December is a good time to look back over the Old Year and plan for the New. Back in January, I wrote about Leicestershire County Council’s Strategy for Industrial Development in Coalville. Plans for houses on the old Workspace 17, Highfield Street, are underway. The Vulcan Way site, currently occupied by a haulage company, has been approved for industrial development. This is disappointing for the current tenant and their employees. I am working with District Council colleagues to support them in finding alternative accommodation.
February saw the final decision to close the Snibston Main Gallery. In March NWLDC Planners attempted to challenge a Government decision and save a greenfield site off Greenhill Road from 180 houses. Sadly, the battle was lost and the taxpayer left liable for the defendant’s costs.
In April we were told that ‘Better Care’ would help Health and Social Care to close a £398M gap in their finances. By May, Snibston Museum was demolished, leaving a derelict and contaminated site. The consultation 'Providing Less, Supporting More’ told residents funding for Leicestershire’s libraries, heritage and learning services is to reduce by 30%.
June saw the Brexit referendum recommend the Government make plans to leave the European Union. In July we heard that the East Midlands has the lowest railway investment per head receiving less than a tenth of the money that goes to London. North West Leicestershire is in the top ten councils for car dependency with 80% of working adults having to travel to work by car or van. HS2 will plough through our District without stopping, adding over an hour to the journey to London by public transport. Meanwhile electrification of the Midland Mainline is being delayed
In August County Highways reported projected budget cuts of 78% by 2020 and a consultation in September considered doubling the Council Tax payments of the poorest in our community. Celebrating the exam success of King Edward VII High School in October, I discovered that rules governing the distribution of developer contributions mean that this school is missing out, receiving no funds to make up for the increased number of houses and children. November’s welcome news about ‘Recovery Hubs’ for mental health was marred by the estimated 50% cut to the future budget for mental health support.