselect him.”

January 28: Leicester City Council’s has spent £800,000 on its new customer service centre on Granby Street. “It has closed the old customer care centre at its New Walk Centre headquarters, which is to be vacated and demolished, as well its revenues and benefits officer in Wellington Street.”

January 29: Southend Care, “The company that took over nine former county council care homes is set to miss the deadline for paying the outstanding £2.4 million it owes the authority. The Conservative administration at County Hall agreed to sell the homes in 2011 for £3.2 million.”

February 5: Leicester City Council “has earmarked £35 million of its own money” for the various development schemes as part of its Economic Action Plan which was launched in November 2012.

February 5: Launched by Sally Skyrme, “Campaigners have set up a petition to change the name of Leicester’s new plaza from Jubilee Square to Peace Square.”

February 6: “Rushey Mead School set to become an academy.” “Ian Leaver, assistant secretary for the Leicester branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: ‘This is an appalling decision. It’s a bad move for the city and it won’t benefit the other schools or students at Rushey Mead. It will fracture the relationships between all secondaries in the city. There are no positives to this.’”

February 6: “Protesters standing outside Leicester Town Hall in just Bermuda shorts lasted more than 12 hours in bitterly cold weather.” They were opposing the Council’s brutal and unnecessary cuts agenda.

February 7: “A £400,000 water play area is to be developed at Leicester’s Abbey Park.”

February 10: “More than 130 posts are to be axed at 23 children’s centres.” This followed “a decision by Leicester City Council to scale back services to save £3.4 million.In total, 133 posts will go, out of 324.”

February 10: “Council bosses have proposed scrapping supervised play sessions in December and January and putting the contracts for running the 10 adventure playgrounds in Leicester out to tender, while bringing maintenance of the sites in-house.”

February 11: “A bronze statue by internationally-acclaimed artist Helaine Blumenfeld has been unveiled at the University of Leicester.” The Mercury article makes no mention to the student protest that interrupted the unveiling, see “Students demand justice”.

February 14: “The city council said it needs to cut its £2.4 million-a-year budget for funding wardens in registered social landlord accommodation by £700,000… The council has also considered axing the £16,500 annual funding for a “lifeline” alarm service used by 130 elderly residents in sheltered housing.”

February 27: “A demonstration against spending cuts was staged outside the Leicester Town Hall as councillors met to consider the budget.” Organised by public sector union Unison and protest group Leicestershire Against the Cuts, hundreds of angry people attended the protest.

February 28: “’Super academy’ plan for Market Harborough pupils is scrapped.”

March 1: Kiran Parmar, the Director of popular wedding venue, the City Rooms, was “granted a licence to open a lap-dancing club, despite neighbours’ objections.”

March 4: “Councillors on the county council’s cabinet are proposing to stop a £300,000 annual subsidy to the service, which would see the price of a meal go up from £3.25 to £5.71.”

March 6: “County Hall is looking to cut the £1.2 million worth of grants it gives to voluntary agencies across Leicestershire by 50 per cent.”

March 6: In the summer, Professor Paul Boyle will take over from Professor Robert Burgess as the vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester’. when he retires in the summer.

March 7: “Leicester City Council said it would save £106,000 by reducing services in Freeman, Aylestone, Knighton and Eyres Monsell wards.”

March 7: “About a dozen parents gathered outside Gartree High School, in Oadby, from around 9am. Some of them clutched banners stating “save our bus system”.”

March 10: “A Birstall school has been given the go-ahead to become an academy. Stonehill High School, which takes pupils from 11 to 14, has received its approved academy orders from the Government.”

March 11: Anne Bond, from Oadby, is collecting signatures for a petition to save a medical walk-in centre in Oadby. A consultation meeting in Oadby will be held on March 28, at the Walter Charles Centre from 10am until 12.30pm.

March 13: Sir Peter Soulsby announced a sell-off of up to 20 council-owned properties in Leicester over the next year to community groups for nominal sums such as £1 ; thereby taking publicly owned assets into the private market, ready to be bought up when said community groups remain unable to make-ends-meet.

For very recent national news concerning local activist Daniel Ashman that failed to make the pages of the Leicester Mercury, see “British activist indicts government officials for enabling war crimes.”

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