Agenda item

Minutes of the Previous Meeting


The Minutes of the previous meeting, held on 16 August 2022, were declared true and accurate, with the following notes;


Jubilee Tree: Minutes of this meeting note that a ‘feasibility study’ is required regarding the placement of the tree, and that an update would be given on this at “the next meeting” which was originally scheduled for 27 October 2022 before being amended to 9 January 2023. This action was first mentioned as an action at the meeting held on 17 May 2022, but on neither occasion do the Minutes allocate it to an officer at the Council. On 14 December 2022 this was passed over to Michael Bennetto, the Council’s Tree Officer, to action and cost.


Communication with Residents: A resident raised the need for the Council to “explore further ways to reach those not on social media and to get the views of residents”. I believe that the Council’s Communications Team are already looking at this as part of a wider review of the Comms Strategy, and that physical newsletters from the Council have already been delivered to households across the Borough at the end of 2022 as part of this.


A resident raised concerns that the physical newsletter arrived after the closure of the CES consultation. The deadline for this was extended but notification of this was sent out via email which links back to the original comment regarding communication with residents.


31/31a Bus Service: An action was included in the Minutes for the Chair and Ross Levy to “explore key contacts and hold the operator [of the 31/31a bus service, Arriva] to account”. It is not clear if Ross Levy progressed this action prior to leaving employment with the Council, but I am aware that the 31/31a bus services specifically have been the focus of an article in the Leicester Mercury recently, with the Borough’s MP raising the issue directly with Arriva on behalf of his constituents.


The Chair wrote to the DVSA regarding this on 17 August 2022, but was informed by reply that this needs to be raised directly with Arriva as the bus operator. The Chair highlighted that two petitions has also been submitted to Arriva; one with over 500 signatures arranged by local councillors asking for the service to return to pre-pandemic service levels and timetable. The second petition, undertaken by residents themselves with over 200 signatures, suggested that if the service is to remain being run in a circular route, the service should be amended to a staggered service ensure greater accessibility. A resident noted that since 3 January 2023 the timetable has been revised to an hourly service, which is impacted by the roadworks on the Parade, Oadby, and is not providing a suitable service to the area. A ‘31x’ bus service also exists, but it is unclear where or how often this service operates. The bus stop outside of Cross Medical / Sainsburys remains out of operation, meaning people leaving Sainsburys with their shopping are unable to catch a bus from this stop – the X3 and X7 buses currently stop at this stop.


Leicestershire County Council did not receive £58m to support the bus services in the County, meaning that services are being reviewed with a view to cuts occurring to the service. Leicester City Council also missed out on funding applied for to further support bus services.


It was queried as to whether the petitions raised above have also been put to businesses in the area, including Sainsbury’s as previously mentioned. It was confirmed that as yet businesses have not been included in the public consultations.


The cost of parking in Leicester encourages bus use, but the bus service is not fit for purpose.


It was also suggested that the Council puts forward its own suggestions for bus routes in the Borough to Arriva for consideration; the view shared is that members of the public know the area better, and understand the needs of the area for a bus service better. This is unlikely to be able to proceed as Arriva’s decisions are informed by business need and feasibility.


ACTION: An invitation is to be extended to a representative of Arriva to attend the next meeting of this forum in February 2023. The current service levels and lack of drivers are to be considered as points covered with the representative. It was suggested that First Leicester also be invited to potentially pitch their own service to the Borough.


Resurfacing of Fludes Lane, Oadby: The path on Fludes Lane was noted in the Minutes as requiring resurfacing as an outstanding task, delayed by the pandemic. The handrail and path were noted as being dangerous, especially for those with pushchairs or limited mobility. Ross Levy was to explore timescales for the completion of these works but it is unclear if this took place.


A budget of £20k is available for the works at Fludes Lane with the Borough Council, an additional request of £20k toward these works has also been made by the County Councillor for the area from his County discretionary budget to LCC Highways. Residents are understandably frustrated that these works, especially in two areas around the A6, have not been completed. The Council and the County Council should be held to account as to why these works have not been taken place, and timescales need to be confirmed for this ASAP. There were queries around who is responsible for the upkeep of the bridge on Fludes Lane as this sits on private land. The maintenance of public rights of way, bridleways and country routes, believed to be the responsibility of LCC, was also raised as it appears that they are not being maintained, with broken styes and overgrown vegetation. This is compounded by many of these paths running over privately owned land.


It was noted that LCC operates a number (0116 305 0001) where issues such as those raised above can be reported to them to action; this number is available on the LCC website and has previously resulted in works being actioned quickly.


A resident raised that a public right of way to the rear of Coombe Park is currently fenced off due to a building site. It is currently also impassable due to the mud along the route being churned up.


ACTION: OWBC Corporate Assets to be contacted regarding Fludes Lane and pressed for an update on the works.

Supporting documents: