Ho, Hum! How City Planning Works for the Rich and Not the Homeless

Today the Leicester Mercury (March 17) reported how “Leicester City Council’s planning committee has given the green light to the major development, on the former All Saints Brewery site off Vaughan Way.” Apparently, developer Ingleby is set to build a block of 300 flats, exactly double the number of homes they had proposed to build in their previous 2014 plans that were rejected.

At the time of the earlier proposal, however, Leicester Civic Society chairman Stuart Bailey had said: “It’s too big. That kind of size of development would be too big anywhere, let alone in a conservation area. It’s greedy to try to cram that much into such a restricted site.” (August 05, 2014, Leicester Mercury)

During the latest controversial Planning Committee meeting (held on March 15), only one councillor abstained on the decisive vote, that being Councillor Susan Barton, who said “she could not welcome the scheme because she was still hurting over the loss of the former historic All Saints Brewery building which burned down several years ago.”

Interestingly, during the brief discussion Councillor Ratilal Govind also drew attention to the history of fires in the area, but the planning meeting chose not to dwell on the obvious links between arson attacks and ensuing property development. This question of the combustibility of prime real estate however is of critical relevance here, because in 2014 Ingleby was fined £4,100 for failing to look after the 17th century building — that was formerly on the site of the current development — that had accidentally been razed to the ground in a burning inferno.

This blasé decision to approve the construction of yet more luxury housing in our city centre ironically enough comes in the same week that local homelessness campaigner James Mclean, was fined just over £6,000 for setting up a homeless camp at Town Hall Square.

So while our City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby continues to pretend that the homeless rate in Leicester is decreasing (when all the facts point in the opposite direction) he is busy prosecuting a lone protestor who is only seeking to highlight the hidden fact that people in our city are dying because of homeless service cuts.

Sickeningly, Sir Peter is even quoted in today’s Ingleby development article as revelling in the fact that Leicester is “now seeing large scale private investment”!? At what cost one might ask.

Labour Party housing justice

For a related article see: “Sir Peter Soulsby First ‘Punishes’ then Rewards Property Developers” (May 15, 2015)

Members of the Planning and Development Control Committee who voted to agree to the Ingleby development included: Tory Councillor Ross Grant, and Labour Councillors Teresa Aldred, Diane Cank (vice chair), Ted Cassidy (chair), Dr Shofiqul Chowdhury, Elly Cutkelvin, Ratilal Govind, Jean Khote, Patrick Kitterick, Mustafa Malik, and Dr Lynn Moore. (Councillor Mansukhlal Chohan was not present at the meeting as he had given his apologies.)

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